"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"
aka "Miss Victory"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Indianapolis' own Angie's List reports on the new face of eminent domain

Please the article reprinted below with permission from Angie's List. -HFFT

The new face of eminent domain
by Paul F.P. Pogue

Lori Vendetti grew up expecting to one day inherit her childhood summer home in Long Branch, N.J. But in 1995, she learned that the Long Branch City Council was targeting her parents’ home and one she had just purchased next door as part of an “area in need of redevelopment,” setting off a fight to save the properties that continues today.

Citing redevelopment provisions, Long Branch condemned numerous neighborhood properties in 2005 so a local developer could replace them with condos and townhouses. Vendetti and 24 others in the group filed suit in Monmouth County Court and lost; the case is currently under appeal with the Appellate division of the New Jersey Superior Court.

“This is the American dream, to own your property and give it to your children, and they’re trying to take that away,” Vendetti says. “We’re holding out for our homes. We’re holding out for principle.”

The major point of contention is whether or not the area is blighted or, as New Jersey law defines it, “in need of redevelopment.” John Aaron, the attorney for Long Branch, says the city concluded in 1995 that the area needed to be redeveloped after an exhaustive study found the homes were, among other things, not being kept up to standards. He also notes that the homeowners missed numerous opportunities over the years to challenge the plans. But Vendetti denies that and says the area is fine just like it is and the city only used the designation because developers wanted the land.

The power of eminent domain is enshrined in the Constitution, which allows a government to take private property for public use with just compensation. The question now up for debate is what exactly constitutes public use. A 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision expanded “public use” to include “public purpose,” such as allowing eminent domain to eradicate blight. In the decades since, eminent domain has grown to include property transferred from one private owner to another, usually a developer.

The Michigan Supreme Court’s 1981 decision in Poletown Neighborhood Association v. City of Detroit upheld the city’s right to seize property to make way for an auto factory. The court reversed itself in 2004, but by then the city had bulldozed 1,000 homes and 600 businesses.

Proponents say building better properties increases the tax base and overall economic strength of an area, thus constituting a public purpose. Opponents, however, say private-to-private property transfers are tantamount to stealing and call such cases “eminent domain abuse.”

The Poletown case notwithstanding, private-to-private property transfers remained largely off the public radar until 2005, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a high-profile decision in the Connecticut case of Kelo v. City of New London (see sidebar). In that case, Susette Kelo and six other property owners sued to keep their homes, which were in an area being redeveloped by the New London Development Corporation. They ultimately lost when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the city had the right to condemn their homes under eminent domain.

“The Kelo case really perpetuated what had been a dangerous trend in the law, to foster this convenient use of eminent domain to assemble property that developers didn’t want to assemble the old-fashioned way — by arm’s-length negotiation.” says Amy Boulris, a Florida-based eminent domain lawyer who has lectured at national seminars on the subject.

Nobody keeps nationwide records on the use of eminent domain. But representatives of the Institute for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm that litigated Kelo and often works on similar cases, say the decision opened the floodgates. According to their numbers, instances of private-to-private cases doubled in 2006 and continue to climb in many states.

Public opinion since Kelo has turned overwhelmingly against the use of eminent domain for private-to-private transfers. In a recent Angie’s List Quick Poll, 67 percent of Angie’s List members say they oppose eminent domain for private redevelopment, while an additional 29 percent say it’s justified only in some cases.

As the current ballot battle to limit eminent domain in California shows (see sidebar), the legal struggles are far from over, though the application of private-to-private transfers differs by region. More than 40 states have enacted reforms, but they haven’t necessarily limited these cases as much as one might expect. According to the Institute for Justice, loopholes and wording in about half of the laws leave homeowners more vulnerable than ever to private-to-private transfers.

Larry Morandi, director of state policy research for the National Conference of State Legislatures, says loopholes can be found in what he calls the “four ‘ly’s”: Primarily, solely, predominantly and merely. “Those adverbs are very important legally because they give local government some wiggle room,” he says. “They can say, ‘We’re not pPrimarilyRIMARILY doing this to increase tax revenue.’”

Dana Berliner, senior attorney for the Institute for Justice, also notes that blight provisions are frequently broadly worded to make condemnation easier. She says she’s seen houses labelled as blighted for wet leaves on a tennis court, a cooler on a front porch and, in one noteworthy case in Lakewood, Ohio, any house that didn’t have an attached two-car garage, central air conditioning or three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

However, proponents of the use of eminent domain for private redevelopment point out that the Kelo decision didn’t grant the government new rights; rather, it affirmed what had been accepted practice for decades. “I think we’ve overreacted as a country to the issue,” says John McIlwain, senior resident fellow with the Urban Land Institute, which studies land use policy around the nation. “The use of eminent domain with private controls is a very important tool.”

“Opponents have been very effective in fanning the flames of hysteria,” says Lora Lucero, staff attorney for the American Planning Association, which filed a brief in Kelo in favor of the developers. “It’s a very emotional topic, and it unfortunately comes with good sound bites. We asked the Supreme Court to uphold more than 50 years of precedent showing that eminent domain is a worthwhile economic development tool in the community toolbox. Of course, it should be used sparingly, and in our amicus brief, we even said it should be a tool of last resort.”

Experts note that three years is a short time for policy development, and even though lawmakers responded with remarkable speed to Kelo, the long-term effects won’t be clear for a while. “Until we have enough time to see how local governments will react, we won’t see what the effect has been,” Morandi says.

Some, however, saw an immediate effect, particularly when lawsuits had been put on hold while awaiting the final word on Kelo. Wright Gore III says the city of Freeport, Texas, filed condemnation papers on his family’s shrimping business, Western Seafood, less than 24 hours after the decision. “We were actually the first victims of the Kelo case aside from Susette Kelo herself,” he says.

City officials have targeted Western Seafood for seizure since 2002 to make way for the construction of a privately owned marina. Gore says the family tried to negotiate in good faith but instead had to resort to fighting eminent domain proceedings in court. The case is currently before the Texas First Court of Appeals. “[The Kelo decision] was just the most demoralizing thing we had heard,” Gore says. “When a local municipality has its mind made up that they want to take property, nothing will stop them. Condemnation law, to this day, is very much stacked against the property owner, even considering the [eminent domain] reforms. You can’t just close your eyes and hope the government will be reasonable with you.”

Representatives for the city of Freeport didn’t return several calls from Angie’s List seeking comment.

The Institute for Justice says they’ll continue working on a state-by-state basis to turn the tide, but the fight may not be over, even in states with strong reform. “There are starting to be efforts to move back reforms, and I think that’s going to be a major issue in the coming years,” Berliner says.

Aaron, the Long Branch attorney, says he fears a public discourse of buzzwords and catchphrases will weaken eminent domain’s legitimate uses.

“Being on the municipality’s side in today’s world isn’t popular, and the taking of someone’s home is not to be done lightly,” he says. “But the explanation for [eminent domain] is found in years and years of initial findings and is used only sparingly, and only when there is a tremendous public benefit as a result of the taking.”

As for Vendetti, she’s not through fighting even though Long Branch is offering $374,000 for her house and $410,000 for her parents’. “A house is a brick structure to some people, but it’s part of our family to us,” Vendetti says. “People say, ‘Anyone can be bought.’ And I say, ‘There’s no amount of money that could make us sell our homes.’”
Time will tell if she’s going to have a choice.

(printed with permission from Angie's List)

Property Tax Activist, Melyssa Donaghy's assessment up almost $30,000

UPDATE, 7pm : Received a call from Dave Bond of Stop Indiana who said that another activist received very bad news. Turns out the modest home this activist purchased two years ago for less than $120,000 is reassessed for $350,000 with the new asssessment. Don't forget that we the taxpayers of Marion county get the privilege of paying $1.3 million for these new assessments which are just as inconsistent as the first assessment. Greg Bowes promised us during the 2008 city budget hearing for the county assessors that the new assessments would not be perfect. He didn't seem to think that was a problem. What do you want to bet that Greg Bowes doesn't have a problem with the assessment on his personal property? You can read my impressions about the August 28th budget hearing with Greg Bowes and how right I was in my prediction. --HFFT

Tim Evans of the Indy Star called me today to personally tell me that my assessed value on my home went up nearly $30,000 and to get my reaction. He even wondered with me if it was retaliation for my work on the property tax repeal front. Who knows. All I know is that as long as the government can tax and assess your home, you have absolutely NO CONTROL over you ability to keep one of the largest and most important investments you will ever make in your lifetime...your home.

