Friday, March 30, 2007

Nelson Peters Direct Mail I received today

There was a direct mail piece in my mailbox today.

AWB over at Fort Wayne News has an elaborate post about the direct mail piece.

Believe it or not, the focus of the piece is that Mark Souder endorses Nelson Peters; therefore, Republicans should vote for Nelson Peters.

If you are interested in the Republican Primary for Mayor please go and check out AWB's post and leave some comments:
<http://www.angrywhiteboy.org/index.php/2007/03/30/the-peter-principle/>

Readers of this blog know that I would not vote for Mark Souder unless he was running against Senator Kennedy from Massachusetts or a candidate equally as poor...

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Change Fort Wayne

There is a new blog in Fort Wayne that is pretty darn funny...

The purpose of the blog seems to be to make fun of ANYONE who opposes change in Fort Wayne (I have been a popular target as well).

The blog is very funny.

You should check it out if you want a laugh:
<http://www.changeftwayne.blogspot.com/>

Mike Sylvester

Property Tax Appeal in Perry Township

My property tax appeal was resolved within ten days.

To make a long story short; they have lowered my assessed value by $17,700.

I spent about an hour on my appeal and a couple hundred bucks to hire a professional appraiser...

I will make my investment back within several months. Having my property assessment lowered by $17,700 will save me several hundred dollars this year alone. More importantly it will save me money in future years as well due to the new "trending" policy the our Legislators enacted...

I highly suggest that you appeal your property taxes if you feel that your property has been assessed at to high of a value.

If you want to know more about it please post a comment!

Mike Sylvester

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Big news, CPA exam

I got my score for the fourth section of the CPA Exam this afternoon.

I passed with a 78...

Now I have to send in a package to Indiana to get my CPA license...

Mike Sylvester

Allen County Food and Beverage Tax

As the readers of this blog know the Allen County Food and Beverage tax was "sold" to the taxpayers of Allen County by:

1. Claiming it was a temporary tax.
2. Claiming that it would be used for only one specific purpose.

Nelson Peters is proposing using the "Temporary" Food and Beverage Tax for purposes other then support of the Coliseum according to the newspapers:

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

I think the tax should be abolished once its original purpose is fulfilled.

What do you think?

Mike Sylvester

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sam Talarico, help us!

A couple days ago I posted a question to those who support Harrison Square.

Why on Earth is a new publicly financed parking garage needed for the Harrison Square Project?

Please check out the following link, it shows a picture of all of the excess surface parking lots in downtown Fort Wayne:
http://downtownfortwayne.com/story.php?cat=1&sub=&uid=87

Scott Grieder (A passionate Harrison Square supporter) also expressed an interest in knowing the answer to this question. We have a lot of extra parking downtown and a parking garage would make it far less likely that people would WALK around downtown Fort Wayne.

In the previous post I asked Sam Talarico to let someone else answer the question.

Alas, not one Harrison Square supporter chose to answer the question!

Sam we need your help!

The parking garage makes no sense to me. I think that it would discourage people from walking around Downtown.

Mike Sylvester

Fort Wayne Republican Primiary, 2007

If you are going to be voting in the Republican primary in 2007 who will you be voting for and why will you be casting your vote for the candidate you listed?

Please do not make personal attacks on any of the candidates and please explain your reasoning.

Mike Sylvester

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Charles Langley, Democrat for 4th City Council District

The below information was sent to me by Charles Langley and is posted in its entirety:

Charles Langley for City Council
New Face, New Ideas, New Future!

Fiscal Conservative

SUPPORTED BY CURRENT COUNCILMAN, DR. THOMAS HAYHURST

Not Increasing Taxes while Improving the Economy
We are a newly formed district in the City of Fort Wayne with thousands of new residents recently annexed by the government. It would be easy for members of the Council to take advantage of us and ask for more revenue with the new influx of residents. Under my leadership this will NOT happen. Any tax matter that does not substantially and directly benefit our district will meet my zealous opposition and fiercest dissent. I will also work with current businesses to better market our city, ranked the most affordable by the Frontier Centre on Public Policy, for increased economic growth and jobs in the Fourth District and in Fort Wayne.

Improve Roads and Transportation
The roads and transportation in our district are congested and full of bottlenecks and inconveniences. This harms the potential for commercial and economic growth in the District. I will fight to expand and renovate the roads of the Fourth District. The State of Indiana will expand Highway 14 and I will work for even more innovative traffic solutions on Illinois Road as well as the roads and areas surrounding Jefferson Boulevard, Covington Road, and Aboite Center Road. Further, I will act to ensure that the Ardmore thoroughfare and the roads and neighborhoods that surround it are maintained and given the proper attention they deserve. The roads of Waynedale will finally receive desperately needed care and renovations, especially in regards to chip and seal streets.

Maintain and Improve City Services
With thousands of new residents in the Fourth District, it is essential that we have the very best police, fire, and emergency service available to the citizens of Fort Wayne. I will make certain that our neighborhoods continue to be safe and that all residents will have the peace of mind that the city if affording them every available resource.
While Aqua Indiana does a fine job providing vital services to the citizens of the Fourth District, I believe increased cooperation with City Utilities can substantially improve the water and sanitation services provided to residents of the Fourth District. I will personally mediate and work to establish cooperation between Aqua Indiana and City Utilities, to ensure that each and every citizen of the District receive the best water and sanitation service without unnecessary additional cost.

Improve Cooperation with City and County Agencies
Some duplicate agencies of the city and county are financially wasteful and staggeringly inefficient. The current system is both more expensive and provides lesser services than a cooperative system could accomplish. The consequences of our inaction in some areas could result in potentially disastrous situations. I will work to establish cooperation and unity between more City and County agencies, especially purchasing power, human resources, street departments, and emergency communications (911). This will greatly increase the efficiency and quality of services available to all Allen County residents, while reducing the overall cost of the agencies to City and County taxpayers.

Charles Langley Biography
Since graduating Indiana University Bloomington with a degree in Education Charles Langley has spent his professional career serving the citizens of Indiana in the classroom. Charles possesses a strong reputation for excellence in the classroom, and is recognized for his ability to connect with each and every student. Charles’s energy and drive extend beyond the classroom into his desire and determination to build a stronger Fourth District. As a homeowner in the Fourth District of Fort Wayne he understands the public needs and concerns that affect his neighbors. His concerns extend beyond the newly imposed property taxes in the District, but also with the local economy, jobs, the congestion, bottlenecks, and poor access of the roads and transportation in the Fourth District, maintaining and improving our city services, as well as cooperating with the county government for increased efficiency and quality of service.

Growing up Charles’ father, Lewis Langley, who is now passed away, taught him that a man’s word is his bond and that everything a man puts his mind to, he does with all of his heart, mind, and strength. Charles brings a strong voice to the Fourth District and the thousands of new Fort Wayne residents residing therein. His character is one of strength, determination, and compassion. As his friends, family, and colleagues will attest, Charles performs each and every task he sets his mind to with the utmost diligence and conviction. As a new face with new ideas for a new future in the Fourth District, Charles hopes to bring these values to our City Council to fight for each and every resident of the great city of Fort Wayne.

Charles Langley for City Council
5260 Coventry Lane
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46804
charlesmlangley@gmail.com
(260) 432-1323

Contested Primaries in Fort Wayne, part 2

I am interested in learning more about those candidates who are running for office in 2007. The people who read this blog come from many different political spectrums.

I will post any synopsis I receive from any candidate!

I believe that voters make better decisions the more they know about each candidate.

So if you are running for office or if you know someone running for office please have them email me a synopsis of what they wish posted and I will post it.

Please mail them to Mike.Sylvester@Verizon.net.

Mike Sylvester

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Republican Mayoral Poll, Fort Wayne

I have ended my previous poll asking you if my family are typical Wizards fans. The poll came out similar to what I expected:

10 Yes
10 No
9 Unsure

I certainly think that my family tends to reflect typical Wizards fans...

I have posted a new poll about the Republican Mayoral Primary, you may vote in the new poll once per day.

Mike Sylvester

Matt Kelty and SOB's

I have had several people ask me what I think about Matt Kelty's stance on Sexually Oriented Businesses (SOB's).

I am surprised that anyone who reads this blog would ask me what I think about Matt Kelty's thoughts on SOB's.

I do not agree with them in the slightest.

I tend to think that consenting adults should do what they wish as long as it does not harm someone else.

I do not think that SOB's hurt anyone. While it is possible that SOB's are harmful, I really am not sure whether they do or not. Consenting adults should have the right to do what they wish as long as they are not harming another person!

I have never had someone stick a gun in my face and force me into an SOB against my will. The people who patronize SOB's are adults and they should have the right to make their own decisions.

