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Don’t Touch My Junk

Can we all agree that it is time Americans were no longer treated like cattle? Whether in the TSA line at the airport, being prodded electrically to comply or when being detained by men with loaded firearms because your seat belt wasn’t on. We should not have to be photographed naked or felt up to travel, we should not panic or feel stress when a police car is behind us on the road, we should not be cattle prodded by tasers over often very minor things and we should not be milked (taxed) by the government for all we’re worth.

Term Limits? Maybe not as good an idea as it sounds…

Term Limits may sound great to you. Have you considered, though, that they essentially create Senators & Congresspeople that are lame ducks for years at a time? If we were to elect any legislator into the last term they were constitutionally eligible for, they would have the same lame duck lack of responsibilty to constituents as those voted out of office have for a couple months at a time today.

Can you imagine the attitude our legislators would have about which laws to pass if they had no one to answer to for two or six years? A SIX-YEAR lame duck Senator? I cannot fathom the number of laws that would be passed favoring our Senators and Congresspeople instead of favoring We, The People.

Yes, our efforts to decrease political nonchalance could actually increase political corruptness. Surely that’s not what anyone wants. There’s a good article here from the great people at United Liberty that discusses a couple reasons why we should not want term limits. It also address some alternatives to term limits that would help put the power of Congressional decision-making back into the hands of the people. Check it out, and leave a comment with your thoughts.

Indianapolis Can Do Better Than The ACS Parking Deal

The City of Indianapolis is currently considering a proposal, being pushed by the Mayor’s office, that would essentially sell off to the private firm ACS (a division of Xerox) a government sponsored monopoly on downtown metered parking. One of the partners in this deal includes an operator of parking garages as well. The deal has been subject of considerable criticism due to its length, stiff penalties for early termination and lack of attempting to create a competitive market for parking. Despite attempts by city officials to try and improve the deal, it still, to use the modern vernacular … SUCKS.
There is an appearance that the city is willing to do this woefully one-sided, monopolistic deal because of the substantial up front payment that ACS is willing to make. The city is hungry for money right now to make improvements in the city prior to the 2011 elections and hosting the Superbowl in 2012. Despite a lot of criticism, and some of it justified, of Mayor Greg Ballard the bottom line is that the average person in the street doesn’t perceive the city as being run poorly or having its priorities misplaced right now. I’m not saying this perception is or isn’t accurate, just that despite the wishes of some local pundits the Mayor is not as unpopular as they might want. This is true, even with the very public problems that have plagued IMPD lately and despite having badly disappointed a lot of more free market, small government libertarian leaning folks who at one time cheered his election.
Local radio host and political commentator Abdul Hakim-Shabazz of Newstalk 1430 AM is fond of suggesting that if you’re going to throw rocks at a plan, at least bring your own ideas or alternatives to the table. There are a lot of different ways that management of the metered parking could be privatized, here is just one idea.
Instead of granting monopoly control over all of the parking for decades at a time and with harsh penalties to the city for terminating the agreement, why not something like this?
Divide the metered parking into sections, maybe even into segments a block long (or other appropriate metric) and lease (perhaps via auction) the parking rights in chunks. Assuming that the parking rates are going up, no matter what happens, let’s just use something slightly higher than the present cost, maybe $1.00 per hour as the lease rate and that lease holders could then build a margin into their rates. Parking downtown is hard to come by and most meters are occupied almost all day during the week. Let’s assume the lease is valid from 6 AM to 6 PM during regular weekdays but use 10 hours a day as the expected average occupancy.
The lease terms could stipulate that no single lease holder can control more than some percentage of the parking, maybe something around 40%. It could also stipulate restrictions on how many consecutive blocks (or other grouping) could be controlled by one entity. The city could put other restrictions into the lease terms like that weekend and evening parking is still free. Rates for and management of each meter must be clearly marked. Early termination might involve just paying a pro-rated amount back to the lease holder for an remaining term and the city might just need to refund for days where it needs to close a section of street to parking. The lease term lengths could be for anywhere from 1 to 5 years. Shorter term length agreements might carry a premium, perhaps $12 to $15 a day instead of $10 just like how shorter term lengths in other industries carry premiums. Parking rates in excess of a certain cap (maybe $2.00 an hour just to randomly pull a number out of nowhere) might require a 50% premium back to the city.
There are, according to an IBJ article I read, around 3,600 spaces and there are about 261 regular weekdays (holidays notwithstanding). Ten dollars a day X 261 weekdays X 3,600 spaces X 5 years = $46,980,000 … all paid up front. Insert your own lease rate, term lengths and other factors and come up with your own figures, this is just one example.
Not only could the numbers work, but private operators could opt one day to replace more standard parking meters with meters that can also charge electric cars (for an extra fee) or who knows what else.
The point is that as public, government owned property it could still be regulated while inducing privatization, competition and innovation. This is just one idea and I’m sure there are others; but, even as someone of a libertarian persuasion I’d rather the city just retain control than transfer monopoly control to a corporation. At least if it stays under city control the prospect of doing a good deal doesn’t disappear behind millions of dollars in early termination fees. Privatization is fine when properly done, the problem is that government rarely does it so.
UPDATES:
An article at New Geography regarding privatization is worth a quick read. Tip of the hat to Advance Indiana for posting.

