Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Burglars Welcomed

The JT has an article today about a would be candy business and a controversy over their burglar bars.

To summarize the articles contents, there is a proposal for candy store in the inner city that has come before the city council. The building that would house the candy store has burglar bars. The city council has voted to approve a conditional use permit allowing the burglar bars while Mayor Dickert has promised to veto approval, noting that "bars are a horrible example of what the city should be."

I am of the opinion that the government should not concern themselves with how business or property owners protect their property from criminals. Will the city pay for the losses when the candy store is burglarized? Of course not.

The larger problem is, as I have stated numerous times in the past, the conditional use permitting requirement. In bygone days, property uses were constrained only by zoning decisions. When I opened my business in Racine several years ago, there was no conditional use permit required. I was setting up a business in an area zoned for business and I was not required to grovel to local politicians. This is how it should be.

However, we now have a conditional use permit requirement. This allows all business property decisions to be subject to political considerations. Risks abound when opening a business as it is, but the conditional use permit greatly magnifies said risks. Typically, there is considerable time, energy, and money expended prior to any business venture. In Racine now, even legal businesses in properly zoned areas are prevented by government from opening. Why bother considering Racine as a place to invest?

Of course property owners and politicians have divergent interests. Politicians, in this case are interested in combatting a perception of crime. The business owner is interested in combatting actual crimes. To politicians, burglar bars harm their fight against the perception of crime. To a property owner, burglar bars help their fight against actual crime. As you can clearly see, the needs of the politicians are quite different from the needs of this property owner. And now, thanks to the conditional use permit, property owners can now be used to fulfill the needs of politicians. That is not why people buy property and it will of course undermine a property's value.

Now on to this crime perception problem. If there were no crime in Racine I could fathom an argument outlawing burglar bars, video surveillance, heck, even locks. But crime exists and government has no business preventing people from efforts to deter crime. The city should join in this effort to combat actual crimes and, to the extent they are successful, the image problem will go away.

Perhaps the real problem with burglar bars for politicians is that they are a visual reminder of the politicians failure to control crime. But then, when your policies create incentives for criminals, what should you expect?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cranleyism Is Here!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fascism is here, says Sean Cranley in a JT commentary. If you manage to ignore the usual blather - comparisons to Mussolini etc..._ that make up 95% of the screed and search hard for the scary facts, well, here they are: Robin Vos is apparently chairman of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) Wisconsin and he attended their national convention.

There is so little "there" there that it is no wonder Sean has to hyperventilate about fascism, secret organizations run by scary corporations intent to "take power away from the people and enact laws favorable to mega-global corporations" blah blah blah.

Last time I checked, people, via voluntary association with others, still have the right to petition their government. That is what ALEC and virtually every other lobbying outfit does. It is true of course that some such associations have undue influence that is harmful to society - government unions come to mind- but the real problem with ALEC is that Sean disagrees with their agenda.

To which I respond with a big Hitleresque yawn.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Flexible Founders

A day or so ago one Nikki Fisher submitted a letter to the JT editor asserting a "founding fathers' mandate of free education for all." And today, I challenged this assertion at root river siren, here, scroll to "In Defense of Teachers" thread. Read the lefty responses for fun. I especially enjoyed Sean's efforts, including his citing of section 16 of Jefferson's Land Ordinance of 1785 for "establishing a mechanism for funding public education."

You won't find anything remotely approaching a mandate for a free public education from our founders, as none exists. But the exercise will provide a window into the essence of leftiness, wherein you can twist, fabricate, exaggerate, etc... until you have convinced yourself that what you wish to be true is indeed true, actual truth be damned.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bush To Blame

I nearly laughed out loud when listening to Don Rosen's radio program this morning. He and another liberal were talking about Obamacare while trying to figure out any reasons why conservatives were against it. All they could come up with was that they opposed it because Obama favored it. Really Don?

Here's one. How about the breathtaking assertion that the federal government, for the very first time, can force individuals to purchase a product from a private company.

I have a question or two for Don Rosen. Why is it that you are unable to accurately summarize a conservative argument? Did George Bush do this to you?

A Homophobic Nightmare

I was selling my wares this weekend at a Chicago street festival well known as the biggest party for gays in the midwest. My tent was positioned directly opposite the events premiere concert stage. Unbeknownst to me, someone from the cast of Glee was to perform there. Everything was going along just fine until the concert started, at which point the crowd suddenly and dramatically overwhelmed the area, and I found myself in the way of thousands of Glee fans. My booth was surrounded and the pressure from the massive crowd nearly upended my tables and I seriously considered the possibility that my entire display would be overrun by the crowd. Alas I and my merchandise survived and, while this was not by any stretch an ideal situation for commerce, I am now able to amuse myself by having survived what must surely be a homophobes worst nightmare - being crushed to death by a horde of Glee fans.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Money Relocation Project a Smashing Success

Racine's ballyhooed Uptown Artist Relocation Program, now in its fourth year, has relocated zero artists. It has relocated, as in lost, over $400,000 in taxpayer money. Yes, the city bought a building for $120 K, renovated it to the tune of $400 K, and flipped it for $111 K to some folks who will open a Chinese restaurant.

A horrific failure? Not according to program director Brian O'Connell. "We're getting a lot of the things we got into the Uptown project for" O'Connell told the RJT.

What were getting is zero artists and a $400,000 plus loss. If the city views this as a success, what, I wonder, would they consider failure.

Classism, Ageism, Racism?

The Journal Times today reports a new RUSD policy wherein a photo ID is required to attend a football game. Why would RUSD want to discriminate against the poor, the elderly, and minorities?