Thursday, May 10, 2007

Byron Peters, 1st District City Council, Libertarian

Byron Peters owns and operates the 412 Club. He is a bar owner and the 412 Club is located in downtown Fort Wayne.

I have agreed to be Byron's campaign manager in his bid for City Council.

Byron is running for City Council because he feels that the current City Council is trying to put him out of business. This is a powerful motivator.

If you are sick and tired of watching the government expand and become more intrusive please join Byron's campaign.

Please send me an email and your phone number and I will give you a phone call. We need to mobilize the citizens of Fort Wayne and we need to take our City back.

Please send me an email at to volunteer with Byron's campaign for City Council!

Mike Sylvester


fairplaybeach said...

Coincidentily I was just there last night... He seemed confident when I talked to him before about succeeding with the bar no matter what happens but this sounds like a good idea anyway...

Robert Enders said...

Its usually not a good idea to run a "doom and gloom" campaign. You just don't go and say "Elect me or we're all screwed!" Some people can pull it off, like LBJ and the flower girl commercial.

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

Hi Mike:

I am not familiar with Mr. Peters, but I do know the business you mention.

I am curious, why does he think the City Council is trying to put him out of business? Is it the smoking ban only to which you are referring, or are there other issues?


LP Mike Sylvester said...


The main issue is the smoking ban. Mom and pop bars stand to lose 40% of their revenues.

It should be up to each business owner to determine their own smoking policies.

Mike Sylvester

Jeff Pruitt said...

They will NOT lose 40% of their revenues - I will take that bet Mike...

Angry White Boy said...

Jeff, sorry I disagree. This is not Chicago, Boston or some city in California, it's Fort Wayne.

The smaller neighborhood bars will suffer especially now that New Haven has passed their relaxed version of the Nelson Peters' ban.

There are people that go out to "drink and smoke" and if New Haven offers that opportunity 10 minutes away they'll go there.

From Bridgeport, Ohio - May 9, 2007
“We are minus about 30 to 35 people right now; we have lost close to $1,000 since this smoking ban went into effect,” said Carol Giles, of the Bridgeport Eagles.

More examples

Oscar's Place Bar/Restaurant 40% Drop in Sales
Anchorage AK
"I opened my door 13 years ago to give the common man a place to go. Now 3 years after the do gooders passed the smoking ban, my business still hasn't recovered, and I may have to close my doors forever."

Grand Central Casino Casino 42% 15 Lakewood CA
Since the ban took effect in February, liquor sales are down 42 percent and food sales have dropped 25 percent. Fifteen employees have been laid off and another 40 to 50 jobs are in jeopardy.

Tracie's Pub Tavern 40% Drop in Sales
Bristol CT
My business has dropped about 30 to 40 percent since the smoking ban. I've spoken with a lot of bar owners in town and they all have the same problem.

Nicholson's Cigar Bar Cigar Bar Sales Down 100% Lexington KY
Owners of Nicholson's Cigar Bar say it didn't make sense to operate a smoke-less cigar bar

Caffe on the Green Bar/Restaraunt 35% Drop in Sales
New York NY
Bar business fell about 35 percent immediately after the ban. It has picked up since he added a "butt hut," an outdoor tent where patrons may smoke, but it's still less than before the ban.

Complete list is here

I've got a Franlkin that say no less than 5 bars go out of business within one yar.

Robert Enders said...

There is also the proposed waterfront district. The city wants to give away liquor licences after Byron had to pay thousands of dollars for his licence.

Of course, the ultimate small government solution is for the city to not mandate a liquor licence at all. However, if the city does that or decides to give away licences, then they should refund the fee that Byron and other bar owners paid.

Robert Enders said...

Hey AWB, at least those laid-off bar employees do not have to choose between having to work in a smoke-filled enviroment and unemployment. The government made the choice for them!

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

Thanks for all the info. I forgot about the River Front Development.

I attended a City Council hearing on the liquor license issue some time back. The provision of low-cost liquor licenses will not bring in the necessary development. I listened to Steve Gard and several other established restaurant owners. The low-cost liquor license simply is not equitable to those individuals who have already paid a fortune for their license.

In addition, no one is discussing the issue of the proposed River Front Development area lying in a flood plain. As you all probably know (and if not, you will now) :), I oppose the City's current plans for building more levees and walls. I feel it is a short-sighted plan which only redirects the river's flow elsewhere. That redirection will impact the City either upstream or downstream. Building more levess and walls just looks good to the citizens and gives the impression that the City is "doing something" about the flooding issue. It doesn't address long-term issues impacting the St. Mary's watershed.

