News

South Bend Elects Buttigieg

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Mayor-elect Buttigieg promises fresh start for South Bend

November 8, 2011

By Kevin Allen, The South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Pete Buttigieg promised a fresh start for South Bend if voters elected him to be the city’s next mayor.

And, on Tuesday, residents overwhelmingly handed him the reins.

The 29-year-old Buttigieg handily beat Republican Wayne Curry and Libertarian Patrick Farrell in what was the first South Bend mayoral race without an incumbent since 1987.

Buttigieg declared victory about 6:25 p.m. — just 25 minutes after polls closed. Less than an hour later, he was speaking to party faithful at the West Side Democratic Club, where he thanked his campaign staff for their work, his parents, Joseph Buttigieg and Ann Montgomery, for their support, and his opponents for contributing to a respectful, constructive mayoral race.

Buttigieg received nearly 74 percent of the 14,883 votes cast in the city, according to unofficial results. Curry garnered 19 percent, and Farrell picked up 7 percent.

His victory Tuesday probably didn’t surprise many political observers.

South Bend voters have chosen Democratic mayors for the past 40 years, and Buttigieg won big — capturing 55 percent of the vote — in a four-candidate Democratic primary in May.

"When I entered this race in January, not a lot of people believed that a young man with a funny name who had never held office before could earn the confidence of a community at a turning point," he said in his speech at the West Side Club, "but together we have shown that South Bend can transcend old barriers, move beyond old habits and take a chance on a new way forward."

Born and raised in South Bend, the St. Joseph’s High School alumnus emphasized during his campaign that the city needed a fresh start. He highlighted his business experience with global consulting firm McKinsey and Co., and attracted voters with his credentials as a Harvard graduate and former Rhodes Scholar.

Buttigieg implored supporters Tuesday night to turn their sights toward a different kind of campaign — not a campaign for a politician but a campaign to make South Bend stronger, safer and cleaner.

"From day one, the fundamental vision of this campaign has been a fresh start to tackle our city’s toughest challenges," he said, "and that’s what we’re going to do.

"We’re going to gather the leadership of this community to deliver a new economic direction, building on our greatest strengths, true to our traditions, while looking for new sources of wealth and income and prosperity.

"We’re going to apply new tools to confront our crisis in vacant and abandoned housing. We’re going to forge new alliances to ensure that our city is a powerful ally to the school system. We’re going to find every way possible to stand up against violence and crime. And we’re going to create a new culture of customer service so that our city services can be as efficient, transparent and cost effective as possible.

"We’re going to think bigger about South Bend’s borders," he said. "We’re going to find new ways to find partnerships, not just across the region but around the world, so that South Bend is truly a global city."

Buttigieg said South Bend has a long history of triumphs and challenges, and the city’s residents understand the way forward will never be easy or obvious.

"But while we don’t know exactly what the future will bring, we know what it takes to get there," he said.

"We know that our survival depends on new thinking, and that’s what tonight is about. We’re going to lay aside old habits and old divisions, we’re going to transcend old rivalries, we’re going to abandon old prejudices.

"The only way we can recover and surpass what our old prosperity was is with new energy, new options and new alliances. We must take new risks and create new opportunities.

"We must, we can, we will," he concluded, "and it all starts tonight, and it all starts with you."

Curry said in a phone interview Tuesday night that he wishes Buttigieg well in the mayor’s office.

"I think we ran a positive race," he said. "There were some issues, such as crime and neighborhoods, that will be addressed better because I was in the race."

Curry said he considers Buttigieg a friend and will be willing to work with him to improve the city.

Farrell said he’s not sure the election outcome will be good for South Bend.

"I wish Pete the best," he said. "I hope Pete does what he says he’s gonna do, but down deep I know it will be Democrats as usual."

Outgoing Mayor Stephen Luecke, who has been in South Bend’s top job for 15 years, said he is enthusiastic about the city’s future.

Leaving the mayor’s office is bittersweet, he said, but it’s reassuring to know he has a good successor.

"I think Pete brings great energy, a lot of positive ideas and experience," said Luecke, the longest-serving mayor in South Bend history, "and I think he’s going to bring some young people into government, too. That will be good to just keep recharging the city."

St. Joseph County Democratic Chairman John Broden announced at the West Side Club that Buttigieg will be the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with at least 100,000 residents when he takes office Jan. 1.

"But do not mistake that youth for a lack of vision or a lack of clarity and purpose," Broden said. "Pete Buttigieg has a vision for the city of South Bend, and we will see that vision unfold as we move forward."

