Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Yesterday the owner of the Northwood Bar and Grill had an auction. He sold off most of his assets; however, he could not sell his liquor license. The highest bid was only $65,000.
Not only did City Council pass a law that has had a drastic effect on local bar owners; the liquor licenses have also plummeted in value.
I personally know people who have purchased liquor licenses for $100,000 and $115,000 in the last couple of years.
Yesterday the highest bid at the auction was $65,000.
We need some new people on our City Council.
Basically the City was going to spend 2.4 million dollars to make two blocks of Calhoun 2-way rather then 1-way.
The lowest bid came in 3% over budget.
The stated reason per the article was that The City did not have "the extra money."
The City does not have an extra $72,000 to convert two blocks of a street into a 2-way street.
So let me get this straight, we do not have an extra $72,000 to spend on a street project however we do have money for:
1. Harrison Square and numerous subsidies to a hotel.
2. $3700 solar trash cans.
3. $25,000 as an option to purchase the Omni Source property for 4.3 million dollars in
I remember going to a recent City Council meeting where City Controller Pat Roller gave a financial presentation. The point of the presentation seemed to be to convince members of City Council that the City had plenty of money for future projects...
A COLUMN BY KEVIN LEININGER
July tax collections down for bars
Clearly, something is up, but it's not tax revenue collected by taverns.
The state collected $395,686 in food and beverage taxes from Allen
Monday, July 30, 2007
I generally do not respond to letters to the editor; however, Tim Manges, in his role as Fort Wayne City Attorney, had a letter published by the News Sentinel on July 25th that requires a response due to its blatant inaccuracy.
In his letter Mr. Manges writes that I “never sent the city a list of 58 questions.” In this response I have decided to only use items that I can prove with hard evidence, in a court of law if necessary.
On April 16th I filed a written Information Request with Mr. Manges. One of the items I requested was answers to the 58 questions I previously submitted. On May 16th I received a written reply to my information request from Mr. Manges. His official reply was “none exist.” I am not an attorney; however, I can read and this response clearly told me that “The City” elected not to provide the answers to my questions. If Mr. Manges did not have a copy of the 58 questions I submitted he obviously would have informed me of that in his written response.
I have recently communicated with City Councilman Didier, Pape, and Talarico. All three acknowledge receiving my list of 58 questions back in March and April of this year. In fact Councilman Pape told me by email back on March 16th that he would “forward my list of questions to the Mayor’s office.” I spoke with Councilman Talarico in person on July 27th. Councilman Talarico told me that he forwarded my questions to “The City” and that he encouraged them to answer my questions back in March.
The first time I heard that Mr. Manges was claiming “The City” had not received a copy of my questions was by email on July 3rd from Mr. Manges. On both July 3rd and July 5th I emailed my list of 58 questions to Mr. Manges, Pat Roller, Greg Leatherman, and Mark Becker.
On July 3rd I received an email from Pat Roller in which she acknowledged seeing my list of 58 questions on July 3rd.
On July 26th I received an email from Greg Leatherman in which he stated that he received my list of 58 questions by email on July 3rd and 5th.
I asked to have my questions answered by filing a formal information request, in various public forums, at City Council meetings, in the media, online on blogs, by email, on the phone with several city councilmen, and in the News Sentinel. In fact I have asked my questions in so many public forums that many people correctly refer to me as a “Harrison Square critic.”
For the record, I still do not have the answers to my questions nor do I have any of the detailed information that I have requested. I encourage anyone interested to look at the summary financial information posted on the City website. This posted information provides summary totals and does not show how these figures were derived. A detailed financial analysis of the project cannot be performed with the summary information provided by the Mayor’s office.
I have been forced to file additional Information Requests in an attempt to see how these “totals” were calculated. Next week I will update my list of 58 questions and I will submit a new Information Request.
Did the City include the legal costs of seizing Belmont Beverages with eminent domain? Did the City include the costs of hiring all of the consultants used on the project to date? How much overhead did the City include for the time spent by City employees working on this project? I have asked several City Councilmen these questions and they also do not know the answers.
My special thanks go out to Councilman Didier; he has tried to ensure that my questions are answered and I appreciate it.
Mike Sylvester, CPA
I got directed to three different departments and several different people...
Turns out I need to talk to Sandy Kennedy.. NOT the public information officer, NOT the council assistant (the list goes on.... ) I am surprised the people with assist and inform in their job titles don't have answers or control over issues like this. (hear a rant coming on?)
I am curious to know why the minutes haven't been posted.
I will go find her.....
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Here, I'll be a good sport and let you all write your own captions.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
The Democratic House approved another big farm bill that will take a lot of money from taxpayers and funnel it to farmers. Most of this money goes to large, successful agricultural businesses and does not go to small farms.
Basically the Democratic House decided to keep following the disastrous farm policy that this country has pursued for decades. The government will keep involving itself into something that the free market could handle much more efficiently.
Only 19 Republicans voted in favor of this farm bill. Mark Souder, my Congressman, was one of them. Mark Souder once again has proved that he is a big government Republican. Mark Souder once again voted with Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party.
The Democrats made one minor improvement to our agricultural policy in this bill. They inserted a provision that would disallow farm subsidies to anyone making more then $1,000,000 per year. Believe it or not in the past there was no ceiling. There are a large number of billionaires who have received farm subsidies for years.
President Bush wants to limit farm aid to those who make under $200,000 per year and I think this would be a good first step to getting the government out of the agricultural business entirely.
It gets worse for Mark Souder.
In this Agricultural bill the Democrats also inserted a provision that would force Indiana to cancel a 1.16 billion dollar contract to partially privatize Indiana's welfare programs.
First of all this has nothing to do with the Farm bill and the Democrats should be ashamed of themselves. I remember when they promised to be "the most ethical Congress in history." They are no longer making those claims. They are doing exactly what both old Parties have done in Washington DC for decades.
Second of all the Federal Government should stop forcing itself into State and local government.
Mark Souder should be ashamed of himself.
Mark Souder is a big government Republican.
Mark Souder is not a conservative and I wish people would quit saying he is.
