Friday, June 29, 2007
- C.S. Lewis. "
Allen County Convention & Tourism Bureau delays proposal to help fund Harrison Square...
They want to see more numbers.. sound familiar?
What doesn't the government understand about full disclosure?
Harrison Square “coverup”
Written on June 29th, 2007
I have been trying to get specific financial information concerning the Harrison Square project since February 15th. As of June 29th I am still trying to get this information from The City of Fort Wayne.
On February 15th Mayor Graham Richard personally promised me that all of my questions about the project would be answered and that I would be able to analyze the financial aspects of the project. He made this promise during a public meeting of the Northwest Area Partnership.
On March 1st I met with Fort Wayne City Controller Pat Roller. She was unable to answer my questions; however, she wrote down some of my questions and I gave her a typed list of 58 questions. She promised to get back to me with answers. I am still waiting for these answers.
On April 16th I realized that City Council was going to vote on the Harrison Square Project before the City had provided me the financial information underlying the project. With this in mind I filed seven “public information requests” concerning the Harrison Square Project.
I received a feeble response to my “public information requests” on May 19th. The response provided some basic summary information about the project and provided none of the detailed financial information I requested; in fact, The City is claiming that some of the detailed financial information I requested is a “trade secret” of Acquest Realty Advisors, Inc. The City also claimed that none of the following exist:
1. Revenue sharing agreements associated with the Harrison Square Project.
2. Any agreements involving the newly proposed Parking Garage.
3. The written reply to the 58 questions I submitted to the city.
I next filed a complaint with the Indiana Public Access Counselor. An investigation was performed and the Indiana Public Access Counselor found on June 14th that “The City of Fort Wayne bears the burden of proof to show that the information I am seeking is confidential as a trade secret or confidential financial information.”
It seems like the only way I am going to be able to review the financial aspects of the Harrison Square Project is to hire an attorney and take the City to court. After reviewing the Indiana Code, speaking with two attorneys, and speaking with The Indiana Public Access Counselor I am relatively certain that I will win the case and that the City of Fort Wayne (Read taxpayers) will have to cover my attorney’s fees. I really do not want to take my City to court; however, their unwillingness to provide public information is forcing me to strongly consider forcing them to comply with the law.
The Harrison Square Project involves the use of tens of millions of dollars of public financing. The financial assumptions underlying the project are clearly public information and should be provided to any and all citizens wishing to analyze the project.
On May 22nd I filed five additional “public records requests” concerning the Harrison Square Project. As of June 29th, 2007 I have not received any of the information I requested on May 22nd. I filed another complaint with the Indiana Public Access Counselor on June 29th.
Why is the City desperately trying to hide the projected occupancy rate of the newly proposed downtown hotel?
Why is the City refusing to provide information so an independent Certified Public Accountant can analyze the project?
Mike Sylvester, CPA
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
We have looked at a lot of local property listings including:
1. A couple of houses that we would convert into commercial property.
2. Existing commercial property.
3. Constructing a new building.
We had the following criteria:
1. It had to be within 5 miles of the intersection of Coldwater and Dupont.
2. We had to be able to purchase the property rather then lease it.
3. We did not want to be landlords. In other words we wanted to purchase just the space we would use.
4. The office had to have a receptionist area, a small lobby, a conference room, six offices, a storage room, a bathroom, and a small kitchen. We expected the office to be about 2000 square feet.
5. We wanted to move into the office in 2007 or 2008.
We expected to find an existing commercial property and we expected to purchase it.
Most of the properties on the north side of Fort Wayne are for lease rather then for sale. This was a rather large problem. Most of the properties for sale were only for sale if you bought the entire building and were willing to be a landlord for the rest of the building.
Believe it or not, we have found that we can build a brand new "office condo" (The developer is building a building and we are buying about 30% of it) for about the same price as purchasing an existing property.
So we will be signing a contract tomorrow and plan on moving into our "office condo" on December 3rd, 2007.
This illustrates both a strength and a weakness of Fort Wayne.