This year our democrat and republican state legislators approved a budget INCREASE, so they get to spend more of our money. Meanwhile, our property values have DECREASED 10% or more according to state and national realtor reports. Our incomes aren't exactly spiraling up either.

So why is that our employees (the politicians) don't have to cut their spending and budgets, but we (the employers) do? How is that at all fair?

Ask yourselves how long you are going to put up with this. Most of you stopped fighting the fight when the governor called for the reassessments last summer thinking all would be fine. We tried to tell you it was a trick. We tried to get you to take action, but all those personal choices kept getting in the way for most of you.

I hate to be so blunt, but if the people don't get serious about forcing politicians to obey the rule of law and to do our will, things will only get worse. Behind our backs, the politicians laugh at what gullible sheep we are.

Ask yourselves, how did that two-party system treat you during this last legislative session? If you don't like how they treated you, then vote out incumbents and vote for every independent or third party candidate you can and get rid of the lot of them.

In the meantime, you can petition the state of Indiana to refund the portion of your property tax that is improperly collected according to Article 8 of the Indiana Constitution. The attorney John Price wrote the document. You just need to cut and paste it into a new document, have it notorized and send off a copy to the county treasurer (Mike Rodman) and the county assessor (Greg Bowes).

Let's see if we can flood our politician employees with paperwork for the time being.

--Melyssa, activist volunteer

Will you take to the streets again or will you give up?

Your new bills are coming and none of this looks better than what we had a year ago. The question is, what are you going to do THIS time? You should start by voting out every single incumbent politician and casting votes for independent candidates and Libertarians. That is unless of course you still believe your two-party system is working for you. Here's a hint: they don't work for YOU, they work for their cronies, campaign funds, and lobbyists. - HFFT

March 26, 2008
Reassessment nails business properties
By Tim Evans and Jeff Swiatek

Marion County’s property reassessment, approved today by the state eight months after flawed 2007 bills unleashed a tax revolt, wasn’t sitting well with businesses or homeowners.
The redo shifted more of the tax burden to commercial and industrial properties, a change that business interests predicted could make Indianapolis less competitive in retaining and attracting employers.

And angry homeowners expecting significant relief from last summer’s bills aren’t likely to be satisfied with the less than 1 percent drop in residential assessments.It is too early to tell exactly how the new property values will affect 2007 tax bills.That’s because the assessments represent only the first step in recalculating bills Gov. Mitch Daniels threw out last summer because of concerns about the property values used to calculate them.

What’s nextThe county is expected to release the data for individual parcels in the next few days.

After that, county and state officials will recalculate tax rates, which will be used in conjunction with the new assessments to refigure bills.In general, as assessed values increase, tax rates drop, though state and county officials stressed it is impossible to tell the precise effect on individual parcels until the new rates are determined.Marion County Assessor Greg Bowes said it may be June before corrected 2007 bills hit mailboxes across the county.

Bowes said he expected the new assessments to result in decreases in some bills and increases in others, including those of some homeowners who saw bills double and even triple. State officials were more optimistic.

“It’s clear the initial assessment in Marion County was flawed, and business property was undervalued. We fully expect that many Marion County homeowners will have lower tax bills as a result of this reassessment,” said Ryan Kitchell, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Commercial values soar
One of the reasons Daniels ordered the do-over was the discovery that nearly three-quarters of commercial and industrial assessments had not changed from 2005 to 2006, even though those values were supposed to reflect changes in market values from 1999 to 2005.

The reassessment clearly addressed that problem, increasing commercial values by 32 percent, or $4.8 billion, while industrial values jumped 35 percent, or about $765 million. Overall, the reassessment pushed up the value of all property in the county 11 percent, or $5.6 billion.

Homeowners, who raised the biggest stink last summer over increases in their assessments and tax bills, will see the smallest change. The gross assessed value of residential property countywide dropped about $208 million, or less than 1 percent.

Under the new assessments, commercial and industrial land and buildings now account for 34.3.percent of the total assessed value, an increase of almost 20 percent.Conversely, residential property’s share of the total assessed value dropped by a little more than 10 percent, from 65.8 percent to 59 percent.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s director of taxation and public finance, Bill Waltz, said he’s not surprised by the increases, because the new values represent almost six years’ worth of appreciation in property values since the last assessment.

“Mass appraisals are a pretty tricky thing,” he said. “I’m sure they are getting a lot closer with this effort. You have to get the assessments right. That’s the starting point in a fair (tax) system.”The jump in business assessments “sounds bad,” he said, “but if those are right and we are getting assessments correct or more correct, then that’s fair for all taxpayers.”

Concerns about business
Others worried about driving businesses out of Marion County. Hamilton County’s growing office parks could gain a tax advantage over Indianapolis that would lead more of its businesses to flee to its northern neighbor, said Dan Richardson, a senior vice president at CB Richard Ellis’ local commercial brokerage office.

“I can see a price disparity coming between Hamilton County and Marion County. Historically, those property taxes were similar,” he said.

At the same time, a hike in property taxes figures to make Indianapolis commercial properties less profitable and less attractive to buyers in the investment market, said Andy Banister, a first vice president at CB Richard Ellis.

A bigger tax bite “starts eroding your income you get from the property. It will equate to a price reduction over time” in the property, he said.

The 34.7 percent average jump in assessed value for industrial properties “is very surprising. It’s much higher than we thought it would be,” said Mark Cahoon, vice president of public finance and economic development for the Indiana Manufacturers Association. Cahoon said such a large increase could lead to mass appeals by businesses of their assessments.

Less than pleased
Melyssa Donaghy, a Meridian-Kessler resident who organized several tax protests last summer, said she doesn’t expect the changes to appease many homeowners, either.

“Mark my words,” said Donaghy, “there are going to be a whole lot of mad people in Meridian-Kessler.”

Franklin Township Assessor Becky Williams questioned the validity of the new numbers, noting such a reassessment would normally take a year to 18 months. She, too, believes the new bills will lead to a huge number of costly and time-consuming appeals. “This whole thing has been a publicity stunt aimed at the governor’s goal of eliminating township assessors,” she said.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Join Downsize DC and support "Read The Bills Act"

How many of our state legislators do you think actually read the 600 page property tax relief legislation that was just inked by the Governor? You think even 10% read it? I don't. Imagine how little legislation gets read by our Congresspersons. Think about it. Can you imagine Andre Carson reading a bill before he signs on?

Please join one my favorite organizations, DownsizeDC.org. Membership is free. All you have to do is register to use their quick-and-easy system for sending messages to Congress. Doing this will bring you three benefits . . .

You'll be able to issue instructions to Congress with just a few mouse clicks and keyboard strokes.

You'll get a free subscription to the Downsizer-Dispatch, an excellent email newsletter that will keep you informed of activities in Congress .

You'll be able to join me in pressuring Congress to pass important Downsize DC proposals such as the "Read the Bills Act" (yes, actually require congressmen to actually read the bills BEFORE they vote on them…for more click here:

the "Read the Laws Act"

Many people sing the virtues of voting on election day, but the candidates we elect rarely give us what we want. Perhaps that's because we rarely tell them what we want. The members of DownsizeDC.org, are trying to change that, and I'm proud to be a part of that effort. DC Downsizers want Congress and the President to obey the Constitution. Were the politicians to do that there would be a lot less looting of the taxpayers by special interests. We would have a balanced budget, lower taxes, and a focused, more competent government. But we're never going to achieve this result unless we ask the politicians to give it to us.

You can be a part of this solution by joining DownsizeDC.org.Of course, the result we're asking for won't be achieved overnight. We need a large number of DC Downsizers pressuring Congress to make it happen. This is where you come in. But there are also steps we can take along the way to make it more likely that Congress will behave responsibly.

For instance . . .We could convince Congress to pass Downsize DC's "One Subject at a Time Act." This would prevent the Congressional leadership from passing unpopular laws by combining them with completely unrelated measures that lower-ranking members of Congress are afraid to vote against. This one simple change would go a long way toward restoring a responsible, representative, and Constitutional government. But we aren't going to get this reform unless we ask for it.

