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Friday, May 26, 2017

Janesville Just Borrowed $18.7M To Pretend Like "It's Working"


I can understand some folks thinking that Janesville, like most other medium sized urban centers in Wisconsin, is defying Gov. Scott Walker's cuts in state aid and his restrictions on local budgets by borrowing more and spending more than they need ...and they think they're winning.

Problem is; IT IS precisely the opposite. Walker is winning this battle. Easily.

This week the seven-member Janesville city council with only one council member dissenting, approved borrowing almost $19 million. The debt note, the second largest amount in the past 10 years - is just in time for the 2018 election cycle.

So over the course of the next 12 months, Janesville will look busy tearing out the Monterey Dam, building river terraces, installing downtown water fountains, filling potholes and fixing curbs ...and the stories out of the Janesville Gazette will be how things are looking up and how we have Gov. Scott Walker and his reforms to thank. In fact, the Gazette wasted no time in a recent editorial describing how downtown's turnaround is starting to feel real.

According to the city's memorandum on the borrowing note, the largest portion – more than $4 million will be used for street repairs. Keep in mind that Janesville's streets are in "Forward Janesville" condition. Forward Janesville led a campaign to shift major state dollars away from local roads. They also happen to be Scott Walker's local booster club.

Another $800K will be spent on Janesville Jets ice arena "updates." Unfortunately, everything seems to be updated for the Jets, but their rent ...and $1.9M toward Forward Janesville's downtown ARISE gimmick. All non-essentials and spending beyond the city's means.

So Janesville is borrowing big to make it look like it's working. It's an old trick for re-election prime time.

Will Wisconsin's urban communities ever catch on they're being played? I doubt it.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Follow-Up On Hendricks Property Assessment Story Shows Uncooperative Parties


Urban Milwaukee Excerpt:
Repeated calls to Hendricks at ABC Supply were not returned. Nor were calls to her assistant Tammy Hess or calls and emails to Katie Goodale, who handles media for ABC Supply. Nor were calls to Mark Gunn, Town of Rock board chairperson, and town board supervisor Pete Parker.

That attorneys - not Diane Hendricks, assessors or key town officials - are responding to this is additionally troubling.

UM - Mistakes Made on Hendricks Home
Town lawyer says assessment too low, should be reconsidered.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Anonymous Column - "Pass It On" #12


On Paul Ryan Leaks
✦ Wow. Paul Ryan said the conversation never took place. But when told that a recording exists, he suddenly remembered and said they were just joking. So much for Paul Ryan's honesty. Not that he ever had much, but whatever little he did have ...is now in the toilet.

✦ So Paul Ryan is terrified of more recordings of his "family jokes" being leaked to the public. LOL. Just LOL.

✦ Paul Ryan was never a leader. He is following President Trump’s strategy by focusing on the leakers instead of worrying about what their constituents think of them as a person. No integrity. No honor.

✦ Paul Ryan "Pride of Janesville?" Give me a break. Not Paul Ryan. But Janesville. Janesville voted for him. Janesville owns it.

✦ Seriously, why should Ryan worry about what the alt-right, progressives, democrats or the Left in his district say or think of him? He heard it all before. He'll win in 2018 by an even larger margin than in 2016. Ryan's response was dead on when asked if republicans will lose seats because of his failures or Trump ...blah, blah ...blah. Perfect!

On Janesville Bike Paths Going To The Dogs
✦ No. Too many dog owners are irresponsible. I cannot take my two large dogs, who are leashed, on a walk without running into dogs who are unleashed. And, when I walk the trails, with my sister, we spend most of the walk dodging piles of dog crap left by rude dog owners who are too lazy to clean up after their dogs. I wish dogs were never allowed on the trails.

✦ There is shit all over the trails …with the ordinance. Imagine how it will be without it. Don’t let those trails go to the dogs.

✦ Dogs are members of the family. And all members of the family should be allowed to join in on walks. Banning dogs is like banning children from a park. They both have teeth and poop like everyone else. Does everyone clean up after their kids? Or themselves? NO! But the respectable ones do! Can you imagine if children were banned from parks? Is that crazy to think? Then so is banning dogs!

