Saturday, November 24, 2007

Taking the Bait

I have been asked by my detractors to list my accomplishments here in Racine. No doubt they want to pick them apart, dispute them, or minimize their importance. I don't like to promote myself and if you look through my archives, you will see that I don't. I also don't like to dodge questions. So I either need to dodge a question or promote my accomplishments. I have chosen the latter. I will separate my accomplishments into two categories, professional and political. My personal accomplishments shall remain personal.

Professional accomplishments: My wife and I started a business from scratch about 14 years ago. When we moved to Racine, we rented a small storefront on Main street. We have sinced expanded significantly, nearly quadrupling in size. As part of our expansion, we purchased an eyesore in the 400 block of Main street, a block that was nearly dead at the time. That eyesore is now among the most attractive buildings downtown. The 400 block of Main street is now fairly solid, and we deserve some of the credit for that improvement. Part of our business is raising money for hospitals throughout the midwest. We have donated about $250,000 to hospitals in the last decade or so. We also employ people. At present we have four employees, among them a current RUSD student, an RUSD alum and college student, and a parent of an RUSD alum who happens to be a strong supporter of RUSD. I mention these RUSD connections and the contributions to hospitals so that you will understand that a successful boycotting campaign will result in collateral damage. Our economic activity generates considerable revenue for government. We of course pay state and federal income taxes, we pay local property taxes on two properties, we pay payroll taxes, and we generate alot of sales tax revenue. I don't even want to think about how much we pay in taxes, but I will say this to the boycotters; it is not wise for a parasite to kill its host.

Political accomplishments: I would consider myself a sort of freelance political activist. My first foray into political activism started when I began to explore the wisdom of having taxpayers foot the bill for an indoor ice arena. There were a multitude of reasons to oppose that idea, but among the most convincing is the notion that your average taxpayer should not be required to subsidize the activities of the rich. For this reason and others, I was aligned with many liberals in opposing this spending. Anyway, I had a hand in stopping that nonsense. I later wrote editorials in the Journal Times, at least two of which contributed to a fair outcome for oppressed people. In one I argued that the Lighthouse Church (I think that is the name), having purchased the former REAL school, renovated it, and gotten an occupancy permit form city hall, ought to be able to occupy their own building. Mayor Becker had other ideas, namely condos, and was using tactics of questionable legality to prevent the occupancy. My commentary may have helped the church. Church members think so and are grateful for my help. Another article may have helped a black couple get a liquor license. Our liquor licensing process deserves an overhaul, in large part because licensees are subject to a subjective process that includes, essentially, the blessings of neighbors. This may sound like a good idea to many, but it allows racism or any of the other isms to taint the process. Anyway, they got their license and subsequently botched their operation. It is harder to measure other political accomplishments, though I think that they are real. For example, my editorials in the JT, love em or hate em, sparked discussion of issues that need to be discussed. The same is true of this blog.

So go ahead anon et al, snipe away.

16 comments:

Preachrboy said...

Denis is Racine's leading conservative voice. Thanks for your always articulate and reasonable contributions to public discourse.

He also has excellent grammar, which may not seem like it's that important, but is sorely lacking among many local pundits.

Thanks, Denis!

smallgovsam said...

Like a show on Fox, Free Racine is provocative, edgy, a bit risqué
and leaves liberals riled.

Glad to have you around, Denis!

Anonymous said...

Like a show on fox, Free Racine is twisted to make horrible people look great and filled with lies. We know that you only do this to listen to yourself talk and have your minions support your every word.

Denis Navratil said...

Thanks preachrboy and smallgovsam for the encouraging words.

concrete katie said...

In a Free America or a Free Racine a blogger should be able to express a point of view without being personally assassinated.

Free Racine is a good name for a local blog. It is also a good name for a newspaper within a newspaper which is how I came upon it.

I like both Racinepost and Free Racine. Both are exactly what Racine needs. Freedom.

Anonymous said...

As a lifelong Racine resident, I find Racine short on intellectuals in the manner of Pope John Paul II.

They certainly are not here OR at real debate...

John Paul would tollerate this, and pray for your intellectual and spiritual growth...

Denis Navratil said...

anon, perhaps you should try to emulate your hero.

Greg Helding said...

Denis - When you talk about liquor licensing, you seem to be against the subjective nature of the process.

Have you read "The Death of Common Sense", by Philip K. Howard? If not, you should take a look. It is all about how the quest to remove subjectivity from government operations has led to our current state of affairs:

1) OSHA has so many rules that no one could know them all and inspectors can always find something to fine.

2) Equal opportunity laws and the climate in the courts has led to less hiring of women and minorities.

3) The ADA prevents the updating of buildings because of the cost increases.

etc...

Our licensing process is far from perfect, but removing subjectivity from government operations removes the need for any public input - even the kind you used to help people out.

Something to think about...

It was good to see you at the Plan Commission meeting, by the way.

Denis Navratil said...

Greg, thanks for your comments. I am not sure that I would want all subjectivity removed from the political process, including the examples that you cite. But I think some things should not have to be subjected to a political process at all, like opening a lawful business. Now if someone has a felony record or has violated alcohol related laws, that should be a different story. But those laws could be objective without harm done to anyone. The way I see it, you already have zoning to detrimine which businesses can operate in which areas. Thanks again for your comments and the book recommendation. Nice to see you as well.

Colt said...

We all do what we can to help change this City.
Free Racine is one of the voices out there.
Colt simply has not the time nor skills to do his onw blog that is why Podcasting will be my thing.
That being said Racine needs to do more to get this change undeway.
Times change and information needs to be out so that the public can understand what is going on.
Once the public knows perhaps we can kick start that change.
Denis can you help find out what is going on or not going on at Point Blue?

Anonymous said...

Denis Navratil said...

anon, perhaps you should try to emulate your hero.

7:08 AM
---------------------
As a fellow Pole, whose for-bearers in the US took decades of abuse and ridicule for merely being Polish, I do indeed.

But the discussion here is merely one-sided...

Caledonication said...

"As a fellow Pole, whose for-bearers in the US took decades of abuse and ridicule for merely being Polish, I do indeed."

My Italian/Native American/French/German and I may be turning Japanese, but thank God I'm not Polish, heart bleeds for you.

Denis Navratil said...

Colt, I don't have any inside news about Point Blue. If I did, I would gladly share it with readers.

Anonymous said...

Caledonication said...

My Italian/Native American/French/German and I may be turning Japanese, but thank God I'm not Polish, heart bleeds for you.

----------------------------------

Any your people changed their last names as NOT to be identified with their ethnic heritage as the Poles did?

colt said...

Point Blue needs to be looked at. The J-T will not. The Post started to.
My guess is that it is not happening and there are powerfull folks with links to Point Blue.

concrete katie said...

So I was just on the City's website because I like their weather best and I happened to notice something about Pointe Blue - that Governor Doyle was granting Pointe Blue $750,000. So I clicked on this highlighted item and after a long blank period my system froze.

Colt, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN????