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:


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


Scott Greider said...

I believe it's TOTALLY true! If you can somehow hear the totalility of Dan's comments, I think it would help clarify his point.

For instance, the context of that statement was that private development in the outer ring of FW was unarguably "subsidized" by I69 and I469, to name just two.

scott said...


College 56 (CATV 5) recorded the IPFW event and Access Fort Wayne recorded the YLNI event, so you will be able to see for yourself recordings of both.

Andrew Kaduk said...

It's possibly true...which is disturbing.

Look at it like this: If you are a private investor looking for a physical location to plant your investment, whether it be housing, manufacturing, retail...or whatever...communities all over the country will court you for those investment dollars to take root in their area. Tax abatements, zoning fudging, sweetheart deals on permits or inspections, and promises of easy governmental access...

Why does Carmody's statement surprise you?

Dan Carmody said...


I did in fact make that statement not because I am in favor of subsidy but because it is a true statement.

No new development around here is built without substantial public sector support. If we do charge impact fees they dont begin to cover the real costs associated with providing things like water, sewer, roads, schools, or any of the myriad of things people expect of local government.

Even if the developer builds the road the public sector usually agrees to maintain in perpetuity. How about computing the present value of that obligation.

Vancouver BC established a nimby like ordinance in the 1980's that simply said we like living here and we invite others to join us but we dont want to pay ANY cost associated with those who want to join us.

Owing largely to its staggering natural beauty, Vancouver is one of the hottest real estate markets in North America. Vancouver charges $1000's in impact fees per unit of housing and that has not deterred people from moving and/or developing there.

Here in Fort Wayne the market dynamics are a bit different. We subsidized suburban development in a variety of ways because we thought it was the best way to grow our city.

If we had assessed impact fees they may have led to a more compact and in the long term more financially sustainable urban form and we might not have done such a good job of hollowing out downtown and its adjacent neigborhoods.

Then we would not have needed to have this discussion how to move mountains to restore economic vitality to the core.

I maintain all development in our region is subsidized. The healthy discussion that is now underway regarding Harrison Square is about what extent of subsidy is necessary and proper.

Mike I like your web site and I think your voice in this debate is a needed one.

Keep up the good work even if it is tax time.

Scott Greider said...

Well said, Dan. And btw, is this the first time you've commented on this (or ANY) blog?!?!

Dan Carmody said...

Mr Scott G.
I think the current score is
Karaoke 2 / Blogging 3.

I do a mean "Fly Me to the Moon" but its not the same since NASA went to hell.

Lyrics and Politics are intertwined in my mind tonight mostly because I'm getting my records together for my annual CPA physical.

Anything to avoid the pain.

Hey anybody want to discuss the merits of ethanol subsidies?

Something we can all agree on.


Check out what those wacky folks are doing in Abu Dhabi with their petro dollars.

A wee arts cluster with four mega museums by four starchitects. Investing some $5-6 billion to try to compete with the folks down the road in Dubai who just landed Haliburton.

They expect the arts investments to yield 50,000 new residents.

We live in interesting times.

Anonymous said...

Dan said it, and I agree-

Name a project, and at some point, the public helped pay for it.

General Motors comes to where is all the complaining about that?

Running sewer lines and street improvements are common expenses picked up by "the taxpayer".

Anonymous said...

I must say that Dan has given us more information in the insights of this project and the processes that make it work than all the rest combined.

Thank you Dan.

If everybody else responded the way you did then maybe there wouldn't be so much hostility to the project (providing we really aren't being hoodwinked).

Jennifer Jeffrey said...

I was at the meeting, as well. Our Vice-Chair Jon and I sat right up front and were able to get approximately 6 of our questions asked.

I will be following up with reaction and insight, too, as to those comments. I took about 6 pages of notes (former reporter in me) to share with you all.

My intial reaction--I am glad to have some clarity on issues, but as THEY said "This isn't a done deal."

Very interesting times, indeed.

Jennifer Jeffrey
Libertarian Party of Allen County

LP Mike Sylvester said...

I am glad that Dan Carmody has taken the time to discuss this issue with us! Thanks Dan!

I have not yet had a chance to go listen to all of Dan's comments, I can only comment on what I see here...

I do NOT agree with the statement that "There is no such thing as unsubsidized private investment."

That is too bold of a statement and I think it illustrates how much the mentality of many in The United States has changed...

I would certainly agree with Dan that the public subsidizes a lot of projects that escapes the notice of most citizens... I would say that the local government also does NOT understand the impact that many of their actions have on citizens...

Lets looks at sewers and The City of Fort Wayne. The City of Fort Wayne has WILLINGLY expanded their sewer system far and wide. They keep annexing outlying areas and extending sewer service to them. Dan is correct that this is VERY expensive.

So why does Fort Wayne keep doing it?

Heck they are still doing it TODAY... Our current sewer system is far larger then most cities of our size due to a COMPLETE LACK of urban planning.

I would argue that Fort Wayne has made a large mistake by annexing as many suburbs as it has and extending its sewer system as far as it has...

Fort Wayne would have been better off having a smaller and more compact sewer system and I think they SHOULD have assessed large "Impact fees" on new development... It makes sense...

