Foxconn Abandons it’s $12 Billion Investment in Brazil, Shutting Down Operations and Selling Off Equipment Due to Costs

Dazed and Confused Politicians in SE Wisconsin simply don’t understand that Foxconn is in the business of making money, while keeping their labor costs low, so profits are maximized. Politicians never have to worry about labor costs or selling price points because they have the power of taxation – imposing the collection of taxes at the point of a gun, versus the private sector, which must sell consumers a manufactured product.  Which in Wisconsin Foxconn’s case is a LCD TV.

SE Wisconsin residents need to be particularly concerned as Foxconn has recently decided to discontinue it’s $12 Billion investment in Brazil!

Foxconn angers Brazilian officials with slow manufacturing ramp-up

While some believed that Foxconn’s 2011 expansion to Brazil would bring as many as 100,000 jobs and $12 billion in capital investment, the company currently has fewer than 10,000 employees in its 5 Brazilian factories, according to Reuters. One of those facilities is reportedly dedicated to production of Apple’s iPhone 5s.

Despite a public commitment to invest at least $325 million in a new industrial park in Itu, outside of São Paulo, the site is not yet operational, though Foxconn did say it should come online by the end of 2015. The lack of headway has been cause for consternation among city officials.

“People are really frustrated,” Itu city councilor Givanildo Soares da Silva said. “We were expecting all these jobs by now and it’s still just empty promises.”

Of the jobs that Foxconn has brought, many pay little more than minimum wage. Acceptance testers at the Brazilian iPhone plant, for example, bring home just $80 per week and lack access to the same training and advancement opportunities that their counterparts in Foxconn’s Chinese facilities receive.

Workers have held at least three strikes at the iPhone factory, and a union representative said they were planning another. Such labor flare-ups have angered Foxconn founder Terry Guo, who infamously slammed Brazilian labor in 2010.

“Brazilian workers’ wages are very high. But Brazilians, as soon as they hear ‘soccer,’ they stop working. And there’s all the dancing. It’s crazy,” he said at the time.

Manufacturing Apple devices in Brazil also has not had the desired effect of lowering local prices, which are inflated by as much as 30 percent on imported goods thanks to various taxes and tariffs. iPhones and iPads routinely sell for twice as much in Brazil as they do in the U.S., which does not surprise local residents.

“If we’re buying it at that price, then why would they bring it down?” one shopper told Reuters. “I don’t even know what the next iPad does, but I know I need it.”

Meanwhile, ZD Net reports that  Foxconn, in addition to ceasing it’s manufacturing operations in Brazil,  is closing it’s facilities, and selling off the manufacturing equipment.

Foxconn set to discontinue Brazil manufacturing operations

The firm appears to be giving up on the country following promises of $12bn investment.

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Mark & Joyce Sonday *WIN* the Land Speculation Lottery as Village of Mount Pleasant Pays Them $400,300 Per Acre!

 

A Better Mount Pleasant notes:

FOR SALE BY OWNER:

The village has listed a property parcel they purchased in Sturtevant just a few weeks ago, located at HWY 11 and HWY H. The village purchased the property for $784,000 saying they HAD to buy the entire parcel for road widening.

At the time, the fair market value of the parcel was $135,000. Sources confirmed to us the high purchase price was most likely because the village had no authority to impose eminent domain in another jurisdiction – so the seller got a great deal.

The village will tear down the long vacant house and will only entertain offers above $550,000.

Um, let’s all hope that get significantly more than that. #weareintherealestatebusinessnow

The Village of Mount Pleasant actually purchased 2 acres, comprised of one full parcel, and one partial, for a total of $800,600! Or, $400,300 per acre. From the legal description:

Parcel 2 of Certified Survey Map No. 2076, recorded August 17, 1998 in Volume 6 of Certified Survey Maps at Page 363, as Document No. 1641481, and being part of the Southwest ¼ of Section 21, Township 3 North, Range 22 East, in the Village of Sturtevant, County of Racine, State of Wisconsin. EXCEPTING THEREFROM land conveyed for highway purposes by Deed recorded in Volume 3318 of Records, Page 18, as Document No. 1804499. Address: 2925 105th Street, Sturtevant, Wisconsin Parcel No. 181-03-22-21-036-020 AND Part of Parcel 181-03-22-21-036-030 2941 105th Street, Sturtevant,  Wisconsin Fee Title in and to the following tract of land in Racine County, State of Wisconsin, described as:  (see the below PDF’s for the entire legal description)

