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At a recent meeting of the Belle Vista Neighborhood Association I was asked about a matter that is coming up more and more as I talk with citizens of the 4th District—Comcast Cable TV rates. The first point I should make is that I rarely hear any complaints about Comcast service. The problem is that the cost has soared in recent years and totally outstripped the inflation rate. As you probably are aware, Comcast has the benefit of being the equivalent of a public utility—i.e. Comcast has been selected by the City of Fort Wayne as the designated local service provider. Prior to 1996 local citizens had the opportunity to have meaningful input into the matter of Comcast rates. In that year the U.S. Government in its wisdom passed the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was supposed to control TV cable rates through enhanced competition. After 7 years it is now evident that there's really no competition in the local TV cable market. Satellite TV systems would theoretically provide some competition but do not include local channels and really aren't an apples to apples equivalent. The only portion of the Comcast rates which cable subscribers or other citizens can affect through the regulatory process is the $9.27 basic service portion of the $40.00 plus monthly bill. The other alternative is to cancel cable service. In other words, local cable service has unfortunately become what is essentially an unregulated monopoly. The solution to the problem lies at the federal level—let your U.S. Senators and Representative know what you think about this issue.

There's some good news on the job front. General Dynamics recently announced that they will be expanding their local operations in the Fort Wayne area with a company that designs software with applications for the military services (U.S. and other countries such as Great Britain) and homeland security. This business started locally, continues to grow steadily, and was recently acquired by General Dynamics. It fits well with the local cluster of military equipment providers that dates back to the early days of Magnavox, Navistar (IH), and ITT—an employment sector that is already important to the local economy. Also, good luck to the Economic Development Alliance in its recently publicized bid to land a Boeing Aircraft manufacturing operation in Fort Wayne!

Fort Wayne is continuing to push forward with plans to rejuvenate Southtown Mall. Southtown has been declared a blighted area, which is obviously the situation. The current owner, who has done almost nothing to upgrade Southtown as the regional shopping center it can and should be, will likely fight with Fort Wayne in the courts over the future of Southtown. I'm optimistic that the plan to rejuvenate the mall—which has the support of Mayor Graham Richard and 8 of 9 City Council members—will eventually be successful. I'm very happy that Fort Wayne has moved forward with the rejuvenation of Southtown Mall after the issue has been discussed without action for at least 15 or 20 years!!

During this construction season 4th District CEDIT funds will fund reconstruction of sections of Kingsway Dr. and Avalon Dr. in the Avalon Association area. Please be patient with the construction delays and detours—the final result will be worth the inconvenience.

Give me a call or email me with any questions or problems. Enjoy the nice weather while it lasts!

 

Tom Hayhurst
City Councilman
4th District
432-8418
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