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Phil a quality-of-life cornerstone

I listen to the beautiful music performed by the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and know each musician has prepared himself through years of study and practice. If the musicians are doing their job, why is the Philharmonic having money problems? Who made the financial decisions that placed the Phil in jeopardy? Usually it is the board of directors and the CEO who are responsible for policy and financial decisions.

Lower wages for musicians will cause an exodus of great musicians. Many hold second jobs now and teach music as well. Cutting the number of performances is questionable as that reduces income.

For the last 40 years every economic or futures planning group talked about Fort Wayne as a great place to live. The quality of life was one of the first attributes discussed. Has the quality of life in Fort Wayne ceased to be important? The Philharmonic was one of the cornerstones when the quality of life was discussed.

Quality of life is more important today than ever. More investment and change are going on downtown now than in the last 20 or 30 years. Why isn’t the business community jumping into the discussion to save the Philharmonic orchestra?

Many years ago Robert Goldstine galvanized the business community to save the Embassy. Who will save the orchestra?


GOP makes state a national joke

The federal government shutdown and studies about the plight of Indiana’s working poor demonstrate how easily the political backwardness of our state has transformed it into a national punch line. In addition to the ludicrous TV interviews by Reps. Todd Rokita and Marlin Stutzman during the shutdown, we have the antics of tea party darlings Gov. Mike Pence and Rep. Jackie Walorski and the dubious school grading standards of Tony Bennett, Indiana’s former superintendent of public instruction.

In addition, Koch brothers puppets Rep. Brian Bosma and Sen. David Long have done their parts to magnify the plight and increase the number of Indiana’s working poor via a deceptively named right-to-work law. And let’s not forget Mitch Daniels, who, during his administration, worshiped at the altar of privatization, yet now sits, thanks to trustees he appointed, as president of the taxpayer-funded Purdue University. All of this has created an Indiana that is best described by economist Morton Marcus as “not a good state to be poor or out of work or uninsured.”

Despite the fact that many of these individuals represent semi-feudal districts where voters blindly place party above person, does Indiana really need to scrape the bottom of the barrel by placing these people in political power? After all, most of them shouldn’t have even been in the barrel in the first place.


Stand with Ritz for public schools

If you voted for Glenda Ritz, it is time to speak out against the chicanery among our state board, legislators and Gov. Mike Pence. They have continually attempted to usurp her power, and she has been bullied openly in state board meetings. The state board vindictively took action while Ritz was out of the country concerning the A-F grading results. There were significant problems with this system that deserved thorough investigation. We should be questioning whether relying on this tainted accountability system is even responsible. Do we believe it accurately represents our schools?

Predictably, the plan will be to paint Ritz with the familiar “you failed” brush splattered on our public schools to justify takeover of her power. We voted for an educator to represent us, not politicians whose opinions have been compromised by money and hegemony. These reforms and takeovers have not proven effective and will continue to contribute to poverty by institutionalizing classism. Children with the greatest poverty and the most severe disabilities cannot “choose” these schools without transportation or programs to support them.

Ritz has consistently promoted responsible assessment and equity of resources to better serve all children. Don’t let them squeeze her out. Let them know your vote mattered.