Friday, January 4, 2013

Snow-Day Tully Column Close to Recognizing Real Problem

The Indianapolis Star's Matthew Tully recently penned a column that criticized the city's efforts, or lack thereof, of plowing and salting the city's many "side" streets. According to Tully's Twitter feed, he has gotten push back from political supports of Mayor Greg Ballard (R), including Marion County GOP Chairman Kyle Walker. Tully talks about the minimal cost of this problem while the benefits to it are obvious.

And I think Tully is right in this area. In my neighborhood in Pike Township, I was absolutely shocked that my streets were plowed and largely assumed that other neighborhoods experienced the same thing. Later, I learned that the neighborhood association paid for private plow operators to come out and plow and salt the streets.

On New Years Eve, I visited Broad Ripple and was stunned at how bad the neighborhood streets are while Kessler and College were cleared up just fine. Because there was a very light snow fall that day, the Broad Ripple neighborhood streets were essentially a thin lair of ice topped by a thin layer of fresh snow.

Tully's column ends with this

Clearing the streets is a basic service, not a luxury.
In many cities, the ice left behind would be a political scandal. But here, defenders argue that a road not cleared is valuable money saved, a worthy tradeoff in a tax-averse region. To those, I suggest reading up on the city's decision to once again write the Pacers a check for $10 million. Or to give huge pay raises to top officials in the mayor's office. Or to upgrade the convention center.
When this city wants to find the money it needs, it finds it. So find it -- yes, even if that means telling those of us who live here that we will have to chip in a little more.

Tully comes very close to getting to the heart of the problem. What this city and its leadership has isn't a revenue problem. When there is something they want to spend it on, they find the money. They've found the money for God knows how many re-districting efforts. They've found the money to doll out bonuses to some of Mayor Ballard Acting Mayor Vaughn and his closest friends. They've found the money to subsidize parking garages and all kinds of construction projects the city deems worthy of subsidization. They've found tens of millions of dollars to directly subsidize the Pacers, as well as money to give them a fancy new scoreboard.

This isn't a revenue problem. This city has more money coming into it now than it ever has. It is a spending priorities problem. It isn't that we don't have the money. It is that our leaders are blowing it on what they deem to be priorities.

Tully's outrage on the state of the city's winter preparedness is correct. But the target shouldn't be more tax revenue. The target should be irresponsible spending and diverting that spending to something that benefits the entire community, not a connected few.

Related posts:
Indy Democrat weighs in.
Advance Indiana's thoughts


  1. Tully went after there wrong dude, Ballard is NOT the Mayor. mayor Vaughn is running this city now,make no mistake about it

  2. When Councillor Brian Mahern goes after the misplaced priorities of the Ballard Administration lavishing money on the Pacers while skipping a police recruit class for 2013, Tully calls Mahern "arrogant. " Mahern complains about the secret pay raises in the mayor's office, but Tully calls him "fanatical." Mahern goes after private developer subsidies paid by the City and taken from public safety and libraries, Tully accuses him of being an "obstructionist." Maybe Tully just doesn't like Mahern but he sure doesn't mind stealing his ideas.

  3. "It is a spending priorities problem." Yep, always has been; always will be.


Please see the Indy Student Blog Policies page for the full policy on blog comments. Verification of comments by typing in a random word is required to prevent spam. Due to recent blog inactivity, comments are now pre-screened to prevent spam advertisement.