Ballard: Broad Ripple Parking Garage Set To Open Next Year

Mayor Greg Ballard addressed two huge issues in Broad Ripple this morning by announcing a parking garage will be put in on the corner of Broad Ripple and College Avenues.  It will be taking the place of the old, rundown gas station on the corner.

Obviously, this will address the parking problem in Broad Ripple by adding 350 parking spots in the garage.  Additionally, there will be a retail area and a police station in the first floor of the parking garage.  It has long been a bit risky to park your car on a side street and walk back after a night at the restaurants and bars in Broad Ripple.  Adding the public safety aspect to the garage is a huge deal.

The $15 million garage is partially financed through the City’s lease of parking meters and there will be public meetings in July so residents can weigh in on the plan. 

This is a big win for Broad Ripple.

When Democrats Attack Progress: Kennedy and Democrats Attacking Road Work, Questioning Mayor’s Integrity

We saw this story while we were on hiatus but were inclined to let it slide until our friends at IndyDemocrat posted a story on it this week.

Last week, the Indy Star had an article on the newly released $55 million RebuildIndy funds being used to repair bridges, streets and sidewalks all over the county. This is a part of the total $170 million RebuildIndy has invested since last September.

A business owner was quoted praising the work saying, “I just appreciate, as a business owner in the community, just to see the work that has progressed today.”

Obviously all this good press and progress isn’t good for Melina Kennedy’s campaign and she did what we’ve seen her do time and time again–attack.  After commenting on the massive amount of construction occurring, Kennedy said, “I just want assurances that he’s not rushing these projects for election purposes.”

Seriously?  It is one thing to dislike something that is happening or disagree with Mayor Ballard but it is quite another to attack his integrity.  Even Mayor Ballard’s harshest critics believe he is an upstanding guy who does what he thinks is best for Indianapolis.  They may not agree with his decisions but they do believe he is an honest person. 

Why is the construction work happening quickly?  Even Jon Easter admits that there are reasons outside of politics though he is still using some of Kennedy’s talking points.  Easter says, “The Super Bowl could be one reason, and the fact that some of these areas of the city really needed the work.”

That’s right, even Democrat bloggers know the state of disrepair this city was left in by the past administration and that the infrastructure desperately needs to be repaired.  And can you believe that the City of Indianapolis would want to make a good impression and be in the best shape possible before the Super Bowl comes to town?  Man, those guys are crazy to want to get the work done before such a small event.  

Yes, road construction is an inconvenience.  Do we care enough to not fix the roads and bridges?  Of course not–at least most of us who are adults do not.  Is the work shoddy?  No. This spring’s weather has been strange to say the least and that has an impact on things.

It seems to us like silly season has started a bit early this year. If Melina Kennedy wants to be taken seriously, she’s going to have to raise the bar a bit.

Ogden Knows Best: Bike Lanes

If you are a cyclist or you keep up with the news, you may have heard that Mayor Ballard announced the City plans to double the number of bike lanes by the end of the year. Indianapolis has already added 30 miles of bike lanes since 2008 and the long-term plan calls for a total of 200 miles within the next 15 years.

As usual, Paul Ogden found a reason to complain

First, Ogden says that the $10 million being used on bike lanes could have been used for other things and the City has misplaced priorities.  Apparently, Paul was too busy looking for something to criticize to READ the article.  The bike lanes are funded by a grant from the Department of Energy.  It is a part of the SustainIndy program and that is why the City received the funding.  The money could not have been spent on the library or the parking meters that Ogden mentions.

Second, Paul complains about the bike lane safety and wrote in his comment section on what an avid cyclist he is compared to the Mayor and “many of the people who go ga-ga over the bike lanes.”  We especially enjoyed the part of the rant where Paul talked about how fast he can ride his bike.   Apparently, Ogden would throw INDYCOG in the group of folks who don’t know what they are talking about as well.   

According to the IndyStar,

Cyclist Kevin Whited attended the announcement to show his support as a member of the non-profit group Indy Cog, which promotes cycling and bike safety.

