Sunday, December 13, 2015

GOP targets for extinction Historical Preservation ordinances and County control over Conservative Townships in Liberal Dane County.

I never understood what Republicans thought was so wrong with our way of life in Wisconsin. Sure we were high on the tax charts, but that didn't include the states very low user fees, which taken as a whole, put the state near the middle of the nations pack.

Repulsed by the past, Scott Walker is reshaping the landscape, literally.

Be prepared to watch in slow motion the remnants of Wisconsin's historical architectural past disappear under the guise of "property rights." WSJ:
A proposal by state Republican lawmakers to enhance property owners’ rights would devastate historic preservation efforts in Madison and across the state, critics say.

A sweeping bill by (Republicans) Rep. Rob Brooks and Sen. Frank Lasee would prohibit municipalities from designating properties as historic landmarks without consent of the owner. And it would ban municipalities from requiring or prohibiting any actions by owners related to preservation of the historic or aesthetic value of the property without owner consent ... historic preservation ordinances (would) effectively (be) voluntary.
Entire districts have been designed and marketed for their architectural look, to promote a lively local economy and attract tourism. Now a few bad actors can trash the whole historical setting, even detract from it:
Madison Landmarks Commission Chairman Stuart Levitan said the proposal would undermine significant investments made in the city’s five historic districts and in other properties. “I can’t believe (the sponsors) have such a lack of understanding of what it means to live in a community environment.”
Sam Breidenbach, board president of the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation, penned; “In Madison, historic preservation is very much tied to planning and zoning. It’s not discretionary and arbitrary.” 

Carlen Hatala and Dean Doerrfeld of the city of Milwaukee’s Historic Preservation Commission, wrote: “It lessens the sense of community and commitment to neighbors when neighbors are ‘pitted’ against each other.”
I guess we're back at the underlying premise of the Walker Authority, "divide and conquer."

But obliterating the past is just one tactic. Republicans are targeting Democratic strongholds for division. For example; there's a bill that would let townships in liberal Dane County, and only in Dane County, secede from county control. This pits conservatively controlled towns against everyone else. But, as Mark Hazelbaker, the Dane County Towns Associations legal counsel said;
"79,000 people in Dane County are under the control of 430 other thousand people. And that isn't right. It's not American."

Even the conservative leaning Wisconsin State Journal couldn't help but call them out in today's editorial:
More than a dozen Republican lawmakers want to relax development rules in Dane County — but not in the counties they predominantly represent. It’s a classic case of imposing state legislation on others that the imposers don’t want to apply to their own communities.

So AB 563 singles out Dane County for looser development rules, even though most elected officials in Dane County are adamantly opposed to the change. It’s another case of Republicans who control the statehouse picking on the most Democratic-leaning county in the state. If this is such a good idea to empower rural towns, why aren’t GOP supporters applying the change to the bulk of their districts? They aren’t because those constituents don’t want the change, either. It’s always easier to apply legislation to someone else.

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