Also, it occurred to me to add that legal and administrative costs for managing the kind of system I propose above could be much less than the big, monopoly style deals governments typically engage in. For a small percentage of around 5 to 7% I’m sure an outside firm or consultant could be retained to manage coordinating the rules with city officials, creating basic legal agreements as well as segmenting, managing the bidding process, handling complaints if necessary and providing ongoing compliance checking.
Click here for a photo of a solar-powered, multi-space parking meter.

Indianapolis Can Do Better Than The ACS Parking Deal

The City of Indianapolis is currently considering a proposal, being pushed by the Mayor’s office, that would essentially sell off to the private firm ACS (a division of Xerox) a government sponsored monopoly on downtown metered parking. One of the partners in this deal includes an operator of parking garages as well. The deal has been subject of considerable criticism due to its length, stiff penalties for early termination and lack of attempting to create a competitive market for parking. Despite attempts by city officials to try and improve the deal, it still, to use the modern vernacular … SUCKS.There is an appearance that the city is willing to do this woefully one-sided, monopolistic deal because of the substantial up front payment that ACS is willing to make. The city is hungry for money right now to make improvements in the city prior to the 2011 elections and hosting the Superbowl in 2012. Despite a lot of criticism, and some of it justified, of Mayor Greg Ballard the bottom line is that the average person in the street doesn’t perceive the city as being run poorly or having its priorities misplaced right now. I’m not saying this perception is or isn’t accurate, just that despite the wishes of some local pundits the Mayor is not as unpopular as they might want. This is true, even with the very public problems that have plagued IMPD lately and despite having badly disappointed a lot of more free market, small government libertarian leaning folks who at one time cheered his election. Local radio host and political commentator Abdul Hakim-Shabazz of Newstalk 1430 AM is fond of suggesting that if you’re going to throw rocks at a plan, at least bring your own ideas or alternatives to the table. There are a lot of different ways that management of the metered parking could be privatized, here is just one idea.Instead of granting monopoly control over all of the parking for decades at a time and with harsh penalties to the city for terminating the agreement, why not something like this?Divide the metered parking into sections, maybe even into segments a block long (or other appropriate metric) and lease (perhaps via auction) the parking rights in chunks. Assuming that the parking rates are going up, no matter what happens, let’s just use something slightly higher than the present cost, maybe $1.00 per hour as the lease rate and that lease holders could then build a margin into their rates. Parking downtown is hard to come by and most meters are occupied almost all day during the week. Let’s assume the lease is valid from 6 AM to 6 PM during regular weekdays but use 10 hours a day as the expected average occupancy.The lease terms could stipulate that no single lease holder can control more than some percentage of the parking, maybe something around 40%. It could also stipulate restrictions on how many consecutive blocks (or other grouping) could be controlled by one entity. The city could put other restrictions into the lease terms like that weekend and evening parking is still free. Rates for and management of each meter must be clearly marked. Early termination might involve just paying a pro-rated amount back to the lease holder for an remaining term and the city might just need to refund for days where it needs to close a section of street to parking. The lease term lengths could be for anywhere from 1 to 5 years. Shorter term length agreements might carry a premium, perhaps $12 to $15 a day instead of $10 just like how shorter term lengths in other industries carry premiums. Parking rates in excess of a certain cap (maybe $2.00 an hour just to randomly pull a number out of nowhere) might require a 50% premium back to the city. There are, according to an IBJ article I read, around 3,600 spaces and there are about 261 regular weekdays (holidays notwithstanding). Ten dollars a day X 261 weekdays X 3,600 spaces X 5 years = $46,980,000 … all paid up front. Insert your own lease rate, term lengths and other factors and come up with your own figures, this is just one example.Not only could the numbers work, but private operators could opt one day to replace more standard parking meters with meters that can also charge electric cars (for an extra fee) or who knows what else.The point is that as public, government owned property it could still be regulated while inducing privatization, competition and innovation. This is just one idea and I’m sure there are others; but, even as someone of a libertarian persuasion I’d rather the city just retain control than transfer monopoly control to a corporation. At least if it stays under city control the prospect of doing a good deal doesn’t disappear behind millions of dollars in early termination fees. Privatization is fine when properly done, the problem is that government rarely does it so.UPDATES:An article at New Geography regarding privatization is worth a quick read. Tip of the hat to Advance Indiana for posting.Also, it occurred to me to add that legal and administrative costs for managing the kind of system I propose above could be much less than the big, monopoly style deals governments typically engage in. For a small percentage of around 5 to 7% I’m sure an outside firm or consultant could be retained to manage coordinating the rules with city officials, creating basic legal agreements as well as segmenting, managing the bidding process, handling complaints if necessary and providing ongoing compliance checking. Click here for a photo of a solar-powered, multi-space parking meter.

2010 Liberatrian Results In Marion County

Remember, these are just Marion County votes.  The percentages do not reflect precincts outside Indianapolis.

