Saturday, February 04, 2006

Collegiate Conclave Today

The Libertarian Party of Indian is hosting an important event today- its first annual Collegiate Conclave.

College Libertarians from the myriad Indiana colleges and universities will gather at the University of Indianapolis to begin to network and to strategize for their participation in the 2006 election campaigns. The event begins at 9am and runs through 4pm with a full program of speakers and work sessions. Info.

I am among the speakers today, which includes Dr. Jim Lark of the Univeristy of Virginia. Dr. Lark is the former chair of the Libertarian National Committee.

I am very excited to meet our College Libertarians. I have had delightful experiences meeting with CLs at Notre Dame and at Indiana Wesleyan, where the students were positively energized about pro-liberty activism. I can't wait to meet more.
Letter In The Topics

Another of my letters on the Geist annexation and the Republican Party's role in the tax grab was printed. This one was in the Thursday, February 3 edition of the Fishers Topics- a free weekly that is distributed to residents of Fishers, Lawrence, and Geist. Link to the letter, and the text:

Letter to the editor: GOP sees Geist residents as ATM.

February 2, 2006

I support the freedom rally the Geist residents staged (Jan. 26) to coincide with the governor's visit for a fund-raiser right in the Geist area. 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.

I think this strategic fund- raiser will backfire badly on the Republicans. They would have been much smarter to offer something the Geist property owners 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 Charlie White and the Republican Party is.

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.

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.

Mike Cole (sic)

My name was misspelled, but that's okay. The pronunciation is the same, and when people in Geist ask, "Who's on our side?" and they say, "Mike Kole and the Libertarians," it comes out the same either way.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Letter Published

The Noblesville Daily Times printed my letter with reactions to the reactions of Fishers Town Council President Scott Faultless, and the Hamilton County Republican Party, on all things related to forced annexations.

Here's the link to the letter on NBT. Read entries below for fuller discussions on the same topics. It's a dandy headline, although I can't take credit for having written it. Newpapers create their own headlines for letters to the editor.

Bottome line: Libertarians are opposed to forced annexations because it is wrong, period.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Good Appearance on Abdul's Show

I sat in this morning with the state Executive Directors from the Democrats and Republicans today, and was pleased with my performance in reviewing yesterday's State of the Union Address. Big thanks to Abdul, Andrew, and WXNT for having me on the show! Top points made:
  • President Bush is asking for the line-item veto. There's hardly a track record backing the idea that he would use the tool if it were given to him. No President has used the regular veto less in my lifetime.
  • Bush spoke of the need to curtail spending. I described that as hard to believe, as he could have been instrumental in curbing spending by using the veto, and by using the prestige of his office to direct the Congress to do so in the previous five years of his Presidency. I pointed to poor Mike Pence, who said essentially what the President said, and who was taken to the woodshed for it by Tom DeLay.
  • The President spoke of improving health care in America, but then spoke of deeper government involvement with health care insurance. That's a mistake, as the government involved with mandatory insurance is the problem. Elective, uninsured procedures like Lasik have seen prices drop while quality of care improves. The opposite is true of everything mandated insurance has touched.
  • With the past two Administrations, Clinton & Bush, both parties have labored to characterize the other as corrupt and unethical. Consider me sold! Both parties are correct. It's time to trust Libertarians.
  • The partisan divide between Democrats & Republicans is vast. Each should get real and begin to acknowledge that each side has merits. Both need to get away from substituting ethical charges for policy solutions. Libertarians are putting good, substantial ideas on the table, especially when we say 'no' to another party's policy proposals.
One caller asked me and Republican Jennifer Hallowell where we stood on the Fair Tax. Jennifer said she was unsure. I told the caller that I am a supporter of the Fair Tax, and have helped to host a presentation on the Fair Tax in Noblesville, back in November. I don't think the Fair Tax is perfect, but it is an excellent way to eliminate the hidden taxes imbedded in the goods & services we buy, which would be an enormous boost to our economy.

