Saturday, October 22, 2005

Interesting Perspectives on Sewers

There is a word I would not choose to describe Mayor Peterson's sewer initiative: timely. The the letters to the Indy Star are full of praise for the mayor, despite the fact that this is an ages-old problem. I'll take just one of the recent ones, a glowing letter of praise from today's Star:
Improving Kids' Environment commends Mayor Bart Peterson for taking a crucial step toward reducing the threat to Indianapolis' children posed by overflows in the city sewer system. His plan would provide resources, through increased sewer fees, to pay for much-needed upgrades.

The streams in our neighborhoods often contain human waste where the bacteria count can be more than 100 times the standard and kids are exposed to raw sewage. Whenever there's more than 0.1-inch of rain, these overflows of human waste threaten kids as well as the integrity of our neighborhoods. That's not what we want for our city or our children. You're doing the right thing, Mr. Mayor!

Janet G. McCabe
Executive director
Improving Kids' Environment
True enough, the Mayor is doing the right thing. But, how long has he been Mayor? Since taking office on January 1, 2000. Five-and-three-quarters years is a long time to go between starting the job and identifying a major problem that affects the entire Central Indiana region.

Of course, the Peterson Administration shouldn't have had to deal with this at all. It should have been tackled by at least the two prior administrations- of Mayors Goldsmith and Hudnut. All this means is that no matter if we're talking Republicans or Democrats, we're talking about a lack of diligence in identifying and solving major problems.

The Libertarian Party had been talking about the third-world condition regarding Indianapolis sewers whereby any time more than a quarter-inch of rain fell over a short time span, the sanitary system would overflow and discharge raw sewage into the White River.

Although many Libertarian candidates made this an issue over the past several years, major media ignored them, as did mayors and city-county councilors.

So finally, Mayor Bart Peterson announced an initiative to fix the sewers, once his top priority- the Indianapolis Colts- was satisfied. Great, but let this be the start of a new day where actual priorities are identified and tackled first, not last.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Another Intrusion

I generally don't have a problem with carrying a picture ID. I am who I say I am, and am not affronted by proving it occasionally.

I am affronted by the idea that anybody can get ahold of my info. Hence my indignation at the ability of anyone to take a peek at my driver's license.

I just searched for it and there it was.. . picture and all!! Fortunately, you can remove yours from the searchable archives. I certainly did. Link to remove.

Just enter your name, city and state to see if yours is on file. After your license comes on the screen, click the box marked "Please Remove". This will remove it from public viewing, but not from law enforcement.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Another Day, Another Smoking Ban

Debbie Harbeson reports on Clark County's introduction of anti-smoking legislation, and tackles the personal experience method of advocacy used by one Jefferson City Councilor.

As with all laws that would regulate personal behavior, we have to ask how far you want to take this? To it's logical conclusion? From Harbeson's report:
Since she brought her personal experience up as important to her reasoning for promoting more government interference in our lives, we now have to consider how her situation has any relevance to banning smoking in other’s private businesses. If we follow her reasoning, then her proposed law makes no sense whatsoever. She should have introduced an ordinance that a non-smoker cannot marry, or live with, a smoker. Do you think she would have liked to see a law like this in place when she was choosing her mate?

I'd like very much to hear this Councilor's response. I mean, it's a health issue!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Meeting Tonight

The Libertarian Party of Hamilton County will meet tonight at Barley Island in Noblesville, with the honorable Chair Rob Place presiding. Meeting start time is 7pm.

Two topics for discussion tonight: candidacies for 2006, and the proposed smoking ban in Carmel.

Update: Sneaky Carmel is at it again. They've already had the first reading of their smoking ordinance, at yesterday's inconvenient dinner time meeting.

Hat tip, Rob Beck.

Monday, October 17, 2005

What? Revenues Are Down?

This morning's Indy Star report had me laughing out loud. It seems the suburban counties tax haul from the new food & beverage taxes is less than was expected.

No! You're kidding! Combine higher gas prices with higher menu prices and add a flattening housing market, and you just might have people thinking twice about going out to eat as often as they were when the projections were made. Throw in the perception that patrons might not be able to smoke in bars. I said this all along- if you want to grow revenues, you have to create incentives for people to participate in the taxed activity, not disincentives. Well- duh.

But nobody should be given to panic on this. Any time the Colts want to kick in that user fee- the $3/per ticket tax they stubbornly refused to abide by as 'their share'- they can easily replace any revenues not generated by the food & beverage taxes. From the Star:
State finance officials are counting on $3.5 million a year from the new 1 percent restaurant tax in six surrounding counties, or about $300,000 a month, to help pay for the new stadium. But this month, when money was distributed from August restaurant visits, the stadium project netted a little more than half of that, or $164,376.

Remember that we've been told that the ticket tax was unnecessary, that there was plenty of money to go around without it. It was once considered crucial, but then the government's negotiators went weak at the knees, caving in to the Colts on the ticket tax. But, if there is concern, consider this:

The RCA Dome has a seating capacity of 57,890. At $3/seat, revenue of $173,670 would be generated per game. The average month has 2 games, which would mean generating $347,340.

Do the math. The ticket tax could replace the food & beverage tax. It would have been more fair to tax the actual users of the football product, and would have left diners alone. And apparently, donut county restauranteurs need the disincentives removed.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

TV Time in Fort Wayne

Big thanks to Doug Horner, Jeanette Jacquish, and Robert Enders for their efforts on producing their Libertarian Perspectives TV show, and for inviting me to return for my second and third appearance on the program.

The shows were taped yesterday, and will air over the next couple of months. The topic on the first show is the Libertarian Party of Indiana's Small Business Initiative, which is being employed in the defense of the owners of small businesses such as restaurants & bars, as shown in the previous two blog entries. The topic of the second was regulation and the construction and development industries, and the labor market.

Watch Libertarian Perspectives in the greater Fort Wayne area on Comcast channel 57, Saturdays at 4:00 pm.

Two shoots require two suits.

The first shot reveals the whole set. It's amazing how the two minutes prior to beginning the programs drag endlessly, as shown in that shot, and yet, the 30-minute program zips by and is complete before you know it. Even though I've always been a radio guy, I really like TV.