What would my wish list be for Indianapolis for 2007?

1. Revitalize West and East sides. I realize that the areas around Eastgate and Lafayette Square no longer matter now that white folks have moved out of those areas. However, it has come to my attention that there are folks, who granted, may be non-white, who do have money and are willing to spend it. We live and work in these areas and like our neighborhoods as much as folks in Brownsburg, Avon, Fishers, or Greenwood.

2. Super Bowl. Sports franchises are often the face of the city, which is why it is so important that Indianapolis teams have quality character guys on their teams (memo to the Pacers). A lot of a city’s self-esteem is wrapped up in its sports franchises. We look good on Monday night television, but the Colts need to make it to the Super Bowl. While it’s too late to have the Super Bowl here in 2007, but 2007 would be a good year to announce when we will be hosting a Super Bowl.

3. Embrace our Internationality. Rather than fearing the influx of “brown people,” we should embrace them. All of my favorite cities, from London to New York, have strong international flavor and appeal. We seem to go out of our way to fight any hints of anyone non-Midwestern, as if we wish to cling to our provincialism.

4. Racial Reconciliation. Ha! I might as well wish for world peace while I’m at it. I tell you what, since I’m not interested in everyone holding hands and singing “kumbaya,” I’d settle for people learning to respect each others’ stories. I’d settle for the media not stirring up stories that aren’t there. I’d settle for improved police relations with the black community. I’d settle for an event-free year. Reconciliation is costly and often humbling. It involves risk. And it should be what we are about.

5. Address our Poverty. It’s easy to blame the poor. They are under-represented. There aren’t many political action committees, few professional lobbying, publicists in the media on their behalf. Because this is the land of opportunity, often times poverty is a choice, the natural consequence of a lifetime of poor decisions. However, that doesn’t address the systemic poverty, the children born into circumstances beyond their control. Thankfully there are organizations like Outreach, Inc.

6. Reduce our Murder Rates. On the surface, more police sounds like an easy answer; that’s because better trained, better funded, and more police officers are always good. However, police respond once crimes have been committed. Unless you have a cop on every corner, 24/7, they aren’t going to be much by way of deterrence. We can’t just shrug our shoulders and leave the solution strictly in the hands of the police – people we already ask a lot from in one breath and casually disrespect in the other. Myself included.

7. Fix our Schools. Schooling is underappreciated. Education should be there for those who want it, but if you’re determined to screw up your life because you know everything already, good luck to you. We can’t just throw money at the problem. We need a comprehensive re-thinking of how we do school and transmit knowledge.

8. Public Workers Appreciation Day. I’m just saying. I love my postal workers, my trash collectors, my school teachers, my police officers, fire department, and yes, even my BMV workers.

Just a few things I’m wishing for.

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