Dan Shafer
Winners & Losers

TCD’s week in review

Victory Garden Initiative pitches a winner, Kestrel Aircraft gets a tax credit, a scam hits the Sikh community, Bill Clinton delivers a powerful speech, and more.

By - Sep 7th, 2012 02:54 pm
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WINNERS

Autumn in Wisconsin (aka Packer Season)

The Packers play this weekend, school is back in session, the leaves are turning, and did I mention the Green Bay Packers play this weekend? It’s a great time to be in Wisconsin. Enjoy it.

Bill Clinton

The big winner from this week’s Democratic National Convention was former President Bill Clinton. In his nearly 50-minute speech on Wednesday night, former President Bill Clinton delivered a captivating, detailed, thorough argument for the Democratic Party and for President Obama.

As The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) put it, “You don’t have to agree with the policies of the former president to appreciate that tonight you were watching a master at work…rather than throw partisan bombs and red meat, Clinton went in a different direction — touting the importance of reaching across the partisan aisle and defending the nobleness of politics as a profession. He was the explainer-in-chief without seeming too preachy.” One particularly interesting fact that Clinton highlighted was this: “Since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs. What’s the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million!”

Victorious Garden Initiative 

Milwaukee’s idea for the Mayor’s Challenge, issued by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was chosen on Thursday. Ideas Milwaukee’s submission for the challenge were presented at the “Tournavation” event at City Hall on Aug. 28. The top prize for the national challenge to “to find innovative solutions to problems, improve urban life, and make city government work better,” wins a $5 million grant from Bloomberg’s philanthropic foundation. Milwaukee’s ideas focused on urban agriculture, and of more than 100 proposed ideas, the Victory Garden Initiative‘s founding director Gretchen Mead pitched the winner. Mead’s proposal “involves utilizing foreclosed homes and properties for growing food,” saying “Inaccessibility of high quality, nutrient-dense foods, economic insecurity, natural resource depletion, and deep apathy related to the out-sourcing of community wealth, leaves the people of Milwaukee subject to multi-generational nutritional starvation and the inability to keep and maintain our beautiful, historic neighborhoods.”

State tax collections

$126.6 million more than expected was collected by the state of Wisconsin this year, the Department of Revenue reported on Wednesday. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau said the money will be put towards the state’s bottom line, and that barring a major change in expenditures, figures for which will be released in October, the state will end this budget period with a $274.1 million surplus.

Kestrel Aircraft Corporation

$30 million in tax credits have been allocated by the The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and Wisconsin Community Development Legacy Fund to aircraft builder Kestrel Aircraft Corporation, which is moving operations to Superior, Wis. The $30 million tax credit comes from the federal New Markets Tax Credits Program, which was established by Congress in 2000 to “spur new or increased investments into operating businesses and real estate projects located in low-income communities.” The tax credit is projected to create 600 new jobs. This is something to watch going forward to see if that job projection comes to fruition.

LOSERS

A Tragic Scam

The tragic shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin happened just over one month ago, and while the community continues to grieve and come to terms with the loss, one member of the Sikh Temple was victimized by a scam in this vulnerable time. According to Oak Creek Patch, “A Sikh temple member told police he got a phone call from a person claiming to be from the FBI and White House. The person told the temple member he wanted to buy him a house, pay for plane tickets to India and give him free medical insurance. The temple member wired a total of about $1,900 to India, according to the report. After speaking with several people in the Sikh community, the member realized he fell victim to fraud.” The Sikh Coalition in New York is warning others in the community to be aware of further Oak Creek-related telephone scams.

Misguided political attacks

Name-calling and out-of-context quotes are par for the course in today’s political discourse. Last week, Republicans devoted a day of their Convention to rebuke President Obama’s out of context “you didn’t build that” line. This week, at the Democratic National Convention, speakers like Delaware Governor Jack Markell invoked Mitt Romney’s well-publicized “I like firing people” quote, which too has been misrepresented in its context. As I wrote last week, there are better debates to be had than ones based in distorted inaccuracies.

Another unnerving attack used by Democrats at the convention has been hyperbolically comparing Republicans to Nazis, which happened three times in the first two days of the convention. I have never understood the rationale of making such statements about fellow Americans. These sensationalist comparisons undermine the message of the “Big Tent Party” and should be done away with.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Civil Rights has found that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation did not follow civil rights rules for at least seven years. The yearlong investigation came about from a complaint filed in 2011 by the ACLU of Wisconsin and the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin, which brought forth concerns relating to the DOT’s compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

State public education 

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington released a report this week that shows that per-student, Wisconsin has seen the nation’s fourth largest cuts to K-12 public education.

West Nile Virus

Seven people in Milwaukee County and three in Waukesha county have contracted West Nile Virus. Two people who tested positive for the virus have died, though further investigation must take place to confirm that West Nile is the cause.

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