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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Matt Kelty on How the Commissioner Candidates Should Have Responded

Indiana Parley caught up with former state legislative candidate Matt Kelty right after the candidates for County Commissioner completed their presentations and the question and answer session that followed.

The question and answer session provided the most drama of the morning. County Council Member and candidate for re-election Cal Miller asked the candidates whether they supported having a single countywide vote on a consolidated government plan or two votes - one for those within the Fort Wayne city limits and one for those in the unincorporated areas, Cities of New Haven and Woodburn, and incorporated towns.

Indiana Parley would say that none quite answered the question directly. Mr. Kelty, a Fort Wayne architect, gave his opinion on how the candidates missed the mark.

this is an audio post - click to play

Photo: Kelty pictured during a meeting at Allen County Republican Headquarters in January, 2006.

Once a plan for a central government- created by a group equally representing Ft Wayne's, surrounding towns' and rural areas' interests - has been devised, then I think a county-wide vote is in order.The vote will gain importance only when a viable plan has been worked out to the satisfaction of all on this committee, carefully selected not to represent any particular agenda, special interest or party but chosen for their ability to reason, be fair and creative and offer the flexibility and rationality to work well with others to reach a palatable conclusion concerning the benefits and liabilities of any form of county-wide governing body. First, who will it benefit, how will it benefit them, what impact will there be on other areas, how will this system be implemented, who will be in charge, what will the fiscal implications be,what kind of checks and balance system will be in place to control any change, etc. So much more complicated than "should there be one vote or two" and not answered satisfactorily by anyone on the podium.
If you're going to have a consolidation of two government entities, it is critical that those being consolidated each have a vote on the issue. It is oversimplifying the situation to say that city residents are county residents. The issue here is interests and insuring that all interests are represented fairly as this discussion continues. If you don't give equal voice to those outside the city that are being consolidated then you are basically ignoring them and we might as well proceed with the municipal landgrab we're currently operating under.

Plan-it Allen! demonstrated it perfectly. 67% of the land use in Allen County is for agricultural purposes. That is a huge number that I think is often lost on city residents, whom outsiders tend to feel, quite justifibly, could care less about what happens beyond the city limits.

No one could answer because no one is willing to lead, they're just trying to muddle through. Until someone steps up with a plan that everyone in the county; cities, towns and unincorporated areas included; can get behind, this is all just a bunch of political posturing that is going nowhere, though should provide interesting blogfodder.
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