Candidates in a TWO-way race
                                      VOTES   PERCENTAGE               
KEVIN VAIL (State Rep 90).  .  .  .   2,943    15.68%
JOE HAUPTMANN (State Rep 87).  .  .   1,345    17.40
KENT RAQUET (State Rep 93).  .  .  .  1,337    13.29
TERRIE A. CLOUD (FRANK Trustee) .  .  2,267    19.01

Add One More Name to List of Indiana Libertarians Elected to Partisan Office

Here is the list of partisan Libertarians elected in Indiana. 15 different Libertarians have been elected to partisan office in Indiana. Here are their names, followed by their office, year(s) elected and term(s) of office:(1). Mary Dufour, Jefferson Township Trustee, Washington County, 1998, 1999-02(2). Zenith Caudill, Jefferson Township Advisory Board, Washington County, 1998, 1999-02(3). Phil Miller, Greenfield City Council, 1999, 2000-03(4). Darren Nolan, Universal City Council, 1999, 2000-03(5). Gale Owen, Silver Lake City Council, 1999, 2000-03(6). Edward Dilts, Needham Township Advisory Board, Johnson County, 2002, 2003-06(7). Anita M. Amspaugh, Union City Clerk-Treasurer, 2003, 2004-07(8). Susan Bell, Hagerstown Town Court Judge, 2003, 2007, 2004-11(9). Susan K. Pyle, MD, Union City Council, 2003, 2004-07(10). Russell Reichard, Union City Council, 2003, 2004-resigned 06(11). Jay Thompson, Gosport Town Council, 2003, 2004-07(12). Conley Tillson, Clay Township Advisory Board, Wayne County, 2006, 2007-10(13). Steve Coffman, Liberty Township Advisory Board, Henry County, 2006, 2010, 2007-14(14). Michael Sloan, Pottawattamie Park Town Council, 2007, 2008-11(15). Cheryl Heacox, Clay Township Advisory Board, Wayne County, 2010, 2011-14

Add One More Name to List of Indiana Libertarians Elected to Partisan Office

Here is the list of partisan Libertarians elected in Indiana. 15 different Libertarians have been elected to partisan office in Indiana. Here are their names, followed by their office, year(s) elected and term(s) of office:(1). Mary Dufour, Jefferson Township Trustee, Washington County, 1998, 1999-02(2). Zenith Caudill, Jefferson Township Advisory Board, Washington County, 1998, 1999-02(3). Phil Miller, Greenfield City Council, 1999, 2000-03(4). Darren Nolan, Universal City Council, 1999, 2000-03(5). Gale Owen, Silver Lake City Council, 1999, 2000-03(6). Edward Dilts, Needham Township Advisory Board, Johnson County, 2002, 2003-06(7). Anita M. Amspaugh, Union City Clerk-Treasurer, 2003, 2004-07(8). Susan Bell, Hagerstown Town Court Judge, 2003, 2007, 2004-11(9). Susan K. Pyle, MD, Union City Council, 2003, 2004-07(10). Russell Reichard, Union City Council, 2003, 2004-resigned 06(11). Jay Thompson, Gosport Town Council, 2003, 2004-07(12). Conley Tillson, Clay Township Advisory Board, Wayne County, 2006, 2007-10(13). Steve Coffman, Liberty Township Advisory Board, Henry County, 2006, 2010, 2007-14(14). Michael Sloan, Pottawattamie Park Town Council, 2007, 2008-11(15). Cheryl Heacox, Clay Township Advisory Board, Wayne County, 2010, 2011-14

Democrat Mailers on Libertarians Knott and Vogel Fail to State that They Aren’t Authorized by the Candidates

The last couple of days, the Democrat Party of Indiana has sent direct mass mail pieces to voters claiming that Libertarian Congressional candidates Greg Knott and Mark Vogel are “true” conservatives.I have received photographs of both direct mail pieces, and have failed to see where the Democrat Party of Indiana states whether these mailings have been authorized by the candidates themselves. It is my understanding that public communications concerning a federal candidate must state whether the candidates have authorized the piece or not.If you look at a lot of the negative campaign television commercials out there produced by PAC’s, it will have printed at the end of the television commercial words to the effect of “Paid for by ABC, PAC. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee”.Click here to read more about disclosure requirements pursuant to federal law.

Democrat Mailers on Libertarians Knott and Vogel Fail to State that They Aren’t Authorized by the Candidates

The last couple of days, the Democrat Party of Indiana has sent direct mass mail pieces to voters claiming that Libertarian Congressional candidates Greg Knott and Mark Vogel are “true” conservatives.I have received photographs of both direct mail pieces, and have failed to see where the Democrat Party of Indiana states whether these mailings have been authorized by the candidates themselves. It is my understanding that public communications concerning a federal candidate must state whether the candidates have authorized the piece or not.If you look at a lot of the negative campaign television commercials out there produced by PAC’s, it will have printed at the end of the television commercial words to the effect of “Paid for by ABC, PAC. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee”.Click here to read more about disclosure requirements pursuant to federal law.

Secretary of State Editorial Cartoon – Comparison of Wherry, Osili and White

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