I truly am tired of the Government constantly trying to legislate everything. You cannot legislate morality, period...

I choose not to patronize SOB's in general. In my navy days the same cannot be said. After spending a couple of months underwater with a hundred other young men I did all kinds of things when I pulled into foreign ports that I would not do today.

If a friend has a Bachelors party and part of the Bachelors Party is in a "Strip Club" then I go to a "strip club." I do not generally go to SOB's; however, I have done it before and I may do it again. That is between me and my wife and is no one else's business.

It is fairly easy to statistically conclude that being overweight is bad for your health. Will we allow the government to make it illegal to be overweight?

It is unhealthy not to exercise three times a week. Should the government pass a law requiring us to exercise?

This is certainly one issue where Matt Kelty and I disagree.

Mike Sylvester

Friday, March 23, 2007

Democrats break campaign promise in House

I voted for more Democrats last November then I have ever voted for before...

I did this because The Republicans showed:
A willingness to increase domestic spending on everything.
A lack of accountability.
A lack of overall competence.
A willingness to increase pork barrel spending and earmarks.
That they were as corrupt as the Democrats they replaced.
A lack of willingness to allow the Democrats to participate by using legislative "tricks."
A lack of work ethic, Congress worked very little.

The Democrats made a lot of campaign promises that were important to me, these include:
We will show fiscal responsibility.
We will provide Congressional oversight.
We will control pork barrel spending and earmarks.
We will allow the minority to participate.
We will work harder.

Well, so far, the Democrats have showed that their Campaign promises were 100% worthless and were lies. They have embarrassed themselves to date.

I have held off writing this post because I kept thinking the Democrats would get their act together. That has not been the case.

President Bush asked Congress for a 105 billion dollar emergency spending bill to fund the "war on terror." This bill was far too large as proposed and would end up being fiscally irresponsible...

Today the Dems in Congress approved an Emergency war will that includes 125 billion in spending. They gave Bush what he wanted and then stuffed the bill full of 20 billion in non-emergency spending including:
3 million for funding a special court in Sierra Leone
239 million for Eastern Europe
125 million in asbestos abatement's
74 million for peanut storage
75 million for spinach farmers
100 million for citrus farmers

It is reported that this emergency war funding bill includes:
3.7 billion in farm subsidies
2.9 billion in hurricane relief
2.4 billion in social programs
.5 billion in wildfire suppression

It is a humiliating day to be a Democrat in America.

President Bush promised to veto this pork-laden monstrosity. I thought President Bush sounded very good today. Heck, if you would have made speeches like he made today over the last six years the Republicans would still be in power...

Jeff Pruitt must be very disappointed in the Democrats, I know I am.

Mike Sylvester

Contested primaries in Fort Wayne

There are quite a few contested primaries in Fort Wayne. Over the next couple of months I will analyze these races.

Republicans:

Mayor
City Council At Large
2nd District City Council

Democrats:

Mayor
City Council at Large
4th and 5th Districts City Council

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Harrison Square Question

Who thinks that we need to build a new Parking Garage with public money Downtown?

There are a lot of parking spaces Downtown. I have never had difficulty finding a parking space. Realize that I also do not mind walking a couple of blocks to get where I am going.

One of the things about this project that makes no sense to me is building a 100% publicly financed parking garage. It is absurd.

I keep hearing that proponents of a Downtown Baseball Stadium want a vibrant and walkable Downtown.

If a parking garage is built right next to the Stadium how will that encourage people to walk Downtown? Won't the Parking Garage cause fewer people to walk Downtown?

I have lived in Fort Wayne a long time. I have irritated my mother-in-law on more then one occasion when she goes shopping with us. If we go to a mall I park in the first space I can find. If I go to Glenbrook and it is busy I always park out by Coliseum Blvd because I refuse to troll parking lots looking for parking spaces.

When my mother was recovering from a broken leg I did drop her off at the front door... So there have been one or two exceptions...

This is one of the many things about the project that does not make sense to me. There are a lot of people who will spend time driving around a parking lot so that they do not have to walk an extra 500 feet.

Please try to give me a reasoned answer that will make sense to those people who are skeptical...

I think a Parking Garage is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars.

Mike Sylvester

P.S. Sam you might want to let someone else handle this one for you!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Poll Results

The Harrison Square poll turned out a little differently then I expected:

32 votes for a Minor League Baseball Stadium
23 Votes for a Casino
6 votes for a Multi-Use Sports Facility
3 Votes for a Water Park
1 vote for an Aquarium
1 vote for an IMAX
11 Votes for none of the above

I am surprised that the multi-use sports facility did not get more votes...

I will be posting the next poll in a few minutes. It will be a fun poll, you may only vote in the next poll once...

Mike Sylvester

Wizards entire marketing plan seems geared towards families to me

A couple of days ago I posted a simple post that described my family and what we did to support the Wizards. I emphasized that we go to one or two games a year, ate inside the stadium, and never did anything before or after the game. We come home and put the kids to bed...

Sam Talarico questioned whether my family is typical of those people who attend Wizards games.

I am really not sure if we are typical or not; however, after reading various comments I have to say that my family seems to be fairly typical of those who attend games. Another thing that interested me was how many of the people who support moving the baseball stadium downtown do not currently go to Wizards games.

Since many of the supporters of moving the stadium do not attend games here is some information that you might be interested in.

1. The Wizards expend a lot of effort to both draw and entertain families and kids.
2. Costumed characters are present at every game.
3. Awards and prizes are often geared towards children.

The last time I checked these were not activities geared towards young professionals with a lot of disposable income; however, maybe I am too old to understand what young professionals want. Any young professional with a lot of disposable income that currently attend Wizards games PLEASE tell us how many games you go to and whether you enjoy activities geared towards children.

I went to my first Wizards game about five (or six) years ago. My mother had just been to a game and she made it a point to tell me how geared towards children the Wizards are. She told me about costumed characters that were for the kids, how in between the innings they launched prizes into the crowd, about Jake the Diamond Dog and the fireworks for the kids...

Face it, the Wizards marketing plan is designed to draw families to a baseball game.

I do not understand how anyone, except the blindest supporter of Harrison Square, can dispute that.

I am not saying that the only people who go to Wizards games are families with children; however, I do think that families are the main target of the Wizards marketing plan and I do feel that many of the people who attend games are families with kids.

I also maintain that a lot of the people who go to Wizards games eat inside the stadium.

Sam Talarico are you a Wizards fan? Do you go to Wizards games? Please describe the typical Wizards fan for us. Sam you should really send me a bottle of aspirin for obvious reasons.

Mike Sylvester

P.S. Sam please stop telling us that you have not made up your mind about this project. You made up your mind a long time ago. You are going to support this project no matter what and anyone that reads your comments know it. You defend Harrison Square against anything that you think could be construed as an objection to the project.

Wizards attendence

The number of people who attend Wizards games will be absolutely critical to the success or failure of The Harrison Square Project.

I have heard estimates that there are 150,000 fans each year. I have also heard estimates that are closer to 250,000 or even 300,000.

This is a BIG spread.

Does anyone know how many Wizards fans actually attended Wizards games in 2006 and actually sat in their seat during the game?

If possible please tell us where you got your numbers from.

Does anyone know how many attendees Fort Wayne is projecting each year?

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Allen County Libertarians running for City Council

For Immediate Release:
March 20, 2007

The Libertarian Party of Allen County has nominated two candidates for City Council in Fort Wayne. Byron Peters and Michael Brightbill will be running for seats on the City Council in the November election.

Byron Peters is a local business owner and community volunteer. He and his wife reside with their children in the 1st District. Byron will be running for the 1st City Council District.

Michael Brightbill is a local resident who is studying at IPFW. He will be running for an At-Large seat on the Fort Wayne City Council.

Further candidates may be announced, as well.

Oops, six million dollar change for Harrison Square Hotel

Angry White Boy has an interesting post about the front page article in today's NS. Please check it out:

<http://www.angrywhiteboy.org/index.php/category/city-government/>

I think his post sums it up...

Heck, the last couple of public forums I attended the City of Fort Wayne was still handing out fliers advertising the new Downtown hotel would have 300 rooms...

I think that it should be becoming more and more obvious that The City of Fort Wayne has a lot of work to do to get a proposal together.

Two weeks ago Fort Wayne was still clinging to their goal of having the project approved by April 1st. Luckily for all of us that has changed. I expect this to reach City Council in April at this point...

I am really starting to look forward to seeing the final proposal when it is presented to the public...

Mike Sylvester

Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce has released the below information:

Fort Wayne, IN - Allen County and the City of Fort Wayne recently passed separate ordinances banning smoking in public places beginning June 1. With this in mind, a Smoke-Free Workplace Workshop will be held at the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, 826 Ewing Street, on two upcoming March dates: this Thursday, March 22, at 6 p.m., and next Tuesday, March 27, at 7:30 a.m.

