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mayor-ballard

In an interview this afternoon (Wednesday) with the Indianapolis Star, Mayor Gregory A. Ballard, finally confirmed what had been rumored for months. The Mayor will NOT run for a third term next year. The Mayor’s decision, announced in an interview with Indianapolis Star journalists confirmed reports that had been circulated among Republicans, Democrats and community leaders that the Mayor would opt not to run for a third term. The only Mayor that had been successful running for a third term was legendary former Mayor William (Bill) Hudnut. Bart Peterson tried for a third term in 2007 and was beaten by Ballard in a revolt over escalating property taxes and a 65% increase in the local option income tax for public safety. While many will cite the public works success of Mayor Ballard’s two terms in office, the Mayor had become an increasingly polarizing figure; especially in the African-American community. Mayor Ballard was the first Mayor during the UniGov era to openly show disdain for African-American leaders and institutions. Ballard was the first mayor not to meet with the leadership of the Indianapolis NAACP. Mayor Ballard refused during his years in office to grant any interview with journalists at the 120+ year old Indianapolis Recorder, the state’s oldest African-American newspaper. After a debate in the 2011 campaign, the Mayor refused to appear on the city’s Black radio station prime time talkshows and repeatedly refused to grant interviews. Unlike other Indianapolis Mayors, Mayor Ballard seemed to go out of his way to talk only with a select few African-Americans leaders. African-American leaders were routinely excluded from participation in many Mayor sponsored committees and initiatives. Mayor Ballard developed a personal where he would also speak with Blacks who agreed with him on issues. That he was not accepting of alternative or contrasting points of view. Mayor Ballard’s standoffish, alienating attitude towards the city’s largest minority group was best expressed in his last on our sister station AM1310 The Light Afternoons with Amos interview in January 2011 when he said that he considered himself to be the “most African-American friendly Mayor in the history of Indianapolis”. A statement that struck many then and many more today as a Mayor totally out of touch with the realities of his city.

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