Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sam Talarico

Earlier today I posted this post:

The News Sentinel ran a GREAT editorial today. Please read it:

http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/16794298.htm

OK, so it may not be great; however, it is mine...

I will be generating a list of questions to ask the City about the financing. What would you like for me to ask?

Mike Sylvester

Our current Republican City Councilman, Sam Talarico Jr, has this to say:
NOTE, Sam Talarico sent me an email from his law office email account and verified that he did in fact post this comment!
(Mikes comments are in red following Sam's)

Mike,

I fully support your right to review all of the numbers with the Richard Administration.
Thank goodness...

All citizens should get their questions answered whether it be in public meetings like the one on March 8th or in invidual meetings.
We certainly agree on this one. Does it disturb you that our Mayor could not answer any of the three questions I asked him about the financing for this project Sam?

I am trying to figure out, however, what expertise you have to be the "community analyzer" of all the finance issues relating to this project. The fact that you are a tax accountant does not make you an expert on all aspects of development and municipal financing. It seems a little over-reaching for you to be holding yourself out as the community's auditor.
Sam you are showing more then a little arrogance with this comment. I have NEVER held myself out to be an expert on Governmental financing. I am an accountant, a small business owner, and a taxpayer. I am also a journeyman electrician, spent six years as an electronic technician, and four years as the Maintenance Manager at a local factory. I may be looking at this project from a different perspective then you do. I think I am qualified to look at a Financial Plan and determine if it makes sense...

In your opinion are ANY of the current City Councilman who will vote on this project qualified to vote on the project?

Surely if you think that I am not qualified to ask basic questions about the project you might think that some of our nine current City Councilman may be even less qualified then I to analyze the project AND then to vote on it?

I read a GREAT letter to the editor in the newspaper from local business owner Tom Current supporting the project. The Currents grew up right around the corner from me in Walden. Do you think he was qualified to write the letter to the editor he wrote in support of the project?

Are any of the business owners in Fort Wayne qualified to look at the plan?

Is the only person qualified to look at the plan a Governmental Finance specialist?

I do however, hope that the Richard Administration sets down with you and other citizens to answer questions whether it be in individual meetings or further group meetings like the one on March 8th.Sam T.
Me to...

I have to say that I find Sam's comment to be fairly typical of many politicians and elected officials. They seem to think that we need to be taken care of and are not competent enough to understand what is best for us.

Sam please feel free to come to the meeting and explain anything to me that I am too feeble to comprehend... I am sure that as a City Councilman you will be able to hold my hand and help me understand the complexities of Governmental financing that apparently the general population is to un-educated to understand...

I need to stop posting or I am going to go on a rant and say some very un-charitable things...

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Harrison Square financing

The News Sentinel ran a GREAT editorial today. Please read it:
<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/16794298.htm>

OK, so it may not be great; however, it is mine...

I will be generating a list of questions to ask the City about the financing.

What would you like for me to ask?

Mike Sylvester

February meeting of The Libertarian Party of Allen County

The Libertarian Party of Allen County had a great meeting last night.

The meeting was held at the Firehouse Theater. You can learn more about the Firehouse at:
<http://www.angelfire.com/planet/firehousetheaterfw/>

Twenty people attended the meeting. There were several new people and it was truly a great meeting...

I ran into one of my father's friends at the meeting that I have not seen in eight years. It was great seeing him and it brought back some great memories of my dad.

Three Libertarians at the meeting expressed a desire to run for City Council in the upcoming elections. It is an exciting time to be a Libertarian in Allen County!

I expect that AT LEAST three Libertarians will file the needed paperwork and announce their intentions in March!

I hope that more candidates step forward to run for office and give the people of this area another choice in the upcoming elections...

If you are interested in running for office or if you are interested in helping Libertarian candidates run for office in Allen County please contact me! I will get you in contact with our current officers and help you get the ball rolling. Please shoot me an email at mike.sylvester@verizon.net or call me at 260-338-0833.

It is an exciting time to be a Libertarian in Fort Wayne.

Mike Sylvester

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Next meeting of the Libertarian Party of Allen County

Meeting Libertarian Party of Allen County
Monday Feb 26, 2007, 7:30 PM
Firehouse Theater, State Street
Park at the library or in back of the theater; NOT at the Rib Room.

This will be an important event to discuss recent developments and the advancement of the party! Please be sure to come for a short business meeting and discussion afterwords with potential candidates for our party for city council.

Here is recent press coverage about our party activities: <http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/news/nation/politics/16781930.htm>

For more information about the LPAC visit our website at <http://allencountylp.org/> or contact us via email or phone at jenniferjeffreylpac@gmail.com , 260-418-2750.

Posted by Mike Sylvester

Friday, February 23, 2007

384th Military Police Battallion deployed today

The 384th Military Police Battalion deployed to Fort Bliss today.

This unit is based in Fort Wayne and will spend 3 months at Fort Bliss training for their deployment into Iraq. After their 3 months of training they will spend about 15 months in Iraq.

I hope that the 150 local soldiers attached to this unit all return home safe.

I have nothing but respect for those who serve this country.

I hope that our soldiers use whatever force is necessary to defend themselves and I hope that our government and military provide them with both the equipment they need and "rules of engagement" that allow our soldiers to defeat anyone who attacks them.

A friend of mine serves with this unit. I will be thinking about Jeremiah a lot in the next year and a half and I hope that he comes home safe from his tour in Iraq!

Good luck Jeremiah!

Come home safe...

