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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Council Stiffs Homeowners - Tavern Sneaks Inn

After being rejected the first time around by a partial city council, a property developer and his business clients came back to try again when a pro-special interest member of the council was present.

Most folks watching knew it didn't look good the moment they noticed Councilman Bill Truman's absence at Monday's city council meeting. Not that his presence would have made a difference anyways when it came time to vote on introducing a tavern and volley ball court into the front side of a residential neighborhood in Janesville. It still would have been approved. The most telling part was watching city administration official Brad Cantrell set the stage and tone in favor of the business interests when he presented pictures that falsely isolated the nearby homeowners from the adverse effects of the proposed tavern.

But it might not have mattered. The neighborhood had much more than that working against them. After publishing several articles in favor of the tavern business including a community-dividing editorial on October 15th, the Janesville Gazette flexed their muscles just enough to change public opinion against the homeowners residing closest to the tavern project. It should be noted that during Monday's meeting, the developer and several people who spoke strongly in favor of the business are not residents of the subject neighborhood. However, taking in all the comments from the extended neighborhood but not including those from outside the general vicinity, the in-person comments ran 8 to 6 opposing the tavern introduction.

Folks can continue to ignore all this, that's their choice, but the media aspect is by far the most powerful weapon used against unsuspecting taxpayers and voters. The truth is, other than this blog, there is no other media source or commentary in Janesville offering an independent point of view or unwashed analysis. And put it this way, I'm not bragging.

And it doesn't help that there was no presentation from the city or a citizen action team on behalf of the nearby effected neighborhood. Yet, it shouldn't be ignored or come as a surprise that so-called neighborhood action teams have taken positions in the past that were largely pro-city administration. In this particular case, the citizens were left to shift for themselves while their taxes pay for an administration including the council and committees to work against them.

In the end, the Janesville City council sided with a deep-pocketed non-constituent special interest over the voices and concerns from long-time city residents. Council members Rashkin, Voskuil, Steeber and Perrotto sent the wrong message to their taxpaying and homeowning community by rejecting those concerns. There is no way to get around the anti-homeowner and special interest city council unless you vote them out. That is the only way.

Quote from homeowner at council meeting
"Them that have the gold...rules."

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