Category Archives: Fail

Charlie White: Dork!

Hey everybody, I’m Charlie White and I want to be your chief election officer but I don’t have a clue about how voting and elections work! Ain’t I a scamp? Tee hee.

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Ballard Piece in Indianapolis Monthly is a Must-Read

Don’t know how we missed this for so long, but if you haven’t yet read Michael Rubino’s withering piece on Mayor Ballard in the latest Indianapolis Monthly, then you should. It’s a beautiful piece of writing as well as a balanced indictment of Ballard’s approach.

It starts:

On a rain-soaked October morning at a park gymnasium in the city’s downtrodden Riverside neighborhood, no one among the working poor here seems to notice a tall, husky man shuffling along the slippery floor where two dozen folding tables are arranged end-to-end, forming makeshift aisles.

The tables hold promotional materials and swag—keychains, pencils, piggy banks, can Koozies. The occasion is the launch of an initiative to promote financial literacy, a joint effort between the city, United Way of Central Indiana, and a host of financial institutions.

The inconspicuous man makes his way to the front, stopping next to a microphone stand. He is flanked by the Indianapolis Colts mascot, Blue, who whips some excitement into the gathering crowd. They seem genuinely thrilled to see some guy sweating his tail off in a cartoon horse outfit. And then the unassuming man steps to the microphone.

“Ladies and Gentleman,” a disembodied voice intones, “please welcome Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.”

Ballard receives polite applause and speaks for a short time—a few words about the wisdom of opening a savings account and his wife’s dedication to financial literacy. He makes another pass by the tables and their tchotchkes, and vanishes. The mayor of the nation’s 14th-largest city has been upstaged by a furry blue horse with googly eyes.

The disappearing act has become all too familiar to political observers of both parties—a fade into the scenery that has emboldened Democrats (already lining up, two years before the 2011 election) and frustrated Ballard’s fellow Republicans. “This is a constant struggle, especially within the administration,” says one GOP insider. “In politics, perception often becomes reality. And the real problem is, you can’t keep doing good if you’re not going to go out there and talk about it. It’s hard to get re-elected that way. I mean, when the tree falls in the woods and no one’s there to see it or hear it, it doesn’t make a noise, right?”

The charge isn’t that he is unfit for office. It’s that the office doesn’t fit him and, in public moments, seems to swallow him whole.

In a way, Ballard has never left the cocoon of obscurity. He was a complete unknown when, after enjoying four decades of high-wattage mayors, Indianapolis chose the former Marine over a two-term incumbent in the most stunning upset in city history. Thanks to a low-key style, Ballard has only grown more opaque. Whether he lacks the wherewithal or political savvy to offer a counter-narrative, Ballard has let himself be defined by indecision and occasionally even befuddlement. With the city about to step into the national spotlight—the imminent arrival of the Final Four, the convention center expansion, and the all-important build-up to the 2012 Super Bowl—Indy doesn’t have to worry about its top politician “going rogue.” Going rube? That’s a distinct possibility.

Over the first two years of his term, the stories of his absences from the center of activity and of his occasional gaffes have not helped to dispel the notion that, just at the moment Indy seems poised to take a step up, the city has a small-town mayor on its hands.

Read the whole piece at http://www.indianapolismonthly.com/january-2010/features/greg-ballard-the-invisible-mayor.aspx.

When in Doubt, Blame The Weatherman Part II

This post got a great reaction from our friend and former Peterson Administration DPW official Mickey Rogers. It is worth posting here:

This from the guy who spent all summer in 2008 preparing neighborhoods for a decrease in DPW reaction to snow with statements like, “How many people here think it’s a waste of money to send our plows out when it only snows 1/4 of an inch to an inch?”

In July, most people raised their hands, not realizing that a) it’s hard to predict snowfall with that kind of certainty when it’s happening; b) if you wait until it gets to that point, you’ve missed the window of opportunity to get the pre-treatment down; and c) when the streets freeze over and people are all over the place in February, no one will remember what they heard from David Sherman in July.

