David Roach Democrat Mayor
auth&PD4 Roach4Mayor Committee DCRoach Treas.
Monday, January 26, 2015
FORT WAYNE KLEPTOCRACY- NEIGHBORHOODS SACRIFICED ON ALTAR OF DOWNTOWN GREED
avid Christopher RoachIf you REALLY want to get their attention- start finding citizens to run for precinct-committee persons- for both partys, but mostly the democrats which are sorely lacking. The most important power a precinct committee person has is they can hire or fire their city and county party chairmen/chair persons/ central committees. by doing this the neighborhood /precinct people- then can have a greater influence and say so in who is elected to represent you/me/everyone. The reason i said DEMOCRATS- is the city Democrats have the most relevance- and for the most part represent the average JOE citizen.
David Christopher RoachI agree with you all that the downtown has become a black hole/money pit- that is sucking all our tax dollars and resources to benefit the overlords and we the people are getting ignored. Ive been waiting for years for crescent ave to get fixed- its horrible. The Mayors speech to the rotary; and platform in general- is more of the same- the neighborhoods will bet work done with 60 MILLION BUCKS OF BORROWED CASH- WE WILL HAVE TO REPAY. the jobs created? corporate welfare; and crony capitalism- from tax cash giveaways. I have lived in the bloomindale NBH; and Nebraska NBH- at various times in the past- and i can say- all the central core neighborhoods- are more important to the city than these grandiose monstrosities the overlords have in mind- WHICH WE WILL AGAIN BE STUCK HOLDING THE BAG full of IOU's. THEN- theres the giant 200 million dollars tunnel boring project that HAS TO BE DONE- as part of the EPA consent decree- to clean up the rivers- assuming on time; on budget- - running under the st marys river from about chairman shines office- to the dwenger ave settling ponds. it woud be nice if the USGOV- had a CCC; OR WPA- and could print some cash to help- but were on our own..- water utility rate increases as far as the eye can see. then we have all the downtown; and all over town streets crumbling- as usual every winter and spring- which are a constant headache; and costs us al hundreds in the form of auto repairs and wear and tear; Then we have the weekly GASOLINE PRICE GOUGING by our local own version of OPEC- I hve lived in FTW since 1967; more or less; and i have kept a watch on city and local govt- i watch too may city council meetings; NBH meetings ; and such- on city TV. all I See is a KLEPTOCRACY a culture of corruption and greed and deception of the citizens. I asked the FWPD the other day- if they could tell me the caliber of the bullet that killed that dude in his house- and i have no reply- the only kind of guns that penetrate several walls- are AK-47'S - so we have criminals out shooting off war machines- and we are all at risk of a bullet in the head while putting our kids to bed; while sleeping on the couch; watching TV; etc. so- Im in agreement of what you al are doing- outflanking the city govt BIG LIE MACHINE- and taking control of your own destiny- I would help out and attend more but thanks to the city code nazis- i had my van removed from me- long stoyr>And then we have the never investigated, never indicted police/political corruption rackets- if illegal cherry masters - i know it was a while back- but that doenst mean it didnt happen, Mayor Henry was a city councilman then; his wife and family all had illegal cherry masters in their bars; even the FOP! the FOP- had several- linda vandeever was the book keeper; ditto for the legion halls; and bars and so on- like Vegas in the MAFIA DAYS. so- dont let the Mayor and city council and govt; and downtown overlords well you a warthog all dollied up with lipstick and perfume. its still a beast. Im not a pessimist- just the facts..
City neighborhoods form own group to push their concerns
Changes impact effectiveness?
Members of the Neighborhoods United group and a representative of the City of Fort Wayne disagree over whether the city's system for working with neighborhoods functions well. But one thing is certain — the system has changed over the years.
When the city began its community-oriented government practices in the mid-1990s, the city was divided into four quadrants. Neighborhood associations in each quadrant worked closely with a city neighborhood advocate assigned to assist residents of that quadrant.
Over time, the number of neighborhood advocates was cut to two people. Now there is only one.
Neighborhood partnerships — a meeting open to all neighborhoods in a quadrant — became more important as a collection point for neighborhood concerns that leaders forwarded to the city neighborhood specialist and city officials.
In April 2007, the city added its 311 call center. Residents can call 311 to report problems on their own without having to go through their neighborhood association or neighborhood partnership.
While streamlining the reporting process, the call center also removes some of the personal interaction neighbors used to have with city officials, said Andy Downs, who worked as former Mayor Graham Richard's chief of staff from January 2000-May 2002.
The 311 center also reduced the need for some people to work with their city council representative. In addition, council members no longer have large pots of Community Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) money to distribute in their districts, said Downs, the director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and an associate professor of politics there. Council members used to meet with residents of their district to discuss how the CEDIT money should be spent.
Neighborhoods United leaders said neighborhood partnership meetings, which include urban and suburban neighborhoods in the same quadrant of the city, don't focus enough on their needs and have become too top-down driven by the city.
