THE BIG CON

An otherwise sane, mature, rational Carmelista recently explained the facts of roundabouts to me.

“I like them,” the citizen of A City to Experience said, when asked about the 10 roundabouts under construction. “They are nice and unique.”

“And the cost?” I asked.

“Oh, they pay for themselves. I understand stoplight intersections cost $25,000 a year to install and maintain. Roundabouts pay for themselves in seven or eight years.”

Slow-witted as I am, I had to mentally multiply $25,000 by seven or eight. Try as I could, I was unable to come up with the $2-3 million roundabouts cost.

“What about the $175 million Palladium?”

“It’s a bargain. The music is just wonderful and I love Michael Feinstein.”

I couldn’t disagree. Music is sublime. And a Los Angeles resident who plays the piano and, in his spare time, serves as artistic director for Carmelaks is a noble person.

“And,” my friend said, “my taxes haven’t gone up in 20 years.”

Wow, I thought. What a Bernie Madoff Moment.

Something for nothing.

A confidence racket that dates from the Garden of Eden.

But, I mused, no politician would be stupid enough to try to run for public office on a con like that.

========================


THE NUMBERS

Total Carmel outstanding debt obligation: $1,376,786,197

Ratio of Carmel debt to annual $141 million income: 9.8 to 1.

Ratio of Federal debt to annual $3.4 trillion income: 7.19 to 1.

 

Injury accident rate per 1,000 after the first 73 roundabout: 6.8 in 1996 to 1.9 in 2010 = 72%

Decrease in injury accident rate after the first 73 roundabouts were built: 0 (10-year avg. 2.4)

Traffic accident rate per 1,000 residents since the first roundabout: 23.7 (10-year avg. 22.4)

Injury accident rate in 2017: 2.2

Total traffic accident rate in 2017: 24.3

National injury accident rate 1996-2016 = -24.8%

Three of the top four most dangerous intersections in Hamilton County: 116th St. and Keystone, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

 

Center for the Performing Arts performance schedule – 2018-2019

Studio Theater – 18 dates or 0.05 percent of the year.

Booth Tarkington Theatre – 26 dates or 7.1 percent of the year.

Palladium – 34 dates or 9.3 percent of the year.

Total – 78 dates or 21.4 percent of the year.

NON-ISSUES FOR NON-MAYORS

As official non-mayors of Carmel, we have lots of material to read and digest. But, as Ferris Bueller tells us: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

The City of Carmel issued a press release last week headlined, “Mayor Brainard speaks on climate issues in Washington, DC.”

Fascinated, I went to the most recent Gallup Poll I could find on the issues. Its report was headlined, “Climate Change Not a Top Worry in U.S.” Of 15 issues rated by the public, it was 14th. But, I quibble.

The mayor described how millions of dollars (of borrowed money) had created nearly 200 miles of trails, bike paths and safe bike lanes. In May, Gallup found 69 percent of Republicans (and 4 percent of Democrats) said the threat of climate change is exaggerated. Elsewhere I read that the United States contributes about 3 percent to the carbon dioxide level increase each year. You might have better data on that.

The mayor told an audience of 100 (according to the Route 50 Clean Air Action Forum website) all about “Carmel’s story and our community’s emphasis on building a walkable and sustainable community.”

Really? With $1.3 billion in total outstanding debt obligations (as reported by the State of Indiana), the people are committed to a 3 percent gas non-issue?

In fairness, neither the mayor nor we non-mayors know. In the last election, His Honor drew 9,584 votes. That was 63 percent of the total and 15 percent of the registered vote. So, we could say he was elected by an overwhelming minority as 85 percent of the electorate didn’t vote for him.

A more disturbing poll could interest the mayor next time he wants to spend taxpayer money on non-issues.

The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer reported “a staggering lack of faith in government, which fell 14 points to 33 percent among the general population, and 30 points to 33 percent among the informed public.” One would think elected officials would direct concerns building trust.

If you have better data, go to non-mayor.com and let me know. Or write bill@gatea.com

FOUNDATIONS

As an official non-mayor of Carmel, I am amazed at how much serendipity there is in a morning’s readings.

Today, I happened upon a passage in Matthew Arnold’s “Culture and Anarchy” in which he notes how we seem to be programmed (my term) to want the best, the most just, the good, the true and the beautiful. These always come to mind in those rare but wonderful moments of quiet solitude.

Our minds, in short, seem always to be searching.

The very next thing I pick up observes that what we do all day is prepare for tomorrow.

That is, consciously or unconsciously, our work, play, exercise, study even goofing off lays a foundation for tomorrow. Each instant, in other words, is a sort of temperal brick in a big wall we’re building.

