In March’s monthly chat, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg talks gun control, ethanol plant buyers, youth violence, and a potential change of office.
Buttigieg is among the more than 900 mayors across the country who support the group “Mayors Against Illegal Guns.”
It’s a bipartisan group, and Buttigieg says it’s not about the second amendment, which he supports. He also supports background checks for gun buyers
“It’s a common sense thing that we think Congress ought to make possible,” he says. “It makes our job easier on the ground, fighting crime.”
He says every little thing helps to interfere with dangerous people getting their hands on weapons.
Buttigieg also says the city needs more resources for the mentally ill. He says he will advocate at the state and federal level because the city cannot handle it alone.
Youth violence initiative
In less than two weeks, South Bend will implement a series of initiatives to reduce youth violence in the city, including a new commission.
“This one’s not about too much analysis or report writing,” he says. “This is about action.”
He plans to get law enforcement and child services together in the same effort to target the small fraction of people who cause the majority of the violence in South Bend neighborhoods.
Ethanol plant buyers
Buttigieg says the pump turned pumps back on at the New Energy Ethanol Plant as a temporary measure to prevent flooding in the homes surrounding the area. The pumps move 4 million gallons of water out of the ground each day, but it’s a pricey fix that cannot go on forever.
“Obviously we would rather have someone operating that plant, creating jumps and producing a product,” he says, “rather than having it liquidated and sold for scrap.”
He says they are hoping to find a buyer who will operate the plant, but it is a private transaction.
“The city can’t get involved in running an ethanol plant,” he says, adding that the market must play itself out.
City councilman Derek Dieter has suggested a new tenant for the College Football Hall of Fame – the city of South Bend.
Common Council President Derek Dieter wants city officials to move their offices into the former football shrine.
Buttigieg says they have no plans to move city offices, but adds that his administration is always open to suggestions on how to improve efficiency and save taxpayer money.
“We’ll hear it out,” he says, “But I’d be a little surprised if that turns out to be the best use for the hall.”