Saturday, September 02, 2006

Campaign Issues

Naturally, I use this blog to state my positions on many things. Some relate to my campaign for Secretary of State, many do not.

For the most concise look at my positions that relate to my campaign, please go to my Campaign Issues blog.

At that location, I have definitive posts on issues regarding the duties of Secretary of State and the policy directions I would take towards being accountable and responsible with taxpayer dollars. There are several issues I would champion as the state's chief elections official towards having elections with the utmost integrity.

These will be updated through the remainder of the campaign, so be sure to check the page regularly!

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Difference Between Libertarians and Republicans

Sometimes people ask me what the difference is between Ls and Rs. Both claim to be fiscal conservatives, so what would a Libertarian do different if elected to a position such as Secretary of State. After all, that office is not legislative. It cannot raise a tax.

That is true. What is also true is that the office has a budget, so it spends tax money. The Secretary of State interprets its' statutory obligations and sets policy accordingly. The current Secretary of State is a Republican. I am a Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State.

My objective would be to consume only 90% of the budget allocated to me, and to return the remainder to the taxpayers. I believe this should be the goal of every elected official who heads a department and commands a budget.

Also, as chief of the Securities Division, I would never have authorized publication of a 12-page glossy booklet called, "Money Skills For Newlywed Couples". While the info contained is sound, (it is essentially a reprint of a lengthy Kiplinger's article,) and it is plainly a good idea for married couples to have financial goals and plans, it is not the proper role of our state government to provide this kind of service. This is where Libertarians and Republicans differ. The booklet was produced under a Republican.

The booklet notes that, "The Investor Education Program and the creation of this brochure were funded with proceeds from investment fraud legal settlements".

I believe that the proceeds from investment fraud settlements should go entirely to those defrauded, not towards producing glossy booklets with the office holder's name prominently displayed. Investor education is the responsibility of the investor.

Republicans may talk about being fiscal conservatives, but when the rubber meets the road, they expand the scope of government and its' activities, which is the antithesis of fiscal conservatism. SOS press release for the booklet.

To be fair, I've never heard the Secretary of State describe himself as a fiscal conservative. Maybe it's not on his radar.

So, if you want the Secretary of State to contribute to smaller government, there are two choices out there- Republicans and Democrats. Those who want smaller government need to vote for me, Mike Kole, for Secretary of State.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Finding A Way To Survive

I was in Franklin, the Johnson County seat today doing business and I picked up a newspaper for my lunch read. I noticed the headline immediately and began to read the story about Don & Dona's, a restaurant that became a private club in order to continue to allow their patrons to smoke. I knew where I would be eating lunch.

I'll always eat where the 'Don't Tread On Me' flag flies!

The owner, Mary Barnaby, concluded that Franklin's smoking ban would severely damage her business, so she looked for ways to survive. She decided to change Don & Dona's to the D&D Club, a non-profit, private club. From the Johnson County Daily Journal report (paid subscription required):

The restaurant is incorporated under Indiana's nonprofit statute, which would be evidence it is a private club, city attorney Rob Schafstall said.

It looks like Barnaby hired a Libertarian as a design consultant. The striped "Don't Tread On Me" flies outside the entrance and is for sale inside. Quotes from Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson on freedom line the walls and display cases. Barnaby gets that this is a property rights issue.

"So, the future looks bright. All of our members are like-minded people. They get the picture, and it's called free enterprise," Barnaby said.

I joined the Club. Here's my card. I don't smoke. I give my support.

Barnaby knows her business and her customers. She made a decision that would help her survive. If only the town councils would fully consider the effects their laws have on small business owners!

Smoking bans have swept Indiana this year and last, with laws being passed in Franklin, and also Bloomington, Greenfield, Greenwood, Carmel, Indianapolis, and others; and considered in Fishers, Angola, Jefferson City among others.

The health aspects of smoking are not in dispute. The right of the property owners to set their own policies within their four walls is in dispute. I favor the owner's right to decide. The patrons and employees also have the right to decide whether or not to work or eat there. Republicans and Democrats alike are enacting these bans in disregard for the property rights of the owners.

Next time you are in Franklin, stop by the D&D Club. I had their huge pork tenderloin. Show your support for small business and property rights!