Voter turnout was low Tuesday compared with the city’s previous mayoral election in 2007, when Luecke won 62 percent of 19,884 votes to win re-election over Republican Juan Manigault.

Read Pete's Viewpoint in The Tribune

Posted

VIEWPOINT

The South Bend Tribune

Ready to deliver the fresh start that South Bend needs

PETE BUTTIGIEG

October 30, 2011

The next mayor of South Bend will preside over two important dates in the life of the city. First, in 2013, will come the 50-year anniversary since Studebaker closed its doors, permanently changing the local economy. And in 2015, we will mark the 150-year anniversary of the establishment of the city itself. More than at any point in our lifetimes, our city is both compelled and poised to answer the question: What will our future look like?

Now is the time to take stock of our assets and our moment so that we can plan a way forward to make South Bend the best possible place to live, work and raise a family.

Our assets are many and they are extraordinary. We boast a beautiful river, five colleges and universities, a rich tradition of hard work and innovation, a diverse population and a highly competitive location. Moreover, we have today an atmosphere of renewal in key leadership positions throughout our community. Not only is South Bend about to choose a new mayor in our first open-seat election in 24 years; we will also see at least four new members of the Common Council and a newly named school superintendent. There is new leadership at our county Chamber of Commerce, at our downtown-support organization, DTSB, and in many important areas of our business community.

Our physical space, too, is changing. New development is linking downtown South Bend closer to Notre Dame. The west side is receiving a major investment in the form of the Kroc Center, which will provide new recreational opportunities for a part of town that has often felt under-served. New housing has sprung up along our river -- a river we must learn to turn and face more effectively. And for the first time since 1968, our city will soon have a high school downtown once again.

All transitions bring both risk and opportunity -- and we must seize this moment of opportunity to find new solutions to our most difficult problems. That's why I have laid out an agenda that seeks to harness today's new leadership and atmosphere of change and use it to improve our local economy, city services, public safety, and education.

We need new solutions to create more jobs. When it comes to economic development, the solution begins with coordination. Numerous overlapping entities and organizations deal with economic development here, and I have become convinced that the talented and well-intentioned people in these groups need tools for better coordination so they do not duplicate or interfere with one another's work. The next mayor must set the table for a shared business plan and one of the first things I plan to do in office is to convene an economic summit of local stakeholders and invited outside experts. The summit will aim to deliver a shared vision of our economic future and tangible steps to move closer to it. My goal is to help organize -- not impose -- an economic vision for our community, and I can already see that it must include a plan for regional cooperation, university partnerships, poverty reduction, work force development, state and federal relations, downtown growth and international competitiveness for our city.

We need new solutions to improve access to city services, which is why I have proposed a 311 phone line that provides a "one-stop shop" for residents who require solutions from their city government. Behind this simple interface will stand a citywide effort to achieve a true customer-service mentality, whether the "customer" is a citizen needing help with code enforcement or a responsible business looking for an answer on building permits.

We need new solutions to drive good outcomes in our education system. Every parent, every child and every investor counts on our school system to provide a competitive business environment and a sound quality of life. The school system is independent of city government, but I am convinced the mayor can and must help. In other communities, I have seen education roundtables succeed in finding ways to support schools -- from shared purchasing that frees up administrative money for the classroom, to new linkages between the schools that prepare tomorrow's graduates and employers who will hire them.

And we need new solutions to confront our problem of vacant and abandoned buildings. The Lincoln Way West corridor, which represents the first impression of our city to most visitors who use the airport, is just one of many parts of South Bend facing persistent and concentrated vacancy in homes and businesses. There are no silver bullets for this legacy of our 1970s-era population loss, but I plan to create a task force to uncover new ways to identify absentee landlords who have walked out on vacant properties.

I decided to run for mayor out of concern for the problems that we face when it comes to jobs, quality of life, safety and vacant buildings. But I also ran with faith in our city's ability to address our challenges. Since launching my campaign, my faith has been multiplied by the energy and commitment around the porches, classrooms, churches and factory floors of this city.

People in this community are ready for a fresh start -- and I am running for the opportunity to deliver it.

Pete Buttigieg is the Democratic candidate for South Bend mayor.

South Bend mayor candidates debate

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October 28, 2011

By Kevin Allen, The South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND - The three men running to be the city’s next mayor laid out their ideas and debated Thursday during a forum at Indiana University South Bend.

