137 articles found by Jim Sack
||Oh, the Drama
I tell people who scratch their heads that going to council every Tuesday is the best entertainment in Fort Wayne. It is Wagner, Hamlet, Luther before the Diet of Worms, a telanovella, Sunday’s sermon, and shades of the Inquisition rolled into one glorious show.
||A Pride of Lawyers
A budget is the sum of goals quantified.
||Can Mitch save the local GOP from itself?
The Republicans hold a 7 to 2 advantage on city council, suggesting they should be able to push through any bit of legislation they choose and then override a veto should they have to…
||Just too good a bet
$500,000 vs. $60,000. $3 million in “free” money. 7 to 2.
||Click bait kings
One of the best run cities in America is how the Henry Administration framed findings of a recently released popular survey by an internet click-bate company; we are the ninth best run city in America.
||Amateur Hour at Council
Council has voted to raise taxes a slim notch to the applause of most and the hisses and angry diatribes of a few. And that itself is significant. When do you recall applause at the passage of a tax?
The recent public hearing at city council concerning the proposed new tax was nicely civil. A few dozen folk spoke in favor, a few against, and no one insulted anyone or threatened armageddon should the tax pass, which it likely will.
||The Tax Plan for the Riverfront
The vote on a tax increase to pay for riverfront development will be a watershed moment in the history of Fort Wayne, one of those “to be or not to be, to progress or stand pat” moments.
||They fought the Longs (and the Longs won)
The fight over the West Jefferson rezoning offers a few questions…
John Urbahns is a calm, soft-spoken man who works now for Greater Fort Wayne, but previously was one of the City’s leaders in economic development.
||Good government magic
Carol Helton pulled a rabbit out of the hat the other day.
||Pigs at the trough
Watching recent public testimony at the state house concerning low power cell towers was informative. The bill sponsor, Brandt Hershman of Buck Creek, near Lafayette, was the first in a line to speak.
April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany. In the course of the next two years some 100 young men and women from this area died, half from disease in training camps.
||Controlling our destiny
The one catalytic and transformational proposal that failed to get a round of applause during the mayor’s state of the city was the arena/event center. Silence. Not one lone clap.
||A Billion, Give or Take, in Projects
Of the $300-$350 million to be invested in the GE redevelopment about $40 million, one-seventh of the total, will be the developer’s money.
||On taxes, gaffes, and How to Sway Council
The women’s march in Fort Wayne was a remarkable event. Turn out was around two thousand people, the crowd was buoyant, kids played, dogs wagged tails and old friends bumped into each other.
New year, new president at City Council, where the gavel moves from the combative Russ Jehl to the affable Tom Didier…
City council discussed sidewalk upkeep at a rare special session and did nothing. Russ Jehl, the former council president, called the meeting to bring clarity to the matter and consider new policy…
Two of the city’s top enforcement officers pleaded with city council recently to pass an ordinance that would give the police chief and the head of neighborhood code enforcement, among others, another tool to pressure owners of drug houses, party houses, after hours joints, and commercial properties…
||Speaking of the Legacy…
With all of the arguing back and forth about who controls the Legacy — and even how much money is in the fund — our council seems to have forgotten the Arena, the $80 to $100 million dollar edifice that is to be built near the library, steps away from the Grand Wayne, a skip to the Embassy, and right across the street from the ballpark.
||The Big Ask, the Big Ugly, and the Big Unease
We are making Europe very nervous with our little election. During a recent trip the Europeans voiced concern that Donald Trump might somehow win.
