Sunday, September 30, 2007

Robert Fuller, Libertarian for City Council

Robert Fuller has been working very hard in his quest for 5th District City Council. He has done a lot of walking and he has met a lot of voters in his District.

You can learn more about Robert here:
<http://www.allencountylp.org/fuller4citycouncil/>

Mike Sylvester

Friday, September 28, 2007

Councilman Pape and I

There are several posts in the blogosphere about a conversation I had with Councilman Pape before the last City Council meeting. To date I have not posted about this conversation; because, it was not a big deal.

That being said several other people are posting and commenting about it; therefore, I thought I would set the record straight.

Here is exactly what happened in my 30 - 45 second conversation with Councilman Pape before the City Council meeting.

I was minding my own business with four other people in between the City Parking garage and the City County Building. This group included Jennifer Jeffrey, Dan Turkette, and Kody Tinnel.

Councilman Pape and Council Shoaff walked by on their way to the Council Meeting. Councilman Pape peeled off and walked up to me.

He got relatively close to me (six inches away I would guess) and was somewhat angry.
He said several things:

1. He told me that he would be happy to meet with me in person and discuss my concerns.
{Note I have no reason to doubt that he would meet with me if I asked him to}
2. He told me that I was making "unfounded accusations" about him on my blog. (He was referring to one post I made that you can find here:
<http://allencountylp.blogspot.com/2007/09/tim-pape-and-harrison-square.html>
{After re-reading my post I stand behind it 100%. I stated things that are undisputed facts that have been published in local newspapers and that are undeniably true. I also still think that Councilman Pape has a perceived conflict of interest and should have recused himself from the vote.}
3. He then pointed at Dan Turkette (AWB) and asking him if he was Reinking.
{I assume he was referring to Ron Reinking, a local CPA}

Basically I told Councilman Pape that he was wrong and that I was only reporting facts reported in the local media. I did not get particularly angry and I certainly spoke in a quieter and less aggressive tone then Councilman Pape.

All of that being said; Councilman Pape did not act in a criminal or abusive manner. He was certainly a little rude and a little loud; however, that is the way some people are when they are having a bad day.

I am not particularly offended by his actions; however, I was a bit surprised when he came up to me...

I am glad that I was not also having a bad day; because, then we could have escalated into a major argument and that would not help accomplish anything.

Mike Sylvester

Here's a link to a cartoon

YouTube videos and sarcasm are taking the place of civilized debate in this city. So here's a damn cartoon.

Fort Wayne Trash Fees

The JG has a piece about this topic that is worth a read:
<http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070921/LOCAL/709210316&SearchID=73294749129878>

First of all I have to say that I am please with the City Trash Department. I think they do a "dirty" job and do it fairly well.

First of all the City already plans increaseing garbage fees about $1 per month. I think this is most likely appropriate.

The City is now considering forcing those who generate more trash to pay an extra $2 per extra bin. I also tend to think this is a good idea; howeever, it will be difficult to determine which families routineley use more then 1 bin per week.

The fees associated with garbage collection should match the expenses. The entire service should be paid with user fees.

I think I can support both the $1 per month increase as well as the additional fee for those who generate more garbage.

As an example my neighbors routinely put out three large garbage bins per week (And they are often overflowing). I put out one bin each week and once or twice a year I may generate more then one bin. I tend to think those who generate more trash should pay a higher fee.

Mike Sylvester

Tuesdays City Council Meeting

The City Council meeting on Tuesday was quite interesting. Here are my highlights:

A. The City Council unanimously decided to NOT increase the property tax levy for the City by the maximum amount possible. For several years the City Administration has "pushed" to increase the property tax levy by the maximum amount per year. This year was no exception; however, The City Council did not go for it.

Jeff Pruitt has a couple of great posts on this at Fort Wayne Left:
<http://fortwayneindiana.blogspot.com/2007/09/tax-cut-proposed-by-councilmen-crawford.html>

<http://fortwayneindiana.blogspot.com/2007/09/city-council-recap-92507.html>

The press coverage in the main stream media on this topic is not adequate. There are several things that need to be emphasized:

1. The City Council did cut the budget by a little over a million dollars; however they in general did not cut spending. Instead they lowered the police and fire budgets since those budgets always assume 100% manning and there is not 100% manning due to sickness, attrition, retirement, etc.

2. Most important is the fact that the City's current cash balance includes 4.8 million dollars that is "earmarked" for the Police and Fire Pension Plans. Unfortunately, the money has not been moved into a designated "sinking fund" to ensure that the money both generates interest and that the money cannot be "used" for other purposes. Next year's City Budget "earmarks" another 1.6 million dollars for the City Police and Fire Pension Plan. Unfortunately this money is also not in a designated Fund; it is instead part of the City's cash balance.

I brought this fact up in the public comments section. I hope that City Council rectifies this as soon as possible. The money needs to be removed from the cash balance and needs to be put into a designated Fund to protect it.

I am not in favor of the actions City Council took. The City of Fort Wayne has a large amount of debt that future taxpayers will have to pay. As Jeff Pruitt said; "They are just kicking the can down the road."

B. Councilman Talarico requested he be removed from a Committee that he had volunteered for at an earlier meeting. He stated that he thought there were enough public officials in the group and that it needed more citizen involvement. I was extremely impressed that Sam Talarico made these comments.

C. City Controller Pat Roller made a presentation in which she showed the current Pension shortfall to be 226 million dollars and a health shortfall of 40 million. I have looked at the City's CAFR statement for 2006 and I noticed the pension shortfall to be 244 million dollars; however,
she may have more up to date information that that listed on last year's CAFR.

D. Tom Hayhurst did not have his best moment at the end of the City Council Meeting. Jeff Pruitt has posted video of Councilman Hayhurst's rant over at Fort Wayne Left:
<http://fortwayneindiana.blogspot.com/2007/09/tom-hayhursts-city-council-comments.html>

It was an interesting City Council meeting to say the least.

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Republicans for Henry

Jeff Pruitt has an interesting post you should read over at Fort Wayne Left:
<http://fortwayneindiana.blogspot.com/2007/09/photos-from-republicans-for-henry-rally.html>

Let me start this post by saying that I support Matt Kelty for Mayor.

