There is an old saying in politics that if you stick around long enough, you will eventually see just about everything.I have been writing about the Indianapolis City-County Council for nearly eight years now and I think this year I have finally seen things come full circle, particularly in the area of public safety and the city's finances.
For example, currently Public Safety Director Frank Straub is up for reappointment by the City Council.No doubt that Straub is considered controversial in some circles and the Democrats have questioned whether he can serve in the position if a majority of the Council doesn't sign offon the reappointment.The law on this is pretty clear, Straub can stay until either he leaves or the Mayor picks a new head of DPS.Democrats are questioning that now, but they had a different attitude back in December 2010.At that Council meeting Council member Vern Brown acknowledged during a Q and A with then President Ryan Vaughn that the Council did not have the authority to get rid of Straub, he would still have a job the next day no matter how they voted and if the voters didn't like it they would take it out on the Mayor in the next election.
Don't believe me? That's fine you can see and hear the conversation for yourself. Here's the link to that Council meeting on the city's website. Councilor Brown's comments come in at about 44:00 into the meeting.
Now let's move on to the latest news, what to do to plug an anticipated $34 million budget public safety shortfall?Some Democrats have suggested using money from the Rebuild Indy fund as a way to fill that gap in public safety.What's surprising about that isn't that it would be using one-time revenue to plug an ongoing expense, which is considered to be really bad fiscal management, but my Democratic friends threw a fit a couple years back during the debate over the transfer of the water company to Citizens Energy Group. The city received $425 million from Citizens which was used primarily for street and sidewalk repair and to tear down abandoned homes.The Ballard administration also used part of the proceeds for the Fiscal Stability Fund so the city could keep its high credit rating which makes it easier to float bonds at a lower interest rate. They also used part of it to start an education incubator to turn Indianapolis into the Silicon Valley of education reform. But even then Democrats cried foul that money from the water company would be diverted to other purposes.
Don't believe me? Guess what, I have another clip for you. This is from the July 27 City-County Council meeting. Democratic Councilor Monroe Gray goes on about using $100,000 annually from the $425,000,000 for the Council to monitor complaints about the water transfer and sending any surplus appropriation to the general fund. They come about an hour and 13 minutes into the meeting.And that was just over spending $100,000. I don't mind my Democratic friends expressing their opinions on issues of the day, I just wish they would be more consistent. Or at the very least make sure there aren't any recordings lying around.