Friday, April 19, 2019

Activists want Kletzsch Park history, oaks preserved

The Journal Sentinel explains the pressures forcing Milwaukee County to rethink proposed changes in popular Kletzsch Park which could subject some pre-Civil War-era oak trees to the chainsaw.
In the 19th century, the site drew the attention of Increase Lapham, a naturalist and engineer — considered Wisconsin’s first scientist — who surveyed the oak savanna that once dominated the landscape. 

Martha Bergland, an opponent of the county’s initial design, is co-author with Paul Hayes of “Studying Wisconsin: The Life of Increase Lapham,” a 2014 biography published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. 

Bergland believes that some of the oak trees that would be lost would have been living in 1850 when Lapham recorded his observations of effigy mounds built by Native Americans. “It’s a historically significant area,” Bergland said. “It was known to be a ceremonial important place.”
The Milwaukee River runs through the park in suburban Glendale north of the City of Milwaukee and draws anglers, hikers and birders, among others.

Bergland and naturalist Jim Uhrinak had posted a comprehensive review of the issues on photographer-blogger Eddee Daniel's "A Wealth of Nature" site, here.

The proposed removal of six old oak trees is a needless destruction of a natural element on this site as valuable as the river. This set of oak trees is the savanna fringe of Indian Prairie recorded in this place by Increase Lapham in 1850 (see map below). Do we really have so little imagination and foresight, time or money that we have to destroy these ancient living beings and the bluff they stand on when there are other possibilities for the fish passage?  Would we really rather have a hard-edged party platform with a view across a ditch than these irreplaceable open-grown oaks?
We are asking that what Aldo Leopold called an “ecological conscience” be brought to bear in redirecting the fish passage proposal. Presenting this current plan as if there is a forced choice between the trees and the fish passage is wrong. 
Intelligent and imaginative engineering plans can be made not at the expense of, but in the service of nature. Aldo Leopold asks us to not be “intimidated by the argument that a right action is impossible because it does not yield maximum profits.” The wrong action, Leopold continues, “is not to be condoned because it pays.”[1]We are all citizens, Leopold tells us, of the land-community, as are the trees and the fish
Not only are the trees an essential part of the natural system, but without the trees, the mysterious and romantic character of the dam overlook is destroyed. One of the reasons we are drawn to this spot and to others in the natural world (and to well-designed gardens) is that we find there a sense of mystery and of romance because all is not revealed at once.  
We delight in discovery. 
Even though we may not be aware of it, when we come along the Milwaukee River Parkway and see those old oaks we know we have arrived at a place different from any other place in the city and perhaps the county. 
Those craggy trees ceremonially preside as we slow and stop and get out of the car or walk into their shade at the edge of the bluff. Beyond the trees we glimpse patterns of light and shade, the sheen of sunlight on the pool above the dam and foaming energy of the river. Perhaps without realizing it, we are drawn as much by the trees to this place as by the river. Trees like these are rare in our urban and suburban lives, as rare as rivers. 
The struggle over the fate of Kletszch Park echos preservation activity to save what remains of Sanctuary Woods and the County Grounds, and an entire nature preserve adjoining Kohler Andrae State Park, among other grassroots efforts.
People care about trees - - even just one.
And in today's fast-paced and stressed world they may care even more because there's published evidence that walking in nature among trees, aside from the pleasant timeout, is measurably good for your physical and mental health, as The New York Times put it:
How walking in Nature Changes the Brain
In other words, trees aren't just connected to the soil and wetlands to get us the water we need for life, and which are a bulwark against a warming climate and violent weather. They and we are interconnected - - and even our brains are involved - -  so be smart and honor it.
Or as the Wisconsin Supreme Court put it decades ago when it affirmed the legality and wisdom of the Public Trust Doctrine:
"A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist."
All of which reminds me: did Foxconn save the centuries-old bur oaks which its ever-changing-and-shrinking 'plan' had threatened?