That being said; several people have asked me what I think about Sam Talarico, an elected Republican, backing Tom Henry, a Democrat.

I have given this a lot of thought and I have changed my mind somewhat from a couple of earlier posts.

I actually have to say that I respect Sam Talarico quite a bit for supporting a candidate from another Party. It takes a lot of guts and Sam has demonstrated that he has guts.

Voters should vote for the best candidate regardless of Party affiliation. (I feel Matt Kelty is the best candidate; however, Sam and I disagree on this) I have little respect for people who vote based solely on political Party.

I currently plan on voting for a Republican for Mayor, a Democrat for City Council, and three Libertarians for City Council.

In one case I am going to vote for a Democrat over a Libertarian (At-large, I am voting for John Shoaff).

So I am going to vote for members of each of the three parties in the upcoming election. I have never voted along Party lines in my life; I doubt that I ever will vote a "straight ticket."

Sam Talarico and I disagree on many things; however, the more I learn about Sam Talarico the more respect I have for him on a personal level.

Mike Sylvester

Another thing that needs to change in Fort Wayne

One of the things that I am in favor of is streamlining the permit process and making it easier for businesses to operate in Fort Wayne.

My wife and I are purchasing 1/4 of an Office Condominium that is being built behind the Dupont Branch of the Allen County Library. We are currently the only tenant and we have designed our own space. We are very excited about it and we are moving in December 3rd of this year.

Our office area will be a little over 2100 square feet.

We plan on employing a total of eight people with fairly high paying white collar jobs. We expect to grow from two people to 8 people in less then four years. We are creating six new jobs in Fort Wayne that will pay an average of about $45,000 per year. You would think the City of Fort Wayne would be happy about our investment in Fort Wayne.

Such is NOT the case.

We do NOT qualify for a tax abatement due to the way Indiana law is written and so we will not get the tax abatements that many businesses in Fort Wayne rely upon. This is because we are buying an Office Condo and they are not individually eligible for a tax abatement. This is due to State Law not due to local laws.

As the Building is constructed a Fort Wayne inspector is required to inspect the project and ensure that everything is per code.

This has been a nightmare so far and it is something that needs to change in Fort Wayne. I want to give the readers of this blog some personal examples of things that have occurred on the building that my wife and I are purchasing 25% of. Please realize that an almost IDENTICAL building was constructed down on Scott Road less then four years ago...

1. The Inspector representing the City of Fort Wayne insisted that the builder add "Hurricane Ties" to the tresses. I do not know if this is needed; however, we do not have a lot of hurricanes in Fort Wayne and I know of other buildings that do not have them. So now the building has "Hurricane Ties."

At the very least we should either require them on all similar buildings or not require them. Fort Wayne should be consistent. The almost IDENTICAL building on Scott Road does NOT have "Hurricane Ties."

2. The Inspector representing the City of Fort Wayne insisted that the stairway be modified because 2 or 3 steps did not have the required width or clearance. We changed the stairway so that it is a straight stairway and that is not a big deal. Note that the office building that was built four years ago has stairways identical to those that could not be built today.

This is something that should be consistent.

3. This is the big one and nearly caused HUGE problems. Originally the Inspector representing Fort Wayne was not going to allow a second floor to be constructed because he did not feel our second floor would be compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The office will have the following rooms on the 1st floor: Waiting area, Reception area, Conference Room, Break Room, Bath Room, and five offices.

The office will have the following rooms on the 2nd floor: A storage room and a sixth office.

The Inspector was not going to allow a second floor to be built at all since it would not be handicapped accessible unless a lift or elevator was installed.

Our Architect was able to get the Commercial Building Inspector who represents The City of Fort Wayne to change his mind and everything is ok. We can have our second floor and we do not need an elevator. (Thank Goodness)

I think this post helps illustrate some things I think need to be changed in Fort Wayne.

I know a couple of City Councilmen who read this blog and I know several candidates who read this blog. Please do something to fix this problem.

Fort Wayne needs more high paying jobs and The City of Fort Wayne needs to work with businesses rather then against them.

I want to talk about ADA compliance for a couple of paragraphs.

I have no problem with having reasonable standards for disabled Americans.

It is NOT reasonable that disabled Americans be able to get up onto the second floor of a Commercial Office Building that has almost everything on the first floor.

If we employ someone who is disabled we are smart enough to give them a main floor office and they do not have to be able to get into our storage room...

Our clients will not need to have access to our storage room or to our sixth office.

Come on...

Mike Sylvester

P.S. Does anyone think that our second floor should be ADA accessible and we should have to install an elevator?

2008 Presidential Candidates Positions

I was listening to the Pat White Show today and Pat mentioned a website that allows you to take a short political quiz and it tells you how you match with the candidates.

Please try it out:
<http://www.vajoe.com/candidate_calculator.html>

Unsurprisingly I was not particularly close to any candidate.

The four candidates I scored closes to were:
Ron Paul, 66.07% (R)
Duncan Hunter, 62.5% (R)
Tom Tancredo, 62.5% (R)
Fred Thompson, 59.82% (R)

A number of candidates were middle of the road for me including the current front runners:
Rudi Giuliani, 46.43% (R)
Hillary Clinton, 37.5% (D)

The bottom four candidates were:
Mike Huckabee, 33.04%, (R)
Bill Richardson, 33.04%, (D)
John Edwards, 31.25%, (D)
Barack Obama, 27.68%, (D)

Please take the quiz and post your results!

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sad realization about Harrison Square

It has become obvious to me that no matter what is revealed to the public about Harrison Square the project is going to be "defended" by those who believe in it.

It is also obvious to me that the reverse is true; there is nothing that could make me support the project and I think the project is extremely mis-guided to say the least. My opinion will not change and I am going to be every bit as "set in my ways" as the project's supporters.

I find it somewhat sad that all of the opponents of the project read the Audit report and we all think it supports our dislike of the project; while at the same time the supporters of the project read the Audit report and "do not think it is a big deal."

The entire project comes down to two things at this point.

First City Council must approve the 18 million dollar loan tonight at the City Council meeting. I think there is no doubt that Shoaf, Schmidt, and Smith will oppose the project again. I also think there is no doubt that Hines, Talarico, and Pape will again vote for the project.

Everything will boil down to the three City Councilmen who voted for the project; however, have expressed doubt at various points. It is all up to Didier, Hayhurst, and Crawford. Councilman Crawford is especially important because he is in a tough re-election battle and he has been publicly telling people that he will change his vote if it turns out the law has been violated...

Second is the DLGF approval of a property tax financed bond for the project. This is all up to Cheryl Musgrave. I am think she will vote AGAINST the Harrison Square bond being approved; or at the very least, take 180 days to reach her decision. Unfortunately, if she stops the bond from being backed with property taxes, the City will assuredly then pursue getting a bond that is not backed with property taxes at a cost to the taxpayers of 4 million dollars.

Several people have contacted me and asked me if I thought the City would spend an additional 4 million dollars if the DLGF does not approve the Harrison Square Bond. The Mayor has made it clear that he will push to spend the additional four million if needed... Let there be no doubt; the four million additional dollars will not stop ANY of the Harrison Square supporters from supporting that option. It is just money, they seem to think that Harrison Square is worth nearly any cost.

I strongly advise the people who feel strongly about this issue to vote in November. We desperately need some new faces on our City Council and we desperately need a new Mayor (Which we will get since Mayor Richards is not running for re-election).

What is most appalling about this project is that those 601 voters who were recently polled about this project oppose it almost 5 to 2. In other words if 7 Fort Wayne residents were having dinner 5 would be against the project and 2 in favor of it. This does not seem to effect most of our elected officials in the slightest.

Our elected officials seem to be daring the public to vote them out of office.

Even more appalling, I have repeatedly heard that the voters would be in favor of the project if they just understood it.

Give me a break...

Mike Sylvester

Monday, September 24, 2007

What does the recent Audit of City mean in regards to Harrison Square?

The State Board of Accounts Audit may have a major impact on the Harrison Square Project.

The most important effect is that this SHOULD change the vote tomorrow night at the City Council meeting. Tomorrow night the City Council is voting on whether or not to take out an 18 million dollar loan to cover project costs until the City can secure the loan with the DLGF (Which may well NOT get approved). Read more at:
<http://www.angrywhiteboy.org/index.php/2007/09/19/harrison-square-gets-shake-down-loan/>

I would expect 1-3 City Councilmen to change their votes on the short term loan to cover the Harrison Square Project costs based on the findings by the State Board of Accounts.

Councilman Crawford has been reported (By several sources) to have repeatedly said he would change his vote on the Project if the law was broken... In fact, I heard from two independent sources that he told this to several people this last weekend at a Republican event.

Based on previous conversations I have had with both Councilman Didier and Councilman Hayhurst I think the Audit may influence their votes as well.

I think that the response from the Indiana State Board of Accounts will pretty much ensure the Indiana DLGF (Cheryl Musgrave) will shoot the main Harrison Square bond down; meaning the City will have to spend ANOTHER 4 million dollars to finance the bond if it is not backed by property taxes.

Add this to the cost over-run that will occur due to the walkway the hotel is insisting on and the project is going to be funded almost 60% by The City and only 40% by private developers...

The financial breakdown keeps getting worse and worse...

Mike Sylvester

Indiana Attorney General may be getting involved with Harrison Square

*EXCLUSIVE*

Read the below letter from the Indiana Attorney General to John Kalb dated Septemebr 5th, 2007. Then read the Audit from the Indiana State Board of Accounts.

This may get very interesting.

Lets hope some of our City Council members change their votes on the 18 million dollar Harrison Square loan that is up for a vote tomorrow night. I encourage people to attend tomorrow night's City Council meeting!

Mike Sylvester











State Board of Accounts finds City of Fort Wayne lacking

AWB is much more technically savy then I am. I have sent him a copy of the entire pdf file and he will be posting it in a format that may be easier for you to read.

Please check out:
<http://www.angrywhiteboy.org/>

AWB will have a post up in a few minutes with the info I just sent him.

This is going to get interesting...

Mike Sylvester

Fort Wayne City Controllers Response to Audit





Audit Results pertinent to Harrison Square





State Board of Accounts audit

*EXCLUSIVE*

The State Board of Accounts has found that the Redevelopment Commission and the City of Fort Wayne did not handle parts of the Harrison Square Project according to law.

I will be posting pdf's of the audit in the next few minutes...

Mike Sylvester

"Vote for Bob"

Robert Fuller and I decided to use the same signs and split the costs.

Kind of catchy, don't you think?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Voters are Stupid

Welllll........Good things the Libertarians DON'T believe that....

However, if you believe what the Allen County Democrat Party says, don't forget to check your intelligence at the door at the next Kool Aid meeting....

With all the crap being said lately by the media whores and Kevin Knuth, et al, one would have absolutely no reason to believe YOU as the VOTER have one bit of intelligence.

HERE IS WHERE YOUR PARTIES HAVE FAILED YOU and EVEN ONE MORE REASON to get the hell away from the status quo of Allen County politics.

From TODAY'S Journal.... (oh ya, got my NAME WRONG...) http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070923/LOCAL08/709230315&SearchID=73294261613997

My first gripe:

"The Fort Wayne City Council took considerable heat for some controversial decisions this year. Yet with about six weeks until Election Day, the public furor over the issues seems to have quieted, and no organized public effort has been made to keep the fire burning."

What about the number of open meetings the ILBA has had we here candidates for City Council and Mayoral races have spoken to it's membership and the public. What about the CAMPAIGNING the Libertarian Party has been doing? No Organized efforts?? DUH..... There are plenty of other examples.

Second:

"In fact, many local political officials believe the council races will come down to name recognition, meeting residents and getting streets paved instead of a stance on the two hot-button issues. Kevin Knuth, Allen County Democratic chairman, said the uproar over the two issues has waned and they are unlikely to drive voters to the polls. “They will both have zero impact on the fall election,” he said.

