Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mr. Marshall, we owe you.

Bruce Lamont Marshall--Funeral service is 10 a.m. Saturday at Union Baptist Church, with visitation one hour prior. Burial in Highland Park Cemetery. Donations to Memorial Fund set up at three Rivers Federal Credit Union. Arrangements by Carmichael Funeral Service.

This past Sunday I was in that church, the Union Baptist Church. I stood on the perimeter of the room in the basement of the 125 year old church, watching the variety of candidates for Fort Wayne government return some not-so-perfect answers. I also watched the faces of the church's serious people as they waited ever-so-patiently for their turn to talk. There was thoughtful questioning and serious concerns. They were patient. Maybe too patient.

I saw wide-eyed quiet children looking to their parents, church elders, and us as strangers, debate their very existence and their very future. They watched as their leaders stood up and questioned the candidates. Questioned the government in that room who they so strongly felt had to change in order for them to claim a piece of the world for themselves. Or simply exist.

I heard them saying to these politicians and wanna-be-politicians that they were unhappy with government. I heard them saying they were not being represented and they haven't been for way too long. I heard them say "Something has to change." In a quiet, serious way.

How prophetic it turned out to be.

Something changed, alright. Mr. Marshall died.

I have referred to this past Sunday in several conversations this week because it was a disturbing feeling when I left, for some unknown reason. I drove away thinking I had heard this before. Something has to change. Indeed, I realized, I had.

Daily for 10 months, now, I heard this same phrase from restaurant and bar owners. From the man who was put in jail for a fence in his yard. From the family businesses who could no longer pay the tax on their property they had owned for decades. And in sharing my own dealings with trying to get a business started, and being stopped by bureaucracy.

Why does it take death to get people’s attention... This man and his supporters have fought for a very long time to get a wrong turned right. How many of you understand what it means to live and breathe and die for a cause?

My heart broke today for this man, his family, and all the other people who just want to make a little something for themselves in the world.

Mr. Marshall, we owe you. We owe you a stronger fight against the status quo. We owe you a better answer. We owe you a better ear. We owe those children who watched us with wanting eyes. We owe you change.

The greater good laws which drove down Mr. Marshall and many others are only greater good for big business, rich politicians, and self-appointed guards of our lives.

This madness has to stop. It has to stop. Something has to change.


Parson said...

Your right about that, something has to change, not just locally but on a national scale.

J Q Taxpayer said...

Jennifer, outstanding would be an understatement. My posts today have followed the out rage I have felt. Maybe my rage was more at myself for not doing something for the fellow.

I only met him a couple of times when I stopped by his place but he was always warm and friendly

When I was young I thought I could vision and understand how some people must be like. As I aged I have learned,"unless you have walked in their shoes, you only think you know!"

I am sickened to think the $1,000 suits and many elected officials could care less! They still remain still over the deadly chorline leak of last Friday.

david said...

Fort Wayne and Allen County definitely must stop some of the senseless red tape it has built up that prevent and make business difficult for many.

I understood the health code issue, but certainly there is a compromise. In Austin (my prior place of living) there were outdoor barbeque joints everywhere and they cooked 24/7.

On another note, my friend recently purchased a water heater from Lowes and they required him to purchase a $30 permit for the county to put in that water heater. This is pure stupidity. Whos job is it to collect $30 checks and process them ?

If I were an elected official, I would go to small businesses like JK O'Donnels and others that have recently built within the city and assess the difficulty to establish their businesses. I would then find out why these were in place and change where appropriate.

Although I'm unhappy with property taxes, Ft Wayne is still below most cities. I feel the BIG problem is not how much, but the number of taxes and the process to get things done around here. There are certain areas like personal property taxes where we staff people to handle this and we could easily get this revenue elsewhere. Personal property taxes have to go.


Jennifer Jeffrey, Chair LPAC said...

As part of the Genesis project I have been working on with several local leaders, we have been doing just that. Finding out where the issues are, what makes businesses successful and why do they fail and how it may be connected to government.

We have uncovered incredible, but true, stories from developers who refuse to do business here, of businesses who can't expand, and of businesses who can't even start because of the red tape and cost ineffectiveness.

There will be more on this in the near future.

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