Acorns on a bur oak





Thursday, April 18, 2019

Smarmitude alert: Vos in full pomposity mode again

It seems we'll be needing an updated post noting Robin Vos' outbursts - - and let's be kind about it - - outbursts of embarrassing pomposity.
Robin Vos speaks at Racine Tea Party event (8378614585).jpg 

Yesterday I noted that Vos said he knew better about Medicaid coverages than the 70% of Wisconsinites who, when polled, said they want those coverages expanded.

Today, he boosted his signature pomposity with a heavy dose of smaritude by saying that Gov. Tony Evers - - a career teacher with a Ph.D degree earned by defending your own tens of thousands of words in a doctoral dissertation - -  is too naive and unschooled to understand the meaning of his own words.
It's really insulting to kind of take the tack that he is, which just in my mind shows how naive — let’s be kind — how naive Gov. Evers is to not understand the full ramifications of the words that he says and the actions that he is trying to take with this administration."
Pomposity - - thy name is Vos.

A 22-month archive of posts about Foxconn is here.

Foxconn could use existing well water: Racine official

So there's a Plan B.

Having just posted about the continuing need for a Lake Michigan water diversion to serve Foxconn

 - - and the state of a legal challenge under the Great Lakes Compact to the DNR's diversion approval - - I found these remarks from the Racine water utility manager extremely interesting, even  provocative:
"The Compact allows the City to build a water main in the diversion area but we can’t flush water outside the diversion line until the administrative law judge gives the green light. If he says no, they will just sit there,” says Keith Haas, general manager of the Racine Water Utility  
The Big ‘What If’
“If the diversion gets denied, Foxconn could have Mt. Pleasant turn on the existing well and apply for an additional well through the DNR. While using well water is not a long-term sustainable solution, it is an option,” said Haas.
Here is a link to a full archive of Foxconn posts dating to June, 2017.

Though the legal and geographic circumstances of this diversion differ from the Waukesha diversion approval, similar issues about need and availability were and continue to be raised there.


Four questions of cost and liability hang over Foxconn project

There are bigger questions raised by the Foxconn project than what devices the company may build on disappearing farmland in Mt. Pleasant and how many human workers will eventually he hired in subsidized production there.
Foxconn has clearly signaled it is downsizing its Wisconsin operation, and despite Republican caterwauling about it that is partisan, not fact-based, Gov. Evers is correctly looking to negotiate parallel changes to the original state subsidy deal.

I'd add these related questions that demand fresh consideration:

* 1. How can local officials continue to stand by their separate massive commitments and expenditures for Foxconn to which they have committed taxpayers  -  commitments and expenditures which have increased substantially to more than $900 million even as Foxconn has announced reductions in the footprint and purposes of the development?

* 2. By the same token, how can the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources not revisit the seven million daily diversion of Lake Michigan water it approved for the project - - a decision based on a scale and method of water-dependent LCD flat-screen production which Foxconn now says it will not implement at the Wisconsin site:
Just to give an approximation for the purposes of visualization: A gallon of water weighs 8.36 pounds and a typical semi-tanker can hold about 6000 gallons of water legal weight for transport. 
So after doing the math for 7 million gallons per day that would mean the equivalent of looking at over 1,100 semi tankers of water. Of course they're not trucking it but it gives you an idea to visualize the magnitude. Every day. 
A legal case brought against that diversion is now before a Wisconsin Administrative Law Judge.

* 3. Similarly, the DNR hurriedly granted Foxconn four permits to emit massive amounts of air pollution tied that type of LCD-flat screen production which the company has said it will not employ at the Mt. Pleasant project. 

 Gov. Evers has said that should happen; when will those DNR air emission permits be reviewed;.

* 4. And could the Foxconn project produce legal and financial liabilities for state and local governments - - therefore state and local taxpayers - - should air pollution, site runoff and flooding from the Foxconn development, especially through state-granted, Foxconn-only wetland-filling freedoms, move downstream into Illinois watersheds and communities, as Illinois officials fear  and even taken initial legal steps to prevent?

A summary post about many of those issues is here.