Fort Wayne's flooding issues should be addressed on a basin-wide level, not purely a local level. But back to the River Front Development - Indiana Code 7.1-3-20-16.1 states:

**The proposed (River Front Development) permit premises may not be located more than: 1,500 feet; or, three city blocks from the river, whichever is greater.
**However, if the area adjacent to the river is incapable of being developed, the distances (above) are measured from the city blocks located nearest to the river that are capable of being developed.

We hear citizens talk about developing our rivers with businesses close to the rivers. If the areas lie in a flood plain, development is prohibited, but perhaps the City has a way around this issue - I haven't heard of one yet though.

FEMA maps place most, if not all, of the downtown in a flood plain. I am waiting to see how the City determines it will develop the North River project since FEMA still shows it in a flood plain.

I haven't heard much lately on the "liquor license issue", but if it comes up again at City Council, I hope to attend.

As to the smoking ban, I was okay with the one we had. The exemption for bars, lounges, etc. is necessary. I was satisfied with the divsion of restaurants and other eating establishments into smoking and non-smoking areas.

Robert Enders said...

The proposed riverfront site is along the Maumee, which leads all the way out to Toledo. I'll support development along the riverfront on the following conditions.
1. It's completely privately funded.
2. It doesn't lead to flooding.
3. Businesses located there are subjected to the same regulations as businesses located elsewhere in Fort Wayne.

LP Mike Sylvester said...


I am going to approach a couple of small neighborhood bars located in Fort Wayne and I am planning on analyzing their revenues before and after the smoking ban.

I am willing to bet you that the small neighborhood bars near New Haven will see a 40% drop in their revenues.

I also agree with AWB that several small bars will close. I have talked to the ILBA (Indiana Licensed Beverage Assocaition) and they think that more then five small bars will close in Fort Wayne within the first year of the smoking ban.

I am NOT saying that places like Pieres will lose 40%... I am saying that little nieghborhood places will lose as much as 40%.

Once I locate bars that I can get to agree to the analysis Jeff Pruitt and I can consider making a bet...

Mike Sylvester

Charlotte A. Weybright said...


Just for clarification purposes, the North River project involves only the St. Mary's River. If you use Google Earth and look at the area, only the St. Mary's will be impacted by River Front Development (at least construction wise). The confluence of the St. Joe, St. Mary's, and the Maumee is just past the Three Rivers Apartments as you cross the Columbia Street Bridge. Hall's Gas House and on west is the area that is targeted for development - this area lies next to the St. Mary's only.

The St. Mary's has the most exposure in downtown Fort Wayne. The Downtown Blueprint Plus states "the St. Mary's is the river most directly linked to downtown and was universally mentioned as an important asset, albeit a dormant one. Making the river central to downtown, symbolically and physically, is a priority for community members."

No mention of development along the St. Joe or the Maumee is made in the Plan. Of course, one of my concerns is that the St. Mary's is the one that impacts my neighborhood the most. The new construction of levees and berms is occurring southwest of West Central. A mile-long combination levee and wall is being constructed running from the Airport Thruway to Foster Park. Another project is being constructed in the Park-Thompson area.

Although the City assures us that West Central will not be impacted, I think common sense says that anytime you prevent water from reaching its natural flood plain, it will be redistributed in other areas. The levees and walls act as straight jackets which ultimately increase the load and the speed of the rivers in those areas where the levees and walls have been placed.

I am very cautious in my support of river front development for these reasons. If development means slapping up more concrete walls and earthen levees, then I will oppose the development.

Tim Zank said...

Mike, I'll back your side on that bet anyday. Speaking from personal experience, the neighborhood taverns are the ones that will be hurt. I used to own a neighborhood bar on the south side of Ft. Wayne many years ago. 20 bar stools, 5 booths with a total occupancy permit of 49 people. 90% of my clientele smoked. These weren't yuppies with credit cards, looking to get laid, they were neighborhood working folks. They were all "regulars".

If customers have to get up and go outside to smoke, it won't stop them from coming in completely, but I'll guarantee you they will not stay as long, and they will drink less, much less.
The art of making a buck in the tavern business is being able to keep people sitting, talking & drinking. Nightclubs make money on volume & turnover, taverns need their regulars daily to keep above water. They are two completely different animals.

If generation "X,Y,Z" or whatever the hell they are now don't want the "trauma" of smelling like smoke while chasing tail at a nightclub, fine, but leave the consenting adults in bars, legions and clubs the hell alone.

Robert Enders said...