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A GREAT Fort Wayne blog I just found today

Charlotte A. Weybright operates a Fort Wayne blog that I just read for the first time today. I have added her to my blogroll, you can check her blog out at:
<http://berrystreetbeacon.wordpress.com/>

I have read her posts on other blogs, notably at U Blog Press and Left of Centrist.

I have often read her comments on Opening Arguments and on several other Fort Wayne blogs.

I found her blog due to a post from AWB over at Fort Wayne News:
<http://www.angrywhiteboy.org/index.php/2007/02/22/its-so-easy-to-fall-in-love/>

I spent some time over at Berry Street Beacon today and I have to say she really puts a lot of work into her blog and it is well worth your time!

Mike Sylvester

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fort Wayne health department, good grief...

Please read this article:

<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/16728407.htm>

The above article discusses how The Fort Wayne Health Department is trying to shutdown the business of Bruce Marshall.

Bruce cooks on an outside grill. I have driven by his place of business several times in the last few years... There is generally a nice aroma in the air.

He also cooks some "mean" ribs...

The Health Department has told him that he can only cook outside ten days a month per City code...

Change the stupid code people...

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Harrison Square Request for Proposal

The Redevelopment Commission of the City of Fort Wayne issued a "Request for Proposal" for the "Convention Center Hotel Development" on December 21st, 2006.

You can read the entire proposal over at the blog "Downtown Fort Wayne Baseball."

<http://downtownfortwaynebaseball.blogspot.com/2007/02/new-downtown-hotel-rfp-and-info.html>

The formal "RFP" confirms some of the things that I have suspected for a long time.

Last Thursday I had a chance to talk to the Mayor in a public forum and ask him about the project. We had a friendly exchange and he said that he did not know the answers to my specific questions; he said that the project was still in the planning stages. The Mayor promised me that I could meet with The City of Fort Wayne so that I can review the financial projections for the project when they are completed and before they are voted on by City Council. I am looking forward to that meeting!

According to the original RFP:
The RFP was issued on Dec 21st, 2006 (Cover page)
The RFP requires the hotel to have 300+ rooms (Page four, section 2.1)
The RFP states that “The hotel program must include a minimum of 300 rooms to be considered responsive” (page 4, section 2.4)
The RFP requires proposals to be submitted to the City by 5 PM on Feb 13th, 2007 (Page 12, section 13.3)
The RFP stipulates that “a refundable deposit in escrow of $300,000” will be established by the Respondent (page 5, section 3.4)

The RFP was amended with Addendum Number 2 on January 17th, 2007. The amendment says that “The City of Fort Wayne is willing to negotiate the number of rooms for the hotel and will consider lowering the number of rooms that are now set at 300.”

One “Respondent” requested that the deposit be lowered; Fort Wayne immediately waived the deposit requirement, page 3 of the written questions submitted by the Respondents.

Other interesting items:

“A portion of the Parking Garage revenues can be directed to support hotel operations,” page 4, section 1.3.
“Parking will be provided in the 900 space garage,” page 4, section 2.3.
“The City will pursue negotiations with the top ranked Respondent with the goal of a Development Agreement by April 1st, 2007,” page 11, section 10.3.

I have several questions about this RFP:

1. From the first day this project was “unveiled” every official press release and communication from The City of Fort Wayne has stated that “for the project to be economically viable the hotel must have 300 rooms or more.” Why was this requirement removed from the RFP on January 17th, 2007?

2. Requiring a minimal deposit of $300,000 for a project of this magnitude seems very low to me. Why was this requirement waived?

3. This is a large project that requires a large amount of planning. Why does Fort Wayne want to have a Development Agreement in place by April 1st, 2007?

I have a lot more questions about this project and I am greatly looking forward to
meeting with The City of Fort Wayne and analyzing the financial projections.

I applaud the Mayor for allowing an independent citizen to review this project
BEFORE it is voted on by our City Council!

Mike Sylvester

Libertarians flock to Pierres

I went to the anti smoking-ban event at Pierres last night.

I saw a total of seven Fort Wayne Libertarians at the event. Jennifer Griggs and the Allen County Libertarian Party did a great job handing out Libertarian literature at the event and getting the word out that Libertarians oppose this smoking-ban since it is a violation of the property rights of business owners.

NOTE: The smoking ban was approved by the Allen County Commissioners, all of whom are Republican. The smoking ban was then approved by the Fort Wayne City Council. FOUR Republicans and THREE Democrats voted in favor of the smoking ban. One Republican voted against the smoking ban and one Democrat abstained... The Democratic Mayor supports the new smoking ban.

There are seven candidates who spoke at the event. I am going to summarize how I feel about each candidate after hearing their opinions last night

In alphabetical order by last name:

Marty Bender. He is running for City Council at Large and he is running as a Republican. I thought Bender did a good job. I think he is either a moderate Republican or possibly a small government Republican. If I vote in the Republican primary I well might vote for Bender...

Councilman Didier. He is currently the 3rd District City Councilman. He is the ONLY City Councilman to vote against the current Fort Wayne smoking ban. My opinion on Didier has not changed. I think Didier is a moderate Republican. I like him and I think he is an honest and good man. My opinion of him has improved over the last four years...

Karen Golder. Karen is running for the 2nd City Council District and she is running as a Democrat. She is running to be my City Council representative. My opinion of Karen is unchanged, I will be voting for Karen Goldner in November...

Kurt Gutman. Kurt is running for City Council at large as a Republican. Kurt definitely struck me as a moderate Republican. If I vote in the Republican Primary I might vote for Kurt.

