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State of the City Redux

One way I tend to gauge how well elected officials are doing is by listening to their critics.  If their critics have nothing good to say about them, then that probably means they’re doing ok.  Such is it with Greg Ballard and his critics.

Now before we go any further, let me say this so some of you don’t have to.  “Abdul, you and the Mayor are friends and you will never write anything critical of him anyway so why should we read what you have to say?”  Two things, first you don’t have to read anything I write so you can stop here and go back to YouTube.  Second, you may disagree, which is fine, but unlike a lot of other people who scribble on the Internet, I have the distinction of actually being in the room when these things usually happen and talking to people before and afterwards.  So with that all out of the way, let’s talk about the State of City.

First, did Greg Ballard use an oratory style worthy of King or Obama?    No, of course not.  He was a bit monotone and somber, but it was a delivery more in line with the serious challenges facing this city.  The latest two major challenges, need I remind you, are a direct result of actions taken by the people who used to run this place; the Lucas Oil Stadium operational deficit and Indianapolis Waterworks bond fiasco which is leading to increased rates.

Second, did the Mayor spend time pointing towards the “small stuff”?  Yup, he sure did, because you know what, it’s the small stuff that makes a city livable.  Can they always do a better job?  Yes.  But I think they’ve done okay over the past year and you will see things stepped up in Year Two.

Third, the vision thing.  The biggest criticism, and I would argue only, Democrats have of the Mayor is that he has no “vision” and he failed to spell one out in his address.  No offense to my Democratic friends, but for some of them, their idea of “vision” is building something somewhere that you have no idea how you’re going to pay for it so you leave it for someone else to fix or you announce some grand scheme that gets a lot of media attention in the short run and falls by the wayside once the lights and cameras go away.   I think this city has enough of that “vision” for a while and for these times Indianapolis is better off with someone who will work to make the trains run on time.

Overall, I gave the Mayor a “B” on his speech.  I liked the content, but the delivery could have been better.  It’s not a bad way to start out your sophomore year, but like I tell my students, it’s not how you start the class that matters, it’s how you finish.

  • pascal

    Reporting? To the “standards” of journalism? Or, commentary, using the egalitarian idea of “journalism” that any opinion is worth the same as any other opinion? Can one photo shop U Tube? As is often remarked on your radio show concerning your large view of yourself, a quibble, one’s hat size can expand, I guess, but not to the point of wearing two of them.

  • Abdul Hakim-Shabazz


    I do both. It is the joy of have a journalism and broadcasting degree as well a political and legal background. It enables me to do both and pretty well, if I must say so myself.

    And the fact you’re not only reading but commenting shows that I’ve caught your attention, otherwise you wouldn’t be here right now.

  • Abdul Hakim-Shabazz

    And by the way pascal, you’ve commented at least a couple dozen times in the last 12 days. Glad to have you here.

  • Think Again

    Zingers are best when they’re true.

    Good one.

  • patriot paul

    The persistent references of support for Charter Schools, and of the host of Charter School, Crystel Academy, left no doubt the intensity of success held in high esteem by the Mayor. This enhances the vision started by former Mayor(s)that alternatives are necessary. The failing graduations from IPS along with the chronic groaning of lack of discipline and financial cost cutting have some critics wanting charter schools advancing students to return to the dumbed down, gang infested IPS halls and classrooms simply to shore up financial shortcomings. IPS needs to overcome its Charter school envy syndrome and cease it’s lobbying to shut down its competition.

  • Jon G

    It only seems to make sense that any school district that isn’t working would simply study a school system that works and adopt as many of those reasons that is reasonable that makes it work. Any superintendant/administrator/teacher union that wouldn’t want to do that, it seems to me, doesn’t really care about the kids education.

  • Taxpayer 834512

    Legal: don’t know
    Reporting: a local hero and role model for the benefits and tenacity and legwork.
    Journalism: with selective reporting versus pursuimg all leads during the last Presidential election- I wouldn’t go there.
    Opinion writer and broadcaster: excellent.

  • pascal

    Anyone who voluntarily brings up the subject of abortion has some cojones. But, a modified truism might be in order, “He amoung you who is without spin should cast the first stone.”