Friday, September 6, 2013

Mayor Greg Ballard Badly Fumbles Interview with Indianapolis Star

Indianapolis Star has posted a story on-line an interview with Mayor Greg Ballard by writer Jon Murray.  It is an interview I bet administration officials wish never happened..  The mayor has
Mayor Greg Ballard
somehow been able to cultivate the image of someone, though not terribly bright, who is a nice, everyday guy that wants to do the right thing for Indianapolis.  Although confronted with not too difficult questions, the Mayor has a melt down exposing a short-fuse, closed-mindedness, and outright hostility toward anyone who questions his way of approaching issues.  

Perhaps, just as bad, the Mayor appears to be just mouthing talking points that don't really answer the questions asked.  Murray attempted followup questions to clarify but just received more of the same.
Question (from @kmosier86): Why can the city afford a cricket field but not pay for raises for police officers and firefighters?
Answer: Oh really? Are we there still? (He was referring to frequent criticism of the $6 million World Sports Park project.) It’s one-time infrastructure money that hopefully will produce revenue for the city, and the other is an ongoing expense that has to come from revenue for the city. It’s apples and oranges completely.
Tell me again, why is it wrong to put playing fields on a park? That’s what we’re doing, and out of one-time money.

Q (from The Star): For some folks who aren’t necessarily familiar with city finances, it raises a question of priorities. Is that a valid question?

 A: No, it’s not a valid (question). Do you want me to shut down the park system? I mean, that’s kind of what they’re saying here, right? “We don’t want parks. Everything has to go to this other thing.” Of course we want parks, and we will continue to develop parks. But when we have one-time money from this (RebuildIndy) fund, we have to use it for capital projects.

Q (from @uselessnote ): What’s your justification for raising taxes, cutting services and giving the Pacers an operational subsidy despite the team’s new NBA revenue and other sources?A: I would tell them that services are better than they’ve ever been – the Mayor’s Action Center, snow removal, I could go on and on. Again, people do not understand that it’s not all one pot of money. It’s different money. Nobody wants to admit this, but the fact is that the Colts don’t run Lucas Oil Stadium. The Pacers do run Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the Pacers paid for the running of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, on their dime, for 10 years. Show me another city in the nation where that was true.

They did that for 10 years, and then they finally said, “We can’t do that anymore. We’re losing too much money.” And it is our fieldhouse, and we should have been running it for 10 years. That’s what this is about. Everybody thinks we subsidized the Pacers. The fact is the Pacers subsidized the city for 10 years. That’s what happened – they ran our fieldhouse for 10 years.

 Q (from The Star): This is the fourth year of a $10 million annual offset that the city is paying to the Pacers. Is that the new paradigm – should people expect that to continue?

Well, we think we’re pretty close to a deal so I don’t want to screw that up. I think we’re pretty close to a deal that will be fair to everybody.
The claim that the City's taxpayers haven't subsidized the Pacers, but rather the Pacers have subsidized the City, is outrageous.  We taxpayers built Bankers Life Fieldhouse.  The Pacers get to play in that building rent-free.  Yes, the Pacers pay to run the place. But what the Mayor leaves out is that the Pacers get 100% of the revenue off of the building all year round.  We taxpayers get nothing.  Now the Mayor and his CIB pals are having taxpayers pay to operate the building while the Pacers get 100% of the revenue.  Indianapolis subsidizes its sports franchises more than any city in the country and yet Ballard doesn't believe those subsidies are big enough.  Outrageous.

The lengthy interview is worth reading.


Jon said...

To paraphrase Bugs Bunny, what a maroon. Seriously Mr. Mayor the Pacers subsidized the city for ten years! They play rent free in a building the tax payers built and receive 100% of anything that goes through the door, what's their end of the subsidy again?

Bill said...

that interview will provide plenty of fodder for the next election.Vane never would have let that happen..some of those answers will cause him to lose the next election.He lied right to our faces

Flogger said...

How could anyone lose an election to Ballard?? It just shows how pathetic the last Democratic Candidate was. However, the Democrats in Marion County are all for Corporate Welfare and Crony-Capitalism. Corporate Welfare is off the table as an issue or debating point.

Ballard has been nicely pre-programmed by his masters. He must stay on script, no matter how foolish his answers are. Ballard has proven himself to be not the brightest bulb on the Christmas Tree.

Btownmoon said...

Ballard should have said "compared to Colts deal, the Pacers have subsidized the city for 10 years." Unfortunately, that is correct.

Jon said...

The Colts and Pacers deal aren't comparable; cost of BLF 180 million, cost of Lucas 720 million. While the Colts get 100% of revenue when the Colts play they only receive 50% of revenue for non Colts event, the Pacers get 100% of the revenue regardless of the event. Per the contract the Colts pay 25k per game for the use of Lucas, considering how much revenue the Colts receive(signage, parking, concessions, suites and tv) I still wouldn't call that a subsidy.

Btownmoon said...

Jon, those are good points. I cringe at your statement "only 50%" because why should the Colts receive any money for non-Colts events? Unlike BLF where Pacer Sports and Entertainment operates the facility, the Colts do not perform the same duties at LOS. The CIB does that work.
I would welcome a side-by-side comparison of the two plus some data from other major league venues.

Jon said...

Add tickets, of course, to the dollars the Colts receive.
I doubt that we would see any comparison of sports arena data, at least on the revenue side. You may see stadium costs since those facilities are usually built with bond money but neither the NFL or the NBA publish revenues for their respective teams. Although the Pacers maintain they have lost money for the last thirty years we only have their word for that, since their books are closed to public purview.

all hear this said...

Who the eff thought it was a good idea to re-elect this guy? I find it fishy that Indy went overwhelmingly to Obama, but then re-elected this dufus. I heard it through the grapevine that one of Ballard's cabinet members worked for a company that supplies electronic voting machines to the city...