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Monday, November 02, 2009

Wealthy Community Organizers Have Inside Track

Way back in June of this year, after the Gazette published an article about our city and county government's efforts to market the area for potential new businesses and entrepreneurs, I had a few questions to ask. Actually, it's not so important that I had a few questions to ask back then as much as they offered up some rather unethical interactions and questionable information that deserved some answers.
JG Excerpt(s): (June 14, 2009)
The alliance taps a bigger war chest of talent and money....“If I’ve got a company considering Janesville, and I can just get them there, these guys will close the deal,” Schwartz said...Each week, the group is in either Milwaukee or Chicago making detailed presentations to potential brokers, developers and investors.
Afterwards, I raised a few questions here.
RNR Excerpt: (June 17, 2009)
How do individuals separate their governmental duties from their Alliance duties? The Alliance address is the Rock County Court House Building - under whose power and authority do they operate under? Do we assume the Rock County Board? If the Alliance is a multi-governmental body – who pays for what? Are local business owners involved? Who are its members? And what connection do they have in city, county and state government? What connection does the Alliance have to the local business elite? Where is the transparency?
Finally last week, the Gazette published a front page article titled,"We need to pull together" which did answer a couple questions regarding the once hidden chest of wealth and the local elite pulling the strings behind the curtain.
JG Excerpt: (Oct. 29, 2009)
The money will be budgeted over five years and will be used to develop software specific to Rock County's economic development efforts.

It also will offset travel and marketing materials for the alliance partners who have spent a significant number of days on the road selling Rock County, said James Otterstein, the county's economic development manager.
To be honest (not to imply I'm ever dishonest), I didn't expect any answers from these folks or the Gazette, so I have to give them some credit even though the transparency and publicity seems more of a matter of expediency than it does to provide a sense of selfless public service.

Still I don't feel any more comfortable knowing that any special interest group, regardless of their wealth or lack thereof, not only have an inside track into government but are also bankrolling extracurricular activities of high ranking government employees to apparently do their bidding.

Perhaps I'm the only person who thought the Gazette's article in June was just a little too sneaky from the start. After this newly released information, I don't feel much better than before.

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