|Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard|
The experience was surreal. Almost immediately I encountered piles of snow, and deep ravines in what were in the roadway. Numerous cars were off the side of the road stuck in drifts. My speed was 5-10 mph, but usually closer to 5. Even at that slow rate the ride was incredibly bumpy. At one point my car, for which I was using the four wheel drive option, began sliding and I almost hit another car stuck in snow by the mailbox. When I finally arrived at Krogers I found the parking lot in pristine shape and a snow plow at work.
Not sure what the difference was between the roads south of 56th Street where I live and those north of it. It may have been a coincidence that the Mayor lives in Saddlebrook South, the subdivision next to my older neighborhood which is off 56th Street between Guion and Kessler. Leaving to go downtown the Mayor would never have had to experience the roads I drove heading north to pick up milk.
The difference in the roads could be a coincidence. But what is clear is that the Mayor's snow removal effort has been abysmal and he is being criticized by even his supporters. I am not sure what happened. I do recall a few years ago, back when I drove a Mitsubishi Eclipse, that the snow removal that year was particularly horrible also under Mayor Ballard's watch. He had been Mayor about 2-3 years at that point. But this past week has been the worst I ever experienced since I came to Indianapolis in 1986. We are at Day 5 since the storm and I have yet to see the first snowplow.
By the way, my guess is that you're going to soon hear about the need for Indianapolis to privatize snow removal. The idea of a single vendor, a 30-50 year contract sounds like what will be proposed. It will be another effort to put taxpayer money in the pockets of a politically-connected company, with the City losing all control over a basic city service for decades to come.
Fortunately for Mayor Ballard, Indiana elections are not held in January. We have another winter to go before the 2015 municipal election and plenty of time during the summer months to forget the horrible performance on snow removal. It is unclear that a Democratic mayoral candidate could exploit that issue given the election timetable. If council Democrats are smart, they'd be using the snow removal issue to pound on Mayor Ballard now, to drive up his negatives in anticipation of the 2015 election season. Democratic councilors had a chance to do that prior to the 2011 election but instead sat on their hands. But the 2001 election took place under the watch of Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy who fumbled the ball so badly in the 2011 elections he almost managed to lose the Mayor's office and a majority on the council in a nearly 60% Democratic county. Marion County Democrats though have a new leader now, Joel Miller, who shows signs of having a better understanding of basic political strategy more than Treacy who at times seemed to be simply coasting on the Democrats' majority in the county.
My guess is the damage to Ballard's reputation because of this year's poor snow removal effort will be short-lived.