He said Indianapolis can look to other cities like Minneapolis and Portland, where when bike lanes were added, bike ridership picked up.

“To me it’s very exciting as a bicyclist. Having infrastructure, having bike lanes just makes it easier to get around the city. I mean it’s a really exciting thing and it’s very cost effective,” said Whited, who bikes to work every day.

Note that Whited bikes to work every day.  But hey, we’re sure Ogden knows best.

Ballard vs. Kennedy: Finance Reports and YouTube Fun

Jon Murray has the overview of the finance reports that were filed today.  Mayor Ballard raised $715,236 which brought his cash on hand to $2,039,201.  Kennedy raised $510,216 which brought her cash on hand to $1,272,335.  This leaves Ballard with a significant financial advantage of over $760,000. 

Much to Paul Ogden’s dismay, Kennedy outspent Ballard this time around and he won’t get to write a post on the burn rates of the Ballard campaign.  Kennedy spent nearly $180,000 to Ballard’s $150,000.  We’ve heard Team Ballard has a new fundraiser that is spending less and raising more which this report would seem to support.  

We’ve maintained that Kennedy is going to have to spend some money on this Democrat primary to make sure she gets to the General Election. The fact that she has two African-American males running against her shows some unrest in a key constituency.  Add in the fact that both of them are ahead of her on the ballot and one of them is a Carson, she really cannot afford to take the Primary race for granted.  How much she spends is a big question.  We’ve taken a quick look at her report and it appears she has waited to do any media purchases until after the reporting deadline which is what we would expect. 

In other mayor’s race fun, the Marion County Republican Party sent out a YouTube video hitting back at Kennedy’s attempts to discredit Mayor Ballard’s job commitment numbers.  You may remember we noted earlier this week that Kennedy was forced to pull her web ad down after breaking federal copyright law.  The GOP response is below.   Happy Friday!

We knew this would happen, but we didn’t know it would happen this early. 

Democrat Candidate for Mayor, Melina Kennedy, started running false, negative, misleading attack ads against Mayor Ballard…on April 2nd!  Kennedy has demonstrated that she’ll do anything to win and that’s why it is so important that we show our support for Mayor Ballard by telling the FACTS.

Click here to see a video that shares the facts about Mayor Ballard’s impressive record of creating jobs.  Please forward this email to your friends, and post this video on your Facebook page.  With your help, we can make sure that we keep moving Indianapolis forward with Mayor Ballard!

Amateur Hour: Kennedy Campaign Violates Federal Copyright Law, Forced to Pull Negative Web Ad

You may or may not have noticed last week that the Kennedy campaign launched an attack ad on the interwebs on Mayor Greg Ballard. 

The ad was regarding job commitment numbers released by the Ballard administration and used portions of the RTV6 “news” report from Kara Kenney.  The campaign publicized the web ad by advertising on several news websites including the IndyStar, Indianapolis Business Journal and Jim Shella’s political blog.

Not surprisingly, RTV6 told the Kennedy campaign to pull the web ad.  This is Campaign 101 so we are really suprised the campaign made the mistake.  Even worse, their candidate is a LAWYER.  Now we know it was made blatantly obvious in the 2006 Prosecutors race that Melina Kennedy has absolutely no courtroom experience but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a clue about the law.  This incident, on the other hand, seems to indicate that she doesn’t.

Add this to the fact that the Kennedy campaign has now officially gone negative in April, more than seven months before the election, and we’re declaring it amateur hour over at Kennedy campaign headquarters.

Mayor Ballard Writes the Post We Didn’t

A few weeks ago, Melina Kennedy released her plan to combat illegal guns. 

We did not write on it since we were on hiatus and we thought the plan was a lot of political talk that sounds good but does not really accomplish anything.  You can judge for yourself by reading it.

Mayor Ballard had an op-ed printed in today’s IndyStar that addresses the issues we saw in the plan so we aren’t going to re-create the wheel.

Public safety is Job One. I ran on that platform in 2007, and I devote constant attention to making our streets safer. One of our first actions was to return responsibility for the police department to the mayor. We are transforming the training of our police officers and investing in new equipment, vehicles and technology. We are aggressively pursuing that small group of criminals who cause most of the problems.