Debate Season Underway

I have learned that the first debate for Indiana Congressional District 9 wil take place tonight in Bloomington. It's a closed event, but you can see Libertarian candidate Dr. Eric Schansberg mix it up with Mike Sodrel and Baron Hill. Kenn Gividen and the other candidates for Indiana Senate 41 are working to stage a debate at Franklin College.

As for myself, there is a Secretary of State candidate forum- not exactly a debate- scheduled for September 26 in South Bend. Kole's September calendar.
Trail Photos

I recently stopped at IUPUI for a student community involvement event. Civic groups and campus groups such as the IUPUI campus Libertarians participated.

Dan Drexler & I gave the World's Smallest Political Quiz to see where students plotted on the political spectrum. IUPUI is a commuter school, so we weren't terribly surprised to see that fewer students placed in the left/liberal area, and more centrists. Plenty of Libertarians, most of whom signed up for the campus organization.

Thanks to Ben Rubin for the pics, and to prof Cindy Kirkpatrick for her work with the IUPUI students and the invitation!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Election Follies, Part 13

Didn't think the Attorney General could get involved in wacky behavior regarding elections, that it was the domain of the Elections Division and the Legislature? Think again. Apparently everybody wants a piece of this action.

A pronouncement has been made regarding automated phone calls from political parties and candidates: they're illegal. From the Indy Star report:
Attorney General Steve Carter warned the political parties today not to make automated phone calls to voters -- a traditional election year practice by both Republicans and Democrats.

Carter, a Republican who ran for attorney general in 2000 and 2004, said the practice violates a 1988 law prohibiting automated calling devices.

What I thought I knew was that the ban was not extended to political calls, as there would not have been broad Statehouse support, and that it would certainly bring a Constitutional challenge.

This important news to me, because I was considering using automated calls myself. My plan was to use them as a get-out-the-vote tool with Libertarian Party members, supporter, and contributors, along with Kole Campaign supporters and contributors.

So, how did I learn of this important news? From the Elections Division? From the Secretary of State's Office? From Attorney General Steve Carter?

No, I learned it from Mary Beth Schneider, in her Indy Star report:
Carter said he sent a letter on Aug. 22 to the chairmen of the state Republican and Democratic parties to inform them of the law. He did not send the same warning to businesses, he said, nor to the Libertarian Party.

Asked why he singled out the two major political parties for this kind of warning, Carter cited the upcoming election season as well as increased public concern about telephone privacy.

What was keeping Carter from sending a message to the Libertarian Party? Did he run out of stamps? Maybe the printer ran out of paper or toner? Did someone cut his phone line? Maybe Carter should look into that and then learn how many political parties are on the ballot in this state. Here's a hint: It's slightly more than two.

First, I want to see the law. I'm not convinced that any of the laws on the books apply to political parties or candidates. Show us the law.

Then, I want to know how the kole Campaign sending automated calls to Kole supporters violates the privacy of people who want me to be in contact with them, and who gave me their phone number so that I could do so.

Lastly, I'd like an explanation on how the First Amendment doesn't apply to political phone calls. Political speech is crucial to a free society.

Update 8-30-06: I was reacting to Mary Beth Schneider's preliminary report. She followed up and included my comments in her subsequent report:
While Carter sent a letter to Parker and Clark warning of the 1988 law, which carries a penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, he did not send a similar warning to other political parties.

The Libertarian Party, he said, didn't have the resources in his experience to pay for such calls.

Actually, we do. It was also Carter's experience in 2004, 2003, and 2002 that the parties were making automated calls. Why the sudden interest? He's been on the job six years. More:
That surprised Mike Kole, the Libertarian candidate for secretary of state. He'd planned to use such calls to encourage people to vote for him on Election Day.

"I cannot imagine that my supporters and contributors would feel violated by these calls," Kole said. "Who exactly is this supposed to protect? The people or incumbents?"

This is like taking auto-nailers away from framing carpenters. Sure, you can go back to hammers, but it is more time consuming and costly that way.