✦ Dogs in Janesville have no rights!! We need a constitutional convention so dogs have a place to really call their own to walk!!!!

✦ I enjoy walking my dogs on the trail as it helps me feel safe. When I walk them in residential neighborhoods without sidewalks I don't feel safe.

✦ I think the ordinance needs to change... I'm a single parent to a 9 month old. I don't have the luxury of leaving her home to walk the dogs on a dog trail where strollers can't go. I've tried carrying my daughter while walking my dogs, with poop bags, at the same time throwing a ball, holding my keys, texting on my cell phone (yes I need my phone you never know when an accident can happen) its not easy at all, and then I have to deal with joggers or bicyclists disrespecting my airspace??

✦ I have used the unfenced dog run area east of Palmer Park. I have seen people who drive there, open the car doors, and just let their dogs out to do their business. Then, they call the dogs back and leave.

✦ I have used the bike paths in Janesville on weekends during the summer for the past ten years and have been charged by loose dogs including dogs on leashes at least once each year. Last year, a large dog (possibly in defense of his owner) on a leash lunged at me as I was passing on my bike. Another was loose chasing me for almost a hundred feet before giving up. If the city council approves of this idiotic idea, I will tell all my friends and family to stay off Janesville bike paths if they value their safety. They've gone to the dogs.

✦ Yes! Let the dogs out!

✦ If the city council thinks mingling dogs with bicyclists, runners, joggers and walkers on the bike paths is OK, then they need to allow bicyclists, joggers and small children inside fenced dog parks and other areas designated for dogs. Enough of this dog privilege.

✦ Dogs don’t pay the taxes. So? The people do and taxpayers should not be restricted in places they pay to maintain since we now think law and order limits our freedom. Let's have chaos.

✦ We need to get max. use of our dog parks as well! Make new rules and let bicyclists, joggers, kids sports teams use dog parks with the dogs! We’re one big happy family!

✦ I do not go on the trail until the ban is in effect. As an older person who has a balance disorder, I can not take the risk of being knocked over or tripped by a dog on a flexi leash. I also use either a Service Dog to assist walking, and at times I use a personal mobility device. Please reconsider allowing pets in the trail. With all the parks the city has, perhaps more dog parks are needed that are fence enclosed.

✦ And there will ALWAYS be the inconsiderate socialist on a bicycle who thinks he owns the bike paths.

✦ We need more council members like Doug Marklein to finally bring an end to all those Doyle-era progressive regulations previous councils imposed on Janesville taxpayers. Janesville is turning red. Get used to it.

✦ Please...don't ruin the enjoyment of the trail for bikers, walkers and others out just for some fresh air!!!!

✦ Those communists using our bike paths without paying need to be taught a lesson. Especially the girlie men jogging and wearing shorts with their butts hanging out.. Sic the dogs on them to remind them this is murica and not communist China.

✦ No! Just no! I am deathly afraid of large breed dogs, but I like to ride my bike in the summertime for enjoyment, and for exercise.

✦ Freedom loving Americans need to take Janesville back, and beginning with the bike paths is a good start. Go for it Marklein. You are our only hope!

✦ Please Councilman Marklein, make this happen!!!!!!!!!

✦ I am a responsible bicyclist & I would love to be able to ride my bike in areas designated for dogs. Just saying.

✦ It's the city's responsibility to provide dog owners ample space and freedom for their dogs.

On Expanding the City Council To Nine Members
✦ The only way the Council should increase in size if Councilors are elected by District of the City, and in that case you'd probably need eleven split as follows: three each from the south and west sides and five from the east side.

✦ The majority in Janesville want democratic district representation on the city council but are afraid to talk to Marklein about it because his mind is already made up against it.

✦ It's best to stay with the "at-large" feature of the current council. Going to 9 members isn't a bad idea because it will help Forward Janesville tighten their grip on the city.

✦ If we want the council to act as one, why not just have one elected councilor?

✦ I don't get it. Marklein claims to want to avoid the possibility of electing a majority of candidates that agrees on a single issue, but wants them to focus on the city as one.

