This is my first AMA! Looking forward to discussing whatever is on your mind over the course of the hour.

Pete Buttigieg

Edit [14:14 EDT]: My time is up. Thanks everyone for the great questions and for caring so much about our city!

Comments: 140 • Responses: 33  • Date: 

Mayor_Pete33 karma

Also a big thank-you to Jake who proposed that I do this and has helped get us up and running today!

dothedewtoo7 karma

Are you going to be at the game tomorrow??

Mayor_Pete12 karma

You bet. See you there?

MirrorlikeTent22 karma

Mayor Pete! As someone who hasn’t made it to one of your mayor’s night out yet I guess I can ask them here.

1) What is your go to midnight snack?

2) Is a hotdog a sandwich?

3) What is your favorite Ben Folds song?

Mayor_Pete27 karma

  1. Literally whatever is in the refrigerator or pantry. Also we have these peanut-butter-filled pretzel bites in the office that are amazing.
  2. No.
  3. "Stephen's Last Night in Town." I don't pretend to fully understand the plot of the lyrics, but I enjoyed playing it when they came through town in 2015.

Grlmm9 karma

I mean a hot dog is just an open faced sandwich with a special bread shape.

Mayor_Pete30 karma

OK but an open-face is not actually a sandwich. It's sandwich-related but it's not a sandwich.

DrMux4 karma

A hotdog is not even open-face. Like a hoagie or a sub, it is meat sandwiched in bread. It has all the elements of a sandwich, and is therefore a sandwich.

Mayor_Pete10 karma

True, it is meat partially surrounded by bread. But "sandwiched" implies symmetry. Even a burger, which is only barely a sandwich, is mostly symmetrical. A hot dog is not.

DrMux3 karma

I disagree that symmetry is fundamental to the definition of a sandwich. A sub is not symmetrical, but everyone can agree that it is a sandwich.

Mayor_Pete12 karma

It is structurally symmetrical, not morphologically symmetrical. Draw a line through pretty much any part of a sub (from top to bottom of course) and you get bread, meat, bread. The same is not true of a hot dog.

thenewyorkgod21 karma

Mayor Pete!

As a south side resident who moved from the east coast 4 years ago, I am very excited about the direction the city is headed in, especially the explosion of development downtown.

What concerns me is the crime rate which does not seem to be going down, especially the shootings.

  • Do you have any comprehensive plan in place to actually affect a real reduction in the violent crime rate on the north and west side of town?

  • Are you surprised by the very negative reaction on social media to your suggestion that the train station be placed downtown, at a cost of $100 million?

  • Can we have the parks install toddler friendly areas, which is essentially a fenced off area so parents can let their younger kids run around without worry that that will wander off too far? Basically a dog park but for younger kids.

  • Has your church fully embraced your recent marriage, or do you face obstacles from leadership and fellow worshipers?

Mayor_Pete23 karma

Thanks for "tuning in" and for the kind words about our City's growth. Let me take each in turn:

  • The core of our violence reduction strategy is the Group Violence Intervention, which brings together law enforcement and the social sector to focus on those most likely to be involved in violent crime. We have supplemented this strategy with street outreach workers and a Strategic Focus unit in SBPD. Gun violence has fallen sharply this summer, but we had a tough start to the year and it is far too soon to celebrate. Be sure to use our Police Transparency Portal to get a good sense of the good, the bad, and the ugly of crime stats; one thing I have noticed is that while bad incidents command headlines and attention, virtually no one is aware of the dramatic reduction in gun violence that has happened here in the last few months.
  • Not sure I agree with the premise of the question here--some people favor a downtown station and some don't. My sense overall is that most South Bend residents who follow this closely are excited for downtown. I think that the economic case is extremely powerful--but we also have unanswered questions on the engineering side and will have to make sure it is as doable as we think. Look for more in the next few months.
  • Interesting idea, I've never thought about this but will now!
  • My church is fantastic, and they have been nothing but supportive. It means a lot to me that we were able to have our marriage in the church.

omni428 karma

Having the train stop downtown would be worth it. Transit stops in city centers create a huge economic impact. For a modern commuter train, growth can be ten times as high around a commuter train stop. Amtrak and south shore are obviously a little different, but it still opens doors and adds an important infrastructure piece in the city center. The investment of infrastructure there can also be used in the future if they ever get the Ohio-Chicago high speed line built. Hopefully, the downtown site would be build to code for those kind of expansions.

