As an official non-mayor of Carmel, I welcome comments by another non-mayor, Don Seybold. His 507-word letter stating I had a right to my own opinions but not to my own facts indicated we share an obligation to explain and support our opinions.
The facts I use are public. For example:
- Traffic accident and injury accident rates have not declined in 10 years as 70 roundabouts have been added using borrowed money. Source: Carmel Police Dept. annual reports and U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
- Total outstanding debt obligations of $1.2 billion. Of course, I abbreviated the reported number of $1,2230,298,365. Source: State of Indiana Gateway website.
- The debt/revenue ratio for the federal government is 6.16 and for Carmel, 6.85. Source: U.S. Treasury Dept., State of Indiana and City of Carmel websites.
- The 2017 No. 1 best place to live in America is Fishers, Ind. Source: Money Magazine.
Seybold all but volunteered to come up with facts, and I can use the help. Fact-finding in Carmel is difficult, however.
- The city attorney took 26 days to fetch me a copy of the oath of office of elected city officials and charged 10 cents a page for copies. Later, he politely refused to provide revenue and expense reports for the Center for the Performing Arts, both as city attorney and as a director of the Center.
- A spokesman for The Palladium referred me to a nonprofit website for information about the Center for the Performing Arts. Its most recent posting is for 2016, but it did include the multi-million dollar subsidy the city provides.
- The Palladium’s own schedule listed 53 dates booked during a 150-day stretch ending in October. Two of the 53 were for ukulele lessons at $50 each.
- The executives at the Carmel Redevelopment Commission noted they have no legal requirement to answer my questions. CRC has lawyers but not ethicists.
- Council person at-large Ron Carter refused to answer 14 questions about shell corporations he helped build and maintain, noting, “I am responding to you only because you are a citizen.” He then responded to none of the questions.
There are four reasons for non-disclosure: ignorance, incompetence, deception or orders from a superior.
Finally, I welcome Seybold as another non-mayor digging out the facts. I would caution him, though, to take his own medicine. His 507-word essay contained no facts.
Should you have facts I can use, don’t hesitate to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh, and do you recall who it is who pays the salaries of these secretive souls?
Bill Shaffer, Carmel