Our efforts to increase safety are working. Last year, the number of homicides dropped to the lowest level since 1995; and we are on pace to have even fewer homicides this year. Violent crime is lower. Overall crime is lower. You are safer on the streets of Indianapolis. We are making dramatic improvements.

Recently the issue of illegally possessed guns has been a topic of discussion in The Indianapolis Star. Some people think the answer lies with amnesty for criminals, signing a national gun control petition and closing the so-called “gun show loophole.” Others have suggested the creation of a special unit within the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department tasked with addressing illegal guns.

Let me be clear. I do not support amnesty programs for gang members, drug dealers or people who use guns in the commission of a crime. I will not sign a national gun control petition, especially one that does not remove a single illegally possessed gun from our streets. Creating a special police unit might score political points, but it detracts from the real police work being done, work that seized nearly 2,000 illegally possessed guns last year.

We focus on tactics that work and make our streets safer. IMPD special units aggressively and relentlessly focus on tracking down gang members and drug pushers, the two groups using guns to commit crimes in Indianapolis. Since I took office, we have made nearly 5,000 drug arrests, executed more than 700 search warrants, seized more than $19 million in drug money, and taken nearly 690 pounds of cocaine, 16,200 pounds of marijuana, and 26,000 grams of heroin off the streets.

When it comes to the so-called “gun show loophole,” let’s focus on the facts. Current law requires all professional gun dealers to run a background check prior to sale, regardless of whether that sale is taking place in a retail store or a gun show. According to the FBI, 0.7 percent of criminals purchased their weapons at gun shows. Most criminals purchase their guns from other criminals on the streets or they steal them. That’s where IMPD is focused.

Education and community partnership are also keys to helping address this problem. I want to praise Sheriff John Layton for working to distribute gun locks for legally possessed firearms. I also want to thank the many community groups and local faith-based organizations working to increase awareness of gun safety and encourage people to turn in illegally possessed or unwanted firearms.

We are addressing the real issue with real actions. It is an issue we take to heart because we have witnessed senseless tragedies in our community and lost one of our own as a result of illegally possessed firearms. But, a national petition, amnesty programs and more government bureaucracy are not the answer. Continuing the aggressive and relentless work of our hardworking men and women of IMPD, our drug and gang task forces and our county, state and federal partners are.

Ballard is mayor of Indianapolis.

AFSCME Unions Endorse Ballard over Kennedy

Yesterday afternoon, Mayor Greg Ballard was endorsed by all four local AFSCME unions.  These four unions represent all non-uniform city union employees.  Union leaders say this is the first time that all the local unions have endorsed one candidate for Mayor.

A few of the local union presidents were on Abdul’s radio show this morning and they said it boils down to Mayor Greg Ballard, the things he has done for employees and the way he has approached them.  Ballard gave them a seat at the table when making decisions about equipment upgrades like the new snow plows and both sides have worked together to address issues.

This is a blow to the Kennedy campaign and we cannot imagine they were expecting it.  As much as it is expected for Melina Kennedy to get an endorsement from EMILY’s List, it is also expected that the Democrat nominee will receive the AFSCME endorsement or at least have enough pull to keep an endorsement from happening before the Democratic primary is even over.

Over at Indy Democrat, Jon Easter was unclear on how Ballard could have all the local union endorsements when Melina Kennedy has posted on her website and in a release that she received the endorsement of  AFSCME Local 1887 which represented the Parks employees.  

Kennedy received that endorsement in November of 2009.  AFSCME Local 1887 has since been rolled into another AFSCME local union.  This leads us to ask two questions.  First, why would a union endorse a candidate a full two years before their election?  We’re going to guess it is because the union president knew they were being combined with the another union that would not be supporting Kennedy. 

And the second question is why does Melina Kennedy have the endorsement of union that does not exist on her website still?