And a complete archive on this blog of more than 300 Foxconn items since the project took shape is here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Robin Vos arrogates entire WI GOP pomposity reserve

No fair, say any other potential GOP gubernatorial hopefuls:
Robin Vos unmoved by poll showing support for Medicaid expansion: 'Sometimes you have to lead by what you believe in'
Robin Vos speaks at Racine Tea Party event (8378614585).jpg 

Evers wants new Foxconn deal. Cue the GOP bluster, lies.

Wisconsin GOP reality and election deniers lost their minds today.

All Gov. Tony Evers is trying to do by renegotiating a new deal with Foxconn is recognizing reality: that Foxconn has unilaterally scaled back the scope of the project, the goods it may build there and the number of actual human assemblers involved.

If you talked a bank into loaning you a half-million dollars so you could build a four-bedroom house, and you decided to put up a house, say, two-thirds or half the size, the bank would reduce its commitment to you so it could extend the cash and credit you no longer needed to other customers or priorities.

And so while GOP leaders from the Assembly Speaker and big Foxconn winner Vos to Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald to Racine-area State Senator Wanggaard took turns in response to Evers by lighting their hair and the truth on fire - - Wanggaard was the worst: 

...the governor is "hell bent to kill thousands of direct and indirect Foxconn jobs" and attempting to "unilaterally" renegotiate the contract.
For Pete's sake, Foxconn is effectively trimming jobs, or their projections and expectations, by unilaterally changing the scope and scale of its project. Evers is doing nothing unilaterally except acknowledging the obvious Foxconn-created reality and asking for an honest process in response.

Tony Evers (cropped).jpg

It's clear that what Foxconn had earlier promised, and what Walker continually embraced, manipulated and hyped to serve (unsuccessfully) his partisan political fortune is not in the cards and likely never was.

Even Foxconn founder and Walker ally Terry Gou is saying, 'I'm outta here, too.'

Full Foxconn archive over the last 22 months is here.

So now is the time to try and reduce the state's fiscal pledge to Foxconn because Foxconn has reduced its commitment to the state.

Meanwhile, people in the Village of Mount Pleasant where homes have been bulldozed and farmland scoured in favor of gravel and concrete foundations ought to hold Foxconn liable for the loss of their property and identity, and as I said some long months ago:
Conned and scammed, every public official from Walker on down who spouted a single Foxconn-driven talking point and voted to front the company a single dollar from 'the hard-working taxpayers' Walker is so fond of invoking should hand in their resignations.

Foxconn spins away from commitment; conned, outfoxed Walker should quit

That thud just registering on political seismographs statewide is the sound of Walker's Foxconn con crashing to earth.
Confirming the essence of fourteen months of posts on this blog, Foxconn is backing away from the futuristic factory-building pledge for which gullible Walkerites and their gang of fake conservatives pledged billions of state and local taxpayer dollars, all to shore up Walker's failed job-creating record as he runs for a third term.
Foxconn now declines to say it plans to build type of factory named in state, local contracts
...the company on Wednesday did not offer assurances that it still plans to build the type of liquid crystal display panel plant the contracts cite..
Known as “Generation 10.5” fabrication facilities, or fabs, such plants are the largest and most expensive in the display industry... 
Foxconn’s original plans last year called for building a Generation 10.5 plant, and both the state and local agreements reached with the company define the project that way. 
Sound familiar: Here's a 2017 post about how Foxconn stiffed Pennsylvania
So while the nicely-timed-for-Walker's-re-election giddiness over some job growth here finally after six failed years in office, as well as a race between neighboring states to throw corporate welfare/public inducements Foxconn's way are on - - remember that Pennsylvania put big money on the table for a Foxconn plant that never happened there.
Details.
How Foxconn’s broken pledges in Pennsylvania cast doubt on Trump’s jobs plan

Duffy, Steil playtime ignores real WI dairy crises

Wisconsin's interwoven dairy crises are producing bankruptcies, suicides and polluted drinking water.

But to some members of the Wisconsin GOP congressional caucus, dairy is something on which to try out puerile stand-up comedy - - unless self-parody is your thing, so nicely-played, sirs.


