Saint Francis’ contribution to downtown growth justifies Legacy grant
Several recent letters have criticized the use of Legacy Funds for the expansion of the University of Saint Francis’ downtown campus. Like those expressed by critics of Parkview Field, such viewpoints fail to see the potential benefits such an investment can provide. According to the website LegacyFortWayne.org, the guiding principles of the Legacy Task Force include the use of the funds to directly benefit the people of Fort Wayne and for purposes which will promote the cultural, recreational, public, civic or economic well-being of the community. They further state that the funds should be used in the long-term best interest of the community by providing for catalytic investment and by leveraging additional resources. The task force is also guided by the five defined regional goals of Vision 20/20 which include 21st Century Talent, Entrepreneurship and Quality of Life. Granting $3 million in Legacy Funds to the University of Saint Francis toward the development of its downtown campus surely meets the criteria set forth by the task force.
Just as the development of the Ash Brokerage building has been described as transformational for downtown Fort Wayne, so will be the development of the university’s downtown campus. The $3 million Legacy grant is critical to the university to raise additional funding to finance its investment in downtown Fort Wayne. Each dollar granted by the Legacy Fund will be leveraged by $3, resulting in an investment of more than $12 million in downtown Fort Wayne. The former Scottish Rite Center, now the University of Saint Francis Performing Arts Center, will be home to the university’s new META Program (Media and Entrepreneurship Training in the Arts), which will contribute to the incubation of creative ideas and 21st century skills development. It will serve as a venue for many artistic performances as well as public and private events, thus elevating Fort Wayne’s cultural life. The former Chamber of Commerce Building will house the Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership, which will work closely with area businesses to provide a workforce that is prepared with the skills necessary to meet 21st century talent demands. An estimated 300 students will be studying at the downtown campus when the programs begin, with much potential for further growth and creating demand for new restaurants, retail businesses and housing and energizing our downtown.
It’s a use of Legacy Funds that will embrace the pillars of Vision 20/20 and the vision as established by the Legacy Task Force. The university’s investment in its downtown campus will provide our community with new and exciting educational opportunities that will deliver 21st century talent and spark the imaginations of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. It will continue the transformation of our downtown to a vibrant place to live, work and play and will benefit the citizens of Fort Wayne for years to come.
KATHY CALLEN Member, Saint Francis board of trustees Fort Wayne
Create a public trust to ease pension worries
It is clear as a blue sky in September that insurance and pension institutions are broken with the asterisked exception of Social Security. Health care, unemployment, liability, auto, homeowners and life insurance, along with private and public pension funds, are out of balance in many ways. Problems include excessive costs, misallocation of risk, red-lining, widespread plundering including excessive executive pay, underfunded pensions, legal loopholes to raid funds and losses in bankruptcies.
On top of all of these problems is wealth management, including insurance and pension funds, feeding financial speculation that has ballooned hundreds of trillions of dollars over the U.S. and world gross domestic product. This rising demand for profit is clashing with the rising demand for payouts, including an aging population, decaying infrastructure and extreme weather damage. Our insurance and pensions are breaking down and cyclically in need of high rate increases and bailouts. They are not contributing enough to the economic change we need to provide universal affordable health care and retirement, overcome structural unemployment and provide for a fast transition to an economy that protects and rebuilds a biodiverse earth.
We are in an emerging crisis and should consider bundling all insurance and pension products into an expanded Social Security Administration that provides people and business equal access to these protections. A public trust for social and business security will provide more balance with our private profit-based economy. Call it repurposing a small portion of profits to save you, me, capitalism and the earth too.
HOWARD TRAXMOR Fort Wayne
Lawmakers dishonor pledge to represent all
Attempts to write restrictions on marriage into the state constitution are a waste of our time and resources. The state has no compelling interest in prohibiting two loving adults from choosing to marry one another.
Religious communities should not be forced to sanction any marriage they do not approve of, but the state, which must remain neutral and impartial on religious faith issues, simply has no reason to approve or disapprove of a marriage based on the gender of the parties involved. If marriage is an institution the state wishes to sanction and legislate, then it needs to be impartial and fair toward all of its citizens in how it does so.
Indiana needs visionary civic leadership on this issue, not knee-jerk reactionary votes by its citizens, many of whom carry prejudice against same-sex relationships and have given little thought to why writing that prejudice into law violates the spirit of a pluralistic, democratic society.
It is time for Indiana to open its eyes to the whole, varied scope of what Hoosier families look like and honor us all alike.
Lawmakers must think deeply on this issue and consider the losses to this state if we allow Indiana to remain less than respectful of the honor and dignity of its gay and lesbian citizens. They must reach out to their many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered constituents and hear our voices and our stories. We, too, are Hoosiers. We, too, need to know that our representatives honor us and will represent and back us fairly.
NANCY CRIPE North Manchester
Denial of protections not the Hoosier way
With the recent discussion of HJR 3, I’ve begun to think a lot about my role as a gay man. I attended a private Christian school for the first 10 years of my life. I was taught that being gay is an abomination and anybody who is gay will go to hell. That’s some pretty heavy stuff to lay on a young and impressionable mind, so you can imagine the stress and fear as I began to realize I was gay.
I spent many days sick to my stomach. I would cry myself to sleep and pray to God that he make me straight. Nothing changed. I lost interest in everything. What was the point? I was just going to go to hell. I wasn’t suicidal, but I got to a point that I could see why someone might be willing to take his or her own life.
I’ve always been told that God is love and that he is never wrong. If that’s the case, then my being gay isn’t a problem. But this amendment sends the message to thousands that they are wrong. That’s a problem. So I’m asking you, not just as a gay citizen but also as a human being, please don’t deny freedoms to me, my friends and the families and children across our state who would lose protections if HJR 3 is written into our constitution.
JONATHAN MARONEY Woodburn
Call for diversity is simple-minded
I began reading The Journal Gazette as a 12-year-old newspaper carrier in 1981. Although I’ve disagreed with the editorial page over the years, the views expressed there have been defensible for the most part. Not so with the Jan. 8 editorial, Statehouse in need of women’s presence.
The editorial’s premise, that replacing white male legislators with women and/or minorities is necessary to promote progressive causes is explicitly racist and sexist. Worse yet, it is simple-minded.
The best way for voters to promote their vision is to vote for candidates who share their beliefs – regardless of race or gender. Any other approach is mindless diversity for the sake of diversity – which only perpetuates tokenism and other invidious beliefs.
Also, the suggestion that economic development is somehow an unworthy legislative priority is shockingly tone-deaf in this period of ongoing malaise. Economic growth will improve the prospects for all Hoosiers, particularly the poorest among us. In fact, such growth is the only way to create the resources necessary to address the issues you identify.
Finally, the notion that economic development is the province of white male legislators is abhorrent. By the same logic, the Gary newspaper should be editorializing for the selection of white male candidates in order to reverse that region’s long economic decline.
MATT ELLIOTT Fort Wayne