Do YOU believe you are THAT STUPID as a VOTER?? Do YOU think YOU have the memory of a Jack Ass or an Elephant?"

Third:

"Steve Shine, Allen County Republican chairman, said the issues seized the moment at the time of their approval, but that time has passed. He said those issues will likely cause some people to vote one way or another because of their high notoriety, but he said they are not likely to change any election results. “Fort Wayne voters are intelligent enough and broad-minded enough to not make this a one-issue campaign,” he said. “There are things all of us do sometimes that do not go to our immediate core supporters. That comes with leadership.”"

There is definitely more than one issue to take the current City Council to task over, let alone the other two political parties.

Do you remember eminent domain?

Do you remember property taxes?

Do you remember the smoking ban?

Do you remember Harrison Square?

Do you remember (insert how many more issues here.. just start searching our blog)

Fourth:

"Andy Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, said voters in Allen County typically don’t hold grudges for past decisions. He said a few people might see the election as one last chance to strike against Harrison Square or the smoking ban, but, “I don’t think it will be a large number.” What will really determine whether a councilman is re-elected is how responsive that person was to constituent concerns, including how well the streets were plowed in a neighborhood, or how quickly potholes were fixed, Downs said. Further, many of the people upset about the smoking issue – bar owners, employees and patrons – don’t have the best track record for voting, he said."

WHAT??? They HONESTLY BELIEVE YOU ARE THAT STUPID that you only vote for how quick your potholes get fixed. "NAh.... no one cares about us taking their money OR THEIR RIGHTS......!?"

Fifth:

"Especially in the at-large races, Knuth said, candidates will have to spend a lot of money to ensure most voters simply know they are running at all. “The at-large race really comes down to name recognition,” he said. Either support of Harrison Square or support of the smoking ban could play a larger role in a district races, but only if a candidate tries to make it one, Knuth said. But the issues still won’t be the predominant reason anyone wins election, he said."

He SAID it... ISSUES Won't win and election. OH ya, that's right. You are STUPID.

Issues.. Who needs any stinking ISSUES...


Sixth:

"One group that hopes to capitalize on Harrison Square and the smoking ban is the Allen County Libertarians. Party Chairwoman Jennifer Griggs said all eight Libertarian council candidates oppose the smoking ban and they all plan to properly scrutinize the progress of Harrison Square, although she said it is too late for them to stop the development.

“Here are two glaring examples of where government has interfered with our lives,” she said.

Capitalize? It's the VOTER who can capitalize. That's all we are as Libertarians. Real people who want to protect our rights and of those around us. Since when is fighting for your rights and winning "capitalizing"?

Seventh:

"Because both Republicans and Democrats supported Harrison Square and the smoking ban, however, it will be more difficult to make them partisan issues, Downs said."

Exactly why there is such a blurry line between the other two parties. There isn't any definition to either other party's core values and both have shown that won't fight for our rights. Great gain to boast about.

Eight:

""Knuth said he doesn’t think the Libertarians will be able to raise enough money to make a difference this election. “They’re not going to run serious campaigns,” he said."

Wow. Does doing the right thing by the voter require buying votes and showing off who has a bigger wallet? What's the definition of serious, folks? Granted, we won't be raising the most money. By no means, however, does it mean we aren't serious. Protecting our rights has never been more serious. We are out there every single day fighting this fight with blood, sweat and tears. What is the value of that? Libertarians are more dedicated than any other party or candidates to making a difference in this world.. not lining their pockets with your money.

Finally:

"Fifer, who owns Peanuts and the Aboite Grill, said the bar association plans to meet in the next few weeks to decide what action to take.

“We’re not done, we haven’t died,” he said. “We’re just waiting for the right time.”"

Keep watch. We are all still out here.


Do YOU believe you are stupid enough NOT to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH??!!! How many times do you have to be kicked in the ass, money taken from your pockets, and been told you don't know enough to vote on the issues until you decide to stand up and say to these two parties they have failed you?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

City Council announces tax breaks

Recently, members of the City Council announced they want to cut taxes. This is like a college student who is about to flunk out of college and announces he plans to study hard before finals. It’s like a bad boyfriend who says he is going to change right before the breakup. Past performance outweighs a sudden change of heart. If the council was serious about keeping property taxes low, they would not have allowed them to get high in the first place. This city needs to rethink TIF's and tax abatements, policies that grant special breaks towards large companies and leave a larger tax burden on small businesses and homeowners.

Karen Goldner Impresses

My doorbell rang earlier today and guess who was out walking my neighborhood?

Karen Goldner, Democratic candidate for the 2nd City Council District (My City Council District).

It is the first time in my 40 years that a candidate has rang my doorbell and asked for my vote.

I am quite impressed!

Mike Sylvester

Friday, September 21, 2007

More Tim Pape information

John B. Kalb
3720 Mulberry Road
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802

City of Fort Wayne law office:

Subject: Question as to Timothy M. Pape, elected and sitting City Council member, in regard to a conflict of interest as spelled out in IC 36-44-1-3

City Attorney(s):

As a citizen of Fort Wayne, I request that you ask the Indiana State Board of Accounts and the Indiana State Ethics Commission if an apparent conflict in Mr. Papes votes, past and future, on items presented to council from our Redevelopment Commission exists. My reason for asking for this is due to the following facts:
1) Mr. Pape is a partner in Carson Boxberger LLP and as such, shares in any
profits of this partnership
2) Mr. John Wernet is also a partner in this same group and his activities on the
Redevelopment Commission are billed to the City of Fort Wayne.
3) This commission is the controlling group in the redevelopment project known as Harrison
Square. Per public information, Carson Boxberger has billed over $66, 268 to the city for
Mr. Wernets work on this project.
4) I do not believe that Mr. Pape has ever excused himself from votes on this project or has
he filed a “Uniform Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement”, form 236 per requirements
of the IC 36-44-1-3 law.
5) I ask that, until Mr. Pape files and receives approval on a form 236 application, that he be
prohibited from discussing on council or voting on any item presented to council from the
Redevelopment Commission.

