The world according to Jim Brainard is a fascinating place. And a conversation with the longtime Carmel mayor is a roundabout trek filled with stops at Italian piazzas and Parisian sidewalk cafes.
The five-term Republican mayor, who is easily the state’s most intriguing urban policy political figure, stopped by The Star’s offices Tuesday to talk about all things Carmel. But those of us who peppered him with questions were just as interested in his views on things occurring outside the borders of the wealthy suburb north of Indianapolis . . .
Separating himself from many of his fellow Republicans, Brainard said a proposal to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage was bad policy. “I believe in limited government,” he said. “Government shouldn’t be involved in who gets to marry.” . . .
Brainard is one of those political figures who inspires strong opinions among both his supporters and detractors because he’s done so much with the office he’s been given. He’s spent a lot of money, infuriating some conservatives, but he has rebuilt Carmel into a thriving extension of Indianapolis that enjoys low residential property tax rates because of all of the commercial development that has flooded in. He’s a believer in the concept that spending can indeed be an investment, whether it’s on infrastructure or the arts, and the results seem to support that view. Under Brainard, Carmel has emerged as a top-tier American suburb — one whose thriving Downtown and other amenities give it the feel of its own city . . .Not surprisingly, former Carmel city council member John Accetturo, a Brainard nemesis and taxpayer watchdog, doesn't share Tully's enthusiasm for Brainard. His response to Tully's latest column:
How can Tully think that $1.3B of debt Brainard has created is sensible for a city of 80,000 is beyond ridiculous. What is even more over the top is Mayor Brainard delaying principal payments on $115M in debt created to bailout the bankrupt Carmel Redevelopment Commission until 2025. Brainard has government involved in everything in Carmel but says he is for limited government is hypocritical. Tully just loves liberals, especially liberal Republicans. The facts just don't match what Brainard says he represents, and of course Tully doesn't challenge him.I'm wondering what Tully will have to say if the feds ongoing investigation of public corruption in Carmel yields indictments soon.