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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

It's always personal

Just a thought as a taxpayer on projects advanced by local officials. One way I judge such projects -- and I presume many others do this, too -- is a personal calculus: What is this likely to do for me, and what will it cost me?

The downtown baseball-plus project is not likely to cost me very much directly -- the taxes it uses will mostly be tax money already taken from me that will be used for something else if it isn't used for this. The benefit is tangible, an entertainment complex that I might want to use and that could help downtown even if I never go there. Even if it fails, it's hard to argue that downtown will be that much worse off than it is now.

Fort Wayne Community Schools' massive building rehabilitation project, on the other hand, will be money out of my pocket that wouldn't be taken without the project -- and a substantial increase over what I'm paying now. And the benefits are intangible. I have no children in the school system, so I have to take it on faith that improving the buildings will improve education to the greater good of the community and, somehow, me.

From that standpoint alone, the baseball project is a much better bet for me than the school one: less cost to me, greater potential benefit. There are plenty of other reasons to be for or against both projects, of course, and there is a thin line between considering the personal and being selfish. But those pushing such projects need to be aware that there are real people out here who at least begin their deliberations with what it means to them.

Posted in: Our town


Wed, 02/07/2007 - 6:45am

"Even if it fails, it's hard to argue that downtown will be that much worse off than it is now."

...and that's why it's worth pursuing. I'd much rather accept millions for downtown and take a chance on a better Fort Wayne than wait around for some kind of free-market private enterprise dream proposal that will likely never happen with the current landscape.

Do I have concerns and doubts about the project? Of course, but I'm still more positive and hopeful than cynical and distrustful about the opportunity that exists.

Wed, 02/07/2007 - 7:20am

Now there is a standard by which to judge a project:

Even if it turns out to be a waste of money, well, it is just money we probably would have wasted anyway. And even if the project is a real bust, its hard too argue that downtown will be much worse off.

So, citizens, shelve your doubts and concerns, silence your questions about where the money goes, and lend us your blind and unthinking trust. Seize this opportunity that almost certainly will not leave us much worse off than we are anyway.

Bob G.
Wed, 02/07/2007 - 8:12am

A good standard Leo,to be sure...if it was implemented....

However, we can't "choose" either/or...we'll be (sadly) stuck with BOTH...as to what degree?
That remains to be seen (and felt).

If politicains can worry and fret over THEIR bottom line...so can we, over OUR bottom line!

Funny...they actually work for US to.


Steve Towsley
Wed, 02/07/2007 - 8:29am

Because I'm old enough to remember when it was a national embarrassmen that the Soviet Union produced better educated students that the USA did, I'd have to disagree with your conclusion about which project represents the enlightened self interest.

I have no kids either (yet anyway), but I'd say the school project matters to me far more, caring adult that I am. I like kids in general and have done my part to help a few of them. I remember getting one young man started auctioning his artwork on eBay; in another case I taught a Careers series for JA at Homestead High.

It's tough these days for a single guy of any age to help kids directly because of all the fear of predators. I'm perfectly aware that there are no assurances I can give a parent nowadays that will "prove" I'm okay.

But I think we all have a vested interest in making dam* sure the coming generations are as well equipped to excel as they can be.

I want this school renewal thing to work. I hope we will all do as much as we can, whether we have kids or not, to make sure this boatload of money is spent where it will really do the most good, not necessarily in comfortable amenities for staff yet, but in giving a great big boost to the quality of education we bestow on the children of our own bailiwick.

Thu, 02/08/2007 - 9:42pm

Did you see that it wAs going to cost 1.4 million to tear down Elmhurst? I say let s give it to Canterbury scott free. They seem to be able to produce some of the best students and at a less cost per than our money sucking left leaning public school system.