Matt Kelty. Matt is running for Mayor as a Republican. I am even more supportive of Matt Kelty today then I was yesterday. Matt truly is a "Goldwater Conservative" and he just might be able to fix the Allen County GOP. The Allen County GOP consistently stands for larger and larger government each and every year. Matt Kelty wants to limit the size and scope of government. I am definitely talking to people about Matt Kelty and I suggest people vote for Matt Kelty for Mayor. If I vote in the Republican primary, the first thing I will do is vote for Matt Kelty... Heck, I am also considering working the polls for The Kelty campaign.

Adam Mildred. Adam Mildred is running for City Council at large as a Republican. I had a fairly positive opinion of Adam before last night. I think Adam Mildred is a small government Republican. If I vote in the Republican primary I WILL vote for Adam Mildred for sure. If I vote in the Republican primary I will vote for Matt Kelty, then I will vote for Adam Mildred, and the rest is not decided yet...

Denise Porter Ross. Denise is running for City Council at large as a Democrat. I thought she came across well. I especially am encouraged by the fact that she has doubts about moving a baseball stadium downtown. I do not know enough about her to form an opinion; however, I thought she performed well last night and I thought she made a positive impression.

I will be posting the rules about voting in the primaries in the next couple of days... I am not sure if I will vote in the primaries or not... As I said I will post more about this soon; however, the basic rule is that you can declare yourself a Republican IF you plan on voting for a majority of Republican candidates in the November election and you can register as a Democrat if you plan on voting for a majority of Democratic candidates in the November election. Libertarians do NOT have primaries. We will be selecting our candidates at the Indiana Libertarian Convention which will be held in Fort Wayne on May 19th, 2007. The Convention will be at The Grand Wayne Center...

Mike Sylvester

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Social Security Numbers

I went to the Northwest Area Partnership Meeting last week.

One of the speakers informed us about an issue involving illegal aliens in Fort Wayne...

Jeff Pruitt and Karen Goldner were present for this as well...

The individual told us that they:
1. Managed a lot of rental properties in Fort Wayne.
2. That they USED to require all applicants to provide a social security number. This allowed the person owning the rental properties to conduct background checks, credit checks, etc...
3. Not too long ago some of the applicants did not want to provide their social security numbers and threatened a lawsuit.
4. The property manager called "Metro" and was told that they could require applicants to provide social security numbers.
5. "Metro" soon called back and told the property manager that they COULD NOT require social security numbers because that would be discrimination...

I will be calling "Metro" this week and finding out more...

I need to learn several things:
1. Is "Metro" really telling renters that they CANNOT require applicants to provide a social security number?
2. Can you get a high quality background check and credit report WITHOUT a social security number?

More to follow...

If you can answer either of the above questions please post the answers.

Mike Sylvester

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Indiana Cigarette Tax

Both Reps and Dems unanimously supported a bill "in Committee" and passed it out of committee to raise Indiana's State tax on a pack of cigarettes. The tax is currently 55.5 cents per pack and if legislated into law will be $1.10 per pack...

There are some possible valid reasons for raising the cigarette tax:
1. If it is proven that smokers have poor health and are supported by government programs
more then non-smokers are supported.
2. To discourage smoking if it is a health hazard and causes people to incur more governmental
costs through programs like Medicare that everyone has to pay for.

What is insulting is how they want to spend the revenue they will generate with this tax. This revenue SHOULD be spent on the following items:
1. Abolishing Personal Property Taxes on business owners. This is a tax that is not enforced,
is hard to comply with, and serves NO PURPOSE. When you buy equipment you already
pay sales tax, why keep paying another tax each and every year?
2. Lowering the income tax rates in Indiana to attract more business.
3. Lowering the sales tax rate for the same reason as two above.

Instead these morons want to create a new government program to provide health care to about 400,000 Hoosiers.

Please stop telling me that Reps or Dems are for smaller Government. Please...

Good grief.

Mike Sylvester

Important message for those who respect private property rights in Fort Wayne

URGENT !!!!!!!!!

RALLY FOR SMALL BUSINESS RIGHTS!!!

Monday, Feb 19
6:00 PM
Piere's Club
St. Joe Rd.
Ft. Wayne, IN

Refreshments will be provided at this no-alcohol event, free of charge.
Please attend this rally to show support for the rights of small business owners and individuals.
Your attendance at this meeting is vital to stopping the trampling of individual fredoms!

Hello,

My name is Jennifer Griggs, newly elected Chairperson of the Libertarian Party of Allen County. In the past a lot of what we have done has been conducting meetings where we sat around and talked a lot, bit did very little real good as far as touching other peoples lives. During this coming year, I strongly urge you to help the party connect with our community. We all must realize that our true purpose. Behind having this political party is politcal action. Action such as speaking in public places at public events on important subjects. Over the course of the next year we must concentrate on and act on issues that actually matter to our community. We will become leaders, teachers, friends and speakers--but most importantly we will become
activists. And our voices will finally be heard. I challenge you and charge you as a supporter of the ACLP to interact and become one with the community of Allen County--the community we are a part of.

Today, I have found one such issue and I need your immediate attention.

Recently, I met with Todd Smith, Manager of Piere's. We discussed the public rally he has organized to unite small business owners and individuals whose jobs and businesses have been put in jeopardy by the tyranical smoking ordinance the city council has recently imposed.

As you well know, the Libertarian Party of Allen County believes that the rights of adults to
assemble and engage in legal activities in public places and private establishments cannot be compromised. The market must be free and will dicate policy. We as Libertarians believe that the market will eventually create such things as smokers-only establishments, smoke friendly establishments, and non smoking establishments to cater to the diverse range of consumers in our area. We whole-heartedly support the rights of small business owners to decide what does and does not take place in their establishments. And, we whole-heartedly support the right of the individual to choose what type of establishments they frequent. We believe in an individual's responsibility not to impose their values on other individuals.