Signed John B. Kalb

Tim Pape and Harrison Square

One of the things that often angers me in Fort Wayne is the fact that many elected officials and many Board members vote on issues that they should recuse themselves from.

The Niezer brothers are a great example that I have personal experience with. Anytime your brother comes before your Board with a proposal you should recuse yourself from the vote. I have personal experience with this. In fact when the newspaper ran an article in which I said that Mr. Niezer should recuse himself from cases his brother presents to the Board he sits on, Mayor Richards came out the the newspaper the next day and basically said that I was "whining."

This is one issue the Mayor and I strongly disagree on...

City Councilman Tim Pape and I do not see eye to eye on very many issues; the most recent issues being Harrison Square and the smoking ban. Councilman Schmidt has made it clear recently that he feels Councilman Pape should possibly have recused himself from the votes on Harrison Square.

Councilman Pape is a partner in a Fort Wayne law firm. Councilman Pape's law firm has been paid to perform a small amount of legal work on the Harrison Square project. It has now been revealed that Councilman Pape's law firm is also leasing a luxury suite in the new Downtown baseball stadium as well.

It is my opinion that elected officials should recuse themselves from votes on issues where there is an actual conflict of interest or is a perceived conflict of interest.

In Councilman Pape's defense the Harrison Square Project is "small potatoes" to his law firm and I think that should be made clear.

I am certain that several of the readers of this blog will disagree with this post including Councilman Talarico.

What do you think?

I am especially interested in what Democrats who read this blog think! Jeff Pruitt immediately comes to mind since he is a strong advocate for open government.

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Chances to Meet the Libertarian Candidates

Since you asked...

Here are some upcoming chances to meet the Libertarian Candidates for City Council:

Tonight!
Northwest Area Partnership candidate forum 6 p.m. --Northridge Baptist Church on Cook Road
Mayoral, At-Large and 2nd and 3rd Districts

Wednesday Oct 3rd:
YLNI the Vote candidate forum 6:30 p.m. ---Downtown Fort Wayne Library
All candidates on Fort Wayne City ballot

Monday Oct 15:
Northside candidate forum 6:30 p.m. ---Northside High School
All candidates on Fort Wayne City ballot

Tuesday Oct 16:
Builders and Contractors (BCA) and others Candidate Night--Summit Club
All candidates on Fort Wayne City ballot

Evan Bayh makes a REALLY dumb proposal

Please read this press release from the Evan Bayh campaign (Hat tip to John Good):
<http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=25540#middle>

This press release demonstrates why our tax code is so screwed up. The tax code gets larger and more complicated each and every year because of politicians who want to "appeal" to voters and pass legislation that just makes no sense.

This latest example from Senator Bayh is indicative of this.

Before I tear it apart; let me explain a little bit about the "standard" deduction and "itemized" deductions. All of us who file Federal Income Tax returns will either claim a "standard deduction" or we will "itemize" our deductions.

To make a long story short; you can take the "standard deduction" no matter what; however, if you look through your receipts each year and you have incurred more allowed expenses then the standard deduction then you can itemize your deductions.

So for your 2006 taxes the "standard deduction" for a married couple was $10,300. So in 2006 you could deduct $10,300 from your income OR if you incurred more expenses that count as itemized deductions you could "itemize" your deductions and take subtract the larger amount from your taxable income.

The largest three expenses US families incur that count as itemized deductions are mortgage interest, property taxes, and medical expenses.

Senator Bayh's proposal is that those people who take the "standard" deduction next year can also deduct from their income the amount of property taxes they pay as ANOTHER category of standard deduction.

This will add another line to the tax forms and make your taxes a little more complicated.

There is a MUCH EASIER way to handle this and Senator Bayh should have discussed this with someone who has filled out a tax return in the past. I would think someone on his staff has filled out a tax return or that one of the other sponsors of the bill has possibly filed an actual tax return.

Senator Bayh could accomplish his intent by just raising the standard deduction. This would NOT make the tax code any more complicated and would serve the same purpose because Property Taxes paid are ALREADY one of the main items you consider when determining whether you take the standard deduction or itemize you deductions.

Four Indiana Congressman have already decided to support this silly proposal. Republican Dan Burton and Democrats Donelly, Hill and Ellsworth.

Where do we find these people who are elected to public office?

Good Grief

Mike Sylvester, CPA

Dear Governor....REFORM TAXES

www.propertytaxreform.in.gov

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Republican State Senator Bob Meeks is asking taxpayers to offer their own experiences and suggestions for property tax reform by submitting e-testimony via the Web site of the State Commission on Tax and Financing Policy. Meeks said testimony of 500 words or less can be submitted online at www.propertytaxreform.in.gov or by the old fashioned way of mailing a letter. Meeks says all testimony submitted by November 1st will be reviewed by the commission.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

So what do you call yourself?

Thanks goes out today to Mr. Leo Morris, from the News-Sentinel, for bringing the issue to the table of where Libertarians differ in the freedom vs. free will arena.

"If you’ve been listening to the presidential debates, you will have found hardly anyone from either party willing to let you just live your own life, enjoying the rewards and suffering the consequences of your own decisions. You will have discovered merely different ways to use government to push you in one direction or another."

Definitely worth reading: http://openingarguments.wordpress.com/2007/09/19/you-do-the-label/


Note and update: Thanks goes out today, as well, to Tracy Warner for the publishing yesterday of part of my letter to him, and nearly the entire letter in today's Letters to the Editor in the Journal Gazette. The full letter can be seen below in a post from last week.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

HIllary Clinton really is a Socialist

Check out this story:

<http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070918/ap_on_el_pr/clinton_ap_interview_6>

Here is the quote from Hillary Clinton that bothers me the most from this story:

She said she could envision a day when "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview — like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination," but said such details would be worked out through negotiations with Congress.

Yep, she is a Socialist.

Mike Sylvester

Mr. Greenspan on NPR today

I listened to a radio interview with Allen Greenspan today on NPR.

I tend to think Allen Greenspan is an extremely intelligent man and I think he has a wonderful grasp on economics.

