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Et tu, Kelty?
Fort Wayne Reader
“I don’t need the government telling small businesses how to do business.”
That’s what Republican mayoral candidate Matt Kelty told The Journal Gazette late last year. His remarks were in opposition to a far-reaching smoking ban in bars and restaurants in Allen County. “It’s not about new government regulation to make opening a business more difficult,” Kelty was quoted as saying.
But now, Kelty supporters and opponents alike are questioning whether this elephant has forgotten his previous position on government intrusion into the affairs of legal business activity. Seizing on a sad but salacious news story about a pair of twelve year-olds caught having sex in an Indianapolis school, Kelty announced that as he would “do everything within his power as mayor to curb a sex-saturated culture that contributes to today’s utter confusion and mayhem.” According to a news release from the Kelty Campaign, part of the solution includes “passing ordinances to regulate and restrict sexually oriented businesses, or SOBs.”
While few people would rush to the rescue of local strip clubs, some conservatives are now questioning Kelty’s committment to the underlying principle of smaller government. According to the “Issues and Action Plans” portion of Kelty’s website (www.mattkelty.com), “The private sector respects strong government that operates within its bounds, government that does not reach into their lives, their operations, or their pocketbooks.” Apparently, the Kelty Campaign doesn’t feel that all businesses are created equal.
“The obvious place to start is exactly where our current leadership failed, in that there are virtually no meaningful ordinances that regulate SOBs,” reads a statement by Kelty. “Many government officials—even members of my own party—have paid lip service to this need for change...”
The debate has been a hot topic with local political bloggers, and Kelty’s disparaging comments about members of his own Republican Party drew particularly harsh criticism.
“Does anyone remember Fort Wayne in the mid-1980s, when we were FAR more infested with the kind of businesses Kelty has suddenly discovered,” one comment read. “It was a Republican, then-prosecutor and now Judge Steve Sims, who crusaded for years - successfully - to run the worst of the worst of these businesses out of town. To try to convince Fort Wayne that it’s suddenly being overrun by trash is intellectually dishonest. To accuse the Republicans of ignoring the issue is just plain dishonest.”
Allen County Democratic Party chairman Kevin Knuth is taking issue with some of the tactics allegedly used in a hotly-contested political race. The problem is that the race in question was five months ago and the alleged infraction is just plain... well, you decide for yourself.
In a March 13, 2007 letter to his GOP counterpart Steve Shine, Knuth complains that then-candidate Ken Fries used a fire truck in a campaign commercial leading up to the November 2006 Allen County Sheriff’s race. Well, maybe Fries did and maybe he didn’t. Knuth admits that he hadn’t actually confirmed any of this, but he asks Shine to investigate whether a St. Joe Township Fire Department truck was used to take aerial shots for the commercial. Knuth says he’s “alarmed at the issue of how the public safety was compromised” by a fire truck being out of its service area - if the charge is accurate.
The Democratic Party chief also complains that Fries’ now defunct website - defunct probably because the election was five months ago - has a link to the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, which, of course, Fries now runs. Knuth suggests that Fries’ old website might violate campaign finance laws because it doesn’t carry a disclaimer. Did I mention that the site is defunct since the election is five months in the past?
READY FOR HIS CLOSE-UP
Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters has stepped up his campaign for the GOP nomination for the Fort Wayne mayor’s office. This week, the Peters’ Campaign began airing a series of television ads touting Peters experience and conservative street-cred.
“There are a lot of things you can call Nelson Peters,” the ad states, “a successful small businessman... principled conservative... a proven tax fighter.” You can take a look at the ad on the Peters for Mayor website. The address is: www.nelsonpeters.com/TVAds.htm