I don't think that many folks have truly contemplated the repercussions of our growing ability to run candidates.
I would like to draw your attention to an old but seldom used political term: Gerrymandering.
If you Google this word you will find: "is a form of redistricting in which electoral district or constituency boundaries are manipulated for an electoral advantage." (Wikipedia)
Gerrymandering has been actively done for quite some time. The two old parties have had quite a time loading the dice against public dissension. Even with an outraged public on any topic it is hard to unseat most candidates as the power sharing status quo has quite neatly insulated the parties with the abuse of gerrymandering.
Behold, however, that whatever behind the scenes haggling, wrangling, and plotting has occurred to date will be wiped clean with our new party entering the ring.
It is easy to gerrymander with two parties, but with three? Not likely.
A major but little seen benefit that you will all gain from is the fact that no longer will the old parties be capable of deviating from their alleged values. No longer will they be certain of reelection or holding on to their control. What was once gerrymandered to nearly guarantee power sharing and abuse will be washed away in one fell swoop. That swing of the sword begins its descent on the head of gerrymandering this year, 2007.
The Libertarian Party of Allen County is growing in all ways: strength, public support, public interest, and stability. We will continue to run candidates and increase the number of positions our candidates will challenge. Let us not forget that next year is also an election year. The seeds of peaceful political revolution have been planted today in the rich soil of public outrage. Over the coming years these will grow into a movement that will come into its own and benefit all of the citizens by presenting a new and vibrant party that truly supports the people by holding fast to the simple olde philosophy "that government is best which governs least".
Imagine four years from today: Democrats, Libertarians, and Republicans...Oh my!
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Byron Peters, 1st District
Jon Bartels, 2nd District
Robert Fuller, 5th District
Doug Horner, At Large
William Larsen, At Large
Notably, Michael Vaugn wanted to endorse my opponent, Glen Hines. But because he abstained from the vote on the smoking ordinance and because I was sitting right there, the INCAns decided not to endorse any candidate for the 6th District. It seems appropriate that since Hines was neither for nor against the ban, INCA was neither for nor against Hines.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
"Mr. Sylvester also failed to note that he never sent the city a list of 58 questions that he continues to say he did."
I am NOT an attorney and I do not claim to be one. I find it interesting that Mr. Manges uses the word "City." I guess I have some questions about why he would claim I did not send my questions to the city:
When I sent my list of questions to Councilman Talarico, Pape, and Didier did that count as sending the questions to the "city?"
When I sent my list of questions to Mark Becker, Greg Leatherman, and Pat Roller did that count as sending the questions to the "city?"
When I sent my list of questions to Tim Manges TWICE did that count as sending my questions to the "city?"
I also find it interesting that the City Attorney used both his name and title in his letter to the editor; why would an attorney do that?
I just do not understand this.
My phone has been ringing off the hook... Many of my friends are nearly as upset about Mr. Manges's letter as I am.
That is not how government is supposed to work.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Belmont Beverage in downtown Fort Wayne will be the first building demolished to make way for the Harrison Square project.
There once stood a man who had a business of his own. A business and land he paid for. Where he could do business how he saw fit.
He met his untimely demise at the hand of eminent domain.
And we mourn.
My original "information request" was for seven items. This request was submitted on April 16th, 2007.
The sixth item I requested was for "The written reply to the 58 questions I submitted..."
City Attorney Tim Manges wrote the reply to my request for information with the following answer on May 16th, 2007:
If Mr. Manges did not have a copy of my questions I would assume he would have written a reply such as "I do not have a copy of your 58 questions."
Instead he wrote that the answers did not exist, at least that is how I read it.
You can read the letter in its entirely here, his lie is in bold:
City says it has been responsive
Harrison Square critic Mike Sylvester continues to criticize the city of Fort Wayne's response to numerous public records requests made by Mr. Sylvester. No matter how much information is provided to Mr. Sylvester, he continues to question and publicly complain about the city's lack of responsiveness to his requests.
Mr. Sylvester fails to mention in his recent letter to the editor that city government has responded to every single letter and request he has made in recent months. Mr. Sylvester also failed to note that he never sent the city a list of 58 questions that he continues to say he did. In many cases, Mr. Sylvester has requested information that does not exist. City officials have also met privately with residents, including Mr. Sylvester, who requested information sessions. That meeting also did not meet Mr. Sylvester's expectations.
Even with the consistent criticism from Mr. Sylvester, city officials are committed to working hard each day to retain and gain jobs, build excellent services, be the safest city of our size in the country and finalize a landmark downtown development for our community and region.
Tim Manges did not even tell a good lie. I decided browse through my email account to determine how many times I submitted this list of questions to various people over the last four months:
Sent to Pat Roller once by email
Sent to Tim Manges TWICE by email
Set to Greg Leatherman once by email
Sent to Mark Becker once by email
Sent to Councilman Tom Didier once by email
Sent to Councilman Talarico once by email
Sent to Councilman Pape once by email
Note: I have copies of each and every one of these emails...
I also went back and browsed several emails I have exchanged with various people about my questions. In fact one of the best ones is from Councilman Tim Pape. In that email Tim Pape tells me he will submit my list of questions to the Mayor's office himself.
In his email Councilman Pape told me that he would and I quote "I will forward that to the Mayor's Office." That in this case is my list of 58 questions.
Note: I of course have a copy of that email as well.
I have other things to do; however, I will most likely post some more emails and specifics. Councilman Didier and I had a similar email exchange.
I am extremely angry at the City Attorney. I cannot believe that he is lying about this.
Heck I am going to contact the three City Councilmen who I sent these questions to and ask them what they think of the lie that the City Attorney just submitted to the News Sentinel. I would think the City attorney would have a little more ethics then he is currently displaying.
Tim Manges needs to post a retraction in the News Sentinel.
Editors update at 11:22 PM Wednesday July 25th, Tim Manges also needs to make a public apolgy, a retraction is insufficient.
The Harrison Square project:
Shortly before the meeting started, Mike Sylvester was asked if he got his questions answered (which have been many and very simply explained). His answer was "No." And that's all that was said about that.