He surprised me a bit when he claimed to be part of the "Libertarian wing of the Republican Party." He went on to say he was in favor of smaller Government and thought civil liberties were important.

No wonder Greenspan did not get along with our current President. President Bush is TERRIBLE from both a size of Government standpoint as well as a Civil LIberties standpoint.

I have some news for Allen Greenspan:

Today's Republican Party stands for Larger Government and fewer civil liberties...

I took one main thing from the interview. Allen Greenspan agrees with my view that the largest threat to the US Economy is Medicare. He had especially harsh words for the "bi-partisan" prescription drug program passed in 2003.

Mike Sylvester

Mr. Warner Responds

In today's Journal Gazette Tracy Warner writes:


"Libertarians

In last week’s column discussing the smoking ban and City Council at-large races, I did not include the three Libertarians running for the three at-large seats: William Larsen, Doug Horner and Michael Brightbill. “All three of the Libertarian at-large candidates (indeed all eight candidates on the ballot) fully support the repeal of the smoking ban,” according to party Chairwoman Jennifer Jeffrey.

Thanks. I appreciate it.



Links for Cadidate Info

(Hat tip to Bill Larsen)
You all know who you plan to vote against. But who are you going to vote for?
From now until sometime after Election Day, we will have these links posted for your convenience.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Something that still bothers me..

Former teacher, gave birth to child from incestuous affair, self admitted, paternity test done by state and verified dna... and still not in jail.


http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070917/LOCAL/709170304&SearchID=73293659973343


"Michelle VanMeter, 35, who is listed in court records as living in the 2100 block of Vance Avenue, is charged with three counts of child molesting, three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of sexual battery.

VanMeter had not been booked into Allen County Lockup by Sunday evening."

Friday, September 14, 2007

This press release makes a whole lot of sense...

Kelty Plans on Immediate Halt to City Spending of TIF FundingUse of TIF Funding by Current Administration Little More than “Slush Fund”

* Press Release * Sep 13, 2007

FORT WAYNE, IN, – Mayoral candidate Matt Kelty announced today his plans for a halt, and then a change in direction, for the City’s use of Tax Increment Financing (“TIF”) districts. Kelty claims the current administration has turned a valuable economic tool into the equivalent of a development “slush fund”, with little oversight or accountability for how TIF funds are spent.
“TIF districts are supposed to be closed out when the development project is done, so that the increased tax revenue from the improved property can be used to fund our schools, fire and police protection, and other essential functions of city and county government,” said Kelty. “That’s one of the core purposes of a TIF district—to grow our tax base so the individual tax burden can be reduced.”

A TIF District is established to re-pay bonds used to support economic development at a specific site and for a specific purpose. After a project is completed and the property is worth more, the property yields additional property tax dollars—but these dollars are captured by the Tax Incremental Finance District and spent only to re-pay the public debt. With TIF districts, public investment in a project is paid for, or repaid by, the additional or “incremental” increase in property taxes generated by the finished project. The entire increase, which can be substantial with a project like Jefferson Pointe, can only be used for the direct benefit of the TIF area until the project is complete. Regardless of how much the property tax revenue increases, city and county budgets, the schools, and other local government operations get no benefit from the increase while the TIF remains in place.

“Jefferson Pointe has generated millions of dollars of ‘extra’ property taxes above what was needed to complete the project and pay off the bonds, and not one penny of it has made its way into the City, County or school corporation budgets,” says Kelty. “Instead, the administration has continually amended and expanded our TIF districts, and broadened the scope of the projects.

By keeping the TIF districts open, and keeping the millions of dollars of taxes they generate segregated, we are able to pretend that we have huge amounts of money available to build baseball stadiums—while we don’t have money to refurbish our schools or take care of our pension debt to our firefighters. If the money is in a “separate pocket,’” its because the Mayor’s office has kept the money out of the pocket that pays for basic services for this City.”
Kelty wants to change that.

“When the TIF project is complete, the TIF needs to be closed, so those revenues are received and accounted for in our city, county and school budgets.”

Until the harm caused by inappropriately extending TIF districts is fully understood, Kelty proposes an immediate, temporary halt to the following:
1. Expansion or amendment of existing TIF districts
2. Commitment of funds to any new projects within existing TIF districts
In addition, Kelty will halt all new purchases of real property by the Redevelopment Commission using TIF funds—unless the property is within an existing TIF district, the purchase is first discussed and approved by the Commission at a public meeting, and the property is first appraised.

As Mayor, Kelty intends to conduct a thorough review of all existing TIF districts and, if necessary, an audit of revenues and expenditures.

“We need to know exactly where we stand with each of these TIF districts—how close we are to concluding the public commitment; what balance remains to be paid; how much the incremental revenue increase is; and how soon we can close the TIF so those funds can be used responsibly as ordinary property tax dollars. The current approach has been the opposite: when the project is nearly complete, we look for a way to keep it going and keep the TIF money separate.”
Kelty states that closing the TIF districts when the initial project is completed will also bring greater transparency and accountability to City operations.

“There is something fundamentally wrong when the City Council, the elected fiscal body, doesn’t know until long after the fact that the Redevelopment Commission has committed millions of TIF dollars to purchase property outside of any existing TIF district or approved Economic Development Area. These were decisions made in executive sessions, with no public record and no recorded votes, which led to the ludicrous situation where we obtained required appraisals after we bought the property, not before.”

Kelty contends that keeping so much revenue in the TIF district and outside the City budget (and City Council’s normal review procedures), encourages government to act in secret and is a clear temptation to favoritism.

“When government is allowed to act in secret, it’s usually for issues of national security, or at least public safety, not to try to get a good price on a piece of land wanted for public entertainment.”

More information concerning Kelty’s planned approach to TIF districts is available in his TIF Policy Statement at his website, www.mattkelty.com.

Blogging in China

I thought you all should see this. Bloggers in China got a local contruction project killed, so local authorities want to outlaw anonymous posts.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Libertarians are ON the ballot

Mr. Warner,

I am writing in response to your column published September 11, 2007, entitled "Few races in county's other cities and towns."

I must take issue with the misinformation you published about the upcoming election in Allen County.

