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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Committee Does What's Best For Janesville: Proposed Apartment Development Squashed

According to this report from the Janesville Gazette, the Janesville Plan Commission, in a unanimous decision, shut down a new 95-unit apartment development proposed for the buffer space on the backside of Walmart/Sam's Club located in the city's uppity Briar Crest subdivision.

At first glance, this appears to be a rare win for "the people" vs city hall, but a few things about this particular decision do not quite match up with several recent decisions in other areas of the city.

Typically in Janesville, when a group of citizens most likely to be adversely impacted by city plans show up as a vocal majority at the public hearing, they are often maligned as selfish visionless NIMBY's who don't understand progress. Council members and their supporters defending the city's plans go even further by claiming they are doing only what's best for Janesville at-large - and not because some small group of naysayers want to protect their neck of the woods. That's how it is 99% of time. But not this time.

I won't rehash the Gazette's report or one council member's odd reason to defend his vote, but there is no doubt in my mind that had the developer propose a similar project for the south, west or central residential areas of the city, the commission would have approved it and passed it on to the city council.

But for the sake of less argument and more prose, I prefer to believe city leader's past memes when it comes to major changes or developments proposed within the city. They opposed the apartment development because adding new rental units is not what is best for Janesville. If it's not a good fit for Briar Crest - it's not a good fit for the Fourth Ward or anywhere else in the city.

Remember that the next time somebody wants to build rental housing in any one of the city's residential areas.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

Forward Janesville Has a Charitable Arm. It's Not What You Think.

It's hard to write about Scott Walker's and Paul Ryan's local booster club, Forward Janesville, and not mention that they endorsed every local tax hike and spending referendum since Walker was elected governor.

Or the fact that among their few public core beliefs, is this statement: If residents are unwilling to accept increased tax obligations, the local economy could death spiral. That's a real whopper of a crap burger considering they lobbied the state for tax cuts for themselves while their membership filed for dark store relief on their property tax statements. But who's watching? Right?

With that out of the way is a story from the Janesville Gazette about Forward Janesville restarting their "charitable arm" after they recently picked up a “seven-figure” donation. The only shocker here is it came from non-government sources.

Now you might be thinking that it's about time Forward Janesville's membership steps up to plate and starts giving something back to the community. Unfortunately, their idea of a charitable arm won't be funding a homeless shelter or restocking local food pantries or paying the costs for a much needed free health care clinic. You'd be wrong thinking that.

No. In this case, Forward Janesville's charitable arm will pay the costs of building a pedestrian bridge and a fountain for their own little business playground in downtown Janesville. Apparently, that's their idea of charity.

At the end of the Gazette article, the president of Forward Janesville comes off sounding bitter toward those who question taxpayers funding the group's plans while other areas of the city are neglected. He's right to be bitter. It's too late to complain, folks.

Janesville municipal government is a wholly owned subsidiary of Forward Janesville. The city manager was hand-picked by a majority Forward Janesville committee. He is beholden to them. Until you (we) decide to take back our local government and restore district democratic rule and mayoral leadership, only TIF Districts will have a voice.

The people's voices will not be heard except by listeners reading the complaint comment section of the local newspaper ...and good luck with that.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Is Resentment Driving Support For The Foxconn Deal?

I was talking with a friend who likes to engage in political discussions about the Foxconn mess, and aware several others nearby can hear bits and pieces of our conversation. One person listening in to the conversation, actually another friend who usually avoids talking politics or religion, unexpectedly interrupted with this, "Hey, screw the Chinese. They took our best manufacturing jobs over the past 40 years, so I appreciate now when somebody (assuming Walker) is willing to bring them back."

When I mentioned the astronomical cost of a new state tax obligation in the billions of dollars including short-circuiting the state justice system in favor of the Taiwanese giant along with Foxconn's goal of full automation, he responded one more time...

"It's a high price to pay, but we can afford it if it puts a half-million Chinese out of work. It's better to have those robots here than there. You know what else? I love the fact that it's one of their own (assuming he meant Terry Gou) putting the screws to their people. They'll know what it feels like to be betrayed and lose those jobs. The shoe is finally on the other foot. Go for it!"

I was totally surprised by his candor and because much of our national politics is resentment driven, I was left thinking that he is not alone.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Monday, September 25, 2017