Zach Adamson, who is running for Indianapolis City-County Council At-Large, sent a Letter to the Editor to the Indianapolis Star. It was published on Monday. The letter dives into the relationship between the City of Indianapolis and a local neighborhood group. The letter reads:
Every August, neighborhoods across the country join forces and reclaim their streets from the forces that seek to keep law-abiding citizens locked in their homes and afraid. It's an event called National Night Out Against Crime.
As is tradition in our neighborhood, we have a huge block party highlighted by the Parade of Children, a symbolic walk through our neighborhood with residents and public safety officers. We have a massive cookout, feeding nearly 300 people. We have a school supply and clothing giveaway for hundreds of our kids.
We do all this free of charge to both the residents and the city for the simple reason that it has helped reduce crime.
This year is different. For the first time in nearly 10 years, after we submitted our application for a permit, we got an invoice in an email from the city. The fees include a never-before-heard-of permit fee and an application fee for a total of $57 (a fee to collect the fee).
Also, despite never having a single issue in 10 years, we were told we must hire an off-duty police officer for security.
Even though our event costs the city nothing, they want to charge us to help them do their job of controlling crime. It's madness.
In what universe can a mayor say public safety is job one and then charge fees to communities working to build collaborations with the city to help in that effort? I realize the city is struggling financially, but to even entertain the notion of using communities helping fight crime as a revenue source is unthinkable.
Is it any wonder our crime rates are what they are? This is just one of a growing number of examples of the disconnect between the city and its residents and one that has prompted a number of community leaders, like myself, to run for public office.
I hope the voters are watching closely.
Founder, Willard Park of Holy Cross-Westminster Civic Alliance
Candidate for City-County Council, At Large
Adamson notes in the comments section that the fees have been waived and that the event will go on as it always has, but his point is well taken. I plan to talk to Zach further on the issue. It shouldn't take a letter to the editor to get this kind of thing done.
(Full disclosure: I am an honorary co-chair of Adamson for Indy.)