Tuesday, September 3, 2019

In year three, Walkercon blight in sharper focus

They say might makes right. It makes blight, too.

It seems like ancient history - - Governor Walker, desperate after more than seven years to erase the stain of his failed signature pledge to create 250,000 new jobs in four years, jetted off to Japan in early June, 2017 to 'negotiate' with Foxconn officials the biggest public dollar giveaway, campaign Hail Mary and import of state-sponsored blight in Wisconsin history.

In my blog series "Foxconn Fever Primer," Walker's Asian air miles became the first item:

Desperate Walker's 48-hour jobs mission - - to Japan
Unless he comes back with a Toyota factory, his weekend junket to Japan will look like a very expensive stunt. 
He did come back with hyperbole that would make a time-share pitchman envious:
"Just think about it," Walker said shortly before sitting down with Gou to sign the contract. "We’re talking about things we talked about for years (but) we only dreamed of: 13,000 good-paying, family-supporting jobs. That’s just the start. "We're going to take the world over when it comes to high-tech technology like we're going to build ... right here in the state of Wisconsin," he said.
From NBC Nightly News, 7/21/19
We've been through all the subsequent b.s., and more, ever since:

* The official arrogance that exempted the project from routine environmental reviews and appellate legal procedures:

* The blanket permissions to fill state-protected wetlands, stream routes and lake beds.
The exemptions could mean the destruction of state-regulated wetlands, allowing construction activity in the bed of a stream and changing the course of a stream without obtaining a state permit.
* The politically-tainted approval to divert Lake Michigan water to the site, and the politically-tainted favor to Foxconn to weaken air pollution standards in the area which already had high levels of hazardous contamination, as I noted in May:
Today's subject is blight. And who uses it to spoil the natural and political environment. And why.
Remember the phony "blight" assigned Mount Pleasant properties in the Foxconn zone so they could be quickly acquired and torn down?
We're learning anew that real blight took root in government actions which included unscientific and unjustifiable air pollution exemptions 
* The fantasies about special interstate lanes for futuristic, no-driver Foxconn 18-wheelers, and the real-life, real-time road hazards being shoved across SE Wisconsin for Foxconn workers and work which always seems to be shrinking.

* And the endless shape-shifting about employment, jobs descriptions, workforce scale, amenities, muddied not only by site runoff after a 2018 rain - - 
- - but through carefully-honed 'the pace is picking up' photo-ops in which a willing media was too often willing to play its part.

* But the biggest con of all - - setting aside the downsizing of the factory's scale and product-line, and Walker's insistence that the project area be known as "WisConn Valley" - - a stupid ripoff of Silicon Valley - - was that perfectly-fine homes and valuable farmland - - 
Thousands of acres like this cabbage field shown here in 2017 are now in an area designed 'blighted,' available to be seized by local government for Foxconn uses and 'developed' with public funds.
- - was taken through threats of government seizure because the properties could be labeled blighted.

When the real blight against the truth, public budgets, and transportation planning was being imported by Walker and a host of local, state, partisan, public and private sector enablers with the efficiency of an invasive species turned loose in an otherwise undisturbed trout stream.

In the last day, two more proofs of what the real blight is and where it has landed:

* One of the project's taxpayer-paid overbuilt road 'improvements' which needed acre-after-acre will be downsized by a third:
State Transportation Department scales back one of the project's road projects
That land of yours we said we needed where your blighted homes and farms had been sitting? Never mind.

* And speaking of those homes, some owners continue to speak out though the burden of time and litigation has taken its toll:
Owners near Foxconn say they were misled; now their homes are gone
Foxconn might begin making something at its Mt. Pleasant site in 2020. No doubt Trump and his Wisconsin re-election chairman Walker will show up there to cut a ribbon and hand-polish a flat-screen LCD panel or two, but nothing will remove the blight they introduced for their own political purposes that cost property owners their homes, taxpayers billions, a village its identity and a state its credibility with national media:.
Wisconsin's $4.1 billion Foxconn boondoggle

With other small costs added, the total Foxconn subsidy hit $4.1 billion — a stunning $1,774 per household in Wisconsin. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Walker was a Republican disaster as are Voss and Fitzgerald. But since they gerrymandered the state it'll be next to impossible to get rid if them. People of this state need to stop voting against their best interest in other words stop voting for Republicans!