Friday, January 06, 2006

Recent Linkage

Thanks to the NK Hurst company for linking three of my commentaries on their company website. I appreciate that very much.

The links can be found via their 'stadium fight' link on the main page, and then via the 'media clippings' link. It's a comprehensive list of links that includes the major media in addition to blogs like this one and Rob Beck's.

Support NK Hurst's right to their property!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ad For Blogs

I am very pleased to announce that former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Kenn Gividen placed a long-running ad on the online version of the Noblesville Daily Times. The ad appears on the right side of the page, with the header "Top Blogs".

The ad is primarily a tool to drive Daily Times readers to LPIN State Chair Mark Rutherford's blog, but it also links to this blog, along with blogs from Rob Beck of Carmel, Mike Sylvester of Fort Wayne, Rex Bell of Hagerstown, Debbie Harbeson, Al Barger, and also Kenn's blog.

So, I welcome those of you who are visiting from the Daily Times site. I invite you to read throughout my blog to find out where Libertarians stand on important issues that really affect us in our homes and our businesses, such as eminent domain abuse, forced annexation, property rights, and taxes. I think you will find yourself agreeing with our positions more than you might have expected.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Indy Star Mailbag

I sent a Letter to the Editor in defense of the Hursts, which the Star did not print today. There is hope that it may be printed tomorrow. Here are links to four letters the Star did print today, also in defense of the Hursts.

Look For Other Solutions To Stadium Parking
Take Private Land Only For Real Needs of The State
A Request Irsay Should Make: Drop The Lawsuit
Put Hurst Proposal In Writing, Keep It Downtown

The last one is by Rep. Phil Hinkle. Here's my letter, which was not printed:

The Star's editorial position on the Stadium Authority's eminent domain procedings against the NK Hurst Company was shocking and disappointing.

The Hurst Company is a model corporate citizen who made a commitment to Indianapolis. The Hursts perservered in the inner city while other businesses fled for the suburbs or even other states and countries. On that count alone, the Hursts should be given honors. Instead, they are faced with the wrecking ball and the theft of their property.

The Stadium Authority's eviction notice should be seen as a troubling signal for other inner city companies. How many other family businesses will have their property stolen for the next political project, such as a 4-star hotel?

While the Stadium Authority does have a mission, and is a steward of the State's interests, that mission addresses only a very small subset of the State's greater responsibilities. One of those fundamental responsibilities is to assure the security of Hoosiers in their properties.

On this crucial count, our state government and the Star, have let Indiana down.

Sincerely Yours,
Mike Kole
Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State
Former State Secretary, Libertarian Party of Indiana
Recommended Reading Extended

Yesterday, I recommended checking out Rex Bell's very fine blog, The Bell Curve. Today, I have several interesting reads that are worth your while if you have an interest in the state of liberty in our fair state.

Rob Beck's blog, "Shall Not Perish," is always excellent and worth reading. Today's entry is something that occasionally comes to my mind, but that I haven't recently researched.

How much of the Marxist dream has been realized in Indiana and the United States? You may scoff or laugh, but Rob compares Marxist doctrine to current public policy. The next time a Democrat laments some sort of shift to the right, laugh in his face. Republicans may be sweeping elections, but policy is moving ever leftward.

As a third party candidate, I take stock in the fact that 'unsuccessful' third parties such as the Socialists, Progressives, and Communists have in fact been successful in advancing policy. Consider: 40-hour work week, minimum wage laws, child labor laws, and environmental laws, on the short list. All of these originated with these third parties. So, even though Libertarians aren't winning huge percentages of elections -yet- we still can move policy our way. There is a history. So, don't let Rob's fine analysis get you down.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Please, Forgive My Exuberance

If you heard me chime in on WXNT's "Abdul In The Morning" today, you may have been taken aback by my direct appeal to voting Libertarian while offering support to the Hurst family.

The Hursts are under siege by the Stadium Authority, and it angers me significantly. Back in Ohio, I worked in a family business with my Dad and my brother. Our name was on the door, just as the Hursts have had their name on the door since FDR's second term. I empathize completely, and emotionally.

Callers were similarly expressing their dissatisfaction with their government on this issue. One asked what they can do. Yes, writing letters to the players in the Stadium Authority and the Governor can make a difference. But, remembering that these players are mainly Republicans, another thing that can be done, and which I think will be more effective, is to let these Republicans know that they have lost the support of people who believe in property rights, and that support has gone elsewhere.

Because the Libertarian Party has been unyielding in its support for all private property owners, and unequivical in opposing eminent domain abuse - rather unlike the wavering Republicans - it is fitting that the support should shift from the Republicans to the Libertarians.

Letting these Republican officials know this, and then following up with a shift in financial and electoral support, is exactly the message they need to receive in order to get it in any meaningful way. If you tell them that, darn it, you're really hopping mad at them, and then you still give them your money and votes, they learn that your anger is fleeting, and that they need not listen to it.

Make them pay!
Great Writer In Our Midst

I direct you now to Rex Bell's new blog, The Bell Curve, for what I consider the finest column writing amongst Hoosier Libertarians.