“ART OF POLITICS” Art ShowPromoting artistic opinions on politics

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Ever since the American Revolution, American artists have been expressing their opinions on political matters through their artwork. One example is the cartoons of Thomas Nast. His work published in Harper’s Weekly helped bring to light the corruption of New York’s Tammany Hall, and gave us the Democrat’s donkey and the Republican’s elephant, as well as the modern image of Santa Claus.

This tradition continues today in the work of local artists who will be exhibiting their works in a politically themed art show at Deano's Vino Restaurant in Historic Fountain Square. The Libertarian Party of Marion County is sponsoring this show and sale.

ART SALE OPENING: Friday, April 4, 5:00-11:00 PM
HAPPY HOUR: 5:00-6:30 PM
Deano's Vino Restaurant & Wine Bar in Historic Fountain Square.
1112 S. Shelby Street, Indianapolis, IN 46203

DOWNLOAD FLYER: http://lpinscr.blogspot.com/2008/03/art-of-politics-april-4th-through-may.html

If you are an artist with interest in showing, or know one, please contact Jenny Elkins at 317-916-4202.

Indiana Veterens Coalition has a few words about incumbents

Think the legislature's "tax relief" was a deal for the taxpayer? Think again. We got handed a tax increase. Not only did our sales tax go up a penny forever (they never take those back), the incompetent assessors still get to appraise our property for whatever they like to determine their tax. By the way, they approved an increased budget this year. The People lost big time.


It has become evident during the legislative assembly in Indianapolis that our representatives no longer represent us... they represent the political Lobbyists and corporate interests that are funding them. They failed to listen to the public on several key issues: Property taxes, Illegal Immigration, Public Referendums for capital spending projects, Controls on State and Local spending, and Gay Marriage. Each of these affects us adversely as a whole.

First, our politicians were asked to exempt primary residential properties from taxation. Why should anyone ever be in jeopardy of losing their home over back taxes? They ignored the pleas of their constituents and proceeded as if we didn't matter one damn bit. The sad part is that our Republican leadership is the culprit. These property tax problems didn't just occur recently. they've been building for over a decade without any real solution being presented.

And note that nothing is being done to control the spending of local and state government. The bill that passed placed up to a $20 million dollar limit on spending projects that do not require public referendum. In other words, for a project to by-pass the referendum process, all they need to do is under-bid the job by $1.00 and then a public capital spending project could be passed with public consent. and, then, if need be, the contractor can always come back and show that that more money was needed (just think of the Marion County Central Library that went over budget by millions of dollars without public approval). Can you possibly believe that our state and local government representatives have any concern about public funding and controls on public spending? The answer is a resounding NO! It is up to us to say NO to any capital spending project that exceeds $500,000. and that still needs public oversight! If they are not going to willingly cut spending, then we need to do it for them.

We have seen a steady flow of illegal immigrants into our country from our southern borders and coastlines from both Latin American and Asian countries. We have asked repeatedly for our Federal Government to do something about this. We have been ignored completely by our representatives and told that our opinions do not matter. We watched a lone representative in the House, Mike Delph, courageously attempt to implement a bill that would stem the flow of illegals into Indiana. Pat Bauer blocked this. But let's not lay all of the blame at his feet. The Republicans were formerly in control of the state legislature and they never attempted to solve this problem. And they are they ones who pushed this into the background and never allowed it to surface. Again, another example of their defiance of public concerns.

And, then, of course, there is Gay Marriage. This should not even need to be fixed, but because this has now come to the forefront politically, it needs to be addressed. No Gay marriages should ever be recognized as a legitimate marriage in this state or any other. The very concept demonstrates how far we have fallen by even considering such a disgusting concept.

Obviously, something is broken and it needs to be fixed. It is up to us as voters and taxpayers to "fix" the problem. But, how do we do it effectively? I have a plan that I want to present to you, your friends, family members, co-workers and business associates. It is called the "Anti-Incumbent Plan".

The differences between the Republican and Democrat Parties have blurred to the point that you can no longer tell which is which. So, political parties no longer have meaning or relevance anymore. They are working against us. Therefore, we need to deny them re-election to office. The "Anti-Incumbent Plan" is the methodology to use. After serving one term in office, our politicians will find that the public will be enforcing their own version of a "sunset" law. And we will throw the rascals out!

This is going to royally mess up all of those polling organizations who try to tell us how to vote during each election. They will no longer serve a purpose. And, our two major political parties. panicsville! Want to help to fix a problem? Then send this to everyone you know who is a resident of Indiana. If necessary, print it off and mail it to them. Let's get the word out and show them who really runs Indiana - the taxpayers and voters.

Executive Director
Indiana Veterans' Coalition

Florida Tax Protest Gathers STeam

Look what is going on in Florida

Protest tonight: FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP SCHOOLS misuse of taxpayer money

Needed: People to help articulately protest the misuseof taxpayer's money by the Franklin Township Schools in Marion County. Let me know if you can attend byemailing me back. I plan on attending.

See story:

The address is 6141 S. Franklin Rd. in the FranklinTwnshp Education Admin Ctr
(named the Carver Center)

The mtg begins on Monday, March 24 at 7pm, and thereis always time for community comment set aside on theagenda.
Their number is 862-2411

Friday, March 21, 2008

Indy Tax Dollars explains joke played on Hoosiers by Indiana Legislature

From Indy Tax Dollars

March 20, 2008
April Fool!!
If it happened more frequently, one might wonder whether citizens of Indianapolis and Indiana were being taken for fools intentionally - and successfully.

A member of the Capital Improvement Board (CIB) projected that the city would "...make $1.39 million annually from the Colts move." That guesswork was announced 24 years ago, appearing in the local daily paper on April 1, 1984. We'll never know whether the date was coincidental or intentional. But the "guesstimate" was certainly a huge - and very expensive - joke on the taxpayers.

The governor has just signed HB1001, alleged to be widespread, permanent property tax relief for all Indiana taxpayers. We found it intriguing that, of some 600 pages of material which include a wide variety of "protections" for the taxpayer, the first phase to take effect will be a 16% increase in the state sales tax. (Don't want our spenders to worry about funds, do we?) And guess what! The increase in the sales tax becomes effective on April 1, 2008.

We have asked before and we will ask again. If one considers a "cap" to be a permanent, inflexible limit on something, how does one reach that point by calling a percentage of a variable figure a "cap?" Assessments can change every year, and the individual taxpayers who think this legislation will give them permanent relief from property tax increases are living in a dream world. With or without professional assessors - if and when we get them - politicians will play games with assessments.

Our efforts to get a copy off the Internet of Senate Joint Resolution 1 - the constitutional amendment which will place the alleged "caps" in the state constitution - have been unsuccessful so far. Having not seen it, we are curious about the wording of the proposed approach. The publicly stated effort would "cap" residential property (that lived in by the owner?) at 1%, rental and farm property at 2%, and all other - business - at 3% of the assessed value.

We suppose they have covered this, but we do wonder about definitions. If a man owns ten single family residences from which he derives his total income, are those properties "rental" or "business?" Is a ten-story apartment building "rental" or "business" property? If a suburban area homestead contains, as a sideline, a profit-making horse boarding stable while the owner goes downtown to work every day, is that a "business?" Why is a "farm" producing corn and soy beans for sale on the local market not a "business?"

The effect on business generally has disastrous possibilities. There are few "red flags" more significant to a business looking to relocate than the fact that the governmental unit involved can hang a legally sanctioned higher price tag on it than on surrounding properties. And if the residential property owner (read, voter) will have to eye the assessment program carefully, just think what the potential is for game-playing with commercial buildings and industrial plants.
We are seriously concerned that the whole situation might be an intentional scam. The sales tax increase will be in effect and will stand, no matter what. In self defense the business community may find itself paired with the spenders and the likes of the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) in an effort to defeat or to change the proposed constitutional amendment. (An amendment must pass, in identical form, two separately elected legislatures.) The ISTA already has pretty effectively neutered the referendum provisions originally offered, and it is against "caps" because it wants no limits, no how, no way, on revenues to which it is "entitled."

We fear that HB1001 could turn out to be the most successful - and most damaging - April Fool trick ever pulled off in the state of Indiana.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Candidate Forums: Washington Township School Board & Indiana Senate Seat (Ken Morgan vs. Teresa Lubbers)

Three MSDWT School Board Candidates will be elected in the May 06, 2008 primary and will take office in early July, serving for a term of four years. Five candidates are running for the three vacant positions. (The remaining two board members, Greg Wright and Don Kite, still have two years remaining on their terms, so are not running in this election.)

