Friday, November 18, 2005

Sometimes, There's Just No Winning
Three guys are in a jail cell. They start to talking and find out that they're all gas station owners.

The first one says, "I set my prices at a couple of cents higher than my competitors. I'm in here for price-gouging."

The second one says "I set my prices at a couple of cents lower than my competitors. I'm in here for predatory practices."

The third one says "I set my prices at the same price as my competitors. I'm in here for collusion!"

The difference between these decisions being legal and illegal is the difference between capitalism and the mixed-economy fascism were are now saddled with in this country.

Thanks to Kevin Fleming for passing this one along, via The Agitator.
Calling Geist Residents!

If you reside in Fall Creek Township in the Geist area, or own business property there, you will probably discuss the Town of Fishers' attempts to forcibly annex you into the Town more than the weather or the latest Colts game.

Many Geist residents and business owners will want to oppose this forced annexation. The Libertaian Party will be pleased to assist you in maintaining your autonomy and self-determination.

Check this site, your newspapers, and your mailbox soon. The Libertarian Party will be setting up a meeting that will give opponents the tools, the insights, and the networking necessary to defeat this hostile takeover.

With this move, the all-Republican Fishers Town Council has just reinforced what we learned from the all-Republican Carmel City Council: it's all about grabbing tax dollars.

It is clear that the Town Council would benefit from the addition of the affluent addresses, the higher assessed value, and the greater population numbers. It all results in more money for them to spend.

But as Geist residents, you currently have less expensive Fall Creek Township fire protection, County Sheriff protection, and County Highway service. Therefore, it is unclear how you would benefit from more expensive Town services, and why you would want them. You certainly haven't been filing petitions asking to be annexed. I have little doubt that you knew what you were doing when you chose Township government.

Place the burden is on the Town Council to show Geist residents that there is something more awaiting them than a higher tax bill, or the ability to cast a fairly meaningless Council vote. Politically, the burden is on local Republican officials to show that there is more to their thinking than entertaining schemes for raising taxes and bonding capability.

Check out the websites of the Clay Township residents who fought Carmel's forced annexation. You will see that the process is indeed hostile. Southwest Clay NOAX. Concerned Citizens For Home Place. You will also see that the residents and business owners can get together and defeat a forced annexation (Home Place), or negotiate to make it more palatable (Southwest Clay).

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Carmel Has A New Rival

OK, Fishers and Carmel have been rivals for the last several years, each looking for the bragging rights however they may come- bigger population, higher rankings in magazines, etc. I'm thinking about the Abdul In The Morning show on WXNT, where they play the theme from Hogan's Heroes every time Carmel is mentioned, and Abdul makes cracks about Home Place being the Sudetenland, because it was targeted by Carmel for forced annexation.

Abdul, you'll have to play that theme for Fishers now. The Town of Fishers just held a press conference to announce that the Council wishes to annex neighborhoods in the Geist Reservor area. From the Indy Star report:
FISHERS, Ind. -- Town leaders here plan to annex hundreds of high-end homes that line Geist Reservoir, one of the metro area's premier addresses.

Town Council president Scott Faultless and Town Manager Gary Huff announced in a news conference this morning that Fishers plans to annex 2,050 properties along the reservoir. The annexation would be large enough to increase the town's number of households by about 10 percent.

"We're going to make Fishers a little bit better by starting to annex parts of the community that are technically not within the town boundaries. The first area we're going to start to annex is our biggest area -- around Geist," Faultless told a news conference this morning.
I'll translate for Mr. Faultless: "We're going to broaden the Town's tax base while offering nothing of substance to these people who currently live under Township government." Given this real-life translation, his closing statement in the article is hilarious:
Faultless said he expects the annexation plan to be well received by property owners.
Really? Why? Annexations were certainly not well received by the residents of the similarly affluent Southwest Clay area, nor by Home Place residents.

I would fully expect these well-to-do Fall Creek Township residents to see through Faultless' bluster and identify the annexation for what it is- an attempt to grab tax dollars, to make the Town's assessed valuation figures look better, and to make the population figure larger.

Here's the challenge to the Town: Make the case. What on earth are you offering these people? The ability to vote for Town Councilors? Big deal. Give me substance.
Looking For Clean Campaigns

I recently received an email from an organization seeking pledges from candidates to keep their campaigns clean. I chuckled. Clearly, they hadn't gotten a hold of the Republican and Democrats in New Jersey.

I got my second chuckle at the name by which this organization goes by: Republicans & Democrats for Positive & Issue Oriented Politics. I can only presume that it has such a name because it is well known that Libertarians run clean campaigns. Anyhow, their pledge is a worthy one, although I doubt many will sign on to it. Observe:
By attaching myself to both this organization and document, I vow to abide by an exemplary standard of conduct. During this campaign, I also promise to confine my criticism to my opponent’s records. For I feel that personal attacks are unworthy, undignified, and unbecoming of myself.

With this pledge, I solemnly declare that I will refrain from inciting, inflammatory, or misleading statements. In avoiding these practices, I hope to serve as an example for both my state and this great nation.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Excellent Fair Tax Presentation

While the tornados in the region, heavy rain, and high winds kept some people away, others came to Barley Island in Noblesville from as far as Lafayette, Fort Wayne, and Hagerstown for the presentation and Q&A on the Fair Tax, as hosted by the Libertarian Party of Hamilton County.