For those who wish to view the complete Transfer Return, it consists of two pages and is available by clicking on the links to the PDF viewer:

Mark Sonday

Joyce Sonday

The land purchased is within the red outline borders:

 

From the Transfer Return:

While the Village of Mount Pleasant paid $800,600 for two acres, of only which a partial strip was needed, these lands were only assessed for a combined total of $156,000.

2925 105th Street was zoned commercial with a land value of $67,000 and an improved value of $42,400, for a total of $109,400.

 

While 2941 105th Street was zoned Residential with a land value of only $46,600.

 

Note that the Attorney representing the Village of Mount Pleasant is Alan Marcuvitz. From the Transfer Return:

In addition, Attorney Alan Marcuvitz is also Mount Pleasant’s property acquisition attorney and expert. The below is from screenshot which clearly indicates the level of conflict between Residents and Elected/Appointed Officials as the Village forces Residents off with Eminent Domain, Blight, low-ball offers, threats and intimidation.

From his on-line Profile: Alan Marcuvitz

While Mr. Marcuvitz currently represents the Village of Mount Pleasant, in the not too distant past he has represented Mount Pleasant Land Speculation Lottery Winners, Mark & Joyce Sonday, as Plaintiffs in these cases:

Kenosha County Case Number 2009CV000007 Mark S Sonday et al vs. Wisconsin Department of Transportation et al

Link to PDF Viewer: Mark Sonday v WI DOT

Kenosha County Case Number 2004CV000749 Mark S Sonday et al vs. Village of Pleasant Prairie Community Development Authority

Link to PDF Viewer: Mark Sonday v PPCDA

Interestingly enough, while Mark Sonday initially lost his land to the Pleasant Prairie CDA, he won a major arbitration award in 2006. Cheated Mount Pleasant residents need to pay attention!

Military museum reopens after long fight

Though still a work in progress, the owners hope the new venue will attract tourists

October 03, 2007|By John Dobberstein, Special to the Tribune

In 2002, Pleasant Prairie used eminent domain to condemn hundreds of acres, including the museum site and Mark Sonday’s van-conversion business, to make way for development along I-94. Village officials said the museum doubled as a military scrap yard and didn’t fit in with the corporate image they wanted their municipality to project.

In 2006, an arbitrator awarded Mark Sonday a $3.9 million settlement, ending the condemnation process and giving the family enough cash to move the museum and pay $160,000 in legal fees.

Does Mark Sonday and MTP Attorney Alan Marcuvitz know something which cheated,  blighted,  condemned, and displaced  Residents of MTP don’t know? Perhaps.

Cheated and Beaten Mount Pleasant Residents should really enjoy the irony:

Review: Russell Military Museum

This past Sunday we had the opportunity to spend a few hours at the Russell Military Museum.  This privately owned museum sits just south of the border between Illinois and Wisconsin about an hours drive north from Chicago.  The museum is situated right off the highway and is easy to get to.  A somewhat battered looking M3 Stuart light tank marks the entrance to the museum parking lot, a former car dealership lot converted into a museum in 2007.

Museum owner Mark Sonday has been building his collection over several decades, originally showcasing them at a previous location in Pleasant Prairie Wisconsin (which wife Joyce Sonday now refers to as “Unpleasant Prairie”.)  Forced to move due to Pleasant Prairie using eminent domain to clear land for a retail development, the Sonday family became embroiled in a long legal fight to gain fair compensation for the theft of their land by the state.  For more on the legal battle and move, read this Chicago Tribune article.  (Why a community would prefer an outlet mall to a collection of historic armored vehicles and aircraft is a complete mystery to us!)

But Mark Sonday sold yet another partial parcel to the Village of Mount Pleasant as Russell Military Museum LTD:

From the MTP Village Board Meeting Agenda Minutes for July 9, 2018:

This one acre parcel was part of a 6.99 total parcel and sold for the low, low price of only $64,830. The original 6.99 acres had a value of $236,400 for the land ($33,820 per acre) with an improvement assessed at $1,287,300 for a total of $1,523,700.