Melina Gets Rocked on Rocky Ripple

You may have heard last week that several citizens in the Rocky Ripple and Butler-Tarkington areas were less than thrilled with the floor protection plan proposed by the U.S. Army Corps.  The plan calls for a floodwall along the Central Canal which residents argue the 6 foot floodwall would cut off their view of the canal and are understandably upset. 

Melina Kennedy decided this could be a good opportunity for her campaign and got Democratic At Large City-County Council candidate John Barth (who is also a former president of the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association) to stage a little press conference calling on the Mayor to work with the feds to put the plan on hold.  Unfortunately, she made a mistake and did not read up on the history of the issue. 

The Marion County Republican Party sent out the following e-mail yesterday:

Dear Marion County Republicans,

As I’ve mentioned to you before, there are sure to be many instances of the Democrats looking to score political points by revising history.  A blatant attempt at this occurred late last week with one of the Democrat Mayoral candidates, Melina Kennedy.  She held a press conference on Friday taking issue with Mayor Greg Ballard for a plan by the City of Indianapolis and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to construct a flood wall along the White River; a plan that was developed while Melina Kennedy was Deputy Mayor for Bart Peterson 

It’s interesting that Melina Kennedy is jumping in front of cameras now when she did nothing to help those residents when she was in an influential position in the Peterson administration.  The history of the Rocky Ripple situation dates back to the 1990′s when the town opted out of the flood wall plan.  Years later, during the Peterson-Kennedy administration, Rocky Ripple asked to be included back in. 

Melina Kennedy often portrays her role with Mayor Peterson as a neighborhood advocate, but last week she said we “just recently learned that a major flood wall will be constructed…” and “there was very little understanding and notice provided to the neighborhoods to share their input about this concern.”  Wasn’t she fighting for neighborhoods when she was Deputy Mayor? 

The vast majority of the planning and decisions on the project were made during the Peterson-Kennedy administration.  And it was in 2004 when the Town of Rocky Ripple’s request for inclusion on the flood wall was denied.  You can click here to view the City correspondence from 2004 when the Peterson-Kennedy administration denied Rocky Ripple’s request. 

Last week, I released the following statement to the media regarding Kennedy’s comments, “This is a desperate attempt by Melina Kennedy to revise history and pander for votes. The fact is Melina Kennedy was the Deputy Mayor during the time the flood wall plan was developed and she did nothing about it.” 

Mayor Ballard’s administration is currently reviewing this project, and has made a plea to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to extend the deadline for public comment on behalf of Rocky Ripple and surrounding neighborhoods. 

I wanted you to be armed with this information so you can help us set the record straight.


Kyle Walker
Marion County Republican Party

Ouch.  As it turns out , the City is working with the community to see what can be done about the situation though cautioning that they will have to consider the amount of time a change of plan will set the project back and that it will also likely increase the cost.

Interestingly enough, there was a community meeting with over 300 people in attendance and staff from Department of Public Works to discuss the plan and the options last night at the Riviera Club.  We’re told Melina Kennedy did not attend but did send a staffer to the meeting who was promptly booed for being political. 

Guess Melina figured out it is only fun to be in front of the cameras before everyone figures out you might have something to do with the problem.

Melina Kennedy’s Jobs Plan

Last week, Mayor Greg Ballard gave his State of the City address.  If you missed it, you can watch the speech here.  You can also read the live coverage of the speech  and get the political highlights and debates from the following twitter accounts: the Ballard Campaign, Kyle Walker (GOP Chair), Adam Kirsch (Executive Director)/Marion County Democrats and Melina Kennedy’s campaign account. You’ll notice that Kennedy’s campaign seemed to let the Marion County Democrats handle response on Twitter.

After the speech, Melina Kennedy released a counter video. You can watch it here.  The video starts out with the type of rhetoric you would expect to hear.  The speech was out of touch, we need to do more–the typical Kennedy talking points to this point.  Then, in a move that frankly surprised us, she launched into her jobs plan. We did not expect this since it is a bit early in the season to start throwing plans around and jobs should be one of the key issues of the campaign.  Once she went through her points, it was pretty clear to us that the Kennedy crew should have waited until they had a better formulated plan and message.  Here is what Kennedy suggested in her plan:

  1. Center job creation on the areas of our economy with the most potential for growth: local small businesses.
  2. Get government out-of-the-way by cutting bureaucracy and red tape.
  3. Link our small businesses with the engines of innovation:  local colleges and universities.