Let's spread the word and fill the building!! Let's show the county and the local news media how much this issue matters to us!! Let's stand side with the local business owners!! There will be speakers, discussion, and organizing and plan of action to protect our rights. There will also be voter registration available.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Griggs
Chair, Libertarian Party of Allen County

This is a big deal all of the local news orginizations will be there and this subject has often created national attention.

United We Stand!

"They that can give up liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
– Benjamin Franklin

FOR more information:

The News-Sentinel article about the rally:
http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/news/local/16714370.htm

http://www.smokersclubinc.com/

http://www.lp.org/
http://www.allencountylp.org

Friday, February 16, 2007

Leo Morris hits it dead on...

Read this editorial:

<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/16688436.htm>

This editorial sums up the situation very well...

The taxpayers of Allen County were lied to. We were promised that:
1. The Food and Beverage Tax would be temporary.
2. The Food and Beverage tax would ONLY BE USED TO PAY OFF THE BONDS FOR THE
EXPOSITION HALL.

The tax has been used for many other items at this point... It was used for two additional expansions and for various other Coliseum costs...

The tax should be eliminated at once.

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Northwest Area Partnership Meeting

I went to the Northwest Area Partnership Meeting tonight. The Mayor was the guest speaker.

The Northwest Area Partnership is an organization of Homeowners Associations in the Northwest quadrant of Fort Wayne.

There were 50 people present. Between 15 and 20 were members of the media or City employees of various sorts... I sat with fellow blogger Jeff Pruitt at the meeting.

The Mayor gave a presentation about what he has accomplished as Mayor and discussed Harrison Square. Here are some of the things that he said that caught my attention:

1. He said that Fort Wayne will get 14 million in grants for green ways while spending only two million. That is impressive.

2. Fort Wayne is installing 6 new miles of water lines per year.

3. Fort Wayne is paving 50 miles of road per year. He also mentioned that once you include the newly annexed areas Fort Wayne now has 1200 miles of roads.

4. He said that wages in Fort Wayne were 83% of the national wage.

5. He said the clean air and clean water were very important for a City and that future Cities will be judged on these issues.

6. He said that fixing the CSO problem would cost 350 - 450 million dollars. (This is less then the 600 million I have heard)

7. He said that the owners of the Wizards think we need a new baseball stadium in order to grow their fan base as much as they plan. He also said that the new Baseball Stadium would be a "Townsquare Meeting Place."

The Mayor gave a good presentation and is a good speaker. He came across as being smart and well informed...

After his presentation he took questions from 8 or 9 of the people present. All of the people except one was against the Harrison Square Project... Realize these people are often the President of their local Neighborhood Association...

Jeff Pruitt asked some questions and I expect he will make a blog entry about it.

I also asked some questions.

1. I asked if The Mayor would arrange for me to meet with his staff so that I could create financial statements for the project. He took my business card and told me he would make sure that I get the information I need. I am looking forward to it.

2. I asked The Mayor why the hotel had started at 360 rooms, then the RFP was for 300 rooms, and the current bid is for 250 rooms. He said that he did not know how many rooms the hotel would have. That has not been determined yet. The brochure passed out at the meeting stated 300 rooms.

3. I asked the Mayor about the Parking Garage and its financing; he said the financing for this had not been decided yet...

The Mayor basically said that they do not have an actual financing plan in place yet and that the details are being worked out. He did however say that he hoped to have it to the City Council by late March or early April...

I said that I was surprised that he wanted to get this in front of The City Council considering how many things were still up in the air...

I am glad I attended the meeting, it was very informative...

Mike Sylvester

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Fort Wayne Downtown Parking Garage debacle on horizon...

I will be getting the financial information concerning the City Parking Garage over the next couple of months from Fort Wayne.

It is going to be WORSE then I thought at first.

The new Parking garage is about the same size as the existing parking garage next to the City-County Building.

The existing County Parking garage lost ABOUT $250,000 per year from 2002 - 2005.

Everything below is a GUESS. I will work an actual estimate up later...

I am revising my estimate of the annual loss the City will sustain on the parking Garage UP.

Consider this:

1. The new Parking Garage will be in an inferior location to the new Parking garage. This would certainly lead any independent person to realize that the new parking garage will lose more money based on lower revenue due to location.

2. The new Parking Garage will be allowing Lincoln Employees to use HALF of the Parking Garage for free during the week. This will lower revenue if it is true. In fact, this could lower revenue by a lot.

3. Per today's newspaper the HOTEL we are subsidizing will get one third of the Parking spaces in the garage. I wonder how this will work. I have NEVER paid for parking at ANY hotel I have ever stayed at. Parking is generally provided by the hotel. I will look into this more down the road. This could lower Parking Garage revenue as well...

4. The existing Parking garage utilizes County Employees. The new one will employ City employees. City employees make more money; therefore, expenses in the new garage will increase.

5. The County rents the existing Parking garage from another Party. In 2005 the "rent" payment was $300,000 per year. The City now wants to borrow money and build another Parking Garage. This means the City will be making principle payments on a 15 million dollar loan, interest payments on a 15 million dollar loan, and fees to bonding attorneys to set this loan up. This will be very expensive. The City should consider this payment to be an expense of the Parking garage!

If the bonds are 25 year bonds then we will have to pay about 1.2 million dollars per year for the life of the bonds...

So realizing that 1/3 of the parking garage will be reserved for hotel patrons and that 1/2 of the parking garage will be reserved for Lincoln employees during the work week I think we would be lucky to collect $300,000 in parking receipts. (Note the County parking garage brings in about half a million in receipts...)

