Die, Bart, Die


The defeat of Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, a Democrat, was one of 2007's true political earthquakes. Former Reasonoid RiShawn Biddle (a former Indianapolis Star employee) explains what went wrong, and how Gilmore blew the legacy of Steve Goldsmith. Faced with rising crime, Peterson did… not much.

Peterson could have mitigated the pain by concentrating on quality-of-life issues and by building upon the privatization and community policing initiatives undertaken by predecessor Goldsmith. He didn't. His Indy Works plan to eliminate local government agencies was laudable, but he couldn't get either Republicans or fellow Democrats on the state and local level to fully embrace it. An effort to eliminate abandoned buildings was poorly executed. And he tapped future tax revenues and borrowed heavily—including a $100 million pension obligation bond in 2005—in order to finance existing operations

He also enraged taxpayers with his support of corporate welfare. By 2010, residents will likely face another round of tax increases to finance the operating costs of Lucas Oil Stadium, the new home of the Indianapolis Colts. They are already footing part of the $700 million construction tab.

Headline explained here.

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  1. No one who speaks German could be a bad man.

  2. a. Did that headline need explaining?
    b. Is my memory screwed up? Is the link right and I blew the line?

    evil/bad whatever.

  3. robc – you have the correct line. Scroll down on the quote link from imdb.

    It’s a good thing you landed near this brothel.

  4. BakedPenguin,

    According to the link I screwed it up.

    “No one who speaks German could be an evil man.”

    “No one who speaks German could be a bad man.”

    Im guessing I choked.

  5. Local election, local issues, local significance.

  6. joe,

    And? For some of us, Indy is (semi) local.

  7. I just meant, “political earthquake” is a bit much.

  8. Does this mean I can start to fantasize about cities ceasing to buy stadiums for billionaire NFL owners? I’d like to not have to pay my extra “sin tax” on beer anymore.

  9. Indianapolis is a urine soaked hell hole, or if you prefer, a pee-pee soaked heck hole.

  10. My suspicion, and that of a great many people, was that Bart was less interested in sttreamlining government in order to make it more efficient than he was in accumulating power and control.

  11. Indianapolis is a urine soaked hell hole

    Sounds like somebody who spent some time in the Snake Pit.

  12. Warty – Here in Orlando, there’s some serious pushback on a proposal to rebuild the Magic’s Arena. In a general sense, you probably will have to keep dreaming. It suits the mindset of the local politician to “improve” his city’s “prestige” with that kind of crap, and damn the consequences.

    Your beer is way, way down on their list of priorities.

  13. If you have to explain an allusion, you shouldn’t use the allusion.

    I know Gillespie does it. The same rule applies to him too, I just don’t want him rejecting my future job application because I made this comment on one of his posts.

  14. BakedPenguin,

    I wonder how that priority will change now that Orlando is #1 in Florida for crime, #11 nationwide.

    Now that I think about it, a new stadium would be a perfect distraction for the masses. They could have bread! and circuses!

  15. It suits the mindset of the local politician to “improve” his city’s “prestige”

    They always drag that Intangible Benefits nonsense out when the numbers don’t add up. Particularly when they want a nice warm place to hobnob with the lobbyists.

  16. If Indy was semi-local, I’d move further away.

    And – believe it or don’t – Reason’s blind spot might be on display. Apparently there were other issues involved in BP’s loss. See the first comment here.

  17. the headline needs no explanation

  18. … what went wrong, and how Gilmore blew the legacy of Steve Goldsmith.

    Look, i met Goldsmith II in a bathroom, but all i did was hit his foot with mine by accident…it’s all a huge misunderstanding.

  19. RiShawn’s Zip Coon remark was another of the priceless genre. 🙂

  20. I’ve often advocated scrapping the bloated, inefficient Bay Area Rapid Transit rail system with a network of toll roads and a set of tax credits that would allow the poor to buy cars. Wait, what? Oh, wrong Bart, sorry.

