Mayor Greg Ballard delivered his State of the City Address this past Friday, March 8th. He has unveiled quite a few plans that will make Indiana the first to take a swing at two ventures: improving energy sources and reforming education. While these are not new concepts, the ways of going about them are well…spring time fresh. Other parts of the mayor’s goals to improve the city include bettering our parks as well as the transit system.
Blossoming projects: The Mayor has proudly announced that Indiana is the first state to have an executive order to reconstruct energy as we know it. Claiming, “America is funding both sides of the war on terror”, the Mayor has decided to begin developing a model for change right here in the city. By 2025, there will be only electric vehicles being bought by car dealers; a fleet of the large government vehicles (i.e. snow plows) all being powered by low compression fuel; and every police car will be electric and getting 40-50 miles per gallon. I wonder how the House and Senate felt about getting bypassed in this matter…perhaps a future blog, yes? Well, if you insist…
In education, Indianapolis is the first in the nation to lead as intense of an education reform as is about to be carried out. Mayor Ballard is actively working to bring highly qualified teachers to the city. He continued to explain that teachers will be attracted to Indianapolis through the city’s partnerships with national education programs. Mr. Mayor did not address, however, the failure of the Project School. As a major advocate for charter schools, this was an interesting tidbit left out. Moreover, there was some complaint that Mayor Ballard did not speak on how he was going to make sure current teachers were being empowered and maintained instead of making it seem that a whole new fleet of educators were needed. What about our local untapped resources? After all, Ball State, Indiana University and Purdue University power the nation.
On the environmental piece, Mayor Ballard announced the $10 million endowment Eli Lilly has donated as a means of improving Indy Parks. I am sure no one is protesting new playgrounds and better facilities. (Think of the children, you scrooge!) It also means more tourist attractions which can bring in revenue. Good thinking! Make a return on that investment! Two thumbs up, Mr. Mayor.
The big red bow on all of these endeavors is Mayor Ballard’s vision to improve the transit system. He explained that studies show fresh young talent not wanting to live in Indianapolis because they do not want to own a car. With the price of gas and car-related expenses, who can blame them? Thus, the entire future of Indianapolis is moving to cities with better public transportation systems. Mayor Ballard demonstrated his dedication to the goal by tying in emotional appeal: imagine catching the number nine bus from the downtown park where you just watched an outdoor movie with your kids all the way up to Carmel…what an experience that will be. Well, thus far, experience is the best word to describe that transit.
Overall, Mayor Ballard appears to have laid out an actionable plan for the city. One where the end can justify the means, but the process will have the final say. As for the executive order goes, we’re all aboard, obviously.
Here’s to a better Indianapolis!