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"
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
"I'm a fiscal conservative and a social libertarian"
"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.
"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.
Talked about the need to take advantage of natural resources - namely our rivers. Also discussed the need for more downtown housing.
Bill Brown's segway is illegal and we need to allow for bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk downtown
"When the good people of Europe sent people over here to found this country it was with government dollars"
"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 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.
Basically said that many of the city's problems are caused by mid-level bureaucrats that are one level below elected officials
"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.