Democrat Pete Buttigieg, Republican Wayne Curry and Libertarian Patrick Farrell have less than two weeks to state their respective cases to voters before Election Day, which is Nov. 8.

Buttigieg said his top two policy priorities would be economic growth and dealing with vacant, abandoned houses.

He said too many of the people he grew up with in South Bend have had to move away for job opportunities. “Until we’re able to create those kinds of opportunities,” he said, “none of our goals as a city are going to come to fruition.”

Buttigieg, a former business consultant, said there are 40 groups in the area that work on economic development. As mayor, he would gather them for a summit to coordinate a shared plan they all can work toward together. He added that the city can draw businesses by working to improve basic services, education and public safety.

He said addressing the problem of vacant, abandoned houses is important because they can be “contagious” by breeding crime and pulling down neighboring property values. He said the city needs to approach the issue with a strategy and address houses in clusters instead of one by one.

Curry, a carpenter and construction contractor, said he would focus on public safety and neighborhoods. If city officials concentrate on those areas to make South Bend more attractive, he said, businesses and new residents also will be more likely to move into and stay in the city.

He said city officials should take the money being spent on land acquisition for private developments, such as the new St. Joseph’s High School and riverfront townhomes, and use it to clean up neighborhoods and hire more police officers.

“Our money could be spent more efficiently and wisely,” he said, “and I think this money is better spent on our neighborhoods and making our community safe.”

Curry wants to implement a Tampa, Fla., policing strategy called Focus on Four. The program would involve dividing the city into sections, each with its own chief, and targeting low-level crimes.

Farrell, who is semi-retired after more than 30 years managing car dealerships, also said his top priorities as mayor would be public safety and neighborhoods.

He explained that he would increase residents’ participation by creating a TV station where city officials would explain spending plans and other initiatives. Then registered voters could use their cell phones to vote on the issues.

“In today’s world of technology, everyone is probably walking around with a cell phone in their pocket,” Farrell said. “That’s your key to the city, that’s how you would vote - with that cell phone.”

He added that the city needs to lower property taxes, which hurt businesses and prevent homeowners from having enough money to improve their houses.

Learn more about the candidates at www.peteforsouthbend.com, www.waynecurry4mayor.com and www.farrellforsb.com.

The American Democracy Project and Political Science Club of IUSB, and the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area sponsored the forum Thursday.

Mayoral Candidates to Debate Thursday

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By Kevin Allen, The South Bend Tribune

October 26, 2011

SOUTH BEND -- Voters will have an opportunity Thursday to size up the three candidates running to be South Bend's next mayor.

Democrat Pete Buttigieg, Republican Wayne Curry and Libertarian Patrick Farrell will debate from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Indiana University South Bend. The event will be in Room 225 of the Student Activities Center.

Buttigieg, 29, is a former business consultant with McKinsey and Co. He was born and raised in South Bend, graduated from Harvard University and studied economics as a Rhodes Scholar in England.

He was the Democratic nominee for state treasurer last year, but he lost in the general election to incumbent Republican Richard Mourdock.

Curry, 50, is a carpenter and construction contractor. He has lived in South Bend since 1989 and has been involved in several neighborhood groups and community initiatives.

Curry ran unsuccessfully for South Bend Common Council in 2007 and St. Joseph County Council in 2008.

Farrell, 63, is semi-retired after managing local car dealerships for 36 years. He was born and raised in South Bend and earned a degree in public and environmental affairs at IUSB.

This is Farrell's first run for political office.

This year's South Bend mayoral election is the first since 1987 without an incumbent on the ballot.

Mayor Stephen Luecke, the longest-serving mayor in the city's history, is not seeking re-election this year. He has been in office 15 years.

Election Day is Nov. 8.

Learn more about the candidates at www.peteforsouthbend.com, www.waynecurry4mayor.com and www.farrellforsb.com.

Audience members will be allowed to submit questions for the candidates at the debate. The event's sponsors, the American Democracy Project and Political Science Club of IUSB and the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area, also have prepared questions.

Watch online

Thursday night's forum with the South Bend mayoral candidates will be streamed live at http://tinyurl.com/SB-Mayor.

The forum will be archived HERE.

Election Targets Neighborhood Crime

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By Terry McFadden, WNDU-TV

October 24, 2011

Check out the video by clicking HERE. 

South Bend is less than three weeks away from the November 8th election.

This year, people will be voting for a new mayor, since the current man in charge, Steve Luecke, is not running for re-election.

