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Committee calls for BlueIndy cars to be towed

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The BlueIndy battle is closer to a confrontation between the City-County Council and the Mayor.

BlueIndy is the electric car-sharing program being built around Indianapolis.

On Thursday night in a committee vote, critics on the council called for the BlueIndy cars to be towed from their spaces on Washington Street. They say those cars are parked illegally.

Councillor Christine Scales, a Republican, said the dispute “is so much more complex and broader than just the cars that are parked on Washington Street.” She also said the objections are not to the car sharing program. She said the critics feel that Mayor Greg Ballard exceeded his authority approving the BlueIndy deal.

Another committee addressed that issue on Wednesday night. In both sessions, Fred Biesecker, the attorney for the council said, “the mayor does not have the legal authority to grant on his own an exclusive long-term franchise for car-sharing services to BlueIndy or anyone else.”

David Rosenberg, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Mayor’s Office countered, “No less than five law firms, at some point, have worked on this contract. And only one lawyer — employed by a political body four months before an election — twists 20 years of precedent in the code.”

Democrat Zac Adamson, chair of the Public Works Committee predicts the full council will pass the proposal when it comes up on August 17. He told 24-Hour News 8 he hopes it doesn’t come to that. The proposal would allow the towing to begin 90 days after its passage. If a compromise is reached, that would not be necessary.

Adamson also said political circumstances leave the council with limited ability to provide a check on the mayor’s power. He hopes with Mayor Ballard preparing to leave office, the BlueIndy dispute provides a lesson to the next mayor for how to work with the council and manage public assets.