Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Government For Sale! The Looting of the Commons

Printed at htrnew.com 1/21/2016

HTR Gannett photo
We've seen this before both here in Manitowoc County and City and then across the State.  The story is always the same.  Government is broke and needs cash so we must - must - sell off publicly owned property to expand the tax base and reduce debt.  They say there is no choice.  I disagree.

We saw it in the sale of the Manitowoc County Health Care Center which in the end reduced no debt at all while squandering a fifteen million dollar investment.  In Sheboygan Herb Kohler wants to grab part of Kohler-Andrae State Park for yet another golf course.  State wide Walker passed an agenda to sell off 10,000 acres of public land including prime hunting land and parks.  At City, dual office holder Jim Brey attempted to sell off our 100 year investment in our public utilities system to cover losses that occurred on his watch.

Now we see a proposal to sell off a major chunk of the Manitowoc County Fair grounds to Meijer Foods which again is supported not only by Brey but Mayor Nickels who apparently see only dollar signs.  As always, this and nothing else should be considered.

What ever short term gains there might be, the money will quickly disappear into the general budget while the land, its institutions and traditions will be lost forever. When its all gone what will be left?  We are witnessing the systematic looting of the public commons.  Its time to make your choice while there is still something left to choose.

Tax revenue apparently trumps everything...

HTR story: Nickels approves

"The location is not in a TIF district, meaning all taxing entities will directly benefit, (including) Manitowoc County, Manitowoc Public School District, City of Manitowoc, Lakeshore Technical College and the State of Wisconsin," the pair wrote. "This land is not currently assessed, meaning no tax dollars are generated by it....

 If we applied this same logic to all public properties, what would be left?

This late addition:

Yet another example of the State Wide looting of public property.

Cog Dis Image
From the Cog Dis blog: "Abele sent his Director of Administration, Teig Whaley-Smith, to the board meeting and told them outright that Abele was looking to give - not sell, but give - the ownership of the War Memorial Center and O'Donnell Park to the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM).  In exchange, the art museum would pick of the cost of maintenance and repairs for the two buildings as well as their own.

Needless to say, this is not sitting well with the veterans.  They were comfortable with the county - a public entity - being their landlord.  They are not comfortable at all with a private agency assuming that role.

If MAM were to become the owners of the War Memorial Center, they would have the last say on what could and couldn't be done.  If they didn't like a statue on the grounds, they could have it removed.  If they decided to double or triple the rent, they could without needing anyone's permission."
And now we see that absolutely NOTHING is sacred!

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