Abdul At Large
The State of Our City
I’m in Las Vegas taking a mini-vacation, but thanks to jet lag and knowing when to leave a poker table, I had a few minutes to watch Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s State of the City address. And while I will give the incumbent lots of points for style, there were still a few areas that I had some concern.
- Hogsett announced a plan to coordinate with the other counties in the area to come up with a regional approach to infrastructure. This is already happening. Indiana lawmakers passed legislation this past session to look at how this would work. Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness has already taken the lead on this and is making it one his priorities for his second term as Mayor. And rightfully so, other Mayors are skeptical of using their limited resources to fill Indianapolis’ potholes.
Crime & Crime Prevention
- On this, I will give the administration some credit where credit is due. After three years of record murders, Indy might be on track to NOT have another record year. As of May 27, we’ve only seen 49 murders. Indy was at 59 murders last year at this same time. And IMPD tells me crime is down in other categories as well. Unfortunately, despite the drop in murders, we are still seeing some of the same patterns; an average of 74 percent of the victims and suspects have criminal histories, blacks were 81 percent of the murder victims. And while the Mayor talked about reaching young people in his efforts to tackle crime, the average age of the black murder victim is 28, so maybe young people aren’t necessarily the problem.
- The Mayor is unveiling a 25-year effort to eliminate food deserts. According to my friends at the IBJ, the plan includes the possible development of a mobile grocery store and a new app to connect residents with resources. The cost would be about $400,000. My problem with this is this program already exists. I did a quick Google search and saw that both Wal-Mart and Kroger have food pick up and delivery services. In addition, in a world of Uber and Lyft, transportation is just a couple of clicks away. So why would the city need to go through all these hoops?
The Social Justice Industrial Complex
- I am working on a future column on the issue of homelessness and crime prevention, particularly where the millions of dollars these folks get and where the money goes; specifically when it comes to the homeless. CHIP (Coalition for Homeless Intervention and Prevention) reported a seven percent drop in homelessness during their January point in time count. But here are a couple of cautionary notes, first of all, it was 27 degrees when the count was done last year, and -11 this year, so naturally there will be fewer people on the street because it’s colder outside. But like I said, this is another column for another time.
When I get back, I look forward to chatting with the Mayor’s folks in detail about these specific areas and I am sure they’re looking forward to chatting with me.