Three rows on one side of the very small room (1/4th of the spaces) were reserved for the city officials and HardBall People and those in favor of the project. The first two rows on the other side were reserved for the Media. (1/4) of the spaces.
Council was given a stack of new details as the meeting started. Did they make it available to the public? Did they have time to read it??
And BECAUSE THERE WERE NO MICROPHONES it was very hard to hear the details and discussion concerning the deal they worked out.
BECAUSE THE PUBLIC WAS LOCKED OUT.. when it came time to oppose the Harrison Square Project, no one was in the room to disagree. No one asked outside if there was public comment on Harrison Square. I left shortly thereafter to go see where everyone was.
No disrespect meant, but it was all that is wrong in government.
More to come.
Update: I wasn't the only one with this impression. Read Jeff Pruitt's post: http://fortwayneindiana.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
See Mike Sylvester's posts below on Mr. Kalb's letter about Harrison Square.
Does it surprise you?
Monday, July 23, 2007
We moved to Fort Wayne when I was nine years old. As a kid we used to go to a couple of Three Rivers Festival Events each year. The one event we always went to was the "Raft Race."
As a kid I loved going to the "Raft Race."
This year my wife and I did not attend any Three Rivers Festival Events. I am not really sure why. We had a lot going on and just did not make the time.
Did you go to the Three Rivers Festival?
This is just the beginning.. just the beginning..
See the link by clicking the headline above or by going here:
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Just a reminder that we will have our business meeting and friendly get together.
Who: Libertarians & Friends
What: Business Meeting & Social
Where: Mike Sylvesters home - 635 Windrift Lane
When: Monday, July 22nd, 6:30PM
I look forward to seeing everyone there.
It seems like the local Democrats and the local Republicans each have a pool of about 50 people they use to fill the local Boards. This pool is filled with relatives and financial supporters.
Not enough people get involved in politics and government.
One of the best ways we could involve more people in politics is to get new people to serve on the various Boards that exist in Fort Wayne and Allen County.
I would like to see people like Jeff Pruitt selected to sit on some of these Boards. We would be far better off...
I plan on asking Mr. Kelty about this in the near future. I hope one of the readers of this blog can find Tom Henry and ask him; otherwise, I am going to track Mr. Henry down and ask him myself.
Basically the story talks about the 24% increase in property taxes that was expected statewide.
The story lays the blame at the State level. The story is wrong.
Lets start with how property taxes are calculated:
Each government entity that levies property taxes submits a budget to the Indiana Department of Local Government and Finance. The budget is almost always approved and sent back. Each County then calculates the total levy due. This is a dollar amount based on the total of every budget submitted.
The County then calculates the total assessed value of property and calculates tax rates for each geographical district.
Per the JG article the expected 24% increase Hoosier Homeowners were expected to see was due to:
1. 6.1% baseline spending by local governmental units and schools. This is clearly the doing of local Government.
2. 3.7% is due to the final elimination of the Inventory tax. The inventory tax was a terrible tax that was levied on Inventory in Indiana. Indiana has finally abolished that tax as they should have long ago. The State of Indiana gave local units of Government the option of making up the loss of revenue by either increasing property taxes OR by increasing income taxes. Per the story 43 Counties chose to raise income taxes to cover the revenue loss and the remaining Counties chose to increase property taxes. So the local governments had the choice of either increasing property taxes OR increasing income taxes. I do not see how those counties who chose to increase property taxes can blame the State of Indiana for their local decision.
3. 3.7% reduction of State support for property tax relief. This is clearly something local Governments can blame the State for.
4. 10.5% due to trending. Basically what happened is that Assessors now have to base property assessed values on market value and they have to trend these items each year. This year they are trending for 1999-2005, there are six years being handled right now.
All trending does is force Assessors to update the property values of all property parcels in their jurisdictions. Increasing the assessed value of property does NOT raise property taxes. Come on. It is simple math...
When tax rates are calculated the total assessed value and the total assessed levy (in dollars) is used. When the total assessed value INCREASES due to trending guess what happens to the tax rate? Yep, it goes DOWN.
You could argue that trending may shift the tax burden among the following groups: Agricultural property, Commercial Property, and Residential property. You cannot argue that trending increases property taxes.
The JG story is saying that Hoosier homeowners are seeing a 10.5% increase due to trending and I find this hard to believe. If it is in fact true then that could only mean that residential properties were undervalued prior to trending or that agricultural and commercial properties were over-valued. This would of course be the fault of local Assessors IF true.
Based on the study the JG quoted here is where the fault lies:
6.1% increase in local spending
3.7% elimination of Inventory Tax
10.5% increase on homeowners due to trending. This increase is only possible if the assessed
values of homes were far too low in comparison to agricultural and industrial property.
Trending does NOT increase property taxes; it may shift the burden between the various
types of property owners. If the original assessed values were wrong then that is obviously
the fault of local Government because they have been overcharging agricultural and
commercial properties prior to trending.
3.7% reduction of State support for property tax relief
The truth is that both the State Government and the local Governments have collaborated to screw up our tax system; however, the increase in property taxes over the past decades is due to local government spending.
The ONLY answer is to split the two from each other so that they stop pointing their fingers at each other; otherwise, we will keep hearing "It is their fault."
Friday, July 20, 2007
Late last year the City was saying that the financing for the initial phase would be around 45% public and around 55% privately financed.
By April of 2007 Pat Roller's presentation to the City Council predicted that the financing for the initial phase had shifted to 49% public and 51% privately financed. At this time there was a Memorandum of Understanding in place between the parties that spelled out the general terms of the contract. The City hurried the project through City Council by stating that the agreements would need to be in place by May 31st.
Believe it or not the agreements were not put into place until July 16th!
At Tuesday's City Council meeting Pat Roller gave another presentation updating the Funding amounts. I still have not been able to check her projections; however, I filed another series of Information Requests today and I asked that they be expedited.
Too make a long story short during the "negotiations" the City had to make a long series of conessions that were not outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding. As near as I can tell the Developer has the City over a "barrel" and they just keep asking for more and more.
This is due to the fact that only one Developer is interested in the Project. That Developer now has us over a large "barrel."
