Friday, June 21, 2013

The Innovative Bait And Switch

Once upon a time in a place called Milwaukee County, there was an area known as the County Grounds.  It was a magical place where one could gaze at historical structures knows as the Eschweiler Buildings.  Then one could move just a few paces and stand in wonder in front of a national treasure, The Monarch Trail, one of the few places in the world where Monarch butterflies would naturally congregate by the thousands during their annual migration.

One day, the evil county executive, Scott Walker, had broken his promise to preserve the County Grounds and sold it for a song to a group of wealthy land developers, some of whom belonged to another group inappropriately named as the Greater Milwaukee Committee.

The citizens weren't happy about this and tried to fight it.  But the wealthy developers had promised a big fancy university which would spur high-tech businesses to pop up and grow.  The developers told tales about how the region would be flooded in high paying jobs.  It would be a virtual land of milk and honey - or so the developers had promised.

But once the sale went through and the developers bamboozled the part-time, inept Wauwatosa City Council into letting them do what they wanted, things changed, and not for the better.

Where they had promised to preserve the Eschweiler Buildings, the now wanted to tear them down.

Where they had promised to preserve the delicate habitat of the Monarch Trail, they were now planning on doing construction within feet of it, all but guaranteeing that the area would be forever ruined for the Monarchs butterflies.

And where they had promised a fancy university and lots of well-paying, high tech jobs, they were now talking about building a fancy hotel that would create maybe a few dozen janitorial/housekeeping jobs.

But to build this hotel instead of some high tech business with all the promised high paying jobs, they needed permission of the County Board.

So the County Board met and granted the developers' request, but with the contingency that the hotel would pay the janitors and other employees would make no less than 125% of the poverty level, which comes out to be between $11 to $12 per hour.  Ironically, that's about the same about of money that County Board members will make if the plutocrats are able to complete their retaliation against them.

Then all heck broke loose!

Judging by the way that the even more evil County Emperor Chris Abele, his minions and the wealthy developers were acting, one might have thought that the Board had asked them to sacrifice their eldest born child.

Abele was very upset and, via his court jester, threatened to pull rank via the Plutocracy Law:
Brendan Conway, spokesman for County Executive Chris Abele, agreed, saying it sends a message that the county is negotiating in bad faith. He also questioned whether the board has the authority to amend the deal after the enactment of a state law limiting the board to a simple up or down vote on real estate deals. 
“We’ll need some legal clarity on that,” he said. “If this development goes away, it’s a significant amount of temporary construction jobs and it’s a decent amount of full-time jobs.”
Never mind that it would take two or three of those "full-time jobs" to support a family.

One of Abele's wholly owned subsidiaries, Supervisor Deanna Alexander (or maybe it was Conway again) echoed their shock and horror that the Board would expect the workers to be treated with the minimum of respect:

Even the Illinois-based developer that was going to come to Milwaukee to profiteer off of the land and the workers said that paying the workers two extra dollars made the whole deal - worth hundreds of millions of dollars - not worth it.  Apparently, he really, really, really needs those few thousands of dollars.  He needed to buy a round at the University Club to toast Abele, Julia Taylor and the other GMC members who made it all possible for him.

The thing to remember throughout this all too true tale is that the focus shouldn't be on the County Board who took the unpopular but righteous position of standing up for the workers.

The focus should be on Abele, his sockpuppets and the profiteers who are crying the blues of having to pay people at the rate of 125% the poverty level.  They aren't happy with not delivering on their promises, they are actually wanting to gouge Milwaukee workers and taxpayers even more.

I wish I could tell the gentle reader that this was a Grimm fairy tale, but sadly it is the grim reality that we face.


  1. Where is the Lorax when we need him?

  2. "Take back Wisconsin"

  3. Wow, and you rip on others for being melodramatic.

    1. Well, we now know at least one person didn't get it.

  4. The Capitol Building would make great condos.

    1. There would have to be an awful lot of money spent on rehabbing -- not nearly enough bathrooms in the place.