✦ Thank God we have Doug Marklein on the council bringing reform to city hall and not some democrat liberal activist trying to impose their will on the rest of us.

✦ Councilman Marklein is consistently looking towards the future. This is another excellent proposal that will help prevent elected city council members from firing the city manager just because they disagree with him or don't like his performance. Besides, the city manager should not be held accountable to elected officials or voters. He (or she) is little more than a mercenary under contract accountable only to the special interests that hired him. In Janesville's case, the city manager is accountable only to Forward Janesville. They hired him.

✦ It's great to see Doug Marklein finally take control of the city council. He'll run city hall right.

✦ So more than half of Janesville is NOT represented on the city council and the leader of the smaller half wants to tighten his grip on power? Why not? Janesville's west and south sides are economically and politically isolated while area progressives are protesting some pipeline ...somewhere.

On Hendricks 10,000 sf. Mansion Not On Property Tax Rolls
✦ People need to get a life and stop looking at what other people are paying in property taxes. It's none of your damn business what your neighbor is paying. Take care of your own tax bill and let others do the same.

✦ Gov. Walker and state republicans should shut down public access to local property tax assessment records. People are using them to disparage good citizens and divide communities.

✦ So what if her mansion is not listed on the property tax rolls? If your house (improvement) was not included on your property tax bill, would you report the discrepancy? Hell no. Leave Hendricks alone. You people are just jealous.

✦ The reporter of the Hendricks property tax story should get his facts straight and skip the insinuations. HEADER: On the Map Yet Off the Tax Rolls. WRONG! Ms. Hendricks property is assessed and she is paying property taxes. If you’ve got a problem (and there is ANY merit to it) it is with Accurate Appraisal and one would think you would be dealing with a higher up in that firm than their office manager as your contact. This is a classic example of cheap shot blogging without the need to be accountable for the truth.

✦ This huge error in assessment value and possible local government collusion and malfeasance, deliberate or not, happened in the Janesville Gazette's backyard. Expect a complete Gazette black-out on this.

✦ Why didn’t the Janesville Gazette uncover this assessment discrepancy years ago? Kudos to the Urban Milwaukee investigative journalist for keeping his report on this as politically neutral as possible considering the hyper-partisan nature of Ms. Hendricks and her defenders.

✦ Yes to knowingly undervalue your property is fraud and demonstrates a significant lapse of a person’s moral values. Let's see who got screwed, or cheated or is it stolen from. For starters the people of the Town that the property is located in, The Town of Rock, and then the people of Rock County and then either the people of either the Beloit or Janesville School District and the people of the Technical District and finally all the people of the Wisconsin because of the State Tax that is part of the Property Tax.

✦ Hendricks property is under Rock County Board Louis Peer's supervision. What does he know about any of this? Note: Peer led the fight to strip Jenifer Keach of the county coroner office post. Coincidence? (UPDATE: Late addition from the mailbox)

✦ A look at what didn't happen this week: An investigative report by the Janesville Gazette uncovering a potentially large error in the property tax assessment of a highly visible high value area property.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hendricks Estate Doesn't Appear On Property Tax Rolls



Great news everybody!

According to this article, local billionaire Diane Hendricks doesn't pay property taxes either. Well, at least that's how it appears since her 10,000 square foot mansion on her lavishly developed 120 acre residential property in Afton doesn't appear on local property tax assessment rolls.

Only the little people pay taxes.

Under normal circumstances, Rock County officials would have some serious explaining to do. But don't look for that here. We don't have a real local newspaper. Only a fake newspaper that purports to write real news.

Urban Milwaukee Excerpt:
It appears the Republican supporter and Trump economic adviser also gets a break on the taxes on the 228-acre property consisting of 14 parcels where she lives in the unincorporated community of Afton in the Town of Rock, a mostly rural area between Beloit and Janesville in Rock County, Wisconsin.

Full story here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Janesville City Council Held a Special Meeting - No Cameras


According to the Janesville city website, the city council held a "special" meeting Tuesday morning May 16th at 8AM.