Per Pat Roller's presentation the results of the "negotiations" are as follows:
The private funding for the project has DECREASED by 10.4 million dollars
The public funding for the project has INCREASED by .8 million dollars
The net result, according to Pat Rollers' projections are that the project was worsened for Fort Wayne by a net value of 11.2 million dollars.
This is a lot of money and should cause the City to seriously reconsider they support for this project.
Please realize this is according to The City's own projections; I still plan on checking them myself.
For example I doubt if The City included the legal costs of stealing Belmont Beverages with Eminent Domain, I doubt if they include paying for all the consultants who have worked on the project, and I doubt that they include any overhead that has been incurred by the City to date.
I do not know what the exact percentages will be in the end; however, they will most likely be 55% - 58% public funds and 42% - 45% private. The number has grown since the project was initiated. Some City officials are calling this negotiation...
I call it getting "screwed."
According to WANE TV:
Basically State Senator David Long and State Representatives Matt Bell and Jeff Espich (All Republicans) are asking the State (Mitch Daniels) to reassess all of the property in Aboite Township.
What a stupid, stupid idea.
I remember back when the Pine Valley area (Where I live) was annexed into the City in 2003. The following year, according to the Allen County Assessor, those parts of Perry Township that were annexed into Fort Wayne experienced property tax increases of an average of 66%. There was no outcry from our elected officials.
Aboite gets annexed and has a property tax increase of 57% and press conferences are being held etc. Give me a break.
I am extremely disappointed in these three Republicans. They are pandering.
They had the power to do something about everyone's property taxes for as long as they have been in office. They have neglected to do so.
Please realize that it is not the State's problem in general; it is local government's problem. The State of Indiana needs to follow the plan I have outlined on this blog. We have to split local and State functions and taxes so that these two sets of elected officials quit blaming each other for the tax increases!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Tonight my guest will be Jon Bartels. He is the ViceChairman of the Libertarian Party of Allen County and also candidate for 2nd district in Fort Wayne.
Please feel free to call us at 422 - 3902.
The show begins at 7PM and is one (1) hour long. If you don't have cable please give us until 5 minutes after 7PM for us to get situated.
I look forward to answering any questions you folks may have on any topic. Also, if you want to let us know what is going on in your neck of the woods give a holler!
Candidate, City Council at Large
Here are several ideas of upcoming events to GET YOUR VOICE HEARD to the current and future politicians and be a part of the community:
Monday July 23rd:
Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission: The Commission will consider final approvals
for the Harrison Square definitive agreements during a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. Monday, July 23 on the 7th floor of the City-County Building. The Commission is the sole entity responsible for approving the agreements.
Fort Wayne City Plan Commission: Zoning map amendments are up for final approval at the Commission's Business Meeting. The meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Monday, July 23 in Room 200 of the City-County Building. Certain properties within the Harrison Square development are being requested to be rezoned to commercial status.
River North Development Public Input: Northside High School 5:30 PM
Libertarian Party of Allen County Business Meeting and potluck:
www.allencountylp.org 6:30 PM
Tuesday July 24:
ILBA Meeting 2:00 PM Rocking Horse
City Council Meeting 5:30 PM An ordinance outlining the bond financing for the Harrison Square development will be discussed and final approval could come at the July 24 City Council meeting. Room 200 of the City-County Building. City Council is being asked to approve a lease for certain land and public improvements between the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Authority and the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission. The lease provisions are the same as those that have already gained approvals from the Redevelopment Authority and Redevelopment Commission.
Wednesday July 25:
INCA Meeting 7:00 PM Piere's
There are several MORE opportunities to get your voice heard around the county and state: Here is just a partial list. Please add to them!!
Saturday July 28:
Indiana Tea Party sponsored by Hoosiers for Fair Taxation
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Below is a copy of a letter submitted by John Kalb to various parties today. I have put the letter in italics. I am publishing this letter with Mr. Kalb's permission. Please read it.
From : John B. Kalb July 18, 2007
3720 Mulberry Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
To: Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission
Attn: Christopher Guerin
Cc: John Wernet, Commission Attorney
Subject: Your resolutions # 2007-49 and, because of interrelationships, #2007-48
I am writing to ask that you NOT approve the subject resolutions, which pertain to the baseball stadium license and management agreements, because I think that Indiana state law mandates that you may not enter into an agreement for the management of a public facility without first making a public request for proposals. In particular, I direct your attention to IC 5-23-2-2(which defines “board” and which definition I think encompasses your Commission), IC 5-23-2-7(which defines “operating agreement” and which definition I think encompasses the proposed Hardball/ stadium agreements), IC 5-23-4-1(which grants the Commission the authority to enter into an operating agreement for the management, maintenance, etc. of the stadium) and IC 5-23-5-1(which requires that the proposed agreements be preceded by and pursuant to a public request for proposals).
I also refer you to a recent Indiana Court of Appeals decision of Stuller vs. Daniels, issued on July 16, 2007, which confirms that a public-private agreement for the operation or management of a public facility is illegal if the governmental entity does not first make a public request for proposals.
At a minimum, I respectfully request that you delay any decision on the referenced resolutions until you have obtained COMPETENT legal counsel assuring you of the legality of these agreements, have made such opinion, if any, known to the public, and have provided time to consider any contrary views. The entire Harrison Square project has aroused much public suspicion and any premature and illegal action on your part at this time will only add to the public cynicism.
I will say that if you approve these resolutions at your scheduled special meeting on 7/23/07, I intend to file suit challenging and enjoining your actions.
I have enclosed a copy of IC 5-23-5 and a summary of the judicial decision that I have referenced.
Thank you for your consideration.
Signed John B. Kalb
Cc: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; each of the nine Fort Wayne Common Council members plus attorneys: Tim Manges, Joe Kimmel, Joseph Bonahoom and Philip Larmore
As many of the readers of this blog know I am NOT an attorney. I do not claim to have much knowledge about the law.
I am certain that The City has not put the current proposed Baseball Stadium Management Contract our for bid.
