Jefferson Davis is a longtime resident of Menomonee Falls. He is the proud parent of two wonderful boys. He enjoys singing, volunteering, reading, gardening, politics, antiques, history, guitar, violin, piano, officiating, helping neighbors and yard work. He served as Village President of Menomonee Falls from 2003-05. He is a member of Northbrook Church and serves on the Advisory Council for the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center. He is an independent registered representative practicing in the areas of insurance, investments and retirement.
"Here a Bailout, There a Bailout, Everywhere a Bailout...'ol McVillage Board Had a Farm Ee, i, ee, i, o"
The Vanguard's updates and follow ups, and there are plenty of them, will be at the end of this posting.
Public Employee Benefit Costs, which was suppose to be last week's subject, will have to wait another week or more.
Our country is currently facing a challenge that is unprecedented in terms of size and magnitude that must be addressed now with those who are responsible for getting us into this mess being accurately held accountable for its cause so it is not repeated in the future.
Follow the money.
It's always about money when it comes to politicians who are legally and ethically challenged when they try to cloak themselves in righteousness and glory because, "It's for the people of our community."
Taxpayers of America are being asked once again to make good for the strong armed tactics of certain politicians who used their position to deliver political favors to constituents in exchange for votes and campaign contributions over the last 30 years that has now reached an epidemic of the often referred to number of $700 billion.
There is a pattern for these certain types of politicians over the years and the taxpayers have had to foot the bill in one way or another or "else" every time (click here to see a history of bailouts in America http://www.propublica.org/special/government-bailouts) since the early '70's.
Irish Political Philosopher Edmund Burke has been attributed with the following quote, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing."
Similarly, the Menomonee Falls Village Board, currently led by Trustee Jeff Steliga, Mike McDonald, Sharon Ellis, Jim Jeskewitz and former Village President, Joe Greco, who started this mess in the 90's, are now asking the taxpayers of Menomonee Falls to "bail them out" of a $42 million dollar commitment they made that they knew they could not keep and now the bill is coming due unless something is done now to protect the businesses and homeowners of Menomonee Falls.
Unless the citizens of Menomonee Falls collectively rise up to let their elected and appointed officials know they will not stand for this bailout and the deliberately failed promises of Trustees Jeskewitz, Steliga, McDonald, Ellis and former Village President, Joe Greco, the impact of new taxes will potentially cripple our local economy when it would be so easy to correct it with the right leadership and negotiation process.
More on that later. Much more.
$700 Billion Taxpayer Federal Bailout and the Eerie Similarity of the Menomonee Falls Village Board
How did our country get to this point?
It's very simple.
It started over 30 years ago when the democrat controlled Congress and Senate along with the support of the Carter Administration paid their supporters back with the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) which was designed to require financial institutions to provide loans to the low income and minority population or else be sued for discrimination or prejudice (http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo125.html).
Simply put, loans were made to people who could not afford them and subsequently were not held accountable when they could not make their mortgage payments.
These seriously questionable and egregious lending practices were greatly expanded in the '90's under the Clinton Administration for the same payback reasons of the Carter Administration to constituents in exchange for their votes and campaign contributions (http://18.104.22.168/focus/f-news/2091845/posts).
Questionable Lending Practices Explode
The warning signs started in 1999 (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0DE7DB153EF933A0575AC0A96F958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1) and perhaps sooner for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
President Bush warned Congress in 2001 that immediate reform was necessary at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or the financial system would face peril because of the mess he inherited from the Clinton Administration, but was blocked by the democrats (http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/194210.php).
President Bush, realizing that a crisis was imminent unless something was done immediately, informed Congress in 2003 of his plans to reform the system to stave off the problem, but was blocked by democrats ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28498-2005Apr5.html) when they tried to eliminate the agency, OFHEO (Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight), whose responsibility it was to oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were giving out really bad loans and tried to fire the agency director because he was trying to do his job that ultimately lead to the resignation of Fannie Mae Executive Franklin Raines (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17241-2004Dec21.html) because of severe accounting irregularities and compensation questions of his $90 million salary over 5 years.
More severe warnings came in 2004 (http://www.620wtmj.com/shows/charliesykes/29877814.html?blog=y) about serious problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac once again to the howls of the democrats accusing those who dared to raise the issue of being racists, discriminating, prejudicial, alarmists and unfair critics of the people who ran the organizations.
Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain sounded the alarm in 2005 about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (http://blogsforjohnmccain.com/john-mccain-tried-head-fannie-mae-freddie-mac-mortgage-disaster-2006) and was also met with strong criticism about his attempts to reform a very corrupt system.
Fannie Mae Executive, Richard Syron, was in denial as late as May of 2007 (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=ay0Kkt47a3s4&refer=home).