In the paragraph entitled "The smoking vote" you stated "After the Fort Wayne mayor's race, the next most watched races are the City Council at-large races, where six candidates seek three seats."

With the mass amount of media and active campaigns, I am astonished you would recklessly omit the three Libertarian candidates seeking the At-Large seats. This would put 9 people seeking the three seats.

Furthermore, in your statement "Voters upset with the city's tough smoking ban are targeting incumbent Republican John Crawford...But those voters will be hard-pressed to find three at-large candidates to support their views," you absolutely ignore the fact that all three of the Libertarian At-Large candidates (indeed all eight candidates on the ballot) fully support the repeal of the smoking ban.

Not only have the Libertarian Candidates taken THIS stance, but they have very strong commitments to changing the way the public and government work together.

The Libertarian Party of Allen County is very motivated, credible and visible in this community. You disregarded the campaigns and the hard work these people are doing and all that we have accomplished. You have misled the public about the people of Fort Wayne having a CHOICE this year when their traditional Democrat and Republicans have failed them.

If you sincerely do not understand the magnitude of our candidates, campaigns, or issues I would truly like to sit down with you to explain.


Respectfully,

Jennifer Jeffrey, Chair
Libertarian Party of Allen County

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What the experts say

I have been debating with several political "experts" on how well Libertarians can expect to do in the upcoming election.

Let's see what economic experts have to say about taxpayer funded ballparks.

"There is no return to the public sector or a region's economy that is worth or can justify the commitment of tax dollars for building an arena or ballpark."
Taken from "The myth and reality of the economic development from sports" by Mark Rosentraub Real Estate Issues April 1997

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Credit Crunch

A reader of this blog sent me the following question and asked me to address it on the blog:

“Given the quick rise of the economy and mortgage company/loan issues; does it really make sense to continue to cut rates in an effort to try and prevent recession or are we trying to prevent a problem that needs to occur and we are merely postponing it and potentially making it worse?”

I think this is a great question and I would like to discuss it.

First I want to address the problem he is referring to. In mid July the Dow Jones Industrial Average peaked at about 14,100. Over the last seven weeks the index has dropped to about 13,300.

The drop is almost entirely due to consumer fears about the default on various consumer debts; especially the “sub-prime” segment of the US housing market. The default rates have increased and many investors, banks, and hedge funds have bailed out of the entire “sub-prime” lending industry. A huge number of US lenders have declared bankruptcy; a large number of Americans have lost their jobs due to this.

Even though the problem is entirely located in the US debt markets, stock exchanges around the world have fallen. This fall has occurred worldwide because so many different organizations own part of this debt that is now in danger of defaulting.

Housing prices have been affected as well. The price of homes in the US is falling.

Second let’s look at what has been done to combat the problem. Private industries around the world stopped loaning money to the US lenders that they feel are affected by problem. There have been a couple of weeks where even the BEST credit risks in the US could not have secured a home equity loan with a large national lending company. I think it is fair to say that the lending industry is going to come under a lot of scrutiny and it is going to be more difficult to secure loans. I imagine the idiots in Congress will put even more regulations on an industry that is already heavily regulated.

The Federal Reserve (And other banking institutions around the world) have poured a couple hundred billion dollars into the system in an attempt to ensure that there is enough “liquidity” for banks to make loans.

The Federal Reserve has cut the “discount rate” .5% on August 17th. This is the rate at which the Federal Reserve loans money to banks and lenders. This was done to encourage banks and lenders to borrow more money so that they could in turn loan it to consumers.

The problem as it stands can be summarized fairly easily:
1. The US Government has emphasized home ownership and has encouraged all
Americans to secure loans for homes.
2. Lending organizations have made it easier and easier for Americans to
borrow money.
3. Americans have borrowed larger and larger sums of money. In fact interest
only loans have become common. Americans are paying smaller and
smaller down payments on their houses. Variable rate mortgages are very
common.
4. Many Americans are falling further and further into debt. This has caused
many to start defaulting on their mortgage payments.
5. This has caused more homes to be put on the market as banks foreclose.
Currently there is a large supply of houses on the market.
6. This has caused home prices to drop because of supply and demand.

There are more factors involved; however, this is a basic summary.

The original question I was asked is “Given the quick rise of the economy and mortgage company/loan issues; does it really make sense to continue to cut rates in an effort to try and prevent recession or are we trying to prevent a problem that needs to occur and we are merely postponing it and potentially making it worse?”

In my opinion our economy is a “house of cards.” Consumers, local, State and Federal government all have a record amount of debt. The entire economy is driven by consumer spending and Government spending. Government spending is rapidly rising; however, if there is a “credit crunch” consumers will not be able to purchase as many items.

I think our economy will get through this “credit crunch.” I expect that we will enter a small recession in either 2008 or 2009. I think that the “Fed” will be able to control the current “credit crunch.”

I am against any of the following:
1. More regulations on the lending industry.
2. Any Federal bailout of businesses.
3. Any Federal bailout of consumers who got loans they cannot afford.

What do you think?

Mike Sylvester

Robert Fuller

Libertarian candidate for 5th District City Council Robert Fuller wrote a great "letter to the editor" in today's JG.

You should read it.

<http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070911/EDIT09/709110403/-1/EDIT>

Mike Sylvester

Six Year Anniversary

Usually anniversaries are considered more special if they are 5 year, 10 year, 25 etc. But this 9/11 anniversary has a couple of notable milestones:
1. This is the first time since 2001 that 9/11 has fallen on a Tuesday. For those of you who have the same routine as you did six years ago, you would be doing exactly what you were doing (or supposed to be doing) when the planes hit the towers and when you first found out about it.
2. Most of today's kindergartners were born after 9/11. These kids will learn everything they know about the event from their elders and history class.

Monday, September 10, 2007

YLNI the Vote

YLNI is a very impressive group of "young professionals." They have done an impressive job gathering infomration on candidates and getting the word out to their supporters.

I 100% disagree with the majority of the members of YLNI due to their 100% support of Harrison Square; however, I am extremely impressed with their committment and their organization.

