Indiana Pundit


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My Thoughts on the New Phone Poll

FWOb noted today that there is a phone poll asking people their position for the upcoming Republican Primary for mayor. Mitch also mentions that they were asking about Sam Talarico Jr and Paula Hughes.

I've heard many theories as to why the latter names were added. The one I haven't heard yet is probably the most obvious one. Both Sam and Paula are high profile people involved with the Harrison Square project.

The JG's latest poll on the stadium issue shows that it is unpopular. The phone poll is probably trying to gauge support for the candidates in relation to that issue by looking at the popularity of elected officials most associated with it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

IP Sunday Comics

No hard thinking today.

Just have a laugh.

Everyone concentrates on the problems we're having in this country lately; illegal immigration, hurricane recovery, wild animals attacking humans in Florida .

Not me. I concentrate on solutions to problems. The result is a win-win-win situation:

  • Dig a moat the length of the Mexican border
  • Use the dirt to raise the levies in New Orleans
  • Put the Florida alligators in the moat.

Any other problems you would like for me to solve today?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Will Harrison Square Work?

As promised earlier this week I will detail my thoughts on the success or failure probabilities of the Harrison Square project.

According to information provided by the census bureau 11% of the workforce in Allen county work in retail and another 2% work in the arts and entertainment field. If you were to look at other counties in the midwest with the same population and urban development you would find that these numbers are identical to most of them. This includes Indianapolis. It suggests that both industries are at the saturation point in our area.

The census bureau shows that our area is underrepresented in professional and technical services, management services, administrative and waste services. It also shows that we have a competitive advantage in the medical field that is unmatched in the midwest.

The above statistics were mentioned because this project is focusing on the types of jobs/ businesses that do not have a demand for growth. It also doesn't address those areas that do have a strong demand.

For downtown development to work a catalyst is needed to drive a surge of people to the area. I've spoken with people from both the Wizards and Indianapolis Indians.

For those unaware of the distinctions between the two clubs, the Wizards are the first stop for prospects to teach them all the skills needed to play in the majors. The Indians are the last stop for players before they join the majors and also serves as a location for rehabilitation of injured major league players.

My Wizards source said that their fans typically come from within a 30 mile radius of the stadium. Basically they are locals from Allen and adjoining counties. Not a lot of tourism potential.

My Indians source stated that their fans come from a 50 mile radius and they generally don't see a tourism spike unless a star comes down from the majors to recover from an injury or a rising star comes to town who will most likely make the majors by the season's end.

Their comments lead me to believe that the stadium will not result in the catalyst that drives people downtown. The Indians source stated that when they built a new stadium there was a surge for a year or two but turnout levels returned to normal shortly thereafter. I believe we will see the same type of response.

As much as I would like to see this project succeed I don't think it will for the following reasons:

  • Its trying to create businesses that there is already too much local competition. The result will be a shifting of economic activity from the current location to downtown as well as a thinning of activity in pre-existing establishments downtown.

  • If the new stadium doesn't create a substantial increase in tourism then both the new hotel and the Hilton will experience economic issues.

  • The underinvestment of the private sector is also a concern. Project developers need to make a better effort at reducing the taxpayer's exposure to the risk of failure.

Overall the project looks good and has a great design. But the lack of insight into the human side of things in terms of the psychological, social, and economic needs af the community will ultimately doom this project. We are not in the age of build it and they will come.

Its About Who's Not There

The News-Sentinel did a piece on the war chests for both Republican mayoral candidates. The only contention I have with the piece is the importance that Kathleen Quilligan put on the donations by Randy Borror, Paula Hughes, and Cal Miller. While all are highly visible none of them are really considered a must have for a campaign's financial health.

She also mentioned David Long's presence on the report. This is a slightly different situation than the previously mentioned officials. Long's name in the report isn't important. But he is considered the gatekeeper for Richard Freeland, owner of the local Pizza Hut chain. Usually Long and Freeland are found in tandem on campaign finance reports. This time there was no mention of Freeland.

