Thursday, December 15, 2005

Astroturf Alert

In the biz, the term "astroturf" refers to letters blasted out chain-like to many media sources on a given topic. It's easy enough to do. Write your spiel, and then cut & paste into the newspaper's web form, and hit 'submit'.

I try to avoid pure astroturf, even though I do send many very similar letters to the regions newspapers. I go out of my way to write each letter from scratch so that they offer something different in each paper. The editors appreciate that, because they don't want to run a letter on Thursday that is identical to one that was printed by a competitor on Wednesday.

Enter one Jason Smith, of Carmel. He has had two letters printed on the topic of the Geist annexations. They are identical. Astroturf. The first question that comes to my mind is, "Why does a guy from Carmel have opinions strong enough on an annexation from the other side of the County that he is compelled the send astroturf to the local papers"?

Thursday's letter by Jason Smith, in the Noblesville Daily Times:
Kudos to Fishers for its snow-removal efforts in the wake of last Thursday's storm. Driving through the southern Hamilton County town Friday morning, you hardly would have known that seven-plus inches of snow had fallen.

Which leads me to believe that all the folks in Geist should quit complaining about becoming part of the Town of Fishers and start looking forward to the kind of services they'll be getting when they do.

Jason Smith, Carmel

Wednesday's letter by Jason Smith, in the Indianapolis Star:
Kudos to Fishers for its snow removal efforts in the wake of the Dec. 5 storm. Driving through the southern Hamilton County town Friday morning, you hardly would have known that seven-plus inches of snow had fallen.

Which leads me to believe that all the folks in Geist should quit complaining about becoming part of the Town of Fishers and start looking forward to the kind of services they'll get when they do.

Jason Smith

Anyone care to hazard a guess on Mr. Smith? Is he a party loyalist, coming to the defense of Fishers Town Councilor/GOP County Chair Charlie White? Hmmm... I'm doubting that Mr. Smith was living in an area forcibly annexed by his home city of Carmel, a fiscal conservative opposed to growing government, or one who defends the right to self-determination.


GadFlier said...

We useta call 'em "Shills".

Anonymous said...

How "libertarian" is the notion that some households in a contiguous municipal area do not pay for services they already receive? How about services that could be more efficiently delivered if consolidated to the municipality. How about that it would REDUCE the tax burden on the other citizens in the municipality? You're no libertarian. I can't even believe you live in Fishers. I might take you more seriously if you went out and found a nice juicy emminent domain case to rant on.

Mike Kole said...

If the people outside the Town limits receive Town services, it would be appropriate for citizens of Fishers to call the Town Council on the carpet for giving away the store. We could have kept the municipal tax burden better in check by not giving away services. Is this what you defend?

I understand where some Fishers residents look forward to adding Geist residents to the tax rolls, for the same reason as the Town Council- to pick the pockets of those Geist residents, in the short term.

In the long term, however, it's just a greater area included in the services provided. It means another fire station, more police officers, more building code enforcers... In short, it means bigger government.

This is what Republicans are all about anymore- short term apparent savings, long term tax burden. Because I intend to live in Fishers for a long time to come, and have an infant daughter, I am VERY interested in not passing a huge tax burden on to her. Study recent history and you will see that the rampant forced annexations in Carmel led to a bond floating and spending spree. THAT is what I really fear looms if Fishers follows Carmel's lead. Again- I don't wish that tax burden that will surely follow the bond spree on the future citizens of Fishers, including my daughter.

But in a way, this is an eminent domain case, at least in parallel.

The property owners don't want to be annexed. Simple as that. Fishers will use force to do it. It's wrong. Period.

GadFlier said...

The municipality in question is free to not offer services to unincorporated areas, which then would have to be handled by the county at large (or township, as the case may be). Fishers is free to not renew any contracts it has with the Geist area.

Dan Drexler, LPIN Exec. Director said...

Dear Anonymous -- you are mistaken. The residents of Geist DO pay. In fact, had you been at the organizing meeting, some residents even commented that if it's just about snow removal, they'll handle it themselves. They simply don't want or need what the Town of Fishers is attempting to force upon them.