In short, concerning the public safety director position and three other recent issues, city council has tried to grab responsibility inherent in the executive.
||Reality Sets In
On the surface it looked like a smashing good idea — end a tax that has been embroiled in controversy, and that the critics promised stifles economic development.
||The Best of intentions…
…do not always yield the best of results. Just ask freshman City Councilman Jason Arp.
||The Ides of September
Polls in this presidential election year have been notably inaccurate. In most part it is due to cellphones and landlines, the demise of the latter and the ascendance of the former
||Self promoting and self insured
We should all want Eric Doden to be a success. He runs Greater Fort Wayne and has pushed very hard for a number of projects that will greatly improve the city.
||The Alien Enemies Act of 1917
Spies in churches, demands for membership lists, subversive books pulled from library shelves, businesses harassed, mobs attacking strangers, ID required to walk across town, intimidation and coercion, that was Fort Wayne.
A consulting firm has been chosen for the waterfront project, and another for the arena. Both projects are moving inexorably
||Bayh’s return, our new police chief, and more
A savvy politician with an eye for the ironic noted, “It was easier to raise money against Liz Brown than Tom Schroeder.” Let that sink in.
While we are in the process of all things economic development — abatements, TIFs, incentives, training grants and the like — we recommend a short reading list including the Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford, and Timothy Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week.
Mom growled, “Fort Wayne does nothing but plan.” She added that we could save a small forest by just doing some of the plans we pay for, instead of just blathering about things and commissioning yet another study.
||The Long Range Plan
Greater Fort Wayne has advanced a long-range plan for the community that is excellent! Who wouldn’t want an innovative park downtown along the river, or an arena, or water front promenades, or multi-use development of the GE campus, or revitalization of the Landing?
||Dispatches from the front
n Vienna the government provides free wifi for refugees. In Indiana, we have Governor Pence, and Donald Trump. Most of we Hoosiers are the descendants of political or economic refugees.
||Surprise, Surprise edition
It was the rarest of moments at city council when the mayor offered to slit his throat, but the Republicans denied him the blade.
||Of Dollars and Euros
100 Million Dollars. That’s what the new arena might cost, based upon an article of couple of weeks ago in the News-Sentinel.
||The Perils of Riches
While many cities and states are struggling to balance their budgets, while some cities are nearly bankrupt or demanding higher taxes of their citizens just to keep police on the streets, we are in the enviable place of having a mostly balanced budget, low debt, and surplus cash in the form of the Legacy…
||Greater Fort Wayne, 5th Tuesday… and a free tote bag
I recently received an email solicitation from Governor Pence for his reelection. Some wealthy supporter of the controversial governor would match my contribution four-to-one if I could send a check by midnight.
||Breakfast with the Deputy Mayor
During breakfast recently with Deputy Mayor Karl Bandemer he made three key points: tax abatements do work; financing of Skyline Tower will ultimately benefit Fort Wayne taxpayers; and downtown is in its best shape since the 1950s.
||Into the valley of death…
Sometimes our legislators just don’t think. In this case it is newbie city councilman Paul Ensley, a Republican…
||Time to reform economic development
In the late 70s, a city worker showed me the first computerized spreadsheet of vacant industrial sites in Fort Wayne. The nation was going through a downturn and the city had decided to get in the economic development business.
This may be the biggest project that amounted to nothing in the history of Fort Wayne, or it may be the catalyst to our future. Who knows? It is certainly a pig in a poke. I write of the Regional Cities award of a whopping $42 million to help fund more than a hundred projects in northeastern Indiana.
||My Hoosier Hospitality
In the first year of a new administration a mayor can get away with a lot, especially if it is the right thing to do.
||Dirty tricks and more
Just before the city election there was an announcement by “Anonymous” of the release of a list of names of politicians with KKK connections. Over a period of a couple weeks Facebook carried blurbs that teased the release.
||Smiles and tears
Along side the balloon drops and rousing cheers there were more than a few sad faces and broken hearts at both Democrat and Republican post-election celebrations. It is usually that way at the end of a campaign, when enthusiasm and optimism trump realism…
||Canaries in the Coal Mine
Governor Mike Pence enumerates the accomplishments of his administration in campaign emails as reasons to re-elect him. Let’s look at what he and the rest of our state’s leaders leave out…
||Police chief, anyone?