Mayor_Pete10 karma

This is consistent with what the economic analysis found. Development potential was off the charts for the downtown option--something on the order of $400 million. Of course, the cost is also higher.

bloatedplutocrat18 karma

Mayor Pete I am not a constituent of yours but I do recognize you have fantastic hair, what sort of regimen/products do you use or is it all natural?

Mayor_Pete18 karma

Thanks! Armando's Barber Shop keeps me squared away. Chasten yells at me if I forget to use goop.

say59214 karma

Mayor Pete, Im a proud South Bend resident, so I want to say thank you for what you and others have put into our city.

On to a real question, you have talked a lot about how Democrats need to address real problems in people's every day lives, and how this will ultimately make the party more successful at building a big tent coalition and convincing undecided voters that democratic values are the same as their values. Do you find the focus on identity politics and wedge issues to be damaging to this goal, or do you think most people are able to sift through the noise and listen to the true message?

Mayor_Pete19 karma

I think we can communicate across identity lines by focusing on how the decisions of politicians affect all of us in our daily lives. This doesn't mean avoiding divisive issues--sometimes it can clarify those issues. For example, I think that the moral weight of family separation becomes clearest when we try to picture what happens in the everyday life of a child fleeing violence if she is taken from her parents for reasons she cannot understand. I'm not calling for us to ignore the different identities we all carry--but I do believe that if we allow ourselves to be defined by them, it becomes harder to relate to others.

karenw12 karma

Hello, Mayor Pete!

Thank you for doing this AMA. I live on Altgeld just off Miami, and have a couple questions.

  1. I am pleased to report that I have not experienced any flooding in my basement this season. Are the smart sewers on-line, and have you seen an improvement in drainage on the south side?
  2. The Miami Village area is rather neglected, with several empty storefronts and vacant buildings. Are there any resources available for revitalization or development in this area?

Also, as an aside, I talked to Ben Folds last week and he had good things to say about you -- and South Bend!

Mayor_Pete11 karma

We're planning lots of work around drainage. Not sure we can take credit for your basement staying dry but it certainly didn't hurt! If you have had issues in the past, you may want to call 311 to ask about our program to help you get a back flow preventer (basically a one-way valve) just in case.

I see a lot of potential for the Miami corridor, and we are actively discussing with our planning team how to support the area for the future.

Glad to hear re Ben Folds!

cannabiscrusader7105 karma

Would love to see Miami villages revitalized

The stop and go gas station has been a real hot spot for crime any plans to crack down on known trouble areas to encourage investment in the area?

Mayor_Pete10 karma

This is one reason why we passed a Nuisance Property ordinance. I'd encourage you to call police non-emergency (235-9201) about any issues with an individual business impacting the neighborhood.

Arswaw11 karma

Is recycling a priority for the city of South Bend?

Thanks for doing an AMA by the way.

Mayor_Pete13 karma

Yes. Right now we do it through the Solid Waste Management District so we can tackle it as a region, and we are evaluating proposals for how to best manage recycling the next few years.

theonlybluecow11 karma

What does South Bend have planned to solve the homless epidemic?

None of the surrounding areas have the massive amounts of homeless on the streets like South Bend does. So why is it such a problem here?

Mayor_Pete10 karma

It's typical for the biggest city in a region to have the highest homeless population as people are drawn to the income and services there, and South Bend is no exception.

Most of the homeless population here has access to excellent services like the Center for the Homeless to try to get them back on track, but there are always some who are unable or unwilling to use these mainstream services.

Our strategy on the issue has been focused on adding two elements to our current landscape of services: permanent supportive housing, and an intake center to help get people off the streets. The former is underway with the Oliver Apartments and we will continue looking for ways to add beds. This played a role in the improved situation under the Main Street viaduct, for example. The latter is going to require us to work to find the right site, but we have already identified funding.

You can learn more about our overall policy framework here:

MissAmanda1179010 karma

Hi, Mayor Pete!

