Thursday, October 04, 2007

YLNI Candidate Forum

Tonight's candidate forum was very well executed by YLNI. The only thing I would've done different would have been to give the mayoral candidates a little more time. I think the council candidates probably don't deserve equal time with the mayoral candidates in an event like this.

A few quotes and observations from the forum

- There were ~60 people present not including candidates. A pretty good turnout but honestly I would've expected more. That's not a knock on YLNI; I think it shows the apathy of local voters

- Matt Kelty:
"I will execute Harrison Square to the best of my ability"

-Liz Brown:
She seemed to support the property tax "relief" options before the council. This would be a horrible idea as nearly every middle class taxpayer would pay higher taxes. She just doesn't get it

-John Crawford:
"I'm a fiscal conservative and a social libertarian"

-Bill Larson
"We're a closed economy"
I strongly disagree with this statement and I had a chance to discuss it with Bill at the Thirsty Camel after the forum was over. After talking to him I think Bill was trying to say that Harrison Square will not create the type of jobs that will bring money from outside of Fort Wayne.

-Denise Porter-Ross:
"We need you to participate and not spectate"
I strongly agree with this sentiment and I hope our next mayor creates the kind of environment that welcomes citizen oversight and participation.

-John Shoaff:
Talked about the need to take advantage of natural resources - namely our rivers. Also discussed the need for more downtown housing.

-Robert Enders:
Bill Brown's segway is illegal and we need to allow for bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk downtown

-Glynn Hines:
"When the good people of Europe sent people over here to found this country it was with government dollars"

-Ron Buskirk:
"This city is full of racism"
I thought this was the most outrageous and ridiculous comment of the evening. Are there racists in Fort Wayne? Certainly. But to insult an entire city by claiming its full of racism is beyond over-the-top in my opinion. Surprisingly I spoke with several people after the forum that agreed with Buskirk's sentiment.

-Mitch Harper:
Mitch had the most substantive statement of the evening - "we need to accelerate the appointments of young professionals to city boards and commissions". Yes we do.

-Don Schmidt:
Basically said that many of the city's problems are caused by mid-level bureaucrats that are one level below elected officials

-Kevin Boyd:
"We have done it (Harrison Square) without eminent domain". I'm sure the prior owners of Belmont Beverage would argue that point considering the city used eminent domain to acquire their property and then gave it to the hotel developers.


Jennifer Jeffrey, Chair LPAC said...

How did you get 60 people? The room held 240. There were 13-15 people in each row. Two sets of about 20 rows.. plus people standing along the walls.


Great quotes!!

Robert Enders said...

While the mayoral race is more important than any single city council race, the makeup of the next city council will make a bigger difference to this city's future than the next mayor. The mayoral race has received a lot more media coverage than the council races, and the YLNI event may have been the only opprotunity to learn about council candidates. I think this is why the mayoral candidates were given the same amount of time as the council candidates.

I should have stressed that I'm not terribly worried about Brown riding his Segway on the sidewalk. I just think that if he gets to ride his $3500 scooter on the sidewalk, I should get to ride my $100 bike on the sidewalk.

Jeff Pruitt said...

I counted 98 seats and I counted about 40 of those empty. I also counted about 20 along the walls but many of these people were journalists. There might have been as many as 80 but definitely not 240 - at least not when I counted.

Good point Robert - I wish we had bike lanes...

Anonymous said...


Great post, but I honestly think you should have posted something about the great job Byron Peters did last night. Overall I think he had the best speech out of all of the candidates. He really know how to connect with the audience, he didn't stumble, and it was clear where he stood on the issues.

Jeff Pruitt said...

Kody brings up a good point - I really should have mentioned Peters. I had never heard Peters speak before last night and I thought he did an excellent job. In fact he was probably one of the top 3 or 4 speakers that evening.

Of course it helps that one of his questions was about government overstepping its bounds since he is the owner of the 412 Club and a staunch opponent of the smoking ban.

Regardless, he did a nice job...

Robert Enders said...

We don't need bike lanes, really. When I see a pedestrian while on my bike, I dismount and walk around the person. Then I get back on and continue riding. Even during peak hours, there isn't that much pedestrian traffic.

Now, let's say that downtown gets busier and we have more pedestrians. Great! Motor vehicle traffic will move slower, so it will be safer for a bicycle to travel on the street. But until that happens, let's allow bikes on the sidewalk.

de_tokeville said...

Not sure what John Shoaff said at this meeting, as I wasn't there, but he said something the other night at a fundraiser that should give everyone pause—

The retail spaces at Harrison Square are going to charge $32 per square foot, in fact have to charge $32 per square foot just to break even. Do you know what's the most anyone pays in Fort Wayne per square foot of retail space in Fort Wayne? $22!!!!!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, guess who pays for it when those storefronts sit vacant. Or get rented for a whole lot less than $32 or even $22. Because, as we all know, there is no traffic for a retail establishment in downtown Fort Wayne unless it's a luncheon stand barely eking out a living. The 4,000 attendance at a Wizards game (read 800 on a good day, again those rosy projections by the people who are all for it) isn't going to support a friggin' retail store of any sort. Not a one, let alone a multitude as is planned.

Here's a man who votes his conscience and is getting trashed for it by Graham and also by a fair number of Henry supporters who blindly believe in this ridiculous boondoggle. (In all fairness to Henry, he isn't sure it's a good idea. Too bad he's not four-square against it as he should be.)

It's not enough to make me want to vote for Kelty. Even if he's right on this one, he's so, so wrong for the job of mayor, which requires a competent manager in a city this size. But on council we need honest people who aren't on the take and in that regard John Shoaff is your man. Get out and vote, and vote for one of the few who's actually thoughtful about what he's doing in office.

Graham Richard, take your six sigma and fold it five ways and shove it. And bite me.

barranda said...

No, there weren't 240 people there. However, you were very conservative in your estimate. The TV coverage shows a pretty full room.