Candidate Mitch Harper sidestepped the key question at his recent news conference concerning his policing policies, if elected. The question, posed by the dean of local political reporting, Kevin Leininger, was “who will be your police chief?”
||Wink and a Nod?
Mitch Harper, the Republican candidate for mayor, fired the first salvo of the fall election campaign by implying that Mayor Henry is steering public contracts to some of his favorite contributors. It is a charge deserving an honest answer.
||Those socialist Republicans
The city is about to offer a helping hand to a very prosperous business to put up a spec building — a building that has, as of yet, no buyer and no renter.
||The fighting south side
The controversial and failed Brightpoint effort to force an apartment/retail complex on a collection of south side neighborhoods had winners and losers.
||Debt, kudos, GDP and Hans Klemm
What is it about governments that causes them to go so deeply in debt? The Greek government is a good example and, nearer to home the Puerto Ricans are wallowing in IOUs.
||River development, floods, and the latest abatement scam
Forty Days and Forty Nights — it really seems to have rained that long. Unlike the catastrophically rapid flooding of 1982, this dampness has been gradual and prolonged.
||The Dark Side of Brightpoint, etc.
Councilman John Shoaff offers this tidbit of political wisdom to all who want to cast their vote the best candidate for mayor…
||Running for Congress, etc.
Liz Brown announced to replace Congressman Marlin Stutzman. Additionally, former State Senator Jim Banks is expected to announce to replace Congressman Marlin Stutzman, who thinks he can replace Senator Dan Coats, who is retiring. Musical elephants.
||Vote totals — "Surprise, Surprise" division
The big surprise of election night in Fort Wayne was the loss by Tom Smith, the long serving councilman for Fort Wayne’s suburban-northeast, First District. He lost big to a neophyte, but one with a powerful friend.
||Common wage, campaign finance, and public perception
John Crawford was recently overheard at a Republican candidates’ foo-faa promising to go after common wage, what you might call a minimum wage for carpenters and other construction pros.
||I'll take the tote bag…
The fund raising letter came from Allen County Sheriff Dave Gladieux begging for money for the Indiana Sheriff Association so they could do the work “that benefits you, your family and property against crime.”
||Maybe Rick Stevenson has a point
Before you harshly judge Township Trustee and mayoral candidate Rick Stevenson you might walk in his shoes. A few years back, I went to neighborhood meeting just south of downtown…
||Of Council, Works, Helene, and You
Usually, when a bill is brought to city council it is blandly read into the record and perfunctorily voted forward for discussion in committee the following week. Not so with John Shoaff’s bill to establish a plan for binding arbitration for city employees.
Regressive? Indiana? Can’t be… Well, seems our state is ranked as one of the 10 worst in the country for retirees and middle class families.
||Jehl, Harper, and other random thoughts
City Councilman Russ Jehl is in real estate. In that business prospective deals are measured in ROI, return on investment. Thus, Mr. Jehl would like to hear from the Henry Administration what they project the ROI to be for Cityscape Flats…
||Insiders, Corruption, and Jails
The Indiana Department of Economic Development had a rotten reputation in the Daniels Administration for keeping secret much of the business it did in the people’s name.
||Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics
You could add to that list “survey results.” First, surveys conducted by partisan organizations are often used to prove a point, rather than inform.
||Inane and cynical
It would have been ludicrous had it not been so inane.
||The Rivers, lofts, the addressless, and friction
Two top city employees handed out annotated four-color flyers detailing the tentative plans for the downtown river front. As the flyers were passed from hand-to-hand, Pam Holocher and Sherese Fortriede offered an explanation of each drawing and diagram.
||XL Pipeline, the Mayor’s Office, and more
Gas prices have tumbled thanks to the law of supply and demand. The supply is at record levels while the world economy has slowed; Japan is officially in recession, Europe is a mixed bag of weak and weaker, and the Chinese economy has cooled,
||The Election… and more
There was little surprise in the local election — the Republicans won everything. Why is that? In large part it is because of the ineffectiveness of the Democratic Party to express its values in language that Republicans can relate to and identify with.