These are not formal debates, but rather are forums, with the following usual format:

Each candidate gets a few minutes to speak at the beginning of the forum.
Questions are usually submitted in writing (in advance and/or at the meeting), so the moderator can combine them into topics or read them verbatim, at his discretion. (This is essential to keeping order and to prevent attendees from taking too much time up in asking the questions or getting too heated.)

Unless the questions are directed to specific candidates, each candidate has a brief opportunity to answer each question. The number of questions is limited by the total time allotted for the forum.

Each candidate then has a few minutes to summarize.

If a social period follows, refreshments may be served and attendees may have an opportunity to mingle with the candidates and other attendees.

Each forum sets their own rules, so the formats may differ.

Here are the forums that have been set up to date:

TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 7 pm at Pleasant View Lutheran Church, 801 W. 73rd Street (SE Corner of Hoover Road) in the Fellowship Hall.
Enter through the NE door; proceed down hallway to Fellowship Hall.
Moderator: Jim Shella from Channel 8.
Sponsored by the Citizens for Education. Hosted by Pleasant View Lutheran Church.

TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 7 pm at Greenbriar Elementary School,
Enter through a door on north side of building. Watch for signs.
This forum will also include the two Republican candidates for Indiana Senate for District 7, Teresa Lubbers and Ken Morgan. One of them will be the winner in the primary and will go on in the November election to run against the Democratic and Libertarian candidates, who are unopposed in the primary, so are not included in this forum.
Moderator: Darien Tropf, President of Greenbriar Neighborhood Association
Sponsored and hosted by the Greenbriar Neighborhood Association.

THURSDAY, MAY 1, 7 pm at Nora Library Meeting Room
Enter through first set of doors to library. Meeting room door is to your left. Do not go through second set of doors into library.
Moderator: A Board Member of Nora-Northside Community Council – TBD
Sponsored and hosted by the Nora-Northside Community Council

Please encourage people to attend every forum, in order to get a real feel for each candidate.

If you have any questions, please call me at 876-0707 or email me at pbigelow6@comcast.net.

Penny Bigelow, President
Citizens for Education

Northwest Indiana Freedom Association (NWIFA)

We added a new link to our blog roll for taxpayers in Northwest Indiana.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Andy Horning asks for reason to hope in property tax reform aftermath

From Andy Horning's We Declare blog:

I first started proposing property tax repeal and serious government reform about twelve years ago, and never stopped. For several months before last summer’s July 4 property tax protest I held press conferences (like this one for an Indiana Fair Tax) proposing a workable replacement for property tax. So I suppose I should be happy that so many folks started demanding changes…and got some. But I’m not happy about what we got. I’m not happy at all.

I don’t expect more from career politicians, mind you. They do what comes natural to them. In fact I suspect that Governor Daniels really meant well. But he’s a career politician trained in law; he’s unable to do what’s right. After all, lawyers are to law what fireman are to fire.
Several other politicians involved in this proposal also meant well, I am certain. But they will never, ever accept the just limitations of power imposed by our constitution. If citizens don’t hold them to constitutions, if we do not snap that leash onto them, they’ll not do what’s right, legal, and proven to work.

It’s frustrating that we keep voting for these political creatures and their certain result. It’s disheartening that we keep tolerating what they do to us. Over and over and over again. I’m getting really, really depressed.

The “tax reform” just passed is taking us further and faster into the wrong direction. By proposing we amend the constitution that politicians flout, they insult and harm us greatly…and few of us even know it. And if the Kernan-Shepard Commission gets its way (I actually heard a news pundit say it’s the only way to make the tax reform work), we’ll funnel still more power into fewer hands on the theory that such “streamlining” will save money in government the way “consolidation” saved money in schools.

You know how this will turn out, right? You know the history of massive power in few human hands, right?

My appeals for restoration of the Indiana Constitution have been printed and broadcast in several ways and places; in newspapers across the state, in the Indiana Policy Review Journal, and on this blog. Lots of people have heard/read these, and no one has presented any serious argument against them.

Why is it so hard for us to ask for what we really need? Why do we keep nibbling at the fast-growing branches of our problem when we’re running out of time to strike the root?
Do we really think that failure is not an option? Do we really think we can keep heading in this direction forever?

If somebody sees a silver lining, a ray of hope, a life raft or even a distant speck of light in any of this, please let me know at once. I’d really like to hope that we’re not swirling toward the drainpipes…

HFFT comments & contact information

You can contact the blog at Hoosiers.For.Fair.Taxation@gmail.com with questions or to submit tax related stories from your neck of Indiana.

Caller ID blocked calls might not be answered.

"Reliable Municipal Bonds are anything but reliable"

Another excerpt from The Market Oracle. Their predictions about the municipal bond markets should give you a clue about why the politicians tell you property tax repeal math is not possible.
It's not the math that makes it impossible.

" The US federal budget deficit for February was released and it widened to a record $175 billion dollars as the weakening economy reduced tax revenues for the second consecutive month. Revenue last month declined 12.1% while spending increased 17.1 percent. I promise you this collapse in revenue and spike in costs is being echoed on all levels of government -- state and municipal as well. Supposedly reliable Municipal Bonds are anything but reliable and you can watch for an unfolding cacophony of INCOME woes from this sector. For the first time in almost 5 years, American household's net worth declined according to figures released by the Federal Reserve. Data showed total household net worth declined $533 billion dollars to $57,718 billion in the forth quarter, as declining stock prices added to the damage of falling home values. "

Here's another excerpt:
"Higher taxes loom throughout the G7 to pay for ESSENTIAL services, aka patronage and paybacks to special interests. And now we learn the definition of rich in America , which is anyone making OVER $31,800, as the 2009 budget raises taxes on anyone above this level. As they inflate the money supplies, EVERYONE will now be RICH because their wages inflate as well. Trillions of dollars of higher taxes loom in the G7, for what reason? To pay the higher bills which are a natural consequence of this systemic inflation . Carbon taxes and socialized medicine are next onto the taxpayers tab. Do you think this will spur income, job creation and tax receipt growth? We are now in the most vicious of circles!

How will they make these payments? By inflating the money supplies until we reach the ultimate result seen throughout history in FIAT currency experiments -- they will fall to the intrinsic value of the paper, in other words ZERO! "


The mainstream financial media stands as their (sheeple's) mouthpiece on the investor's path to the poorhouse.

Sean Shepard held a press conference to talk about the federal reserve. Who paid attention? Who cared? The excerpt below is from The Market Oracle. Hopefully the information will help you out as our economy is in turbulence.

"BEWARE: The Ides of March, aka FIRESTORM! Part II As confidence in US
financial institutions and its balance sheets DISSAPEARS so have the investors
in them. Liquidity from the private sector has stopped dead in its tracks. As I
have outlined in the past, there is no lack of liquidity, only a lack of
confidence to deploy as questions of Solvency are now of primary importance. So,
now the financial systems' parents at the G10 central banks and the government's
fire trucks are on the scene of the 5-alarm blaze pouring liquidity into the
fires raging in the financial sector that is Wall Street, Lombard Street and the
G7 banking system. Last week's RUN ON THE BANK and the subsequent rescue of Bear
Stearns de-marks the latest commitment of Helicopter Ben Bernanke and G10
central bankers to deliver on their recent promises to do “whatever it takes” to
combat DEFLATION and protect the banking system within the various nations
financial and asset markets."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Humane Society decisions to cost taxpayers

Marion County taxpayers may need to brace for a half-million dollar price tag from recent decision by the Humane Society of Indianapolis
submitted by Greg Brush, C.E.O.,
Feral Bureau of Indiana, Inc.

At the beginning of March, 2008, the Humane Society of Indianapolis announced an end to their long-time policy of accepting stray animals. They also announced that they will have significant restrictions on accepting owner surrendered animals. This measure is hoped to stem their nearly decade-long financial shortfalls, estimated somewhere between $200,000 and $1,000,000 for 2007.

This announcement has ignited a flurry of discussion, praise and criticism of the city’s largest private animal shelter. It also has many asking what the fallout will be to the city’s taxpayers.
A week after HSI’s decision, the Indianapolis Animal Care & Control division and HSI announced a Memorandum Of Understanding had been inked between the two agencies intended to help soften the blow to the city expected by HSI’s policy change. The MOU isn’t a legally binding contract, but more a statement of philosophical agreement. The MOU declares intentions to coordinate and streamline the efforts of the two agencies, trying to minimize the inconvenience to the public by no longer being able to easily take stray or surrendered animals to HSI’s north side facility.

