The Journal Gazette
Sunday, May 15, 2022 1:00 am

Letters to the editor

Let's rally behind Festival City concept

There is an initiative afoot to further embrace a standing the city has successfully enjoyed for many years. The concept of Festival City USA is presented to more formally develop an established community experience identity.

Fort Wayne has a rich history of throwing some dang good festivals. The Three Rivers Festival is the keynote presentation since 1969, but there are many others.

We have cultural festivals, visual art festivals, food festivals, music festivals, lifestyle festivals, libation festivals, history festivals, performing arts festivals and we may even have a festival for our festivals.

I've had the Festival City USA idea in mind for a few years. A recent announcement by local organizations has inspired me to share it now. Discussions are in place to focus on identifying Fort Wayne as a Top 10 music destination. There is certainly great merit to this. However, why have a goal of a subjective, Top 10 music city designation when we have a clearer path to a No. 1 festival city designation?

Music and festival destinations are not mutually exclusive. A successful festival is rarely going to happen without great music. Additionally, we have a wide variety of spectacular venues, as well as an experienced talent pool of people who have successfully delivered great festivals and performances for decades. In other words, we the have resources, credibility and the swagger to back up the designation.

Fort Wayne is in an ideal situation to position itself as Festival City USA. This has an appeal on a regional basis. It also has an appeal nationally for relocation purposes. 

If you like the concept, please be an influencer and share it with those who can help make it happen.

 Ryan Stoneburner

Fort Wayne

Short-sighted deal limits city's options

I disagree with the editorial board's conclusion that the city's new trash and recycling contract “was completed with enough due diligence to satisfy even the most ardent critics” (“Public's turn for diligence on new city trash hauler,” May 1). As former Mayor Graham Richard's high performance standards taught us, continuous improvement is required.

The last contract was also duly checked, but a month later the contractor, Red River, failed in a nearby city. In similar fashion, the new GFL contract already reflects outdated technology, low oil prices and red flags in customer participation.

The city should draw together area governments and build a united public electrified collection system, saving millions in energy costs and expanding waste reduction policies for lower landfill dumping. Instead, we are being rushed into another private contract that ignores the 800-pound gorilla about to step on recycling-conscious customers. For example, plastic film is not included in the array of recyclables collected. This not only is the fastest-growing recyclable, but also the fastest growing in value with the rise in oil prices.

The GFL contract is like an NFL contract, a political football for the Republicans to bounce in the end zone of much higher rates and lower quality outcomes with Mayor Tom Henry's signature on it. Henry should have limited this contract to two years instead of eight (given the climate emergency), and instructed the Board of Public Works to organize the elimination of fossil fuels in our waste services by Independence Day 2024 or the earliest date hence.

This is the revolution we need not only to save resources, but also to save taxpayers from the ballooning costs of the climate crisis that should not include private oil profiteering or any related brakes on progress. Let's give our children a fighting chance to survive.

Howard Traxmor

Fort Wayne

Long-delayed justice is finally meted out

With events taking place judicially, politically, nationally and internationally, there is plenty of room for serious commentary. However, the May 5 article regarding Keith Cooper (no relation) is a victory for justice in Indiana.

Cooper did not commit any crime. His only circumstance was that he looked like the guy who did it. Cooper set out one morning simply to purchase items to make breakfast for his family. He is of African decent. He had zero prior encounters with the law.

The zealous prosecutorial team of Elkhart set out to make a name for themselves, and Cooper was their target. They got their conviction based on zero evidence, and the testimony of a snitch who got paid by the state of Indiana (he later recanted).

Cooper lost everything. At one point his mother sold her house and lived in a crummy apartment above a barber shop. To add insult to injury, he was denied pardon and/or clemency by two Indiana governors, Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence.

Many (including me) appealed to Gov. Eric Holcomb to review Cooper's case and grant him a pardon. Holcomb understood the gravity of the wrong committed by those in Elkhart, and did in fact pardon Cooper.

But that did not undo the seven years Cooper languished in prison, suffered who knows what, mentally and physically, losing his family, his job and being branded a convicted felon. He at last was granted freedom, and recently was awarded $7.5 million as a settlement by the City of Elkhart. Long, long overdue.

This should never have taken place. Perhaps this settlement will be a shot across the bow of those who put themselves, and their misplaced ambitions, before factual evidence. Good for, and God bless, Keith Cooper.

Dave Cooper


Writer reveals her paranoia

Cathy Lee's letter (“Paranoid pursuits distract Banks from his job,” May 6) complains about Jim Banks' support of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' bill concerning the teaching of sexual orientation to K-3rd grade students. In her letter, I guess to make a point, she says the word “gay” 87 times – a little bit of overkill, to say the least. Funny thing is, DeSantis' bill says the word “gay” zero times. Final score, Cathy Lee 87-Ron DeSantis 0. Who's actually paranoid?

Dwight Johnson

Fort Wayne

GOP's obsessions no way to govern

Cheers and kudos to Cathy Lee for her outstanding letter on May 6 about our feckless clod and anti-gay congressman, Jim Banks.

I think Banks and his GOP cohorts are more than a little too interested in what goes on between the legs of American women. I'm a 78-year-old great grandmother and believe this vigilante vagina interest is downright creepy and sick. This interest as it applies to their anti-abortion rhetoric against women who have suffered from rape and incest is unbelievably vile and evil.

I like to have a healthy, positive and strong two-party system, but to get ourselves out of this mess we are going to have to vote straight Democratic in November to get the message to the Republicans that we are fed up with their corrupt, self-righteous sleaze. Hopefully that will return this state and nation to one that will get back to governing non-religiously the business of the nation and not against segments of our population Republicans judge to be lacking morally and spiritually. It is none of their business.

Ann Gresley Weber

Fort Wayne

Republicans poised for strong fall result

The election results are in, and once again, Allen County Republicans have chosen a first-class slate for the fall election. Congressman Jim Banks will lead our ticket with a conservative record on taxes, national security, education, strong families and life issues. His opponent will kowtow to radical tax-and-spend ideas, federal takeover of elections, higher costs for fuel and food, and foist critical race theory on the 3rd District.

The Journal Gazette also needs to watch the local weather stations. On Election Day the paper quoted election officials who predicted a large turnout of voters. In fact, it rained most of the day, and the turnout was paltry.

W. Patrick Sefton

Fort Wayne

Republicans can't claim voice of people

In light of the leaked draft from the U.S. Supreme Court proposing to overturn Roe v. Wade, our U.S. representative, Jim Banks, has wasted no time in calling for the state to pass anti-abortion legislation (“Holcomb waits for decision before calling legislature,” May 4).

Banks crows: “The Supreme Court will finally have given a voice to the voiceless and to Hoosier voters and for the first time in 50 years, regular Americans will have a say in the most important moral and political issue of our time.”

As the self-proclaimed voice of “Trumpism” (i.e., a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic and homophobic White Christian nationalism) in northeast Indiana, I have absolutely no faith in Banks, or the Republican supermajority in the Statehouse, to represent, much less listen to, Hoosier voters on this issue.

If state lawmakers want to truly listen to Indiana voters, put the issue of abortion on the ballot as a statewide referendum. Only then will we know the “voice” of Hoosier voters.

Emory Earl Toops

Fort Wayne

Share this article

Email story

Subscribe to our newsletters

* indicates required