Whoever gets the job will have to deal with the perception that South Bend is dangerous and making residents feel safer could be a tall order for whoever is elected.

Three men are vying to be South Bend Mayor: Democrat Pete Buttigieg, Republican Wayne Curry, and Libertarian Pat Farrell.

In the weeks leading up to the election, Newscenter16 asked each candidate what they would do to make South Bend's neighborhoods safer.

Click on the video link to listen to what Buttigieg had to say.

Mayoral hopefuls share safety plans

Posted

October 18, 2011

By Kevin Allen, The South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND - Making sure residents are safe in their homes and neighborhoods is perhaps the most-basic function of city government.

The candidates running to be South Bend’s next mayor understand that.

The three men - Democrat Pete Buttigieg, Republican Wayne Curry and Libertarian Patrick Farrell - also say the solutions to improving public safety extend beyond managing the police and fire departments to include neighborhood revitalization and addressing the problem of vacant buildings.

Buttigieg said the city needs the best law-enforcement tools and tactics it can have, but resources alone won’t solve crime problems.

“We need to have up-to-date strategies, make the most of community-oriented policing, make the most of what’s called intelligence-led policing, create opportunities for police officers to get to know the areas they patrol intimately,” he said.

“There is, I think, a need for greater trust between residents in troubled neighborhoods and police officers who patrol them,” he continued. “If residents don’t feel safe speaking to police, then we miss out on an opportunity to prevent crimes rather than respond to them. We can’t always just be responding to crimes.”

Curry said he would adopt a program called Focus on Four that has been used to reduce crime in Tampa, Fla. The strategy would involve dividing the city into sections, each with its own chief, and targeting low-end crimes such as burglaries.

“In reducing those smaller crimes, you actually reduce the violent crimes as well,” he said, “because usually the folks out there committing the smaller crimes are committing the violent crimes, too.”

Curry said he also would find ways to take police officers away from desk work to place them on more street patrols.

Farrell said he would increase police patrols around schools to deter drivers from speeding in those areas and protect children from other dangers.

He also said the police department should find ways to take officers away from desk work and put them on the streets, especially for the purpose of making residents more comfortable talking to officers about crimes in their neighborhoods.

“I think a lot of time should be spent with these people, reassuring them that they have a voice,” he said. “I’m going to empower them to tell that police officer that this person is doing something inappropriate.

“Don’t fear the repercussion,” he said. “Get involved with the police; the police will get involved with you.”

Buttigieg, a former business consultant, said economics also factors into public safety.

“If we can tackle vacant and abandoned houses, we will see an impact in the crime rate,” he said. “If we can provide more meaningful job opportunities, we’ll see an impact in the crime rate.”

Curry said he understands what it’s like to live in a bad neighborhood. He talks often about his work to improve his own neighborhood, the Triangle area east of Eddy Street and north of South Bend Avenue.

“I’ve worked with the police department to clean up the criminal aspect of our neighborhoods,” he said. “I’ve engaged in the neighborhoods for 20 years, and I know what it takes to fix them and turn them around.”

Curry said the city has millions of dollars available to buy property and turn it over to private developers near downtown. That money, he said, should be spent to demolish vacant houses, and fix streets and sidewalks.

“I believe the money is there,” he said. “You just have to want to make it available for those things you prioritize.”

The city also needs to be tougher, he said, when it comes to code enforcement in neighborhoods where abandoned homes are plentiful.

Farrell said the city shouldn’t just tear down vacant houses. Officials should make greater efforts to restore those structures.

“I just want to see that everybody really has a fair shake in their living conditions,” he said.

Tribune Endorses Pete

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The South Bend Tribune

October 16, 2011

South Bend

Pete Buttigieg could not possibly fulfill all the hopes that have been laid on him these past few months. But half the hopes, say, would be a big step forward.

Buttigieg, a Democrat, seems to have the ability, so rare in a politician, not only to grasp and rattle off the things South Bend residents are worried about, but to leave listeners with a sense that he will be able to change those things for the better.

Jobs? Development? Crime? Neighborhoods? On each key issue, he seems to understand the challenge, and have a plan to meet it.

He grasps the persuasive power of the mayoral office and says he would use it to nurture hope and encourage solutions in areas this administration has kept its distance from, such as the problems of public schools and the fear engendered in some neighborhoods by relentless criminal activity.

He acknowledges the shortfalls of current leadership not by hurling blame but by looking ahead, which keeps him from looking petty and opportunistic but also suggests he knows a bit about the fine and essential art of building consensus.

