It’s time for another year and so I’d thought it’d be fun to come up with some New Year’s Resolutions for the City of Carmel as a whole. These are resolutions that we all can strive for in 2015 and, yes, it’s a little of my opinion but I don’t think you’ll fault me for some rosy optimism for my city.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff — I’m not saying keep your head in the sand, but let’s not overreact to the problems that Carmel faces. As a journalist, I don’t dismiss any concerns that the public has. Every issue is important to someone. But we should be grateful to live in a prosperous city like Carmel. I’m not saying that to silence any critics who have concerns about the level of debt that the city has. I’m not trying to change the topic. I’m saying have some perspective. Before I moved back home to Central Indiana, I worked as a crime reporter in Jacksonville, Fla. Almost every day I was sent out to cover a murder or a shooting. I wrote stories about a bad economy in a city that had its struggles. In Carmel, I can walk my dog at night without worrying about being mugged. I can enjoy clean parks and (mostly) smooth roads. Cross 96th Street and you’ll find pot holes, a higher crime rate and higher unemployment rate. We have it pretty good up here.
Support our Neighbors — Now, even though I say that Carmel is better off than Indianapolis in some ways (crime, wealth), we have to remember that you can’t be a suburb of nothing. In fact, the lines that separate Indianapolis and Carmel are blurred. There isn’t miles of corn fields between the two cities. In fact, development is thriving right on the county border with a new hotel, new apartment complex and two new housing developments opening in 2015. We need Indianapolis to succeed and we need cooperation between the two county/municipal governments. We rely on many of the amenities that Indianapolis provides and we enjoy the restaurants, business and sports teams located in its downtown. Sure, Carmel has built plenty of new restaurants and entertainment attractions where it’s not necessary to always drive down south for a fun Saturday. You can stay up north if you want. But we also hope that Indianapolis residents will drive up here for dinner or a show at The Palladium. We truly our partners, not competitors.
Shop Local — I know it sounds cliche, but it’s so important to support local businesses. Not only do these businesses contribute to the local economy — their owners live and spend money in our community — but these locally owned businesses contribute to the character of the area. When companies move their corporate headquarters, they look for areas that aren’t all chain restaurants and fast food because they want their employees to have a high quality of life. And selfishlessly when you shop at a local business you can introduce yourself to the owners and tell them what you do. Maybe they’ll become a customers of yours and everybody can help each other out.
Be Positive — This goes along with “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” but I have some advice I would like to give people. You are allowed to complain and criticize all you want, but I would encourage you to spend the same amount of energy when you love something as well. You can write a Letter to the Editor to slam a politician, but it’s only fair to send some when you have reason for praise. Maybe it’s just me, I feel people are often more motivated by anger than joy and that’s a shame. People will often post a critical review of a business on Yelp, but they don’t post anything after a good experience. Those moments need to be shared as well.
Get Involved — There’s a little something called an election coming up in May and it’s a chance to decide your mayor, city councilors. clerk-treasurer and more. Don’t like someone’s policies? Maybe you should run! And if you do, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can write about your campaign.
Find Common Ground — Politicians like to fight a lot in Carmel, but the funny thing is that everyone is a Republican! Some might argue that some Republicans are RHINOS (republicans in name only) or some might be Tea Party “extremists” but that doesn’t really matter. The point I’m making is that the political difference between members of Carmel’s City Council is much smaller than the divide between the Democrats and the GOP in Washington D.C. So it should be easier to find common ground to agree on.
Don’t Take Things Personal — There’s a difference between politics and policy. If someone disagrees with you, there’s no need for name calling or insults. Both people who disagree with Brainard and people who agree with him have told me that they thought the other side had resorted to nasty name calling. So both sides feel this way. I’m saying let’s just focus on the issues and put politics aside.
Use our City’s Resources — There are plenty of venues and events that the city provides that you should take advantage of. Attend free festivals and gallery walks. See a show at The Palladium. Exercise in our parks. Probably one of the best examples of a free event that the city put on is the spontaneous soccer viewing party that was enjoyed by Carmel residents across from Bub’s Burgers during the World Cup. It wasn’t anything complicated, but it was a fun way to bring people together.
Stay Informed — There’s no excuse to not know what’s going on in Carmel’s government. Not only does the Current do its best to cover as many meetings as possible, but they are all archived online on the city’s Web site. You can read meeting minutes and look at city documents on LazerFische. There are plenty of resources to stay informed.
Be Transparent — My message to Carmel government officials and politicians: Trust the public. Share the information. While I haven’t encountered too many issues obtaining documents, I always encourage leaders to answer questions and provide documentation to let the public know what’s going on. I make no opinion about the content of any documents, but as journalists we always advocate for access to information for our readers.
Speak Up and Ask Questions — Don’t suffer in silence. If you have something to say, say it. Ask me questions. Send me an e-mail at email@example.com. We truly love our readers and you guide our coverage. We write about what you want to read. So let us know!