2014 Councilman’s Corner
By Glynn Hines
Frost Illustrated exclusive
Happy New Year to all and shall 2014 provide you with an opportunity to follow your dreams, achieve your goals and attain that level of peace and good will that allows you have a sense of accomplishment. When John F. Kennedy was giving his inaugural speech of January 1961 he stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country.” I submit to you that in 2014 we need to ask not what our community will do for us, but ask what can we do for our community. Of course, you must still hold your community leaders responsible for those things which are in their control like providing a safe community, jobs, proper education for our children, health care options for all, necessary social services for those in need and infrastructure and economic development that encourages business growth. But there are a number of things that every citizen can do on a daily basis to make our community a great place to live and raise our children.
The Commission for the Social Status of Black Males, led by Andre Patterson, is spearheading an initiative that has fathers, uncles, and male family members monitoring the education of students at numerous schools in FWCS and EACS. Studies have shown that when males are involved in the educational lives of our children they perform better in school.
Every second and fourth Tuesday at City Council, citizens have an opportunity to address council for five minutes on any topic they want to discuss. I have only seen three members of the 6th District who show up regularly and that is Trustee Rick Stevenson, Linda Brooks and James Redmond. Mr. Redmond has been so diligent about coming and voicing his perspectives that Council has invoked what we call the “Redmond” rule, which allows discussion between citizens and the Council during any session.
Regarding the 2013 homicide rate for the city and especially in the 6th District, citizens are irate at the police for not solving the crimes, but there is plenty that citizens can and must do to help solve those horrendous crimes. First of all, as a witness to the crime you must report what you know to the police. For those citizens who know individuals who are involved in the drug trafficking criminal activity you must report it to get it off your block and out of our community. As a side bar, Rusty York was moved to the public safety director’s positive to coordinate with ATF, FBI, and DEA so the criminals will be arrested and convicted. One of the stipulations that the City Council made when we approved the position was that we must see improvement or we will not fund that position.
Congratulations are in order for Mayor Henry naming Garry Hamilton as the first African American police chief but if the community that is most impacted by violent crimes does not step up and make a paradigm change, then nothing will change just because we have a black police chief.
Finally, I have been working with businesses and developers since 1999 to encourage the development of businesses in the southeast quadrant. We were obviously able to redevelop the Southtown property and the Hanna-Creighton area, but we have struggled to get the Sturgis Group which manages the Southtown property to lure those restaurants, big box stores, and retailers most desired by citizens. But, what the citizens must do is support those businesses that are already there and call and write letters to every one of those businesses not located in our area and voice your desire to have them locate their business closer to where you live. K-Mart closed because a sufficient number of citizens did not shop there to support their profitable business plan. Link’s Wonderland has been in our community since 1976 and some citizens do not support them, but if they were to close, who would you blame?
So in 2014, we can do and must do more to support our community and it starts with you doing your part—today.
Glynn Hines is 6th District City Councilman, Fort Wayne Common Council. Watch for his article each month.