The two merge in my repeated concerns that we Carmeloains are making a mistake in compiling a $1.3 debt obligation for the future Carmelistas to pay.

Instinct tells me it’s morally wrong to leave an inheritance of debt.

Agree? Please comment here or a bill@gatea.com

Have a good, true and beautiful day!

-0-0-0-0-0-

Total Carmel outstanding debt obligation: $1,376,786,197

Ratio of Carmel debt to annual $141 million income: 9.8 to 1.

Ratio of Federal debt to annual $3.4 trillion income: 7.19 to 1.

ROUNDABOUT RUCKUS

As an official non-mayor of Carmel, I am intrigued at the politicians’ immunity to intelligent analysis.

Comes now word that three of the four most accident-prone Hamilton County intersections are in Carmel.

All three are on 116th Street:

1. 116th at Keystone Parkway with 122 crunchers;
2. 116th at Pennsylvania Street with 107, and
3. 116th and Illinois Street with 106

The numbers come from LexisNexis Risk Solutions combine 2016 and 2017 data.

The three sites boast roundabouts built in 2010, 2015 and 2005, respectively.

Is this further evidence of the futility of $2-3 million roundabouts failing to improve safety statistics?

In 1996, Carmel’s accident rate was 23.7 per 1,000 residents. In 2017, the rate was 24.3 The last 10 years, it has averaged 22.4 even as Carmel added 63 expensive roundabouts.

Yet, City Hall savants continue boasting that Carmeloops make driving safer.

It’s called the roundabout run-around.

 

THE NUMBERS

In this blog, we turn to the fascinating world of numbers.

You’ll recall Carmelistas racked up total debt obligations of $1.2 billion as of Dec. 31, 2017, according to the State of Indiana Gateway records.

In the first six months of 2018, that grew to $1.3 billion – an increase of $156,487,832 or 13 percent.

At that rate, we’ll owe $1.5 on Dec. 31. Nice Christmas gift – an inherited debt to give our children and grandchildren. But, most of us will be long gone when the final bills come due.

For now, we can satisfy our Carmelinian souls in knowing that, while the Federal debt-to-revenue ratio is 7.19 to 1, we over-achieving Carmelaks boast a 9.8 to 1.

Here’s a Carmelot Boxscore of data, mostly from City of Carmel sources:

 

THE NUMBERS

 

Total Carmel outstanding debt obligation: $1,376,786,197

Ratio of Carmel debt to annual $141 million income: 9.8 to 1.

Ratio of Federal debt to annual $3.4 trillion income: 7.19 to 1.

 

Injury accident rate per 1,000 after the first 73 roundabout: 6.8 in 1996 to 1.9 in 2010 = 72%

Decrease in injury accident rate after the first 73 roundabouts were built: 0 (10-year avg. 2.4)

Traffic accident rate per 1,000 residents since the first roundabout: 23.7 (10-year avg. 22.4)

Injury accident rate in 2017: 2.2

Total traffic accident rate in 2017: 24.3

National injury accident rate 1996-2016 = -24.8%

 

Center for the Performing Arts performance schedule – 2018-2019

Studio Theater – 18 dates or 0.05 percent of the year.

Booth Tarkington Theatre – 26 dates or 7.1 percent of the year.

Palladium – 34 dates or 9.3 percent of the year.

Total – 78 dates or 21.4 percent of the year.

 

NON-MAYORS OF CARMEL, UNITE!

After a dozen or so letters to the editors of both the Indianapolis Star and Current in Carmel, I’ve decided to join the 21st Century with these thoughts.

The assumption is that Carmel residents share a number of attributes to which a useful blog ought to cater:

  1. Carmelistic persons are well-educated, well-informed, well-anchored adults;
  2. An educated, informed, anchored electorate needs factual information;
  3. Statements unsupported by facts are mere opinion;
  4. We have plenty of opinions and even more propaganda — uselessly.

Thus, a promise:

This blog will first present facts and, if needed, suggest conclusions.

 

For example:

The City of Carmel owns total debt obligations of $1.2 billion as of Dec. 31, 2017, according to the State of Indiana Gateway records.

In the first six months of 2018, that grew to $1.3 billion – an increase of $156,487,832 or 13 percent.

At that rate, we’ll owe $1.5 billion on Dec. 31.

For now,  while the Federal debt-to-revenue ratio is 7.19 to 1, we over-achieving Carmelaks boast a 9.8 to 1.

Conclusion? Well, draw your own for now.

 

Meantime  — welcome to the blog, Carmelite.