My cursory review of the Indiana Code sections cited leads me to believe that Mr. Kalb is correct and I will be interested in seeing how the Redevelopment Commission responds.
I will be especially interested in how Karen Goldner responds to this. She is currently running for City Council in my district and I am looking forward to seeing how she handles this.
Please read the story over at Downtown Fort Wayne Baseball:
You should check out this post:
Councilman's Pape's stance on Harrison Square is fairly typical of the minority of Fort Wayne residents who support this project.
I often hear it touted that this project will bring high paying jobs to Fort Wayne. I laugh each and every time I hear it; however, as the public cost of the project keeps increasing I also am tempted to cry.
I have asked City Council members, various supporters of the project, and The City of Fort Wayne to name ten companies that will move to Fort Wayne due to this project.
The silence is deafening...
If anyone reading this blog knows of some companies that will move to Fort Wayne due to Harrison Square please let us know!
The Indy Star reports:
Gov. Mitch Daniels today ordered a full reassessment of all residential and
commercial properties in Marion County and appointed State Supreme Court Justice
Randall Shepherd and former Gov. Joe Kernan to head a panel to find solutions to
the property tax crisis. Sources close to the governor's office told The
Indianapolis Star that an outside vendor will be hired to reassess commercial
and industrial property, and local assessors will handle residential
property.For now, residents will be asked to pay their 2006 amounts, and after
reassessment is done, updated bills will go out.Marion County property owners
have seen average increases of 35 percent in their tax bills.The reassessment in
Marion County apparently ignored commercial properties, pushing homeowners'
bills even higher, Daniels said Tuesday.
from WANE TV 15.
Well, what do you know... a downside to annexation. Imagine that.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Please read coverage of this from Jeff Pruitt over at the Blog Fort Wayne Left:
Jeff provides great coverage of this.
I have a few things to add:
1. I told you so. (I cannot help it)
2. For a long time Fort Wayne and Harrison Square supporters have insisted that more then half of the project would be funded by private investors. I have scoffed at this for just as long. I have always maintained that more then half of the funding would be public. It is now official. My guess is that if everything was considered it would be 55% publicly funded or more...
3. There is a clause that would cause Fort Wayne taxpayers to subsidize the operations of the new downtown hotel an additional $250,000 per year if the hotel does not meet its internally generated benchmarks. We could be forced to provide $250,000 per year for TWENTY years!
4. The City has always maintained that the hotel would be a higher end hotel then the hotel that is now proposed. In the beginning the hotel was to have 360 rooms, then 300 rooms, and now it is 250 rooms. The hotel is much smaller and of a lower quality then what the City has been using in its studies. The hotel will generate less revenue then expected and this fact has ensured that more then half of the project will come from public money.
5. The hotel now wants another additional subsidy that the City has agreed to provide; a one million dollar above-street walkway...
I could certainly go on and on.
It is apparent that the City has sold our City Council and the taxpayers a "bill of goods" Slowly but surely the truth is coming out.
Sunday evening I went to experience the latest installment of the Harry Potter movies. As I attended the second to last show on Sunday evening (I don't work Mondays) the theater was quite comfy and I shared it with only a few folks. My seat was middle center, slightly raised.
Going to the movies is one of the few occasions that I break my diet. If in a theater I MUST have popcorn. There would be something karmicly wrong if one did not have popcorn and a soda with a movie.
Having read the books I find that this movie was more in tune than the last one. It was dark, and did not deviate significantly from the book. However, none of the Harry Potter movies have truly grasped the dark and brooding nature of the books.
I don't believe that if these books were written in the United States today they would receive the same support that they currently enjoy originating from Great Britain. If you haven't read any of the books I would suggest starting with the first to take my meaning. It is a good short book that can be devoured most efficiently and without much fuss. In it you would find that in America the Dursley's would be guilty of child abuse. SEVERE child abuse!!! This does not come through in the movies at all. The movies show the Dursley's as generally unkind but nothing like the books.
This has caused me to further wonder as to whether any of the great literary childrens stories could be written in our modern, politically correct, sanitized, see/hear/speak no evil society???
Published today would Hansel and Gretel shove the wicked witch into the oven OR would the neighborly social worker come by at the last moment and save them? Would the manly woodman wielding the vicious axe slice into the wolf saving Little Red Riding Hood OR would Red spot some abnormality and call 911? Would Alice face the drug addled Mad Hatter OR would she interact with a more stable character?
These children's stories were all written in a day and age when children were dying on the streets, orphanages were horrible but far better than the alternatives and EVERYONE KNEW IT!
Through Harry Potter JK Rolling brings back the dark and allows the heroes to truly shine a light in the dark places. By so doing they have real accomplishments, not the banal inane trivialities of Americas sanitized childrens literature.
I remember on Saturday mornings(decades ago) I used to watch Johnny Quest. Johnny had his bodyguard Rick. On Saturday mornings RICK KILLED THE BAD GUY! There wasn't any gore but no mistake was made: Rick pulled trigger, gun went off, bad guy died. Rick also used a variety of tools available as well. Neither I nor millions of other children turned out traumatized by Rick. What do our children learn from today? A purple dinosaur...? Smurfs...?
I am afraid that if they tried to air Johnny Quest today as it was then dozens, nay, hundreds, of child psychologists would emerge from their offices much as ants at a picnic. Too violent, they would say. Too graphic, they would expound. I am certain the word "traumatized" would be repeated until all Americans would think it were so, irregardless of the truth.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that in our world with all of its marvels and wonders it can also be a terrible and violent place, populated by evil people. If we continue to shield our children from this reality they will NOT be prepared nor capable of responding well when they are confronted by it.
Thank goodness that for a time there is Harry Potter and his crew to show them that sometimes you must get your hands dirty in order to take out the garbage.
PS - I really do miss Johnny Quest :(
Monday, July 16, 2007
What do you think?
From Ken Gividen:
"Must Libertarians choose between free speech and gay rights?
No. Libertarians must advocate free speech for all and human rights for all. When special interest groups, such as gay-rights movement or fundamentalists, seek to erode the rights of others, Libertarians have an obligation to defend the First Amendment right of free expression."