Still - - it's not everyday that you can watch two United States House members jointly waste some of their $174,000 annual taxpayer-provided salaries and also some of their approximately $1.3 million annual taxpayer-awarded office budgets, but that's what the foolish duo of Sean Duffy

Sean Duffy Official Portrait 115th Congress.jpg


and newcomer Bryan Steil managed to do today.

Wisconsin Republicans mock Democrats for holding 2020 convention here, saying 'they want to get rid of our cows'
By the way, if these Republican members of congress were serious about dairy policy, they'd be working to stem the flood of Wisconsin dairy farm bankruptcies - - #1 in the US last year - -  and owner suicides that are directly linked to Scott Walker's GOP-led favoritism towards CAFO expansion and other state policies which squeezed smaller farms through over-production.

They'd take seriously the rapid escalation of climate threats which will impact the world we and they are leaving to children and grand-children who deserve far better leadership.

Set aside their robotic fascination with New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on whom they focus their embarrassingly childish disrespect, and ask yourself if they can't find anything better to do with their taxpayer-paid time. 


The Duffy and Steil Show brings to mind something a wise Madison City Hall veteran told me decades ago when I joined Paul Soglin's first Mayoral iteration:

'There are two kinds of people here," he said. "There are people who come to do the work and others to play the game. Find the serious people and stick with them."

Today, two game-players showed their cards.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

How to tell if Walker is really chairing Trump's WI re-election bid

Remember when Walker said he was going to lead Trump's 2020 re-election bid in Wisconsin?
Scott Walker says he will chair Trump's Wisconsin re-election campaign
We'll know that's true if Walker introduces Trump at the President's April 27th Green Bay rally.

It would surprise me, as Trump famously doesn't like losers - - the political equivalent of tabletop leftovers Walker finds tweetable:

A flood of Foxconn flooding headlines

Heads up, Illinois:

The Chicago Tribune says this today:
Report: Wisconsin Foxconn development could bring record flooding to Gurnee
For the record:

* In September 2017, this blog said this
Foxconn headed for flood-prone Racine County
Racine County is one of seven counties in the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, (SEWRPC), and it said in a lengthy 2015 report that flooding was a major hazard in Racine County (beginning in p. 86):
Flooding is a significant hazard in Racine County. As described in Chapter II, there are approximately 101 miles of major streams in Racine County, located within four watersheds: the Fox (Illinois) River, Root River, Pike River, and Des Plaines River watersheds.... 
Approximately 34.7 square miles, not including surface water in lakes and existing stream channels, or about 10 percent of the total area of the County, were located within the one-percent-annual-probability flood hazard area.  
Description of Recent Flood Events
Since 1990, there have been 39 flood events reported by the National Climatic Data Center affecting Racine County. Those flood events were reported to have caused property damages totaling, in 2008 dollars, about $41.7 million in damage, of which $34.5 million was related to crop damages. 
* In July, 2018, this blog said this
4th IL agency concerned with flooding opposes Foxconn environmental waivers
* In September, 2018, this blog said this
See flooding off Foxconn site. Heads up, downstream!
 

* In September, 2018, this blog also said this:
Foxconn flooding poured downstream to mainstream media; 3 takeaways
* In March, 2019, this blog said this:
Why N. IL is nervous about Foxconn, wetland filling
Here is one blog post with 22 months of Foxconn items
A Foxconn Fever Primer. 

WI DNR's Cole to promote clean water, CWD and climate change science

Looks like science, common sense and public health are finally back on the WI DNR's radar.

New WI DNR Secretary Preston Cole says clean water, fighting chronic deer wasting disease

and returning facts to the agency's previously-whitewashed climate change website are among the agency's science-based priorities.
DNR Secretary Preston Cole calls clean water and CWD top two priorities in Wisconsin 
Separately, Cole said the DNR is planning to replace language on its website written by the previous administration that said climate change was a matter of scientific debate. 
instead, he said, staff will add back wording indicating that humans play a role in rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions. 
These and other common sense programs had been damaged or disregarded during the Walker corporations'-first/pro-polluter years - - here is a blog series his ideologically-driven environmental depredations - -  so props to Cole and Gov. Evers, and let's help them get a budget passed that will put these policies into action.

