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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

How The Janesville Gazette Can Help Rock County

This is absolutely crucial. Start publishing the truth.

Become an "Ambassador of Truth."

Stop rearranging and diluting articles and rewriting titles, headlines and stories to advantage your own social, political or economic agenda. Stop being a marketing firm for the republican party. Stop becoming the front man for political operatives and don't allow yourselves to participate in personal smear campaigns. Instead, expose them. The truth will always win. You are supposed to be a newspaper, isn't it time to start acting like one?

When a Fortune 500 company requests $225,000 in a forgivable loan for "restructuring" from modest Janesville tax payer coffers, investigate for five minutes on your own and report your findings without omission. Tell taxpayers that they are a publicly held company with $460 million in cash on hand at least a few days before the public hearing. It might not have changed the outcome. But tell the truth, so I don't have to.

When a politically active business collective demands that government stay out of their business yet forms an economic development group with strong governmental "connections" to help leverage their private projects - Tell people the truth, so I don't have to.

If government officials make a decision to protect the people or the environment, or don't approve a request for taxpayer assistance to billionaire developers - don't slam them for being "anti-business." Defend government for staying out of businesses way. Promote means-testing and hardship qualifiers for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs like they do for individuals requesting welfare assistance. If they are gaming the system - expose them - even more so if they're wealthy. Start promoting private venture capital and bank loans for for-profit enterprise. Don't mix or confuse pro-business with pro-jobs. They're not the same. Wean yourselves off of government assistance and privileges and become an agent for the free markets. Start telling the truth, so I don't have to.

Stop lying for your own personal, profit and political benefit. Stop using your printing presses to spread misinformation. Start printing the whole truth. Don't worry, the people can handle it. Of course you should apologize profusely for your past transgressions. But that could take months, so we know that won't be forthcoming. But start printing the truth and people will notice it - immediately! People are generally a forgivable lot.

Don't start telling people that Janesville streets are lined with gold - because they're not. Don't start telling people they can catch their daily quota of lunker Walleye every day from the Jackson St. bridge - because they won't. Start telling the truth and the optimism will flow naturally.

Think about it Gazette. It's never too late to make or add another New Year's resolution. Start publishing the truth. Become an Ambassador for Truth.

Note: I'm going to blow my own horn here for the second time in nearly five years. Tell your friends and co-workers about this blog. Get involved in the conversation. Bring up some of the issues and viewpoints I write about when you're with family and friends. Even better, bring up my blog if you strongly disagree with my politics and viewpoints. Prove me wrong. If others are dismissive for partisan or personal reasons, ask them where they draw their opinions from about the local media or politics. You will likely be surprised by their answers. Above all, be respectful. It might not seem like it in today's corporate marketed personal gain liar lobby environment but in the end, the truth always wins.


Greenconsciousness said...


I am interested in what you are saying and will come back to visit more often. Can you provide more links to what you see as economic development for the fourth ward? The Gazette has been part of the problem in the past.The people there are organizing - about 200 to get more economic development in their neighborhood. I think you have the most innovative ideas combined with a deep knowledge of local politics.

Lou Kaye said...

Janesville needs jobs and if I had to guess, I'd say the 4th ward has the highest unemployment rate in the city. Jobs will do plenty, but that's the easiest one to suggest yet the most difficult to initiate. I have no idea what the city intends on doing with the Jackson St. bridge/Marling lumber area and if it will serve as the anchor point for development. They drew up some plans but without government $$$, there is little movement. I'm uneasy about the city's recent foray into the area buying single homes and either putting more $$$ into them than what they're worth or tearing them down because there is no real plan. It would work much better in a wealthier gentrifying neighborhood. In any other town, I'd say citizen/neighborhood organizing is the key, but the city's existing government (non-district at-large, leaderless) set-up hinders focused individual neighborhood improvement. The 4th Ward needs a loud voice in city government that should begin with an elected district rep. such as a ward supervisor or supervisor. Of course that is impossible in the current system. Anything proposed (millions in aid) will likely be viewed and dismissed either as a power grab or undue special treatment by the monoply media. But somebody needs to come up with a workable plan because the city won't do it. The area has small homes and lots that actually could serve as a template for self-sustaining low maintenance and energy free living. Even if it is just a committment between neighbors to pull together for clean-up and crime reporting is better than nothing.

Richard Costerisan said...

I really like this open letter to the Gazette. It sounds like something I would write, thanks for having the courage. If the Gazette wonders what is happening to their readership, they need look no further than their credibility. At this point they have none. Somehow they think they are in control and all the lying works. Wakeup day is coming soon. Of course, they'll want to blame it on someone else. How different Janesville would be if they got rid of corporate welfare and started focusing on real development. But that would take leadership. It's time for the citizens to step forward and take control of how business is done in Janesville. That means running for city council and the county board. Both are rife with partisan politics and the Gazette is part of all that. When people like Scott Angus say they are in control and they decide what to write about it sounds like a joke. But it's not funny. These puppets are given a short leash and want to believe they are providing us with the news. That is, until the masters jerk their chain. Keep up the good work and I'll keep telling everyone about your great site. I know all the power brokers in Rock County and around the state are reading your site daily. They just don't have the guts to admit it.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if we had a newspaper that actually did real reporting, asked real questions, and was a real "watchdog" instead of a lapdog for the people they should be reporting on.

Lou Kaye said...

The cat is out of bag as far as TIF District slush funds go. Wisconsin TIF laws have to be rewritten so surplus funds can go where needed most and where recipients are real business entrepreneurs with a plan but only lack the start-up capital. Why we should have TIF surplus cash laying around for the wealthiest pockets when our schools are asking for donations or inner neighborhoods are decaying is outrageous. For instance in Illinois, I've heard of a group trying to get the state to change it's TIF laws requiring cities to use 20 percent of the money generated each year in the zones — to create affordable housing.

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