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The politics of…

By Jim Sack

Fort Wayne Reader


The Politics of Haste

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. City officials, of course, have their (your) money in place, Ash Brokerage is said to be ready to go, but the high rise apartment complex envisioned by the team of Hanning and Bean, estimated to cost well over $30 million, is still scrounging for investors. Most people hope Hanning/Bean will round up enough angels to fulfill their promises, but more than a few insiders wonder why the project was announced before financing was in place… Chalk it up to the urge to seek approval.

The Politics of Sloth

Recently, at city council, during citizen mic time, an east-side property manager ambled to the mic and rambled through a rant about Neighborhood Code Enforcement. His complain, essentially, was that NCE was making him bring his tawdry structures up to code. My my. Council members listened motionlessly in hopes the guy would just go away. Neighborhood Code only “strikes” when a complaint is filed. They do not range through the city in unmarked cars searching for pealing paint. They have no quotas to make, no friends to impress. They do, however, perform an essential job for all of us because, like the property manager, many, too many folk, do not maintain their properties, bringing down adjacent property values and making the city look like crap. If anything, council should fund more inspectors to go after those whose standards are well below the public norm. Council, however, seems comfy with mediocrity.

The Politics of Fear

“I got a call from a 80-year old lady,” gasped one city councilman. She couldn’t shovel snow and would be up-in-arms if the city forced her to clear her sidewalks. (Call a teenager, stimulate the economy…) The cowed councilman proclaimed he would not vote for mandatory clearing which he, apparently, is unaware is currently the law. The same trepidation came from the blue-ribbon, Hawaiian shirt wearing panel of officials convened to reexamine the law. They did nothing other than consume coffee and generate self-serving publicity. The law says each property owner must clear their walks after a snow fall. Council truly fears voters so they are not about to enforce this law, even if it means walks are impassable for students, for postal carriers, dog walkers, heart-walkers or the rest of us. Council figures if someone is killed walking in the street because the sidewalks are impassable it is the victim’s fault for trying to get somewhere in life… That’s our risk-averse council, but they are good at photo ops. So, if you think a certain law is a pain, just get granny to hammer a councilman. They bend so easily.

The Politics of Fly-by-the-Seat-of-Your-Pants

But, what sidewalks? In most neighborhoods sidewalks are in abysmal condition with plenty of trip hazards and areas where complete sections are missing, sunken or rubble. More than a few sidewalks simply dead-end. The mayor promised a “solution” but said solution is makeshift at best and a smoke screen at worst: the City, he promised, his hair flowing in the wind, will repair scruffy sidewalks when adjacent to streets are under extensive repair. With neither dedicated funding nor an enabling ordinance in place council won’t long not have to worry about sidewalk snow removal. Win-win for mayor and council…

The Politics of the Dark Side

By their own admission Cameron Marcum and Chelsea Ormsby starved a puppy (yes, a puppy!) to death because they didn’t like it. The miscreants locked the pup in a room and let is slowly starve to death. Scratch marks on the door showed the puppy frantically begged for help…until its death rattle. Both are angry young people raised in the affluence of the suburban west side who went to school at upwardly mobile Homestead High. Neither has any excuse for such vile cruelty. Sadly, both seem smug about what they did, another notch on the gun. If you are as indifferent to the suffering of an animal then think of this: Marcum and Ormsby could turn on you someday, just like they chose to starve a dog to death, they could kill you. Murders practice on kittens and graduate to bigger prey. The laws of Allen County seem ridiculously medieval when animal cruelty is involved. In their (s)mug shots Ormsby and Marcum look indifferent, defiant, proud. They expect a slap or two on the wrist in exchange for street cred among their misfit friends. Hey, Cam, maybe a new tat depicting a dog belly-up. Anyone who loves a pet should wonder if Prosecutor Karen Richards has the kugels to send these two away for years, and if Animal Care and Control, who apparently knew about their abusive nature and their puppy mill, will ask for tighter, much tighter control on such callous breeders. Doubtful. We know our responsibility-averse council would not dare to stand up against abusers, let alone grannies. A community is judged by the way it treats its animals. Think: animals have no voice but yours. In this regard not only are Ormsby and Marcum murderers, but their negligent parents and our laissez-faire law-makers share the blame. Animal abuse is wrong…and it is a sure sign of a dangerous attitude that we should not accept in our community. For the puppy it was an agonizing death that demands punishment as significant as the crime.

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