His ease at handling tough questions and complex issues neutralizes concern about his young age and lack of experience. Just 29, Buttigieg has never held public office.

But then, neither have his two challengers.

Republican Wayne Curry has run a competent and honorable campaign and displays a lot of refreshing common sense about the problems facing the city.

A contractor by trade, he has devoted concern and thought to the problems of the city's neighborhoods. And he is, rightly, indignant about the city's scattershot distribution of public money for projects this year.

Libertarian Pat Farrell has those concerns, too, and makes his points effectively. We don't share his enthusiasm for a pure-democracy approach to making decisions. (Citizens would be required to vote by phone or computer on pract-ically every move the city would make, and the Common Council would apparently just fade away.)

Each in his own way, all three candidates seem to have a sense that this race is about something more than an isolated issue here and a platform there.

All of them want to get things moving in a different direction, to push the reset button on the city's own image.

All of the challenges, from schools to economic development to dealing with blighted houses, require a strong, articulate leader who, most of all, knows where he's trying to go.

But Buttigieg is the only one of the three with all the necessary skills.

"I ran because South Bend needs a fresh start," Buttigieg told us during a recent conversation.

He's right, and no one is better-qualified to lead that effort than Pete Buttigieg. We endorse him for mayor of South Bend.

Mayoral hopefuls focus on economy

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South Bend candidates talk about jobs plans

By Kevin Allen, The South Bend Tribune

October 16, 2011

SOUTH BEND - When voters head to the polls Nov. 8 to cast their votes in the South Bend mayors race, they likely wont be deciding just who could best lead city government but who is most able to provide a lift for the local economy.

The issue of jobs looms large in this election, and all three candidates - Democrat Pete Buttigieg, Republican Wayne Curry and Libertarian Patrick Farrell - have emphasized that in their campaigns.

Buttigieg said South Bend has the assets, including location, infrastructure and universities, it needs to move forward economically.

We just need to be smart about how we use them, the former business consultant said, and I think that begins with pulling together all the different groups, agencies and entities that do economic development here.

There is a real need for a shared business plan for the community, he said, and I think I can set the table for everybody to agree on the outlines of that plan.

All three candidates said the next mayor needs to concentrate on actions that will help grow small businesses.

Curry said city officials need to focus on economic gardening - that is, supporting existing businesses - more than economic hunting efforts to draw businesses from outside the area.

Most of the jobs being created nationwide and in our own community are going to be created by businesses with fewer than 10 employees, he said.

Curry, a carpenter and construction contractor, added that South Bend needs to be more competitive with other areas of Michiana if its going to compete with cities outside the region as a place to do business.

If we compete with one another locally, and we look just as good as they do, it actually strengthens our entire region, he said.

By saying, Whats good for Mishawaka is good for South Bend, well, there might be something to that, he added, but I think its a copout for the people that have let South Bend get run down.

Farrell, who managed auto dealerships for 36 years and now co-owns a painting company, said, Small businesses are really the answer. Bendix or Studebaker arent coming back, so its just really, really important that we honor and take care of the small businesses.

Currys economic plans also include bringing in a top-notch economic director from another city, such as Chicago or Indianapolis, where that person has experienced challenges similar to those in South Bend. He also would create an economic development panel to advise officials on how the city could work better with local businesses.

City leaders have pointed toward Ignition Park as an engine for future job growth. The state-certified technology park is being developed in the former Studebaker corridor south of Sample Street.

This is a city that has a lot of great benefits for businesses that would want to locate here, Buttigieg said, but we need to bring those out and tear down any barriers. We need to make sure that were appealing to advanced manufacturers that are growing and that were doing well with the kinds of companies that export to other countries.

All of that requires infrastructure, he said, and Ignition Park is part of the infrastructure. So its certainly a meaningful asset, but its not a strategy, its a facility. We need a strategy.

Curry said he supports the city taking action to tear down the old Studebaker buildings and prepare the property for new development. Green grass sells better than old buildings, he said.

But, he added, city leaders still need to create a business climate and clean, safe neighborhoods that will lead tech companies to want to locate at Ignition Park instead of along Capital Avenue in Mishawaka or anywhere else.

Farrell said he believes the city has placed too much stock in Ignition Park. The park likely will develop slowly, he said, so city officials shouldnt have moved so quickly to clear so much property, including homes, on the site.

