Friday, January 27, 2006

Point Made, Point Missed

Several Geist area property owners appeared yesterday at the Bella Vita Ristorante, where the Republican Party was holding a fundraiser. They held 'No Annexation' signs with the idea being to get the Party's attention, that there is a connection between financial support for statewide Republicans and the actions of local Republicans.

Indy Star coverage link. WISH-TV coverage link. Fishers Blog coverage link. All have excellent photos, but the Fishers Blog has some nice comments about the Libertarians and the Kole Campaign, which is greatly appreciated!

The Fishers Town Council is an all-Republican body. Charlie White is a member of the Council, and the GOP County Chair. He managed Mitch Daniels' election efforts in Hamilton County. The Party gets the connection on the receiving end of fundraising, that's for sure, so Daniels was the main attraction in this $400/plate event.

So it was fascinating to read a quote in this morning's Indy Star, by the county GOP's fundraising chief:
Participants at the Hamilton County GOP fundraiser paid $400 each to be there, said Peter Emigh, county party finance chairman.

He wasn't upset about the protest.

"I think these people are nice people, good people," he said. "At the same time, this has nothing to do with the Fishers Town Council."

Obtuse? Or, genuine disconnect from reality? Nothing to do with the Council? Does Mr. Emigh think the Council is comprised of Democrats? He could be forgiven, as the Council certainly looks as though it is.

But, to quote a famous Democrat, "All politics is local". Indeed, politics never gets closer to home than the home itself. This seems utterly lost on local Republicans.

Actually, there is an enormous disconnect within the Republican Party. Mainly, it doesn't stand for much of anything. That which it claims to stand for, it fails to deliver on.

When campaigning, Republicans say they are for lower taxes. This forced annexation attempt by the Republican government certainly doesn't reflect that belief, as the property taxes of the Geist residents would soar immediately upon the completion of the annexation.

When campaigning, Republicans say they are for smaller government. The forced annexation literally expands the area to be governed. It appears that the only thing Republicans are consistent on is bringing in money to spend. They are constantly fundraising as an organization, and constantly taxing as government officials.

This is typical throughout Hamilton County. The governing bodies, whether at the municipal or county levels, are endlessly scheming for ways to bring in more tax revenues, and they are all Republican.

In the last calendar year, we have seen an increase in food & beverage taxes by the County Council, and by Carmel, Noblesville, and Westfield. A wheel tax was considered by the County. Carmel has floated an enormous amount in bonds. The County is backing a billion-dollar light rail boondoggle, and is studying a bus system like IndyGo. A forced annexations were completed near Home Place, another was defeated in Home Place, and others in Southwest Clay and in Geist are still on the table. Tax, tax, tax.

Charlie White is the County Chair/Town Councilor. County Chairs that have any effectiveness drive political policy. So, either White is a tax-and-spend liberal Republican, or he is ineffective at directing his Party. White hasn't been seen pulling back the annexation attempt, that's for sure. Here's White's statement, from the main page of the Hamilton County GOP website:
The Hamilton County Republican Party does not take a position for or against the proposed annexation of the unincorporated residents of the Geist area. One can be a good and active Republican and be on either side of this very important topic. Although Republicans may differ on the annexation issue, we all continue to support our national and statewide Republican leaders. Friends, neighbors and relatives may not always agree, but in the end we are Republicans, Hoosiers and Americans. Residents of this county, whether they are for or against this issue, are always welcome in the Republican Party.

The Republican Party doesn't take a position! Like I said, the Republican Party doesn't stand for anything.

Libertarians are plain on this issue: Forced annexation is always wrong, period.

For Geist residents, Here is the next opportunity to try to make your point:

Support my campaign for Secretary of State. The Libertarian Party is the only Party that consistently backs the rights of property owners. The Secretary of State's race determines which political parties get automatic ballot access in Indiana. If we fail to get our numbers, Indiana loses its only defender of property rights, and the only political opponent to forced annexation.

The Kole Campaign will host an organizational meeting on Saturday, February 11. Details on time and location will be forthcoming, so keep an eye on this blog, and on the campaign website:

The Republican Party won't listen to reason, and made like your protest was not a big deal. They may understand losing dollars and votes. In the end, though, you shouldn't have to beg. Libertarians support the Geist property owners without reservation.

To that end, here is a quote from the Fishers Blog:
We originally found about the Geist protest from the website of Libertarian candidate for Indiana Secretary of State, Mike Kole. Mike has a blog feature on his website which he updates frequently. The Libertarian Party of Indiana has jumped aboard the Fishers / Geist Annexation issue without a second thought. It is an appropriate issue for them to support as it relates to their core principles of individual freedom and small government. The Libertarian Party just may reap some benefits next election from Geist residents who are upset with Fishers Town Council Republicans trying to annex their neighborhoods.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Calling All Hands!

