Monday, August 19, 2019

An information squeeze expands the Foxconn blight

It's Pick-Your-Cliche-Time as Foxconn 'moves' into its third-year of something in Mt. Pleasant. 

Circle the wagons? Getting your ducks into a row? Or Fool me once, shame on you...? (Maybe it's Con me once....)

It does feel like we're on the cusp of an announcement or a development, but radio silence from the players makes it hard to be an optimist. (A running archive of Foxconn posts is here.)

* Consider the ongoing blackout after the Governor, Speaker and Senate Majority Leader met with top Foxconn officials. 

Speaker Vos provided the 'update.' He said people were "updated." That's what passes for transparency at the state level on a project to which more than $4 billion public dollars have been pledged.

* And, remember, Foxconn had said it wasn't used to sharing information about its plans with the public
“No matter where we build our factory, we don’t normally share with people when we’re going to build, how large a factory, by when I’m going to hire so many people,” says [Foxconn official Louis] Woo, adding that all of that is a “commercial secret.” 
* Today, we see on the "A Better Mt. Pleasant" Facebook page what passes for transparency on the local level where homes have been bulldozed and a fortune in local funding is on the line: a regular monthly briefing for local residents has been reduced to another report's addendum.

Residents are urged to submit questions electronically to the project's public manager. No messy in-public Q&A. What: you think this is a democracy?

From the Facebook page:
 "The monthly Public Information Meetings on Foxconn have been officially discontinued. Updates on the project will be included as part of Village Board Meeting on the 4th Monday of each month - no reps from the various agencies... 
Foxconn construction meetings have been moved to a new date and time... 
Moving forward, Village of Mount Pleasant Project Director Claude Lois will provide updates on the Foxconn project as part of the Village Board meeting on the fourth Monday of each month. The briefing will provide an opportunity for Village Board members and members of the community to learn more about the latest construction-related updates for the project. 
Members of the community are invited to submit questions for Mr. Lois and other project partners online via or by emailing Answers will be posted online. 
People: Didn't you hear what Louis Woo said, so stop with the questions.

Back to the cliches. 

I think the operative one is 'waiting for the other shoe to drop.' 

Wherein all parties will agree that the 13,000 promised jobs will be officially downsized, with Vos and Fitzgerald saying it was only a goal, not a promise.

Vos has already won: He and the road-builders got a quarter-billion highway expansion in his territory. 

And the politicians can argue with another cliche - - no harm, no foul - - leaving aside the overall honest issue, and that residents were moved out of homes and off land bogusly declared 'blighted' so real bulldozed blight could be brought to the area - - since all it means is that Foxconn will collect less corporate welfare than the state rushed in to guarantee.

So let's add 'lipstick on a pig' to the discussion.

Don't think the Walkerites still running the Legislature would be that brazenly deceitful?

Walker established that precedent when he claimed his signature and broken promise of 250,000 new jobs created through his leadership [sic] in four years was only a goal.

His words of distraction, not mine, as media reported in 2013: 
MERRILL - Governor Walker promised Wisconsin 250,000 new jobs again and again while campaigning in 2010.
He said he'd accomplish that in his first term as governor....
On Monday in Merrill, he carefully backed away from the specific number.
"My goal wasn't so much to hit a magic number as much as it was, in the four years before I took office, when I was campaigning, I saw that we lost over 133,000 jobs in the state. I said, 'it's really not about jobs, it's about real people, real jobs like those here, and more importantly, affecting real families all across the state,'" Walker said.

Cabbage fields on the Foxconn site, 2017

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