Letter: My response by Rick Sharp
I was disappointed to read a Letter to the Editor from one of my Council colleagues. I take issue with the premise that some members on the Council and of the public are focused on negativity.
We are the fiscal body. It is our obligation to seriously discuss the financial health of our city. A revenue shortfall of $43,000,000 is exactly what we should discuss. I know my constituents expect it.
Another fiscal concern is the current year budget. Councilors Schleif, Seidensticker, Snyder and myself were deeply concerned that revenue was insufficient to support the spending the mayor proposed in the budget. It passed on a 3-3 split with Councilors Carter, Finkam and Rider in favor and the Mayor cast the vote to break the tie. The efforts of those opposed to speculative spending were labeled as petty politics.
Yet, the result of our concerns has come to pass. There was not enough revenue to support the spending. The paving budget, which the mayor cut to balance the budget, was only replenished after the Council transferred money from the Rainy Day fund.
Infrastructure has been neglected for too long in Carmel. The Council worked to make it a priority again.
My colleague’s recent letter drew the analogy of Carmel citizens as customers. I reject that notion. I have been in marketing and sales for some 36 years. Customers are to be sold! A sales pitch is designed to tell customers only what is necessary to get the sale. Control the information, control the message.
I view Carmel citizens as shareholders. Shareholders are to be served. They deserve accurate and complete disclosure of public policy decisions and the information that led to them. They deserve the factual truth in a timely fashion. We owe them this. All of the facts, including the ones we find inconvenient.
We have a wonderful city with a bright future and I am proud to have had the opportunity to play a role in shaping what we are today. However, I would change the cloak of secrecy and intrigue that persists. I would not label discussion of the important issues as being negative. We need to act like a responsible, responsive municipal government and not like the out of touch government we get from Washington!
I trust the Carmel citizen. This is a bright, highly educated community and we can trust our neighbors to make the right decisions and we can trust them with the truth. There is no need to “message” or “spin”…just tell them the truth; they will decide for themselves what is right. I will paraphrase an oft quoted saying… everyone is entitled to their own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts. Even if the facts are unpleasant.