The other expenses of the parking garage should be similar to the County parking garage, ignoring rent this is about $300,000. This ASSUMES that the City will be able to operate the garage with a similar staff and expenses as the County Parking garage...

Rent would be about 1.2 million per year.

This would result in an operational loss of 1.2 million per year for the life of the bonds...

Ouch...

Where will that money come from?

Mike Sylvester

Morgan Elaina Bracht

Our friends Brent and Katie Bracht had their first child (Actually Katie had the child) yesterday. She is a healthy girl and her name is Morgan Elaina Bracht.

CONGRATULATIONS

Mike Sylvester

Anne Nicole Smith

Who cares about Anne Nicole Smith?

Why on earth is her death national news?

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Harrison Square

My largest problem with this project is the fact that our local government wants to build and operate a new parking garage near the "new" baseball stadium that they want to build to replace the current baseball stadium which does not need to be replaced.

Consider this:
The parking garage next to to City County Building lost almost a quarter of a million dollars per year from 2002 - 2005. This parking garage is leased from a private owner and operated by County employees. This parking garage is located in the best possible location downtown and it STILL loses money every year.

Imagine building a brand new parking garage. This would require us to pay off the building loan and interest on the building loan. Believe it or not our local government also wants to make a deal with Lincoln so that Lincoln can use half of the parking spaces for free during the work week...

How much do you think this new parking garage will lose?

My current guess is $500,000 per year.

Where do you think this money will come from?

It will come from all of us one way or another...

Mike Sylvester

Fort Wayne Blizzard and Tax Returns

I had one trip to a client today. That client is at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center. I went there around 9 this morning. I did not think the roads were bad at all. I was only on major roads...

When I got to the NIIC I had a hard time getting into the building. About 10 people were there. Most of those 10 people were getting ready to go home.

After doing some Accounting work I went over to Best Buy. Then I drove home. I had to pick up my kids on the way home since our Day Care Center closed early for the first time in the memory of any of the employees... I got home with the kids around noon.

My wife spent the morning at a client over by Chapel Ridge and at another client in New Haven. The 3rd client cancelled since he was going home. Karena got home around noon as well.

She said that 469 was awful...

We spent the rest of the day at home. We took turns watching the kids and preparing tax returns...

I imagine we will spend most of the day home again tomorrow...

I barely remember the blizzard of 1977 in Fort Wayne; but, I do remember it and have some pictures. I lived over by Georgetown Square at the time on Vance Avenue. I was 10 years old... We were snowed in for an entire week. I remember walking to Georgetown Square and pulling a sled. We put groceries in the sled and brought them back home. I remember picking things up for some retired neighbors. My brother and I thought it was awful cool at the time...

This blizzard is not that bad. It is NOT even close. We will see what happens in the next 24 hours...

Mike Sylvester

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sam Talarico responds to my earlier post!

At least I think it was Sam Talarico!

Sam brings up a good point and I thought I would post his comment here...

I still think the project is a bad project because:
1. Fort Wayne is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to re-vitalize downtown. If this is
going to continue, and it is, we have to limit development at the edges of Fort Wayne.
2. I do not feel that Fort Wayne needs more strip malls. There are a lot of strip malls that
currently have vacancies, I do not feel that we need more.

I will have to agree with "Sam" that I read a couple of letters to the editor and "ran with it." It is tax season and I have a lot of work to do.

"Sam's" comment is below in italics:

Mike, I am surprised that you take the words in one letter to the editor and run with it like it is gospel.

The letter to the editor says we "overturned" the plan commission.

Thats not how it works. The Plan Commission offers a recommendation, which in this case was "do not pass". However, the Planning Department (after significant leg work) offerred a "Do Pass" recommendation. These sort of split recommendations are always tough to deal with. The Planning department felt that this was appropriate development and we have been told that the safety issues are mitigated by the fact that the school at issue does not allow its students to walk to school unless they live in Jonathon Oaks which has a pathway does not require kids to cross the street. Its my understanding that the FWCS have taken a neutral position on this development.

It is a difficult decision to make. Mike, If you are elected in 2011 you will quickly find out that you will always have people mad at you. You cant make everybody happy. I will not miss that part of the job.

Every time there is a zoning issue, I try to listen to all sides and make the right call. Keep in mind that the intersection at issue is already a very busy intersection.

Sam Talarico, Jr.

Mike Sylvester

Global Warming Poll

My Global Warming poll is over.

As always, this is NOT a scientific poll, just a poll including some of the poeple who read this blog.

The questions was: "Do you think that "Global Warming" is largely caused by mankind AND that it is a large problem for future generations?"

There were 44 votes for NO. This is 55%

There were 27 votes for YES. This is 34%

There were 9 votes for MAYBE. This is 11%

Mike Sylvester

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Fort Wayne City Council votes wrong way; again

I am leaning towards running for City Council in 2011. The reasons are many; however, this story illustrates one of my reasons very well...

Please read these two letters to the editor:

"Council ignored public with vote on strip mall"
"Reconsider vote on zoning change"

<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/news/editorial/16676320.htm>

The Fort Wayne City Planning Commission does ALMOST anything that a developer asks it to do. The statistics are staggering. Well over 95% of proposed projects are approved...

I am the President of my neighborhood association. I have watched a member of the City Planning Commission ridicule one of my neighbors when we opposed a project.

Neighborhood Associations in Fort Wayne have no say about what goes on in their area... They are routinely ignored...