Land is inexpensive in Fort Wayne and it is easy to build.
It is so cheap to buy property and build that there is absolutely no reason for developers to "infill" Fort Wayne. This has resulted in a large city that has horrible "urban sprawl."
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
The time has come to take our city back!
The 8 candidates who will be on the ballot this Fall are:
City Council At Large
City Council At Large
City Council At Large
Sunday, June 24, 2007
The US already has a reputation for inhumane treatment of "detainees". This is hurting our efforts in the war on terror for two reasons.
1.An enemy is that much less likely to surrender if he thinks he's going to be badly treated. Normally, when a combatant is surrounded and there is no hope for victory or escape, then it is considered advisable and acceptable to surrender. But if he thinks he is going to die anyway, or suffer a fate worse than death, then he will likely decide to take down as many of his opponents with him rather than surrender. Remember that the closing days of WWII, the Germans stood and fought against the Soviets but surrendered to the Americans and the British. Having a reputation for savagery might deter people from going to war against you in the first place, but once the war has already started they will that much more resolved to defeat you. All wars end when one side or the other (sometimes both sides), loses their resolve. Our goal should be to weaken enemy resolve and not strengthen it.
2. It's bad PR. How our allies view us matters. How potential allies view us matters. But how our potential enemies view us matters most of all, because we want them to remain just potential enemies and not actual enemies.
Proponents of torture point out that Allied operatives during WWII carried poison capsules in case they were captured, so that they would avoid being tortured. They argue that the Nazis used torture during interrogations because it worked. But intelligence gained during torture sessions has been established to be faulty. The Nazis used torture because they were sadists. Are we sadists too?
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Let me give you some examples:
1. My wife and I recycle those items that we can easily recycle in Fort Wayne. We recycle cardboard, glass, etc. We do this once every two weeks by using the yellow and brown bin we are provided by the City of Fort Wayne. I would not recycle if I had to drive across town to do it.
I would not have a problem with any municipality that made recycling mandatory. This is a government regulation that I could live with.
2. I think we are too dependent on foreign oil. I am in favor of mass transit in those areas where it makes economic sense. In the US that is only in the largest of our cities because Amercians do not want to use mass transit. My wife and I drive fuel efficient cars and we do not own SUV's. I have rented a mini-van a couple of times for vacations.
The price of oil and gas is determined by supply and demand. I choose to drive fuel efficient cars, I do not care what cars and SUV's the rest of you drive. I am against most Government involvement on this topic.
3. I am in the process of replacing the light bulbs in my house with compact fluorescent light bulbs. As my old light bulbs burn out I am replacing them with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Note you can easily buy these bulbs at Sams Club in Fort Wayne. You can buy replacements for 40W, 60W, and 100W bulbs at our local Sams. They cost a little less then $2 each.
There is no reason for the Government to get involved in this either...
What is your stand on Conservation?
Friday, June 22, 2007
The Indiana Supreme Court has decided that Fort Wayne can seize my current water provider with Eminent Domain.
Fort Wayne absolutely loves abusing Eminent Domain and this is yet another example of it.
Believe it or not, this issue will now have to come before City Council (After spending countless tax payer dollars already).
We had better hope that The City of Fort Wayne does not decide that they can do even more things better then private companies...
I just returned from Socialist Germany... I returned to a City, a state, and a country that is becoming a little more socialist each and every day.
Germany is a very interesting country and we really enjoyed our time in Germany. I want to point out some of the things I noticed about Germany:
1. Very few Germans have air conditioning in their homes. Some German businesses have air conditioning; however, a majority of businesses do not have air conditioning.
2. People drive very fast on the Autobahn.
3. I saw a lot of windmills. They were small and all looked to be exactly the same.
4. There was very little trash laying around; however, there was a significant amount of graffitti.
5. A lot of Germans had a lot of flowers in their yards, many houses and businesses had wooden flower boxes beneath their exterior windows.
6. Germany has extremely strict zoning laws. Germans are not allowed to build houses wherever they wish. German homes are clustered together. This creates an environemnt much different then in the US.
