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Ignite Michiana packs theater, shares ideas

Mishawaka, Osceola, Elkhart, Plymouth, etc.

Re: Ignite Michiana packs theater, shares ideas

Postby st michael jr » Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:56 am

Sadly, I would expect nothing less from some of the urchins that roam the streets here
st michael jr
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Re: Ignite Michiana packs theater, shares ideas

Postby bubblyone » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:32 pm

Yes, I agree. With that said, common sense would have seen this coming. How many times did they have to paint the Twyckenham overpass for the same reason??

Now, my neighborhood is "tagged" until further notice. Again, it did nothing to enhance the neighborhood nor the city, and now it really is a detraction. Guess we will close those lanes of traffic again... I guess my age is showing huh?
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Re: Ignite Michiana packs theater, shares ideas

Postby BobbyBeetleMishawaka » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:01 pm

This piece of graffiti might be more culturally relevant than recent public murals and the proposal to dress up dilapidated buildings with faux art.


-- Bill Adams
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Re: Ignite Michiana packs theater, shares ideas

Postby OldFud » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:55 am

Igniting Michiana degrades to a discussion of the merits of graffitti ? Really !

The viaduct artwork is a metaphor for what is really wrong with South Bend -- the rotten core of the apple that is "Michiana".
The viaduct artwork is an attempt at a make-over that is far (very) from "extreme".
The viaduct artwork effort asks us to believe that what is wrong with South Bend can be somehow remedied with cans of paint.

Believing that an area on life support can be ignited is like Lady Macbeth believing that she could rid herself of that "damn spot".

The people that run this county just cannot understand the connection between economic well-being and quality of life. By 1950, more than half of all South Bend employment was in the manufacturing sector. After local government has driven out a continuing exodus of industrial jobs, "the folks" are forced to rely on low-paying retail jobs to fend off poverty.
Hello ! Is anyone alive out there ?

If I might be forgiven for plagiarizing, allow me to steal this . . .

If Ignition-Park-like facilities are built to accommodate manufacturing operations, will industries come in “Field of Dreams” fashion ? Recall that the Football Hall of Fame was built “on the come”, and visitors did not materialize as expected. It is important for everyone to recognize the barriers to manufacturing in South Bend – high-tech or otherwise – to preclude raising expectations beyond what can be achieved. To provide direction, here are the barriers to manufacturers siting in South Bend:

High Crime. South Bend cannot hide from its high crime statistics. With the high costs of a new jail, court operations costs, attorney costs to prosecute and defend crime, costs to maintain the incarcerated, etc., crime has become a high-revenue industry in South Bend. The City can either lose the crime, or forget about favorable siting considerations.

High Taxation. Someone must pay for South Bend’s free spending ways. If 16 percent of South Bend is living in poverty, tax revenues collected within the City are insufficient to operate municipal government. Due to steadily declining South Bend population, in concert with declining corporate tax base, homeowners and businesses in Walkerton, Lakeville, North Liberty, Granger, and the remainder of the County help pay for the City’s largess. South Bend can't expect the outlying county to fund city government forever. Like Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Newly arriving manufacturers would be expected to pay a large portion through direct and indirect taxation.

Low Quality of Life. Blighted neighborhoods, high and rising taxation, low wages due to flight of jobs in the manufacturing sector, and high levels of crime contribute to low quality of life in South Bend. Manufacturers seeking new sites do not favor declining neighborhoods.

