I usually leave it to Craig over at Reverent and Free to keep us all updated on the profundity of Fort Wayne's pseudo-quasi-libertarian editorial page editor at the moribund News-Sentinel. I usually leave it to Craig, because he does it rather better and more bitingly than I can. But maybe it's time I took a turn at hauling out the trash. You see, the Official Movers and Shakers of Fort Wayne are busy with Hypothetical Phase 283 (or so) of their Big 1429-Phase Project for The New Millennium: Revitalizing Downtown. Seems there's some disagreement among the OM&S about where to put the new downtown hotel. Now, I don't know about you, but I would have imagined that anyone whose body contained even a single libertarian bone would've had something to say about the gummint setting aside this or that bit of real estate for a new, tax-subsidized hotel. So, let's do a bone audit. Up on the table, Uncle Leo:
The last time I wrote about downtown redevelopment, I noted the growing dispute over where to put a new hotel -- south of the Grand Wayne as originally envisioned, or north of it as now proposed -- without saying what I thought. I hadn't really decided yet, and I'm still not quite sure, but it's an issue people are going to have to choose a side on, so I thought I'd say what I think, at least as of now (and granted that some people don't think we even need another hotel downtown at all; see some of the comments after the linked-to post).
Wow -- what a libertarian! The question is, in what location does the new, tax-subsidized hotel get built, and Uncle Leo says, well, everybody has to choose a side. No suggestion that perhaps, if a hotel will make money, maybe it should be up to its ... ah ... owners to build it, without civic-minded corporate welfare -- and if it won't make money, why, maybe nobody should build it. No suggestion that if a money-making hotel is to be built privately (without slam-dunking the gummint Fist-O-Fury & Theft into all the locals' pockets), that perhaps its owners could decide where to build it (first step: find someone who's willing to sell the necessary land at a mutually-agreeable price, without the city's eminent domain gun shoved against the seller's forehead). But no, Uncle Leo's firmly ensconced in his planner's seat:
On balance, I think going north makes the best sense. There is so much already going on there that a new hotel will act as a connector that can make people think of downtown as a place that has to be checked out. Putting it south, which would tend to make the Grand Wayne-new hotel-Embassy a self-contained little enclave, I suspect would just encourage out-of-town visitors to make their one stop then leave without exploring anything else.
Glad to have your opinion, Mr. Morris. And how much money do you plan to invest in this venture? Oh, same as me, I expect: whatever sum it pleases our local officials to relieve us of.
I certainly am glad there's such a vital diversity of editorial opinion in our fine two-daily-newspaper community.