Because none of this will be easy with a Republican-controlled, Walker-worshipping, special-interest beholden legislature.

And, yes, public pressure must also be applied to make sure Team Evers follows through.

Key cases headed for right-tilted WI Supreme Court

Walker legacy runoff from oversized feedlots and dirty legislation has flowed onto the dockets of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Major cases involving gubernatorial powers and environmental impacts of large-scale animal feeding operations are being taken up by the high court.

A few things about these cases to keep in mind.

* The seven-member court is currently tilted to the right 4-3. The election of the right-wing appellate judge and former Gov. Walker chief legal counsel Brian Hagedorn to a 10-year term which begins in August will enhance the right's (read: GOP's) dominance. 

Sure, it's impossible to predict how the high court will rule, but WI GOP Assembly Leader and ultra-partisan Robin Vos recently said he could not wait for Hagedorn to take his seat long-held by outgoing Justice and liberal icon Shirley Abrahamason, so bet accordingly.

* Speaking of Walker, it was his administration's enabling of expanded large-scale animal feeding operations which produced the case which the high court has agreed to hear.
Kinnard Farms CAFO Water Pollution Permit Challenge - - Citizens of the Town of Lincoln, Kewaunee County are concerned that the Kinnard Farms Inc. plan to manage 70 million gallons of untreated animal waste doesn’t protect groundwater from contamination.
If the operator prevails, more large-scale, so-called CAFOs will apply for new or expanded permits producing both more groundwater depletion and contamination of what remains. And runoff, like this incident in Kewaunee County, a/k/a CAFO/Toxic-Water Ground Zero:
All part of Walker's legacy and Team Evers' cleanup responsibilities. If allowed.

* As are the lame-duck power grab cases the high court will be hearing; those bills were rushed through the Legislature with Walker's cooperation and hurried signatures.

* A final word: The Wisconsin Supreme Court, allowed to write its own codes governing conflict-of-interest, adopted during the Walker years a no-fault conflict-of-interest standard proposed by the Wisconsin Manufactures & Commerce and Wisconsin Realtors Association. 

Those group share a deep, vested interest in Walkerism, and in maintaining it despite his defeat through self-interested lame-duck legislation and pro-Walker litigation.

* For the full story on Walker's eight-year war on the environment, I offer you this 21-part series, and the installment on CAFOs.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Yet another key Foxconn figure heads for the sidelines

Foxconn's founder and chairman Terry Gou is stepping down from the company's daily operations.
Foxconn says Gou will remain chairman, to withdraw from daily operations
Isn't this like a football team's General Manager stepping aside from daily operations months before the Super Bowl and big win he'd promised players and fans?

This comes just months after Scott Walker, his main Wisconsin partner, was booted by voters from the Governor's office, and just a few days following yet another state poll which found Wisconsinites continue to doubt the wisdom Walker helping shovel billions in public subsidies Foxconn's way.

If the Foxconn project in Mt. Pleasant were the sure thing Walker and Gou had pledged, does it make sense for Gou to take a big sideways step now and open up the possibility that the younger managers he wants to empower will be less invested in Gou's interest in investing in Wisconsin?
Terry Gou 20171206.jpg

This leaves only Gou's pal Donald Trump among the Wisconsin project's prime movers to try and make the Walker-Gou dream factory a reality.

Full Foxconn archive, here.

If things tend to take places in 3's, who's going to ramrod the project when voters show Trump the door: Robin Vos? He doesn't have the juice.


Sensenbrenner dunks on Walker

Because the NBA playoffs are underway, and Walker purports to be a Fiserv Forum patron, let's just say he got posterized by a wily
Jim Sensenbrenner.jpg
older veteran.
Bice: Ex-Gov. Scott Walker dumped from GOP event after clashing with Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner
For uninitiated, here's a worthy hardwood example

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Mayor Pete is the 'midwestern nice' candidate Walker could never be

I see a lot of reasonable and demonstrable decency and authenticity - - actual 'midwestern nice,' if you will, in the rising Pete Buttigieg candidacy.
Buttigieg portrait