||Europe in turmoil
The former foreign minister of Germany, Joschka Fischer, recently was quoted in a prominent German newspaper as saying Europe was at war with Russia. He was right.
||Even visionaries fail sometimes
Bill Bean should be commended even in failure. He dreamt big, offered some tantalizing ideas for the big dig downtown but in the end things just didn’t work out.
||Money, money, money… money…
A raid on the legacy. For a couple of years now, the mayor and most council members have pledged that Legacy Fund dollars should be reserved for “transformational “ and “catalytic” projects. So much for that promise.
||Coats’ red herring, and Edy’s ‘fesses up
Two recent editorials by our Senator Dan Coats in the News Sentinel make you wonder where ever does he find the time?
||Shine, Bwana Crawford, and the County Commissioners
News that Steve Shine had taken it upon himself to save the union movement in Allen County set a lot of heads to scratching.
||What is conflict of interest?
What is conflict of interest?
||Blue flu two?
So, what is it about the uniformed unions that scare the bejesus out of our rugged, manly politicians?
||Dr. Crawford’s fuzzy numbers… and logic
In the spirit of John Crawford’s analysis of how the city will save by ending collective bargaining, I have done my own calculation of how it will affect me…
||The Dream Team and more…
First, kudos to Mayor Tom Henry for appointing two hardworking, savvy and dedicated public servants to key positions in his administration…
Tourism is boon for most towns and Fort Wayne should be no different. The benefits are myriad from providing a source of new income, new jobs, beautification for residents, and creating a marketable image. In short, an attractive town is better than the opposite.
||The politics of…
Most everyone welcomed last September’s ballyhooed announcement of a massive downtown development by Ash Brokerage, Hanning/Bean and the City of Fort Wayne. Seven months later the deal is still not quite together…
||Running on empty
Envy this: the economic development leadership at Greater Fort Wayne and the Regional Partnership have begun working on a set of matrices to evaluate their own work… and city council thinks that’s just fine.
||Siberia, Chechnya and Sevastopol
Latvia. March 1995. I asked my hosts why all the Latvian flags draped with black crepe. My hosts said it commemorated the forced deportation to Siberia by Stalin during WWII of some 250,000 Latvian leaders.
||Make hay while the sun shines
There is a contest to replace affable, capable Senator Tom Wyss in Indianapolis between County Councilman Darren Vogt, outgoing Sheriff Ken Fries and former city Councilwoman Liz Brown.
John Shoaff was right, Barcelona may be the loveliest city I have ever visited…
||A short round up
Sandy Kennedy is Fort Wayne’s mom. She certainly is that to most current and past members of city council.
||A Marriage of Church and State
My dearest friend put his arm around my shoulder after I had locked horns with a cheating priest in a Transylvania village.
||Toothless in Fort Wayne
A few years ago a petite blond politician stuck 100 yard signs along my boulevard from Foster Park to Calhoun Street.
||Conflicts, trains, and Boy Scouts
You can imagine how Belinda Lewis must have felt when she walked into court and saw Mitch Harper. Belinda runs Animal Care and Control. Mr. Harper is a powerful councilman.
||Do chickens really come home to roost?
Do chickens really come home to roost? That is the question…
||UCR, EMS, IT
While on Crete for the last month I was able to read my local newspapers online. It seemed every week there was a report of a murder and drive-by shootings.