The workshop is being presented by Tobacco Free Allen County in partnership with the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health and the Chamber to help local business leaders develop and implement tobacco control or cessation policies for their staff. Workshop topics will include:

The economic implications of smoking in Indiana;
Highlights of the Surgeon General's Report on Second-Hand Smoke; and
A panel discussion with local business leaders who have developed tobacco-free workplaces.


The Chamber currently is accepting reservations for the Smoke-Free Workplace Workshops. Reservations can be made by calling Heather Neilson at (260) 424-1435, Ext. 241, or by e-mailing hneilson@fwchamber.org, and indicating which date you plan to attend (March 22 or March 27).

I find it interesting that local government officials have passed a smoking ban that many local business owners think will badly hurt their businesses and yet our local Chamber of Commerce is offering a seminar like the one described above...

I think The Chamber of Commerce should have a forum that discusses the negative impact the smoking ban will have on certain business owners in Fort Wayne...

I think the Chamber of Commerce should have a forum that discusses how important property rights are to The United States of America and to businesses in general...

I must be dreaming...

Mike Sylvester

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Downtown Baseball Stadium Question for all of you

I am getting relatively tired of hearing that moving our existing baseball stadium from one location to another is going bring people Downtown and that those people will spend money Downtown before or after the game!

Who actually believes this myth?

My family actually goes to either one or two Wizards games per year. We have been doing this for about six years. We often take either my mother or my mother-in-law with us...

Let me SPECIFICALLY describe exactly what happens when the Sylvester family decides to go to a Wizards game:

1. We generally get discounted or free tickets from some promotion that is going on. I think that we paid full price for tickets once when my wife's Uncle came into town and he wanted to see a baseball game...

2. We pile into my Toyota Camry forty minutes before the game and drive to Memorial Stadium.

3. We pay for Parking ($4 currently) and park the car.

4. We walk from the car into Memorial Stadium.

5. We find our seats and sit down. We often run into someone we know and say "Hi."

6. We watch the baseball game. I actually like watching an occasional game as does my wife, kids, and mother...

7. During the game we purchase supper inside the stadium. We generally eat hot dogs, peanuts, etc. For us it is part of the experience of going to a baseball game. We buy over-priced food of dubious quality because we think it is part of the "Baseball" experience...

8. When the game is over we watch the fireworks (We generally go on nights where there are fireworks.)

9. After the game we walk out to our car and drive home...

If the car is low on gas on the way to the stadium or on the way home I MAY stop and get gas.

When we come home and put the kids to bed... We end up putting them to bed fairly late on nights we take them to a Wizards Game...

That is exactly what we have done for 9 or 10 games over the last 6 years...

I do not think that we have deviated from that pattern a single time...

The only difference that will occur if the stadium is Downtown I will have to leave 10 minutes earlier and I will get home ten minutes later. We will spend the exact same amount of money. The tax dollars generated will now go to a TIF that will pay for a new baseball stadium...

I think we will go to the exact same number of Wizards games whether the stadium is on Coliseum or Downtown... We MAY go less Downtown; however, I doubt it...

What business owner is going to locate his or her business next to a baseball stadium in Fort Wayne if most people who go to a baseball game are like the "Sylvester family?"

If any of the readers of this blog currently go to Wizards games PLEASE tell us what you do before and after the game. Please tell us if you eat in the ballpark...

Mike Sylvester

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Polls

I have closed the most recent poll where I asked you to classify me as a member of a Political Party based on 20 of my views.

The results were STRANGE...

27 votes for Democrat
27 votes for Libertarian
3 votes for Republican

Huh?

I do not understand that one...

I have decided to start a new one. The new poll concerns Downtown Development.

You can vote in the new poll once per day and I hope everyone takes the time to vote in the new poll...

This is in honor of Sam Talarico and his views of Downtown Development (Sam seems to think moving an existing baseball stadium Downtown is the best and only hope to save Fort Wayne!)

Due to popular request I have added several options including NONE OF THE ABOVE to my poll about Downtown Development...

Mike Sylvester

Oak View Carnival

Last night we went to our first "Carnival" with our kids.

Our daughter, Kayla, is in Kindergarten... Our son Graydon is four, so he has a couple of years to wait.

My daughter goes to Oak View. Oak View is an Elementary School in NACS.

Oak View is a small school and I really like Oak View.

Oak View has a great staff and a dedicated PTO.

In the Fall of this year I volunteered every other week in Kayla's Kindergarten class. There are 18 students in Kayla's class. My wife volunteered every other week both Spring and Fall.

Both Spring and Fall there have been 5 parents PER WEEK who volunteer to spend a couple of hours in the classroom. So many volunteered that each parent just goes EVERY OTHER WEEK.

I often hear that there is a lack of people who volunteer to help out in the schools.

THAT IS NOT TRUE AT OAK VIEW.

The number of people who volunteer in the Oak View PTO is also highly encouraging.

Last night the Oak View PTO held its annual "Carnival."

We had a great time. Our kids played games for a couple of hours and we had dinner at the school. There was large bake sale and each class created a basket that was auctioned off in a silent auction...

It was a GREAT event and my family had a wonderful time...

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Harrison Square "Straw Poll" at Northwest Area Partnership meeting

I went to the Northwest Area Partnership Meeting tonight.

This is a group that consists of many neighborhood association officers/ Quite a few City officials and candidates generally come to the meeting...

It was a VERY interesting meeting. Councilman Didier was present as was County Commissioner Nelson Peters. Several City Council candidates were present as well...

Part way through the meeting I gave a brief synopsis of the Fort Wayne Police "Chief's" meeting that I attended.

Then I did a brief and NON SCIENTIFIC poll of those present who LIVED in the Northwest Quadrant. For those of you that support the Harrison Square Project as is the results were not a good sign...

More people opposed building a new baseball stadium downtown then even I expected. And I expected a lot to oppose it...

In favor of Harrison Square and building a new downtown baseball stadium = 2
Against Harrison Square and building a new downtown baseball stadium = 30
Not voting or on the fence = 12

So here it is by percentage and rounded to the nearest percent:
Opposed 68%.
In favor 5%.
Not voting 27%.

Note one of the two people in favor of Harrison Square and building a downtown baseball stadium was Republican City Council Candidate Marty Bender... I was a bit surprised that he was in favor of the project.

This polling was done on a group of people who attended a meeting that is intended for Presidents and other officers of Fort Wayne neighborhood associations. The only people who voted were those who attended a regular meeting of the Northwest Area Partnership. This audience was NOT stacked like the "ra-ra" sessions yesterday.

Near the end of the meeting Councilman Didier did a very courageous thing. He actually spoke up and talked about how he had not decided how he would vote yet; however, he certainly convinced most of us that he is in favor of the project. Even with 30 people against and only 2 in favor of Harrison Square he defended the project. I have to say that I am becoming more and more impressed with Councilman Didier. It took a lot of courage to stand up and support a project that so many people are opposed to... He defended it for QUITE a long time and directed most of his comments at me. I reminded him during his "speech" that he was really talking to THIRTY of us and that only two were on his side...

I have no doubt that some of the more ardent Harrison Square supporters (Several come to mind) will immediately attack these results and will babble about how I am wrong.

Let me say once again, THE POLL WAS NOT SCIENTIFIC. In my mind it was quite telling.

Let me tell you a little about the demographics of those who participated in the poll. Once again, this is not a scientific observation of those who voted; however, it is my opinion:

1. I was most likely the youngest person who voted, I am 39. I would guess that most of those who voted are between 55 and 75 years old.

2. The people who voted regularly attend monthly meetings of the Northwest Area Partnership.

3. My GUESS would be that most of the people in the room regularly vote in elections. I base that observation on my belief that if people regular attend meeting like this that they would vote. This is just an opinion...

4. My GUESS would be that many of the people in the room are on a relatively fixed income and that many are retired. This is just an opinion...

5. Many of the people in the room do a fair amount of volunteer work in Fort Wayne.

In short, this is a group of people that City Council and the Mayor SHOULD want on their side and whose opinions they should highly value. I would argue that those who serve on their neighborhood associations are an important part of Fort Wayne (Karen Goldner is basing part of her Campaign on this...).

Many of those who support the Harrison Square project have spent their time attacking the newspaper poll that showed that 73% of Fort Wayne residents oppose building a new baseball stadium downtown...

Many in the media have been reporting or at least inferring that public opinion is shifting and that more and more people are in favor of the project.

I think not...

Once again, I know several Harrison Square supporters will attack this post. This was a NON SCIENTIFIC poll!

