Every now and then, I’ll reach out to candidates or elected officials to give them an opportunity to speak on a topic of their choice. Yesterday, I reached out to Joseph Townsend, a candidate for Fort Wayne City Council At-Large. I asked him to write a bit about why he’s running for office and how, as an outsider, he is taking on the establishment. Without any further delay, here’s what he had to say.
When my grandfather was in a nursing home during his last few years, he just then started to discuss his days as a WW2 POW. Even then it was not significant details. Just that he ended up escaping in Italy and him and an army buddy would share a jacket they had found during the nights and that was their blanket. He entered the Army at 145 pounds. After a year and a half of being a POW and on the run from the escape, he came back to the United States a measly 90 pounds. That is the story of not just my grandfather, but many in the greater generation. They fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.
Or do we?
Many of the sacrifices they fought for are under attack in our country. I have always had a deep interest in politics, but never thought in a million years that I would decide to adhere the call and run myself. But, I believe if the current elected officials are not doing the job, and nobody else steps up, then it is your civic responsibility to give voters a choice.
There are several areas in which our current elected officials have gone against the entire concept of what our country was founded on: Capitalism and a free market.
1) The Red River contract. From the onset the Red River contract is something I would have been against. Forcing all citizenry to use one company and no matter how bad a job that company does they can not be fired is not freedom, nor is it capitalism. I live in the Aboite area and can recall how things were done when I was in grade school, before we were annexed. We were able to choose whatever company we wanted to pick up our trash. That remains the system for those in the Aboite area who live outside city limits. They can choose among 4 different companies to do their trash. Guess what? They pay a similar rate and can fire the company doing it if they do a bad job. Neighborhood associations can also bargain for the best rates available for the entire neighborhood. That is capitalism and that is what I will demand for the entire citizenry of Fort Wayne.
2) Tax abatements galore. If you watch any City Council meeting you will notice that the current council, with the exception of Jason Arp and Paul Ensley, love giving out tax abatements. The argument is that we cannot bring in the business without tax abatements. Interesting that those who make this argument, were against the elimination of the BPP (Business Personal Property tax) that would have given us an advantage over other cities and made it so that we no longer “need” to give out tax abatements to draw in business’. Unfortunately, 4 Republicans joined to Democrats to stop Jason Arp, Paul Ensley, and Russ Jehl from getting this tax eliminated.
3) Income tax increase. This vote, in particular, was the final straw in our loss of freedom and made me decide to run. I believe that taxes should be as minimal as possible. I am all for funding basic necessities: Infrastructure, police, fire ect. But I believe when there is a need (streets and sidewalks) we should look at the current budget and see where we can cut. The income tax increase generates 4.5 million yearly in revenue for us. City council told us that without that increase there would be no way we could possibly find the 4.5 million dollars. Within weeks of the income tax increase, we found the 4.5 million dollars by switching from Lutheran to Parkview for the healthcare provider of city employees. That is 4.5 million dollars in ANNUALLY savings we found literally weeks after being told we could not find it anywhere. The constant desire to raise taxes instead of find the money in the current budget needs to stop. That is why I decided to run.
I do not adhere to the argument that council has their hands tied and cannot do anything because of the mayor. Take Jason Arp as an example. He got rid of the ordinance which didn’t allow guns in parks. He tried to allow people to be able to raise chickens on their property. He attempted to eliminate the Business Personal Property tax. The issue is we do not have enough councilman who believe in freedom. We are 2 away. This election we can choose freedom loving candidates and actually be represented by a Conservative controlled City Council.