7. Ice was not real common.
8. Bavaria and Franconia are beautiful; rolling hills with a lot of woods and fields.
9. Most things were significantly more expensive in Germany then in the US. The exchange rate is a large factor in this since the Euro is at a high vs the dollar. (The dollar has plunged in the last few years for many reasons)
10. Restaurants were very expensive. At most restaurants you have to pay a 40% tax.
11. Recycling is mandatory in the parts of Germany we were in. I think it is mandatory in the entire country.
12. Gas was between $5 and $6 a gallon while we were in Europe. The price varied based on the price of oil and the local tax rates.
13. Small cars are much more common in Germany then the US.
14. Parking lots are much smaller then in the US.
15. Most stores are much smaller then in the US.
16. Almost everything is closed on Sunday. In fact you are not allowed to do anything that makes a lot of noise on Sunday. You are not supposed to even mow your yard on Sunday in the town we stayed in...
A lot has happened while we were gone and you can expect quite a few posts over the next few days.
The main thing I planned on researching when I got back from Germany was Tom Henry (Democratic candidate for Fort Wayne Mayor) and his positions on various issues in Fort Wayne.
I went to his website, again, to see where he stands on the issues that are important to Fort Wayne. You can see his stances on various issues at the following link:
You should notice that his website still does not have his stance on a single issue that concerns Fort Wayne.
So far he is running a campaign straight out the the "DSC Handbook." He is raising money and not letting the voters know anything about him or where he stands.
The day after the primary I predicted that Matt Kelty would beat Tom Henry by 3% in the general election. I am considering changing this prediction because if Tom Henry keeps this up he is going to get beat by more then I previously expected...
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Why the heck isn't there a representative from the Libertarian Party on that election board??
What would it take to change that?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Today Pat was talking about the Health Department Nazi's crackdown on small businesses...specifically a restaurant on Street which has been in the newspapers and media a lot which is under attack for running its bar b que pit outside--Chuck Wagon Restaurant.
Here's a piece recently about them NOT closing down:
What do you think about the Health Department's crusade to run him out of business via video tape and electronic pictures? Apparently, a county employee with way too much time on their hands sat and watched him cook from across the road the other day...taking pictures. When they were approached, they fled in a government car and refused to talk to the owner.
Is this what we want? Is this acceptable for our society to run someone up the flag pole because they moved to another part of town? According to the owner, he was never assaulted like this when he ran his restaurant on the South side of town...
What do we want from OUR Health Department? Do we want to have them target small businesses to run them thru the ringer? Do we want them to concentrate on cleaning up our drinking water? How about fixing problems with sewage running in the streets or large companies pollution? How about vaccinating kids... How about serving people instead of gunning them down for prosecution?
Thanks Pat, for telling people small businesses matter.
Monday, June 18, 2007
I'm really disappointed. This just means we have to work harder to get the right people in office who will listen and stand up for the real people in this world.
One thing is for sure, our candidates WILL be for the people and not stomp on the souls of businesses.
Why shouldn't the constitutional rights of small business owners and individuals be fought for harder? What attorney or attorney's say it isn't worth going thru with? Why can't we raise more money to get a real challenge?
"Lawsuit challenging smoking ban dropped
By Ryan Lengerich firstname.lastname@example.org
Attorneys for the City of Fort Wayne and those representing several local bar owners have agreed to drop a lawsuit challenging the city’s smoking ban.
According to court documents, the suit will be dismissed without prejudice, which means it could be filed again.
The city’s new smoking ordinance, which took effect June 1, bans smoking in most enclosed public places in the city, overturning a 1998 law that allowed smoking in separate enclosed areas in bars and restaurants.
In the lawsuit filed May 23, the bar owners charged that the ordinance is vague and infringes on constitutional rights. The lawsuit was later moved to federal court because it raised constitutional issues.
The city amended the wording of the ordinance earlier this month to clarify the portions of the law challenged by the bar owners."
