Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Planning To Fail

People are not exactly lining up to live on the 1000 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. Apparently even the homeless don't want to live there-the last owners were a homeless shelter who lost the property in forclosure. And City Development Director Brian O'Connell acknowledges that the cost to build on the property will exceed what houses could sell for there, according to a recent article in the Journal Times. So naturally the city wants to invest your money in this losing proposition. They have already spent $190,000 to buy the property and they project that the demolition cost will be another $110,000. Developers, all of them with their hands out, will cost taxpayers even more.

Do the leaders of our city realize that Racine is declining in population? As such we have excess housing in all likelihood. Do we really want to attract still more people to our city that can't provide for themselves? Is this the kind of planning we want for Racine?


Pariah Jeep said...

It's just business - just ask common sense, he/she knows all about it. Hopefully there will be a train that pulls right up to those new houses. Don't mind the bullet holes -

Pariah Jeep said...

. . . and for $300,000 they could have added at least four more police officers and two more cars. On that subject, the 86 year old woman who was tied up, beaten, had bleach thrown on her and had all her things stolen is still in a Milwaukee hospital with burns over 20% of her body. She is not doing very well. Until we put all the thugs and low lifes out of business in Racine (helping the schools in the process) all this talk of wonderful development, trains, Great Lakes conferences, and art colonies is a farce.

colt said...

There is something to the idea of homesteding that area with owner occupided homes to start the proccess of taking back that area from the thugs.
At the same time it is insane to do the Uptown art project and the Grant Writer as we get rid of firemen and police. I have been told but do not know how to find out that the RPD will not hire to fill openings this year (08)

Common Sense said...

Let's see, downtown is a waste land of empty apartments, vacant office AND storefront space. At last count their were around 15 vacant storefronts alone. Yet the biggest beggar in the entire city, DRC, recieves tons of handouts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to put up plants, pretty trees, ornaments, decorative lights and other frivoluos "economic stimulators". Selective oversight is something Denis is pretty good at. DRC is the biggest in-effective beggar that needs to be taken to task.

Denis also failed to mention himself as one of the entities with their hand out begging for government money, i'll let him explain the facade grant money to the audience...

It's important to remember that their once was a bank on MLK Drive. It was razed and replaced by single family homes, around 8 to be exact. All of which have been sold and are at 100% owner-occupancy.

Now the right will use their usual scare tactics to tell you that any investment in the area is a bad idea and no one wants to buy homes in the area, but at 100% owner - occupancy, directly across the street from the proposed development on MLK, it's hard to contest that stat and a stat that the ultimate beggar, DRC, will never be able to come close to.

Denis Navratil said...

to common sense, DRC is a private organization. To the best of my knowledge, it is privately funded with membership dues and donations. The Johnson Companies, or Johnson Financial at least, are large donors. Another role that DRC plays is that they are the administrators for the BID district. A BID district (busines improvement district)imposes taxes on property owners within the BID for its own uses. For the record, I am not crazy about that idea, but unless you own property downtown as I do anon, you are not being taxed to support DRC or the BID district. So your claims that DRC is a "beggar" are simply false.

Moving on. Yes, I received grant money to help offset the cost of redoing the facade of my building. This program is available to anyone redoing commercial facades on the main business areas of Racine. At the time, I wrote quite candidly about this program, suggesting that I and others who participated would have been better served without the subsidy but with some deregulation of the building laws, many of which are needlessly costly. And I think there is a difference between a person who utilizes an existing program, as I did, and one who asks for new programs and new subsidies to help with their business. In any case, I wish they would scrap both ideas. We have too much government as it is, and this, among other things, explains why it is impossible to build in some areas without government subsidies.

I won't challenge your 100% occupancy claim anon, but I suspect that these owners were given handouts, without which they would not be owners. Am I wrong about that anon?

Anonymous said...

Colt - You are tragically misinformed. The police are in the process of hiring right now and when the 4 spots they have are filled, they will begin a new process.

Part of the grant writer and most of the uptown program come from grants or other sources of money that are not available to spend on public safety or any other kind of salaries.

Colt said...

I will stand corected on the RPD that is why I asked I was told but was unsure, I thank you for telling me.
As for the Grant Writer and Uptown art project. Please the 90K for the grant writer did not come from the grant God, and what magic fund is paying for the City of Racine to play with Real Estate?
Knock the buildings down enforce the building codes.
Who in there right mind is going to move into the Uptown area to start an studio, with high crime and cuts in public safity (Sure Grant writer will come and put out the fire trained firemen are over rated)
How about all the empty store fronts on 6th st the former Art Center of Racine?
Racine with the one highest Unemplyment rates of the State is able to surport how many art galleries? Lets see NONE.
That's right all the cars from IL I keep seeing downtown will. As they go to their new homes at Point Blue or State and Main.