Proud Mishawaka resident here, but hey - I'm only a street away from River Park and work at Notre Dame, so I count you as one of my mayors. :)

You've traveled quite a bit around the country in the last couple of years. What would you say is the biggest misconception people have about South Bend, Hoosiers, or Indiana in general?

Are you optimistic about the "Blue Wave," or do you think this November will be disappointing to those hoping for a big shift to the left in U.S. elected officials?

Mayor_Pete13 karma

Thanks, I'm happy to claim you as part of the South Bend region!

I think people underestimate how accepting, forward-looking, and future-oriented we Hoosiers can be. As for South Bend in particular, I think people who haven't been here don't realize that we are as much an industrial community as a college town. We are more diverse, lower-income, also just more interesting than people might realize if all they know is six home games a year.

I am very optimistic about the Blue Wave--BUT, it won't just happen on its own. It will take sustained action and work all the way to Election Day. I also think we should be prepared for the possibility of a major security event intended to change the dynamics of the election, and if/when something like that happens we must not let it distance us from our values as a country.

sbburneraccount9 karma

Hi Mayor Pete!

I'm moving to South Bend from the South in mid-October. I'm a Hoosier who has moved a lot, but I'm excited to come back to my home state. I have two questions.

First: What can I do to be a good South Bend resident? I've lived places where newcomers are... not the most welcome group. My visits to South Bend have shown SB to be a lot more friendly to transplants (everyone in Michiana that asked why I was in town were very excited that the answer was "looking for a place to live"). But we still want to help South Bend be South Bend. So how can I do that?

Second: I love downtown and have signed a lease for an apartment there. But in my visits to the city, it became clear that the downtown area, while booming, still has a sizeable homeless population. What is your office (and the rest of the city) doing to help the homeless population? My hope is that the individuals are not treated as a problem, but that there is some assistance for them to thrive.

Mayor_Pete9 karma

Welcome back to Indiana and glad you'll be joining us in South Bend! Lots of ways to be involved, and hopefully you continue to feel that this city welcomes you. You'll find it's big enough to have at least a taste of everything, but small enough to get your arms around. As to how best to get involved, I'd say it starts with this question: what do you care most about?

(I'll refer you to my other answer on our homelessness strategy.)

silent-roar8 karma

Hi Mayor Pete!

I was wondering what you think about the changes Notre Dame is bringing to their campus/Eddy st and how it will affect south bend. Did you/SB officials have a say in the plans for the expansion on Eddy St commons? I hear that ND is also planning on building a brand new arts center in the coming years on the south end of campus, do you think this is positive change for the community? Does ND work with the city when they change things or are they their own entity? What do you think about accusations of ND bringing gentrification to south bend?

Thanks for all you do! You’re an inspiration to me and many others.

say5928 karma

Did you/SB officials have a say in the plans for the expansion on Eddy St commons?

Eddy St commons is in South Bend and a completely separate entity from ND. They had to get approval from the common council and even received tax incentives from the city.

silent-roar9 karma

Oh okay I didn’t know that. I’m currently a student but am from Mishawaka and the way everyone (that I know) talks about it made me think it was a Notre Dame thing

Mayor_Pete11 karma

It's a partnership--could not have happened without both ND and the City working together. I view it as a win-win, bringing jobs and investment into city limits (the city boundary is Angela/Edison) while making life better for the ND community.

We take fears of gentrification in that area of town very seriously, and it's one reason we work closely with neighborhood groups to make sure that what happens in the area is a benefit to those who have lived there all along. Neighborhood organizations like the Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization Organization (NNRO) and Northeast Neighborhood Council (NENC) are vital to ensuring that growth is responsible.

omni427 karma

Hello Mayor Pete,

You recently hosted a conference of mayors on the issue of automation. Tow of the key issues for the conference were discussing the future of labor and markets, as well as the relationship between work, income, and identity. This is an area I have been working on for policy analysis, and a big part of my interest is how cities like South Bend and others in the Midwest can meet the challenges this creates for economic stability.

How do you think cities should be preparing for these economic changes, and what can a city like South Bend do to help keep decent wages and enough jobs available for its people?

