Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hallelujah ! They Are Paving My Street - Warning, This Post Takes A Turn

Not since 1987, has my one block street been repaved.  With one pothole connected to another, we have survived on pothole filler for at least 10 years.  We were to the point where the real choice was - repave, or let it revert to gravel and dirt.

This morning when I saw the parade of trucks staging, then inching down my street, I was envisioning writing an entry about the impact of massive road repair on Ballard's re-election campaign, and the low regard many D's and some of my R friends have for giving Ballard an edge.  But, I also began reflecting on a few things I heard on the campaign trail and this entry turned to a new focus.  At some point I will make mention of DPW's role in any chance Ballard has to gain a 2nd term.  Just not today.

For now, let me describe what I see happening.  This morning's activity has been to scrape the years of built up paving, some as recent as last week's pothole filling, off the top.  As I write, they have gone down each side once and are now scraping the middle.

My block is somewhere between a quarter to half a mile long.  No sidewalks.  No sewers.  No city water.  No streetlights.  So, I figure, we've sort of been a donor block with regard to City and County taxes for quite a number of years.  Until today.  So, a hardy thanks to all of you who live in the rest of Indianapolis.

The parade of vehicles begins with a dump truck, travelling at a leisurely walking speed.  Behind is a machine that is scraping the top layer off the road and, via an aerial conveyor belt, sending the old paving off to the dump truck.  Then comes a water truck.  Then a medium size plow, doing what I cannot tell.  Then, at varying distances and seemingly occupied by its own activities, is another plow, rigged with a large wire brush on its underbelly, cleaning the scraped roadbed of remaining debris.  There are also two extra dump trucks awaiting their turn in rotation.  And, there is a police car stopped at each end of the block - both T intersections with other streets that are far more busy than mine.

All well and good.

Except, I then began to recall the comments I heard in various locations across the City, that a) the road crews were not diverse, and b) they seemed to hail from other Cities, with Ohio origins mentioned most often.  So, I looked a little closer.  Each truck was manned by either one or two white men.  No women.  No men of color.   Around the corner was apparently the spot for the crew to park their cars.  I could only catch the county on the license plate of one of about 6 cars - it was county number 41, or Johnson County (Marion County is 49).  All did have Indiana plates, though.

The sign on one of the police cars was Pittsboro Police.  The other was ATS.  A Google search of ATS does bring up Advance Tactics Security, out of Indianapolis.

The sign on the scraper and the water truck, and on the reflective vest of one of the walking workmen, was Mamco, Jeffersonville, IN.  Jeffersonville is across the Ohio River from Louisville, KY.

I didn't spy any other signs of origin.

So, here you have at least one road crew that will prosper from the taxes and water rate hikes that Indianapolis residents pay.  Maybe some live in Indianapolis, which would be an excellent situation.  Still, Jeffesonville, Pittsboro, and Johnson County were three of the four locations I could discern from the vehicles.  I just think that there should be more concern from the Ballard administration to hire Marion County firms and Marion County residents with all of our money (and children's money and grandchildren's money).  The employees should also reflect our pool of workers.

Oh, and one (and only one) complaint about the crew.  Most everyone was occupied in their work, so no problems there.  I had run an errand and as I was beginning to unload my car, one of the road crew was very nice in asking if I needed to get out of my driveway, not realizing I had just returned.  But, minutes before...  As I turned onto my block from a busy street, about two car lengths in, and on the right hand side of the road, sat the Pittsboro Police car.  The sun was reflecting off his windshield and I just barely caught the glimpse of his hand held up to the window with the universal 'halt' signal.  I then had to back up onto the busy street to exit.  Come on.  There are better ways to control traffic at work sites.  They do entail getting out of the air conditioned comfort of your vehicle, but they weigh public safety just a bit higher. 

All in all, and for many reasons, I look forward to seeing the crew that lays down new asphalt.  It has, after all, been 24 years since this tired old street was gussied up.


Downtown Indy said...

At first I thought maybe this was the street you were referring to, but no paving crew in sight here:

2600 E National Ave

It's a beaut!

Had Enough Indy? said...

DI - you win ! shorter stretch of road, but, yes, it is worse than my road. We've lost edges, but not half the width of the road.

White Male said...

Why do you have to bring up the only people that were working were "White Men." Get off your soap box. I can't believe someone who post a blog on fairness and equality would have the "guts" to post something so narrow minded. Every job in the United States has to have a black guy, women, or hispanic working? Are you the same person who says "Why aren't women getting the same salaries as White Men, why are there no black guys in managment? You don't know these companies and the dynamic of people who are working for them, you saw one team of many. You are so cought up with the way we spend our tax dollars, why don't you post how the new airport would only take female and minority bids for the interior (benches, furniture, decorations) even though they cost more than "White" corporations. You are creating the ethnic divide, You are the one fueling the fire, stop with your Captain America type attitude and look at yourself before commenting on the livelyhood of fellow Americans. I guess next time you have to hire a plumber or roofer you will make sure they are Black, Mexican, or a Woman, wait a minute you want them to be managers and CEOs, so lets just get rid of the Caucasion race and leave America and goto Canada. I hope that www.hadenoughtoronto.ca is available last time I saw you, you were white. I know you are going to remove this post but I don't care I'm will use my time better and never come back here.

Anonymous said...

Amen! Well stated white male.

Had Enough Indy? said...

WM - I hardly know where to begin. I am being fair. All people should have an equal shot at doing whatever they want in life. Not just white men.

Given that about 1 in 4 people in Indianapolis are African-American, and given that I saw about a dozen men, the odds that all would be white is actually quite low; about 3 chances in 100.

And, as I prefaced all of this, others are seeing similar patterns.

If we hired Marion County residents, these observations would likely change.

Anonymous said...

The only problem with hiring practices that look only to Marion County companies is that they cannot always win the bid. Then what are you going to do? Throw fiscal smartness out the window for sake of location of the company? Maybe in the contract the company signs you could have a stipulation that they have to hire xyz% of workers from Marion County. But I think requiring the company to be from Marion COunty might be very hard in some instances.

Anonymous said...

realizing that the total cost of a bid includes *where that money will get spent* should make marion county companies a lot more attractive in the long run. companies should *have* to reveal where their headquarters are in their signage (if you ask me)! do you think that walmart you shop at is helping marion co. or indiana for that matter? the cheapest bid is just that. america really needs to realize that cheaper is never necessarily better.

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