When in Doubt, Blame The Weatherman

You gotta hand it to the Ballard Administration. They sure do know how to pass a buck.

The latest has the Head of the Indianapolis Department of Public Works David Sherman blaming the National Weather Service for their lack of preparedness. But they admit they didn’t put out enough trucks.

[Sherman] …said the city agency had been told to expect one-quarter inch of snow and based on that forecast they sent 37 plows and salt trucks out to pre-treat roads.Instead, the city got one inch of snow, which combined with low temperatures, created a slick mess for morning commuters.

“Some of the lower temperatures caused the roads to refreeze and the hillier areas to refreeze,” Sherman said.

He acknowledged the city should have had more trucks on the streets.

“I’m not happy unless everybody is happy,” Sherman said.

Sherman and Mayor Greg Ballard said the city might have more plows out to deal with another storm forecast for Wednesday.

The DPW said the partial call out of road crews for this morning cost the city around $58,000. A full call out over a longer period could have cost around $180,000.

Ballard’s Indy Snow Farce Fails

It was just last month Mayor Ballard unveiled a catchy new name for their snow removal plan. Indy Snow Force has become Indy’s Snow Farce as less than two inches of snow led to complete gridlock and an overwhelming amount of accidents.

Indy Snow Farce

Norm Cox of WRTV reported the unveiling of new snow equipment and the launch of a catchy new name last month:

City: ‘Indy Snow Force’ Ready For Mother Nature’s Wrath

Ballard Touts Improvements To Indianapolis’ Winter Weather Infrastructure

INDIANAPOLIS — With snow, ice and other weather maladies sure to come soon, Indianapolis officials on Thursday touted the city’s preparedness in a program called “Indy Snow Force.”Indianapolis spent more than $7 million to upgrade its snowplow fleet, enhancing the snow-fighting effort with 37 new trucks.The trucks replace a batch of vehicles that were falling apart, 6News’ Norman Cox reported.

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The Department of Public Works said it had difficulty just keeping enough trucks on the road last winter.The new trucks should be more reliable, will hold more salt and will be 90 percent less polluting than the vehicles they replaced.”Love it or hate it, snow is a part of the Midwest. In Indianapolis, we are committed to removing it efficiently and effectively,” Ballard said. “We’ve made an effort to back up that commitment with Indy Snow Force.”The program comes complete with a Web site that aims to provide information about which streets have been cleared and where plows are working.

But the story is a little different this morning as the city ground to a halt due to a lack of snow removal. Treacherous conditions led to horrible back-ups and major thoroughfares were skating rinks.

Now Channel 6 has a different headline:

Motorists Unhappy With Road Crews In Season’s First Snow

Some Drivers Say State, City Weren’t Prepared

Many motorists were disappointed with the response of road crews in the season’s first accumulating snow, saying not enough was done to keep highways cleared.Snow began falling in much of central Indiana by about 4 a.m. By 6 a.m., travel conditions had deteriorated significantly.

By the time the morning commute got into full swing, dozens of crashes and slide-offs littered interstates and side streets, creating gridlock for people trying to get to work, tripling or quadrupling the normal travel time for many.

There was only about an inch of snow, but many felt road crews with the Indiana Department of Transportation and Indianapolis Department of Public Works should have been more proactive as the snow began falling.”Looks like DPW and INDOT failed the first snow test,” said TheIndyChannel.com commenter “Gw8880.”Others said motorists should give highway workers a break.

SURVEY
What grade would you give road crews for their handling of the season’s first accumulating snow?

A
B
C
D
F

“People who live in areas where it snows should find a lot more patience. It is no one’s fault it snows, yet, you do not want to be inconvenienced when it does snow and you are forced to change your drive time, habits,” said “Jamal,” who commented on TheIndyChannel.com. “Leave 10 minutes early, and slow down.”Mayor Greg Ballard is expected to talk to reporters about the city’s snow response before noon.

That nifty survey showed 63% gave the city an “F.” We at ALO think it was too high a grade.