Self-Serving Government. The term, “public servant” has become an anachronism in South Bend. Bureaucrats serve themselves, not the public. Three of many examples:
• When the critical Economic Development Director position became vacant, instead of recruiting someone with a record of successful manufacturing development to grow living-wage jobs and reduce City poverty, a buddy of the Mayor was placed in this critical position.
• When South Bend officials complained that new property tax caps would fail to fund the City’s spending, our own State Representative and Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, Patrick Bauer, made sure that homeowners and businesses in St. Joseph County would pay one half percent more than the folks in Elkhart, LaPorte, Marshall, and 87 other counties in Indiana. One half percent on a $100,000 assessed valuation is much, much more than the $25 wheel tax that raised everyone’s ire. Smoke-filled, backroom politicians like Pat Bauer favor the property tax because this form of taxation allows the most abuse. If more tax revenue is wanted, just hire appraisers who promise the highest appraisals. Are property values declining due to national recession, oversupply of housing, or increasing neighborhood blight ? No problem -- just continue to tax based upon historical market prices that have no relevance to present valuations. Why do you think that the Repeal Property Taxes movement inspired by Eric Miller ( ) received zero consideration by Speaker Bauer ?
• Commissioner Mark Dobson stood alone in his advocacy of combining City and County governments in St. Joseph County, Indiana to increase government efficiency and control runaway City and County spending. Following Mark Dobson's departure from County government, you can kiss more efficient and less costly government goodbye. When commercial and industrial enterprises want to quickly reduce costs, they reduce their head counts. Local government realizes that the flight of the middle class out of the City created a Gerrymandered district that guarantees victory of Democrat candidates. Combining City and County governments would dilute the overwhelming Democrat majority within South Bend. By keeping separate City and County governments, the Democrat administration can perpetuate their power, while forcing the Republican content of the County at large to maintain high spending through high property taxation. Local government bureaucrats don’t mind continuing financial support from county voters who are disenfranchised in voting for South Bend officials. Once again, the personal agendas of South Bend and St. Joseph County officials take priority over the ultimate good of the electorate they supposedly serve.

The only people local officials "represent" are themselves. In business lexicon, they “trade for their own accounts”. And Manufacturers considering siting here are justifiably concerned that their interests will be trumped by the self-interests of local bureaucrats as the City’s track record has so eloquently demonstrated.

Union-Government Partnership. Manufacturers have a chance of establishing successful relations with labor unions. But when unions and government partner, manufacturers are faced with overwhelming force. Here is this partnership: Unions force their members to fund Democratic party elections. In a quid pro quo, the elected officials then enact ordinances that favor the unions. Primer on the Perpetuation of Power describes how South Bend engages in an endless building program, funded by all county residents through state and local taxes, to repay the unions for their election support. Thus, union memberships are captive constituencies.

Government Interference in Setting Wages. Language in the recently passed Tax Abatement Ordinance is one more example of government mistakenly believing that Manufacturers relish the idea of government suggesting wage levels. Manufacturers want to operate their businesses, free of unnecessary government intervention and attempts at micromanagement. South Bend and St. Joseph County bureaucrats want to take the “free” out of “free enterprise”. St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce President, Mark Dobson, said about the tax abatement ordinance being considered by the County Council, "It's too complex. It contains too many provisions in it that [businesses] find objectionable. And, rather than come to St. Joseph County, they'll just eliminate us right out of the gate."

Govm’t Largess. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( show the South Bend – Mishawaka metropolitan area had 139,000 nonfarm employees in January 2009, the latest month for which figures are available. The same data shows 17,300 government employees for the same period. 12.4% of nonfarm employees – or nearly 1 out of every 8 – in our metropolitan area are employed by government. Large government often translates to intrusive government, and government hostile to Capitalism. Bloated governments don’t understand lean manufacturing. And large governments translate to high “carrying costs” in the form of taxation.

Decline in Workforce Quality. According to local news reports, South Bend high school drop-out rates are at an eye-popping 48%. High-tech manufacturers as well as traditional industries are going to think twice before committing resources to a community that doesn’t reciprocate with basic preparation.

Over-Reliance on Legacy. Legacy can be used to subtly suggest direction. South Bend officials are quick to invoke local manufacturing legacy ( ... ition-park). However, Manufacturers seeking to site are more interested in what trajectory the last several years imply than in dwelling upon our storied past. And Manufacturers in the process of siting may not see much to give them optimism about our direction.

