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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Special Interests Should Recuse From Janesville City Council Or Resign

At Monday's Janesville city council meeting, a resident spoke out about what he said is an issue of fairness. Spurred by a advisory recommendation opposing the issuance of a liquor license by the city's alcohol advisory committee, the resident noticed that a member of the board of directors of a local issue advocacy group JM4C (Janesville Mobilization for Change) also sits on the city committee. He said she should have recused herself from voting on the committee's recommendation. It should be noted that Janesville's advisory committees are just that, they are advisory and don't have the decision making power the council holds.

However, sitting on Janesville's seven-member city council are two individuals with very close ties to the hyper-partisan Walker-booster group Forward Janesville. Council member Richard Gruber is on FJ's board of directors and Marklein Builders (Doug Marklein) is listed as a member in its directory.

Not only as an issue of fairness, but also one of trust, I think those two council members should recuse from council discussion and voting on every resolution and agenda item that involves economic development, business incentives, contracts, bids, licenses, and public private partnerships OR resign from the council. And, not just recuse on council legislation involving fellow Forward Janesville members, but also on agenda items that involve non-members as their council position can be used to squelch or defeat market competition to their business allies.

Note: The group Forward Janesville said its overriding goal is to advance the interests of its members and is deeply involved in partisan politics.

Note: The group JM4C describes its advocacy as "Creating a Safer, Healthier Community for Our Youth."

You can watch the resident speak about the advisory committee here. It begins at the 00:50:50 time mark.


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