Critics of the move by the city include a number of area animal welfare organizations. They contend that ACC will bear the bulk of the expense in doing virtually all the euthanasia while HSI reaps the benefits of the donations and adoption fees. Most, though, seem to agree that the additional 2,100 strays expected yearly at ACC will be a big deal to the city’s south side facility regardless.

According to the city’s estimate, it costs $88.55 to house a stray animal at Indianapolis Animal Care and Control for the legally-required 5 day holding period. In 2007, the city housed 8,800 such stray animals, presumably (by their math) at a cost in excess of $779,000. The additional stray influx of 2,100 animals could well raise the figure to just under $1,000,000 for 2008. But the math doesn’t end there.

The city’s shelter also took in 5,200 owner surrendered animals in 2007. The law does not mandate the same holding period for owner surrendered animals, presuming that stray animals may be lost pets that will be reclaimed. Indeed, about 7-1/2% of the animals admitted to the city’s facility were reunited with their owners. The city, however, doesn’t offer an estimate of the cost for housing and disposition of owner surrender animals.

Indeed, it’s unclear how much the shelter’s intake of owner surrender animals will increase. Since HSI will still accept animals they deem to be most adoptable after going through counseling with HSI staffers, some percentage of the animals will still be flowing through HSI’s facility. In 2007, with a supply of over 5,000 owner-surrendered animals and 2,100 stray animals from which they can select, HSI found homes for just under 4,000 animals. That figure suggests that perhaps another 1,000 “less adoptable” owner surrendered animals may be headed for the city’s municipal shelter. But wait. We’re not done adding yet.

The city is now posting an Animal Control Officer at HSI’s north side facility 4 hours a day, 3 days a week to accept stray animals by appointment. The animals will then be transferred down to the city’s south side facility. At a time when budget restrictions are putting pressure on all city services, having one of the city’s few ACO’s sitting on the north side to accept strays for 1/3 of their work week, rather than investigating complaints of neglect and cruelty, or assisting IMPD on emergency runs involving animals increases the cost to the city in more ways than just financial. It also affects public safety, one of the keystones of the new city administration.
Since ACC currently dispatches officers to requests from citizens wishing to surrender animals, it seems this will likely increase too. This is a tremendously convenient service to offer to the public, albeit a costly one to the city. Given the cost of fuel, insurance, vehicle maintenance and the limited number of officers, one has to wonder if public safety is really served best in this way which people will no doubt want to use more often.

As everything government does usually costs more than it should, an extra $200,000-300,000 (or more) in animal intake and housing, $150,000 for additional kennel staff, and appreciable increases in officer utilization and owner surrender animals, it takes little imagination to see this costing the city an additional half million dollars per year. No matter how you juggle it, the money has to come from somewhere?!

No one can dispute that HSI is a private organization, and has no legal requirement to accept strays or owner surrenders. Because they have in the past doesn't mean they must continue to do so. They have a duty to their donors and members to operate in a fiscally responsible manner. It will be up to those donors and members to decide how they feel about supporting HSI’s new policy.

Does the Memorandum Of Understanding help or hurt the city? Ultimately, it probably will have little impact on the city if either party does or does not follow through with the principles outlined in the MOU. The solution to drastically reducing the intake of the nearly 27,000 animals coming into the two facilities yearly has apparently eluded city and HSI officials now for decades, so it's inconceivable that this half-measure will magically do the job.In the immediate term, the city administration's hands are tied, as they are mandated to perform animal control functions by law, regardless of what HSI does. But as an operating mode, this new arrangement (which is more happenstance than strategic plan) poorly serves the public and even more poorly serves the animals. Many cities even larger than Indianapolis (like Boston and San Francisco) have tackled this problem successfully. It would be in the best interest of the city administration to consider a new operating strategy that better serves all the citizens of Indianapolis, both 2- and 4-legged.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Diane Vice scores a victory for the taxpayer

Kudos to Diane Vice for her work in busting up school contract bidding schemes. You can read more about it here. Her work is going to ultimately save taxpayers hundreds of millions.

Property Tax Reform: The People lose to the politicians

We're going to end up with a 1% cap on homestead taxes and in exchange for this we get a one penny sales tax increase. You do understand that this gives the government power to appraise your house at anything they want and to continue wasting your money paying assessors to botch the job, don't you?

Repeal got pushed around until it finally ended up in a summer study. That's what they do to shut you up about it.

In my opinion the people could have won, but we did not fight hard enough and sometimes put party politics ahead of what is best for the people paying the bills.

I have held my tongue long enough and want to share with this blog's readers why I am leaving the property tax activism work I did.

I started out all innocently enough. I tracked the property tax crisis from the legislative session last year to the bills getting mailed. I knew when the bills were going to hit and what they were going to be before they showed up in my neighbors mailboxes. I knew it was going to be terrible and I knew that there were better ways for the taxpayer. My goal was simply to rally people and channel their anger toward a solution, which ultimately is putting a leash on government spending and adopting the FairTax. Sean Shepard and Andy Horning helped every step of the way.

Within mere hours of our first rally, Eric Miller hoisted his machine to hijack the Meridian Kessler neighborhood and its property tax anger to his christian conservative I-am-better-than-you agenda.

Then John Price and Eric Miller locked HFFT out of the statewide Property Repeal Alliance because of their judgment of me, the founder, the woman who first rallied you together when no one else would do it. John Price and Eric Miller are misogynists and took issue with me, a dominant freedom-loving woman, who the city could never prove broke even a single zoning law after spending your money on 20 months of litigation against me.

So, the alliance is personal property and belongs to John Price and is not for and of the people. John Price controls who gets in and who doesn't. Who gets a voice for property freedom and who doesn't.

Both men are also opportunistic and always have their hands out for your donations. In fact, Eric Miller pays himself nearly $250,000 a year in salary and benefits to be a lobbyist for Advance America and purposely used your tax anger to hitch up to his real agenda, the constitutional marriage amendment SJR7.

When John Price filed the constitutional lawsuit last summer, he begged for people to sign on to it. A lot of people were frightened to do so because they didn't want their names out there thinking they would be targets for government retaliation. I said I would sign on to the suit and was faxed paperwork by John Price. He was excited to have me, until he was told about my former career...an occupation that hurt no one, nor broke any laws. Immediately he denied me access to the constitutional lawsuit.

At the same time I was denied access to petition my government on the lawsuit, Price gave access to man who is a convicted felon, whose son is in prison for cold-blooded murder, a man who burned the American flag in public, and once publicly threatened to murder the children of our city prosecutor. That's ok though because this man is now an ordained minister of your social concerns.

Although I've done no wrong, not one of our activists has the kahunas to stand up publicly to Eric Miller or John Price even though they ALL denounce these men's agendas behind their backs and have done so with me privately in our homes many, many times.

Yet they allow Miller and Price to divide us with by their bigoted judgments.

John Price and Eric Miller threaten our higher level human needs by their judgment and condemnation. Our politicians threaten our lower level need for physical shelter and safety by keeping a system in place by which the government can take your property. These are the enemies of the people making it difficult for all Hoosiers to self-actualize.

I am sad, because I thought this fight could be won. Now I know it cannot. I cannot fight with people who betray me and worse, who betray their own sense of right and wrong.

HFFT has history of endorsing candidates from all parties

click image to enlarge

The Indiana Voters' League published our candidate endorsements in October 2007. It is clear HFFT endorsed candidates from all three parties, not just the Libertarians. In fact, HFFT helped bring a republican controlled council and a republican mayor to Indianapolis.

When the Libertarian is the best candidate, the Libertarian will be endorsed. When there is a better candidate in another party, we will endorse that candidate. For instance, democrat Abu Henderson is endorsed for state representative in Bill Crawford's district.

The new blog editor needs to be willing to fight hard for fair taxation and for putting people into office who will benefit the taxpayers regardless of party affliation. If that candidate is a Libertarian, that candidate needs as much support as we gave to Mayor Ballard and no less. The new blog editor should also support the FairTax.

