Monday, February 13, 2012

On Valentine's Day, Walker Promises To Give Away Wisconsin In Sweetheart Deals

In Milwaukee County, there is was a piece of land known locally simply as the "county grounds."  It was an unique section of the county, as it was the last undeveloped and ungroomed piece of land where nature ruled.  It was also unique for the historic Eschweiller Buildings.  But the most amazing factor to this ground was the Monarch Trail, one of the rare areas where migrating Monarch butterflies found a completely natural stopping point in their annual migration.

Some days, I think the thing that Scott Walker likes best about being in a position of authority is how he can use the public's money and property to forward his political career, or as in recent days, desperately cling to the position he currently has.

When Walker took office as Milwaukee County Executive, he promised that he would continue the long standing tradition to let no development happen on the grounds and that the only thing he might do is have it made into a state park.

That promise didn't last long and in a few short years, he was working on back door deals to get the land sold to a group of wealthy land developers that had been, shall we say, very supportive of him.   Not only did he renege on his promise not to let the land be developed, but he sold the land at a fraction of its worth, threw in the building that the Parks Department is housed in (with an agreement to keep the department there and pay rent and a specialized bus line.  As I wrote at the time, he gave them everything but a vac with the deal:

So, let me get this straight. We are selling the county grounds at an absurdly low price, in a no bid deal, only to turn around and pay them rent for a building that we had owned and paid a lot of money to fix up. Then we are going to take some of the money from the sale, and more money that we got from the feds, and using it to buy them a special bus route? 
That would be the equivalent of you fixing up your house and then selling it at about a third of its value. Then you take the proceeds from the sale and rent the house from the people you just sold it to. You also take some of the money (if there's any left after paying the rent on the house you just owned until recently) and a large inheritance from your Uncle Sam, and buy them a chauffeured limo. Meanwhile, you have a patch of land (like the Park East corridor) that is only good for building an engineering campus on, but you won't even try to sell that.
The Friends of the Monarch Trail are still fighting to protect the natural domain for the butterflies, made all the harder because "the authorities" refused to include legal language to protect the trail.

That pattern of giving away sweetheart deals to political supporters is riddled throughout his lifelong political career.

The most recent is the Penokee iron mine that Walker is trying to get rammed through the legislature.  To get this done, Walker is willing to offend Native American tribes, federal laws honoring tribal sovereignty, ruin the environment and pollute the pristine waters of northern Wisconsin.  The bill is so foul and evil that no one will even admit ownership of it (also because it was written by the mining company that wants to rape the land).

On Tuesday, February 14, St. Valentine's Day, Walker is going to take all of the worst of these behaviors to announce his latest gimmick to give away sweetheart land deals to his donors to promote job growth in Wisconsin.

It's a stunt that his handlers are calling "Ready, Set, Build." ( 6 page pdf on scribd format)

In a secret email sent from Walker staffer Andrew Davis, they laid out the talking points for this (Note - The email was altered to present it in a less jumbled format.  All spelling and grammatical errors are his):
From: "Davis, Andrew - GOV"
Date: February 13, 2012 6:09:39 PM CST
To: "Davis, Andrew - GOV"
Subject: Ready, Set, Build!

Tomorrow afternoon the Governor will be publicly announcing his “Ready, Set, Build!”  Please contact me directly if there are any questions or concerns.  Please embargo any press releases or supportive statements until 2pm tomorrow.

Ready, Set, Build!

Program Highlights:
  • Up to 10 different site locations (minimum site size=50 acres) throughout Wisconsin will be identified annually for each of the 3 subsequent years as shovel-ready for economic development
    a) Includes comprehensive information on available sites, buildings, and demographic data
  • These identified sites will be reviewed and approved for pre-certification by the certifying agency (if site meets criteria)
  • Once a site is identified and pre-certified, the site location will be certified-ready for job creators looking to build or relocate in Wisconsin
Key Messages:

This action is another example of how Governor Walker’s Administration and the WEDC, through its Economic and Community Development Division, is pro-actively providing the economic development tools Wisconsin needs to accelerate business start-ups and growth.
  •  One of the keys in encouraging existing Wisconsin businesses to choose Wisconsin as the site for significant expansion, or in attracting new businesses to locate in Wisconsin, is the ready availability of developable properties that have also been pre-certified by regulators.
  • The “Ready, Set, Build!” program will make it easier for entrepreneurs to start a business and for existing businesses to expand by allowing job creators in Wisconsin and around the world to find the perfect pre-certified site location for expansion knowing they can begin building immediately.
  • No time wasted.  No money lost.  It is a win for our economy, a win for our families and a win for our environment.
  • Certified site selection, “Ready, Set, Build!”, (to be implemented in spring) will eliminate critical stumbling blocks for industries – particularly manufacturers – that are looking to expand or locate in Wisconsin.
  • o The site certification program will eliminate many of the delays associated with environmental and other state and local permitting processes.
Andrew Davis | Office of Governor Scott Walker
Director of External Communications
(o) 608-267.3839 | (e)
What this really means is that the state will take up prime real estate, and Walker will use his concentrated administrative authorities given to him in his power grab last year to override any environmental, fiscal or other considerations that have been used to protect Wisconsin and its citizens for decades.

I bet one of the first areas that will be targeted will be Janesville, where you have job-starved people that would be willing to take unsafe, low-paying jobs they wouldn't normally if they weren't in such dire straits and has easy access to railroad service by Watco Transportation Services, the company that caters to the Koch Brothers and wants to buy out Southern & Wisconsin Railroad, the company that was headed by Walkergate figure and convict William E. Gardner.

And don't let them kid you, just like with the mines, Walker doesn't give two hoots about creating jobs for Wisconsinites.  He is only interested in appeasing the big moneyed special interests that would benefit from his sweetheart gifts.  While most Wisconsinites will be less than thrilled to hear about this plan of Walker's, I bet that the commercial realtors are really going to love this plan.


  1. Walker is a corrupt terrorist theif whom only his mother or rich foolish spouse could love or others with corporate profits to be made at the peoples expense !

  2. The pay-for-play thing is really what runs through all of Walker's dealings. It's in your other post on Frontier and Midwest Airlines. Give me money for my stuff and I'll open up the state for you, at a much cheaper price. And this guy thinks he's White House material. Would love to see him in a debate with pretty much any democratic nominee. What a fool.

  3. Not two weeks ago, Wis GOP had Rep Michelle Litjens tweeting about how Wisconsin had SO much land and ought to sell it to make some dough. Talk about Litjens being the proverbial "canary in the mine shaft". Jesus, Mary & Joseph - the Wis GOP has no scruples whatsoever.