Those who raised the red flags about the pending crisis were scoffed at, scorned and ridiculed by the democrats for being alarmists and trying to destroy and discredit good people who were trying to do good things.
It's Time to Name Names and Hold Them Accountable for this Debacle that was Avoidable
Shame on Barney Frank (D-Mass), Christopher Dodd (D-Conn), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Harry Reid (D-NV) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) for being the loudest critics of the republicans and the Bush Administration for the failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when it was the republicans who clearly sounded the alarm, but were blocked by the democrats every step of the way (http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/194210.php and http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/09/28/franks_fingerprints_are_all_over_the_financial_fiasco/).
The democrats, who created this mess, have known about it for many years (http://22.214.171.124/focus/f-news/2091845/posts) and purposely chose to do nothing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3p1Wc2NFa3w&feature=related) as long as the votes and campaign contributions kept coming in (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aSKSoiNbnQY0).
Even the democrat presidential nominee has a history with this issue (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/09/acorn_obama_and_the_mortgage_m.html) and the organizations that he affiliated himself with.
Thank God the republicans didn't provide these irresponsible and reckless democrat congressmen and senators with cover by approving a bailout and cover-up of the mess they created and are now trying to blame the republicans for when the republicans were the ones who sounded the alarms about a pending financial crisis years ago.
This is a partisan issue and it's the democrat's fault.
President Bush and the republicans should have been proactive and stopped this train wreck they knew was coming at our country 100 miles an hour, but they didn't and shame on them.
Now it's time to fix it and move on for the sake of our country, but in the words of Spanish Philosopher George Santayana, "Those who can not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
Where do we go to fix this?
We're Americans and we can meet, beat and exceed any challenge that is put before us and we will meet this challenge the same way as long as it is the right thing to do for our country and the taxpayers and not the select few who got us into this mess to begin with.
The Vanguard supports the caution and support of the plan as outlined by the Heritage Foundation (http://www.heritage.org/Research/Economy/wm2091.cfm).
Let's Not Repeat History in Menomonee Falls by Bailing Out the Village Board on the $42 Million Municipal Facilities Fund
The Vanguard has written extensively about the failed policies of the Menomonee Falls Village Board from the '90's and the early 2000's and its impact on the taxpayers for the broken promise of the $42 Million Municipal Facilities Fund (http://blogs.menomoneefallsnow.com/the_vanguard/archive/2008/07/10/the-great-garbage-debate.aspx).
The Village Board directed the new Village Manager in 2007-08 to re-open negotiations with Waste Management to make up for the $17 million shortfall (http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/MEst-Effect-on-Property-Val.pdf) of the $42 million Municipal Facilities Fund (http://media.menomoneefallsnow.com/images/the_vanguard_542200_Municipal-Facilities-Fund.png).
Similar to the Fannie Mae Freddie Mac mess, the Village Board, without a referendum and very little public input, decided in 1999-2000 to saddle our community with a $42 million debt service (http://media.menomoneefallsnow.com/images/the_vanguard_542200_Municipal-Facilities-Fund.png) for a new police station, village hall and library they knew would not be paid for by tipping fees from the Waste Management Dump that started in 1994 with even more empty promises from the Village Board.
The $42 million Municipal Facilities Fund (http://media.menomoneefallsnow.com/images/the_vanguard_542200_Municipal-Facilities-Fund.png) is now at least $17 million short (http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/MEst-Effect-on-Property-Val.pdf) and will hit the taxpayer extremely hard as early as 2016 with new taxes between $416.00 to $2,218.00 through 2022 which will be above and beyond regular property taxes.
Empty Promises Date Back to 1994
Led by former Village President Joe Greco and Trustees Mike McDonald and Jeff Steliga, the Village Board voted unanimously to approve a contract with Waste Management that promised some $15-$20 million in tipping fees at no cost to the taxpayers for 10 years.
Truth was, the taxpayers only netted $5,261,095 in 10 years from Waste Management because the taxpayers had to pay $8,670,578 for garbage pick up in order to get the $5,261,095 from Waste Management tipping fees.
Unlike any other corporation throughout America (see examples http://blogs.menomoneefallsnow.com/the_vanguard/archive/2008/07/10/the-great-garbage-debate.aspx), the Village Board did not require any dividends or royalty checks for the taxpayer, like having our garbage picked up for free, in exchange for Waste Management making millions off of the Village each year.
Contract Comes up for Renewal in 2004 and $17 Million (Actually $29 Million) Shortfall Exposed
The Village, with Waste Management, had to apply for a permit from the DNR to extend the life of the dump for 10 more years through 2014 at which time it would close and be capped.
The Village would also lose $500,000 a year into perpetuity starting in 2014 in property taxes from Waste Management because a closed dump is taxed differently than an operating dump.
