Mediocre Leadership Has Left Carmel Stagnant


Among the many lessons of the last four years, many Americans are realizing the importance of voting in every election. Like really, every election. 

This year we will have an election on November 2. It may not be as dramatic or emotional as last November, for better or for worse. But the decisions we make to elect leaders of our own community will leave an impact on all our families.

The 2021 election is really about one thing: the definition of insanity. If we keep doing the same thing, then we shouldn’t be surprised when we get the same result.

Carmel has been electing the same people, the same party, the same narrow interests again and again and again. They aren’t bad people, but they are just doing the same things again and again…hiring the same contractors, making the same promises, taking care of their same friends, especially when these friends make mistakes.

But how would our town operate if we were all watching? What if we elected people with no allegiances or self-interest, whose job it was to listen to the people and use their power to do the most good for the most people? 

What if we elected people who were ready on day one to deliver change? To forge ahead with a new master plan, a vision to support small business owners and create places for families to shop and play, a commitment to improving the quality of our water and our environment?  

What if we elected people who were so careful about spending our taxes that they insisted on transparency and competitive bidding? What if they recused themselves from decisions where they had personal financial dealings?

Or even better, what if we elected people who had absolutely no financial conflicts with town business, who wanted to do the job as a contribution to the community instead of a way to advance a business or future run for office?

There is only one way to create a local government of, by, and for the people. We need to elect Democrats to the Carmel Town Board and Putnam County Legislature to make sure all the people are represented on these bodies. 

While local government should not be partisan, it already is. The Republicans run the table on most government seats and wield that dominance like a weapon. They run a patronage shop – there is no interest in hearing minority voices on boards or commissions. 

There is not even interest in allowing duly elected officials to freely undertake the responsibilities of their office. Sheriff Robert Langley has faced obscene scrutiny and outrageous partisan retaliation that has used public safety resources as a political pawn. Legislator Nancy Montgomery has not only been personally insulted and told to “shut up”, she has been denied access to information and restricted in her participation on committees in the Putnam County Legislature.

But Carmel is a Republican town, you might be thinking. Maybe. Or maybe that is just what you have been led to believe. There are as many voters who decline to affiliate with a party as there are Republicans. And there is a significant number of Republicans who do not affiliate with what that party has come to represent.

Our Carmel town government is a shining example of what happens when one party rules for too long. From outright lying and deception, to ignoring corruption right under their noses, to just plain kicking the can down the road on development and infrastructure opportunities…Carmel could do so much better to serve all the people and build a better future.

All this political gamesmanship has not made Putnam or Carmel a better place to live. We are stagnant, falling behind communities all around us. The perpetrators of these political games are just mediocre leaders hiding behind a bright red shield waving American flags to distract us from their mediocrity.

Good governance only comes from a vibrant two party system that allows all of us to be represented and heard, that forces people to forge agreements, find the best and brightest solutions to bring back our small businesses, to better serve our families, to protect our neighborhoods, and make them more affordable.

We can’t afford to keep doing the same thing, year after year. We have a pandemic to recover from, a community to restore, young kids to get back on the right track. We are the rulers of our destiny and as we saw in 2020, when things get really bad, if enough of us show up and vote we could bring real change.