I still believe that a strong majority of Fort Wayne residents oppose building a new baseball stadium downtown...

What do you think?

Mike Sylvester

Libertarians on Public Access TONIGHT

Please tune in to Cable Cahnnel 57 tonight from 7 PM - 8 PM. The number to call in with questions is 422-3902.

Doug Horner will have Robert Enders as his guest.

They will be discussing the Harrison Square Project among other things.

Please take the time to watch the show and call in and provide your input on Hharrison Square...

Mike Sylvester

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Harrison Square "ra-ra" event

Jeff Pruitt spent some time this evening listening to propoganda favoring the Harrison Square Project. He has a great post over at Left of Centrist that you should read:

<http://leftofcentrist.blogspot.com/2007/03/ylni-public-discussion-on-harrison.html#links>

Then Jeff Pruitt posted this "gem" on my blog:

Per Jeff Pruitt:

I think you Libertarians would've got a kick out of Dan Carmody's, president of the downtown improvement district, quote tonight "There is no such thing as unsubsidized private investment."

I have no doubt that Dan Carmody uttered the above quote.

I do not even know what to say anymore...

Does ANYONE who reads this blog think that the above quote is true? If so PLEASE post a comment and tell me.

Good grief

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Harrison Square, what would it take for me to support the project

Dave Corcoran is a friend of mine. He asked me to determine what it would take for me to support the Harrison Square Project. I think this is a great question and I have considered it for almost a week.

Here is what it would take for me to support the Harrison Square project:

1. The City would have to choose a project other then a baseball stadium. I think there are several better choices and I think one of them should be chosen. The more I think about it the worse the idea of a baseball stadium is to me. I am in favor of spending five million dollars and re-furbishing the existing stadium. I do NOT think that IPFW will be able to use the current stadium WITHOUT a public subsidy.

2. The City would have to reveal their entire financing package. To date they have not even determined:
a. The length of the bonds.
b. The actual number of parking spaces in the parking garage.
c. The revenue splits with the Wizards.
d. The parking deal with Lincoln.
Etc. Their financing package will have to be HONEST and include all costs including:
a. The legal costs to seize Belmost Beveverages
b. All overhead expenses incurredby the City
Etc.

3. The City would have to determine benchmarks for the success of the project. I want them to estabish specific and definable benchmarks for the project. What hotel occupancy rate are they projecting? What attendence for the Wizards are they projecting? Etc.

4. How much money will the City be losing in property taxes? The City is WRONG when they say there will not be a general increase in property taxes. THERE WILL BE A VERY, VERY SMALL INCREASE in property taxes. I have explained it repeatedly. This cost must be added into the project and converted into present value over the life of the project...

I am offended that Public Officials feel the need to misrepresent the fact that there will be an increase in proeprty taxes due to the project.

When I talked to Pat Roller (Fort Wayne City Controller) she agreed that there would be a very slight increase in property taxes due to the properties that would be demolished and then absorbed into the TIF.

5. The Parking Garage must not be financed with The Jefferson Pointe TIF unless that revenue is brought into a present value and included in the public financing...

6. The project will HAVE to be shown to be self sustaining financially after the bonds expire. This is extremely important to me.

If all six of the above items were done and if all of the financial information and projections made sense then I think I could support the project...

Mike Sylvester

Next meeting of the LPAC

I hope to see many of you at the next meeting of the LPAC.

Allen County Libertarian Party Meeting
Monday March 19, 7:00 pm
The 412 Club at 412 East Washington, Ft. Wayne, IN

Great meeting to hear about our latest involvement in community issues and meet potential candidates for offices in Fort Wayne City Government!

7:00 pm--Business Meeting

8:00 pm--Meet our Candidates

Check out our UPDATED WEBSITE and BLOG!
www.allencountyLP.org
http://summitcitylibertarians.blogspot.com/

Map: http://maps.yahoo.com/;_ylc=X3oDMTExNmIycG51BF9TAzI3MTYxNDkEc2VjA2ZwLWJ1dHRvbgRzbGsDbGluaw--#gid1=15994461&q1=412%20e%20washington,%20fort%20wayne,%20IN%20%20&trf=0&mvt=m&lon=-85.133915&lat=41.077896&mag=3

Contact Jennifer Jeffrey for questions or additions to the agenda:
260-418-2750
jenniferjeffreylpac@gmail.com

Why on Earth do many of you think I should be a Democrat?

I have noticed something over the last couple of months, more and more Democrats (Liberals in many cases) have been visiting this blog.

The slight majority of the responders to my most recent poll think I am a Libertarian based on the 20 views that I posted...

A fair number of you think I should be a Democrat.

VERY few of you think I am more in line with The Republican Party.

I am SURPRISED; to say the least...

I am REALLY curious why some of you think that my views are more in line with the Democratic party.

Please let me know!

Mike Sylvester

Monday, March 12, 2007

The future of this blog

I plan on changing this blog significantly in a month or two...

After talking with several local Libertarians we have decided to convert this blog into a "Community Libertarian Blog."

Too many people think of Mike Sylvester when they think of the Allen County Libertarian Party and we are much more then just one person. We have a lot of great members and we need to use this blog to ensure that residents of Allen County understand where Libertarians stand on many issues.

My views are not the same as those of all Libertarians. I consider myself an "incremental" Libertarian. I want to see the size and scope of Government shrink; however, not all Libertarians are the same.

We are hoping to get 5 - 10 local Libertarians to contribute to this blog once per week. I will most likely contribute to the blog more then once a week because I really like it!

I plan on turning this blog over to one of the current Officers of the Libertarian Party; Robert Enders. Robert does a great job of portraying a more "traditional" Libertarian viewpoint.

Please contact me if you want to be a contributor to this blog when it becomes a "Community Libertarian Blog" for Allen County and Fort Wayne!

Robert Enders has established a "Community Libertarian Blog" that we will use until I am ready to convert this blog into our "Community Libertarian Blog."

Please check out Summit City Libertarians at:
<http://summitcitylibertarians.blogspot.com/>

I will be starting another Fort Wayne blog when I turn this blog over. I will be focusing on accounting, taxes, Fort Wayne politics, the Fort Wayne blogoshpere, and I think I may actually do some journalism on my new blog. I am going to TRY to post my Libertarian posts on this blog and limit the new blog to the afore mentioned items.

I imagine this will be hard for me.

Currently this blog is just my opinion, that will change.

Mike Sylvester

Harrison Square meetings this week

It is tax season and I will not be able to make the meetings on Wednesday about Harrison Square.

I am sure that several of the readers of this blog will attend these sessions...

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let me know if the City of Fort Wayne provides ANY facts and figures regarding the project.

As far as I can tell there is still NO FINANCIAL PLAN of any kind in place...

Mike Sylvester

I am posting a new poll, what political persuasion is Mike Sylvester?

I have a lot of different views on various topics. My views have changed over the years (Especially when I got married and when I became a father).

Here are some of my views, in no particular order:

1. I think the Government is far too large and involved in too many things.

2. I think that property rights are critical and that our government is taking them away. I oppose most uses of Eminent Domain and silly infringements like "Smoking Bans" on private property.

3. I think the United States should maintain the most powerful military in the world.

4. I think that the tax code needs to be simplified.

5. I think that Social Security needs to be fixed today; it is on an unsustainable course.

6. I think that we spend too much money on "entitlement programs" and that "entitlement programs" do not actually help the poor in the long run.

7. I think that Medicare needs to be fixed today; it is on an unsustainable course.

8. I think that the Federal Department of Education should be 100% abolished. Each of the fifty States should handle their own Education system and the Federal government should no longer be involved in our Education system at all.

9. I think that more States should legalize gambling. Gambling is just "entertainment." Americans spend too much money on golf, fancy cars, food, houses, their pets, etc... I see no difference.

10. I think prostitution should be legal as long as the parties are at least 18 years old and consenting. I think that consenting adults should do what they wish and the government should but out.

11. I do not do drugs. I do not like illegal drugs. That being said, the war on drugs has 100% failed. We either need to REALLY have a war on drugs or we need to make some of them legal. My preference is that the Federal Government get out of the drug war and let each of the fifty states pass their own laws regarding drugs. I would be in favor of legalizing mj...

12. I think that the government should stop giving out hundreds of million dollars in foreign aid. If I want to give money to a foreign government then I will give it to them myself...

13. I think that Roe v Wade should be overturned. The Federal government needs to not be involved in regulating abortion. Each of the fifty states should pass their own laws regarding abortion. If it were up to each State then I would be in favor of living in a State that outlawed abortion as long as their were reasonable exceptions...

