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

11 comments:

J Q Taxpayer said...

Very well stated.

First, most people have no clue what the audit report means (not what is says but what the sole purpose of is). They don't understand what the City letter back to them means (it is just the City's defencce). And they have no clue to the overall process.

After the report is CERTIFIED copies will be sent to the Indiana Attorney General and the Allen County Prosecuting Attorney. It is unclear if sending a copy to the local proecuting attorney is automatic or is driven by the request of a resident.

Oh, at the start of Harrison Square I was supported the project. But when every major issue around this project left me with, "This does not add up!" I lost that warm nice feeling.

I soon saw it as a big cherry pie and some people where just diving in and grabbing every mouhful they could.

Kevin said...

Mike,

You have hit the nail on the head!

"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."

You oppose it. I support it.

This is one of those issues that are not Democrat/Republican/Libertarian. It is just residents who disagree- and we will most likely never find middle ground.

Thoughtful post, good job!

Anonymous said...

Kevin,

So the ends justify the means I guess, eh? The law be damned as long as you're on the right side?

The charges are serious if one is accusing Matt Kelty of lack of transparency, and improper filing of a campaign finance report. However the arrogance of Tim Pape is "OK", (an attorney with a vested financial interest in approving Harrison Square) who's firm has "ALWAYS done business with the city" refuses to recuse himself from obvious conflicts of interest because he's FOR Harrison Square?

Kevin said...

Anon,

I am not an attorney- but I think you are barking up the wrong tree on this one.

I will also note that it seems Matt Kelty is "innocent until proven guilty", but the same is not said for Tim Pape!

Indiana Code 35-44-1-3 Sec C-1 says:
(c) This section does not prohibit a public servant from having a pecuniary interest in or deriving a profit from a contract or purchase connected with the governmental entity served under any of the following conditions:
(1) If the:
(A) public servant is not a member or on the staff of the governing body empowered to contract or purchase on behalf of the governmental entity;

In this case, the City Administraiton's budget was approved by City Council. The City administration then entered into a Professional Services Contract with Carson Boxberger. This contract was not voted on by City Council. Pape is NOT a member or on the staff of the administration.

Therefore, in my limited knowledge of legal matters, Pape is exempt from the code you cite.

Robert said...

Kevin ...

Tim Pape is a partner (owner)of Carson, Boxberger, with knowledge of his firm's contracts with the city. Voting to approve a project that will result in self-enrichment is (without stretching our imaginations) a conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

Kevin,

My point is there is NO way Harrison Square can sustain the level of scrutiny to which Mr. Kelty has been subject. Obviously one is innocent until proven guilty, and yet Mr. Pape proudly boasts that his firm has always and will continue to do work for the city -- conflict of interest be damned. Hope he knows a good attorney.

Anon
11:09 am

Kevin said...

Anon,

The point is that Tim Pape will hold up to the scrutiny.

Remember- Kelty's ORIGINAL story was that he had the money to loan his campaign because he and his wife "led a frugal lifestyle".

If he has been so misleading on this issue, what will he do as Mayor???

Hope Matt Kelty is actually listening to his lawyers- he is facing 7 felonies and time in jail.

J Q Taxpayer said...

It goes deeper then Tim Pape. It might include up to five other members of the same law firm. I am trying to figure out who represents who there.

The people or the Mayor.
Maybe the Mayor.
No, it is the people.
No, they are billing the city right now.
No, it is a City Council meeting so it must be the voters.
No, it is an Fort Wayne Allen County Tourism meeting so it must be .....?

Darn, I am so confused who they represent but I am sure they have a score card to track it. I trust them, they know the Indiana law....

Wait a second, does any one know if the City has money going through Tower Bank that is placed there on a non bid process? We may need to have a larger score card.


Here is a group of names and they all fit in the same room. Can you guess the name of the room? Jerome Henry Jr, William Niezer, Deb Niezer, DON WILLIS, and Leonard Rifkin?

Wait a second is that the same DON WILLIS tied to Matt Kelty? That is strange....

Enjoy, it gets better.

Anonymous said...

Kevin

I support Harrison Square like you, and I have agreed with your posts. However, please do not tell me that Matt was indicted for saying that he and his wife led a frugal lifestyle. That may have been morally wrong but is not legally wrong.

Anonymous said...

how about those colts?

Sorry,
I love seeing people actually participate in government.

Good work Mike.

NewtonCain

ROACH said...

dont just talk- file a campaign complaint with the election board- conflict of interest is an impeachable offense.
so is bundling 158,000 dollars- ask the election board, and grand jury to investigate further.

I dont oppose any downtown development, as long as i dont have to pay for it.
If I can invest in it, and see a return on investment- such as buying stick, or bonds in the project, I would be inclined to buy in.
Or if any project is financed by private funds only - its their risk- i will decide in a free market/free enterprise economy to spend money there, or not.
I think the issue most persons have is this:
1. we have a perfectly good baseball stadium that sprouted up overnight, it seems, that is now going to be demolished, and not creatively re-used, and marketed.
2. the downtown HS project will enrich the few, at the expense of the many. again- why not sell share of stock; or some affordable means so those who are interested, and able, can invest $10, $100, etc? I dont care what they do downtown, with their own, private money- spend it on hookers, and cocaine, for all i care- its not my money(but if you want to give me a few hookers, and cocaine, I surely wont complain- giggle)
As long as I dont have to pay for it, or am forced unwillingly to invest in it.
Time will tell whether this dodo flys, or who will be held repoinsible if it flops like a goony bird.
As long as its not my money. (I have hookers, and cocaine to spend it on- helping poor single mothers, and poor columbian farmers out of poverty- giggle)
but seriously...