Letter: A City to Experience



As the official non-mayor of Carmel, I shared your glee recently and became one of 202 Carmelaks to watch that near-viral YouTube extravaganza: “Carmel: A City to Experience.”

Billed as the State of the City 2017, it opens with:

“During the past two decades, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard has taken a collar suburb of 30,000 people and transformed it into a vibrant and thriving city of more than 90,000.”

Wowser! The Great Transformer has done all that and more. All by his lone-self.

Scenes of civic life dissolve (a cinematic term) to scenes of school life as the film notes the quality of schools (which the mayor can’t transform), scores of vibrant, thriving school children disembarking school buses, shots of the high school girls’ swim team and the band, etc.

Just think of the logistics. All those permission slips from all those parents. The modeling fees for all those swimmers, bandsmen, etc. The mind boggles.

Conveniently omitted from the film is a $1.2 billion debt, downgrades from major debt rating agencies, massive roadway construction obstruction, pricey roundabout decorations and a proposed new bond issue. This last annoyance is alluded to, however:

“As Carmel continues to flourish,” the mellifluous narrator narrates, “you’ll soon be able to sip drinks at the Feinstein Dinner Club at the boutique hotel at City Center.”

That’s to be funded by yet another you-know-what.

While the rest of America talks about paying down debt and building up infrastructure, our City Hall sophisticates rhapsodize about sipping at the Feinstein bistro.

Question: Why should we use money we don’t have to build a hotel we don’t need that includes a club we can’t afford so that what Google calls “a singer, pianist and musical archivist recognized as a leading expert and exponent of the American standard popular song” can knock out a few boffo tunes now and again?

Or, put another way, how much more vibrant thriving can we handle?

Bill Shaffer, Carmel