Wednesday, November 26, 2008

it's time to play good idea, bad idea

good idea: scaling down your inauguration.

according to an associated press story (which i read courtesy of ibj, but which i won't link to because i'm still boycotting the AP), governor mitch daniels is going to have a seriously scaled-down inauguration this year. four years ago, he was inaugurated at the pepsi coliseum at the state fairgrounds. this year, he's just going to do it in front of his office.

why? because the economy is a mess. despite his campaign blather about indiana's "economic hot streak" and how indiana is an "island of growth", daniels knows the economy is in the tank and doesn't want to be seen as gauche or out of touch with the average hoosier's hardships. he's already been in office four years; he doesn't need another fancy inauguration party. score this as another PR success for governor daniels. i disagree with the man on most issues, but he's a savvy politician.

bad idea: taking your wife along on taxpayer-funded junkets.

Mayor Greg Ballard, his wife and several of his administration's economic advisers will travel at taxpayer expense to Japan and China for 10 days, starting this weekend, to drum up investment and trade opportunities for Indianapolis.

The Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee is paying for the trip, using $30,000 it received in an economic development grant from the city.

i'm not going to criticize ballard for going to asia—it's allegedly a business trip, so that's fine. the "chinatown" jokes are so obvious that they make themselves, so i don't need to make one. but when bart peterson went on junkets like this, he got private funding. and he sure didn't take his wife along at taxpayer expense in the middle of a recession.

greg ballard is the man who wanted to eliminate the city's arts budget, and try to get the community to put up private funding instead... but he can't even get private funding for his own junkets!

but that's not even the most embarrassing part:

Ballard said he chose to bring his wife, Winnie, a native of the Philippines, because she is Asian and because "the husband-wife dynamic is the normal way to do business there."

Some Democratic City-County Council members said they were upset they hadn't been notified the mayor was going away. At least one questioned whether bringing his wife and a security officer made sense during tough economic times.

winnie ballard has no place going on that trip. she doesn't have a job in the administration, and as jen points out, the idea that it's the asian way to take your wife to business meetings is laughable. if she wants to tag along on the trip, fine, but make her pay her own way. don't make the taxpayers foot the bill.

ballard was supposed to be the pro-taxpayer mayor. at least that was the story he tried to tell us. and he keeps telling us how fiscally conservative he is compared to those evil, incompetent democrats who used to be in charge. but when it comes down to it, he has no trouble finding $30 grand in the budget so he and his wife can do some sightseeing and eat some fancy dinners on the taxpayer's dime.


James Briggs Stratton "Doghouse" Riley said...

i disagree with the man on most issues, but he's a savvy politician

The result of on-the-job training, if you ask me. His natural talents run more towards irritability and a remarkable willingness to be adored for his innate superiority to the rest of the species.

It's not like I seek him out or anything, but I was about to start checking milk cartons for his picture. I think he bobbed up once to "deny" he was going to run for President; anybody seen him since? And it's a no-brainer, not that he could figure out no-brainers in the first two years of his reign; now that the election's over even the Indy media are willing to call bullshit on his campaign claims, though not explicitly.

M Theory said...

Ballard never said he wanted to eliminate the arts budget...only cut the $1.5 million portion of their funding they get from the city by 1/3.

Most of the grants doled out by the council go to organizations that run in the black and don't need the funding to survive. The top recepient of city arts money was the Children's Museum...which isn't an arts organization. The other two top recipients are the Eiteljorg and IMA. Both are well financed institutions.

Those three organizations receive more than 1/2 of the city's arts grants. Another thing they have in common is that the are all three insurance clients of Dan Appel, former chairman of the council.

Betcha didn't know that the C.I.B. ponies up an additional $12 million to to fund the arts council. They are far from hurting. In fact most of the people working for the organization make fat money.

And Ballard is paying for Winnie to go to China. And Winnie IS an asset on this trip. Anyone who has met her knows why.

stAllio! said...

oh melyssa, is this really what you've been reduced to? is there anything ballard could do that you wouldn't eagerly defend? any shit sandwich you wouldn't gobble down with a smile?

Ballard never said he wanted to eliminate the arts budget...only cut the $1.5 million portion of their funding they get from the city by 1/3.

false. he wanted to reduce it by 1/2 million each year for three years. reducing the budget to zero is the same thing as cutting it.

And Ballard is paying for Winnie to go to China.

true, now he plans to. but originally he didn't. his plan was to have the taxpayers pay her way, and he only changed his mind after news of that got out.