That is essentially the bullet points of Melina Kennedy’s jobs plan. We cannot say we are surprised that the Ballard administration created more jobs job commitments in 2010 than in the years Kennedy was Deputy Mayor and Director of Economic Director if this is the type of plan she was able to muster.  The first point really has no action attached to it.  What is going to be done to focus job creation on small business?  And how does that not conflict with the second point of getting government out-of-the-way if part of your plan is to have government focus on job creation?  That said, normally we would have just let it go if the rest of the plan was solid.

The second point was really Kennedy’s attempt to hit Ballard on fee increases.  First off, we would say that this is the pot calling the kettle black. The Peterson administration raised taxes 19 times and borrowed $100 million to supplement budget shortfalls.  Like kids in a candy store, they spent the $100 million in three years and now taxpayers will be paying it off for the next 20 years. The fees Kennedy references had not been increased in Indianapolis since 1979.  From 1979 to 2010, the cumulative inflation is 222.43%.  It seems as though some fee levels would need to increase eventually to keep up with costs. The shortfalls from these fees that had not been increased are a part of the budget deficits the City was facing.  

So what exactly does Kennedy think should be done differently?  Does she think the City should continue to take on the extra costs that the fee levels do not support?  Should the City continue to borrow money and pass on the budget shortfalls to future generations?  Does she think that Mayor Ballard should have just followed the path of political expediency and not increased any fees so we could go 40 years instead of 30 years without increasing fees?  Melina Kennedy loves to tout that she is a small business owner.  Would she go 30 years without increasing prices in her business?  We think not. 

And then we come to the third point from Kennedy:  have small businesses work with local colleges and universities.  Sounds great.  Are they not already?  If not, how are you going to make that happen?  Is this part of government staying out-of-the-way again?  But what really got us was the complete fluff that accompanied this part of the video.  Kennedy says,

Our local colleges and universities are doing amazing research that will one day crack cancer’s tragic code or cure Alzheimer’s. Reasearch that will one day make our homes and cars more sustainable or make gas and electricity more affordable. And when those days come, and they will, I want to make sure our local businesses have partnered with our universities and are ready to take these ideas to the world market.

Wow.  Call us crazy but we think Lilly is probably doing their best to “crack cancer’s tragic code or cure Alzheimer’s” but this goes back to our earlier point that this is not a plan to actually create jobs.  This is political fluff that is put out by a campaign to sound like they have ideas. 

If this is the best Kennedy could come up with on what is supposed to be her strongest issue then she should re-think putting out plans at all.

Howey’s Take on the Indianapolis Mayor’s Race

Last week, Brian Howey at the Howey Political Report gave us his initial take on the Indianapolis Mayor’s Race putting the status as “Leans Ballard.”  Here are some of his observations: 

A Tarrance Group Poll in January gave Ballard a 55-37 percent lead and 71 percent approval. City sources tell HPI that Kennedy had a pollster in the field last week and it may be telling that there was no public release of numbers.

Ballard has kept his budgets out of crisis despite the property tax caps. And he’s got a lot of money to pump into vote-swaying infrastructure with the water utility sale. Public safety is a problem for Ballard and Kennedy is sure to exploit that. Both Ballard and Ken­nedy will be trading shots when it comes to jobs and public safety. Both can pull up “facts” to bolster their arguments. The unknown at this point is what happens between now the November election?

Cities are organic things and a million things can go wrong. But Ballard is not your typi­cal mayor – he comes off as apolitical. In our dealings with residents, there isn’t nearly the polarizing thoughts expressed about him as we’ve seen with Mayors Goldsmith and Peterson. Ballard appears to be entering this election in a best case scenario mode. How he runs his campaign could determine whether he gets a second term.

Abdul also indicated he heard Kennedy was in the field and the results showed her down double digits to Mayor Ballard.


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