Speck in Carmel; meanwhile, in New Albany, we wait for ANY Democrat to “get all New Urban” about ANYTHING.


Jeff Speck tweeted this link (below).

By the way, the city of New Albany is spending $194,000 on a “toilet room” at Binford Park. Living and dead trees fall while too few are replanted. We flaunt strange suburban pride in housing demolition without plan one to replace the structures. Heavy trucks keep speeding through downtown residential areas on streets where they should not be. Parking rules are enforced only variously.

Is this the most tone-deaf mayoral term in the city’s history?

Better stated, how many “leading” Democrats overall exist in Floyd County even capable of fathoming the following passage in terms of basic reading comprehension, much less actively working to implement the principles enunciated within it?

ROGUE ELEPHANT: What happened when the Republican mayor of Carmel, Indiana, bucked his party and embraced sustainability? He got reelected—four times, by Kim Larsen (One Earth)

 … Since first assuming office in 1995, Brainard has been steadily transforming his city into a model for how other small cities of the 21st century can use sustainable urban policy to court economic growth, increase populations, beautify public spaces, and greatly improve local quality of life—all while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

On this last point Brainard long ago established his bona fides. Since 2005, he has been cochairing the Energy Independence and Climate Protection Task Force for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which has been instrumental in convincing American cities to adopt goals toward lowering their carbon emissions. A year ago President Obama selected him to sit on the president’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. After four White House meetings, the 26-person panel is now winnowing a slew of recommendations to present to Obama in November.

Meanwhile, back in Carmel, the Brainard administration continues to find new ways of folding sustainability into the workaday business of city management. Municipal workers, for example, now drive hybrid and biofuel vehicles down roads newly planted with hundreds of trees as part of a citywide goal to achieve 50 percent tree-canopy coverage on all of Carmel’s streets. A new, interconnected system of pathways and sidewalks encourages cycling and walking. And when it came time to update the local wastewater treatment plant, the city opted for a technology that kills bacteria with ultraviolet light rather than chlorine. (Even trace amounts of residual chlorine in treated and discharged wastewater can be harmful to aquatic life.)

It’s significant that Brainard is doing all this as a Republican (one of only four on Obama’s Local Leaders team). He shrugs off any suggestion that his sustainability ethic somehow represents a break with Republican tradition, citing such conservation-minded GOP forerunners as Teddy Roosevelt, who vastly expanded the National Parks system; Dwight D. Eisenhower, who created the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and Richard Nixon, who signed the papers to establish the Environmental Protection Agency. But more to the point, he maintains, no daylight exists between the Brainard administration’s approach to city management and the Republican Party mandate to generate and maintain stable, prosperous communities unburdened by high taxes.

Brainard, loyal Republican that he is, is doing all that. But he’s also doing a lot more—which is apparent to anyone who spends a day or two, as I did, walking around the city he leads. Carmel is being reconfigured according to planning principles that, for many centuries, organically guided the way cities developed—but that, in the era of the automobile, required a renaissance. This renaissance began to take shape in the 1980s in the form of New Urbanism …

Best guess: You can count ’em on the fingers of one hand, all the while sadly and safely assuming that the absurdly low number is twice or three times that of the total of Republicans hereabouts who’ve so much as heard of Theodore Roosevelt.

And that, dear readers, is why we’re going to screw up this opportunity. In Geico horror movies and New Albany, we make bad decisions.

That’s what we do.