Much has been made so far, rightfully I must add, of Scott Walker's outrageous discussion with Rock County 5.0 officials about using a strategy of "divide and conquer" on a constituency in the state of Wisconsin. There's still more to come in the following weeks, but there's also an equally disturbing local story unfolding that seems to be getting a free pass here in Rock County. We must keep in mind however, that local truth and justice is at the mercy of the Janesville Gazette media monopoly.
Rock County 5.0 Co-chair Hendricks greets Walker: "Any chance we'll ever get to be a completely red state and work on these unions and become a right-to-work?" Hendricks continued. "What can we do to help you?"
"Well, we're going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill," Walker said. "The first step is we're going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer."
Bingo is his namo.
After wishing to turn Wisconsin into a "completely red state," the co-chair of the economic group Rock County 5.0 does not say what can "I" do to help. It's what can "we" do to help. Remember, Scott Walker was not holding a personal conversation with Diane Hendricks of ABC Supply or Mary Willmer-Sheedy of M&I Bank. Hendricks and Willmer were acting and speaking in their official capacity as co-chairs of the Rock County 5.0 economic development group with cameras rolling. That's why this meeting was held in the first place.
So why is that important and what's so special about the Rock County 5.0 group? Nothing good actually, in fact I've been one of few local voices warning that the groups Rock County 5.0 and Forward Janesville are not the helping hand community organizers that they project to be. They are mainly politically driven self-interest groups whose core leadership is comprised of hyper-partisan right-wing engineers. We're in Atlas Shrugged territory here with a smattering of old world Republican pseudo-conservatives. Do they have a few members who are sincere with the community and true to themselves? Sure they do. But the group's 'community' image is highly over-rated and mostly staged through their enabler the Janesville Gazette, the Janesville Messenger and radio affiliates, and that includes much of what people will eventually see of them presented in the documentary, As Goes Janesville, no fault of the film maker.
But what should be extremely important within the context of Walker's "divide and conquer" conversation with the RC5 is the following overview statement from the group's Website. It reads...
Rock County 5.0 is a five-year public/private initiative to advance Rock County’s economic development vision through a single voice. This vision, which has been developed through various interrelated local and/or countywide plans, represents a holistic approach to repositioning and revitalizing our economy. By working together as one community, we have the ability to leverage ideas and resources.
Rock County 5.0 will foster a culture of collaboration, open/maintain functional communication channels and create connections - among and between various constituency groups - in unprecedented ways.
So when the sitting governor of the state advances a "divide and conquer" strategy for economic development to the co-chairs of a "culture of collaboration" group, did they reject that negative language by saying something like, "in all due respect Mister Governor, we wish to advance our vision by communicating and collaborating unity between the various constituency groups. We cannot support your strategy." No, not at all. Instead, the one voice, one vision of the Rock County 5.0 nods in agreement and then in the following year donates a half million dollars to the deceitful man and his sinister plan.
Where's the outrage? Where's the condemnation?
In the first two days, the RC5 enabler Janesville Gazette constructed their own hit piece to marginalize Brad Lichtenstein, the documentary film maker who captured a piece of business as usual between Walker and RC5 officials and dared to publish it. The newspaper sees this stuff all the time locally and works hard at keeping it properly reframed, filtered, presented, or omitted - properly gazetted. Because Lichtenstein apparently did not gazette this unflattering segment, they go after his $100 donation to the Barrett campaign back in 2010 to prove his nose is crooked. Without posing questions in the story, they write up (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel contributed to the Gazette story) the film maker's comments in a grilling fashion and frame him defending the recording and release timing of the video. See, Lichtenstein is in denial. Seriously, that's how they see it. Just pay no mind to the conversation or content of the video or the hundreds of thousands donated to Scott Walker from members of the RC5 - because they're our local non-partisan economic development community group!
The Gazette also headlined a "Sides spin union remark" story to further impeach the issue as typical partisan banter and deflect away from the local Rock County 5.0 betrayal. So these folks have no shame at all. They go into defense by playing even more offense.
The Gazette also worked some damage control into the Lichtenstein article to help shield one of their own, Mary Willmer, from some of the heat created by this firestorm.
Willmer was asked for comment today, and BMO Harris Bank, which owns M&I, responded with an email that stated Willmer was not involved in the Walker-Hendricks conversation.
“Any interpretation that Mary Willmer was involved in the conversation or endorses the content of the conversation or reflected the views of BMO Harris Bank is simply inaccurate,” according to the statement.
Although MBO Harris/M & I is a supporter of the RC5, the banks were not participating in the conversation with Walker. Willmer was not at the RC5 meeting with Walker on behalf of BMO Harris Bank. She was there acting as co-chair of the Rock County 5.0, so injecting that defense becomes an irrelevant deflection. Yet BMO Harris/M & I Bank are not entirely innocent bystanders in this matter because they continue to financially support the Rock County 5.0.
Willmer too, in the role of co-chair of the RC5 has attempted to distance herself from the conversation, but has not condemned Walker's strategy or Hendricks uber-partisan "red state" remark and neither has any cash donors or supporting allies of the group stepped forward to declare Gov. Scott Walker incompatible with their vision and core strategy.
The following is a list of Rock County 5.0's major donors and sponsoring allies. Please call or write a letter asking them to publicly condemn Gov. Scott Walker's "divide and conquer" strategy and to withdraw their support from the Rock County 5.0 group. Or explain how does Walker's polarizing and destructive strategy harmonize with the RC5's stated "culture of collaboration" and constituency goodwill? The fact is, it doesn't. They already have over a year of support under their belt for Walker, so be respectful but confident knowing that you are on the right side of history.
ABC Supply * Alliant Energy * The Beloit Foundation * Blackhawk Community Credit Union * Blain’s Farm and Fleet * Data Dimensions * GOEX * Hendricks Holding Company * Janesville Foundation * JP Cullen and Sons * Kerry * Prent Thermoforming * Beloit Regal
Investors: $25,000 to $49,000
Blackhawk Bank * First National Bank and Trust * Kaiser Companies * Rock Roads Companies * Stateline Community Foundation
Investors Up To $25,000
Baker Tilly * Brennan and Steil * Agrace HospiceCare * HUFCOR * Johnson Bank * Johnson Insurance * L.A. Duesterback and Associates * Murphy Desmond Lawyers * Nowlan and Mouat * RSM McGladrey * SSI Technologies * Westphal and Company
Angus Young * BDN Connection (Beloit Daily News) * Blain’s Farm and Fleet * The Janesville Gazette * LAMAR * Terry Print Solutions
Phony Forward Janesville All About Partisan Politics
Local Political Business Group Suffering Identity Crisis
Forward Janesville Out Only For themselves
Economic Development Group Sees No Value In Economic Development Center
Local Alliance Needs Some Sunlight
Gazette a Government Watchdog? Not Even Close