It is shameful that so many of you who said in this last race that the Libertarian was the best candidate, but didn't vote for him.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A most appropriate cartoon for election day

This cartoon is for the sheeple...click to enlarge it

Monday, March 10, 2008

Why property tax rallies don't work anymore

Another rally aimed at the same old democrats and republicans who put us in this mess is not going to solve anything. We let them know what we want and we let them know LOUDLY over and over again! We told them nothing short of REPEAL is what is wanted by the people. Poll after poll supports that Hoosiers want repeal. We know property tax repeal IS possible and we know our politicians lie to us and say it is impossible.

Who the hell are politicians, without indepth schooling in economics, to tell us they know more about what works economically than the economists (who spent their lifetimes studying) know?
Do you really buy the arrogance of those democrat and republican politicians?

We saw, while on the republican and democrat watch, Marion county property taxes were under-assessed by $4 billion and some got bills last year with as much as 850% increase! Bank tellers with high school diplomas get fired if they don't balance their drawers to the penny. How are legislators getting off so easy?

The answer is that you let them. WE are the reason we aren't getting repeal OR reform. Take responsibility for your contribution to the problem. We failed to parent government. It's time to change what we are doing, because until we do, we are going to get what we always got.

Any of you ever watch the show "Super Nanny"? Well, our politicians are like the out of control brats that Nanny helps. And guess what? Her techniques don't work unless the parents decide to change and implement new parental behavior. Unless Hoosiers decide we're going to change how we vote, and how we oversee our politician servants, we're going to get the same trouble-causing, out-of-control do-nothings.

The public lets politicians get away with ruining people's lives by enabling their negligence to handle our business responsibly.

Case in point: we have a politician ready to abandon his state house representative position for Congress if he's elected tomorrow. He's ready to turn his back on you, the taxpayer who elected him. And many of you are ready to let him off the hook! Anyone ever ask him why he didn't wait until November to run AFTER he took care of the taxpayers he promised to serve locally? And worse, he's got the nerve to run on a platform of being your backyard Congressman! I find it unbelieveable that people are so partisan that they buy that?

So what's the answer to make the politicians do our will? Is it another property tax rally?

Having personally been to more property tax rallies than pretty much anyone around, I can tell you the answer to our property tax crisis is not another rally. Not unless the State House is literally surrounded by 5,000 or more homeowners with pitchforks. Nothing short of that level of rally will be effective anymore. To the politician, rallies are now "another day another rally". They LAUGH at you behind your back. Just like they laughed at Mayor Ballard, a distinguished Marine officer who is already slashing waste from the city budget and keeping his promises.

After nearly a year of full time activism, with rallies I organized in media coast-to-coast, I am utterly convinced the status quo two-party system will never get us anywhere. My assessment is based on observation of the actions of the politicians who vote on our behalf. (Really politicians vote on THEIR behalf and that's the part that the sheeple are too ignorant to understand.) We must untrench the political status quo to see progress. That means electing independents, Green Party, and Libertarian candidates.

As of March 12, I'm quitting my volunteer job with Hoosiers For Fair Taxation because I only help people who don't help themselves so long.

Having said that there are a few activist exceptions to this rule and I do not mean to discourage them, but rather ENCOURAGE them to put their energy into getting the best people of principle they can to run as Libertarians and fund their campaigns.

If you really want answers and you really want change, change how you vote starting tomorrow.

Still think I'm wrong about changing how you vote? See the 2007 and 2008 Indiana legislative session for proof that your voting habit is not working for us. Think real hard about this year's legislative session and your property tax bill tomorrow when you look at your three choices and ask yourself if you want more of the same.

Carson and Elrod are more of the same. Vote out incumbent politicians!

Andy Horning: Don't spoil your chance to make real changes

Here are some words of wisdom from Andy Horning, who was one of your first responders on the scene when the property tax crisis crashed on Hoosiers late last June. You might recall that it was the leadership of the republicans and democrats in the 2007 legislative session that brought us last year's crisis. Recently we learned their competence at assessing resulted in being off $4 billion! Our new bills won't arrive until after the 2008 legislative session.

It's your country! Do you want more of the same type of leadership that brought you the property tax crisis of 2003 and 2007? Or are you ready to do your part to lead America's change?

Andy says:
If you plan to vote either Republican or Democrat in Indy’s 7th District Special Election, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.

How in the world can you rationalize voting for the entrenched powers, when you have a perfectly good, reasonable, and perhaps unrepeatable chance to assert your power over them in an unmistakable, effective way? How can you vote for the status quo as our ship of state is clearly sinking? How in the world can you put your seal of approval to the corruption, abuse of power, crime and injustice caused directly by our intransigent, stubborn Big Party habit?
Don’t waste your vote on them again! Don’t let those pointless parties spoil your chance to make real changes.

Kick the habit. Show politicians who’s really in charge. Don’t just rattle your cage…break your chains and put a leash on the fancy pants parties at last.

Vote for Sean Shepard.

Just do it.


Tomorrow, on March 11th, you the taxpayer have another opportunity to vote out incumbents who have done nothing for you. DO IT! There is one candidate in the 3-way race for Congress who has never held office and who has already given the 7th district countless hours of his time to solve the problems facing government.

For "grown-ups" that want to debate the issues:

Give yourself permission to pick the best candidate, not the lesser evil or who you think will win. Do it for America!

You AND America deserve the best!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The case for Sean Shepard

Click document to enlarge and/or print copies

To Whom it May Concern: Melyssa & Volunteerism

I want to make it perfectly clear that no job was ever offered to me by Sean Shepard, should he be elected in two days for Congress. However, I do intend to VOLUNTEER my services to Sean in anyway that it is needed and my skill set would be helpful. I have absolutely no desire to work in a bureaucracy or for the government. However, if I am asked to give my talents to my country, then of course I will act and I do expect to be given volunteer work.

Advance Indiana incorrectly reported a statement that I was promised a job with Sean. I hope no one takes offense to a citizen giving (rather than taking) from her country. If you look at my history, you will see I have a long history of meaningful volunteer work for my community.

As far as a career, I much prefer sales, which obviously I am pretty good at doing. I apoligize for any misunderstanding.


Friday, March 7, 2008

A vote for Elrod will get you Carson

After hearing last night's debate, there should be no doubt that Sean Shepard is the best candidate in the field. He is pristine and owes no one but the People once elected. Many well schooled pundits admit to me that Sean is the best and they would vote for him if he was Republican.

Well, Sean used to be a Republican until they stopped adhering to their ideals. Don't blame Sean for having integrity. Don't blame all the others who see the horrible behavior in both parties and decide leave the Republicans and Democrats to make the Libertarian vote higher every year.

It is up to you now. Are you going to vote for the best or second best candidate? Cause the Libertarians are not backing off Sean Shepard to settle for the second best candidate.

Many republicans admit to me that Sean is the best candidate, yet say he will not get their vote. In other words, these Republicans are willing to settle for second best and try to convince other voters that they should settle for second best to avoid getting Carson. Even though this first best candidate, Sean Shepard, worked his tail off last summer to help lead the property tax protests that led to the Republicans getting handed a mayor and a city council on a silver platter.

How dare any citizen be pushed to vote for anyone but the very best candidate in the field. You vote for the second best candidate and you vote for Carson, a bought and paid for big government puppet with strong anti-Israel Muslim ties.

You vote for the second best candidate and you will put a man in power who told us last night that the stock market, which is good enough for the wealthiest people in the world, is not good enough for his constituents and their retirement money.

You decide. Do you want Shepard or Carson? Because a vote for Elrod is going to get you Carson, as there are now enough people of integrity to throw this election that way and who don't see any difference anymore between Republican and Democrat. We have nothing to lose by getting Carson. We see little difference between the two parties, who while on their watch, put our country into its current state.

As for me, I'm quitting the activism, voting for Sean Shepard, and praying that my community I've fought so hard to try to make a better place, thinks enough of themselves and Indiana to choose the best.

I know I am worth the best, but are you?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What is a Democrat with conservative economic values to do?

A former long-time democrat, Ed Angleton has this to say about "stealing" elections:

There have been many complaints of late regarding Libertarians “stealing” elections from Republican candidates. That we agree in principle about 80% so we shouldn’t be fielding candidates. It has even been suggested that the Libertarian Party should simply fade away and its members and activists return to the parties from whence they came and work within them to effect change.

I have but one word for these sentiments.


Last evening I had the misfortune to meet a most disagreeable man who voiced these very points. I shall, therefore, endeavor to dissect his “logic” and present a case as to why third parties, and specifically the Libertarian Party, are necessary. JP, this is for you.

