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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, January 10, 2019 1:00 am


Firefighter deserves justice after racist treatment

I just heard the news that Elbert Starks was suing the fire department and the city for racial discrimination. I was totally appalled that he experienced racial slurs against him in the workplace. If ever there was a terrific person here in this city, it is Elbert Starks.

My first introduction to this young man was when he was a student and wrestler for Snider High School. Our daughter was a helper and statistician for the Snider wrestling team. Elbert was a wrestler on that team. He was always a gentleman on and off the mat. He was an Indiana state wrestling champion in his weight class, and he was inducted into the Indiana State Wrestling Hall of Fame and deservedly so.

He worked and studied hard to become a Fort Wayne firefighter at the local academy and soon thereafter joined the force. After several years, he was named to the assistant fire chief position. Nothing has ever been given to him due to his race. He has always worked very hard and earned every reward.

But racial slurs ensued. Those guilty parties are uneducated, devil-ridden, jealous bigots. (By the way, what has happened to those people?) Then Elbert complained to his superiors, and he was transferred and demoted!

The city and the Fire Department deserve to be sued. If there is any justice in this world, Elbert will win and become very rich. I pray that to be the case. I also know that he will not sit on his porch and do nothing for the remainder of his adult life! He is too motivated to do the right thing, as this man is truly a class act.

Judith Hunter

Fort Wayne

Push for hate crime law unnecessary in Indiana

Here we go again. The yearly call for “hate crime” legislation is upon us. This was a stupid idea last year, the year before last and every year before those. Why should it be any more desirable now?

It seems to me that the easiest and best solution is to just leave well enough alone. Indiana is not suffering under an avalanche of hate, by any means. Basically, so-called hate-crime laws are nothing more than virtue-signaling and a desire to punish people for wrong thinking. Do we really need to get into the quagmire of punishing thought?

Common sense will prevail if our legislators just get out of the way. Doing nothing is often the best choice. I recommend it.

Pat Christle

New Haven

Agencies offer vital aid for prospective homeowners

A decade has passed since the housing market crashed. To ensure that the housing boom and bust does not repeat itself, we must take to heart some of the lessons learned during the 2008 crisis. One of the most significant lessons is that partnering with an organization that has all the resources that make a community successful is key.

NeighborWorks America and its network of organizations around the country – including Pathfinder Services, based in northeast Indiana – help ensure that people have the proper tools and resources to be informed consumers as they consider owning a home.

The Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center offers money management and homebuyer education and helped 220 families buy a home in fiscal year 2018. These home buyers were able to save an average of $220 per month on housing expenses due to the various services offered by the organization.

Over the past 40 years, NeighborWorks America and its network have assisted an estimated 8 million people through affordable housing and counseling. In Huntington and other regions across the country, increasing access to information and resources will help people reach goals such as home ownership that they once considered unattainable.

John Niederman

president and CEO, Pathfinder Services

Marietta Rodriguez

president and CEO, NeighborWorks America