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Mayoral race heats up days before primary election

South Bend's mayoral race is heating up but it's not between the two men vying for the democratic nomination. The unopposed republican candidate for mayor is taking shots at incumbent Pete Buttigieg.

Kelly Jones had words for Mayor Buttigieg and city clerk candidate Kareemah Fowler in a letter sent to ABC 57 News.

In Jones' letter, she called out Buttigieg's staff, asking how can he claim to be “transparent” when Jones says the majority of his staff is under investigation by the Indiana State Police.

She also claimed Kareemah Fowler used her role at the clerk's office to get out of paying parking tickets.

Mayor Pete's camp says none of this is true.

“My first response was ‘I think Mrs. Jones is confused,'” says Jason Critchlow, Chairman of the St. Joseph County Democratic Party.

“It's not like we're saying anything nobody's ever said before,” says Roy Saenz, Chairman of the St. Joseph County Republican Party.

Saenz is supporting his candidate, Kelly Jones. He asks, “What is the $1.5 Million secret of the tapes?”

Jones believes there is a lack of integrity in Buttigieg's camp. Saenz says Jones is positioning herself in a lot of transparency.

Critchlow says the investigations into Buttigieg's administration “have amounted to nothing.”

Critchlow told ABC 57 this press release was a waste of time.

“I think her time would be better spent making her case to Republican voters as to why she's the better choice," said Critchlow.

As far as Fowler's parking tickets, Critchlow says “I don't see the relevance in parking tickets that were paid.”

Whether this affects the Primary Election on Tuesday, we'll have to wait and see.

“We're ready to start talking about moving the city of South Bend forward,” says Critchlow.

“I think Kelly is extremely passionate and believes in what she wants to accomplish in this city,” says Saenz.

Here is the full version of Jones' email to ABC 57:

I do not have an opponent in the Republican primary election. However, I must speak out about Mayor Pete Buttigieg and his claims of being a “Steward of South Bend” and his claims of “transparency.

One of the reasons I am a candidate for Mayor of South Bend is to oppose the favoritism and hypocrisy in South Bend city government. During the last four years, Mayor Pete's administration has been surrounded with controversy. His original Chief of Staff resigned and relocated to Europe, during the Boykins investigation. His choice for Director of Code Enforcement resigned after 2 years. His personal choice for Chief of Police was investigated by the Indiana State Police and the Mayor never disclosed the results of that investigation. Finally, his current Chief of Staff is currently under investigation by the Indiana State Police.

Most recently, Mayor Pete endorsed Kareemah Fowler for City Clerk claiming that she is someone "who is trustworthy, honest and has integrity", it should mean something more than just words. It should be based on facts.

But, the facts should make you question why Mayor Pete is endorsing Kareemah Fowler for City Clerk:

The fact that the city legal department had to sue Kareemah Fowler to collect her 13 unpaid, delinquent parking tickets when she was the person in the City Clerk's Office in charge of collecting parking tickets. (City of South Bend v. Kareemah Fowler, St. Joseph Superior Court, Cause No. 71DOl-1112-SC-10550).

As the parking ticket processor in the City Clerk's office one has to ask why did she have 13 parking tickets in the first place, it was her job to deal with parking tickets? Secondly, why didn't she pay them when she received them? And finally, why did she wait until she was sued by the City of South Bend? This leads one to question her integrity and honesty. Under Mayor Pete's administration, the city's legal department let Kareemah Fowler off with paying less than half of what she owed. (She paid $130 for the tickets but the city waived the $130 for late charges and $90 court costs). This is indicative of the hypocrisy and favoritism of Mayor Pete's administration. How can she be trusted to run an entire office; when she could not be trusted in her first position in the City Clerk's office.

I believe someone in a position of authority should be held to the same if not higher standards. The mayor claims “Exceptionally High Expectations” (State of the city address March 20th, 2013,pg 5) are set for employees of the city. So how can he in good faith expect us to believe him when he has a clear record of poor choices? I believe that his record of making poor choices is a sign of his failure in selecting personnel, and leadership. South Bend deserves better. I am addressing these issues in the primary, because I want people to remember the choices they make next Tuesday will impact their choices in the fall.

It is time the good people of South Bend have an elected official that they can trust and who will be truly transparent.

It is time for a change in South Bend city government.

That is why I am running for Mayor.

I am Kelly Jones and I ask for your support.

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