Conservative members on the Village Board at the time, Davis, Slinker and Farrell, raised the issue during negotiations with Waste Management about the $17 million shortfall for the $42 million Municipal Facilities Fund in 2004.
When the annual $1.2 million garbage tax is included in the formula over 10 years ($1.2 million x 10 = $12 million), the shortfall is actually $29 million because the taxpayer has been paying for the new library, village hall and police station since 1999-2000 when construction started.
Trustees Steliga, McDonald and Jeskewitz along with the Financial Services Director blamed the economy, interest rates, 911 and even their red freckled cousin for the shortfall when in reality they knew all along there was going to be a huge shortfall and just didn't think they were going to get caught because it wasn't going to show up on the tax bills until 2016 when most of them would be retired or off the Village Board.
Of course there were all kinds of accusations made toward those who raised the $17 million/$29 million shortfall.
The tax and spend members (Steliga, Jeskewitz, Ellis and McDonald) of the Village Board won in a compromise over the conservatives (Davis, Slinker and Farrell) because they had the votes to agree to a 10 year, $33 million contract with Waste Management that had $1.65 million going to Waukesha County over 10 years and $31.35 million going to the Village leaving the taxpayers on the hook for the difference of the $42 million Municipal Facilities Fund.
Thank goodness for the conservative members of the Village Board or this new tax would have been a surprise Christmas present for taxpayers in 2016.
The tax and spend members of the Village Board (Steliga, McDonald, Jeskewitz and Ellis) wanted the conservatives (Davis, Farrell and Slinker) to "work together" to resolve this issue.
Anotherwords, "...be quiet and protect us so no one ever finds out about this so we can take credit for a "free" library, police station and village hall. We just won't tell them it's going to show up on their tax bills in 2016 when we're out of here by then."
Working together usually only benefits one political side and that's the side that has screwed up and needs political cover for their mistakes and untruths when and if they are ever found out.
New Village Manager Given Edict from Village Board to "Fix" This
When the new Village Manager was hired in March of 2007, his first assignment from the Village Board was to fix this problem which led to negotiations being re-opened with Waste Management to extend the life of the dump to pay for the $17 million shortfall.
The Village Manager won't release the payments made from the taxpayers to Waste Management for garbage pick up or the payments made to the Village from Waste Management in tipping fees through 2008. He also refuses to release the $42 million Municipal Facilities Fund Update through 2008 which is required by state law. The Vanguard is hoping not to involve the District Attorney of Waukesha County to get these documents from the Village Manager to inform the public as to what is being done with their money.
We know the taxpayers netted $2,745,605 from Waste Management in 2004-05 because they paid $2,012,075 for garbage pick up in order to get the $2,745,605 when they were promised by the Village Board they would actually net $6.27 million during that time.
The Vanguard will continue trying to get the 2006-08 updates from the Village Manager to inform the public as a follow up to what was promised by the Village Board in 2004 and what actually happened.
New Garbage Tax is Implemented with Village President's Leadership
The Village President couldn't wait to pass his new garbage tax in 2007 instead of waiting to see if spending could be reduced, perhaps use funds from the Taxpayer's $9 Million Surplus Account (http://media.menomoneefallsnow.com/images/the_vanguard_542200_Misc-Info-10-pgs03.png) or re-negotiate with Waste Management for a better deal for the taxpayers to have their garbage picked up for free eliminating the need for his new $1.2 million, $85 per household, 3% annually indexed garbage tax.
Rather than exercising these options and which is so often the case with politicians, a new tax was created and now try and get rid of it.
The Vanguard has also asked the Village Manager for the updates on the new $1.2 million garbage tax and he refuses to give them out. We will keep trying.
Methane Gas From Dump Provides Energy to 15,000 Homes
The Vanguard spoke with a Waste Management representative last week and learned they sell enough methane gas to WE Energies from the dump to provide enough energy for 15,000 homes which would be enough to take care of the entire Village of Menomonee Falls residential homes and apartment units (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/55/5551000.html).
Natural gas currently sells at $7.46 per mmbtu (http://money.cnn.com/data/commodities/index.html). If Waste Management is getting anywhere close to that dollar figure from WE Energies per mmbtu, the Village Board should be negotiating a dividend or royalty from Waste Management for the selling rights of the methane gas which is only going to grow with the expansion of the dump.
The Waste Management representative informed The Vanguard they have been using and selling methane gas for over 20 years in the area to take care of their facility needs as well as those of residential homes at the Franklin/Germantown and now Menomonee Falls dumps.
Do you think Menomonee Falls ever asked for having their garbage picked up for free from Waste Management in 1994 or for dividend checks for selling methane gas?