Let us begin with the charge of “stealing” elections. Locally the biggest complainer is the old-line Republican Party and it is directed at the Libertarians. This is where the 80% idea comes into play. The Republicans claim that since the Libertarians and they are so similar in their beliefs, what we have is basically two Republican candidates running against each other dividing the vote to such a degree that the Democrat is elected even when he or she would not necessarily be.

What these ideological arguers fail to take stock of is that it is the other 20% that makes all the difference. For example, I can agree for the need to have a balanced budget. I can agree that government spending is out of control. I can agree that we are paying too many taxes. I can agree as to the need for a strong defense. But, I disagree with need for a constitutional amendment defining marriage which many Republicans insist is necessary.

Third Parties are highly necessary. Consider the citizen, who after years of watching his party drift further and further from the ideals that bound him to it in the first place, can no longer support the creature it has become. Some would argue that one should not leave the party in question, but should stay and work within the party to effect change.

I’ll give this an “A” for theory but an “F” for practicality. When the rift has grown to great and the party so insulated from new ideas or change, those who control the workings of it will jealously guard their influence and do everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

I give you the Carson Machine and the Center Township “gang”. So what is a Democrat with conservative economic values, but who treasures the civil liberties guaranteed to us by the US Constitution and Bill of Rights to do other than become a Libertarian? Without that third party individuals capable of thinking for themselves instead of regurgitating “party” rhetoric would have no voice. But then that is the goal of those who would impose their ideology on us. It was true in the time of George III and it is just as true in the time of George W.

Strike a blow to the powers that be

Excerpt from Andy Horning's blog:

In the 7th Congressional District, there is an extraordinarily easy way to boost hope into a full-blown Revolution. …A peaceful revolution, but a revolution nonetheless.

All that’s required is that you change the way you vote. Just as a test.Whoever wins the Special Election will be a congressman for only about 9 months. Out of that nine months, congress will be in recess more than in session. Whoever wins will be an endangered freshman, and will have only one vote in 435. Even if voters were to elect a goat, no real harm could be done before another election will be held for the seat this coming November.

Here’s the pitch: If 7th District voters were to send the first Libertarian to Congress…my oh my…that would rock the Golden Calf! Imagine the shock and horror in the major party offices when suddenly some new guy from an ignored party breaches their wall and enters the halls of power? Imagine the blow to their funding and power structure of corporate donors, lobbyists and smoky-room party bosses when an outsider gains a seat in Congress! Imagine the shift in media coverage, estimation of election odds and opinions about the gullibility of voters should voters demonstrate that they really have had it up to here!

Now, I know Libertarian candidate Sean Shepard very well, and I know he actually is the best candidate in the field. But assume for a moment that he’s no different from the others, and is really just some bloke from some party that should never get inside the Great Beltway. Are you following me here? Can you understand what his win would mean to The Powers That Be? Can you imagine the look in the eye of every demorepublicrat leader, contributor and power broker in the nation should Sean Shepard become the Congressman from Indiana’s 7th District?


Maybe you just have to have met the nation’s “leaders” to understand what I’m dreaming. Perhaps you’d have to have run for office yourself to see just what sort and degree of power is concentrated into “the system” of lobbyists, power brokers, unions and other “special interest groups,” and what that does to policy.But if you can even imagine the corruption that exists in DC, then imagine blowing a hole right through the middle of it for even 9 months. Just nine months. Think about it. Think about it hard.I wish I weren’t traveling now. I wish I were in Indiana to work night and day to do what I could to make it happen.

I want every politician…and every policeman to know that citizens really are in charge here, and that it’s the way things are supposed to be here. I want everyone who’d call himself a “leader” to fear that we no longer want leaders…that we want servants, and we demand this now.

My oh my what a dream. Please do what you can to make it happen.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Quote of the day from Advance Indiana

o'liberty says:
"I hope that I never have to look in the mirror and say that I bastardized democracy by voting for someone who was not the best candidate, simply to validate electoral math. I fully intended to vote for Elrod, but of all the interviews and forums I've seen, Shepard clearly shines as a better option. Besides, the Republicans are no friends to real "conservatism" or sensible foreign policy or civil rights. I was still wavering before I read your diatribe today, but it's convinced me that voting for Shepard is the most American thing I can do. So thanks."

Sex Sells

HFFT had a record day of unique users yesterday after I asked if the Republicans would back Elrod or any candidate in Indiana if he/she were openly gay.

Today this Arlington VA voter consulting firm, googled "gay elrod" and landed on our blog. They are no doubt working for Andre's campaign.

Democrats are not supposed to care about a person's sexual orientation right? If that is true, why the obsession and the googling of "gay elrod"?

To Jon Elrod:
I'm sorry you have to endure all of this nonsense simply because you publicly stood up for the issues that matter to gays. However, I'm pleased you have the kahunas to buck the system a bit and do it. We need more young politicians like you! And we need you in the state house during that final week of the session voting our way for us!

NOW that I've got your attention...

I knew yesterday's editorial would get you all unglued and uncomfortable and that was my goal. Thanks for all the comments. I love them! Unfortunately getting unglued and uncomfortable is sometimes what is necessary to get people to consider new ideas and take action in new directions. Sorry, if you think it is "dark" there. It really isn't. It's just scary to you because it is new. I promise it won't hurt a bit.

Libertarians don't hold national office because people are afraid to go down new paths, they don't pay close attention to the issues, and it takes a lot of energy (money) to educate the masses to try new paths. It also doesn't help that there is great opposition out there that doesn't want to let go of power. Good thing George Washington did not think that way or we would be living in a monarchy.

But you know what? The Libertarians are not going away, are not going to be bullied, and they will get more and more votes in Indiana with each election because each day more and more people wake up to realize that the Libertarians really are principled. The most conservative among the Libertarians tolerate and accept even people like me.

Just because something isn't happening yet, does not mean that thing that is not happening is not good for us. For instance, because powerful people that control the fossil fuel industry don't want to give up their power, we don't get the abundant free energy all around us because they block the technology every way they can. The technology exists. There is even infinite free energy from the vacuum. Because we are still hooked on fossil fuel, does that make it the best path for us?

I think Elrod is a great guy. I like listening to him talk. I like his sincerity. I genuinely really like everything I've seen from him. And I also think Elrod is selling us all out.

If Elrod is elected to Congress, we are NOT going to have his vote in the statehouse during the last week of the the legislative session when the big things get done. And that's lousy for me, the taxpayer, because he is a pro-repeal fiscal conservative, social moderate and that's the voice I want heard doing my business at the statehouse.

There is nothing dark at all about what I wrote, for it is the truth. How can truth be dark? The real dark and lonely place is the closet! There ARE a lot of closeted people inside the statehouse that cannot live true to who they are as individuals because of the overwhelming fear of judgment. That's not healthy. And if there is anyone out there that knows about judgment, I do. I also understand that most people never self-actualize because of the judgment of others and never advance out of the esteem needs within the hierarchy of human need. This means that their ultimate human need to actualize, is threatened.

Yes, people are losing their homes. Our government is threatening our physical needs of shelter and our safety needs which are the most vital of human needs. My position is that our politicians' policies should not hinder the ability of the individual to self actualize by threatening any of our human needs on our path to ultimately create and experience our actualization.

We need Elrod in the statehouse to make sure he's doing all we can to protect our physical need for shelter. We need the republican party to refuse to let religious zealots hi-jack the party, who via condemnation and judgment, force people to live in closets of fear and shame, petrified to express their true selves for fear of losing their entire life. Let the zealots start their own party if they want government and religion mixed!

These crusading judging zealots aren't converting people to Christ with their policies or protecting Christians. Politicians use religion in government because they seek power and for no other reason. That's why I was used by Bart Peterson, so that he could maintain power...even at the expense of my well-being, my livlihood, my privacy, and my property. The politician Bart Peterson severely threatened every level of my basic human needs on December 1st 2005.

My work on this planet is about advancing the actualization of the individual. So whether I see physical needs attacked or esteem needs attacked by giant forces, I speak up. That's the great thing about living in America, I can do that.

Don't not vote for the Libertarian because of what I say. I'm simply giving you my take on things from my experience. There's room for all freedom minded, fiscal conservative, constitution lovers in the Libertarian movement, even devout Christians like Andy Horning and dominant women like me.

