Sunday, November 18, 2007

Crawford Speaks

Councilman worked for an improved city
Link (JG)

"This year’s election was unique. Many unusual factors were in play. My position on two issues – the smoking ordinance and Harrison Square – were two divisive issues that I chose to cast controversial votes on. The lesson from this could be never take a controversial positions or you could lose reelection. However, the lesson that should be taken is that you should always vote for what you think is right and then you will never regret the outcome of any election."
"I have had a couple of disappointments in my time on council. First, there is a reflexive aversion to any change in this community. The debate about possible City-County consolidation was telling and revealed a fear to even consider the possibility of change.

We have had a decline in the last 20 years of the average wage in Allen County compared with the U.S. so the status quo is not good. With the evermore intrusive reality of global competition, this community will need to be more nimble and embrace change to compete."


Andy said...

"there is a reflexive aversion to any change in this community"

I ditto this statement. I think this is a wake up call to the people of Fort Wayne. Some day you may wake up and find this city on par with Flint, Michigan.

Rachel said...

And then can Michael Moore do a documentary here?

John B. Kalb said...

Andy - I don't see how you can compare Flint, Michigan to Fort Wayne. Twenty-five years ago, our major employers were International Harvester, General Electric, Dana Corporation, and Magnavox. We never had a single employer who employed more than 1/2 of the work force, like GM in Flint did years ago.
My contention has been that we need to increase the number of firms that create something - that's the only way we can compete in this day and age. We have changed from a creation economy to a service economy - the net result being a reduction in earnings on an average. We presently employ more individuals than we did 25 years ago - but at lower earnings. We need more orgainizations that produce fresh-baked bread, pickup trucks, state-of-the-art software, precision tooling, aircraft controls, weather satellites, wire drawing dies, replacement parts for the human body and materials to place in the body, food packaging materials, et al to create true wealth - not just push money around. We need to produce items that the world outside Allen County needs and desires.
I get the impression that readers of these blogs put my thoughts into the "status quo" category just because I feel we need to use our resources to create these types of jobs -I truely believe that Fort Wayne is competing successfully in our world markets - we are just not at the level we need to be at - based on our excellent work force. Retail businesses serve mainly those that live in our imediate area - and these sales result in only an exchage of money - you buy lower than you sell at - but create nothing. So why do our redevelopment activities center on retail in this time and in our town? We are spinning our wheels!
John B. Kalb

DaveC said...


I'm going to partially agree with you on this. Fort Wayne must start selling outside of itself rather than just exchanging internally for itself. We must draw money in externally and I agree we must create and own things that we sell. This does not mean we have to manufacture everything here but it does mean the ideas, the design, the intellectual property, etc begin here. We MUST be the creators of technology. This starts with our educational centers. I firmly believe (and am going to do an editorial soon) that IPFW and other local universities must follow the trends of others and establish research and development where intellectual property is created and spun off into the private sector. This is almost always the recipe for success in thriving cities.

andy said...

Like other Rust Belt cities, FW is faced with the dilemma on how to attract and retain high paying jobs for the people in its community. Even though, FW has some of the lowest costs for living throughout the US and an able and willing work force, we are routinely passed up by other communities as a place to work and do business. I believe one way to combat this, is to appeal to the CEO’s and entrepreneurs who are responsible for determining where a company or business will set up shop.

A prime example is Harrison Square. One of Harrison Square’s intentions is to bolster and enhance the quality of life here in Fort Wayne. Quality of life routinely ranks high on the list of determining factors of where people choose to work, live and eventually retire.

As the world gets smaller and with the advancements made in technology, more and more people are choosing where to live first, and seeking potential business opportunities second. These people tend to represent the creative class and individuals with the financial resources needed to invest in a community. If FW is to appeal to these type of individuals and companies, and get them to consider relocating here to Fort Wayne, then we must be open to new and different ideas on how to do this.

brian spaulding said...

Well said Andy.

That should be a letter to the editor.

Harrison Square is meant to be a piece of enhancing the quality life in Fort Wayne, which eventually could lead to the CEO's and entrepreneurs you mention bringing/starting their companies here.

This is what is meant by the effort to create new jobs through the development- not simply the direct creation of jobs that support the hotel, condos, ballpark..... i.e. hot dog vendors.

Luke said...

"The private non-good producing industries account for approximately 70% of total economic activity in the United States. These non-good producing industries include retail trade, wholesale trade, and the service industries... The services industries account for 55% of economic activity in the U.S."

This is directly from the U.S. Census Bureau website. John, it looks like you're just a little bit behind the times.

Joe said...

Agreed, well said Andy. Fort Wayne NEEDS to start appealing to young people as a good place for them to try a startup. I'm sorry, but for the most part the manufacturing/assembly industry is just taking hit after hit right now. Either companies closing up shop or moving to some foreign country with cheaper labor costs. It is only a matter of time before the GM plant closes up. We need to catch up with the times. It is apparent that the ways to go for the 21st century are technology, defense, medical, engineering etc and research and sales related to these industries. People should be encouraged to start up companies in Fort Wayne in these areas.

Scott B. said...


The only problem with your argument is that, 1. IPFW is, for the most part, not a research institution. It is a satellite of Purdue and money created is retained there. 2. IIT wants to run itself like a business instead of an educational institution. So it sets up multiple campuses to maximize income. 3. St. Francis is mainly and arts and sciences university. Those kinds of universities do not create a lot of money.

The one good thing about St. Francis is, it is considering starting a law school. That would bring major prestige to the university and the area.