From a campaign trail feature on Politico.com :
Into this potentially fraught moment strode the compact, running-fit young mayor of South Bend, Ind., a couple of minutes after the event’s 7:30 p.m. start. Instead of rushing into the museum, Buttigieg did the opposite. He bypassed the insiders to speak to the people in the parking lot. “I heard the way you ingratiate yourself to voters is to stand on things—so I found this park bench here,” he told the overflow crowd, flashing a wry grin. The crowd laughed. It was a subtle, Midwestern-nice jab at Beto O’Rourke’s penchant for climbing on tables and countertops, with an extra touch of ‘the last shall come first’ Christian ethos. And it neatly encapsulated a talent for throwing shade without sounding like a jerk that has turned the 37-year-old into the early surprise of the still-growing field of Democratic presidential hopefuls.
Certainly a contrast to the -defeated Wisconsin Gvo Scott Walker who tried tp claim the title of 'Midwestern Nice,' though his mean-spirited record showed otherwise, as I'd noted when Walker was trying to hoodwink the countrymore :
--------------------------------------------
RealClearPolitics today lets "sleeper" candidate Walker, "a preacher's son," bask in being called "nice."
In a recent interview with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt, Walker addressed those concerns. “Yeah, I’m nice. I’m midwestern nice. There’s no doubt about it,” he said.
No doubt about it?

Let's take a closer look at the multiple groups and people Walker has disrespected:

*  How many "nice" politicians cut record-breaking sums from school children's educations?

*  While even farther-right figures like Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, and Florida's US Senator Marco Rubio just last night on The Daily Show have lauded the value of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit because it puts money in the pockets of the working poor to keep them earning, Walker:

a) reduced that program in Wisconsin for many of its family beneficiaries, b) also increased other taxes on low-income Wisconsinites to cover revenue losses created by tax cuts aimed at businesses and higher earners, and c) denied he'd done any such thing, PolitiFact reported.

*  How many "nice" politicians campaign against the poor or jobless by stereotyping them as lazy people sitting on their sofas playing xBox

*  How many "nice" politicians announce, out-of-the-blue, that a law should be passed quickly to force poor and unemployed citizens, based on zero evidence, to pass urine tests to get food stamps or unemployment benefits? After already delaying some jobless benefits to people hammered in the deep recession and making Wisconsin only one of our states that has recently elected to cut food stamps?

*  How many "nice" politicians block any increase in the poverty-enforcing $7.25/hourly minimum wage, refuse to even consider it and add they see no need for any minimum wage whatsoever?

*  How many "nice" politicians turn down Federal health insurance funding to cover as many poor people as possible, thereby also adding to the state deficit and costing the state jobs? Then say they turned aside the federal money because the federal government had previously reneged on health-care payments - - a statement PolitiFact ruled "false."

*  How many "nice" politicians agree that mandatory, medically unnecessary ultrasound procedures forced on women seeking legal abortions are "fine...no problem..." and have manipulated budgets and public opinion to close several women's health clinics across their states - - even at clinics where legal abortions were not provided?

*  How many "nice" governors sign, in private, legislation that makes it easier for public schools to retain their Native American nicknames and logos, while other states and institutions have decided it's less important to be offensive?

*  How many "nice" governors refuse to ever issue a pardon? Even to a veteran who'd made a single mistake, sought a second chance and found an unmovable, "nice" and unbearably narcissistic Governor saying no, never?

*  How many "nice" campaigning politicians withhold their plans to virtually end 50 years of public sector collective bargaining, mandate larger worker contributions to pension and health plans, falsely-claim they did not withhold those plans during the campaign and cannot cite any evidence to support that claim - - and, to boot - - refer to his sudden, "divide-and-conquer"  - - his phrase - - post-swearing-in action aimed at Wisconsin workers as "dropped the bomb."

*  How many "nice" incumbent governors read their staffs a nasty top ten list of ways you can tell someone is a public employee? Samples:
On a snow day when they say “non-essential” people should stay home you know who they mean. 
It takes longer to fire you than the average killer spends on death row. 
You think the French are working themselves to death. 
You know by having a copy of the Holy Koran on your desk your job is 100% safe. 
You have a Democratic congressman’s lips permanently attached to your butt.
*  How many "nice" politicians travel to an upper-income, virtually-all-white suburb (Oconomowoc Lake) near their state's largest, minority-majority and relatively low-income city (Milwaukee) and ask voters at a rally for re-election support so the state would not "become another Milwaukee."