One of five US kids in poverty. Infant mortality ranks somewhere near 17th in the world. We spend nearly 16% of our GDP on healthcare and our results are lower than most of the rest of the developed world and some countries mired in grinding proverty.
||Pat yourself on the back
Senator Tom Wyss has decided it’s time to move on. The long-serving and esteemed public servant is not running again.
||Dotting "I"s, crossing "T"s, meaning nothing
The Allen County Election Board recently announced that their staff will audit much more closely the finance reports of candidates for local office.
||A few thoughts
Seems there are a couple more politicians assessing chances of becoming mayor: County Commissioners Nelson Peters and former three-term mayor Paul Helmke.
||Eating our young
There is a revolution going on in America, a counter-revolution where high-end Prada stock is up, while Sears, Penney’s and Kohl’s — companies that cater to the vast middle class — are floundering. The question is why?
||The Changing of the Guard
July 2013 will be a month remembered here for headline changes…
||Jobs, Tom. Jobs.
Tom Henry is golden now and about to go platinum…
||Trains and votes and prayers
I will not hold my breath, but I will pray for my many friends who “hope” that rail service will be resumed to Fort Wayne by 2020. It is an ambitious goal…
||Winners and Losers in the budget debate
Anytime there is a grand debate about taxes there are winners and losers, and that is the case in Fort Wayne as we push and pull about how to pay for repairs to neglected infrastructure and to shore up our safety services.
||Harper vs. Henry in 2015?
Mitch Harper is eminently qualified to be Mayor of Fort Wayne. He is a good man who knows nearly everyone in the city, as well as favorite pets and odd predilections. He has served long on City Council and was a bit of a boy wonder at age 22 when he was elected in 1978 to the Indiana General Assembly…
||Our man in Iraklion
For almost a month I have been in Europe, and for most of that time on Crete, a Greek island in the middle of the Mediterranean not even five times the size of Allen County…
||Sham and shame
What started as a prudent initiative by City Controller Pat Roller has gone badly off track.
||A few random thoughts…
I know a young woman who works for the city. Over the past two years her income has sunk by some $3,000 as cuts and new charges were added to her paycheck…
||My neighborhood, my street, my corner
A gun shot sounds differently than a car’s back-fire — sharper, more defined at the beginning and end. It was clearly a gun shot, and a large caliber, a baritone, not a tenor.
||Winners & losers
Before the brawl begins let’s give a round of applause to Mayor Tom Henry and Controller Pat Roller…
||Reform is never pretty
Reform is never pretty: usually there are two sides and the gulf between the interests of the status quo and the reformers is wide. Frequently, neither side understands the intentions of the other.
||The bad news is, there is no bad news
Before a couple hundred people — mostly cheering city employees, camp followers, the media and an occasional concerned citizen — the Mayor delivered 31 applause lines in a 30-minute speech…
||The visit of Eric Kuhne
It was a stellar presentation that enthralled a packed house in City Council chambers on January 29.
Remember that man in a flack jacket standing in a embattled market in Bagdhad a few years ago, helicopter gunships providing cover overhead and watchful marines on all sides? He is now our governor…
||…and now, a few word about the coming year
Someone said there is no time, only clocks, that the change from 2012 to 2013 is more about psychology and less about reality, that this pause as winter starts is created simply to sell presents.
||Corruption, Cronyism and Construction: That was 2012
In 2012, the biggest stories in local politics were about Corruption, featuring Paul Moss, county councilman, standing at center stage; Cronyism starring another county councilman, Larry Brown, whispering from behind drawn curtains, and Construction, which saw the lengthy and very public Legacy process take its biggest steps forward.
||Indiana: another kind of “Red” state
A precinct co-worker on election day sneered that election observers from the UN would get a very rough reception if they came to her precinct.
||Rebuilding from the rubble
I spent most of September and part of October in Germany, traveling from city to city, observing, trying to learn. Part of the trip was to observe a sister city ceremony in Gera, but mostly I was among Germans from morning till night.
||The legacy of Howard Chapman
The real hero of the week in Gera, Germany, was Howard Chapman — not the Mayor, not me, not any of the other dozen or so dignitaries who traveled from Fort Wayne to our German sister city to celebrate 20 years of partnership and to renew our vows of cooperation.
||Our primary problem
Three years out of every four a testy woman comes to vote in precinct 502/503. She invariably refuses to declare a party, required in order to vote in the primary, and argues the point loudly with poll workers.
||Road to Ruin
The Jehl-Crawford-Harper initiative on spending by the three conservative city council members is both ironic and disappointing.
||My Man Mitch
It was a very understated way to announce a run for mayor. In fact, it was almost an unannouncement.
||Tackling Fort Wayne's fiscal 'problems': A Modest Proposal
You may have heard that Fort Wayne is in dire financial shape. You may also have heard that Fort Wayne is in much, much better financial shape that the majority of cities in the country and almost all of our Hoosier brethren and sistern.