The Republican Party has calculated that the star power of Governor Mitch Daniels is greater than any unhappiness caused the people of the Geist are by the all-Republican Fishers Town Council. Thus, Daniels will appear at the Bella Vita Restaurant in Geist, for a fundraiser. The event takes place Thursday, at 5:00pm.

The Geist United Opposition is staging a freedom rally outside the Bella Vita. From a press release circulated by the Opposition:

As many of you know, the Fishers Town Council, the group behind the forced annexation of Geist, is made up entirely of Republicans. The Hamilton County Republican Party (HCRP) gives money to the members of the Town Council to help keep them in office. Due to this fact, many Geist residents are reconsidering giving to the HCRP this year. Also, the chairman of the HCRP is on the Fishers Town Council.

The HCRP is hosting a fundraiser at Bella Vita at 5:00 pm this Thursday, January 26th. Geist residents opposed to annexation are being asked to gather along the sidewalk with signs (which will be provided) to display Geist residents' discontent with the Fishers Town Council. The hope is that if enough powerful, elected Hamilton County Republicans see a large gathering, they might be able to influence the few people on the Town Council to rethink this forced annexation attempt. Right or wrong, money speaks, and Hamilton County Republicans are well aware that there are some generous contributors in this area. Our elected officials need to know that they shouldn't take this area's support for granted.
I urge all Libertarians to go to Bella Vita to show our support to the people of Geist. The Republican Party has shown the people of Geist only contempt. Libertarians have, and will, only show support for their right to self-determination and for their property rights. Libertarians should have something that clearly identifies them as Libertarians (a lapel pin or sign), so that the Geist property owners can see our support.

(Unfortunately, I will probably not be able to attend, as my return flight is scheduled to touch down at 5:25pm. I will pray for a temporary reversal of the jet stream!)

The fundraiser is really audacious. It´s an enormous insult to the Geist property owners for the Republicans to at once try to force them into Fishers to steal tax dollars from them, and then to try to make them overlook it with the presence of the Governor. Price tag? $400 per plate. That´s a double expensive slap in the face.

I think it will backfire badly on them. They would have been smarter to offer something the Geist property owners actually want, like a reduction in taxes or abandoning the forced annexation. Instead, the Republican Party shows up with their hands out for donations. That they expect to be rewarded for putting the screws to the people of Geist speaks to how incredibly out of touch County Chair Charlie White and the Republican Party is.

Because the Republican Party is making the lives of the people of Geist harder, so it is important that they let the GOP know that they will withhold their support from them unless and until they return to policies that are in line with the fiscal conservatism now only espoused by Libertarians. That needs to happen after the rally, so the GOP can see it is a serious threat. Ideology like fiscal conservatism and property rights obviously means nothing to Republicans any more, but I have no doubt they will understand it when their financial support dries up. It´s probably the only thing that will change them.

Hopefully, the people of Geist are beginning to see that Charlie White and the GOP merely see the people of Geist as an ATM that he can run to and cash in, without ever returning anything of value to them. I think they are beginning to see that the Libertarian Party is the only option left to them.
Now It´s Personal!

The Noblesville Daily Times reported on the odd case of the Scott Faultless voluntary annexation into Fishers. Faultless is the Fishers Town Council President. His Geist property was annexed into Fishers. None of his neighbors on either side of him have been annexed. Yep- odd. Faultless is now complaining that the discussion has turned personal. From William Fouts´article in the Daily Times:
Faultless said the group is trying to divert attention from the Geist annexation by attacking his credibility. He said the allegations are false and omit key facts.

“I'm glad they're talking about the merits of the (Geist) annexation and not making it personal,” Faultless said with sarcasm in his voice. “That's purely what they're doing. They're having a difficult time talking about the merits. Now they just attack.”

That´s a very telling statement. When 2,200 homeowners faced having their properties forcibly grabbed by the Town under the leadership of Faultless, it apparently wasn´t personal in his view. Pointing out the obviously questionable ethics in the case of his own parcels, however, somehow is personal. This is what we call being incredibly self-centered, and incredibly out of touch. It only matters if it affects him.

This is not the big picture issue on the annexation. The annexation itself is the big issue. Forced annexation is wrong, period. However, Faultless is wrong on one major count. He claims that to focus on the annexation of his lot is to sidestep the real issues of merit on annexation. I disagree completely. Indeed, the key selling point Fishers offered the residents of Geist was the superiority of it´s government. What is revealed here is a loose grip on ethics by the Town Council as a whole. They knew whose lots the Faultless annexations involved, and yet, they voted in favor of them. So much for a superior government.

So, personal or not, Mr. Faultless should resign immediately. The other members of the Council who voted for the Faultless annexations should also resign.