There were other points I would have made, had the show been longer, or had I gotten more time to keep on:
  • President Bush spoke of not retreating into protectionism. I couldn't agree more, so it has been a source of frustration for me that Bush has backed protectionist tariffs and quotas on steel, lumber, cotton, textiles, sugar, corn, wheat, and a host of other commodities.
  • The President urged us not to retreat into isolationism. I agree that now that we have gotten into Iraq, we cannot simply cut & run. We have a responsibility to leave the country in the best shape possible. However, is American internationalism going to take us to war with Iran? South Korea? Communist China has nuclear weapons. Are they on the list? Where will it end? The President had no details on this.
  • I think a certain isolationism is well overdue. We have American military protecting developed western nations for free. It's time for Japan, Germany, France, Spain, and a host of others to start defending themselves, or at least footing 100% of the bill for us to do the job.
I hope the performance was well-received. Federal issues are not my strong suit, but I think I turned in a good showing on behalf of the Libertarian Party today.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Pre-State of the Union Notes

I'll be viewing the President's State of the Union Address in about 20 minutes, with a deep interest in the fiscal side of the report. Beyond my interest as a citizen and a political partisan, I will give the Libertarian response on WXNT's "Abdul In The Morning" tomorrow at 8am, along with representatives of the other two parties.

One thing that has struck me in viewing pre-Address coverage on CNN and Fox News is how everything surrounding the event is staged. I understand that the President has to rehearse the speech. I've rehearsed speeches. But what struck me was how the acknowledgements the President will make are carefully and politically scripted. Not only that, the Democrats issued a response before the speech has been given!

I'm waiting to analyze and judge the speech until after President Bush has completed it. I think that's the only genuine way to go about it.
Gosh, That Map Looks... Gone!

In the course of examining the questionable Faultless annexation, I had cause to re-examine the horribly gerrymandered Fishers Town Council District Map. Last Monday, I posted comments on the absurd nature of the map, likening the map to the work of drunks, or of those seeking to create political districts to suit the status quo among Counil members.

In the wake of this commentary, I have had friends and co-workers want to know more about the map. They tried the link I offered, which was to the Hamilton County Map Room. That was a mistake on my part. The link should have been to the Town's website, to the Council page. So, I went back to correct my error.

La-tee-dah. Wouldn't you know the link to the map has disappeared from the Town's webpage?

Isn't that just the most amazing coincidence? The map just vanished! Poof! Gone! The link used to be on the right-hand side of the page, above the links to Council Agenda Packets. No more.

Fortunately, I have a bit of foresight on such things, and made a screen-shot capture. Here is the map for all to see- even if the Council doesn't want you to see it.

Drunks with Crayolas, or just Councilors keeping their seats? The orange District is the one Scott Faultless represents. The purple one is Stuart Easley's.

One fact of electoral life makes the crazy, gerrymandered districts most unnecessary. From the Council Page on the Fishers website:

All councilors are considered "at large" which means all Fishers residents vote on all councilors, not just the councilor representing their particular district.

In other words, the Districts have no actual direct electoral accountability. With Republican supermajorities here -to date- the Councilors have to know that there was no real threat of being unseated by candidates from other parties. Only moving out of the District could unseat them.

With that being the case, there really is only one reason to rig the districts as they are- to be certain that the sitting Councilors can remain sitting Councilors. As much as it looks like the work of drunks, the drawing of these Districts is very deliberate.

Yet more shady ethics, on parade in Fishers.

I call on the Town of Fishers to re-draw the Council District Map with Districts that are geographically sensible.

I call for the electoral rules to be changed such that only the citizens who live within a District may vote on their Town Councilor. The at-large system must end.

Monday, January 30, 2006

On Abdul's Show Wednesday

Be sure to tune in to Newstalk 1430-am WXNT and the "Abdul In The Morning" show Wednesday at 8am. I will be on the show to give the Libertarian response to President Bush's State of the Union Address.

When I tune in to the State of the Union Address, I am expecting to hear a great deal on foreign policy. However, I am most interested in hearing the fiscal report and plan for the next year.

The ecomomy is in decent shape, in my opinion, but that's a shame, because it could be incredibly robust. Cut taxes by 1% and trim spending by 5%, and we'll have explosive growth and reversing our horrible deficit situation immediately.

