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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, August 06, 2017 1:00 am

Letters to the editor

Creighton controversy has built over decades

Controversy swirls on the near south side of town over a historic building at 815 W. Creighton Ave. and what should be done – rehab, if possible, or demolish. Here is my take:

This house has been in dire shape for 20  years. It has stood at the mercy of thieves, vandals, animals, weather, preservation groups, numerous owners, tax collectors and fate.

The current owner of a couple years is not to blame for all of this. It was barely salvageable when I toured it about 15 years ago. Lack of protection from water has allowed wood rot to destroy essentials of its structure. The 2008 housing crash further doomed a construction loan.

To my knowledge, there's never been a dinner, fundraiser, raffle or car wash to raise money for saving it. We've heard nothing of grant applications, and a recent open house raised very little aid.

This raises questions about who we are. I've driven by this house at least five times a week for 50 years. For the first 35 of those, Neighborhood Code Enforcement could not be forced to take a firm position to save the integrity of this old beauty. When it did step in to save it, it was fought tooth and nail. Now that the structure is literally rotting in place, Neighborhood Code Compliance is the enemy?

Pogo would tell us that we have met the enemy, and he is us.

Carolyn K. De Voe

Fort Wayne

Moneyed interests block needed reforms

The good news is that finally there are efforts to make the changes needed to improve our train wreck called the criminal justice system. The bad news is that there are many powerful interests spending millions of dollars lobbying against these changes; these interests are motivated purely by greed and job preservation.

While the nation is awash with heroin and the abuse of prescription opoids, the drug companies and their lobbying groups have spent more than $800 million nationwide in the last 11 years on campaign contributions and lobbying expenses. Have you ever heard of The Pain Care Forum? It's an industry lobbying group that has spent more than $661 million since 2006. Greed, pure greed, is at work here trying to hinder progress. The drug companies do not want to lose market share to marijuana. All studies show that the most powerful forces lobbying against the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana are drug companies and the alcohol industry. Multi-billion dollar private prisons, unions for prison guards and police, and others are spending more billions of dollars fighting needed measures such as providing treatment for addicts (addicts need treatment, not prison), eliminating prison sentences and “three-strike” laws, etc.

Many changes needed to reform criminal justice and reduce mass incarceration will eliminate jobs that are serving no good public purpose; they are a consequence of the path we have been following, which has done nothing to stem the flow of drugs or reduce violent crime. While this money is flowing to lawmakers, they have the nerve to tell us they are not influenced by such measures. They must think we are idiots. The public should speak out about this problem and in support of the changes we need.

Karen S. Heckman

Fort Wayne

Society's tolerance is welcome progress

I remember spending a weekend in Boston in 1965; if I recall correctly, it was around the time of Halloween. On Saturday night at midnight, the gay/lesbian crowd was “allowed” to dress in costume and parade through downtown. It was the only time all year that they could do so. A really large crowd of protesters lined the streets to hurl verbal abuse, and the police were there in force to protect the marchers.

We've come a long way since then, and I think that's a good thing.

James Schmelzer

Fort Wayne

CHEERS to Tiffany on Reed Road, who returned my lost cellphone and day planner. She wouldn't accept my reward of $20. She said, “That is what good neighbors are for.” She is a good neighbor!

George Simpson

Fort Wayne

Request for voter info is federal overreach

I wholeheartedly agree with Robert Zahrt (July 18) in his assessment that the federal government is overstepping by its request for voter information that will be “stored on White House computers.”

I believe this is in response to non-proven allegations of “voter fraud.” I would assume the election boards in each state could monitor this with more efficiency than our federal government, and this is beginning to feel like an authoritarian type of government action.

No matter which party one is loyal to, and I am not a Democrat or a Republican, we need all to be vigilant and informed as changes are occurring rapid-fire in our country.



New leadership vital to do people's work

Last November, Donald Trump was elected president. He promised to lower taxes. Congress has not cooperated. The House and  Senate have worked on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act; they have failed so far. There has been no tax reform passed, either. Congress is spending much of its time on the Russia investigation and any ties to the Trump campaign.

Congress has done nothing on tax reform. The Republicans, who hold majorities in both chambers, cannot agree on what to do. The failure is the leadership. Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are not doing a good job as leaders. If they cannot bring their party members together to get the job done or enlist help from some Democrats, then they should step down or be removed from those positions of leadership.

All the members in Congress should work together and compromise for the people.

The Joint Committee on Taxation, with three Republicans and two Democrats, is not even meeting on tax reform. Chairman of the House Ways and Means subcommittee, Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Illinois, said, “We now have a choice. We can accept high tax rates and a confusing code or can grow the economy, lower taxes for everyone and create a fair system that Americans can trust. I think the choice is clear.”

We all need to contact our representatives in Washington, D.C., and have them act on needed legislation and just do their jobs. They do answer to us. There needs to be change in leadership in both houses in Congress.

We as Americans deserve to have our representatives work for us. We deserve to have a government of, for and by the people as created by founders of our Constitution.

William Hart

Fort Wayne

Accusations of 'hate' meant to stifle debate

I'm writing in response to James Holman's July 21 letter. In it, he compared Christians practicing their freedom of speech to drug addicts, bullies, knife-wielding mass murderers, terrorists and people who bomb abortion clinics. These kind of comparisons are not only insulting, they are false.

In his letter, Holman used some form of the word “hate” no less than seven times. This reminds me of something Huntington pastor Wally Morris said: “Hate is the current buzzword used to discourage behavior that our society regards as unacceptable.”

And Matthew Franck said: “The charge of hate is not a contribution to argument; it's the recourse of people who would rather not have an argument at all.”

Jenny Haupt

Fort Wayne