Mayor_Pete9 karma

I think the bottom line is education and skills. Automation will eliminate some jobs, but it will change far more jobs than it does away with completely. Physical, repeatable tasks are the easiest to automate. Human interaction and critical thinking, not so much. That means that literally any job track--fast food or manufacturing just as much as accounting or law--will require some level of critical thinking and problem solving. Doesn't mean everyone needs a college degree, but we do need to adapt our education so that not just specific task-skills but deeper career abilities are emphasized. We are piloting some approaches to workforce education through our "pathways" program and will continue a dialogue with our K-12 school system on the topic too.

I also think cities can thicken bonds of community and identity that we used to get from the workplace. South Bend is full of people who now change jobs often, but will find the experience less disorienting if they have a clear and stable role in the community through volunteerism, arts, activism, or other civic involvement. This is the deeper level I think cities should think about when it comes to these changes in the labor market.

Lizziedeee7 karma

Hello Mr. Mayor,

As a former SB resident I have been following your career. Watching the service for John McCain today, I was not surprised that because of his disparaging remarks, DT was not welcomed to be there. His attitude toward a true patriot and war hero are a disgrace. Do you have any words of wisdom for disillusioned Republicans and Indepndents?

Mayor_Pete12 karma

I think the important thing is that the ugly behavior we have seen is not supported by a majority of the American people. The outpouring of respect for Senator McCain is a reminder that there is an overwhelming majority in our country that backs the idea of service with honor, even if we disagree on ideological or party lines. The fact of seeing Presidents Bush and Obama united in this way is to me just as remarkable (or more) than the absence of the current president.

Lobster_Dave6 karma

Mayor Pete, what do you think is the best way for younger people to get involved in government at the local level? Government can seem like an inaccessible monolith with no doors to those on the outside, but what are the ways in so young adults can actually start affecting change?

Mayor_Pete7 karma

The great thing about local government is it's more accessible than you think. Anyone can speak at a Council meeting--no age limit. Same for sitting down with me at a Mayor's Night Out event (call 311 and they can let you know when the next one is scheduled). And campaigns depend on young people to function. Also think about internships with the City or my office--the call for next semester applications will come out later this fall on the city website!

WERTZtilitHURTZ6 karma

Hey Mayor Pete!

Perfect timing for this AMA!

My name is Nathan Wertz ( I write for and live in South Bend, Indiana (short end is they are a client of mine and I assist with some of their verticals). I'd like to interview you for the military transition series I've been working on.

Quick Examples:

Is it possible to get this arranged? If so, who would be an appropriate contact to set it up?

Mayor_Pete6 karma

Please send a note to Mark at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) - and thanks!

coryrenton6 karma

Which demographic would you say are the least vocal compared to their size or potential power, and therefore are often shortchanged?

Mayor_Pete13 karma

Young people. I think this election cycle will reveal whether a new generation has figured out how to convert its voice into political power. Some early election results are promising, but everyone is waiting to see whether the energy of youth will be sustained into lasting action.

-life_starts_now-1 karma

Young people are the least vocal?

You've gotta be kidding me.

Mayor_Pete12 karma

Compared to size and potential power? I believe so. Especially if "vocal" includes things like appearing at local public meetings, and voting. This might be changing before our eyes, but it's too soon to say.

supermopman6 karma

Hey Mayor Pete. First off, I think you're awesome.

I got my Ph.D. from Notre Dame last year. Since then, I've moved to Chicago for work, but I come back often (actually, I'm in town right now for the big game this Saturday).

I was excited about Bare Hands moving into the abandoned auto shop near Four Winds Field. Breweries are a great way to bring business and livelihood downtown. But the last time that I talked to the guys at Bare Hands, they said that maybe they couldn't move in anymore! Don't quote me because I don't work there or anything like that, but they said that they were facing problems with the city board or government.

Can you help Bare Hands move in? Or at least provide some commentary on what's going on?

Mayor_Pete9 karma

Let me say this: we would all love for this plan to work out. There have been a lot of hurdles but we are working together to try to make it happen. The ball is mostly in their court right now and I sincerely hope that they are able to meet their commitments. If it comes together, I will be an enthusiastic customer!

viking-chant5 karma

Heya Pete, you mentioned a little bit on Pod.SB how you feel that communities can offer people purpose and meaning. Could you expand on that at all?