I am glad the The City Planning Commission UNANIMOUSLY voted against building ANOTHER strip mall on the edge of Fort Wayne. WE WILL NEVER DEVELOP DOWNTOWN FORT WAYNE IF WE KEEP BUILDING STRIP MALLS AT THE EDGES OF FORT WAYNE.

I am appalled that our City Council OVERTURNED the decision of the City Planning Commission and is going to allow this strip mall to be built...

This is another BAD DECISION...

This vote was NOT along party Lines.

The Councilmen that voted on the right side of this issue were:
Tom Didier (R). I would like to say that Tom is turning into a better City Councilman each year.
Tom Hayhurst (D). Tom has a history of supporting neighborhood associations.
Tom Smith (D). This is in Tom's district and he made the right choice.
John Shoaff (D). I do not know ANYTHING about John.

The Councilmen that voted with the Developer and against the wishes of the neighborhoods AND the City Planning Commission were:
John Crawford (R). John is proving to be a big government Republican.
Sam Talarico (R). Sam has long been a big government Republican.
Glynn Hines (D). I am very disappointed in Glynn. He is a big proponent of Downtown development, yet, he is approving another project at the edge of Fort Wayne.
Don Schmidt (R). Don is my City Councilman and this is just another reason for me to support Karen Goldner in her quest to replace Don.
Tim Pape (D). I am very disappointed in Tim. He is a big proponent of Downtown development, yet, he is approving another project at the edge of Fort Wayne.

I am very disappointed in out City Council.

I suggest you "vote the bums out" this November. There are only a couple of incumbents that I would consider supporting at this point. I would most likely vote for either Didier or Hayhurst. I am unsure about the rest; however, I most likely would not vote for most of them unless they were running against someone who was completely unacceptable.

What do you think?

Mike Sylvester

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Allen County Food and Beverage Tax

Please read this article from the News-Sentinel. It will help illustrate one of the things that is WRONG with our local government and possibly with our local media.

Note: I like Kevin Leininger and he does a great job; however, all media outlets should cover this story and should be OUTRAGED about it.

<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/news/local/16670487.htm>

The Allen County Food and Beverage Tax was sold to the taxpayers as a "temporary tax." The taxpayers were promised that this tax would be temporary and that it would ONLY BE USED TO FUND THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE EXPOSITION HALL AT THE MEMORIAL COLISEUM.

This tax was NOT popular in Allen County; however, it was passed since the taxpayers were promised the the tax would be:
Only used for Construction of the Exposition Hall and payment of those bonds AND
That the tax would END after the bonds were payed off...

Our local officials have went to the Indiana Legislature and has "convinced" them to modify the terms of the tax. THAT IS WRONG.

Our local officials should come to the voters and deal with us rather then Indianapolis.

The tax was intended for one purpose and it was intended to expire. Our elected officials should ensure that the tax is used ONLY for its original purpose and it should be eliminated as soon as the bonds are paid off.

It is NOT complicated.

There is not ONE elected official that wants to eliminate this tax or wants to use this tax for its original purpose.

It is time to "vote the bums out."

PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK.

Mike Sylvester

Friday, February 09, 2007

Letter to the Editor

Marcella C Burtch has a letter to the editor in Wednesday's JG that you should read. It is entitled "Set up weigh-ins and tax fat people."

The text is copied below for your enjoyment:

Set up weigh-ins and tax fat people

Is everyone as tired of hearing about smoking as I am? Now comes the idea to raise the tax $1 a pack.

I have a plan that would raise even more money for health care. Install a scale at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices. Require everyone to weigh in before they get a license. Then charge $1 for every overweight pound. Next, require people to come back every six months for another weigh-in and charge them another $1 per pound.

Not only would we lose our sixth-fattest state ranking, but we would have so much money we could take care of everyone’s health needs and probably have enough left over to send everyone a birthday present.

MARCELLA C. BURTCH
Fort Wayne


Mike Sylvester

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Citilink Driver charged with sexual assault in Fort Wayne

There is a very disturbing story in the Journal Gazette today.

<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/16651955.htm>

A Citilink bus driver is accused of sexually assaulting a female passenger with mental disabilties. He is accused of doing this on a Citilink bus while the bus was in operation.

First of all, the man is innocent until proven guilty.

If he is proven guilty I hope he is put into prison for a long, long time. I do NOT understand what could possibly make someone do this to a person who is mentally disabled. I just cannot comprehend it.

I personally think Citilink is a City service that is ineffective and used by very few people. I think we should use smaller buses and I think that Citilink should be paid entirely with user fees...

I wonder what Global Warming critics think of City buses driving around Fort Wayne with few people on them... What a waste of taxpayer dollars.

If a driver of a Citilink bus can stop his bus during its route and assault a rider of the bus without ANYONE seeing it that tells me that we may have even more problems with Citilink then I thought.

Lets hope that the adult woman is ok and can recover, if she indeed was assaulted.

Mike Sylvester

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Karen Goldner

Karen Goldner has her website up and running and has formerly announced that she is running for the 2nd City Council District.

There are currently only two people who have filed to run for the 2nd City Council Seat:

Incumbent Don Schmidt, Republican and Karen Goldner, Democrat.

I live in the 2nd City Council District.

Assuming no one else enters this race there is no doubt in my mind who I will be voting for; I will be voting for Karen Goldner "hands down."

There are several things I like about Karen Goldner:

1. She has a lot of energy and has invested a lot of her time working for the Community.

2. She and I had a long discussion about economic development and she is one of the few people
I have talked to in Fort Wayne that I think truly understands economic development...