Americans For Fair Taxation Executive Director Tom Wright makes a point. Tom is flanked by Ron Reinking (left) and Abdul Hakim-Shabazz.

WXNT's Abdul Hakim-Shabazz was the MC and threw several typical objections you hear from folks when discussing the Fair Tax. Wright and Fort Wayne CPA Ron Reinking answered the challenges with plain explanations, and each time, I found myself concluding that the proposal could only be good.

From left: Ron Reinking, Tom Wright, Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, Mike Kole

Many, many thanks to Michael Jarrell, who put the event together and then made me take credit for doing so. Michael hatched the idea and did the work. Michael is the Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Hamilton County

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Fair Tax Presentation Tonight

Come on out tonight to hear a presentation and participate in Q&A on the Fair Tax proposal. The event starts at 7pm at Barley Island, in downtown Noblesville, and is free of charge. The Noblesville Ledger ran a news brief on the event in today's edition:
Fair tax proposal is topic for free program tonight

NOBLESVILLE -- Tom Wright, executive director of Americans for Fair Taxation, will speak at 7 p.m. today at Barley Island Brewing Co., 639 Conner St. The Hamilton County Libertarian Party is sponsoring the talk, part of A Fair Tax Evening.

Joining Wright will be Ball State University economist Cecil Bohannon; Ron Ranking, a certified public accountant affiliated with the Indiana Policy Review; and Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, host of WXNT 1430's "Abdul in the Morning" Show.

The Americans for Fair Taxation group has released its plan to put control of taxation back into the hands of Americans. With the recent release of "The Fair Tax Book" by nationally syndicated talk-show host Neal Boortz and Rep. John Linder, R-Ga., the fair tax has become a topic of wide conversation.

The fair tax would eliminate federal income taxes, Social Security taxes and sales taxes. It also would eliminate the Internal Revenue Service, according to the news release from the Libertarian Party.

Well, they got that part about eliminating sales taxes wrong. The sales tax would actually replace all of the other taxes. Everything else and more, tonight!

I'll introduce the event promptly at 7:00. Make sure and say hello!
Stunning Defeat For Merger

I was positively shocked to learn that one Indianapolis City-County Councilor broke ranks with her party to ensure defeat for the otherwise partisan vote on the merger of IPD and the Marion County Sheriff's Office. From the Indy Star report:
A lone Democrat crossed party lines late Monday to defeat a merger between city and county police forces, leaving Mayor Bart Peterson to find another way to pay for public safety with dwindling resources.

City-County Councilwoman Sherron Franklin, a police officer, joined 14 Republicans to defeat the proposed consolidation 15-14, handing Peterson a significant political defeat on one of his most ambitious plans in two terms in office.

Franklin was placed in a trick-bag. She is a member of the FOP, which lobbied hard against the proposal. Her choices were: a) vote with her party and alienate her professional brethren, or b) vote with IPD and alienate her party. Lose your future backing from your party, or the endorsement of FOP? Not exactly a friendly set of choices.
When the vote registered on the Assembly Room board, a crowd made up largely of police officers from IPD and the Sheriff's Department broke into applause. Ron Gibson, a Democratic council member, said he was "shocked" by the outcome because his party has a majority in the council.

After the vote, Franklin said: "They asked me to vote against my family. I've been a police officer for 15 years and a council member for two."

I'm thinking this term will be Franklin's last term, if her party has anything to say about it. I'm looking for the Democrats to slate someone who will toe party line next time around.

Mayor Peterson put an awful lot of energy into this proposal. I liked how he took responsibility for the defeat.
"I didn't do enough to sell this proposal," he said. "We'll have to sit down in the morning and pick up the pieces and find what's best for public safety and how we can stretch public safety dollars as far as we can."

The merger would have created a single 1,500-officer department with the sheriff in charge, starting in 2007. Peterson said the merger would have saved an estimated $9 million. Without the merger, officials say enough funds will not be available for both departments, and by 2009 there would be a $40 million budget shortfall.

Now we have a problem. You can't tell me that it is impossible to fund the police and Sheriff fully. These are real-life priorities in government. Public safety always comes first. The task now before the Mayor and the Council is to trim non-safety fat and pet projects and plow that money into fully funding the police and Sheriff.

If the Mayor and the Council can't find the way to take available funding and spend it on a priority basis, stand aside and let Libertarians do it.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Fair Tax Event Tuesday

Here's another reminder that the Libertarian Party of Hamilton County will be hosting a Fair Tax event this Tuesday at 7pm, at Barley Island in downtown Noblesville.

Tom Wright, Executive Director of Americans for Fair Taxation will be speaking, along with Abdul Hakim-Shabazz from WXNT 1430-am, Ball State Economist Cecil Bohannon, and Ron Ranking, CPA of the Indiana Policy Review. I'll also speak, starting the evening off with a welcome.

Go if you are a supporter of the Fair Tax. Go if you are skeptical about it. Go if you just want to hang out with fiscal conservatives and supporters of limited government. Just make sure to go!