Thursday, October 04, 2007

Letter Calling for an Investigation into the Handling of Chuckwagon BBQ

Below is the copy of the letter I will be personally delivering tomorrow morning. I would encourage everyone to contact their councilmen, commissioners and mayor Richard about this matter. We can make a difference but people-powered politics only works if the citizenry gets involved. If local government won't listen to you then contact the Associated Press. If they still won't listen then contact the national newscasts. Or if you're creative, make a documentary about this or other incidents and share it on You Tube for millions to see. Just do something - don't let this happen again.

Contact the city clerk - skennedy@ci.ft-wayne.in.us - and ask her to forward your e-mail on to the council.
Contact the county commissioners - commissioner@co.allen.in.us
Contact mayor Richard - mayor@ci.ft-wayne.in.us

City Council, Commissioners, Mayor Richard:

I'm sure you have all read about the tragic story of Bruce Marshall and how the local health department ruined his business (Chuckwagon BBQ) and may have even contributed to his deteriorating health. I want to share my thoughts and concerns with you in hope that you will take action that will help explain how this could happen and what can be done to prevent it in the future.

I really enjoyed Chuckwagon. As somebody who has a smoker and loves bbq, I enjoyed the few occasions I had to talk shop with Bruce. I remember discussing the pros and cons of tomato vs vinegar based sauces. I also remember talking about smoked bologna sandwiches as well as whether or not the slaw should go on the side or on the pulled pork sandwich directly. It truly was the best bbq in this town.

I was extremely saddened to read the story in yesterday's paper. I was not close with Bruce but yet I still mourn his passing. Maybe it's guilt for not doing enough to bring attention to this injustice or maybe it's rage - I'm not sure.

Deep down I've always felt that government should be about helping people, making sure the little guy isn't forgotten and trampled on. That's the very core of my belief in government and yesterday it was shattered. Who was there to stand up for Bruce? Where were his councilmen, his mayor, his county commissioners? This city, across the board, failed Bruce Marshall. I can only hope that his tragic death can help jumpstart the process of reforming government so that it better serves the people and businesses of this community instead of working against them.

I think the city council and county commissioners should initiate a joint investigation into this matter so that we can all learn why the health department put these unnecessary roadblocks in front of this business. This investigation should also encourage others to come forward if they feel they've been treated unfairly by city and/or county departments.

At one point or another, each and every one of you have talked about finding ways to cut red tape in order to help citizens and businesses. Now is the time. I think local government at least owes Mr Marshall that much.

Sincerely

Jeff Pruitt

7 comments:

Andrew Kaduk said...

Holy shit, Jeff...you're sounding a little bit like a capitalist!

Anyway, I figured I'd pontificate a touch since my affinity for smoky charred animal flesh is not exactly a secret...hell, you've eaten some of my pride-and-joy 5-hour spare ribs...LOL.

Anyway, I'm at somewhat of a loss when it comes to this particular ordinance and the enforcement thereof. Case in point: Casa Grille. They cook their pizzas in a brick oven using cured hardwoods. The smoke goes up a chimney and is released into the wild, not unlike any outdoor smoking/grilling apparatus that is supposedly "restricted." What exactly makes the distinction? Does Casa get an exemption simply because their operation is enclosed by walls? What "health hazard" exactly is the ordinance trying to circumvent? Furthermore, who came up with this? Obviously someone had to introduce such a measure....
I have a very close friend who spent several years working as an Allen County health inspector (you may have met him at my party, Jeff), and he is as confused by this as everyone else appears to be. I find it absolutely preposterous that Port-a-pit is exempt from such legislation because of their "transient" status, especially because they are from Edgerton, Ohio. This literally means that a company who pays precisely ZERO Indiana/Allen County taxes has more commercial rights than traditional brick-and-mortar companies indigenous to the Hoosier state.

Where do you even start with this? Good god, a guy could get lost in the legislative chaos here.

Take any Applebee's in the area and you'll find an equal amount of pollution spewing from their overhead exhaust hoods...how could a legislator split hairs in good conscience? It must take a different breed...heh.

Grill on!

BTW, I have always found Griffin's to be the pinnacle of BBQ perfection in the Summit City...just my opinion.

Karen Goldner said...

Thanks for pursuing this, Jeff. The problems that Mr. Marshall encountered really point out the need for City Council to be more willing to look at the city's (and in this instance, county's) ordinances and either make changes to city rules or lobby hard for changes to county ones. If City Council spent the energy on improving existing ordinances that they spend on new ones, I think we'd all be better off.

Jennifer Jeffrey, Chair LPAC said...

Griffin's is only open two days a week, now, by the way.

Fridays and Saturdays.

Dave MacDonald said...

Jeff,

I applaud your efforts to bring attention to this issue. Mr. Marshall was a kind man trying to live the American Dream.

Dave

Parson said...

I don't mean to hijack your comments, but here is another sad story caused by a city council.

Man pulls gun at council meeting

A barber in Clarksville Tenn. Pulled out a gun and shot himself right in front of the council when they voted down rezoning his property so he could stay in business.

Parson said...

I just thought of something else, I wonder how our mayor hopefuls feel about this and if they will try to do anything?

John Good said...

Andrew - I'm guessing if I type in "devil's advocate" on Wiki, your pic will be there. . .;) EXCELLENT points!