Mayor_Pete6 karma

I think a lot of people in our generation define ourselves largely based on our role in a community. It used to be that you would get this from the workplace, but I think that's less solid especially as the new economy has people frequently changing not just jobs but careers. So we need new sources of community, identity, and purpose. Many people I have encountered have very clear roles in our community as creators or activists, even if I have no idea what their day jobs are. I expect to see more of this--relationship in the city as a source of fulfillment. It has already motivated incredible people to move here and/or stay here and be part of the project of helping this city into a new future.

gmredditt5 karma

Thank you for the AmA Mayor Pete!

South Bend has very much turned around from its 90's / 00's trend - great work!

What outreach/communication is possible, has been done with other Indiana mayors to share knowledge and affect positive change in other Hoosier communities?

Any advice for residents of other communities to spur similar change in their municipality?

Mayor_Pete4 karma

Absolutely--we have a Northern Indiana Mayors' Roundtable and a statewide group called Accelerating Indiana Municipalities that advocates for cities and towns and brings mayors together. Cities can learn a ton from each other across our state (and nationally through the US Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities).

Every community is different, but a key is always to have players across sectors (public, private, civic, social, educational) driving toward a common vision. Easier said than done but doable, and critical to our success here.

And thanks!

TokiNotABumbleB4 karma

Hey Mayor Pete!!! I don't have much a question, but as somebody who grew up in the area and has since moved away I just wanted to let you know how great a job I think you're doing! You and the improvements you're making are 2 of the biggest reasons I miss living in Michiana. Can't wait to see you on a bigger stage so I can cast my vote for you!

It is an AMA though so: I'm a woodworker and I've been wanting to make a little something to send up your way, any requests? The only wrong answer is "a pen" because I don't have a lathe lol

Mayor_Pete6 karma

That's very kind! I love displaying any artwork that reflects creatively on South Bend here in the office.

sdpc74 karma

Mayor Pete,

We gonna see 37-0 tomorrow?

Mayor_Pete6 karma

If we do I won't be complaining!

grilled-cheese-man3 karma

Who makes the best grilled cheese?

Mayor_Pete5 karma

Still puzzled by the grilled cheese theme. But, uh, excellent grilled cheese is available throughout our city. Probably best to avoid playing favorites here.

AchtungTiger3 karma

If the wiretapping case is no big deal how come we are not able to hear what’s on them yet?

Mayor_Pete8 karma

You might want to read the federal court decisions on this case--that will give you a better sense of the underlying legal issues and why residents (including me) have been prevented from hearing these recordings so far.

AchtungTiger3 karma

The one the reversed and sent back? The feds in Chicago said it wasn’t a federal matter I thought? Have t seen much in thought you’d have some insight, thanks for the response though. Still think you owe Karen DePaepe an apology.

Mayor_Pete10 karma

Yes, it got kicked back to state court on jurisdictional grounds, but you can learn a lot from reading the federal briefs. We are obviously hoping for a fair resolution in state court now.

kflecken3 karma

Hi Mayor Pete! As an alumnus of ND, I first wanted to say thank you for all of the work you have done to revitalize South Bend. As a freshman, I was very hesitant to go downtown, but I slowly learned about all of the great things to do.

How will you continue to build a relationship between South Bend and the students of the various schools?

What do you think has been the most impactful piece of advice you have received?

Finally, what is your prediction for the ND Michigan game?

Thank you so much for being a dedicated mayor who really cares about his constituents!

Mayor_Pete10 karma

Thanks! A huge part of South Bend's recent success has had to do with breaking the "bubble" that used to divide campus and city.

My big focus on developing this relationship is to engage students, not just as warm bodies or people who spend money here, but through the substance of our work. The Bowman Creek Educational Ecosystem is a great example of this.

I have ND winning by a hair--should be a great game!

xenokilla3 karma

Thank you for doing this!

What are you plans to tackle gun violence and crime in south bend?

Also I may have made a subreddit about you... r/Pete_Buttigieg/

Mayor_Pete3 karma

Thanks! I'd refer you to my other answer on crime and safety. Also more on GVI here: