Click banner for OWN's report on the WEDCI've got so much stuff on my plate that everything is almost at a standstill. From writing about politics, local and state, or about the condition of our feckless partisan media, and exploring the vast opportunities for messaging on social media, graphics, videos and animated GIFs, I must have at least 500 projects in draft stage that will likely never see the light of day. Such is life.
Unfortunately, that means I have been taken away from focusing on local stories percolating from the area's right-wing propanganda operation, the Janesville Gazette.
The recent amphitheater story was just one example where I neglected to mention that the proposal by Forward Janesville along with the Gazette's "gift" meme was first most likely their attempt to change the local narrative and begin steering public focus away from the politically toxic agenda they so strongly support. With the willing Gazette staff in tow and anonymous troll postings in their Sound Off column, they just might pull it off. Apparently, I seem to be the only local voice holding Forward Janesville's record accountable.
One of the recent stories I deliberately delayed was about Janesville's city administration testing the winds of privatization for the city's dump/landfill. Apparently, city officials are claiming that since 2008, "everything conspired to align" against the city's efforts to continue operating the facility. Therefore, they are testing the market to see if they can attract interested buyers, or close the landfill entirely. There's a ton of meat in this story that just sticks in my craw.
Once I get past the notion that the story itself seems to be a creation to purposely fuel outrage against the sale proposal in hopes of softening residents up to accept another hike in fees, I find myself backing up and looking at the big view of location (growth patterns have put the landfill near the center of city) history (the city boasted to visitors from Europe how efficient and cost effective the dump was) and environmentalism (a private buyer will have profit interests in mind, not Janesville's interests) and find their narrative preposterous.
Most importantly, the city's biggest reason to entertain the privatization idea revolves primarily around higher costs and lower trash volumes created in part by the doubling of state imposed tipping fees in 2008. That fee went from $5.90 to $13 a ton and it was meant to limit trash volumes. What they don't report on in the Gazette is Gov. Scott Walker's hands in all this.
Wisconsin Legis.Gov Excerpt:
2011 Wisconsin Act 32 (the 2011-13 biennial budget) eliminated the segregated (SEG) recycling and renewable energy fund and split its former funding and functions primarily between the new economic development fund and the environmental fund.
The $7 state solid waste (recycling) tipping fee, along with most recycling related programs, was transferred to the environmental fund. The economic development (former recycling) income tax surcharge revenue ($25.9 million in 2010-11) is now deposited in the economic development fund and primarily appropriated to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
Aren't these the same folks who howled like wild dogs when Gov. Doyle touched their precious "segregated" transportation slush fund? You'd think they would understand that fees meant to restrict the dumping of out-of-state trash on Wisconsin soil or encourage recycling should be returned to those facilities replacing lost revenue needed to fund operations? Not a chance.
Walker's donor club members need them some free money. In the meantime, towns like Janesville will have to buck up big or consider privatizing their municipal landfill risking everything.
Don't forget that $13 tax cut Walker gave you.
RNR - Janesville Waste Collection Fee Jumps 70% (Less than a year ago)