The agenda listed shows over a dozen documents dealing with the city's structural form of government and its processes. A quick glance into a few of the agenda items revealed most of it to be city staff propaganda meant to prop up Janesville's failing city manager/at-large form of government or tweak it around the edges "possible action" to give the appearance that it works.

The more the Janesville city manager, Mark Freitag, and his defenders preach about transparency in government...the less we know and the more invisible they become.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Carjacking Road Lobbies Return To The Scene, Lament Victims Gravel Roads


Area Assembly Democrats and key members of the state's transportation swamp recently hosted a "listening session" on Wisconsin roads. Way to go local Democrats!! You're really on a roll. LOL.

According to the report in the Janesville Gazette, the group or groups were unanimous about one thing: Raising taxes to fix failing roads and infrastructure. "Just tax it!" seems to be their motto. Even more notable was the meeting's focus of the state's road funding crisis. The crisis appears to be strictly "local."

Besides raising taxes and fees on wage-depressed taxpayers, the swamp monsters drifted from the importance of paying road laborers prevailing wages to building new railroads to help lessen the cost and interval of road maintenance. I guess that would make it a "roundtable" discussion.

From the Gazette's article, it's also clear that lobbyists and their media enablers are in full control of the narrative. It's like local politicians did not learn a thing over the past six years or from Trump's election win.

With that out of the way, the most glaring statement (to me) from the Gazette's story comes at the very end when they include Forward Janesville's two cents from the meeting.

JG Excerpt:
Dan Cunningham, Forward Janesville's vice president of government relations and education, said local economies are reliant on solid infrastructure. He and others expressed concern that some municipalities have considered reverting to gravel roads.

“There's got to be a way to just get to 'yes' in Madison,” he said.

Here's the problem.

Back in 2010 and again in 2012 during the recall election, Cunningham couldn't care less about local roads when he penned the editorial titled, Don't shift road money to repair local streets.

Back then, Forward Janesville and state road lobbies railed hard against Barrett's campaign for governor at the time simply because he wanted the state to spend within its means and keep the promise to rural and urban communities for existing road repair and rehabilitation funds. Of added note is the fact that Janesville city officials, in all their supposed fiduciary duty, responsibility and concern for city street maintenance, ENDORSED Forward Janesville's legislative agenda. Imagine that.

The underlying idea of Barrett's campaign was this: If you want new structures where there are none and interstate expansions, that's fine. But we'll have to find new ways and means to pay for it first. Unfortunately, as Barrett was described as a threat to the expansion lobby goals, there was no response from democrats to win the road funding debate.

Of course the main problem was and still is; it was never about shifting road money TO local streets. It WAS the local's money to lose and locals lost it bigly because nobody showed up to defend local roads ...except Tom Barrett.

Instead, interstate expansion lobbyists showed up and with the help of a few gullible politicians ...they shifted money FROM local, rural and urban roads by tinkering with state aid formulas, sources and priorities to pay for their new infrastructure and expansions.

Remember, the transportation lobbies and their tools in the state legislature DID NOT raise one new dime in fees or taxes to pay for their new expensive projects.

THAT is key to this debate. Yet, all of THEIR projects remain "on track" while voiceless lobby-less locals enact new wheel taxes to replace the lost revenue, borrow, make cuts elsewhere or contemplate gravel roads.

It couldn't be more simpler than that. The swamp monster road lobbies CREATED the state's zero sum transportation funding game and in their deceptive efforts to win local support they lament, "well, it shouldn't be a "this or that" decision to fund roads," let's all get Madison to say "Yes, just tax it."

The two-faced duality and bold-faced audacity of these folks is mind-boggling.

Democrats on the other hand, have received gift after gift after gift after gift from Scott Walker and state republicans on road funding, public schools, lobbyist access, voting deforms, the dark store assessment problem, open records, the Milwaukee Bucks stadium and overall tax policy, and never answer back to win the hearts and minds of voters. Instead, they enlist the same people who created the problems - to solve them.

Democrats, for whatever their reasons, cannot seem to stray from the conventional political algorithms establishment lobbyists deliver and demand.

They are like deer in the headlights boxed in at a dead end. Every day.