Make up YOUR own mind about each candidate based on what you hear in the debates. I'm not part of the Libertarian's campaign nor is what I think, write, and do endorsed by Sean Shepard.

If you truly feel Elrod is the best qualified, and you don't mind missing out on his fiscal conservative vote during that critical final week of the state's legislative session, then vote for him.

If you want to support Carson and like the idea that his campaign is paid for by union special interest money he accepts from outside the 7th district, that he wants to force a minimum wage on employers to $12 per hour, that he's endorsed by Louis Farrakhan, that he accepted a marketing position with municipal contractor Cripe Architects right after getting on city council, that he graduated 88th out of 89 in his law enforcement training class, or that he went along with covering up his late grandmother's illness leaving us without representation for months, then vote for Carson.

I am reminding you though that the two party system made decades of decisions that resulted in bankrupting our nation, our state, and our cities. The Libertarian candidate is the one that told you that our federal debt puts each Amercian household $450,000 in debt and it is growing daily. If you want to stop the bleeding, then we have got to take a different path and we have got to take it now or we shal get even more of the same.

I ask you to consider long and hard doing something different, just this once, to see what happens in the next nine months. Give yourself permission to experiment and see what happens in this country when we send in a Libertarian for the first time. I promise it will not be earth shattering, afterall we're all still here even though the 7th district has not had representation for more than six months.

Won't it be exciting to watch what happens when Indiana is first to send in a Libertarian? It's our big chance to shake up the status quo that is grossly failing our beloved nation.

Send this message to 10 friends, please. And express yourselves freely in the comments section.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A gay man speaks about being true to who you are and 7th district race

TUESDAY UPDATE: Evidently the blogger who wrote from his heart (and his "gaydar") about the 7th election race, got a rise from folks too, including Abdul. Read his follow up here.

Here's a theory from another principled blogger, who happens to be an out gay man, about why he is NOT voting for Elrod. You draw your own conclusions.

Here's a hypothetical question:

If Jon Elrod were gay, which may or may not be the case, would the Republicans still get behind him? Would not the zealots of the Republican party like Eric Miller, John Price, and Brian Bosma prevent an openly out gay person from advancing to Congress?

The Libertarians don't care one bit about who you do it with or why. That's the beauty of freedom.

Please no hate mail on this one. I happen to know from interviewing over 1000 men in depth during my former career that men keep secrets in their closets. I know gays, bi's, and cross dressers who live in total secrecy and pain to have their careers. Some of them work in the state house and other high profile careers and would be petrified if anyone knew who they really are behind closed doors. They don't need to worry because I will never tell.

I know this because I made them feel so safe that they could tell me everything they feel inside. I learned so many are petrified of living the truth of who they are. Why wouldn't they be with people waiting to attack them just for being true to themselves?

This is why I could not be quiet about Republican Eric Miller's move to merge property tax anger into his pet agenda, SJR7. During the February 1st rally, I stood alone against Miller's tactics at a state house rally. I stood ALL ALONE. My fellow republican/democrat activists, who privately all denounced Miller's agenda, publicly stood him knowing that he consciously hurts so many people, yet calls himself a Christian.

I cried a lot that day and the days that followed.
-- Melyssa

Polis Politics says the center township gang has cause for worry

Polis Politics doesn't write every day, but when they do it is good. Today they are talking about Andre Carson's campaign fiasco this morning. You can read about it here and here. They report that Nancy Pelosi had to send in Donald Payne (D-NJ) to deal with the negative chatter on the blogs.

Candidate debate on Thursday @ IUPUI - broadcasts on Channel 23 and AM130

7th Congressional District Debate
Hosted by IUPUI

Thursday, March 6, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
University Place Conference Center Auditorium
850 West Michigan Street, Indianapolis

Candidates for the March 11th Special Election for the
7th Congressional District

Sean Shepard – Libertarian

AndrĂ© Cason – Democrat

Jon Elrod – Republican


Amos Brown, WTLC-AM 1310 “Afternoons with Amos” host
Jim Shella, 24-Hour News 8 political reporter

Thanks To: Hoosier Scholars Helping Democracy and the Political Engagement Project

This event is free and open to the public, although persons are encouraged to secure tickets in advance. For more information on tickets, contact Maggie McFarlin at (317) 274-7400 or mmcfarli@iupui.edu. Please plan to arrive by 7:00 p.m. to be assured a seat.

If you would like to submit questions to be asked during the debate, please send them to Dawn Clapperton at dawn.clapperton@WISHTV.com

The first half hour of the debate will be broadcast on MyNDY Channel 23. WTLC-AM 1310 will air the first 60 minutes of the debate. The debate in its entirety will be webstreamed live at


Sounds like the Indiana GOP Chairman, the grand republican poo-bah for Indiana, did not support Greg Ballard’s campaign. At least he didn’t support Mayor Ballard enough to publicly and enthusiastically declare that he did. Who did he support then?

Read this tidbit I found on the Digital Farmers’ blog. It describes a call on the Abdul Morning show in which Larry Vaughn corners the GOP Chairman into giving up an answer. I’m a huge fan of both Digital Farmers and Larry Vaughn, by the way.

Larry Vaughn:

"Did you support the Mayor in the last election?" - Oh this was good. Needless
to say I awaited the answer with baited breath. Oh my look-at-him-dance around
that question. Man, I haven't seen someone dance like that since Helio
Castroneves won "Dancing with the Stars"!! He didn't say he did, but he didn't
say he didn't either. You would think the GOP Chairman would vehemently say
"YES!" that he supported the new GOP Mayor but he didn't. Likely because if he
did say he supported the Mayor, you'd hear the collective grassroots say in
unison "LIAR!"


Is it possible that the head of the state GOP supported the democrat Bart Peterson for mayor instead? Could that explain why all the republican party's financial muscle went to Peterson instead of their own honorable candidate?

And if this is true, are the republicans a group of politicians that any of us can even trust if they can’t be trusted by their own ilk to support their own honorable candidate? Greg Ballard is an accomplished Marine Corps officer who was devoted to working hard, campaigning hard, with no agenda except service to the People. The GOP Chairman did not want to support a PATRIOT who after serving his country for 23 years was willing to give up his retirement years in service to his community to make sure his hometown is fiscally sound and great place for his kids and grandkids to come home to year after year? I thought that is what represents the republican ideal!

Are you smelling yet how fishy all this is?

I think all of you worth better than this republican representation. It’s time you believed you are worth more too! It’s time you allowed yourself to believe that a third party CAN win this election and send a message rippling throughout our country that is even more powerful than Ballard’s election victory. I believe it more than you know.

That message is to the corrupt status quo politics inside the democratic and republican parties that they need to clean up their acts and do it fast. Keep voting for their candidates inside the corrupt machines they run and they have no reason to change.

I’m voting Libertarian and I’m not paying attention to the polls because the status quo is not getting me or my country where I deserve to be. I want our nation to be financially solvent, have personal freedom, inside a society ruled by laws that protect the people from their government.

Our nation, our state, and our cities are bankrupt. Sean Shepard emphatically points out that China, a communist nation, now owns 10% of our debt and that each American household's share of the debt is now $450,000. It was not the Libertarians that caused this! Sean Shepard held a press conference last week to address the resignation of David Walker, U.S. comptroller, and the FDIC's announcement that more than 100 banks are going to poised to fail and they are bringing back FDIC retirees to try to clean up the resulting mess.

I’m casting my vote based on what I have witnessed from closely observing all three candidates and my city's leadership and politics. Sean Shepard is the best candidate in the race. Don’t believe me yet?

Watch the candidates debate the issues facing our nation and then decide. The next debate, hosted by IUPUI this Thursday at the University Place Conference Center Auditorium, is from 7:30 to 9:00 pm. It is located at 850 West Michigan Street. It will later be broadcast on Channel 23. I'll make sure you know the details when I get them.

Please don’t vote again for the lesser evil or the candidate you think will win.

Be independent, be smart, and never choose someone that can be bought or sold or give you less than you are worth. In order to take our nation to a better place, we can't keep doing what we've done. We have got to have the courage to take a new path. I know what's down that new path and what is there is good for the all people.

Send my message to 10 people and help us truly bring change to America and her people!

--This editorial is all Melyssa and is in no way shape or form endorsed or encouraged by the Shepard2008.com campaign. Lake County Tea Party updates are coming when time permits, probably later today.