  21. Given how the Colts turned the Super Bowl Trophy award ceremony into a full-fledged tent revival meeting, couldn’t government funding of the Colts’ new stadium be squashed on Establishment Clause grounds?

  22. I wonder how that priority will change now that Orlando is #1 in Florida for crime, #11 nationwide.

    I believe the area hotels are also #1–in bed bugs.
    Do NOT go there.

  23. Taktix? – Bread & Circuses? Well, the arena is close to the Merita factory.

    You’d think a murder rate that has doubled over the last three years would refocus some priorities, but there may be reasons why a mayor would choose to see things differently.

    P Brooks – the sad thing is, even when the numbers “add up”, they don’t. When people can’t even make fudged numbers “pay”, that’s a pretty good indicator you’re looking at a nasty piece of work.

  24. Joe:

    Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer will probably get creamed next November based largely on the same riffs as Peterson: he spent too much time playing grabass with local sports owners (Rich DeVos) pushing publicly funded stadiums and other vanity projects, and let crime get way out of control.

    It might not be an earthquake, there may be a trend starting. When did the Democratic Party become the party of kissing the asses of billionaires?

  25. Lamar,

    Ass-kissing billionaire team owner is a bipartisan phemomenon.

    The only two examples I can think of where a city/state told a team owner who wanted a stadium to go pound sand involve the Democratic mayor and city council of Seattle, and the Democratic legislature in Massachusetts.

  26. joe

    You forgot Jesse Ventura. He told the artsy-fartsy crowd at the Guthrie to pound sand too. And since he asked, “Should we subsidize stock-car racing too?”, I’m betting he would have told Nascar (who get mucho handouts where ever they operate) where to go as well.

    Naturally, the subsidy-suckers didn’t have long to wait to get a more sympatico administration.

  27. “What went wrong”…

    Besides him acting like just another overspending, overtaxing, big-government bureaucrat? Gee, beats me.

  28. Isaac,

    Turning down opera lovers is lot easier than turning down the team whose jersey half the people on the sidewalk are wearing.

  29. joe

    Sorry, I meant to say that Jesse had first turned down the Twins for a new stadium and then vetoed the Guthrie deal. Oh, and the Guthrie isn’t opera, it’s legitimate theatuh, dahling.

  30. This story does have national implications, especially regarding suburban flight, urban education, rising crime within big cities, tax revolt, and corporate welfare.

    Bart Peterson had one major redeeming quality. He was fantastic on charter schools, resisting efforts within his own party to curtail Indy’s experiment with them. If school choice is advance, we need more Democratic mayors backing it.

    Greg Ballard also has an interesting story. He ran without the support of his party or local business interests. After his election, he was perceived as being unbeholden to special interests and lobbyists. It will be interesting to see if this remains so — and what kind of administration this would make for.

  31. That’s two Simpsons references in one day (see the first comment for the War on Fat article for the other). I think we’re on a roll here, gentlemen.

    But seriously, it’s good that Peterson got thrown out. Of all the problems facing his city, he chose to make violent video games a big issue? Did it ever occur to him that his mismanagement might have caused the rising crime in Indianapolis, not “our violent culture”?

    Then again, it’s always easier to blame it on video games/heavy metal/D&D/rock & roll/whatever cultural scapegoat came before that.

  32. I could be wrong on this, only going from memory, but when the new Redskin’s stadium was being planned in the 90’s, their were three main proposed locations: in town DC (I think near or at where I the baseball stadium is going up now), Potomac yards in Virginia, and the Landover Md location where it was actually built. From my recollection the Democratic-controlled localities for all three locations wanted it, but it was the Republican controlled state govt (either the Gov or one of houses of the legislature) that put the kibash on any deal for the Va location.

  33. Isaac,

    No kidding? I’d forgotten about the Twins’ stadium deal.

    Well, good on Jesse, then. Good to hear he did something right.

    I wonder, is that why his popularity took such a nosedive at the end of his term?

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