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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tunesday: Peter Gabriel - In Your Eyes


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Paul Ryan Inaccessible? Hometown Newspaper Blames Protesters



In an unsurprising editorial titled "Protests are making Ryan even less accessible," Rep. Paul Ryan's hometown media enabler, the Janesville Gazette, blames recent attempts by constituents to engage with the empty feckless sellout congressman in open public discourse (townhalls) for his lack of visibility in the district.

They write that Trump's election has forced Ryan and his staff to change how they interact with the public they are paid to serve. But that doesn't make sense since Ryan endorsed, voted for, and fully supports Trump's policies.

With GOP control in every branch of government and now speaker of the house, Ryan's hyper-partisan dream is fulfilled. He should be at the top of his rhetoric game and proud to explain his wild-ass "reforms" to the public.

The Gazette concludes that protesters are undermining townhalls and should either start behaving or go home.

You might be able to read their editorial here, but the Gazette is a pay site.

Friday, February 24, 2017

TIF Districts Are Well Represented In Janesville's At-Large City Government


If somebody told me the retail commercial strip surrounding Humes Road (Hwy 14) at the I39/90 Interstate in Janesville required taxpayer TIF District surplus cash to develop more retail (or hotels), without thinking I'd say "no waaaaay."

But, if you're familiar with Janesville's captured city government and the embedded wealth redistribution network governing the use of public taxpayer dollars for private-for-profit enterprise, you would say, "Yes way. Way."

That is precisely what the city council will approve at their next meeting when the Freitag administration will speak on behalf to represent yet another developer who expects to receive about $2.8M.

In exchange, the developer promises to develop his property. I'm not kidding you.

WCLO Excerpt:
Economic Development Director Gale Price says a TIF agreement under consideration by the City Council would have a developer rehabilitate the former Menards building to make way for four new national retail tenants.

Price says as part of the agreement under consideration by the council, the developer would rehabilitate the property, increasing the value by an estimated $6 million. In return, the City would fill a $2.8 million financing gap on a pay as you go basis.

If only a decision to fund public enhancement projects like the Monterey Dam with TIF District surplus had that kind of representation at City Hall. But I digress.

Instead, we have supporters of the dam fighting for its survival much on their own, without support from the city and a city manager resorting to Trumpism describing their views and positions as based on, "alternative facts."

One question to ask is; Who speaks on behalf of city taxpayers to request TIF District surplus funding to pay for qualifying public enhancement projects? Certainly not the folks at city hall. The reality is - they're our adversaries.

The bottom line is the same as it ever was before.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Court House Park In Janesville Remains Off-Limits For Free Speech



The vacant underutilized Court House Park shortly before the advocacy group Ultraviolet begins its "postcard delivery" event at Rep. Paul Ryan's office.

For decades, Court House Park in downtown Janesville has been a welcoming place for important open-to-the-public civic activities. But for some unexplained reason, the park has not been mentioned in recent local stories and articles about advocacy groups planning outdoor speaking engagements or rallies.

The most recent newspaper story about the event hosted by the women's advocacy group, Ultraviolet, with Rep. Paul Ryan's office proves this account, despite the fact that the three-acre Court House park is only about 300 feet from Ryan's office.

Obviously there's a much bigger story here. But once again, Janesville does not have a community media outlet or an independent news service with enough integrity or basic journalistic curiosity to ask the tough questions.

Well. Except for little old me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Can't Find Paul Ryan This Week? He's In Texas Responding To His "Special" Constituents. Sorry.


The national women's advocacy group, UltraViolet, plans on delivering 85,000 postcards to Rep. Paul Ryan's Janesville office today at 11AM.

According to a Janesville Gazette article, the group said it wanted to help out after hearing many concerned citizens were not able to reach the congressman to express their views.

Ryan press secretary Ian Martorana responded to the criticism:





Paul Ryan's House Schedule.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Downtown TIF District Fund Off Limits For Monterey Dam


As you probably know, after making a case here on how Monterey Dam helps maintain downtown river levels and describing it as a public infrastructure enhancement project eligible for downtown TIF surplus cash, the Janesville Gazette reversed their tepid support for saving the dam and are now opposed to keeping it, according to their latest editorial.

Point is, no way will the Gazette and their minions at Forward Janesville allow those funds to be used for anything NOT outlined and earmarked in their gimmicky ARISE catalog. That money is gone. In their eyes, the Monterey Dam not only doesn't qualify, they made sure the public understands that whatever happens to the dam - downtown simply doesn't care.

JG Excerpt:
Removing the dam wouldn't negatively impact the city's downtown ARISE project plans, including building a Town Square area near the now-demolished parking deck, officials have said.

Making downtown a destination “can happen with or without the Monterey Dam removal,” McGrath said.

In other words, "No TIF surplus money for you, sorry."

That's unfortunate because the city's downtown position could have just as easily remained neutral until after a decision is made on the dam's future. Instead, they are engaging in semantics to sway public opinion against the costs of saving the dam by shutting down any ideas about using TIF surplus.

It's always follow the money. Always.

Two more points of interest:
1. The Gazette and city officials point out that dam repair consultants said Monterey is a good candidate for removal. To be blunt, every dam is a good candidate for removal.

2. In the story considered an "analysis" by the Janesville Gazette of projected water levels and conditions through downtown with the dam removed, there is no mention of new DNR rules governing the height of the Indianford Dam.

The new DNR rules allow for the water levels on Lake Koshkonong to be raised by 5 inches over previous levels beginning in 2017. That means even less water rolling downstream to the Centerway Dam before it reaches Monterey.

So far, none of the reports I've seen, whether from the newspaper or city public engagement forums, mention the new rule for Indianford and how it will affect seasonal water levels downstream.