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Fort Wayne, IN Republican Primary Upset - Threat to Plans?

1679 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  jpIllInoIs
I don't know if this is the place for political commentary, but I'll give it a shot and try to keep it objective.

Yesterday's primary election yielded an upset in the Republican Party, as dark horse mayoral candidate Matt Kelty defeated the party leaders' favored candidate, Nelson Peters.

This morning's Journal-Gazette attributed Kelty's victory to the complacency of Peters and his supporters. Peters ran a late-starting, lackluster, reactive campaign, and Kelty's evangelical base turned out in large numbers at the polls while Peters' supporters apparently didn't bother. When I went to vote at the Baker Street train station (precincts 583 & 584) just after noon, there were no other voters around. One person was arriving as I left.

Kelty has been outspoken from the start in his opposition to Harrison Square, and is said to be working on a counter-proposal to turn some downtown streets into a covered mall-like environment. He should visit Middletown, Ohio to see how spectacularly that works. Or for open-air downtown pedestrian malls, he could drive a short distance to Huntington or a little farther to Richmond or to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and see where theirs used to be, thirty years ago or more.

I think Kelty's support comes largely from upper-income families in recently-annexed suburban areas like Aboite Township, where there's still considerable resentment over annexation, and he has made it clear that his campaign will continue to emphasize family values.

Republicans who want Fort Wayne to move forward and become a stimulating, attractive environment for a diverse population are going to have to do some serious self-examination and accept that sometimes the community's future trumps party loyalty. Kelty's majority in the primary wasn't huge, and it wouldn't take a landslide of crossover voters to put his Democrat opponent in City Hall. Tom Henry has the backing of the business community at large as well as many of the people who live or own property in the city's core, and has pledged to carry forward the work that has already been done toward bringing back a vital downtown.
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I'm surprised municipal politics is so partisan in Fort Wayne.

Sounds like a few steps back for progress there, but hopefully the city council is wise enough to not go along with such nonsense.
Partisanpolitics is all one word in Indiana, and Fort Wayne is no exception. The Republican party is strongly dominated by evangelical conservatives, too, and that alignment is the Repubs' greatest strength.

The city core and surrounding neighborhoods have long been heavily Democrat, but sprawl is rampant with no sign of abating because developers have a powerful influence in shaping land-use policy. The outlying subdivisions are heavly Republican. They're also where the wealth is concentrated and where most of the home-schoolers and evangelicals are concentrated.

Because of the social and political alliances that that accompany affluence, some of the better-fixed suburban residents long have had an inordinate influence in policy-making in regard to traffic management, land use and development, and this is the first municipal election to follow the bitterly-fought and deeply-resented annexation by the city of much of wealthy Aboite Township. Now they can vote in city elections.

I live in Fort Wayne's West Central Neighborhood. After annexation was approved and my friends and neighbors were gloating that the suburban commuters who work downtown would now have to pay their share in taxes, I took the position that the city administration and had shot itself in the foot, because now a very conservative segment of the area's population that has money and knows how to use it to mobilize a constituency is empowered to select the city's leaders and ultimately shape public policy.

They newly-annexed residents can strongly influence the selection of the mayor and enough at-large council members to either get their way or to seriously impede anything that doesn't suit them, and generally they feel a strong antipathy toward downtown. Their regard for many of us who live in city nieghborhoods borders on or even crosses over into disdain.
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Covered Mall! Yikes!

Now there is an idea right out of the 1970's. Most recently Ft.W opened up Harrison Street to traffic again. Now that street is the most interesting location in the DT and has seen the most private investment and rehab.

This guy could set FT.W DT development back several decades.
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Covered Mall! Yikes!


This guy could set FT.W DT development back several decades.
That's what a few of us have been saying. Kelty runs a small architectural firm, but I don't think he has a clue as to planning. Have a look at his firm's web site (last updated 02/27/04) :eek:hno:

That was Calhoun Street that reopened to traffic (several years ago) after carrying only transit buses starting about 1984. It has been one-way northbound between Washington and Berry Streets since reopening, but planning is underway to cut back the sidewalks and open it to two-way traffic (with parking?) again.

Harrison always has been open to public traffic, but the expansion of the Grand Wayne Center closed the block between Jefferson and Washington. I think that's a good thing; a lot of drivers used Harrison as an alternative to Calhoun Street because it had fewer stoplights south of Jefferson, and traffic was pretty fast and aggressive. Taking that chunk out of the middle seems to have broken that flow.
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Right! Calhoun Street has been reopened. That should be the model for pedestrian friendly, urban development for FT.W. Definitely not a covered mall in the downtown. Ugh!:eek:hno:

This website looks like the work of a 5th grader. No shit you cannot even read the address because it overlays an image. Way to embrace the 21st century!:lol: Do not look for a progressive thought from these Neandrathals.
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