If residents feel that way, neighborhood leaders need to take back control of partnership meetings and agendas, Downs said. The partnership system works best when neighborhoods set the agenda, he added.
The Neighborhoods United group meets on the last Monday of the month. The next meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday at Anchor Community Church, 1529 Third St. For more information, call 422-2724 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saying the current city system isn't working, neighborhoods have started joining together in a grassroots effort to work together to press the city to address their concerns.
The group, which calls itself Neighborhoods United, held its first meeting Sept. 29, and representatives of 11 neighborhoods attended, organizers John Modezjewski and Bud Mendenhall said.
"We found people really are hungry for any kind of neighborhood leadership," Modezjewski said.
Neighborhoods involved so far range from as far north as Hacienda Village to as far south as Waynedale.
The group, which meets on the last Monday of the month, holds its next meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Anchor Community Church, 1529 Third St. Neighborhood leaders and residents are welcome, but city officials and politicians can attend only when invited.
The City of Fort Wayne, however, believes its dual approach of investing in neighborhoods and in downtown is the "right direction," city spokesman John Perlich said. The goal is to make every area of the city vibrant.
The city invested $20 million in neighborhood streets, sidewalks and curbs in 2014, and plans to invest the same amount this year, Perlich said. The city also maintains open communication with neighborhoods through its 311 call center, neighborhood partnerships, city council members and events such as the Mayor's Night In and walks in neighborhoods.
Mayor Tom Henry often describes downtown as the heart of the city, but neighborhoods as the backbone, Perlich said.
Neighborhoods United grew out of collaboration among a few near northwest-side neighborhoods over the future of the former Franklin Junior High School at St. Marys and Archer avenues. Ideas had been floated to renovate the largely vacant building into a college, apartments or other uses, Modezjewski said.
"We didn't want that," Mendenhall said of surrounding neighborhoods. They want a park, and they were able to work together with the city and Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department to accomplish that goal. Demolition is underway now on the site, with most of the school building already gone.
That group of neighborhoods then shifted their focus to concerns in their own areas, such as street and sidewalk repair and sewer problems. The recent announcements of plans for more downtown housing and the city's investment in major downtown projects only fired up residents who felt they were being overlooked and attracted more people to their cause.
Every time Modezjewski takes jabs at city leaders in letters to the editor in The News-Sentinel and Journal Gazette, he said he gets feedback like the note he received Thursday: "Way to go! We always are happy to see your letters! Keep the politicians nervous and on their toes. Thank you!"
While they support a strong downtown, Modezjewski and Mendenhall said neighborhoods in their group would rather have the city use a portion of its downtown project spending to address problems in older urban neighborhoods.
There is a lot of research reporting many people want to live in older neighborhoods near downtowns, said the Rev. Tim Hallman, senior pastor at Anchor Community Church and membership chair for Neighborhoods United. But many of those neighborhoods in Fort Wayne suffer from crumbling infrastructure, added Hallman, who is trying to reorganize the neighborhood association in his Hamilton neighborhood just northwest of downtown.
In his neighborhood, as in Mendenhall's nearby Bloomingdale neighborhood and Modezjewski's adjacent North Highlands neighborhood, sewer backups and uneven and deteriorating sidewalks are significant problems, Hallman said.
Members of Neighborhoods United hope they can achieve solutions by working together and speaking with a louder voice.
Hallman, Mendenhall and Modezjewski believe the city's current quadrant system for working with neighborhoods no longer functions effectively. For example, the neighborhood partnership group for each quadrant of the city serves residential areas from the urban core to the distant suburbs, they said. Older, urban neighborhoods have very different needs from suburban ones.
They and some other neighborhood leaders feel disconnected from city officials and council members. They said the system seems too top-down, with residents paying in taxes and the city telling them how the money will be spent.
"My observation is it is not two-way, so it doesn't really serve me very well, so I don't really participate much," Jim Obergfell, president of the Hoagland Masterson neighborhood association, said of Southwest Area Partnership meetings.
Obergfell joined Neighborhoods United and has been grateful for support members have provided as his neighborhood tries to persuade American Electric Power to change plans to build a large substation in their area at Harrison and Melita streets.
But not all neighborhood leaders feel the system is broken.
If people use the system properly, things get done, said longtime neighborhood leader Carolyn DeVoe, a former president of the South Wayne neighborhood and the current Southwest Area Partnership chairwoman. People need to take problems first to their neighborhood association. The association can take the matter to that area's neighborhood partnership, DeVoe said, and the partnership can request action from the city.
The mayor meets with the neighborhood partnerships four times a year, and other city officials are available on an ongoing basis, she said.
"We have a situation here (Neighborhoods United) where the tail is trying to wag the dog," DeVoe said.
Group members seem focused more on their own needs rather than the greater good of the community, she said, noting divisiveness never produces good results.
But Modezjewski and Mendenhall said Neighborhoods United members want what every neighborhood deserves.
"All we want is walkability and livability in our neighborhoods," Modezjewski said.