14. I no longer believe in Free Trade as defined by Reps and Dems. I am more in favor of Fair Trade...

15. As a law abiding citizen I should be allowed to carry a concealed handgun and maintain whatever weapons I wish on my property. I should also be held responsible for securing those weapons from casual theft and use by others...

16. I do not believe that women should ever be allowed to serve on nuclear submarines (I was stationed on one for four years). I would change my mind if a submarine were crewed by ALL WOMEN.

17. I do not believe in quotas or affirmative action. The most qualified person should be hired regardless of sex, race, etc. This has gotten way out of hand. White males are the most discriminated against group in this country.

18. I believe that women who are fire fighters, police officers, etc should have to pass the EXACT same physical tests as men.

19. I believe that all levels of Government should be forced to abolish at least half of the rules that they have established.

20. I believe that the government needs to stop trying to legislate morality...

Please do two things.

Please vote in the poll I just posted regarding my political affiliation. You may vote once per day...

Please post a comment and tell me how many of the 20 items you agree with me on!

My guess is that Tim Zank and Andrew Kaduk will both agree with me on MOST of the 20 items...

My guess is that true liberals will agree with me on VERY few items.

Mike Sylvester

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sam Talarico, Fort Wayne Republican on City Council

Sam Talarico and I disagree on quite a few things; however, I actually have a lot of respect for Sam...

I respect Sam because:
1. He spends a great deal of time responding to and meeting with his constituents.
2. He is willing to vote for what he thinks is best.
3. He has been more then willing to state his opinions in every media outlet he can; including various blogs...

I find that I disagree with Sam Talarico more often then not; however, I think that he does want Fort Wayne to grow and improve. I truly think that Sam and I want the same things for Fort Wayne...

Sam Talarico and I often COMPLETELY disagree on how that should be done...

I think it should be done by LIMITING the scope and size of government and by eliminating needless regulations that effect business owners and citizens...

Sam and I 100% disagree on Harrison Square... I do not think we will never agree on Harrison Square and I imagine that we will both continue to think that the other is "wrong."

So be it...

I imagine the argument will continue on this blog and on other blogs. This argument will continue throughout Fort Wayne as well... I would ask that everyone ON THIS blog make sure that you keep you comments to each other respectful and do your best to argue about the issues rather then insult each other...

I TRY to follow this rule myself; however, I could do better and I will do better!

P.S. Sam, there is still no DOUBT in my mind that a majority of Fort Wayne residents oppose moving the Baseball Stadium AND there is ABSOLUTELY no doubt in my mind that both a majority of Conservatives AND a majority of accountants in Fort Wayne oppose the Harrison Square Project as it is... Most accountants are conservative and I think that most accountants will want to look at the financial plan (Which currently does NOT exist).

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Libertarians and Harrison Square

I have had several emails asking me if the Libertarian Party of Allen County has an official stance on Harrison Square...

The short answer is, no...

There were three local Libertarians who spoke at the public event Thursday night. I was surprised when I ran across two other Libertarians at the event. We certainly did not plan on attending the event as a group...

Two of us spoke against the baseball stadium and one of us spoke in favor of the entire project. I know that Scott Greider is a Libertarian and he was not able to attend the event. Had he attended the event I am sure he would have spoken in favor of the project...

I would say that a majority of local Libertarians oppose building a new baseball stadium downtown...

That being said, I know at least two local Libertarians who are in favor of the project as is...

The Libertarian Party of Allen County has room for those with differing viewpoints and we certainly do NOT march in "lockstep."

Mike Sylvester

Harrison Square question for those who support the project...

I talked to a lot of people last night who support the Harrison Square Project... I have a question for you that I really hope a bunch of you will answer for me...

It is obvious that many of the Harrison Square supporters truly want Downtown to succeed.

Where have you been during the "Discussion" on where to locate the Allen County Sheriff's Department?

Currently the Department is located on the northwest edge of Fort Wayne. They HAVE to move somewhere else...

They just moved to NEW HAVEN...

They did NOT move Downtown...

Do those of you who support Downtown development think The Sheriff should be in New haven or Downtown?

I actually think the Sheriff should be moved Downtown. I think it makes sense for a lot of reasons...

If you really want Downtown to succeed then you need to get active politically and stop our elected officials from making poor decisions...

What do you think?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Harrison Square, Smoke and Mirrors...

I have reviewed the notes I took when I spoke with officials representing the City of Fort Wayne last week. I also asked a lot of questions last night to various officials at the public meeting.

Not one of my questions about the specifics on the financing was answered... Not one...

This project does NOT have a financing plan in place... It is currently all "smoke and mirrors."

This project is still in its VERY EARLY planning stages from a financial standpoint.

Sam Talarico has been a frequent commenter on this blog and is a passionate supporter of this project. Maybe Sam has been able to get some answers from the City that I have not received. Sam please let us know if you can answer ANY of the following questions with certainty!

1. How many rooms will the hotel have?

2. How many parking spaces will be in the parking garage?

3. What is the length of the bonds that will finance the project?

4. What will the interest rate be on these bonds?

5. How much general property tax revenue will the City lose due to the TIF expansion? (PLEASE do not repeat the Cities incorrect statement that it will not effect property taxes. It WILL effect property taxes because businesses like McMahon Tire are currently on the property tax rolls and they will be removed and will be part of the TIF district) My guess is that it will have a VERY slight effect on property taxes, I imagine it will be an increase of less then one tenth of one percent...

6. I have now been told by the City that the operation of the Parking garage will be paid for with money from the Jefferson Point TIF. Has this financial contribution been counted as public investment in the project? If so, was this counted over the life of the project?

7. What is the total public investment into the project for:
Land acquisition (Please include legal costs for using Eminent Domain to take land from
Belmont Beverages and please do include overhead the City incurred)
Demolition costs to prepare the land for construction. I recently was told that Fort
Wayne will be paying all demolition costs.

8. The City has used existing bonds to buy the land. Has this cost been factored into the project? Was this cost converted to current dollars with a present value factor of 5% to account for inflation?

9. How will Memorial stadium be operated? Who will pay this cost? Has this cost per year been converted into a sum using the present value method?

10. How much money will the Coliseum lose due to having fewer people park at the Coliseum during Wizards games? I have recently been told that much of the Parking revenue went to the Wizards.

11. Please let me know how much was used for each of the following fees and how it was accounted for:
Accounting, Financing, Legal, Architectural, Real Estate, Johnson Consulting Firm, Crowe
Chizck Consulting, Bonding costs, City Overhead, and of course City advertising in printing
pamphlets etc...

12. Why do the pamphlets passed out last night still say the hotel will have a MINIMUM of 300 rooms? Did the City print up thousands of these back when they insisted the hotel would have at least 300 rooms? Don't you think the flyers should be updated to reflect the current situation? Why is the City passing out INACCURATE information on its flyers regarding the number of hotel rooms?

13. When accounting for City overhead were benefits and overtime included?

14. What is the negotiated deal with Lincoln?

15. What is the exact amount of the bond to be used to fund the project?

16. What is the present value of all tax incentives offered to the hotel? Please break down by type...

17. What is the present value of the revenue currently being generated by the buildings, land, homes, and businesses that will be demolished. Please understand that these revenues will go away and must be accounted for within the project financing...

18. What is the projected attendance for Wizards games over the life of the longest bond?

19. What is the projected hotel occupancy rate of the new hotel over the life of the longest bond?

20. What will the new hotel do to the existing hotels in the area? Will the City give tax incentives to the existing hotels to compensate them for lost revenue?

21. Do the City's projections consider the fact that THREE new hotels will be built on the north side of Fort Wayne?

22. How many parking spaces will be provided for the hotel. How will the hotel pay for these spaces?

23. How many parking spaces will be provided for the Wizards fans? Who will get the revenue from from these spaces?

24. What is the projected revenue that the parking garage will generate. Please give me a projected parking space occupancy rate for:
Lincoln
Hotel
Wizards Fans
Other

25. Will the New Markets Tax Credit be used?

26. When will the financing package be finalized?

27. When can I see the financing package in its entirety?

28. What are the revenue splits between the Wizards and the City of Fort Wayne?

29. What operating expenses will the city incur to operate the stadium and the parking garage?

30. I was recently told that Harding Dahm would be running the Parking Garage. How were they selected? What was the bidding process? How many local parking specialists were contacted for bids on the project?

There certainly are a lot more questions that need to be answered. Getting SOME of the above questions answered would be a good start Sam!

I am currently willing to bet that few, if ANY, of the above questions can be answered with certainty...

Mike Sylvester

P.S. Sam, if you can answer the above questions you might well be able to convince people on the fence that the project is a good idea. If you cannot answer ANY of the above questions with certainty then no one should have an opinion on this project because there is not enough information available...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Harrison Square meeting

I had a great time at the Harrison Square meeting tonight!