3. She has a strong background and relevent work experience.

You can learn more at her website:
<http://www.citizensforgoldner.com/>

She is running against Republican Don Schmidt. Don has been a City Councilman since 1971. I was four years old in 1971. Don Schmidt has been a City Councilman in Fort Wayne for 36 years as of November of 2007. That is way, way too long.

I do not like many of the policies of The City of Fort Wayne over the last 36 years including:

1. Constant annexation of everything they can annex.

2. The City Budget grows faster then the rate of inflation each and every year.

3. The City has accumulated HUGE liabilities that are not yet paid for including pension
liabilities.

4. The City has used its power of Eminent Domain repeatedly over the last few years. They are
currently trying to take property from Aqua Source. In fact, Fort Wayne is trying to seize
the utility that is currently providing water to my house.

5. This one is the most important to me. I am the President of my neighborhood association
and I have been for a little over three years. My neighborhood (Valley Place) and our
neighbors to the south (Mardego Hills) were annexed into Fort Wayne in the great Helmke
(Pine Valley) annexation of 2003. We had a deal with the County on the way the property
between the two neighborhoods would be developed. The property was to be used for
"small office buildings."

Today there is a "RediMed" and a large Vetrinary Clinic on that property. We spent time
talking to the Planning Commission about the project and they unanimously sided with the
Developer...

Note: The Fort Wayne Planning Commission will approve ALMOST any project
that ANY Developer brings to them.

I will NEVER forget the member of the Fort Wayne Planning Commission who
told my neighbor that Coldwater road was not a gravel road anymore and that
she needed to get used to that fact. It was rude and uncalled for...

Our last chance was our City Council representatives. At the time Valley Place was
represented by Tom Didier. At the time Mardego Hills was represented by Don Schmidt.

I met with both men and we discussed the project. Tom Didier was helpful and courteous
and concerned. Don Schmidt told me that the project was going to happen and there was
nothing that the neighborhoods could do about it. I thought he was arrogant and very
unsympathetic to the desires of his constituents.

This is something I have never forgotten...

I believe in smaller government. Nothing about the actions of The City of Fort Wayne over the last 36 years has led me to believe that Don Schmidt beleives in smaller government...

He talks like he does; however, Fort Wayne just grows and grows.

It is time for some "new blood."

Mike Sylvester
President Valley Place Homeowners Association

Election for Fort Wayne Mayor, 2007

I think that it is very important that Fort Wayne elects a Mayor in 2007 that will help control the size of local government and will enact programs to retain and attract new jobs...

There are four Republicans that are running for the office at this time. I do not know anything about 2 of the 4 candidates. If you know anything about them please let me know.

The two best known Republican candidates are Matt Kelty and Nelson Peters. This is a race that I am watching carefully and that I am pretty excited about.

I think that both Matt Kelty and Nelson Peters are good men and good candidates. I expect both to run clean campaigns that are driven by the issues and their opinions. I fully expect both men to act honorably and to NOT resort to "mud-slinging." (Mark Souder could learn a lot from Nelson Peters and Matt Kelty)

I really hope that a Libertarian candidate steps forward to run for this important office.

The Democrats have had one person file to run for this office and I also do not know much about him. If you know anything more about this candidate please let me know.

There are a lot of problems "looming" in Fort Wayne and there are a lot of projects coming down the pipe that will cost the taxpayers HUGE sums of money:
FWCS 500 Million dollars and Wendy Robinson says that is just a starting
point.
CSO This could easily run 500 million dollars or more
Retirement Liabilities This is about another 240 million dollars

We need a Mayor who can decrease the City of Fort Wayne budget so that we can pay for the above projects without HUGE tax increases.

We need a Mayor who understands that mindlessly "throwing more money" at Downtown Fort Wayne will NOT help revitalize Downtown.

We need a Mayor who understands that it would be a large mistake to move the Sheriff's department to New Haven. The Sheriff should be downtown. This is a no-brainer.

We need a Mayor who can make some personnel changes in The Mayor's office and remove some Department Heads that need to be replaced.

We need a Mayor who can lead and can get things done.

Believe it or not; I think we have a good chance of getting a strong Mayor elected this year. I CANNOT remember the last time I saw TWO candidates that were as qualified as Matt Kelty and Nelson Peters. I truly hope that strong Democrat and Libertarian candidates run for this office!

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Must read post

Mike Kole has a must read post about Congressman Dan Burton (Indiana - Republican). His post illustrates what is wrong with many of those in our "political class..."

<http://kolehardfacts.blogspot.com/2007/02/dan-burton-or-can-of-alpo-which-would.html>

Mike Sylvester

Monday, February 05, 2007

Robert Rinearson

Robert Rinearson has a funny editorial it todays News-Sentinel.

You should read it...

Especially if you smoke...

<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/16627152.htm>

Awesome and well worth your time today...

Mike Sylvester

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Indy Tax Dollars has a great post you should read

Please read his post:
<http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/7776707>

I am a big Colts fan. My wife is an even bigger Colts fan.

It is 100% shameful how Indianapolis and Indiana have decided to take hundred of millions of dollars from the taxpayers and give it to Jim Irsay...

I am still angry that Indianapolis and Indiana are building a brand new Football stadium at taxpayer expense and that they let Jim Irsay have the naming rights to that stadium and about 124 million dollars that should belong to the taxpayers...

Now our large government Republican friends want to exempt the NFL from Sales tax to hold a Superbowl. They will also exempt the NFL and the teams from the Hotel tax in an attempt to draw a Superbowl to Indianapolis.

Interestingly enough, the Hotel tax is supposed to help defray the costs of a small fraction of the subsidies that the taxpayers are paying to build a new palace for the Colts.