Recently my letter to the editor was published in both the Journal Gazette and News Sentinel. I find it very interesting that the newspapers will edit the letters that we send in. I think I much prefer getting peoples opinions from blogs online because it is EXACTLY what they said, misspellings, bad grammar, bad punctuation and all.
For the record I want to publish here the exact wording of what was sent in to the local media. In this way you will all see what I wanted to say:
" In the July 1st edition of the Journal Gazette’s Political Notebook it was insinuated the Libertarian Party was “protecting” Mitch Harper in the 4th district by not running a Libertarian candidate. This was allegedly due to his speaking at our convention.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. I tried to convince one of our active members who lives in the fourth district to run. As he and his wife just adopted a little girl he decided to dedicate his time to her rather than politics. I hope in four years there will be a Libertarian candidate for the fourth district.
The Libertarian Party is a small party. We are growing thanks to our incumbents regrettable waste of taxpayer dollars. Four years ago Libertarians didn’t run anyone for local office. This year we are running a nearly full slate of candidates for City Council. We will try to run for more positions next time. We want to give our neighbors the opportunity to vote for candidates who believe in smaller government, lowering property taxes and protecting our property rights and civil liberties.
I invite everyone interested to contact me or visit our website at www.allencountyLP.org.
The status quo of politics in
In reviewing what was published the Journal did the greatest amount of editing. In the Sentinel the only thing they removed was my phone number.
Candidate for City Council at Large
(260) 704 – 4698"
It is interesting that in the Journal they removed the fact that I am an candidate (they only published my position within the party).
Is any of this critical to the intent of my letter? The short answer is "no". However, in the grand scheme of things it does make me wonder about every time I read an editorial I will have to question whether the person writing it is really as "off" or "on" the mark as I believe him/her to be OR did the paper edit them into being that way???
My letter in the Journal was published July 12th and in the Sentinel on July 13th. Who knows, maybe Friday the 13th was just my lucky day for them to get it right?
Candidate, City Council at Large
Quote of the day: A government which robs Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the support of Paul. – George Bernard Shaw
Maybe the casino idea downtown isn't so bad after all. People could at least smoke there.
Check out our website www.allencountylp.org for some great information about the Leadership Institute Training in Dayton on August 3-5, which is non partisan and open to the public.
Our next meeting is July 23rd at 6:30. Email me for more information about attending the business portion of our party and our social potluck this month.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Once again the standard rules apply. Talk about anything, but keep it clean. If you can't think of anything, let me get you started with a topic that is probably already dated:
Does the success of Code Blue Schools in fact reflect a groundswell of opposition to recent spending projects in general? Or are there in fact a number of people who support HS but signed the blue petition? Are these in fact two seperate and distinct issues, or was Nelson Peters just trying to garner public support when he signed blue? Please discuss.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
In their story, however, they point out a quote from an independent certified planner who found the information ambiguous at best.
So how can this be a conclusion about the effect?
Some people turned in some numbers. They are trying to get attention that they are in danger. There IS a real story here and it is people are hurting.
10% of someone's budget isn't the same as 10% of someone else's, true---but 10% WILL break some people. And it has.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I still have not been allowed to see any of the financial information underlying the project in spite of filing 12 Information Requests.
Realize that when the project was first studied it was to be a 360 room hotel, then a 300 room hotel, and now it is a 250 room hotel. In my mind 250 rooms is plenty; however, they have used larger hotels for many of their projections and studies in the past. I have to wonder if they have updated their financial projections and studies to account for the smaller number of hotel rooms? My guess is that this smaller hotel will cause the % of the project paid for by the taxpayers to increase.
A Courtyard by Marriott has been selected. Realize that the City has continually stated that the hotel will almost assuredly be a higher end Marriott. In my mind a Courtyard by Marriott is a good fit for Fort Wayne. I once again have to wonder how a lower end hotel will effect their projections? A lower end hotel draws different clients who have different spending patterns. The earlier projections and studies assumed a higher end hotel. My guess is that this "lower end" hotel will cause the % of the project paid for by the taxpayers to increase.
At the City Council meeting where Harrison Square was approved the City Council was told that they had to vote on the issue "right away" because the City had to have a hotel deal in place by the end of May in order for the hotel to open on time... That deadline was missed in a big way. My guess is that the deadline has been missed since the City wanted a a different hotel then what the Developer had planned to build since day one.
Since my tax dollars are going to be used on this project I certainly hope that it succeeds.
The news about the project in the last couple of months has not been encouraging.
The more I have been able to learn about the project the more I have come to realize that its chances of success are almost nil...
This study was done to justify subsidizing another downtown hotel.
The 2004 study assumes a 360 room hotel. We are building a 250 room hotel so the study is not particularly useful. Realize that back in 2004 the grand plan was to build a 360 room hotel...
There is one assumption that leaps out at me. On Section 11 Page 7 they make an estimate that is amazing to me. They assume that none of the guests staying at the hotel live in Fort Wayne. They further assume that only 5% of the guests live in Allen County. They assume that 50% of the guests come from outside Indiana!
These are pretty amazing assumptions. With these assumptions their study makes it look like a lot of the people who stay at hotels in downtown Fort Wayne come from far away and therefore spend a lot of money.
I am not sure what the exact numbers are; however, I would bet everything I have that at least some Fort Wayne residents would stay in a Downtown hotel.
Many of the Conventions held at the GWC are small Conventions that cater to Indiana groups, especially northern Indiana groups.
The GWC also holds a very large number of corporate parties each year, especially at Christmas.
I will use my own experience as an example:
In Dec of last year my wife and I went to a Christmas Party held by one of Karena's clients at the GWC. It was a nice event. We spent one night at The Hilton.
Earlier this year the LPIN held its annual Convention at the GWC in Fort Wayne. My wife and I spent two nights at the Hilton during the Convention.
Note, my wife and I both live in Fort Wayne.
I do not think that a large number of Fort Wayne residents would stay in "Convention Hotels;" however, there is no doubt in my mind that at least some Fort Wayne residents will stay at those hotels for various reasons. My wife and I have spent 3 nights at The Hilton in the last eight months due to events a the GWC.
