Opinion: Making it tough to help readers
For the past six months, the Community Relations Dept. for the City of Carmel routinely has provided Current with a document that details new commercial tenants and remodels. We, in turn, use that to promote and write about new businesses. By denying Current the document – which, in effect, is happening by requiring our editor to file a public-records request – it’s doing no good for anyone. Our view: This is unprofessional game playing. By making Current fill out the request, it is tantamount to denied access of public information. (Current waited two months after completing a request for a police incident report. That made for some really old news.) This also is part of a larger trend within the department, which institutionally reads any email sent to a city email address from Current’s web server. That means – to us, anyway – that there is an attempt to control access to any sort of city information no matter how routine, no matter how public. The department also inhibits the accurate and timely gathering of news by standing between department heads (the real experts) and Current reporters. Further, there was a house fire last Thursday that left a 26-year-old man and his son hospitalized. The department issued a news release stating the man had died. In fact, he was on life support, and the department correctly issued an apologetic correction. Perhaps talking to sources with first-hand knowledge could have spared the department the error. Avoiding errors is why Current seeks to talk to city experts in the first place. Lastly, Carmel City Council member Luci Snyder asked long ago for a report from the department on why it needed to spend approximately $100,000 to contract with a former newspaper reporter and what his economic development credentials were. She’s still waiting. The department should stop playing games with public information, pay attention to detail and, certainly, answer Snyder’s question.