I would say that over 200 people attended the event. There were a lot of City employees, elected officials, and members of the YLNI present.

At least 60% of those present supported the project as is. It may have been higher then that...

I was one of the last speakers to get up in front of the audience and speak about the project.

I did my best to explain to the crowd that moving an existing baseball stadium from one location and building a new one a few miles away is NOT economic development; it is economic re-arrangement.

Earlier today I spent some time over at the NIIC with David Corcoran. We discussed Harrison Square...

We both attended the meeting and spoke with opposite view points on the project...

David Corcoran gave the best speech of the night by far. He was actually somewhat angry when he got to the microphone and he gave a great two minute speech. I was quite impressed!

New Channel 21 watched the people at the microphone and chose two people and interviewed them about Harrison Square. They chose one person in favor of the project and one person opposed to the project.

They chose Dave and I...

The City of Fort Wayne should contact David Corcoran and get him to speak on the subject for them. He truly did a great job of explaining why he feels the project is a must for Fort Wayne.

I have spent some time talking to several of our City Councilman and I have talked to many other people who have had conversations with our City Councilmen. I am ready to make my predictions on how the Harrison Square vote will go down...

Here is my prediction:

Voting AGAINST the Harrison Square Project will be:
John Shoaff (D)
Don Schmidt (R)
Tom Smith (R)

Voting in favor of the Harrison Square Project will be:
Sam Talarico (R)
John Crawford (R)
Tom Didier (R)
Glynn Hines (D)
Tim Pape (D)
Tom Hayhurst (D)

I am predicting it will pass 6 to 3...

Anyone else have a prediction?

Mike Sylvester

My take on Downtown Development

I spent some time over at one of our clients today. He is one of the few people I know who thinks the Harrison Square Project is a good idea... He is a Fort Wayne business owner and he is growing his business at a rapid pace. He is EXACTLY the type of business owner that Fort Wayne needs to attract and retain.

He is actually considering buying and renovating a building downtown. He owns a local technology company...

He feels that the only way Fort Wayne will be able to attract and retain business owners like him is with an active Downtown...

He and I actually mostly agree on this issue...

I actually do think that it would be a good idea to develop Downtown Fort Wayne. He thinks we must develop Downtown Fort Wayne as well. We just disagree on how to do that...

I think THE MOST IMPORTANT issue in Fort Wayne is drawing and retaining high paying jobs. Wages in Fort Wayne are 83% of the National average. We need to draw better jobs to Fort Wayne.

Here is how I want to develop Downtown Fort Wayne:

1. I want to make Fort Wayne more business friendly. There are several Fort Wayne businesses that have moved to nearby counties because of the silly regulations that exist in Fort Wayne. The City Government needs to help local businesses rather then create a myriad of regulations for them to deal with...

2. I want my elected officials to actually understand economic development. I am sick and tired of hearing how bringing in another WalMart store is economic development. It is NOT economic development, it is economic re-arrangement. Fort Wayne currently has so much commercial and retail property that much of it sits vacant. Each time we build another new development; an existing development is abandoned...

3. I want to LIMIT development at the edges of Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne is too large and Fort Wayne seems to want to expand to the County lines. I am sick and tired of watching new strip malls being erected at the edges of Fort Wayne. This must stop. We need to make an actual comprehensive plan for this area that makes sense. My wife's Uncle is an Urban planner for the Twin Cities. He teaches college classes in Urban planning. Every time he comes to visit I ask him what he thinks about our Urban Planning. To put it mildly, HE INSISTS that we DO NOT have Urban planning in Fort Wayne. I agree with him...

4. I want to invest public money into projects that will DRAW NEW PEOPLE into Downtown Fort Wayne. There are a lot of projects that I would be willing to invest public money into in Fort Wayne. Every one of those projects will draw people into Fort Wayne that currently DO NOT come to Fort Wayne. Moving our existing baseball stadium into Downtown is economic re-arrangement; it is NOT economic development. The exact same people will come to the games, they will just spend their money in a different part of Fort Wayne. We need to invest in projects that will draw new people into Fort Wayne. PERIOD.

5. We have already spent a ton of money Downtown in recent years. The Grand Wayne Center sits practically empty. We should build projects that will help bring events to The Grand Wayne Center.

6. Why on Earth are we considering putting the Allen County Sheriff in New Haven? The Allen County Sheriff should be located Downtown. They would be closer to the jail they are responsible for and to the Court system they have to interact with. This is a NO BRAINER.

I think that moving our existing baseball stadium Downtown is a really bad idea. I would consider any of the following projects Downtown:
1. A full service casino.
2. A multi-use sports facility. I think that a facility that incorporated ice, basketball, and swimming would be very successful.
3. I think a waterpark MIGHT work.

There are other projects that MIGHT work; however, I think the casino and the multi-use sporting facilities are the best ideas available...

Mike Sylvester

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

FWCS Remonstrance

I went to FWCS from 4th grade - 12th grade. I grew up over by Georgetown Square. I went to Haley Elementary, Blackhawk Middle School, and Snider High School. I graduated from Snider in 1985.

My wife and I live one mile north of Dupont Road and are in the Northwest Allen County School District.

I have had several people ask me what I think about FWCS asking for a bond for 500 million dollars while stating that this is "just the first stage." It seems likely that they will ask for another large bond issue in five years.

1. I think that FWCS should be asking for a smaller bond issue. FWCS has some building issues that they need to address; however, I think I would be in favor of a bond for a couple hundred million dollars.

2. I think FWCS should be focusing on improving the academic progress of their students rather then building larger and fancier buildings. Northside and Southside were "improved" and they still have some of the lowest test scores in this region...

3. I think that this property tax increase is going to hurt the residents of FWCS, especially those on a fixed income. I am expecting The City of Fort Wayne to ask for ABOUT 700 million in bonds to address the pension shortfall and the CSO issue in the next couple of years. I think that property taxes for residents of Fort Wayne that are in the FWCS school district may double over the next five years. I think that this will cause some of the residents of FWCS to move out of FWCS and into the County school districts... This would then cause even more growth for NACS and SACS.

My mother still lives in FWCS. I asked her last night about the Remonstrance and she told me that she would be signing a Blue petition for sure...

I think that this will be an active and large remonstrance and I think the outcome is uncertain...

What do you think about the 500 million dollar bond FWCS is asking for?

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Fort Wayne, Mike Sylvester style

Several people have asked what I would "do differently" if I were in charge of Fort Wayne. My wife and I moved back to Fort Wayne to raise our family. Both of our children were born in Fort Wayne. My wife and I have lived in several different places and we came back to Fort Wayne mainly to be near our families.

We think that it is very important for our children to know their grand parents...

I think that most, if not all, of the readers of this blog want Fort Wayne to be a better place; we just disagree on how it should be done.

I think Sam Talarico wants the same things I do for Fort Wayne; we just disagree on how to get there. We both want to improve Fort Wayne.

Here is my vision for Fort Wayne:

1. I want to live in a City that respects the property rights of its citizens. I despise the way Fort Wayne has consistently abused the power of Eminent Domain and has taken property from certain private property owners and given it to other private property owners while the taxpayers pay for the transaction. It is wrong.

2. I want to live in a City that keeps its promises to the citizenry. The Allen County Food and
Beverage Tax was passed as a temporary tax that would pay FOR ONE SPECIFIC PROJECT. This tax should be repealed now that they are using for other things... If local officials think they need that tax then they should repeal the old tax and start a new one. This time they should be honest up front...

3. I want to live in a City that acknowledges and pays its debts. We have a pension liability of over 200 million dollars. This needs to be resolved.

4. I want to live in a City that encourages small businesses rather then granting tax abatements to companies like WalMart. Fort Wayne needs to encourage the growth of small business by decreasing the number of regulations in place and by repealing personal property taxes on all small businesses.

5. I want to live in a City that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation by supporting small and innovative companies that can grow into mid sized companies. Our elected officials are TRYING to accomplish this with the NIIC center. I would rather see a program that helped all small business rather then a specific few small businesses...

6. I want to live in a City that has a comprehensive plan in place regarding future development and growth. Currently developers are allowed to build almost anything they want in almost any location they want. We are building countless strip malls at the edges of our City AND at the same time pouring money into Downtown. This does NOT make economic sense in my opinion.

7. I want to live in a City that LISTENS to the Neighborhood Associations and the desires of its citizens. Neighborhood Associations lose to Developers about 95% of the time in Fort Wayne. This must stop. I would like to see a couple of Neighborhood Association Presidents added to the Planning Commission.

8. I want to live in a City that believes in itself. I am sick and tired of hiring outside consultants to come to Fort Wayne and tell us what "we should do." Give me a break. We have plenty of local talent and we need to start allowing our local talent lead this community.

