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The Smoke Clears…


Fort Wayne Reader


Fort Wayne City Council members are on the verge of approving a sweeping ban on smoking in public places around the city. On January 16th, a near complete public smoking ban won preliminary approval by a vote of 7 to 1, with one abstention. A final vote is scheduled for January 23rd. If history is any guide, the final vote should mirror the preliminary one. If approved, the ban would outlaw smoking in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and all other public places.

The preliminary vote followed lengthy debate at the council table including a powerpoint health presentation by Councilman Tim Pape (D-5) and a chart presentation by Councilman John Crawford (R-At-Large). Both promoted the tighter smoking restrictions as a means of protecting the public, as well as restaurant and bar employees, from the dangers of second-hand smoke. Both voted to approve the ban, along with Councilmen Tom Hayhurst (D-4), Tom Smith (R-1), Don Schmidt (R-2), Sam Talarico (R-At-Large) and John Shoaff (D-At-Large).

The sole vote against the ban came from Councilman Tom Didier (R-3). Didier proposed amending the ordinance to grandfather restaurants that had previously invested in distinct smoking areas per the current Fort Wayne smoking ban. That law allows smoking in bars and restaurants only if the business has a sealed off smoking area to protect non-smoking patrons. Despite an impassioned, albeit often baffling oratory, Didier’s amendment went down in flames. So did amendments by Councilman Glynn Hines (D-6), who wanted to exempt private clubs and American Legion posts. In the end, Hines abstained from voting on the smoking ban.

Once it receives final approval, the new smoking ordinance will take effect on June 1st of this year. The new ban exempts tobacco shops that derive the majority of their income from tobacco sales.

Fort Wayne Mayor Graham Richard has written a book titled “Performance is the Best Politics: How to Create High-Performance Government Using Lean Six Sigma.” The book touts Fort Wayne’s application of Six Sigma business improvement strategies to government services. Six Sigma uses detailed study and analysis to help achieve greater efficiency. The methodology was heralded by major manufacturers like GE and Motorola. Richard is the first mayor to adapt the methodology to municipal government The Richard Administration claims that since 2000, Fort Wayne has saved more than $10 million using Lean Six Sigma.

Mayor Richard says he wrote the book in response to dozens of requests from government organizations wanting to learn about how Fort Wayne used Six Sigma. Much of the interest came from the national recognition the mayor received from author Michael George’s book, “Lean Six Sigma for Service,” which featured City of Fort Wayne success stories.

The numbers are in on the campaign dollars spent in last November’s local elections. The race for Allen County Sheriff between Ken Fries, Tina Taviano and P.J. Smith was by far the most expensive race. Taviano raised and spent more than $247,000 in her bid to become the first Democrat in decades and the first woman ever to serve as Allen County Sheriff. Fries, who won the election, didn’t spend quite as much. According to campaign reports, the Republican raised more than $210,000 and spent most of that. Independent candidate P.J. Smith ran on a promise not to seek campaign money. According to his filing with the Allen County Election Board, Smith kept that promise. He raised and spent a grand total of $0.

The loser also outspent the winner in the race for the first district Allen County Council seat. Incumbent Republican James Ball (who was appointed to the seat after Michael Cunegin resigned to take a job with the state) raised $16, 428 and spent more than $12,000. By contract, Democrat Maye Johnson, who won handily, raised only $2,000 and spent about $1,700.

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©2018 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.