Larry Brown seems not to have gotten the memo. The President of Allen County Council has called two secret meetings of the joint city-county task force to deal with the issue on tax abatement reform without informing the public
||Time to move
Half-way. That is about where we are in the Legacy time line.
Councilman Mitch Harper is right. He has proposed studying the cost of burying Fort Wayne’s utility wires, and it is time, right now, while memories are fresh, to give the idea our fullest consideration.
When urban enthusiasts talk about economic development and bringing new life to the downtown, Fort Wayne’s rivers are highlighted for their potential.
||Robo-cop on patrol
A few weeks back Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York came to City Council for authorization to purchase new technology for a couple patrol cars.
We now have a Chinese sister city. Here is some of the back story.
||5th Tuesday comes of age
For the last five years a debate has developed concerning Fort Wayne’s, and by extension Allen County’s, tax abatement policy.
||The GOP purity test
The Republicans are about to go through another round of ritual purifications, this time in Indiana, including one primary contest in Allen County. And, given the public apathy and antipathy toward politicians, nobody seems to care.
||Moving Mad Anthony Wayne
Time to move the statue of Mad Anthony Wayne? That is the talk at the highest levels in the community, and it’s about time.
||And our new deputy mayor is…
Politics is so much about signals, real and perceived. So the appointment of career politician Mark Becker to the post of deputy mayor sends many messages to the residents of Fort Wayne about the capacity and will of Tom Henry to move boldly forward, wherever that might be.
||De facto deputy
Do we really need a deputy mayor? Seems we already have one in fact, if not by title: Pat Roller.
||First year bombshells and big moves
Spring cleaning starts right after elections at city hall.
City Council President Tom Smith likes a challenge
John Crawford waited until most of the other councilmen had taken their turn during “open mic” at a recent city council meeting.
||Our man in Montevideo…
People are nervous in Montevideo. Driving to work is dangerous, being home is dangerous, filling up is dangerous.
||The New Balance of Power
You could say that Mayor Tom Henry was the big loser in November’s election.
||Affairs of State (and Clinton)
There is not much pretty or inviting about Coliseum Boulevard. It is a gaggle of wires, signs, malls, asphalt and heavy traffic. Envision that along State Boulevard and you will understand why City councilman John Shoaff and scores of neighborhood leaders are fighting to protect the boulevard from becoming Coliseum II.
||The coming Council
For every silver cloud there is a dark lining, especially in politics.
||The Abatement Game
Who really benefits from tax abatement programs? Is it the entrepreneur with a winning idea but a bit short on cash? Is it the area of town where unemployment rates are high and buildings lie vacant? Is it the average citizen whose tax “contribution” is used to spur job growth and a richer community? Or have the abatement system and the myriad economic development programs become little more than vehicles to reward insiders, supplements to already healthy bottom lines?
||The community budgeting process has become an embarrassment
What could have been a mature discussion of what needs to be done in the coming years and how to pay for it has, instead, became a snarling match degraded to spats over where to recharge an electric car.
||Our health is killing us
Keep your clothes on, but it is time for a little private self-examination…countywide.
||The men behind the curtain
On election night the TV air-heads will breathlessly announce: “with twenty precincts reporting Mayor Tom Henry is in a big lead.” A few minutes later at the next break, with a few more precincts in, they will excitedly announce “Paula Hughes has closed the gap…