I took a closer look at both campaigns and found that neither have any of the big hitters or key individuals. Though I have heard rumors that two of the major players have taken sides this side of the new year. These rumors are that Peters has the support of Ken Neumeister and Kelty has John Popp's backing.

My guess is that the big hitters will wait to see if either candidate can make this a landslide and jump on the bandwagon of the leader. The other option is that they will wait out the primary and back the winner.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Mitch Fore Four

No I'm not discussing the Governor's speech. I'm talking about the worst kept secret in the local Republican Party.

Former State Rep and current blog guru, Mitch Harper, let it be known to the general public that he will seek the Republican nomination for the fourth district city council position currently held by Dr Tom Hayhurst who is not seeking re-election.

Party insiders were informed about Mitch's intent the day after the last election. At the post election luncheon held at the GOP HQ, Mitch distributed packages of golf balls with a label reading "Mitch Fore Four."

This was entirely a strategic move by Mitch to dissuade any party members in attendance who might be thinking about challenging Hayhurst. It was a smart move.

Should anybody be so unwise as to challenge Mitch I think they will end up on the losing end. Mitch's involvement in the community, legislative experience, and campaign experience will make it near impossible for him to be beat.

Add the political shift in the makeup of the district since the last annexation and you have a candidate that few Democrats will be able to challenge.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Harrison Square- A Description of Success or Failure

There has been considerable discussion as of late concerning the proposed Harrison Square project. Basically there are two sides insisting that it will fail or not.

Today, I refuse to join in on this fight. Instead this post will focus on how we can determine whether this project will succeed or fail or fall somewhere in between.

To Succeed
  1. The amount of new economic activity deriving from this project must outweigh both the muted returns of existing businesses in area near the current stadium as well as establishments downtown.
  2. The additional collected tax revenues should equal the complete construction cost of the project in 10-15 years.
  3. In addition to point 2. The new tax revenues also need to be able to cover the city/ county's portion of the annual costs resulting from this project. This needs to happen within 3-5 years.

A Non-factor

Yes this project could become a non-factor. It can happen if the amount of economic activity resulting from the project can only equal the amount of economic activity before the project.

To Fail

This project will result in failure if it doesn't create enough new economic activity to meet pre-project levels or if it cannot meet its fiscal responsibilities.

Look for my take on this project later in the week.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

FW City Council to Hold Public Hearing

Today it was announced that FW City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed smoking ban .

I mention this because I have heard through several restraunt owners that they will wage a grassroots campaign against the proposal and those candidates behind them. They say they will especially target John Crawford. Feelings between these business owners in FW and Councilman Crawford are estranged at best.

They feel that the city council and Crawford in particular renigged on the compromise for the current ordance that required them to invest in equipment and building upgrades to provide seperate arrangements for smokers and non-smokers.

Barring a major revision in the bill by city council concerning a grandfather clause for businesses that meet the current ordiance, this will have been an attempt by city council to stem the potential political fallout by an organized campaign on the issue.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The dilema of the smoking ban

Sorry for the gap in posts. What can I say? It was the holidays.

The smoking ban proposals have been the talk of the town for well over two months now. There are a variety of opinions and feelings on the subject from both smokers and nonsmokers. In general they tend to fall into four categories.

  • Non-smokers for the ban. Their position is pretty clear. They want to be free from second hand smoke.
  • Smokers against the ban. They want the right to continue smoking.
  • Non-smokers against the ban. This group's opinions vary. Some want to be free of second hand smoke but don't think the ordinance is the right way to do it. Others tend to side with the smokers.
  • Undecided. These people most resemble the first type of non-smokers against the ban.

There are other ways that officials could have attacked this issue and receive a lot less outcry of emotion. Rather than a straight ban they could have implemented a tax incentive program to deter businesses from offering a smoking section to their patrons.

I'll admit I am in the undecided portion of the public on this issue. My stumbling block on this subject surrounds the potential slippery slope for civil rights abuses through precident of policy.

Someone phrased this to me as the second coming of the Prohibition Act.



Resource Links

Blog Links

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Copyright 2006 ©. Indiana Pundit.
All Rights Reserved.