Another thing: I know this is a question of asthetics, but the rivers are only pretty if you like earth tones. Some people get this idea that water is always pretty.

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

Fort Wayne's rivers are not of the crystal clear kind that may run through other cities. That is due to the heavy clay nature of the soils in this area. Fort Wayne also is located at what used to be the tip of the Great Black Swamp which was 120 miles long by 40 miles wide. Most of the Swamp was located in Ohio, but it extended into Allen County ending at Fort Wayne. Both of these factors affect the color of the water in our rivers.

Our rivers will never have the clarity or color of some other areas.

But that doesn't mean you wall them off from view and destroy the rvier bank environment. I would argue that aesthetics includes more than just the color of the river. We seem to have this notion that rivers, lakes, etc., have to be bright blue or turquoise to be pretty. In reality, if people would learn about the reasons for water color, maybe they wouldn't be so disappointed by a brown (earth tone) river.

I love rivers, and, to me, the color doesn't matter. It is the peacefulness of a river and its environment that is important. This part of aesthetics transcends color.

Anonymous said...

The bars well inside the city limits are going to be okay, nobody is going to drive 20 minutes to smoke. It is the bars on the fringes that are going to be devastated, when you can go to a Fort Wayne bar or drive two minutes and go to a New Haven bar.

Robert Enders said...

What I also find frustrating is that Fort Wayne spent all sorts of money buying up and tearing down homes that were in the flood plain. Now they want to build there?

Mike Kole said...

I went to Kokomo during my campaign and stopped at four bars one late afternoon/early evening. Kokomo had just enacted a strict ban.

At the first bar, roughly 3/4ths of the patrons were outside, smoking. The owner was fretting- 'are they really going to stand out here when it's snowing'? and 'I just know I'm going to have trouble with the law because people are going to take their drinks outside'.

The next was a bowling alley with a bar. There was a provision that allowed smoking on the bar side with a closed door. All of the patrons were on that side. Nobody was bowling. That nobody was bowling at 4 in the afternoon was probably typical, but everybody who was there seemed to be smkoing, or enjoying the company of smokers.

The third bar had two patrons who didn't smoke. The barkeep said that they were definitely down since the ban started.

The fourth was similar to the third, but it had a few more patrons, but the owner reported similarly.

Up in Fishers, Bill Smythe of the four Claude & Annie's locations, said he would sell the Fishers location if the ban passed, because Noblesville is on the other side of the street, where there is no ban. The Fishers ban failed, so he's still there. Bill sold one of his Indianapolis bars after the Indy ban took place. He may be putting another on the block soon.

In Greenfield, a greasy spoon called Annie's is probably going to close. Ann Tomey reported to me that her business was down 80%. In Greenfield, the American Legion is a membership club, and permits smokers for lunch. Annie does not have this loophole.

In Franklin, the Don & Dona's restaurant decided to take the loophole, changing their business model and becoming a club. I joined. For $1, you're a member. The owner reported to me that they would simply sell if they couldn't do this.

Mainly, these are all cases where the business owner knows their customer, had previously chosen to serve their customer in a way that satisfied both parties, and saw that choice taken away from them by their government. In all cases, these citizens stood in public forums to make their case before the laws changed. In all cases save Fishers, their pleas were not heard.

I don't smoke. I actually hate smoky atmospheres. However, a la Voltaire, I may not agree with their chosen smoking policy, but I will defend their right to have it. I can always choose to eat & drink elsewhere. Or, used to.

Ironically, some of the loudest protesters against the bans were the owners of bars who were voluntarily smoke free. That was their edge, and crucial to their business plans. They feared losing business to the other places.

In the end, smoking policy is just one component of why someone visits a particular bar or restaurant. The resentment came at the loss of personal choice. This is something the left used to understand in greater depth.

Anonymous said...

Defend something even though you don't agree with it? What a novel concept that only one City Councilman understood. Thanks for the update.

Anonymous said...

Regarding your comment Robert "Hey AWB, at least those laid-off bar employees do not have to choose between having to work in a smoke-filled enviroment and unemployment. The government made the choice for them!" is somewhat short sighted. Since the unemployment lines are normally long and there is no smoking allowed I suspect the level of unemployment to remain steady. Laid-off bar employees cannot stand be be in these lines too long and will not have resources to perform adequate job search activities. I predict the government will increase funding to deal with the growing number of homeless. There will be more tax increases and that will lead to more unemployed and homeless. The cycle will not stop until the USA is the USSA (United Socialist States of America). None of us is very smart so the government will have to think for us.

Okay so I'm a tad bit sarcastic.

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