CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: Community resolutions for 2007

It’s a week past the appropriate time to be writing about New Year’s resolutions, but from the feel of traffic heading in and out of town during rush hour, it appears a number of folks are still on vacation.

I think the vast majority of us are ready now to get back down to business, so I feel justified in my timing.

Therefore, be it resolved:

Mayor Bart Peterson and Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi should continue to address the city’s unacceptable crime rates. To their credit, they took significant steps last year by adding a night court to deal with heavy caseloads and boosting the 2007 city budget for public safety and criminal justice.

They are on the right tack and need to put political differences and agendas aside to make more things happen this year to bring crime rates under control. The reasons from a business perspective are obvious and don’t need to be reiterated here.

In a similar vein, state officers and legislators need to put their differences on the back burner and enact measures that will enhance education in Indiana, including making full-day kindergarten a reality. Higher-education funding should be addressed as well.

It’s no secret that poor education and low high-school graduation rates go hand-in-hand with crime. So by working on these first two resolutions, we can have widespread impact on our communities’ futures, as well as the futures of our kids.

As we pointed out in our editorial last week, IBJ Daily readers picked crime and education as the two most important issues for Indianapolis in 2007.

Speaking of putting differences aside, in the spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship, both Democrats and Republicans need to lose their penchant for making knee-jerk, sound-bite comments in the media. They are divisive and serve to generate emotion rather than productive debate.

Some Democrats, for example, would do well to consult their dictionaries and learn the difference between the words “sale” and “lease.” An educated college professor might also be able to explain the difference between “privatization” and “selling the farm.”

We shall leave daylight-saving time alone.

Local business-development groups Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, Indy Partnership and Indianapolis Downtown Inc. would do well to finish their negotiations soon and get the show on the road.

Whatever form and name it takes, the resulting consolidated group will present a more unified front in promoting strategic economic growth in Indiana and providing service to companies wishing to locate and/or grow here. Both are key elements in the competitive game of economic development.

The partners working with Marriott to build our new convention-center hotel need to get together with their architects and come up with a bold design that will add a signature building to our skyline.

I know the message has been sent on many fronts, but it’s so important it can’t be emphasized enough. As IBJ Editor Tom Harton asked last week in his column, “Is Indianapolis starting to take architecture seriously?” We hope so.

And, on a less-significant note:

The Indianapolis Colts need to make some major moves of their own in the off season to shore up the team’s defense, which has been the weak link this season and is likely to keep the team from going deep into the playoffs, let alone making the Super Bowl.

It is true, however, that you can go to the Super Bowl and even win it with a weak defense.

Of the 80 teams that have played in the first 40 Super Bowls, 17 actually fielded defenses that gave up more yards per game to opponents than this year’s Colts. Of the 17, five actually won the Big Game. In other words, one of every eight Super Bowl winners had a defense worse than the Colts’.

It’s obviously possible, but I don’t like the odds.

Katterjohn is publisher of IBJ.To comment on this column, go to IBJ Forum at www.ibj.comor send e-mail to

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