Furthermore, we might take you a little more seriously if you had the nerve to identify yourself

Anonymous said...

You obviously take me seriously or you wouldn't bother debating me. I'll just stay here in the back of the peanut gallery, heckling the players and saying the things that nobody wants to admit are true.
It isn't only about snow removal, although I'm sure you're getting hosed by the landscape companies providing that service. There are many residents in Fishers that feel it's about time that ALL unicorporated areas begin to pay their fair share. Personally I think yours just happens to be the "low hanging fruit".

It isn't just about police and fire either. The town provides parks and facilities for the schools and S.P.O.R.T.S. program, roads paths and sidewalks for all residents to use and access to sanitary sewers which a lot of you need. As a libertarian I'm upset when I'm paying my taxes while a bunch of freeloaders thumb their nose at the very town we all live in. There are so many more good reasons for this to happen and the few people I know that live in the annexation area say they "really don't care" so you might have an uphill battle to get your 65%. Your HOAs are all raising their dues to provide for things that Fishers could provide. Talk about a no-brainer...I really didn't want to use this forum for the annexation discussion other than the libertarian connection...or lack of.

Kevin F said...

Anonymous you claim to be Libertarian and yet you use this statement seriously. "pay their fair share." in your last comment. How would you know what someone else's "fair share" would be? That's how Democrats think! If you want to learn more about what Libertarians stand for and why this annexation goes against it show up at Borders Book Store at Keystone at the Crossing on Dec 28th at 8PM. Of course you'll have to have an open mind and take the chip off your shoulder.

Ed Godard said...

One thing that hasn't been talked about is the people who chose to live in the Township for the different rules between cities and townships.I personally know two people who live in Fall Creek township who own acreage. They bought there so that they could shoot their guns. Both are concerned that even though they have the right acreage to shoot a gun safely, they would immediately lose the right to do it because they would be within Fishers (or Noblesville. let's see who gets there first), and the cities have laws against discharging a weapon. So even if they agree on everything else Fishers offers, they wont be happy to leave the township.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the invite, I already had it on my calendar. The perceived "chip" is only my writing style...meant to stir emotions. I'm really not all that bad. I also try to choose my words carefully which is why I was careful to say that "many residents in Fishers...feel it's about time that their fair share" I didn't say I was among them. I moved from The Orchard At Sunblest to Fall Creek Twp last year and I share the parks, soccer fields, roads, grocery stores and filling stations with those residents who I have to carry with my petty (imo) little town tax payment. My concern is that in a short while it may become less than petty unless all who enjoy the benefits are sharing the expense. Prime example; It's ridiculous and inefficient to have county sheriffs cross an entire jurisdiction to deliver a service. HOAs are already dipping into the folks pockets only to spend indiscriminently on things like new street signs and snow removal. To me it's not a question of political party affiliation. Fishers needs more residents who are willing to help keep an eye on spending. The new Taj Mahal at town center for example (skating rink?) I just want all of us to have some "skin in the game".

The system we have to work with is that the fair amount to pay is determined by the value of real property. A concept I personally find abhorrent but not quite as much as people who feel justified in stealing. I consider myself a libertarian but next to the pure form I'm probably just a lowly independent.

As a gun owner I sympathize with Ed's friends but as a father of four I'm OK with Fishers' "no discharge of projectiles" ordinance. There's lots of space left out there in Hancock county.

I really posted here only to bait Mr Kole (which he handled quite well btw) but I must say that the level of discourse here is far superior to any other forum I've found. I hope Mr Kole doesn't mind.

Mike Kole said...

I don't mind the discourse. If I did, I wouldn't allow comments, and would only post the 'Official Truth'.

It's a risk, as I understand that nobody is going to agree with me on everything. Then again, that's why most other candidates refuse to participate in a dialogue, and only speak in talking points. I like to set myself apart in this way and hope the distinction is noticed.