the value of these small parks is immeasurable, particularly for those who don't live in houses with nice yards (as i imagine ballard does, in which case... hello! is your back yard not a green space?). i still remember walking to the small park around the corner from the house where i lived when i was four years old. but rather than seeing these as vital community spaces, mayor ballard thinks they're just a "drain".
the mayor has hired venture real estate services to do an inventory of the city's neighborhood parks and recommend which ones to sell off. the administration points out that venture is not getting paid for the analysis, only for the selling off, and states that the company is taking a "big risk" doing it this way—apparently not realizing that this is precisely what will motivate venture to do everything in its power to ensure that lots of our little parks end up for sale. the conflict of interest is glaring.
i've said it before, i can't tell whether the mayor even has a vision for this city, but if he does, it doesn't sound like the kind of place i'd want to live.
with his parks plan, the mayor seems to have finally lost matt tully, who no longer considers ballard's bumbling to be charming:
Mayor Greg Ballard has a way of saying things and later regretting and backtracking from his words.
It was endearing at first, in a Mr.-Smith-Goes-to-Washington sort of way. It's not anymore.
You might recall Ballard bashing public funding for the arts on the campaign trail, only to come into office begging the arts community for forgiveness. And who could forget his criticism of former Mayor Bart Peterson's Super Bowl bid, criticism that came before he realized what an economic boon a Super Bowl could be.
These days, many people are hoping Ballard's talk about pocket parks being a pesky "drain" on the city's budget is just another example of foot-in-mouth disease. They're hoping he realizes city parks are not about dollars and cents, but about green space and quality of life. They're hoping he backtracks from the silly idea of selling off the small parks.
this was tully's second column in the past week and a half that was critical of the mayor (i'm not counting the one from wednesday, which was pretty mild), and that previous column mightily pissed off ballard's office:
And speaking of calling the mayor, his cronies were very upset at me for publishing his office number in a recent column and suggesting readers dial it if they couldn't get through to the understaffed Mayor's Action Center hot line.
Mayoral press secretary Marcus Barlow said my decision to publish the mayor's office number was "counterproductive."
I'm not sure what he meant by that. Personally, I don't see anything counterproductive about taxpayers calling the mayor's office to voice their displeasure about poor service at the MAC, or to complain about the shortsighted idea of selling off park land.
he ends his column by repeating the phone number: (317) 327-3601. ¶