Monday, August 7, 2017

Diane's Empty Dreams

By Jeff Simpson

Recently, the New York Times did a cheer leading piece on Diane Hendricks and how she is Reviving Beloit, WI.    

BELOIT, Wis. — When Diane Hendricks sees something she doesn’t like here, she buys it.
A bankrupt country club. A half-empty mall. Abandoned buildings. The rusting foundry down by the river.
Beloit used to be a town that made papermaking machines and diesel engines. Ms. Hendricks thinks it can be a place where start-ups create the next billion-dollar idea, and she is remaking the town to fit her vision.
The problem is Diane Hendrick's vision is blurry, extreme and very, very white.

The Times considers Diane to be a boom to Beloit because:

She took the library from its historic location downtown and resurrected it inside a failing mall at the edge of town, replacing the original with a performing arts center where dance and music students from Beloit College can study and perform each year. Then she scooped up nearly every building on a downtown block and knocked each one down, making way for a sushi restaurant, a high-quality burger joint and modern apartments with marble counter tops and exposed-brick walls. 

I agree that the downtown of Beloit, WI is looking nice, however, let us take a closer look at what is actually happening in Beloit.  

 While it is great to buy things for a few million dollars, when you are a billionaire, but FYI - that is not an economic plan. 

We have seen her economic plan for Wisconsin:

While Ms. Hendricks, has a vision of bringing start-ups to WI, the reality of her political vision is she is failing spectacularly.  Wisconsin, under Scott Walker (one of Diane's most high profile employees), has ranked dead last in business start up activity for the last three years!     On the bright side, we have no where to go but up!   

However for Ms. Hendricks, with help from the Governor, has to have an actual plan (tax cuts and cutting education is not one either).   

After discussing this topic with someone heavily invested in the Beloit Community:

There needs to be an economic development plan that let's millennials of color see a pathway to ownership through education. We need to economic development plans that are inclusive and not driven by fox valley. Millenials of color will stay in Wisconsin, if they can get a piece of the pie.

In Madison, there have been those opportunities in tech and health fields but we need to expand those opportunities beyond those two sectors to keep the best and brightest, regardless of color or history, want to stay in Wisconsin and actually help us grow from the ground up.

Yet Beloit, a classic Rustbelt town impacted by the decline of manufacturing, remains “deeply troubled” despite Hendricks’s efforts, the story notes, with high unemployment and boarded-up shops. “About a quarter of the population lives in poverty, twice the rate of residents in the rest of Rock County. One in every four children lives in poverty in the county.”
Which raises the question of whether Hendrick’s vision for America is one that leads to economic success for average Americans. Stevenson doesn’t report that Hendricks urged Gov. Scott Walker to go after private sector unions, or that the Right to Work law he signed has been found to lower average wages in stateswhere it has been passed. Stevenson doesn’t tell us how many employees at ABC Supply have family-supporting jobs.
Nor does Stevenson report that Hendricks didn’t pay a cent in state taxes from 2012 through 2014, or that tax cuts passed by Walker and Republicans went mostly to wealthy Wisconsinites like Hendricks, or that Hendricks has grossly underpaid her property taxes going back many years.
PS: To the author, Alexandra Stevenson, Instead of talking to Charley Sykes, maybe you should have gotten in touch with this former student who has had a problem with Ms. Hendricks serving as a Trustee for Beloit College and as a major member of the Trump team.

She was an early supporter of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign here in Wisconsin, a state with a history of progressive politics, and that has pitted her against some current and former students at Beloit College, a liberal arts school and one of Beloit’s other big employers. (Ms. Hendricks sits on the college’s board of trustees.)    

I am available anytime!


  1. I would like to forward this but some critical information doesn't show up properly. Could you please fix it?

  2. Jeff, it's a week after Pops's request. The formatting of several paragraphs puts some text off the right margin, out of view, invisible to the web-reader. And using Firefox "Reader" to amend the situation shows *only* the bulleted items....