This has gotten far out of hand...

Never doubt that both Democrats and Republicans consistently stand for larger Government AND subsidies of all kinds...

The Colts are getting HUGE subsidies and I am tired of it.

Mike Sylvester
Large Colts fan...

A great example of what elected Libertarians can do for America

This is an email I received from the National LP:

There are still many Americans who don't know what the Libertarian Party is all about. Yes, we are a political party but what do elected Libertarians actually do when they take office?

Here's a great story that should answer that question.

This week, I learned of a recent meeting that took place among some of our newly elected Libertarians.

Jack Tanner, Tom Clark and Kim Hawk serve on Florida's Lee County Soil and Water Conservation Board which is comprised of five members. Jack, Tom and Kim are Libertarians. They hold the majority on the board . . . a Libertarian majority.

This month they held a board meeting, which is typically not a widely attended event. However, this time their meeting room was chock-full of bureaucrats from Lee County and even surrounding counties.

Here are Kim Hawk's own words to describe the setting:

"Jack had e-mailed the agenda and invited media. Everyone knew what was likely to happen. Bureaucrats began to file into the room. Federal, state, county and city managers of agriculture, utilities, water and parks departments took their seats. Jack had never seen anything like it. Two years ago he couldn't get board members to attend. The air was electric. I could feel the tension in the room. Our two employees Nik and Garry were there. Mark, the board member unseated by Tom, was there with a scowl on his face. No media were present. Cookies and doughnuts sat largely untouched in the center of the table. My stomach was in a knot. I didn't know if I could do what I came to do."

So, now you are probably wondering, "What the heck was going on?"

It's pretty simple, Lee County was about to get their first taste of what elected Libertarians do.

You see, Lee County offered a little program that fell under the supervision of the Soil and Water Conservation Board.

The program had an impressive name, the Mobile Irrigation Lab (MIL).

For years, employees of the MIL visited the homes of Lee County residents and . . . well . . . adjusted their sprinkler systems.

They made sure that homeowners – those who could afford sprinkler systems – had good distribution on their manicured lawns and didn't over or under water.

Now, in Virginia where I live, I pay a local company to stop by my house each season. I make an appointment, answer the door, shake a man's hand and he goes about his business adjusting the sprinkler system. I then hand him a check for about $50.

My neighbors that don't have sprinkler systems don't have to bother with that process and they don't have to write a check.

All of Lee County residents paid for this service, whether they used it or not, to the tune of $202,986 per year.

The Mobile Irrigation Lab serviced an average of about 34 lawns a month. That's about $497 per lawn.

You can probably see what's coming by now.

That's right, in that well-attended meeting of the Water Conservation Board, our newly elected Libertarians were about to terminate what was obviously a wasteful government program.

Once again, here's Kim Hawk's take:

"Chairman Jack Tanner quickly moved through the agenda until he opened the floor to discuss the termination of the mobile irrigation laboratory and our two employees. The next 45 minutes or so were consumed by a series of earnest and emotional pleas by the government managers. Phrases like 'millions of gallons wasted' and 'billions of gallons saved' were used. Papers were pushed around with columns, charts and graphs. A case was cited in which an elderly, feeble, poor woman, unable to manage her lawn sprinklers, was 'saved' by our wonderful program."

As the debate wound down and Mr. Hawk announced how he would vote, he continued:

"I now know how uncomfortable and awkward it feels to look government workers in the eye and tell them 'You're fired.' I felt sad for the two men whose income was lost and at the same time I felt exhilarated thinking of the thousands of taxpayers who will keep more of their own money.

"I looked around the room. Some looked bewildered. Some looked shocked. Our employees, Nik and Garry, were visibly angry. Garry was muttering something I'm glad I couldn't hear. Jack called for a vote. Ron Edenfield brusquely pushed back his chair and stood, announcing, 'Let the record show I don't have time for this. . . ' Ron walked out. Jack was unfazed. Paul Dinger voted to keep the service saying, 'I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water.' Jack, Tom and I voted to end the program."The government managers were mumbling to each other. I heard phrases like 'this is unbelievable!' They stayed behind to discuss their next move.
"I felt many conflicting emotions on my way out. As the day wore on I gradually realized that this was a dream come true. I am 49 years old. For 35 years I have complained about our intrusive and expensive government. Now I am government, and I am doing something about it. I have found my nirvana. Jack, Tom and I will do whatever we can to prevent other agencies from thwarting our attempts to reduce government waste and regulation. We owe this to the taxpayers and ourselves."

After learning of this story, I called up Jack Tanner just to let him know how much we all appreciate their work. It's one thing to be an elected Libertarian; it's another to govern as a Libertarian.

It is not easy to endure the criticism of the majority.

It is not easy to have to look good employees in the eye and fire them simply because they held a government job.

But that's the duty of an elected Libertarian.

Thankfully, the men and women of our party who run for and win public office stand by principle and do their jobs regardless of how unpopular or uncomfortable things may become.

The next time someone asks you, "What do Libertarians do?" You can proudly respond by saying, "They stand by principle."

Best Regards,

Shane Cory
Executive Director
Libertarian National Committee

P.S. To read all of Kim Hawk's commentary on the Lee County board meeting, click here.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Superbowl, Colts vs Bears

I am looking forward to the Superbowl tomorrow.

My wife and I are big football fans and big Colts fans.

I think that the game will be determined by the play of the QUARTERBACKS.

I do not think either quarterback will play well; however, I think Manning will play better then Grossman and that the Colts will win.

My prediction is:

Colts 20
Bears 13

Mike Sylvester