Both events were small events with less then one hundred people.
I wish that these studies were reviewed for "reasonableness" by our local officials who pay for them. Furthermore, I wish that more of this work was done by local firms.
This is a minor point; however, several minor mistakes can lead to fairly major mistakes...
I just don't understand where these elected officials think they can take our rights away.
So.. we just pay the price. All the tax money and blood and sweat and tears for how many years? Just to make these politicians feel better.
"Dr. John Crawford/(R) Ft. Wayne Council At-Large: "It is possible some business will lose business. But economic considerations do not trump the health issues of a law designed to improve public health. It is possible Fort Wayne, Indiana, is the most resistant place to change in the entire world."
He doesn't care. They don't care if the people who built this city lose money.
Is this the kind of elected official we want?
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
There are currently thirteen nations on the Euro: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany,
Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain. Cyprus and Malta will join in six months.
The best exchange rate (for the United States) was when 1 Euro exchanged for a little over 82 cents. This was in October of 2000.
The worst exchange rate (for the United States) was reached today when 1 Euro exchanged for a little more then one dollar and thirty seven cents. Today is July 9th, 2007.
This is extremely bad news for the US economy in the long run. What it means in simple terms is that people around the world currently would rather hold Euros and not hold dollars. In reality what it means is that people feel that the thirteen countries listed above will grow economically faster then the United States.
It depresses me the thirteen countries above have created an economy that investors perceive to be stronger the the US. Many of the countries that use the Euro are Socialist and many have overall tax rates in excess of 60%!
We need to scrap our current tax code and completely reform our Trade Policy.
The dollar being this low verse the Euro should be discussed by every candidate that is running for President and it should be discussed today.
Unfortunately, they will keep talking about issues to stir up their own political base and will ignore the problems this country faces...
Get this; out of 76,000 state workers they decided that 52,000 employees worked in jobs deemed critical.
Does anyone reading this blog think that 68% of the workers of a state government are working jobs that are critical?
Do not get me wrong, some of those workers are working critical jobs; however, there is no way that 68% are critical.
The Governor and members of the Indiana House and Senate should not hold a special session to address property taxes, the very idea is absurd. They have known what is coming for a long time. The property tax increase is due to increased spending by local governmental units and the State cutting its direct subsidy of local property taxes.
The only reason our politicians (Dems and Reps) are acting concerned about property taxes is because they are afraid of losing their precious elected positions...
My first choice would be to eliminate property taxes entirely. I hate the fact that you can never really own real property.
Here is my solution to Indiana's property tax problem since our elected officials will refuse to abolish property taxes:
1. Indiana should fund all programs that it directs. This means some of the items paid for with local property taxes would end up being funded directly by the state.
2. Indiana should stop using property taxes for any reason. A very, very small percentage of property taxes are currently used for the Indiana rather then local government. That should stop.
3. Indiana should immediately stop subsidizing local property taxes. This is a bad policy and never should have been done in the first place. Each local government should fund their local functions with local dollars.
4. Indiana would save a lot of money by implementing #3. Indiana should immediately lower the Indiana State income tax rate from 3.4% to 2.4%. In turn Indiana should then allow each County to increase their own local income tax as much as 1%.
This is a revenue neutral proposition. It just forces local Government to pay for itself.
Just look it what is happening right now. Right now the members of the Indiana House, Indiana Senate, and Mitch Daniels are all blaming the tax increase on local Government. At the exact same time local Government officials are all blaming the State government.
The only way to fix this problem is to split local Government and State government.
What do you think?
Monday, July 09, 2007
Tonight was a meeting, yet again of bar and restaurant and Legion owners who are STILL mad as HELL about the government tyranny called the Smoking Ban in Fort Wayne.
Pictured above are two Libertarian candidates for City Council--Jon Bartels in the foreground and Doug Horner to the back. Many Libertarians showed up to listen to the people whose lives are being destroyed by the current city councilmen from the traditional political parties and to report to them what we are doing to help. They are mad STILL.
The meeting, held at Piere's, was mainly led by a man from Indianapolis who represented the bars statewide and made promises of getting an amendment to the ban.
This wasn't unlike the meetings previously---lots of people yelling and two current city councilmen standing up there trying to say "we did the best we could." Credit given to Tom Didier who did say something needed to change about it.
I stood in front of the crowd on stage and told the people what WE have been doing since February to change the way government is run in the city of Fort Wayne and why WE ARE GOING TO CHANGE THE WAY SMALL BUSINESSES ARE TREATED!
1) WE SLATED 8 CANDIDATES for them to finally have on the ballot for City Council in Fort Wayne.
2) We post, we blog, we reachout to the community to let them know what is happening.
3) We list their businesses on our website and are trying to drive business BACK to the BARS to help keep them open because we have something to fight for-our freedom!
4) We are planning benefit concerts to GET THESE BARS BACK OPEN and STAY OPEN.
Did you know at least 5 bars have already closed? Did you know MORE ARE GOING TO???
What can YOU do?
Show up to the City Council Meeting tomorrow at 5:30 at the City/County building.
Show up to the next City Council meeting next Tuesday.
GO to the bars listed on our web page (www.allencountylp.org) and tell them you support their right to be open!
Come to the next meeting of the owners at Piere's on Wednesday July 25 at 7:00.
MOST OF ALL: SUPPORT THE CANDIDATES WE HAVE WHO ARE GOING TO CHANGE THE WAY GOVERNMENT WORKS FOR THE PEOPLE--volunteer, donate, learn that YOU HAVE CHOICES NOW!
**I am sure you won't hear this information on the "old news media"...they packed their cameras after a few minutes, came in and out and headed to find a couple of snippits for their 15 second newscasts.....If you want the whole story on the continuing saga check our blogs and websites...**
Today is Monday July 9th.
Tom's website has been up for quite awhile.
I keep checking out his website because I want to know where he stands on the issues.
Please check for yourself:
Believe it or not, Tom Henry still has not posted any of his positions...
I imagine Jeff Pruitt is about to have a seizure... It looks like Tom Henry may be planning on running a "stealth campaign..."