That's no small compliment. I had to stumble over my own sizeable ego to get to it.

Rex's writing reminds me of the Mike Royko columns I grew up with. Where Royko had his Slats Grobnik, Rex has his Stinky Wilmot. Rex writes with a voice that is unmatched among us more urbane writers- he's rural, homespun, and loaded with good humor.

Start with Rex's most recent entry, "You Say You Want a Resolution," and you may find yourself plowing through the entire blog, which is kind of short at this point. Encourage Rex so that he loads it with regular entries.

Update: The Noblesville Daily Times agrees. They printed the "Resolution" column in their Tuesday edition. Link.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Exactly Backwards

That's how the Indianapolis Star got it in this morning's editorial. Link.
Let's not make it, as critics have tried to do, into something more than that. It's not a romanticized clash between a small family business and a callous state government.

The Stadium Authority is the callous government running roughshod over a good family business. The NK Hurst Company is a victim of a political decision made with making of Governor look good placed above every other concern. NK Hurst's land belongs to NK Hurst. Period. Trying to defend their right to their property is unfortunately something to belittle in the eyes of the Star's editorial writers.
The building authority has offered the Hurst family $3.7 million and a chance to keep the factory at its current site in exchange for about four acres of land near the stadium. It appears to be a reasonable offer, but the Hurst family has every right to continue pressing for more money or other concessions.

That's called a negotiation.

The Stadium Authority isn't negotiating by running to eminent domain. By filing for eminent domain proceedings, it has ended the negotiation. The state isn't merely stepping away from the table. It has taken the table away, dismantled it, and burned it.
It's not even about the abuse of eminent domain. The courts have consistently agreed that taking land for a public stadium, which in this case will be the site of scores of events each year, is a legitimate use of eminent domain powers.

Would the Star have justified slavery? Certainly that was legal, and the courts upheld it for years. There is a parallel. Slavery is the theft of one's freedom and productive output. The right to own property is one of the key American freedoms, and this property represents the NK Hurst Company's ability to produce.

There are legitimate causes for eminent domain takings- genuinely public uses, such as the building of roads, bridges, or sewers. But, for the creation of a VIP parking lot?

Socialized football is wrong. Governments do not belong in the business of owning sports arenas and playing landlord. Stealing property from the Hurst family for a parking lot on a property that is really representative of a huge transfer of wealth to the Irsay family is positively disgusting.

It should be an embarrassment to a Republican governor who dares site libertarian influences.
It should be an embarrassment to a Republican senator who advises the Stadium Authority and considers himself a fiscal conservative.

Really, I wish I had an extra $20 million lying around. I'd form a company, line up investors, and file an intent with the City to build a 4-star hotel on the Indy Star's site, a la the Lost Liberty Hotel. Inside, I would rent space to a franchisee of the Just Deserts Cafe- but only if the land could be acquired by eminent domain. I would then be interested to see whether or not the Star's editorials came to the defense of the property owner... Or would that be the mere romanticization of a routine business transaction into a David v. Goliath story?
Policy Reality Hitting Home

Smoking bans are feel-good public policy. There is no debating that the bans are very good for eliminating hazardous and unpleasant second-hand smoke. However, the bans have real-life consequences for business owners, and they often hurt. From today's Indy Star report:
And area restaurants, most of which will become smoke-free under the ban, are wrestling with whether to limit dining choices for families in order to be exempted from the policy.

"That's the decision everybody is trying to make. That's the tough part of it," said Chad Ashley, general manager of Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Downtown Indianapolis. "Most likely, we will be smoke-free."

Bars and restaurants that don't admit patrons younger than 18, private clubs and cigar bars are exempt from the ban.

Restauranteurs have to figure out where their money really comes from. Does it come from smokers or non-smokers? Then, they will exclude that group that represents the least of their incomes. Or, as one industry insider puts it,

"They have to decide whether to give up prom business or family business," said John Livengood, president of the Restaurant and Hospitality Association of Indiana. "It's a tough economic decision."

Public policy should never include zero-sum games like this. Public policy should always empower business owners to improve their bottom lines, not reduce them. Most importantly, public policy should always respect property rights.

Republicans and Democrats have all lost sight of these things in the rush to sign feel-good legislation into effect. Make it your New Year's Resolution to vote Libertarian in November!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

More NK Hurst Eminent Domain Outrage

Check out the post on Indy Tax Dollars for a well-deserved skewering of the Stadium Authority and the Governor. It makes my entry look tame, and has a very interesting comment filed on it. You will note that I have a permanent link to Indy Tax Dollars, for Fred McCarthy's excellent commentaries, and especially for his ability to recall past statements of warning on bad policy.

The Star has since reported more of the Hurst side of the procedings to date. Link to Star report. It would be an interesting full-length feature article- nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Make sure to drive by the Hurst property today if going to the Colts game. If you have the time, post one of these signs on the property for me. It's okay if you scratch out 'home' and replace it with 'business', or 'factory', or 'family'.