You know the answer to that question. It starts with an "n" and ends with an "o".
This practice is done all over America with many companies and it can and must be done with Waste Management and the Village Board for our best interest and not just the interest of the Village Board and Waste Management's profits (http://wm.com/wm/about/corporate_profile.asp).
The Waste Management representative also stated the Village is required by law to release their financial documents to the public as has been requested by The Vanguard.
Where do we go from here?
The Vanguard has called for and will continue to call for, because they feel it is easily doable and in the best interest of our community, the following to complete the negotiations with Waste Management and the Village Board as they seek to extend the life of the dump:
Have the Village Board negotiate with Waste Management to have the residential garbage picked up for free and eliminate the $1.2 million, $85 per household, 3% annually indexed garbage tax. Let's keep the annual $1.2 million in our local economy instead of sending it to Houston.
Insist the Village Board pay for the $42 million Municipal Facilities Fund with tipping fees from Waste Management as originally promised and at no cost to the taxpayers thus eliminating the threat of this debt service going on the tax rolls as early as 2016 (http://media.menomoneefallsnow.com/images/the_vanguard_542200_Municipal-Facilities-Fund.png).
Have the Village Board negotiate a dividend with Waste Management for the methane gas selling rights as is done all over America with many corporations.
This plan will immediately provide tax relief for every homeowner of $85 a year and will eliminate the need of $416.00 to $2,218.00 (http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/MEst-Effect-on-Property-Val.pdf) in new taxes to every homeowner as early as 2016.
The concern is the Village Board will do what they have always done, which is to put the burden on the back of the already overburdened taxpayer unless they are contacted by citizens to do the right thing for our community.
Let's keep that money in our local economy instead of sending it to Village Hall or Waste Management.
The Village Board should be looking for ways to make money off of this transaction now that we're in this mess instead of costing the taxpayer even more money, which they already have, similar to the mess the democrats created with the "bailout" debacle (http://www.wsj.com/article/SB122230704116773989.html).
Now is the time to fix it, but let's do it right this time to protect the taxpayers.
What can you do?
Contact the Village Board (http://www.menomonee-falls.org/index.asp?nid=292) to let them know what you want done with the negotiations with Waste Management to protect our community and your checkbook.
Time is of the essence.
Negotiations are ongoing as we speak.
It will be too late once a "deal" is made between the Village Board and Waste Management as has been done in the past and then taxpayers will be stuck with another bailout of the Village Board.
Updates and Follow ups
We have submitted an Open Records Request involving the veteran administrator and his wife at the high school regarding their inappropriate behavior toward students during the 2007-08 school year.
Other district personnel have come forward with other areas of concern for us to look into in order to have disciplinary consistency applied to all district staff members who have engaged in inappropriate behavior as high school athletic coaches and a middle school teacher.
We're making progress on the failed computer programs in the police department that taxpayers spent a boat load of money on that aren't working.
Village Clerk's Office
Still no response on potential voter fraud, voter registration irregularities and non-compliance with HAVA (Help America Vote Act) Act of 2002.
We will keep pressing to make sure our November Election is safe and sound.
Another questionable voter group employee has been charged with a felony (http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=800521) which is one of 49 cases in the area of the same types of groups that infiltrated Menomonee Falls with numerous irregularities in 2004 and perhaps 2008 if the Clerk's Office would just answer a few basic questions.
Big Pig Gig
The numbers were promised for this week. We will have more next week.
Knodl Campaign Flier DA Complaint
We're waiting just like you are.
Fire Department Personnel Rumblings
The Vanguard has been made aware of some rumblings with the retiring Fire Chief and his handling of some personnel decisions on his way out the door.
We will look into it and try to have something for next week.
Blood Drive at St. Mary's
Numerous readers and members of The Vanguard participate in the Blood Drive that is held several times a year at St. Mary's School.
The most recent drive was September 30th.
The next drive will be in December at St. Mary's. We will get you the date.
This is such a great cause and is so necessary for those who require blood in times of need.
The Falls is blessed to have two outstanding facilitators in Lory Patrick (414-353-8695) and Lori Ozminkowski (262-309-7292) who make this program really work well.
Give them a call to volunteer or to donate blood.
You can also visit their website, www.bcw.edu, for more information.
Hats off to the Kolinski's for Years of Volunteer Service
What a wonderful couple.
Thank you for your service to the Falls (http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=800521) all of these years.
Scarecrow Contest October 9th
Here's a cool thing for the kids.
Visit the Art Guild's Website, www.artguildmf.org, for more information.
Let's support the arts and our downtown with a family activity.
That's enough for now
Not sure what we will write about next week...stay tuned.
Let us know what you think by using the comment section below.
Have a great week and thank you for sharing your time with our blog.