Let's hope that he starts letting voters know where he stands on issues the affect the voters of this City.
How could it be possible that a person who joined soon after 9/11/01 would be deployed to combat four times already and be going back a fifth time, all as a Reservist?
I do not think this story could possibly be true.
Has anyone read anything about it?
One of the good things about working at home is that I can work on the weekends. I put in about 10 hours yesterday because I was in the mood to work.
Another good thing is that I can spend time with my kids. In fact, this summer I get to spend every Wedensday with my kids. That is a lot of fun...
I just got off the phone with Jack. It was a scary conversation...
I think you know you are getting old when you call one of your friends, a male friend at that, and you decide to get together and let your kids play on Wednesday morning...
Heck, I can remember when I used to call my friends and talk about girls, politics, football, etc...
I look forward to seeing you in Dayton!
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
If you scroll down you will see a great sign a hardware store is stocking there:
From their blog:
"Hats off to Pat Sullivan and Jay Snyder of locally owned Sullivan Hardware Stores who just placed an order for 500 yard signs. They will be on sale at both stores about $3.50 each. They should arrive sometime on Wednesday, July 11th.
They told us that they will order more if all 500 sell. Their stock of regular 4-Sale By Owner signs sold out in minutes when news of the Governor's Mansion Press Conference got out.
Please make sure you shop for all your hardware and garden needs at Sullivan Hardware and thank them for their generous help with this effort.
4838 North Pennsylvania
I think the easiest way to fix it is to abolish the Federal Income tax and replace it with a consumption tax. This would level the playing field Internationally for our businesses.
Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama are sponsoring a bill that would help fix some of our problems with China; however, the bill they are sponsoring makes a lot less sense then switching to a consumption tax:
I would support the bill they are sponsoring. We should have forced China to let their currency fluctuate a long time ago.
This is a winning issue for Democrats. Jeff Pruitt over at Fort Wayne Left posts about Trade issues regularly. Jeff has long said that the Democrats need to take a more "populist" stance on Trade and that they need to support "Fair Trade."
Jeff Pruitt is right. This is an issue that could help the Democrats gain more support among voters...
The Republican Party along with about most of the Democratic Party (Including its leadership) has created a Trade Policy that has really hurt this Country.
Do you remember Bill Clinton and NAFTA? NAFTA hurt this Country badly.
Lets hope someone in Washington wakes up and that we fix our broken Trade Policy...
Someone told me about this site (below).. it's interesting and has links to the voting record and snippits about the current city council.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
First year = 58%
Second year = 63%
Third year - the end of the bond = 67%
Please keep in mind that local hotel occupancy rates have been about 45% over the last several years. Also please keep in mind that there are three other hotels that are to be built in this area in the next couple of years not including the new one Downtown...
What do you think of their projected hotel occupancy rate?
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
I would like to introduce myself.
I am Doug Horner and I am running for City Council at large.
I hope to give all of the voters in Fort Wayne the choice of a candidate who believes in:
Lowering property taxes;
Protecting our property rights and civil liberties, and
Reducing the size of government.
The Libertarian Party of Allen County will be having a small get together on the IPFW campus to watch and enjoy the fireworks. Feel free to join us and chat awhile. I am certain that we will be able to either solve all of the worlds problems OR have a few fireworks of our own :)
Libertarians attending would be good to bring a bag or two of chips, a couple bottles of pop or whatever else you think would share well. We could probably also use some lawn chairs. This isn't the most organized 4th we've had but I'm certain we'll all have a good time and enjoy the day.
I will try to put us where we normally meet at the four way stop sign just East of Ketler Hall. I will try to be there early afternoon.
Should you be interested in helping me or any of the Libertarians running for office please don't hesitate to Email us or call me at 704 - 4698. We would love (and REALLY need) all the help we can get.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
The City has done everything that it can to hide the financial information behind the Harrison Square Project. The only financial information available is the summary information posted on the City website. All of this infomration was prepared by The City and they refuse to allow anyone to see anything other then a summary prepared by The City Controller.
The City is bascially daring me to take them to Court.
The information I have requested is public information and should have been provided to me a long time ago.
This last response does have a couple of useful pieces of informaiton in it:
1. The City states that there are no Benchmarks in place to measure the success of The Harrison Square Project.
2. The City is still claiming that the financial information I am requesting is "proprietary information" of Acquest Realty.
3. The present projected hotel occupancy rates of the new Downtown hotel are as follows:
First year = 58%
Second year = 63%
Third year - the end of the bond = 67%
I sent a letter I posted on this blog to the "powers that be" in the City and to all of the members of City Council. I expect one or more of them to help me get the public infomration that I have been trying to get for four and a half months.
If none of my elected officials will help me get the infomration I have requested then I will most likely take my City to Court. The Mayors Office is leaving me no choice...
I am disgusted...
Neither The Democrats nor The Republicans seem to understand this issue at all.
Please read this article:
This is one way to view the problems with some of our policies and it is worth a read.
The World Trade Organization always rules against America.
It is way past time for America to wake up and get rid of our outdated, complicated, and ineffective income tax system. We need to put a consumption tax into place. This will help create jobs in America and will level the playing field.
Unfortunately; most Democrats and Republicans in Federal Offices are unwilling to "open their eyes."
We need to ensure we elect a lot of new people to as many offices as possible...
But Section 95.65 of the ordinance says:
"Smoking shall be prohibited from the grounds of a healthcare facility that has prohibited smoking on its grounds for a distance of the closer of either 200 feet from any point of ingress or egress or the nearest private property boundary."
That means that churches, temples, and mosques are free to set to set whatever smoking policies they wish, even under the new ordinance. Some pastors have wondered if they would be allowed to burn incense. But places of worship are private places in the sense that they enjoy a greater ability to exclude people than stores or restaurants. So they can burn anything they like within their buildings, be it incense, candles, or copies of Origin of Species. A cult leader can even opt to pass out Kools instead of Kool-Aid.
1. When a doctor says A and a parent says B, I tend to go with what the doctor says. Usually the doctors are right. After reviewing Alfie...
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