The 2011 Election
Mayor Greg Ballard
Greg Ballardwas reelected in November, but the Republican's next term will
begin with a Democrat-controlled City-County Council.
Ballard defeated Melina Kennedy
Kennedy, a deputy mayor in the Bart Peterson administration. Kennedy lost despite the backing of the Fraternal
Order of Police and an endorsement from The Indianapolis Star (which might
illustrate how much pull the local fish wrap has in the city today). She
consistently trailed in the polls, and lost the mayor's office by 7,500 votes.
Although Kennedy lost, her fellow Democrats won a
16–13 majority on the City-County Council, which is believed to be the
first time in the city's history that a Republican mayor would be working with
a Democratic council.
Exiting the water
Water, a subsidiary of Citizens Energy Group, is set to complete payments
of an estimated $425 million by year's end to acquire the city's water and
wastewater systems. In addition, Citizens is absorbing more than $1.5 billion
in city debt. The deal removes several burdens from the shoulders of city
officials. Citizens will take the lead on completing upgrades to the sewer and
storm water systems to bring the city into compliance with the Clean Water Act
after years of notorious sewage overflows into White River
Riverand its tributaries.
Two City-County Council members were arrested in 2011; one
was sentenced to prison while the second awaits his day in court.
Former City-County Councilman Lincoln Plowman
Plowmanwas sentenced to 40 months in prison earlier this month, shortly
after being convicted on bribery and attempted extortion charges. Plowman, the
leading Republican on the council at the time, accepted a $5,000 bribe from an
undercover FBI agent who claimed he needed help opening a strip club in the city
during a sting operation.
As if that wasn't a bad enough black eye for the city,
Plowman, who worked full-time as a major with the Indianapolis Metropolitan
Police Department, accepted the bribe while wearing his police uniform. Plowman
resigned from the council shortly afterward and took early retirement from the
Although Plowman wasn't able to help the undercover
operative open the non-existent strip club, he will likely be seeing plenty of
bars in prison.
Plowman's former fellow councilor Paul C. Bateman Jr. likely
wasn't impressed by the $5,000 extortion attempt; he allegedly defrauded an
Indiana doctor of $1.7 million.
Bateman, a Democrat, convinced the unnamed victim to invest
in an ethanol-production business and The Russell Foundation, to "enhance
society through compassionate concerns for the spiritual, moral and ethical
fibers of the community." The head of the foundation, Rev. Michael L.
Russell, was also indicted, along with a third man, Manuel Gonzalez.
Instead of the money going to the promised purpose,
prosecutors claim the three men diverted the cash to their personal accounts
and spent it on luxury items, including a Cadillac Escalade and custom-made
-Robert Annis and
Rebecca Townsend contributed to this report.