For those who wish to view the complete Transfer Return, it  is available by clicking on the links to the PDF viewer:

Russell Military Museum

From the Transfer Return:

Just as Joyce Sonday refers to Pleasant Prairie as “Unpleasant Prairie“, Mount Pleasant has morphed into “Mount Unpleasant“, and continues to beat and cheat Residents:

Properties in Foxconn ‘blighted area’ await their fate

MOUNT PLEASANT — Kim and Jim Mahoney say they have not heard from the Village of Mount Pleasant since it made its offer to buy their home back in April.

They say they have not heard from the village since it voted on June 4 to blight the area they live on, and the clock might be ticking for the village.

The Mahoneys live on a 1.8-acre parcel within Area I and have been negotiating with the village to sell, but things have gotten quiet.

“It’s our position that the blight area designation means nothing for our property,” Kim Mahoney said. “And we literally have not heard anything from the village since their initial offer back in the beginning of April.”

The Mahoneys got their own appraisal for their land, which they said the village “rejected it outright.”

So they let the village send its own appraiser, Pitts Brothers and Associates, to value their land.

According to the Mahoney’s, the village made a “lowball” offer to them based on the average of the two appraisals multiplied by 1.4 percent of the property value.

Kim Mahoney declined to say what their appraisal number was, but said the village came in significantly under their initial appraisal.

“That offer was about $215,000 less than what we believe it will cost to get exactly what we have now with the same exact mortgage that we have now,” Kim Mahoney said, adding they have not responded to the village’s offer. “We pretty much ignored it.”

 

Please join Cindy and I is JUST SAYING NO to allowing Governor Scott Walker, Representatives Robin Vos,  Cory Mason & MTP President David DeGroot to violate the Wisconsin Constitution (and their Oath of Office) by granting special rights to Corporate interests, stealing people’s property, destroying multi-generational Farms alongside an entire long established Community, loosening environmental protections, permitting heavy metals water pollution, instituting slave labor wages, providing taxpayer subsidies to multi-billionaire Corporations, and politician overreach.

Residents also demand to be treated fairly with respect and dignity! 

 

 

 

Mount Pleasant Imposes Eminent Domain for Foxconn

A Better Mount Pleasant sends:

BREAKING – MT. PLEASANT IMPOSES EMINENT DOMAIN FOR FOXCONN

They did it. They finally pulled the trigger on their own residents.

A lawsuit has been filed in Racine County against the Village of Mt. Pleasant in response to a jurisdictional offer (the first step in the taking of property through eminent domain condemnation) filed on August 22nd against the first Mt. Pleasant property owner in the Foxconn area.

We have requested a copy of the lawsuit and will post it as soon as we get it it. Please share this post.

 

More Cracks Appear in the Fox-Scam as Foxconn Admits it Underestimated WI Labor Costs

Well, well, the political love-fest over the much bally-hooed and promised 13,000 employees at Foxconn is already being shot down – by Foxconn. It appears that they underestimated their labor costs in WI – WHOOPS! – whose cost for workers is much higher than those in existing Foxconn manufacturing facilities located in China, India and Third World Hell-Holes. It appears that the politicians, in their haste to help Guv. Scott Walker out of his jam for failing to produce 250,000 jobs, simply didn’t understand that Foxconn would have to be able to manufacture LCD TV’s at a price point low enough to sell millions of units and still make a profit. Political overreach by Politicians who know nothing about operating a profitable business – only tax and spend.  TSK – TSK.

By the way – 250,000 imaginary jobs minus 13,000 imaginary jobs still leaves a deficit of 237,000 imaginary jobs. Just IMAGINE THAT! As for those 13,000 jobs – well, they may very well appear – but it still has to be determined how many jobs each i-SLAVE employee will be assigned.

From The JT, August 22,2018:

Adjusted business model

Woo said Foxconn has dramatically changed its initial presumptions about how it would manufacture in the United States. Originally the company figured it would simply duplicate its China model here — until it realized that the much higher labor costs here would guarantee failure.