Here is a press release from YLNI

For more information contact:
Heather Schoegler, YLNI Vice President of Marketing
(260) 348-5252,
heathers@ylni.org

Brian Kelly, YLNI the VOTE task force chair
(703) 628-6937, programming@ylni.org

Rachel Blakeman, YLNI communications chair
(260) 413-1805, communications@ylni.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2007

YLNI the VOTE registering, educating and informing voters about the city election
Candidate brochure now available on web site, candidate night at ACPL Oct. 3

Fort Wayne, IN – Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana is informing and involving its membership of more than 1,000 in November’s election by producing a 24-page brochure featuring candidates from all the City of Fort Wayne races. In addition, YLNI will host a candidates night open to the public Wednesday, Oct. 3 and regi ster voters at organization events.

Republican, Democratic and Libertarian candidates on the city ballot replied to the same three questions. Their responses were compiled into a brochure that can be downloaded on the YLNI web site (
www.ylni.org) along with the information each candidate submitted to YLNI. The brochure also includes voter information such as a map of the city council districts. Copies of the brochure are available at upcoming YLNI events including candidates’ night.

YLNI the VOTE concludes Oct. 3 in meeting rooms A and B at the main branch of the Allen County Public Library. Formatted after the North Side Neighborhood Association candidates’ night, candidates will be given the opportunity to introduce themselves and give a 2-minute answer to a question specific to the office. The YLNI the VOTE committee will write questions prior to the event, but will not release them to the candidates. The moderator will be Michelle Gladieux, a Fort Wayne-based leadership educator and trainer.

Candidates night starts at 5:30 p.m. with a candidate meet and greet and the forum starting promptly at 6 p.m.

YLNI registered more than 35 voters at this summer’s Barr Street Market, which concluded Sept. 8. Voter registration will continue at YLNI’s general membership meeting Sept. 28 and the Oct. 3 candidates’ night.

This non-partisan effort is designed to engage YLNI’s membership in the political process and remove the two most common reasons why young adults don’t vote: lack of voter registration and lack of information about candidates and where they stand on issues important to young professionals.

"Since our founding in 2005, YLNI members have shown that they are an important part of the Fort Wayne community," said Brian Kelly, YLNI the VOTE task force chair. "It is time for our membership to voice what issues we find important and make ourselves heard on Nov. 6 in the city election."

Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana is a dynamic group that is connected to our community and committed to making it a vibrant and viable place to live, work and play. Our mission is to engage and empower our young leaders through community, professional and social opportunities. For more information about the organization, visit
www.ylni.org.

Sam will love this

In the comment section of an earlier post Sam Talarico commented that he was surprised that the News-Sentinel published my analysis of the recent Zogby poll and the unpopularity of the Harrison Square project and how this could affect the next election.

The original editorial is here:
<http://www.newssentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/EDITORIAL/709050374&SearchID=73292448429680>

Sam will be glad to learn that the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly ran the editorial as well... You can read it here:
<http://www.fwdailynews.com/articles/2007/09/07/greater_fort_wayne/
features/opinion/letters_to_the_editor/doc46e13e7948ddf185945176.txt>

I think that this is a larger topic to the voters in this town then Sam may think...

I think we are going to have some new City Council members and I think this will also influnece the Mayor's race.

Mike Sylvester

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Recent comment

On the recent "Harrison Square" post written by Mike Sylvester, someone had left an anonymous comment that was unrelated to the topic discussed in the post. The post made some very serious allegations concerning fraud, but offered insufficient evidence. I tried to delete it, but I could not. So I hid all the comments attached to that post until I can figure out how to remove the comment or the person who made the comment contacts me and gives me the proof that I need.

I do understand the need for people to post anonymously, so I allow it in most cases. But if you are making a claim that someone has done something illegal that the prosecutor overlooked, then you should contact a professional journalist so that you will be protected by Indiana's shield laws. Do not post it here.

The obvious exception to this is when it is already been established that a person has taken a course of action, but the debate is whether or not that action was illegal. For example, after Bill Clinton admitted to receiving oral sex from an intern, we can still debate whether or not denying it under oath constituted perjury. So we can still debate whether or not the Kelty loans were illegal, and if the use of the Jefferson Pointe TIF to pay for Harrison Square was illegal.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Seatbelt Laws and Personal Choice

This is stolen from http://www.veritasrex.com/ but it was so good I really wanted to share:

"A very interesting analysis of seat belt laws and fatality statistics comes to us from Kenn Gividen. Interestingly, New Hampshire is the only state that does not require adults to wear seat belts, and yet their traffic fatality rate is lower than the national average.

• Fatality Rate per 100M VMT (Vehicle Miles Travelled):

New Hampshire: 1.24
National Avg: 1.45
Indiana: 1.31

• Fatality Rate per 100K Population

New Hampshire: 12.67
National Avg: 14.66
Indiana: 14.96

According to Mr. Gividen, big bucks from the federal coffers are being given to states to enforce seat belt laws and to promote highway safety. That is clearly not the solution.

"Of the eighteen states that have had primary enforcement seat belt laws since 1991: Fatality rates per 100,000 VMT were higher or equal to the national average in eight of these states. Fatality rates per 100,000 population were higher than the national average in nine of these states."

This can be quite an emotional issue to discuss, but it does make you wonder how neccesary these measures are for the citizens of Indiana. Choosing not to wear a seat belt may not be a smart move, but shouldn't it be my decision?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Libertarian Garage Sale

Hello Everyone,

This is just a reminder that the Libertarian Fundraiser is this coming Labor Day at the Sears Pavilion from 7AM – ≈5PM.

We will be serving food & drinks for all interested so come on out and join us.

We will have several of our Libertarian candidates running for City Council there to take questions and input so I hope everyone can make it.

If you have anything you would like to donate to the fundraiser Jack & James will be happy to stop by on Sunday with the truck to take it away, so give Jack a call at 432 – 2091.

Also, if you would like to volunteer some time we would sure appreciate it so again, give Jack a call at 432 – 2091.

If you are not able to make it I hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Respectfully,

Doug Horner

Posted by Mike Sylvester