Manufacturing Friendliness. Local government officials fail to differentiate between business categories and are just as satisfied to create retail jobs as to create manufacturing jobs. Many see no particular urgency to preserve the manufacturing jobs the City has, much less, attracting new manufacturing jobs. With an indifference to the need for manufacturing, it is difficult to imagine its reception. And in the absence of affirmative attention, is not difficult to understand why manufacturers don’t feel welcomed.

St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce Leadership
South Bend government has failed to maintain and grow the capitalization of its citizen and business tax bases, choosing instead to “game” these bases with innovative ways to claim increasing portions of their wealth. And this strategy has been an unmitigated failure as officials have resorted to complaining, later replaced by threatening to cut services. The City has all of the appearances of a campaign in full retreat, and clueless on how to reverse its declining fortunes.

A primary principle in any turnaround is “You cannot control that which you do not measure.” If direction is unknown, then how can anyone know where to head from present position ? The stark reality is that South Bend is flying blind. The City is not unlike a flock without a shepherd. The logical choice for business development leadership is the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce since, as an organization independent from local government, it is not subject to influence or politization by City or County. Here are five suggestions to restore business tracking to its rightful place in informing Economic Development 1) mission, 2) goals, 3) strategies, and 4) tactics:

Restore the high priority for business metrics. If the Chamber of Commerce does not fulfill the function of collecting, recording, and reporting business metrics, then no other entity will, and South Bend will likely meet with disaster. Remember that an overarching principle indicates that economic well-being cannot be controlled unless it is measured.

Acquire better quality data. Data the Chamber has been reporting in their Top 100 Employers Listing is suspect under elementary scrutiny. Two examples: 2400 employees were reported for AM General in mid-2007. Eighteen months later, the number of employees was again reported as 2400. What is the probability that a very large enterprise would not change its employment over 18 months ? Consider that gas hit $4 per gallon in early 2008 and sales of low-gas-mileage vehicles such as AM General’s slowed to a trickle during the last half of 2008. Is it reasonable that headcounts at AM General were not reduced from their mid-2007 levels ? Secondly, Honeywell’s employment was reported as 777 in mid-2007, and also again in December 2008. No employees retired in 18 months ? No new employees we added to the payroll ? How probable is no change in employment of a large enterprise over an 18-month period ? The data that the Chamber reports needs to be reliable. Presently, their information does not appear to pass a reasonable degree of scrutiny.

Enlarge database scope. The 1995 Chamber employment publication was entitled Firms Employing 50 or more in St. Joseph County and ran some 7 pages, including about 350 employers. The 2001 listing was similar, but included both “firms and organizations”. By 2005, the monitoring of employment in the County was no longer considered an important function and was abridged to only the 100 top employers. With little or no priority on monitoring employment, no one in a position to administer South Bend or the County really know what is happening in job development, with any reasonable detail. We are flying blind from an unknown past, into an unknown future. More – not less – needs to be known about the dynamics of employment over time, therefore the Chamber must return to the 1995/2001 scope of data.

Improve category tracking. A minimal amount of analysis needs to be done so as to highlight employment levels by category to allow tracking the progress of primary business sectors. Monitored sectors should include, at minimum:
Retail (Department Stores, Grocery, Restaurants, Specialty)
Medical (Hospitals, Health Care Services, Physician Group Practices)
Education (Public Schools, Private Schools, Colleges & Universities)
Financial (Banks, Credit Unions, Insurance Companies)
Warehousing & Distribution
Media / Publishing
Transportation (Trucking, Freight, Parcel Services)
Mental Health, Social Services, and Counseling
Senior Housing / Assisted Living / Nursing / Disabled
Professional Services (Accounting, Marketing, Legal)
Business Services (Uniforms, Foodservice, Printing, Employment)

Get the public involved. Local government officials may believe that the public cannot be trusted with this information. However, we have this backwards. When citizens trusted local government, their complacency emboldened local bureaucrats to sell them down the river. It is the Government that has demonstrated it cannot be trusted. And citizens need to know more details about job creation to help them vote effectively. If the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce really is independent of City and County government as they claim, then job development data should be politics-neutral and the Chamber should have no compulsion to hide this important information from the public.
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