Friday, June 24, 2005

Pub Crawl Coverage

The pub crawl was front page news in today's Noblesville Daily Times, complete with a nice photo of County Chair Rob Place talking with a BW3's patron about the 1% food & beverage taxes.

One series of quotes in the article is worth highlighting and discussing:
Place said no one in Hamilton County is buying the argument that regional
establishments will benefit from the increase in business brought in from Colts

"The argument that they're going to be going to a Colts game, then driving
20 miles away up to, say, Noblesville for a beer after a game is hogwash.
They'll stay in downtown Indianapolis," Place said.


County Council member Judith Levine also disagreed that local eateries
won't benefit from the tax.

"This stadium and convention center expansion will bring bigger and better
conventions here, and we do get the overflow. We do benefit," she said.

I actually have the experience of having come from Cleveland to Indianapolis for a convention. My hotel stay was not downtown, but in the north side of Indy, near I-465 and Keystone. Not once did I go for a meal or a drink in Nora or at Castleton, which were right around the corner, let alone journey up to Carmel, Westfield, Noblesville, or Sheridan.

In fact, most of the meals were served right in the Convention Center itself. They were catered. On a three-day convention, I recall eating two meals outside of the Convention Center- one at the Slippery Noodle, and another at Champs.

My experience was a typical convention experience. If you aren't familiar with the metropolitan area you are visiting, you won't venture. It will be the exceptionally rare conventioneer who eats a meal in Cicero, or in Atlanta. It's just a load of BS to suggest that there is a huge benefit to suffering this tax in Hamilton County.
Dark Day For Property Rights

The Supreme Court handed down an infuriating decision yesterday on an eminent domain case. In a 5-4 decision, the Court upheld the right of local governments to act on behalf of one private entity to take land from a private property owner under the aegis of eminent domain.

The Wall Street Journal correctly calls this the reversal of the liberal Justices' championing of the little guy. WSJ story. George Will hoped that for once, judicial activism would benefit the conservative, and the Court would finally put a leash on local governments. George Will's column.

These aren't takings using eminent domain for public uses such as roads, sewers, or bridges. These are takings for private developers, who will eliminate residential housing in order to put up a Wal-Mart or a strip center. The rationale? The Wal-Mart or shopping center will create more tax revenue and jobs than a block of residences will.

It's all about governmental greed. Feed the tax coffers- at any price. The ends justify the means.

This should scare the daylights out of any property owner in an area in transition. If you own a home or an office building in an area that is ripe for re-development, you might have been excited in the past for the possibility of a profitable sale. No more. If the developer eyeing your land doesn't like the price you demand, he can now just go to the city and ask for the use of eminent domain, and they can then take your land- as backed up by the Supreme Court's decision.

It should scare you because there is always a developer out there who is bigger than you, and the bigger the developer, the more likely he is to have political clout. Heck- you could even own an incredibly profitable building that pays taxes out the wazoo, but if a developer comes along with a plan for a building three stories higher, he might win the day over you on the basis of a few more dollars for the tax roll, and a few more jobs than you currently offer.

If you thought laissez-faire capitalism was dog-eat-dog, wait till you get a load of government backed eminent domain involved in business.

The Institute For Justice were the good guys in this case, fighting in defense of the homeowners. When it comes time to make a charitable contribution, please keep them in mind.
Successful Pub Crawl

The Libertarian Party led a pub crawl through Hamilton County last night in support of restaurant owners, workers, and patrons, raising awareness of the various 1% food & beverage taxes being proposed here.

1% F&B proposed by the Hamilton County Council, being voted on Monday, June 27
1% F&B proposed by the Noblesville Common Council, being voted on Tuesday, June 28
1% F&B proposed by the Carmel City Council, date of vote not yet known
1% F&B likely to be proposed by the Fishers Town Council upon passage of the County's tax
1% F&B possibly to be proposed by the Westfield Town Council. I have heard indications that Westfield may not propose the tax, even though the Indiana legislature made the option available to them.

Hamilton County Chair Rob Place was interviewed in advance of the event by WIBC 1070-am, who led their afternoon newscasts with the item. Online story. He was also interviewed by radio Network Indiana, and the Noblesville Daily Times. We'll look forward to today's coverage of the event.

At the restaurants we visited, I found that people were interested in our position. Generally, Hamilton County's residents are wary of any new tax. There were plenty of people I spoke with who are Colts fans and are concerned that the team could leave without a new stadium. They were pleased to know that our solution was more involved than waving goodbye, but included a casino deal for Jim Irsay, as suggested by Executive Director Brad Klopfenstien, and my own suggestion for the Governor using teh prestige of his office to assemble an investment team.

We found that the restaurant owners and staff were not consulted at any point by the Republican office holders, with one exception. Claude & Annie's Bill Smythe has been contacted, but only after he attended Council meetings to speak in opposition to the tax, and began writing letters of opposition to the Councilors.

Writing letters is the last thing to do before the vote if there is any hope of defeating this thing.

District Council Representatives
Meredith Carter – Carmel – (317) 776-8402 /
John Hiatt – Sheridan & Westfield – (317) 776-8402 /
Judy Levine – Fishers – (317) 776-8402 /
Steve Schwartz – Noblesville, Arcadia, Atlanta & Cicero – (317) 776-8402 /

For more information on “District Maps for County Officials,” click on the following link:

At-large Council Representatives
Brad Beaver (317) 776-8402 /
Jim Belden (317) 776-8402 /
Rick McKinney (317) 776-8402 /

Carter, Hiatt, Levine, and Schwartz are the Councilors who seats are up for election on the next ballot. It is especially important that they understand that they can expect the most significant ballot box opposition if the are on record voting for the tax. That is a message they understand.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Pub Crawl Tonight

Those wishing to support restaurant owners, worker, and patrons are encouraged to join a Hamilton County pub crawl tonight. Meet up for dinner at Claude & Annie's in Fishers at 6:00. At 7:30, we'll go next-door to BW3's. Later in the evening, we'll wind up at my Thursday home for poker- Barley Island, in downtown Noblesville.

Join us if you are:
  • In favor of lower taxes and smaller government
  • Of the belief that sports arenas and convention centers should be privately funded
  • Of the belief that it is wrong to rob Peter to pay Paul
  • Support local businesses, owned and operated by neighbors and friends
If you can't go, please contact your Hamilton County Council representative and let them know that you intend to vote for anyone who will oppose them in the next elections if they vote for the 1% food & beverage tax.

The Hamilton County Council is poised to vote in favor of a 1% food & beverage tax next Monday. They heard overwhelming opposition to the tax, but will vote for it anyway because a) they believe that they can't be voted out of office no matter what they do; and b) because they are far more interested in giving the Governor what he wants than in representing the will of their constituents.

It's late in the game for making them think twice, but not too late. If they see that the opposition is serious and growing, they could just be brought back to common sense and actual representative government.

If we fail to act, we in essence tell them that they can indeed take us for granted.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Isabel Annalise Kole was born at home on Thursday, June 9, 2005, at 9:18pm. She weighed 9 lbs. 0 oz. at birth, and measured 21 inches in length.

That's a big baby. Just ask Ame!

More pictures from Isabel's first 10 days:

Daddy holds Isabel, just 90 minutes after her birth.
Ame holds a bit of a press conference, shaing the news with relatives on the phone.
Isabel rests in Mommy's lap.
Little girl sleeps peacfully.
Sleepy Daddy with Isabel on Father's Day.