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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, February 04, 2018 1:00 am

Letters to the editor

New ordinance limits mayoral talent pool

The Fort Wayne City Council has inadvertently created a new, very exclusive private club. As of Jan. 1, only independently wealthy men and women need apply for the job of mayor of Fort Wayne. The new Crawford-Arp campaign finance ordinance, which places limits on campaign contributions made by firms doing business with the city, is well intentioned and sounds reasonable on its face. But I believe it will bring local political contributions to a screeching halt as potential contributors try to interpret an ambiguous and overreaching ordinance that raises many more questions than it answers.

My former council colleague, Dr. John Crawford, is a good friend and an outstanding councilman, but his own recent mayoral campaign finance report could be considered Exhibit A in demonstrating the unintended consequences of this ordinance. Crawford has already raised more than $250,000, a substantial portion of which he donated to himself. This sort of self-financed campaign is a luxury that most future potential mayoral candidates simply will not enjoy, and it is a luxury that some of our best former mayors certainly did not have.

The Crawford-Arp ordinance will prevent many qualified and talented candidates from being able to mount a credible mayoral campaign which, unfortunately, requires a minimum of $750,000 to $1 million. The reality is that, unless you are in the extremely small group of citizens who are able to give $250,000 to your own campaign, then forget about it, because you have no chance on the new playing field.

The further unintended consequence of this ordinance will be to require businesses that have the prospect of doing business with the city to restrict employee contributions to avoid running afoul of the requirements in any given year. Businesses will simply stop donating money to city candidates as the internal record-keeping necessary to keep track of the aggregated limits imposed upon businesses, their partners, shareholders, officers, directors, spouses and children will simply make contributions to any city office candidate, at any amount, too risky.

I believe there were better alternatives for City Council to deal with its legitimate “pay-to-play” concerns without this overreaching and overly restrictive ordinance. The City Council should reconsider the Crawford-Arp ordinance in the near future and open the mayor's office back up to qualified and talented candidates of all backgrounds.

Sam Talarico, Jr.

Fort Wayne

Legislation lives, dies based on GOP priorities

On the front page of the Jan. 31 paper, we read that the House bill to raise the legal age to puchase cigarettes is dead. We heard earlier that the bill on hate crimes was also dead.

I wasn't surprised, however, to see that the law requiring “opt-in” from parents for sex education passed the Senate. The Senate also passed a bill requiring detailed abortion reports. I love that the small-government party can only govern things such as abortion and sex ed, but not hate crimes or cigarette use.

I think their priorities are pretty clear – to the state's continued disadvantage.

Sally Brett

Fort Wayne

CHEERS to Francis Frellick for the letter “Start now to monitor candidates' comments (Jan. 28).” Frellick outlines details for making a list of significant issues that will confront our new Congress. This will help us make informed decisions for our important task of voting.

Joni Weber

Fort Wayne

Day of reckoning will soon be at hand

In response to Rick Weldy's Jan. 25 letter “A better regime,” it should be recalled that Barack Obama inherited the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression and two profoundly immoral wars in the Mideast. Both the economic meltdown and the military misadventures stemmed directly from a slavish adherence to right-wing extremism.

The economy slowly improved under Obama, no thanks to the blind obstruction of a do-nothing Congress. Unfortunately, the tax-deform train wreck wrought by Trumpo the Clown and his servile Republican enablers will undo that progress, while the Mideast has probably been destabilized beyond all hope.

The downfall of Donny Dimwit's disastrous, illegitimate, neo-fascist administration, however, is just over the horizon. I eagerly anticipate President Caligula's impeachment and ultimate imprisonment for conspiring with a hostile foreign power to commit treason, obstruction of justice, money-laundering, tax evasion and sexual assault. Lock him up!

Bill Forsythe

Fort Wayne

Woman's plight reflection of poor representation

I just read “Poverty is an expensive way to live” (Jan. 29) about a woman and her electric bill. This woman works as a convenience store manager yet does not have enough money to pay her bills on time. She fell $75 behind on her electric bill, and the electric company shut off her power. She had planned to pay but a week late because her rent was due. Like many, she was facing the constant choosing game with too few dollars and too many bills.

She decided to pay her rent a week late and went to the power company, paid her bill and asked for her electricity to be turned back on. The people at the power company said they would do so as soon as she paid the $250 “new customer charge.” This is, of course, preposterous. It took her months to get caught up on her bills, juggling this and that to pay to get her electricity reinstated. A public utility happily gouging a few extra bucks out of one of its customers. You will note that this woman was not on the public dole, but trying to make it as a working person.

Meanwhile, in the same piece it was noted that the Bank of America had made more than $21 billion recently and was due an even larger tax refund soon, thanks to the Republican tax bill.

A hard-working person cannot pay her way in a country where banks can earn billions (if “earn” is an appropriate verb). As long as this condition exists, we must conclude that our elected representatives are not representing us at all. Change is needed and it is needed soon.

EDWARD FRANK

Fort Wayne

Needless regulations hurt family farmers

My family is involved in farming corn, soybean and wheat. My father owns the farm, and my brother runs it. Farming is a part of my heritage. It's essential for us to keep the traditional ways of American agriculture going. When I see the negative aspects of factory farming being reported on TV, I know that is just not the way that American farming is done.

Farmers like my family are committed to upholding the integrity of the land and making it better. Otherwise, we cannot make any profit from our efforts.

Overregulation could affect my family adversely. For instance, we use Roundup, and with some of the proposed changes, we would have to switch to another herbicide. I support President Donald Trump's efforts to roll back needless regulations like these. The regulations on water and emissions that were made by the previous administration seemed to be aimed at putting America out of business; that's just what having too many regulations does.

I am very glad to hear that the Trump administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have changed that situation for the better by reducing burdensome regulations on America's farmers. We need to ensure this trend continues.

Jay Perry

Payne, Ohio