Buttigieg Holds "Mayor's Night Out"

May 30, 2019

Pete Buttigieg holds his first "Mayor's Night Out" in South Bend since declaring his candidacy for president.
Credit Justin Hicks/WVPE

Before questions, says there will be lots of visible changes in parks this year plus some less visible changes like improving bathrooms, etc.

More community policing and a study in July will show how can work wth businesses to create diversity Buttigieg says.

Buttigieg says neighborhood cleanups have taken out about 45,000 pounds of trash so far. He expects to take a bunch of questions about street paving. Last rule? “We can’t talk about politics. This is not a campaign event.”

First question comes from Oakland, CA.  A woman asks as a mayor eyeing the White House, what cities is he looking at to model and why?

Buttigieg answers by saying, "Pittsburgh." He loves the traffic work being done there. He also mentions Austin. He says it's growing but has a lot of local character. Also he likes a lot of Iowa cities. (Iowa holds the first in the nation presidential caucuses.) He also cites Dayton too for Pre-K programs.

Brady Wade asks what does Buttigieg hope the next mayor will accomplish. Buttigieg says the next mayor should be different. He says the number one challenge is to make sure economic growth is equitable. Near Notre Dame he’s concerned about gentrification.

Buttigieg says the next mayor will have questions related to land use, especially vacant lots. Also the effort to improve rail connections between South Bend to Chicago will be an issue, in addition to homelessness and climate change (as it relates to flooding near the St. Joe River).

Todd Hess asks, "If you could change how folks look at recycling and how it’s paid for would you start it in South Bend?"

Buttigieg says that the city tried a few years ago and messed up a bit. (It didn’t make a profit but lost a bit of money.) But Buttigieg wants to continue to follow that up.

Bailey who is six-years-old asks: "What’s it like to be mayor and what’s your favorite food?"

Answer: "Best job in America." Buttigieg says he likes dealing with locals and can attract wonderful people to South Bend. Fave food? He loves the tacos in town, especially on the west side. (Bailey fell asleep before the mayor could answer her question which was submitted in writing ahead of time.)

Audience at "Mayor's Night Out," including 6-year-old Bailey sleeping in the upper right of the picture.
Credit Justin Hicks/WVPE

Pat Hinkle asks, "Why are the streets so bad?"

Buttigieg: "Asphalt breaks down and the city and state just don’t have enough money to fix every road with state funding. They are filling cracks." He says if you call 311 they’ll fix potholes in “a day or two.” But in the end “we can’t do it all.”

Another question was about bringing Trader Joes to South Bend (lots of applause on that one.)

Buttigieg: "Well um... stay tuned." He says there are good food things to come but he doesn't know if that will happen.

Kelley Rae says that a citizens vehicle was damaged by a city truck and the citizen hasn't been compensated.

Buttigieg says he doesn't totally know the details but it’ll go through a claims process.

Marisol Morena asks, "Can we control the 'football houses' near Notre Dame?"

Buttigieg: "We have made some changes about parking on lawns and are talking with code enforcement about this. We also have to make sure the penalty amount is right."

"Mayor's Night Out" in South Bend on May 30, 2019
Credit Justin Hicks/WVPE

Amica Macao says,"Milwaukee declared racism a public health problem. Can we do that?"

Buttigieg: "There’s a lot of problems racism creates from hiring to other health issues. I didn’t hear about that but I want to learn more about that."

Megan Aryes asks, "How will your local tax policies help my small jewelry business succeed?"

Buttigieg: "It’s pretty simple" Property tax and income tax abatements should be distributed fairly and as limited as possible. Maybe more tax breaks for mixed-use developers if they include small business Buttigieg says.

Buttigieg says, "We don’t have enough diverse business owners in South Bend." He says hopefully a new study will give us some new ideas. He says there is funding in the pipeline and South Bend is a semi-finalist in a procurement grant. Awards will be announced June 5. If the city wins it, Buttigieg hopes to use it to boost women business owners.