S'no joke



You want to be a weather forecaster?

Is there anyone excited about snow in April? The good thing is this will mainly just stick on the grass. 
Actually, it's sticking on pretty much everything. This is E. Kenwood Blvd., east of Downer Ave.




Saturday, April 13, 2019

How to OWN the Boss Vos web tracker

I call Robin Vos Mr. Pomposity and SE Wisconsin's Sprawl King, so good news: the good folks at One Wisconsin Now are giving him his very OWN website project. Here's the link:

meet boss robin vos over door opening into office

Friday, April 12, 2019

Huge boost in solar energy generation coming to Wisconsin

Sunlight is literally chasing the darkness from Walker-era hostility to renewable energy in Wisconsin.

Simple economics and improvement in renewable energy generation and battery storage technology have finally gotten the attention of both the private sector and Wisconsin's Public Service Commission.
Today at its Open Meeting, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission approved five interrelated cases that will lead to a five-fold expansion of solar energy in Wisconsin.
The PSC approved:
–        The Badger Hollow Solar Farm project in Iowa County, totaling 300 megawatts. Badger Hollow could become the largest solar electric plant in the Midwest when completed.  In addition, the PSC approved a “tie line” that will deliver Badger Hollow’s output to a nearby substation, where it will be injected into the existing southwest Wisconsin grid.
–        The Two Creeks Solar Project in Manitowoc County, totaling 150 megawatts.  As with Badger Hollow, the PSC also approved a “tie line” that will deliver Two Creeks’ output to a nearby substation.
–        Finally, the PSC approved an application from two Wisconsin utilities, Wisconsin Public Service based in Green Bay and Madison Gas & Electric, to acquire a total of 300 megawatts of this new solar capacity. The utilities will acquire the entire Two Creeks Solar Farm and a 150 MW share of the Badger Hollow Solar Farm.
Here is what a portion of one California solar panel farm looks like.


Far more green power installations are needed, and the PSC has to break through the obstruction of solar generation by We Energies now blocking a City of Milwaukee effort to spread solar arrays on public buildings and supercharge  green energy generation in the city.

Mayor Barrett has pledged expanded green energy initiatives, as has Gov. Evers:
Gov. Tony Evers is proposing to require the state’s utilities be carbon-free by 2050.
The proposal, which would go further than the self-imposed goals of almost all utilities, is part of a budget that would also significantly increase state funding for renewable energy and conservation.
 
Outgoing Madison Mayor Paul Soglin had also endorsed greater renewable power; green energy production and distribution will be supported and expanded in Madison and Dane County and the courts had signaled that Walker-era rules that hamstrung green energy advancements could not stand. 

And here are two more more drivers expanding renewable energy in Wisconsin, and elsewhere:

* Documented job growth produced in clean power business. 

* Widespread concern about the obvious dangers posed by the continued burning of fossil fuels.

Let's hope this isn't too little, too late.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Growing Racine County real estate firm buying more WI properties

Foxconn continues to acquire real estate in Wisconsin, adding a building in Madison to a portfolio that includes others, or land, in Eau Claire, Milwaukee, Green Bay and Mount Pleasant.

As far as I know, Boardwalk, Park Place and the railroads are still available and the utilities are under control.

The Monopoly Game 2 Coverart.png

Foxconn might be interested making good on the blue-collar employment promises it made to qualify for those billions in state subsidies Walker and the Legislature threw Foxconn's way by scooping up and training the 265 workers suddenly available after the abrupt closing of a Milwaukee packaging plant on the Northwest side.

Oh, I forgot that there's no bus or train service to get the workers there, in part because regional Sprawl King and Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos championed the legislation that abolished regional transit authorities in Wisconsin.

Urban connections. ew!

For 22 months of posts about Foxconn, consult this archive that begins with the most recent item.