Add that to the Combined Sewer Overflow problem that is looming in Fort Wayne and you have a recipe for DISASTER.

Mike Sylvester

LP Mike Sylvester said...


I know Fort Wayne has spent a staggering sum on GM...

Mike Sylvester

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Dan Carmody:

I am certainly against Ethanol subsidies...

I do not know a lot about Ethanol subsidies; however, I know that ethanol subsidies are certainly not going to help us...

Mike Sylvester

Jeff Pruitt said...

Ethanol subsidies and sugar ethanol tariffs are a part of our ridiculous "free trade" policy.

This debate will be coming soon enough when the Congress takes up the reauthorization of the President's fasttrack authority for trade agreements.

The American public will finally get to hear about how our government's trade policies continue to undercut the financial future of this country...

Dan Carmody said...


Extending the sewer system far and wide is the second worst alternative.

First worst is letting residents move beyond the fringe and set up shop in their own burb with multiple sewer systems that are even more expensive collectively than one far flung system.

We cannot run from our problems. Lets face up to the issues inherent in center city decay and lets build a more energy efficient urban form while we still the resources.


RE Ethanol
I simply dont know how any thinking person could belive this is a solution for our energy crisis.

With all the energy required to produce ethanol research indicates anywhere from a +10% gain or a -10% loss of energy.

Subsidy of alternative energy is something that is needed because the market itself is too oriented to the short term to provide a solution that with enough lead time to change convert from our massive use of petroleum.

For a real horror hayride check out

Anonymous said...

I give Dan credit for being the only member of last nights panel to be realistic about the likely impact of this project, while still being a clear sipporter of it. Too many seem so desparate to move this through that they are willing to make any prediction of success if the project is approved, or complete doom if it is not.

Dan is right to keep expectations low. Our downtown will not become a vibrant urban area, if it ever will, until we bring more jobs downtown. To star with, we have to begin to reverse our habit of subsidizing and approving (with zoning variances) locating everywhere but downtown. These "young entrepeneurs" could put their money where their mouths are by relocating their own businesses downtown. I understand David Corcoran is exploring such a move and I hope others will follow his lead.

Mark Garvin

Robert Enders said...

I don't think that I69 and 469 count as subsidies. They were built to benefit the entire region, not just one business in particular. It is my arguement that roads should only be paid for by those who use them, but that is another post. An access road built free of charge would be a subsidy, since it is intended to provide a direct benefit to one particular business.

But lets say for the sake of arguement that all business do receive direct subsidies. Lets say that the Harrison Square should receive X amount of dollars for each job that it is projected to create. Is the city entitled to a partial refund if Harrison Square does not create as many jobs as promised?

Now lets take this idea to its logical conclusion. If Harrison Square should get money for creating jobs, then so should everyone else who creates a job. It is only fair. Create 500 jobs with a new manufacturing plant, get 500X, create 14 jobs with a coffeehouse, get 14X.

Now, X has to be a fairly low number. It has to be less than what the average worker makes, otherwise it would just be cheaper for the city to mail out a bunch of welfare checks. It should also be less than what the worker pays in taxes, otherwise the city will be in the red for every new Fort Wayne worker. For that matter, the city would taxing the workers in order to pay the companies who pay the workers. The money would be moving in a circle, ultimately creating a net gain for no one. So I propose that X be a nice round figure: 0.

Robert Enders said...

I'll deal with ethanol subsidies in a different post tommorrow on

LP Mike Sylvester said...


I made some phone calls and talked to several poeple.

I got conflicting information.

So I called the Indiana Department of Local Government and Finance...

Based on your last comment I will look into it again...

I talked to about 7 differnet people... They were NOT consistent in what they told me...

The last time I talked to Pat Roller she THOUGHT that it was the way I last described; however Greg Leatherman thought it was the way you described...

Where did you get your infomration?

Mike Sylvester

Kevin Knuth said...


I looked it up and then called someone who USED to be involved in Government.

I doubt that person wants to be involved or I would name them- but I think their knowledge is usually pretty darn good.

However, I think you are getting conflicting information because it is tricky at best.

First- NO ONE can tell you if property taxes will go up- the levy has not been set and with the annexation of Aboite, no one really knows how that will affect it.

I think for you to get a better answer, you may have to alter your question. Forget about taxes increasing or decreasing and look at the mechanics of it.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Kevin Knuth:

Based on your post I made a quick call to the DLGF today. The Chief of the Budget Division was not in so I talked to one of his assistants...

I will talk to the Chief of the Budget Division tomorrow...

I actually got a THIRD answer today.

Today I was told that IT DEPENDS on the Redvelopment Commission how it is done. Today I was told that it has been handled BOTH WAYS in Indiana and that it is determined by the local Governmental unit...

So I am still UNSURE of how it is handled...

I am sure that it has been handled the way I described in some cases and I am pretty sure it has been handled the way you described as well...

How it will be done here, who knows?

This is pretty distrruing as well.

Lets hope that it is spelled out in the financing package the City os working on...

Mike Sylvester

David Corcoran said...

I think it is true for projects of this magnitude.

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