With Respect to the owner of this blog:

The DRC is THE evil that is holding Downtown hostage.

The Crack Dealers in the Uptown have a better marketing plan and nicer to try to work with.

Common Sense said...

Denis, as recently as last month, DRC requested to have an increase in the facade grant program only for its downtown members. The other business districts across the city apparently (sp?) are less important and not deserving of the extra financial boost that DRC feels only downtown businesses are worthy of. Fortunately, that request was resoundingly denied.

Facade Grant money isn't a magic account from the Grant Fairy that magically appears. It's from taxpayer dollars. Dollars that I pay into as an owner of several properties in the city. So your claims of DRC not being a beggar are false.

I find it contradicting that you as a staunch opponent of government subsidies, have actually personally benefitted from them. You said you think they should "scrap the program" all together. Is this before or after you use it too?

In my definition, a subsidy is a subsidy whether it currently exists or is proposed to exist. Their is no distinction between the two as you mentioned, only in the sense that one currently exists, and one will soon exist.

As far your last question, i'm unsure of what homeowners,if any, were provided subsidies so i can't speak on that issue. But it is a good question you ask.

Denis Navratil said...

Let us try to get some clarity on what you are suggesting. I think that there is a difference between accepting a subsidy that already exists and seeking additional subsidies. Apparently you do not. For example, I am not sold on KRM, as I have noted recently. Yet there may come a day when KRM is here and I will be required to pay for it and the subsidy for riders just like everyone else. According to your thinking, I would be a hypocrite if I took the KRM and accepted the taxpayer subsidy. Or have I misunderstood your point?

Denis Navratil said...

to common sense; DRC, you or I or anyone else ought to have the right to petition government for whatever it wants to. It was not DRC that created the facade grant program, it was city hall, even though DRC may well have actively lobbied for it. The responsibility for the program lies with the legislators that enacted it, not with DRC. DRC may be a beggar as you suggest, just like the developers asking for handouts. We need aldermen who can say no.

You write, "In my definition, a subsidy is a subsidy whether it currently exists or is proposed to exist." Sorry anon but your definition is wrong. A subsidy is a subsidy and a proposed subsidy is a proposed subsidy. One is a subsidy while the other is an idea. Night and day difference.

And finally, I wonder how one could go through life without accepting any subsidies. We would have to stay off all roads and sidewalks, for starters.

Common Sense said...

Wrong again.

Facade grant program was the sole brain child of DRC. Utilizing the city as a "good citizen" of downtown, city administers it. Realizing that other businesses could benefit, city took initiative to expand to other areas of the city. That was the city's idea, not DRC's.

But i'd like to review your most recent double talk as we've experienced today. The initial post, in a nutshell, suggests that we should not entertain the thought of using subsidies to spark home ownership and private investment in communities. One reason being that it will cost taxpayers even more. Was that a concern to you when we as taxpayers helped enhance your facade to which none of us will see absolutely zero return?

You then go on to say "I wonder how one could go through life without accepting any subsidies".

So i'm confused, are you advocating for the utilization of subsidies for other investors, against the use of subsidies all together?
Or do you just support subsidies that only help you?

Please explain.

Denis Navratil said...

anon, DRC is a private entity. It has no authority to tax you or anyone else. It can advocate for this or that use of tax dollars, just as you or I can, but it can not tax us. Only governments can do that. I don't know how to make this any clearer.

As for me, I am an advocate of lesser government, it is true. I pay far too much to government and for far too many government programs like the facade grant program. In many cases, I pay for services that I choose not to use, such as RUSD. But I must pay just like everyone else. Yes, I have accepted a subsidy that I think should not exist. I did not lobby for the subsidy program, nor would I. So while you will rarely if ever find me lobbying for this or that subsidy that would benifit me directly, I do reserve the right to utilize the subsidy, created by others and against my will, because I pay into it. So one can accept a subsidy while opposing subsidies generally with no contradiction. I don't think I can state this in such a way that you would understand. After all, you did admit to being confused. I think you are right about that.

Anonymous said...

From his last comment on governance, this blogger seems to have become a 'born again' laizze faire citizen of a nation built by all for the major benefit of a few.

Some 'old time religion'.

Katrina said...

The city should at leat break even for me to support this

Anonymous said...

Break even.

When people have children, is it because they will 'break even'?