Saturday, December 10, 2005

Vive Le Resistance!

The deeper into the remonstrance process, the more I impressed with the resolve of the property owners of the Geist area who are subjected to this nonsense.

I was among 150 volunteers who received an email from Rachel Quade on Friday afternoon. We were asked to help distribute flyers to the 2,200 residences in the annexation area. Rachel advised me that she had more than 70 people respond, offering to carry the flyers through 6" of fresh snow.

Color me impressed. 70 responses in less than 24 hours, just two weekends before Christmas, a day after a very heavy snow. That's remarkable! That's resolve.

To think, Fishers Town Council president Scott Faultless predicted that the annexation would be welcomed with open arms. Talk about being out of touch!
Clarification on Waivers From Remonstrance

I personally find waivers that would prevent a property owner from making a remonstrance un-American. It is always your right to speak against a government that works to oppress you. Period. It disturbs me that a government would work to insert such language into a sewer agreement and then try to apply it as a blanket over any issue, such as the Town of Fishers is doing in its attempt to forcibly annex the Geist area in Hamilton County.

The main article in today's Noblesville Daily Times addresses this issue. Reporter William Fouts leads the article thusly:
Those opposed to Fishers' plan to annex communities along Geist Reservoir may have a legal right to remonstrate against the proposal even if their properties are subject to sewer waivers.

According Steve Griesemer, a Geist resident and attorney acting as legal liaison for the Masthead community, certain conditions must be met for a waiver to be valid.

“The sewer waivers have to be registered or recorded with the county recorders office and appear in the chain of title for the respective home or structure,” Griesemer said. “And they also have to be recorded prior to the builders connecting to the sewer system, and a developer cannot execute a sewer waiver after he has already passed off title. In other words, after he has sold the house to the first purchaser.”

These conditions would make the vast majority of properties in Geist waiver-proof. And yet, Fishers was counting on these waivers to preclude more than 40% of properties, rendering the remonstrance process impossible.

Just another of the all-Republican Town Council's many miscalculations. I can't wait to have at these clowns in the 2007 elections.
Colts & Politics

Dan Drexler and Renee Atwood are hosting a fun afternoon at the 106th Street Grill for Sunday afternoon's game between the Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Come cheer the Colts on to their 13th straight victory! I will speak briefly at halftime about my campaign and the Libertarian Party.

Game time is 1pm. The 106th Street Grill is located in the southwest corner of the intersection of 106th & Michigan Ave. (US 421), and is near to Indianapolis, Carmel, and Zionsville.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Glad I Don't Smoke!

I am also glad that I don't own a bar or restaurant, for the same reasons. The smoking ban craze has now hit Chicago. From the State Journal-Register report:
The Chicago City Council approved a ban on smoking in nearly all public places Wednesday but gave taverns and bars located inside restaurants until the middle of 2008 to comply.

The ban, which takes effect Jan. 16, also applies to places such as stadiums, nursing homes, shopping malls, city vehicles, taxicabs, convention halls and schools.

I figure whichever Midwestern city is left allowing smoking in 2007 is going to gobble up the lion's share of this region's convention business. Too bad that won't be Indy.

Credit where credit is due: I learned of Chicago's ban via Jacob Sullum's entry on Reason Hit & Run. It's a great group blog. If you haven't checked it out, I recommend it. Snappy wit throughout.
Opposition To Geist Annexation Well Established

I am very encouraged by the level of sophistication shown by the organizers of the opposition to Fishers' attempt to forcibly annex Geist.

Despite the Town's numerous calculations- divide & conquer by making four quadrants of the Geist neighborhoods; launch the effort during the Holidays; make the petitioners struggle against the cold; count on sunbirds being in Florida when the notices go out; bank on Hamilton Southeastern Utilities completing their deals with developers that included 'thou shalt not remonstrate' clauses in the Covenants- the residents and business owners are well on their way to a successful opposition. From the Fishers Topics' report:
After the Say No to Fishers group met to organize itself Nov. 29, Moran said, more than 600 residents joined the opposition movement in the first 24 hours.

"We picked up momentum as a result of it (the meeting)," Spear said. "The resistance is more than we thought."

Among the group's key concerns is that Geist residents already receive the services they need without paying additional taxes to Fishers.

Antoinette Alexander, who moved to Geist in June, joined the opposition group after speaking with other opponents. She said she was out of town when the annexation announcement was made.

"We pay enough taxes right now," said Alexander, who, like many other Geist residents, claims she has every service she needs. "We don't need any more taxes."

The Say No group also has consulted with Matt Milam and Jeff Woloshin, organizers of the Concerned Citizens of Home Place, which was successful in stopping a controversial annexation proposed by Carmel. Milam and Woloshin offered advice on how to properly organize, raise funds and get signatures to oppose the annexation.

My letter on the subject appeared in the same issue of the Topics. Link to letter.

The "Say No To Fishers" website is up and running. Geist residents and business owners, along with those who oppose forced annexation on principle and support these folks, can get regularly updated info on the site, and sign up to volunteer.

The next step will be to ratchet up the political pressure. While Fishers Town Council President Scott Faultless seems to be the early lightning rod, my hunches are that several others will shortly be feeling the pressure they richly deserve. Stay tuned!
Excellent Lake County Visit

Monday Night Football and a political roundtable with pizza and drinks. What could be better? Well, the football game wasn't very good, but we hardly noticed anyhow.

Big thanks to Jim O'Gallagher and Bert Bell for putting the event together. Also to the Lake County Libertarians, who invited curious friends who have voted for other parties in the past. I think we may have a few converts. The manager at Zuni's took our "Overtaxed Small Business Owner" bumper sticker and small business pamphlet before I left.

The most important things to come out of the conversations:

1. The Woody Allen Rule. It states, "90% of success is merely showing up". This is so true, especially as our state has become so dominated by one party in most counties. Lake is certainly no exception. Because the #2 party is such a distant second in most places, there is effective one-party rule in the vast majority of our counties. By simply showing up, Libertarian candidates make a big difference. When we are on the ballot in Lake and other such counties, the elections are no longer over at the May primary. Candidates keep talking issues until November's general election. In a Democratic-dominated county like Lake, it may seem pointless to talk about smaller government and lower taxes. If the Republicans aren't showing up, Libertarians get all the votes Republicans might have gotten, plus the independents, plus their base. That's enough to make incumbent Democrats nervous.

2. Comfort Zones. While it may be perceived that because Lake is so dominated by Democrats that it is pointless to talk limited government, the flip side to that is that maybe with the absense of active Republicans, there is a significant portion of the population that does believe in limited government, but they stay home on election day because nobody speaks their language. Be undaunted in speaking limited government! Many people will support you and vote for you if you champion them where it matters most. Being a candidate can be uncomfortable business. People want to poke holes in your positions, say you have no chance, etc. That goes with the territory. But it is when we stray beyond our comfort zones that we begin to reap the greatest rewards.

3. Small Business. Even in a heavily unionized area like Lake County, there are still entrepreneurs, and the major parites do not speak for them. This is the Libertarian Party's natural constituency, but like the tree falling in the deep forest, the message isn't heard if it isn't broadcast. It isn't necessary to do expensive advertising. Rather, letters of invitation can be sent to business owners to attend a Small Business Forum. Ask entrepreneurs to tell you where government makes their lives more difficult and more expensive. They sure will tell you, but more importantly, they will understand that you were interested. When was the last time a government agency, or a Republican or Democrat actually asked about how their policy proposals affect them?