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And Our Next Mayor is…
Fort Wayne Reader
As Political Animal predicted in our last issue, Fort Wayne Mayor Graham Richard is calling it quits after this term. He announced that he will not seek a third term and will instead focus on some key projects for the remainder of his time in office including downtown development and urban re-investment plans like the Renaissance Pointe housing initiative.
“I want to devote my energy over the next 15 months to work on a bipartisan basis to seize significant opportunities to enhance the community rather than focusing on running for re-election,” the Democrat mayor said.
More on Mayor Richard in a moment. The next question is who’s running to replace Richard?
The first to throw his hat in the ring was Republican Matt Kelty. Kelty, who runs his own architectural firm, has never held political office before, but a few years back, he came within 63 votes of unseating Win Moses in a race for State Representative. While political watchers from both parties expected Kelty to make a bid for mayor, most consider him a long shot.
The person most experts consider the frontrunner is Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters, who, as Political Animal reported, announced that he has created an exploratory committee... a move just shy of actually saying that he’s a candidate. However, if the guest list of Peters’ announcement is any indicator, he has strong support within the local GOP. The politicos present for his news conference included a number of Republican officer holders including members of both the Fort Wayne and Allen county councils.
On the flipside, no Democrat has yet come forward to announce his/her intentions to seek the Mayor’s office. Possible contenders include Fort Wayne Community Schools Board member Geoff Paddock; former City Councilman Tom Henry and current At-Large Councilman John Shoaff.
A BRIGHT IDEA
With his political aspirations on the backburner, Mayor Richard is indeed focusing on community initiatives and high-minded ideas. One particularly bright idea is his promotion of the “Change a Light, Change the World” campaign.
Mayor Richard talked up the idea during a recent visit to Glenwood Park Elementary School. He called on residents to replace their conventional light bulbs with their Energy Star compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL). A CFL bulb typically lasts as long as eight regular light bulbs and use only a fourth of the energy. The city claims that if every Fort Wayne home changed just one regular light bulb to a CFL bulb, it would create an energy savings equal to taking nearly 1,500 vehicles off the road.
And the city has found the perfect place to promote the idea - in the billing envelopes of City Utilities customers.
TEAR DOWN YOUR WALL!
Democrat Allen County Sheriff hopeful Tina Taviano says she wants to combine the City of Fort Wayne’s and Allen County’s 911 call centers. The two emergency operations are presently operated seperately and are divided quite literally by a wall. Taviano says one call center is the best way to keep the community safe.
“It is not effective when calls have to be transferred to another room or blocks away, or when a dispatcher must wait to see what pops up on a computer screen from a transfer,” she says. “The right hand and the left hand need to be connected to the same body and not fighting each other.”
Previous attempts to tear down the wall have hit a brick wall. Current Allen County Sheriff Jim Herman and Fort wayne Police Chief Rusty York have tried for months to reach agreement about combining their respective 911 call centers with no progress. The stumbling block is determining who will run the center - the city or the county.