“If, six months ago, you asked me: What would be the mix of labor? I would pull out the experience that we have in China and say, ‘Well, 75 percent assembly line workers, 25 percent engineers and managers,’ ” Woo said.

“So, ask me the question today,” he said, then replied, “now it looks like about 10 percent assembly line workers, 90 percent knowledge workers.” Advanced manufacturing here will be done largely by robots and a lot of automation, he said.

More thoughts from A Better Mt. Pleasant:

When U.S. manufacturers began moving operations overseas, they told the American people that it was to decrease costs and increase productivity – they said, as a result of increased labor costs. As we know now, it led to the demise of American manufacturing and catastrophic job loss.

Those companies weren’t lying. It did save them money.

When modern manufacturing companies talk about the increased use of robotics, they say it is to decrease costs and increase productivity. In today’s JT, Terry Woo says the employment model in Wisconsin has already changed because “much higher labor costs here would guarantee failure.”

He’s not lying. Critics at the announcement of the Wisconsin plant have always wondered how they would remain profitable with American labor costs.

Foxconn has invested billions into robotics. They have not been shy in international press saying wish to replace all workers with robots.

Of course there will be jobs. However, even before the last resident has left the area – this deal has gone from “75 percent assembly line workers, 25 percent engineers and managers,” to “10 percent assembly line workers, 90 percent knowledge workers.”

What is the next iteration of Foxconn’s employment strategy? We can’t know until they tell us – but one thing we do know, and history has shown us – it will be whatever benefits Foxconn’s profitability.

Just remember, you gave them $4.5 billion to build it.

While Foxconn now refuses to specify just what type of manufacturing facility they will build at their Mount Pleasant WI campus:

From Journal Sentinel:

Foxconn now declines to say it plans to build type of factory named in state, local contracts

Foxconn Technology Group on Wednesday said again that it will create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin and invest $10 billion in its planned manufacturing campus, but declined to say it still plans to build the type of factory specified in its contracts with state and local government.

Responding to criticism from Democrats over changing plans for a project that could receive some $4 billion in public subsidies, Foxconn reiterated that it is committed to the jobs and investment numbers.

But in a shift from its stance of two months ago, the company on Wednesday did not offer assurances that it still plans to build the type of liquid crystal display panel plant the contracts cite.

No surprise here, as The Fourth Industrial Revolution is already here – along with the demands for a UBI (Universal Basic Income) brought on by:

The Robot, Unemployment, and Immigrants

The political approach to automation is similar, The World Economic Forum of Davos of 2016 was dedicated to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The founder and director of the Forum, the economist Klaus Schwalb, even took to the effort of writing a book on the subject, for the conference: a book in which he expresses his concern. Previous industrial revolutions liberated humankind from animal power, made mass production possible and brought digital capabilities to billions of people. This Fourth Industrial Revolution is, however, fundamentally different. It is characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human. We need to take a concerted approach in the world, to make the positive impacts overriding the negative ones. The theme was practically ignored at Davos 2016, because politicians discuss now only themes at a short term: what has to be treated during an electoral period. In particular, Schwab called for leaders and citizens to “together shape a future that works for all by putting people first, empowering them and constantly reminding ourselves that all of these new technologies are first and foremost tools made by people for people. “Clearly, that goes against the tide of nationalism, the new vision for the US, India, Japan, China, Philippines, Hungary, Poland, Great Britain, Turkey and so on.

A number of economist and influential people, over the years have come out with the idea of a Universal Basic Income. It is time to cushion the society from tensions, instability and unemployment by giving to every citizen a fix income, so to give him a dignified life: and by spending its UBI, he would generate wealth and increase demand, which would stimulate therefore growth, and make a society just and stable. Martin Luther King was an early proponent, like the neoliberal economist Milton Friedman. Now the billionaires from Silicon Valley, like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, the venture capitalist Mark Andreessen, the democrat senator Bernie Sanders, have all expressed support to the idea of a UBI. And in the coming presidential American elections, a New York tech executive, will run with UBI as his political platform. He observes that Trump did particularly well in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states which have lost four million jobs because of automatization. “Higher the concentration of robots, higher the number of disgruntled people wo vote for Trump.” He plans to cover the two trillion dollars that UBI would cost (half of the US budget), with a new Vat tax, and taxation on the companies who profit from automation. Of course, in the US the idea that people who do not work receive public money, is the closest thing to communism, and UBI faces formidable cultural obstacles. But Andrew Yang, the candidate, says we will have otherwise in a few years “riots in the streets: just think to the one million of truck drivers, who are 94% males, with an average education of high school, suddenly all jobless…”