Sunday, June 17, 2007
The first things I did were adding word verification to prevent spam comments and changing the name from "FW Libertarian Mike Sylvester" to "Libertarian Party of Allen County". I notice many of the local blogs still have a link to this blog under the title "Mike Sylvester". While Mike will still continue to post here, this blog isn't about one man but about a set of ideas. So you all might want to update your links. CFW, maybe you can change the link to "LPAC!!!!!"
When Mike starts his own blog about his personal and professional life, you all can link to that that blog as well. I am beginning to think that people should keep seperate personal and political blogs. I hate going to a blog to see if they have a take on universal health care, then having to scroll through a bunch of posts about how cute their cats are or what they ate for breakfast that morning. Not that there's anything wrong with blogging about that kind of stuff, but newspapers keep the "Features" section seperate from the editorial page for a reason. You all are more than welcome to visit Blog of the Enders, by the way. However, while I am quite satisfied with my personal life right now, I don't think anyone really wants to read about it. So I write fake news articles, an idea that I stole from the Onion, who stole it from SNL's "Weekend Update", who in turn stole that from National Lampoon.
I will delete any comments that are obscene, libelous, or spam. I notice that spammers now try to disguise their comments as legimate comments by starting off by flattering the blog, like "Nice blog. I find some good information here. Check out my website!" Then it links to some travel agency. But any other comments are fair game. You can call me any name you like and I really won't care.
I'm thinking about switching templates, but I will wait until Mike gets back before I do that. This is a trial period, and whether or not I continue to moderate this blog is contigent on if I can retain Mike's old audience.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Do you know what they used to have on Broadway that they don't have anymore? Property rights!
Friday, June 15, 2007
The community forums in which people tell the city what they want there are a joke. They only get input from the people who have enough free time to go to that kind of event. People will say that they want a waterpark or a movie theater. Its like a kid sitting on Santa's lap, asking for a pony. The kids rarely ask for the things that they need, like school supplies, healthcare, and a job when they graduate. I take it that a grocery store just isn't sexy enough to be put downtown.
Some have called our rivers an important asset. They were an asset, back when many goods were transported by boat because it was faster than a horsedrawn cart. Now that we have the internal combustion engine, they're just something to build bridges over. The city has spent millions tearing down houses along the river in order to prevent flooding. Now they want to build more stuff there.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Ft. Wayne City Council members asked questions about how Harrison Square property was acquired--in a letter with counsel outside of their regular meeting.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Such a law would keep corporations from playing state governments against each other. You all know how the game works. MegaMundo Incorporated announces that they are building a factory that will employ 500 skilled workers. But they claim that they are trying to decide between 2 different possible locations. Let the bidding begin!!! City A offers 100K in incentives, and City B offers 150k. But MegaMundo decides to go to City A because its close to an major interstate highway. They cash City A's check. The reality is that they were planning to go with City A all along.
Next year is a presidential election year. So write to your favorite presidential and congressional candidates. Let's see if we can get this adopted as part of a platform.
Monday, June 11, 2007
The Fort Wayne smoking ban doesn't apply to the festivals in Fort Wayne.
Pavilions are considered open-air structures. The Fort Wayne ban only applies to indoor public places, the news media is reporting.
So what about private clubs?
Sunday, June 10, 2007
We (Karena, Kayla, Graydon, and I) got into Germany on Wednesday of last week.
We have had great weather so far and love southern Germany. We are staying with Karena's father most nights and are really enjoying Germany...
Doug, thanks for house-sitting!
Brent thanks for helping with the business while we are gone...
Karena's father lives in Lehrburg. Lehrberg is just about 4 miles from Ansbach. Ansbach is a US army base in Germany. My good friend James Fitch was stationed in Ansback while he was in the US army...
Jimmie (Karena's father) owns a great house in Lehrburg. It is a large house on the side of a scenic hill. The house actually has an apartment that could be rented out on the bottom floor, that is where we are staying.
I am typing this post from a laptop, I hate typing on a laptop...
