Jerame Davis

We're claiming the City-County Building, which piece are you after?

Filed By Jerame Davis | March 19, 2008 9:09 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
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Everyone knows things are a bit out of whack here in Indy. I mean, we have the village idiot elected mayor because the last one was said to be unable to balance a checkbook without needing to raise taxes. The new idiot mayor can't quite seem to figure out how government or - even cities - work. First he wants to create a Chinatown from thin air, now his Capital Improvement Board is giving away taxpayer property just because it has someone else's logo on it. From the Indianapolis Star:

The Colts foundation is also entitled to money from the sale because the team is allowing its name and trademark to be put on items such as lockers, which makes them more valuable, Grand said.

So let's see. If we put the Bilerico Project logo on the City-County building does that mean we can put it up for auction and fund my retirement? If only I'd known it was so easy to get my own piece of Indy. I've got a few cans of spray paint, anyone good at stenciling?


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Um, hate to tell you, but this deal was brokered under Peterson.

And having an area of ethnic activity that would be a great cultural bastion in this city sounds like a fine idea to me.

There are plenty of things to knock the new mayor for (his recent appointments, for one) but let's not blame him for ideas that he inherited.

Umm, hate to tell you, but this deal wasn't brokered under anyone according to the Star. Ballard's people are claiming Peterson's people did it and Peterson's people are calling bullshit on the claim. And the new CIB board, you know, the Ballard people, seem to think the deal is perfectly OK. Well, it was OK until the Star started reporting on it.

And, again, I hate to tell you, but you don't create a Chinatown out of thin air. Please tell me you don't have that small of a world view that you think the Chinatowns in other cities were "created" by the stroke of a mayor's pen.

Ethnic towns within cities are the spawn of immigrant ghettos from large influxes of immigrant populations into that particular area. The only ethnic concentration of any size and density in this city is Jewish. And I really doubt they want a bunch of tourists coming to gawk at them as they walk to temple.

Creating a Chinatown where no serious population of Chinese exists is creating themed amusement park, not an ethnic center. It would be fake. It would be hokie. And I think it is a bit offensive to believe you can create an "ethnic" town for "cultural entertainment" purposes what took years of hardship, community, and difficult work to wrought elsewhere.

"But this deal wasn't brokered under anyone according to the Star."

Where did you get this from? I heard about this deal last year, and it was only when a few local bloggers starting making a fuss that it became an issue. I also did a search of the Star, and I see no Peterson staff refutation. This deal was brokered when Peterson gave away the store to Irsay when he arranged for the old stadium to be replaced.

I am not saying that this is not a problem, only that this is not Ballard's doing, except for the unexecusable continued defense of this deal.

"The only ethnic concentration of any size and density in this city is Jewish."

Have you been to West Washington Street lately? All the signs are in Spanish for a reason. There is also a small Korean section on the Northeast side of town.

"Creating a Chinatown where no serious population of Chinese exists is creating themed amusement park, not an ethnic center. It would be fake. It would be hokie. And I think it is a bit offensive to believe you can create an "ethnic" town for "cultural entertainment" purposes what took years of hardship, community, and difficult work to wrought elsewhere."

Your words, not mine. I simply pointed out the general concept of a cultural area such as this could be a good idea. I wasn't suggesting importing Chinese slaves to create a miniature Tiananmen Square. I wasn't suggesting it be for entertainment. I was simply saying that a Chinese cultural area might be a good idea.

Sheesh-who would have thought I would be attacked for thinking diversity is a good idea.

From Advance Indiana:

UPDATE (3/19): It looks like the finger pointing has begun. The Peterson administration is saying the decision on the sale was made by the Ballard administration and vice versa. There is also a question of whether the CIB ever took a formal vote approving the sale of these items in this manner. An amendment to the taxpayers' lawsuit is likely to occur if it is confirmed this property is being auctioned off without a vote approving the sale by the CIB.

And we know Gary has been really generous to the Peterson administration. LOL

Again, though, creating something even like a Chinatown (which is EXACTLY what Ballard suggested) is NOT embracing diversity, it's a clumsy attempt at LOOKING like you're embracing diversity while instead making a mockery out of the immigrant plight in America. It's disturbing that a man who claims to be ready to run a world class city would be so obviously culturally ignorant.

It would be for entertainment because no self-respecting member of said ethnic group (be it Chinese, Korean, or Iraqi) would live there. And let me tell you - you do NOT get an authentic experience if you don't have Chinese people living in Chinatown.

