Monday, March 07, 2005

Liberal Republicans Overrun Hamilton County

The re-invention of Marion County is beginning to get out of hand up here. The worst public proposal in the history of the County, seemingly backed by every Hamilton County Republican, is the $800 million light rail boondoggle proposed for the Nickel Plate railroad corridor. If successful, it would remove almost 4% of cars from I-69. Almost. If it removed 60%, I'd be impressed. Alas.

Pointless waste of this magnatude is hard to top, but three-term City of Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard is doing his level best.

The first project proposal that rankled fiscal conservatives was the lavish Central Park. I am all in favor of public parks and greenspace. However, this item includes building a water park, which is something best left to private enterprise. Sadly, there was very little backlash within the GOP.

Finally, the most recent proposal has allowed some Republicans to notice that the spending outside the proper functions of government is getting ridiculously out of control. This time, the Republican mayor wishes to build an $80 million concert hall. From the Sunday Star:
One of Indiana's most affluent cities soon will begin debating whether to build an $80 million concert hall -- but amid growing concern that Carmel finally has found something it can't afford.
"The mayor has spent thousands and thousands of dollars getting this project to this point, and he's just assuming, like everything else, that we're all going to buy into this," said City Council President Kevin Kirby, among critics who suggest Carmel should deal with problems such as annexation and traffic congestion before signing the biggest check in city history.

"To me, $80 million seems like an absurd number. Right now, there's not a whole lot of support on the council for this."

Good. There shouldn't be any support on the council for this. $80 is an absurd number when talking about the proper role of government and spending on an arts center. Government shouldn't even be spending a nickel.

One correct role for the office of mayor when seeking a concert hall is to seek a private developer to build it, and a promoter to operate it. The proper role of city government is to ensure the public safety, to manage the public infrastructure, and to manage a small number of services. Anything above and beyond that is the sort of liberal noodling the GOP used to torment the Democrats about. This is especially true on the arts, where certain Republicans made a living attacking the funding the NEA received. Anymore, it's hard to tell the difference between the two parites.

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