See you later...
Friday, June 08, 2007
The biggest military mistake that the Confederacy ever made was firing on Fort Sumter in the first place. A little bit of patience and lobbying through Congress may or may not have gotten them what they wanted, but whatever would have happened would have been better than what did happen. More Americans died in 3 days at Gettysburg than died in 10 years of Vietnam. The South started that war and got what they deserved.
It can be said that the Civil War was a struggle of state's rights versus human rights. Whenever it comes down to a question of supporting one over the other, I will always support the rights of the individual over the right of a state government. And if the majority of individuals in a state wish to part ways with the rest of us, they should be allowed to do so.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Here's the link for Code Blue Schools.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Read this gem:
This has been discussed on this blog before...
Yet another subsidy for a project that should be fudned with private dollars...
I submitted five additional records requests regarding the financing of Harrison Square. I submitted them on May 22nd, 2007.
I have not even received a written aknowledgement that they have received them. I sent them two separate faxes with cover pages telling them how many pages to expect...
This is getting absurd...
If they have nothing to hide why do they keep refusing to provide me ANY financial infomration except for the summary financial infomration on their website?
There is little doubt in my mind at this point that they are trying to suppress their projected hotel occupancy rate. I imagine it is 70-80% and they are afraid of the public outcry this number would cause.
The current hotel occupancy rate in Fort Wayne is less then 50%...
Monday, June 04, 2007
Mr. Jefferson is the latest to be indicted, please read more:
This guy has been caught red-handed and is certainly guilty. He needs to be thrown out of Congress as soon as possible.
Nancy Pelosi promised to run "The most ethical Congress in history." To date our current Congress is no more or less ethical then our previous several Congresses.
Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats should immediately join the Republicans and give Mr. Jefferson "the boot."
Will Mr. Henry have posted any of his stances on any issues on his website while I am gone; or will his website just ask for money and not enable voters to know where he stands?
Friday, June 01, 2007
A small group of government officials took the latest step in eroding our rights today--the smoking ban in the City of Ft. Wayne.
This isn't about anything less than the rights of our privacy and property being taken away. Whether you agree with smokers or not, it is about the weakening of our freedom.
First to catch many Allen County citizen's angst was Eminent Domain when it reared its head via the Harrison Square project (Belmont Liquors, etc..).."that won't ever happen. No one can make me give my property to someone else" THEN IT DID. And it was just the beginning.
A long list of crimes against us began...property taxes skyrocketing without checks or balances, people spending tax dollars for private gain, irresponsible fiscal management, and then TAKING OUR PRIVACY AND PROPERTY RIGHTS AWAY via the smoking ban.
If we consent to the government telling us what we can't do.. then we begin the fast and slippery slope of having them tell us what we HAVE to do.
My response to someone who I talked with at length about the smoking ban who was originally for the ban... It doesn't matter whether or not you smoke or even like smokers--if you let government say you CAN'T smoke, then you leave that door open to let them say you HAVE to let someone smoke in your restaurant or bar or home, etc..
A private business is just that. A private club is just that. PRIVATE. Government has NO PLACE telling us what we can do in PRIVACY.
As many of you know, my husband Jeremiah is in the military fighting for our rights overseas. Whether you agree or disagree with the current war, you have to admit the courage it takes to stand up for America. There is no reason we cannot have that courage RIGHT HERE. This year 2 of his brothers will join him AGAIN to fight for America. What will he have to come home to if we do not stand up for our rights RIGHT NOW?
What about the veterans who OWN their clubs right here? What about what they did for our country? I am appalled at how they are treated when it comes to this issue.
We have to work harder to get these politicians out of our wallets and lives. This will begin by electing people who represent the ideals of Americans to office--not elitist lifetime politicians who think they can run our lives better than we can. It is not and never will be up to them.
How long before someone decides that the worst threat to kids is parents who smoke? Some city in California will probably be the first to use secondhand smoke as an excuse to take kids away from their parents. The nanny state will soon become the legal guardian state.