January 27th Common Council notes

We had a really interesting time at the second city council of the year. The meeting was short and informative and we would invite any interested members to join us at the next meeting on Monday February 10th at 7 pm on the 4th floor of the St. Joseph County building in downtown South Bend. Below are some of our thoughts and comments from the January 27th Meeting.

Topics of Interest

– Conflicts of Interest
• There have been concerns for the past years about members of the local government being connected to businesses which receive large contracts from the city.
• The council unanimously passed additional conflict of interest reporting standards, particularly for builders.

-Parking
• The parking spots next to the courthouse may be removed to prevent a car bomb from being used against the building
• Some council members were concerned about not enough parking downtown, and are requesting a report about total parking spots from the DTSB board.
• This begs the question… “ how can downtown south bend be more accessible and walkable?” what needs to be added to downtown and in the near neighborhoods so that more people can walk and bike and take the bus to decrease the overall need for more parking spots?

-Plan for African American Equality and Safety
• Councilman Davis expressed concerns from constituents about trash pickup on a particular street. Parking for residents is very limited and prevents waste collection, leading to trash buildup.
• Davis also spoke about high homicide rates in South Bend (there was a homicide 2 hours into 2020), with a focus on racial discrepancies in policing, violence, housing, and social support.
• These issues were raised by Councilman Davis individually–not in reference to a specific motion–and it is unclear what, if anything, will be done to address them in the long term.

Other Miscellaneous information
• If you want to join an advisory or consultation panel – applications are open:
https://southbendin.granicus.com/boards/…/380/apply/1756576…
• “Bob the builder” is illegally building around south bend – we’re not kidding
• The new Council Members have received training at a 3 day bootcamp to prepare them for their new roles.