Mayoral Hopefuls Talk About Plans

Posted

September 24, 2011

By Kevin Allen, The South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND - With several colleges and universities, a beautiful river, a strong work force and a tradition of manufacturing, South Bend has what it needs for a healthy economy.

The three men running to be the city’s next mayor agreed on that point last week during a candidates’ forum at the Elks Lodge on McKinley Avenue, where many of the audience’s questions focused on economic issues.

The differences among Democrat Pete Buttigieg, Republican Wayne Curry and Libertarian Patrick Farrell emerged as they talked about how they would capitalize on the city’s assets.

Buttigieg said business leaders and city officials need to chart a new direction for South Bend’s economy. The former business consultant added that South Bend needs some salesmanship, a mayor who understands how to talk with people in business and an education strategy that will produce workers with skills local firms need.

“Only a mayor,” he said, “has the platform to connect all the different parts of our community - the educational system and the economy, business decision-makers and the local government.”

Curry, a carpenter and construction contractor, said competing better regionally is the first step toward making South Bend more attractive to investors outside Michiana.

“If we can’t compete with the city of Mishawaka and Elkhart and the county, we’re not going to be able to compete outside that area,” he said. “The more we compete with one another around here, that makes our area more competitive outside of our region.”

Farrell, a former automotive manager and part-owner of Farrell Finishing, emphasized his business experience while criticizing city expenditures on land deals, such as the $1.2 million spent to buy a Family Dollar store on East LaSalle Avenue with the intention of donating the property to St. Joseph’s High School.

“I have spent a lot of millions of dollars of somebody else’s money,” he said, referring to his time running businesses, “but I spent it with their permission.”

Farrell added that he wants to develop a public broadcasting channel for South Bend, so people could follow city issues and be better informed about government decisions.

Curry also criticized city spending on private development projects. He said that money would be more beneficial it were spent to clean up neighborhoods, fix streets and sidewalks, and make the city more attractive.

“Once we make our neighborhoods better and have a safer city,” he said, “we’re actually going to be able to attract more people to our community.”

Buttigieg said he has counted about 40 organizations that work on economic development in the city. Those groups are full of good people with good intentions, he said, but their efforts need to be coordinated to be more effective. His plan is to create an economic council for the groups to determine better ways to work toward their common goal.

“I think we’ve got a lot of good people tripping over each other,” he said.

Kennedy Park Hosts Mayoral Forum

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Kennedy Park Neighborhood Association hosts mayoral forum

WNDU News 

September 21, 2011

The Kennedy Park Neighborhood Association hosted South Bend’s three mayoral candidates at its Tuesday night meeting. Democrat Pat Buttigieg, Republican Wayne Curry and Third-party candidate Patrick Farrell answered residents’ questions during the forum.

While they all had different opinions on how to curb crime, increase safety and generate revenue, there was one thing everyone in the room could agree on – they don’t like the South Bend they’ve been seeing.

“We have an urgent problem of crime, poverty, housing,” said neighborhood association member Harry Gatlin.

In the Kennedy Park neighborhood, all of those problems seem to be intertwined. Residents say most of the issues start with vacant homes.

“Once they’re torn down you have these big empty lots,” said neighborhood association member Marilyn Gachaw. “Once they’re torn down you ask yourself ‘Was it better to leave that vacant home there, or is it better to have the grass grow nine feet tall?’”

Whether it’s a vacant home or a vacant lot, the unattractive pieces of property become a magnet for trash – trash neighbors have spent hours trying to eliminate.

“People seem to have an attitude that it’s OK to throw my cup there and throw my McDonald’s bag there,” said Gachaw.

That’s an attitude most Kennedy Park folks don’t like because many of them have lived in the neighborhood for decades.

The trash that accumulates in alleys and on side streets deters businesses from coming to the area, which means no new jobs on the Westside of South Bend. That means more vacant homes and crime, two factors that feed the negative stigma about the Westside.

But members of the Kennedy Park Neighborhood Association take pride in their homes and the blocks they live on. They just want the next Mayor of South bend to have a little pride in them.

“I would like to see the city make more investment in the Westside and let the private developers take care of the Eastside,” Gachaw said.

Residents say one possible solution to the issues plaguing their neighborhood is to start a land bank, similar to what’s being done in Flint, Michigan.

They’d also like to see more money spent on code enforcement to help address other neighborhood beautification issues like overgrown yards and rodents.

The Neighborhood Association is teaming up with South Bend’s code enforcement to cleanup sections of the neighborhood on Oct. 22.