9. I want to live in a City that has less then 7062 (As of March 6th, 2007) outstanding arrest warrants at any given time. We need to give law enforcement the tools they need to serve these warrants and we need to ensure that the court system is not issuing frivolous warrants for minor zoning violations and the like...

10. I want to live in a City that tries to be Fort Wayne. We do not need to try to emulate Indianapolis or any other City.

11. I want to see the "patronage" that exists in Fort Wayne ended. "Cronyism" and "patronage" are both rampant...

12. Indiana has the 11th HIGHEST State and local tax rate in the United States. Property taxes are sky-rocketing in Fort Wayne. This must be stopped at all costs...

I could go on; however, I think this is a good start.

What would you add to this list? What is on my list that is not on your list?

Mike Sylvester

Monday, March 05, 2007

Harrison Square, against or for

A couple of days ago I posted and asked people to say whether they were for or against Harrison Square as it currently stands...

Eleven people weighed in (Including me...)

Six people were in favor of the Project (Chad, Scott, Brian, Scott, David, and Sam)

Four people were against (Myself, Kody, Parson, and Scott)

One person is undecided (Tim Zank)

I must admit that I am surprised with the results...

For David Corcoran (I will see you Thursday Dave!)

I think the best way to revitalize Downtown Fort Wayne is to get a Casino License from The State and put a full service casino Downtown. The project culd be paid for 100% with private investment and the casino would draw people from at least 100 miles away.

A Downtown casino would work MUCH better then a Baseball stadium AND it would do all of the following:

1. Be paid for 100% by Private money.
2. Draw hundreds of people per day into downtown Fort Wayne.
3. The casino would build a hotel and they would pay for the hotel.
4. If the casino needed a Parking Garage they would pay for their own...
5. A casino would dramatically INCREASE the number of events the Grand Wayne Center could draw.

The list goes on.

Putting a casino in Downtown Fort Wayne is the ONLY Silver Bullet for Downtown...

Mike Sylvester

Sunday, March 04, 2007

My mother had a VERY BAD day today

My mother has not had an easy life and I often feel sorry for her. Between her and my father they had 9 other brothers and sisters. Out of all of those brothers and sisters and their spouses my mother is the LAST one alive.

My father died a few years ago.

All my mother has in her direct family is myself, my brother David, my wife, and my kids...

She called me in tears today because one of her friends called her and told her that David was listed in the paper under the weekly Crime Stoppers section.

My brother is addicted to illegal drugs. He is currently in prison for the second time. David SHOULD be in prison because he commits criminal acts in order to obtain money to pay for illegal drugs... David is exactly where he needs to be. David has been in jail for about six months. He is serving time in Indiana... He is obviously listed in the Indiana Offender Database and was arrested in Allen County about six months ago. He was also sentenced in Allen County.

Apparently the Allen County Prosecutors Office has decided to bring additional charges against David. It took about six months for these charges to "filter through" the system. Allen County has recently issued an arrest warrant for David.

He was listed in both local newspapers this weekend and people have been asked to contact Crime Stoppers or The Allen County Sheriff with information regarding his location...

I have done so... I have contacted the Allen County Sheriff and Crime Stoppers and left messages with both. I will tell them where David is, AGAIN... He is in an Indiana Jail that he was sent to BY ALLEN COUNTY... Good Grief...

For those of you have read this blog for awhile please remember that this happened ONCE BEFORE...

A couple of years ago David was serving his first prison sentence. That time he was also convicted of offenses in Allen County and he was sent to the Indiana Prison system where he served time. He was convicted of crimes in Allen County both times...

During that 1st sentence Allen County issued another arrest warrant for David. The Federal Government was running a National campaign to help local law enforcement serve arrest warrants. That weekend my mother was watching my daughter for the weekend. Two Federal agents and two local law enforcement agents went to my mother's house looking for David (Note he was in an Indiana prison at the time serving a sentence he received in Allen County). They asked my mother's neighbors if they had seen David. Her neighbors suggested they contact me.

So they got into their vans and came over to my house. The wife and I were having breakfast. Two Federal agents and one local law enforcement agent rang my doorbell (The other officer was around back of my house). My wife answered the door and they showed her an old picture of David and asked her if she had seen him... She did not immediately recognize the picture and one of the officers kind of nastily said that "You should recognize him her is your brother-in-law." My wife called me to the front door.

I told the officers that Dave was in jail. He had been arrested in this County and sentenced in this county. I gave them his Indiana document number and the name of the Indiana prison he was in. I asked them if they had looked for David online? One of the law enforcement officers laughed and told my wife and I "that it was not like CSI..."

A couple hours later one of the Federal agents called me back. He said that "He could NOT locate David in the Indiana prison system even with his Indiana ID number that I had provided." He asked if I could provide his specific mailing address... I of course provided it...

They spent at least half a day looking for someone they already had... Wow...

Note that I was able to go online and find David in the Indiana Offender Database with no problem that same day...

I have a ton of respect for our police officers. I truly want to help them do a good job. It is obvious to me that they do not have the tools to do their job properly!

It is obvious to me that our "system" is broken when things like this happen with my brother TWICE in a row...

It is 2007. I would think that we would have an online database of the people who are serving time in our prison system and that law enforcement could easily search this database?

I am curious, what do you think of this situation?

Mike Sylvester

Friday, March 02, 2007

Great post by Jeff Pruitt about FWCS tyranny

Please go over to Left of Centrist and read Jeff Pruitt's post and leave a comment:
<http://leftofcentrist.blogspot.com/2007/03/fort-wayne-community-schools-dictator.html#links>

I imagine this act will cause quite a few people who were "on the fence" to sign a Blue petition...

Mike Sylvester

Harrison Square, for or against?

I am curious about what the regular readers of this blog think about the Harrison Square Project. Rather then start another poll I would ask that EVERYONE who reads this post and has an opinion about Harrison Square PLEASE post ONE comment to this post and tell us what you think about Harrison Square.

I would ask that your comment consist of three parts:

1. Please tell us if you are CURRENTLY:
In favor of the Harrison Square project
Against the Harrison Square Project
Not Sure

2. The SHORT version of why you feel the way you do.

3. Please sign the post with your real name or an alias if you do not want anyone to know how
you feel.

Mike Sylvester

Adam Welch

Adam Welch posted the below comment under my post entitled "Harrison Square Financing, part 2" I put his comment in italics. He posted his comment in regards to my discussion with Pat Roller and Greg Leatherman yesterday.

I spent an hour and a half talking to them about Harrison Square. Adam apparently thinks that I can convey EVERYTHING that was said in that conversation in one blog post... It is IMPOSSIBLE...

I will however try to better express my interpretation of Greg Leatherman's explanation of why the proposal was dropped from 300 rooms to 250 rooms.

Before reading this post please consider the following facts (Adam you especially should consider the below facts!):

1. EVERY official City communication I have EVER read regarding Harrison Square says that for the financing package to "work" the hotel must have 300 or more rooms.
2. The official Request for Proposal REQUIRES the hotel to have 300 rooms in THREE separate places. In fact the RFP states that any number less then 300 will cause the bid to be unacceptable.
3. I attended a Northwest area Partnership meeting in late February. At this meeting I was handed a flyer advertising a 300 room hotel...
4. On January 17th the RFP was modified to allow for fewer then 300 rooms... No reason was given...

EVERY step of this process Fort Wayne has said that the "Hotel must have 300 or more rooms to generate enough revenue to pay the costs of the project."

Here it goes, Adam is in italics and my comments below are in red...

Wow, where do I begin? I usually stay away from posting a lot on blogs, but after reading Mr. Sylvester’s summary of his meeting with the city I had to respond.
You are always free to respond Adam. This is a blog where I encourage discussion of issues...

First of all, I have to admit that I was not in the meeting and have no idea what was said, but can you HONESTLY expect city employees to have answers to some of those questions. This project is still in planning, and not everything is figured out in one day Mike. Also, you mentioned how Mr. Leatherman had referred to Hurricane Katrina. Again, while I was not in the meeting, I highly doubt that Greg solely spoke of Hurricane Katrina. It was only a few weeks ago that Greg mentioned in a Journal Gazette numerous reasons for the hotel being 250 rooms. One which I remember from the top of my head was due to the situation with the Holiday Inn. Personally, I feel you should include all the parts of the story if you are going to include some of it.

Yes I do expect City employees to be able to answer all of the questions I asked. They want this project to be voted on in LESS THEN ONE MONTH.

Adam have you ever been involved in financing decisions in the corporate world? With a project of this magnitude no finance manager would bring this project to their Corporate Board, they would be laughed out of the room and told to come back with some facts...