I am concerned for a possible major foreign policy announcement. I participate in a fair amount of polling, and a recent one by Zogby raised my eyebrow. It was loaded with questions looking for my level of comfort with nuking Iran and/or North Korea. That's not a typo. Nuking. I don't believe John Zogby pulled that battery of questions from out of thin air, so we'll see what the President has to say.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Geist Annexation Featured in Sunday Star

The Indianapolis Star ran a feature article in today's edition, with a thumbnail sketch.

One notable comment was issued by Fishers Town Council President Scott Faultless. From Bruce C. Smith's report:
For Fishers, the added territory could mean $2 million more a year to pay for police and fire services, parks and roads. The homeowners say it could raise taxes 20 percent for services they already get.

"This is a fight over money," said Town Council President Scott Faultless, who is spearheading the annexation effort.

"It is the motivation for both sides. Everything else is a distraction."

That's the first time Mr. Faultless has been quoted where he got right to the point. He's 100% correct here- it's about money.

The Town wants to take money from the Geist property owners, who want to preserve it.

It only took him two months to cut to the chase. In that time, he was saying the annexation was about unifying the community, the merits of a Fishers address, and other smoke. Now, at last, the truth.

Readers of this blog will recall my Saturday, November 19, 2005 letter in the Fishers Weekly, that ran with the headline, "Annexation is all about taxes". The letter began thusly:
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.

Thanks, Mr. Faultless, for confirming the obvious as seen in mid-November. Better late than never. The letter continued:
The burden is on the Town Council to show that there is something more awaiting them than a higher tax bill.

On this count, Faultless and his fellow Councilors have failed utterly. They keep reverting to the idea that the Geist property owners are getting something for nothing. From the Star report:
"And then there is the fairness issue,'' Faultless added. "The folks living in the (unannexed) holes are benefiting from the town's services, whether they want
to admit it or not."

If the Geist residents are benefitting from Town services, it must be that the Town Council gave away the store at some point, whether Council President Faultless wants to admit it or not. The Council approves the developments that proceed in the annexed areas that surround Geist.

Or, maybe Mr. Faultless is really just a socialist who believes that if you even drive once over a road in the Town, and you live somewhere in the region, you should be taxed for the privilege of having passed on the road.

This is why the Geist residents picketed the GOP fundraiser. They thought Republicans stood for less taxation and smaller government. Stood. Past tense. Only the Libertarians stand for less taxation and smaller government any more.

While in Europe, I had an amusing thought along the lines of the Faultless reasoning. There I was, in Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, and briefly, France. I ran the water in each country. Should I now be a taxpayer to all four nations? I enjoyed their services, after all.

It's a weak attempt at high-minded principle. Here's the real deal-

Forced annexation is wrong, period. People have the right to self-determination, and that should go without saying in the United States of America, the home of the free. The only annexations that occur should be voluntary.

This is the Libertarian position. End of story.

Update: In response to the comments that have ensured, I have a number of links going back to posts that had to do with the various food & beverage taxes that passed throughout Hamilton County, and the Fishers proposal that failed without a vote. It includes my letter of praise for Fishers, which was printed in all of the Hamilton County newspapers. This voluminous activity, and the myriad press citations the Libertarian Party earned, all point to why we took some credit for the defeat of the tax in Fishers.

A similar scenario is playing out with forced annexation- the GOP proposes to tax, the Libertarians stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the affected parties.

June 7, 2005, Mitch Daniels pitches tax increases
June 8, 2005, Press Coverage of my face-to-face with Governor Daniels
June 23, 2005, pre-Pub Crawl work
June 24, 2005, Pub Crawl in Fishers & Noblesville in support of restaruant & bar owners
June 24, 2005, Pub Crawl Press Coverage
June 26, 2005, Hamilton County & Noblesville
June 27, 2005, filled in on WXNT, had restaurant owners on as guests
June 27, 2005, Central Indiana
June 29, 2005, Carmel
June 29, 2005, Noblesville
July 1, 2005, Noblesville
July 10, 2005, Westfield
July 11, 2005, Westfield
July 14, 2005, Westfield
August 11, 2005, Fishers
August 11, 2005, Letter of Praise for Fishers
August 22, 2005, Fishers
August 29, 2005, Fishers Tax Killed- No Vote Taken