Yes, you are correct that we have a large Mexican population on the Southwest side, but I think the attitude most people have against our hispanic friends is not conducive to a "Little Mexico". And I am relatively certain that Korean population isn't remotely like the Chinese, Greek, Italian, Irish, etc populations that make up the kind of ethnic center Ballard was talking about. And I've just never really seen a Koreatown and can't imagine it being a major cultural draw for the middle of corn country.

I can see the marketing now:

"Visit Indy, we have basketball, auto racing, and Seoul food."

Sheesh.

Well, earlier, you stated the Star was reporting this. Now, it is Advance Indiana. Whatever. As of this morning, I have heard nothing official from any former Peterson staffer denying this happened.

Maybe the reason no one is going on the record for Bart is because this will surely come out during discovery for the lawsuit. However, since Indiana is a notice pleading state, we only have the basics in the motion. I find it incredibly hard to beleive that in less than two and a half months the incoming Ballard administration managed to accomplish this auction. This had to be set in motion earlier, at the same time the contract for the destruction of the Dome was finalized.

So I guess the argument shifts to what is more excusable-Bart screwing us over big time over this new stadium or Ballard continuing the tradition?

So I guess the argument shifts to what is more excusable-Bart screwing us over big time over this new stadium or Ballard continuing the tradition?

I'm a gonna vote neither. :)

A. J. Lopp | March 22, 2008 3:42 PM
The only ethnic concentration of any size and density in this city is Jewish.

Jerame, you're a smart guy, and I, too, was surprised to see you make the above remark.

Forgive me for pointing out the obvious, but does an African-American urban area qualify as an "ethnic concentration"? Would you consider the huge area, heavily African-American, that extends from north of downtown up through Fall Creek/Mapleton to 38th Street, and then over to "Brightwood" (circa 30th and Sherman) to be a recognizable "ethnic concentration"?

In fact, if interpreted literally, an "ethnic concentration" could be a white/European area. Perhaps we might want to designate the Castleton and Keystone-at-the-Crossing areas to be the city's future "Honkytown".

Personally, I think a Chinatown area in Indianapolis would be wonderful. But I doubt that you can plan such a thing and have good results. The other commenters are correct: a Chinatown requires Chinese people, and preferably recent Chinese immigrants, to move in and create it spontaneously.

A.J. Lopp,

You are most correct and I consider myself chastised. I was shooting for the punchy retort and overstepped. The northwest side Jewish community sticks out to me because there is a long term, gentrified area that is predominantly Jewish and has many Jewish cultural destinations. An attempt at pith and a quick reply came off as more insensitive than it was meant to.

The point wasn't to diminish African-Americans or whites (or the hispanics or Koreans for that matter.) However, I think the mayor is very much referring to the idea of creating a cultural area that is distinctly foreign to most Hoosiers and even other Americans. The white/European and black/African-American experiences are both very common in the US since, well, we're the two major ethnic groups that this area would be looking to attract and (at least up until recently) the two largest ethnic groups in the US.

And I did admittedly discount hispanics because of the current climate that is very anti-hispanic in many parts of the country. I expressed that doubt in another comment as well.

I also think the hispanic population has already begun the process of doing exactly what the mayor is proposing doing artificially. I realize it opens a whole new discussion, but in thinking about my dismissal of the hispanic population I realize how insulting it much be for a hispanic person to hear the mayor's words and realize their culture IS being dismissed outright as having any value as a cultural enclave.

But, yeah, the idea of having one sounds great - until you universally insult every ethnic minority at once by suggesting you can create the same experience artificially like the mayor did.

As for "Honkytown" - we have plenty of those already. Look at the history of places like Whitestown and realize that "sunset" towns still exist in this state. I think we can do without any more "Honkeytowns". I usually roll up my windows, lock my doors and don't stop unless I have to when going through these towns.

A. J. Lopp | March 24, 2008 1:31 AM

Jerame, you took my "criticisms" much too seriously ... and the "Honkytown" comment was meant to be a joke.

However, since posting my last comment above, I have seen the central African-American area referred to by the Indy Star as the "black urban core" and by a previous Bilerico-Indiana contributer as "Carson City" --- alluding to Andre Carson getting coronated by the Big Black Democratic Machine after the passing of his grandmother, Julia Carson. Obviously, we are talking about more than mere geography here.

P.S. Not to be a nag, but FYI my TypeKey sign-on still doesn't work for Bilerico-Indiana. I go thru the sign-on process, but then I have to submit a moderated comment anyway. But I can live with it.