Greg actually mentioned several things. He agreed that the hotel request had been lowered from 300 rooms in January. He stated it was due to increased construction costs due to events such as Hurrice Katrina. He said that since construction costs had increased the hotel would generate more property taxes for the project.

All of this is CLEARLY explained in my post and to be honest with you his explanation does not make sense to me. He is correct that construction costs have risen in the last couple of years. The RFP was send out in December of 2006. When the RFP was sent out you CANNOT believe that Fort Wayne sent out an RFP with the WRONG construction costs, or can you Adam?

My current guess is that Fort Wayne DID NOT TAKE the increased construction costs into account until they received only one bid, and that bid for 250 rooms... Then they went back and checked their number...

There are other explanations that would make sense as well... Many of those are more cynnical and I choose not to express them... I am sure you can come up with some other ideas if you use your imagination...

Greg also did mention the Holiday Inn. He has mentioned it in the press and he mentioned it to me...

Adam, there is NO WAY ON EARTH that I can explain every nuance of a 90 minute conversation...

It seems to me Mike, that the city and ALL proponents are in a no-win situation with you. Do I respect some of the points you bring up? Yes, and many of your questions will eventually have answers. But you have to realize Mike, that no matter what the city would have done, you would have criticized it somehow, someway. If they hadn’t allowed you to speak with them, then you REALLY would have criticized them. They couldn’t win.

Actually Adam I would highly encourage you to do some research about my INITIAL response to Harrison Square on this very blog.

Please go and read my first post on Harrison Square...

It is entitled, "Harrison Square, new plans unveiled for downtown baseball stadium in Fort Wayne." It was posted on Dec 21st, 2006.

Adam you say that eventually there will be answers to my questions. When will that be? Will the plan be finalized on March 23rd and then voted on a week later?

Adam I only criticize people and projects that I do not think are good for taxpayers...

You are CORRECT. If they did not speak with me I WOULD HAVE criticized them. I hope everyone else in Fort Wayne would criticize them as well if they did not answer the public's questions...

I can’t have said it better than the way Scott did in his post. Do some of your questions really have any significance to the project as a whole? Absolutely not. You are trying your absolute best to find issues with this project, and that is truly disappointing knowing how much this could do for our city. Look at Scott for instance—he is coming back to Fort Wayne. I know at least three people who have told me they WILL LEAVE if this project doesn’t go forward because it would show the path that this city is heading for.

I have heard other people say that if Fort Wayne keeps wasting their tax dollars they will be forced to move away Adam...

Do you know how much property taxes are going to go up with the CSO project and the unfunded pension liabilities we currently have? I maintain that we need to address teh COS problem and the unfunded pension liability FIRST and quit spending money on frivious projects...

How do you draw jobs to Fort Wayne if your property taxes keep skyrocketing? Answer; you DO NOT.

One last thing in reference to Mark’s post. Mark, you must realize that this is not the same type of project as the ones completed in South Bend and Gary…..NOT EVEN CLOSE. If you take a look around the country at cities who have completed these projects the way Fort Wayne plans on, not one city has had a failing project—not one. Gary and South Bend did things much different. They built a stadium thinking it would revitalize. This isn’t just about a stadium Mark. This is about a multi-use development project. To become more informed on this, read the Bluepring Plus and Baseball Plus reports. If you do, you might see what I am talking about. Take a look at Greenville NC and Greensboro SC. Even take a look at Dayton. They are now planning on condos and retail space to accompany their ballpark…..something our city has already included in the original plan.

Since this is directed at Mark I will ignore it...

We must support our leaders such as Sam Talarico and Mayor Richard who truly are doing their best to make our city a better place. It’s so disappointing that we have this “keep it as it is” attitude. Numerous times in our city’s history we have had opportunities to improve our city and each and every time, we have failed to act. If that’s the kind of city you want, then fine. You better get ready to continue to say good-bye to the youth of this city then.Notice how almost every major leader in our city has supported this project—the mayor, Talarico, Tim Pape, Paula Hughes, the Chamber of Commerce, Bob Taylor, Chancellor Mike Wartell, Mark Pope. This list goes on and on and is comprised of Democrats, Republicans and business leaders. This isn’t about Libertarian, Republican, and Democrats Mike. This is about shaping our future to be the best it can be. Now I feel it’s time for you to stand up and join these leaders as someone who wants what is best for our future.

Adam we have a perfectly good baseball stadium and have no reason to move it. It they would have chosen a different "anchor" project I might have supported the project...

73% of the residents of Fort Wayne are AGAINST the project, if not more. I have asked at least 100 people what they think of this project and well over 73% of them are against it.

Why is this project being rammed down our throats?

God Bless
Adam Welch

Good Grief
Mike Sylvester

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Harrison Square Financing, part 2

I met with Pat Roller (City Controller) and Greg Leatherman (City deputy director of development) today. We spent about an hour and a half discussing the financing package for Harrison Square.

I thanked both of them for their time and I appreciated the opportunity to discuss the financing package for Harrison Square.

The gist of the conversation was "There is NOT an approved hotel proposal nor is there a financing plan." Period! Everything is in flux and NOTHING has been finalized.

The City of Fort Wayne still expects to have the deal approved by City Council and in place by April 1st... Wow, they are in a hurry... This DOES NOT make sense to me and I do not like it.

I went to the meeting with a list of 62 questions that I wanted answered. Since their plans are still in the planning stages they could answer very few of my questions. I did not ask almost 3/4 of the questions because it was obvious they could not answer them since there is not a plan in place... They were able to answer the following questions with some degree of certainty:

1. They used a present value factor of 5% in their calculations.
2. They said that they were able to lower the minimum number of hotel rooms the hotel would need from 300 to 250 because the construction cost of the hotel per room increased from $160,000 per room to $188,000 per room. Greg Leatherman said that construction prices have increased since Hurricane Katrina for various reasons. Since the construction cost of the hotel per room increased they are projecting that the property tax revenues will increase... (This explanation does not make a lot of sense to me, they sent out the proposal in December and changed it within 30 days... Construction prices did not go up almost 12% in those 30 days...)
3. I asked why the $300,000 escrow deposit was waived. Greg Leatherman said it was waived because we are a "second tier" market and because the overall market is "soft."
4. The City of Fort Wayne is paying all demolition costs for the project.
5. The City of Fort Wayne is going to contract operation of the new Parking Garage to a private company! (This is a GOOD thing)

Most importantly Pat Roller told me that she would let me know when the final hotel proposal is completed and when the final financing package is completed and we could meet again and she would answer my specific questions about the project once they had the ability to answer them.

There were a lot of simple questions they could NOT answer:
1. When will the bonds mature?
2. How will the revenues from the stadium be split?
3. How will the parking revenues be split?
4. What are the plans for Memorial stadium?
5. What are the projected operating costs for Memorial stadium?
6. If the Wizards move downtown how will that effect businesses near Memorial Stadium?
7. How many spaces will the Parking garage have? 8. What will the parking deal be with Lincoln?
8. What will the parking deal be with the new hotel?
9. What are the operating costs of the new Parking Garage?
10. What will be the size of the overall bond?
11. What effect will the new hotel have on the operation of other downtown hotels?
12. New hotels are being built on the north side of Fort Wayne, has this been factored in?
13. If the TIF and CReED taxes do not cover the bond payments where will the money come from to make up the difference? (They think from CEDIT.)

I have to say that after talking to them my opinion has not changed. I have the exact same questions that I had before the meeting... They did point out a couple of things about the project financing that I had not considered and that should minimize some of the losses I think will occur; however, there were also expenses that I pointed out to them that they have not accounted for...

There are not enough details to even do a preliminary analysis. In my opinion this project is being rushed through too fast.

From a financial standpoint my largest concern is that this is going to get "rammed down our throats" and we will NOT get a chance to review the project and question it appropriately.

Here is what I think is going to happen:

1. The Hotel Proposal and overall Financing Plan will be finalized on about Friday March 23rd near the end of the day...
2. The proposals will most likely be contained in documents that have a couple hundred pages of details, projections, etc. The proposal and financing will be fairly complicated and all of the details will not be finalized for all aspects of the project.
3. Tuesday March 27th the proposal will be presented to City Council.

I 100% hope that this does NOT happen.

If this does happen I THINK Fort Wayne City Council should decline to vote on the proposal for a LEAST a couple of weeks so that the City Council members and the taxpayers can review the proposal!

What do you think?

Mike Sylvester

P.S. Republican City Councilman Sam Talarico has correctly pointed out their neither he nor I are experts in Governmental financing arrangements. Sam Talarico; how long do you think the City Council and the taxpayers should have to review these complicated proposals after they are finalized?

P.S.S. I think we should have at least two weeks and should really have about four weeks.