Maybe that's what Carter really has in mind.
Katrina Anniversary

I know this is nothing to do with Secretary of State, but sometimes significant evetns warrant discussion whether or not the office being sought has anything to do with it. Certainly people ask me about things that have nothing to do with SOS more than to do.

Much is being made in the media about Hurricane Katrina having happened a year ago. Much should be made about it. This is a classic example of huge numbers of citizens not taking responsibility for the choices they make in their lives.

If a home's ground floor elevation is below sea level, and the area has a hurricane season associated with it, the only reasonable expectation is that disaster will that home.

I do not think that living in such areas should be banned, as some are calling for. I hold that anyone can build and live where they choose, so long as they accept full responsibility for that choice. One who chooses to live in such conditions had best get a solid insurance policy and have a solid evacuation plan. Anything less is poor planning.

The people of the region are victims, but mainly of their own poor planning. The unheralded victims are the people who live outside the Gulf. These are the people who are paying, via FEMA, for the poor planning and lousy decisions made by too many in the Gulf.

It's getting worse. Notice how with Ernesto, a weak tropical storm so far, FEMA and governors around the Gulf are over-reacting. They don't want any part of the negative PR FEMA and the President took last year.

In fact, this was an opportunity for the President to be an advocate for self-responsibility and fiscal conservatism. It's understood that people buy land without thinking of all the possible consequences. But with Katrina, there was a real example, and a chance to change FEMA's role forever.

The President could have, and should have said to the country, "We will pay for you to rebuild a home. If you build it where it once stood, you take full responsibility should disaster strike again. We will not rebuild these areas a second time. FEMA's role is to assist in disaster, not to justify and forgive bad decision making, and certainly not to relieve anyone from thinking and planning. Choose carefully this time. This is the last FEMA bailout, ever. If you live in other hurricane magnet areas, in tornado alley, on a steep cliff where the waves are undercutting, or any other place with obvious risk, it's time for you to get insurance and to make a plan."

Alas, President Bush and the Republicans are just as committed to the perpetuation of big government as the Democrats.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Travel Log

Very early on, I thought I should keep a milage log. I wish I had. It would be interesting to see the numbers at this point, as I began campaigning in September 2004, first working to secure the nomination of the Libertarian Party, then to reach the voters of our state.

Thus far I have visited 27 counties, reaching the corners of the state, including all nine Congressional Districts. I have visited many of these locations on multiple occasions, with some of the furthest counties from home being the places I seem to land the most, such as LaPorte County, and also Allen and Wayne.

With 70 days left, this exceeds the reach of any previous statewide Libertarian campaign. In the remaining 10 weeks, I'll visit plenty more counties and meet many more voters. I'll look forward to meeting you on the trail, too!
September Calendar Filling Up!

I've been promised a busy home stretch into Election Day by my campaign manager Rob Place, and it's definitely getting there. We're filing the calendar with solid events.

Thus far, there are nine events on eight dates, taking me to Wayne County three times, and also up to South Bend. That's not a huge number, yet, but the events are excellent. It seems we add two every day!

Three of these events will have winning an endorsement in mind. Another will put me in front of TV cameras. There is even a Secretary of State candidate forum, which was somewhat unexpected given that there weren't debates for the candidates in 2002.

It is not too late to schedule an appearance. County Chairs and supporters should contact Rob Place to make the appointment. In the meantime, check the schedule like they vote in Chicago- early and often.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Kole Campaign Schedule

Kind of a skinny week, which is okay, as there are many big events coming up in mid-September, and it frees me up to make the necessary fundraising and team-building phone calls.
This week's events include:

Tuesday, Aug 27, 11:30-1:00pm: IUPUI Fall Service and Involvement Fair. Libertarians will have a booth, and I will stop by. The fair gives students the opportunity to find meaningful extra-curricular activity, and it's hard to top working for liberty.

Saturday, Sept 2, Noon- 2pm: LP of Wayne County's 5th annual garage sale. The Rex & Susan Bell give Libertarians the opportunity to part with unwanted stuff, and the good people of Wayne and surrounding counties to buy same at bargain prices. They had me make cotton candy last year. No telling what they might put me up to this year! Event runs all day Saturday and Sunday, at 17059 State Road 38, Hagerstown.

Pink sugar. The kids love it.