As official non-mayors of Carmel, we live in two Carmels.
Carmel A is the official, legal, by-the-book, balanced-budget, full-disclosure Carmel. It is staffed by highly trained, award-winning professional police, fire and ambulance, water and sewer and administrative and financial personnel meeting necessary needs.
Carmel B is the lawyer-built, off-the-books, deeply in debt, non-disclosure Carmel. The political machine is staffed by liberal progressives bent on social engineering that will amuse, entertain and distract voters while it funds its friends, builds luxurious and unnecessary amenities with borrowed money, provides subsidies when they fail, runs up a $1.2 billion debt and hides the facts the lawyers don’t want you to know. Again, all this is legal and by-the-book.
A is a model of municipal government. Carmel B is a model of discriminatory ineptitude on steroids. Carmel A is reality, B is utopian. A informs, B hides. A serves, B manipulates.
One example: Financial data for the Center for the Performing Arts – a private, nonprofit corporation shielded by legal shell devices – is only available via the Guidestar website which reports nonprofit data so donors aren’t bilked too badly. The Center’s most recent filing covers 2016 – 18 months old and counting (Booth Tarkington Theatre’s latest is 2015).
Even ancient history can be instructive.The filing notes $615,000 in fundraising expenses and $261,523 in fundraising event income. Sophisticated financing, eh?
I understand the need for secrecy in government when national defense is at stake. In the two Carmels, who is the enemy? The embarrassing truth? Unreported deficit spending and subsidies for special groups?
A second example: The political establishment issues a quarterly newsletter which allegedly presents all the facts we need to make informed decisions as voters and taxpayers. The most recent one was posted Jan. 25, 2017.
We are taught to focus on the true, the moral, the right, the excellence in all things. City hall teaches us a different lesson when it evades, avoids, hides and waffles.
If you find errors in the above, please quickly surrender them to me at email@example.com. Soon a blog will appear: non-mayor.com. And, if your club, society, association or other group would like me to bring tidings of great journalistic curiosity, I’m always up for a free cup of coffee.
Bill Shaffer, Carmel