This issue was also reported by WISH-TV. Link.

The Fishers Blog has also covered this issue, and has included a lengthy quote from my previous entry, which I appreciate very much. Link.
This Is Why They Say It´s Like Making Sausage

Jeers to Rep. Jeff Thompson, who took perfectly decent legislation that would help curb eminent domain abuse, and added a stupid, devisive amendment that would strip anti-discrimination legislation from cities like Indianapolis, which recently passed a law banning discrimination against gays. From the Indy Star report:

Action in the Indiana House was called off abruptly Tuesday after a Republican lawmaker tried to pass an amendment that would strike down gay-rights ordinances in Indianapolis and other cities.

In a highly unusual move, House Speaker Brian C. Bosma, R-Indianapolis, adjourned the House for the day in the middle of the debate over the amendment offered by Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Lizton.

Thompson´s amendment would have made certain that some lawmakers who supported the eminent domain restrictions would have changed their votes so as not to look like bigots. I´m sure Thompson´s thinking was to appease his socially conservative voters. But at the risk of hurting good property rights law? Horrible!

Leave well enough be. Put no amendments on the eminent domain bill!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Gosh, That Map Looks Funny!

Anyone who has ever cast their gaze upon the Town of Fishers´Council District map has drawn one of several conclusions:
  1. Rand McNally had nothing to do with the design.
  2. The designer of the districts was drunk at the time of the drawing.
  3. The designer of the districts was a child trying out his first set of Crayolas.
  4. The districts were drawn for the purpose of political gerrymandering; specifically, to permit sitting Council members to retain seats despite the growth of the Town which would cause two or more Councilors to wind up in the same district had a sensible map been drawn.
  5. The districts reveal a fishy annexation, which allowed a Council member to live technically within the Town limits, while in reality being in an area that is overwhelmingly not in the Town.
At least two of the above statements are true. It is left as an exercise for the student to determine which two.

As study aids for the student, I will direct you to the district map of the Town of Fishers via the County website (you will have to download a map reader program in order to view), and to an article by Tom Britt, from the AtGeist website, which has a snapshot capture of the curious annexation that includes Fishers Town Council president Scott Faultless´parcel.

In the meantime, I call upon Council President Scott Faultless to immediately resign his seat on the Council. Whether the annexation was illegal or merely unethical, the result is the same. It is disgraceful to my home Town beyond the insult that is the fact that my Town tries to forcibly annex properties against the wishes of those property owners.

It would be interesting to see the minutes of the Council meeting that approved the annexation. Did Mr. Faultless even recuse himself from the vote, or did he participate in the vote that directly affected his property. Either way, it´s slimy. If he recused himself, he acknowledged the reality of the unethical action as directly affecting him. If he voted, he disregarded the impropriety inherent in a government official voting on their own property, where they are obviously an interested party.

Those Council members who voted in support of the annexation of the Faultless property should also resign their seats immediately.

Republican Party County Chair Charlie White is a member of the Fishers Town Council.

Full disclosure: I am a resident of the Town of Fishers. I am a Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State.
Legislative Updates

Since I am in Spain and not able to really crunch the proposed legislation, I will direct you to the Libertarian Party of Indiana´s legislative page, where Dan Drexler has begun to assess the potential damage. Check out the page at

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Great Travel Adventures

After the various misadventures with airlines, it was a tremendous relief to finally arrive in el Puerto de Santa Maria Friday afternoon, and to greet my son, Alex.

We had a nice, quiet evening and then set out for road trips Saturday morning.

Saturday´s destination was Gibraltar, which has been Alex´s favorite on the Iberian Peninsula. This time we had good fortune smile upon us as the cable cars that go all the way to the top of the Rock were working, so we rode up. (With the previous two trips, the cars were closed for maintenance.)

Of course, the view is outstanding from the top, but the adventuring was fantastic! There are abandoned bunkers at the top, and you can scale them and peer inside. You could reallly get a feel for using the site as a strategic point.

Sunday´s destination was Portugal. Alex needed a little pursuasion, as he was more intimidated with the Portuguese language than with Espanol, which he is beginning to have a better command of. He was glad I made the executive decision.

Once about 80km inside the Portuguese border, we made a turn for the coast. Again, it was a fortunate call, as the ocean had awesome short cliffs, about 20-25 feet high. These cliffs had become severely eroded with the ocean wave action, resulting in hollows, crevices, and caves. We scaled the cliffs and explored the holes. It was great fun!

We also enjoyed fresh seafood, caught right off the coast. Alex had calamari, while I enjoyed giant shrimp. Yes, Alex does know what calamari is!

We won´t be able to take any more extensive road trips, as Alex has school during the usual hours. We will have leisurely evenings together, taking walks through el Puerto, and playing card games.

Great times!