While the intelligentsia  of China speak about ABOLISHING iSlavery:

Old and new working-class people in China are adopting and appropriating digital media, while the digital economy is creating entirely new jobs, communities, and socio-political dynamics. The digital working class marks a fourth stage in the modern history of Chinese class politics, when China has become the world’s factory with immense labor power and increasing social inequality, when the content of Chinese working-class culture has become more diverse and impactful than ever as could be seen in the Fan Yusu phenomenon in spring 2017, all happening at a time when the results of China’s internal processes become more consequential for the world at large. What are the characteristics of China’s digital working class? How can we make sense of it, through what conceptual frameworks? This talk shall discuss the applicability of the “circuits of labor” model (Qiu, Gregg and Crawford, 2014), its premises, limits and implications for future research.

Big changes are now happening in both China and Mount Pleasant! Political Failure is now assured.

Please join Cindy and me in JUST SAYING NO to allowing Governor Scott Walker, Representatives Robin Vos,  Cory Mason & MTP President David DeGroot to violate the Wisconsin Constitution (and their Oath of Office) by granting special rights to Corporate interests, stealing people’s property, destroying multi-generational Farms alongside an entire long established Community, loosening environmental protections, permitting heavy metals water pollution, instituting slave labor wages, providing taxpayer subsidies to multi-billionaire Corporations, and politician overreach.

It’s Billy Preston! A politicians BFF!

 

Michigan FIRST! Wisconsin NEXT! as Michigan Declares Emergency Over City’s Water Contamination

Well, well, who woulda thunk it might happen….. especially in the Great Lakes Basin – where fresh water is plentiful, cheap, and used to remove Industrial and Human Waste from sight and smell. This waste, formerly fresh clean water supplied from a tap, is channeled to the sewer system which leads to  a temporary holding facility where it receives “treatment” with chemicals prior to being expelled back into large bodies of surface and underground water supplies in an effort to dilute the extreme contamination and pollutants!

THE PROCESS WORKS!

At least until the concentration of chemicals and contamination becomes too great to be fit for safe human consumption. Meanwhile, lying Politicians like Walker, Vos, Dickert, Mason, DeGroot and Delagrave  proclaim that the supply of  fresh water in the Great Lakes Basin is almost too cheap to meter! What happens when the process fails and the water becomes unsafe?

Michigan declares emergency over city’s water contamination

Michigan officials have declared a state of emergency after a city’s drinking water supply was found to be tainted with a harmful nonstick chemical.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley (R) made the declaration Sunday, days after the discovery of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the water supply for Parchment and Cooper Township, near Kalamazoo.

“This declaration will allow the state to supply additional resources to help with response efforts and ensure the health and safety of residents in Parchment and Cooper Township,” Calley said in a statement. He is acting as governor while Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is out of state.

But that couldn’t possibly happen in Racine, WI – RIGHT?

Test results released last week as part of a statewide effort to test water for PFAS found 1,587 parts per trillion of the substances in Parchment’s water, according to MLive. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an advisory health standard of a maximum of 70 parts per trillion, though recent research by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found health problems at single-digit levels.

PFAS has been linked to health problems like cancer and liver damage. It has been used for decades to manufacture nonstick, stain-resistant, fire-retardant and other types of products.

The EPA and state regulators have only recently begun grappling with PFAS. The EPA has promised an aggressive effort related to the substances, including examining whether to regulate their presence in drinking water on the federal level.

Parchment is just the latest area to have a PFAS problem. Communities in New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and elsewhere have in recent years found high PFAS levels in water sources.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE FOLKS! MOVE ALONG!

“This helps make sure that every resource that is possible is on the table and that we can work as expeditiously together as we possibly can,” Calley told radio host Paul W. Smith of WJR. That includes water deliveries and other health assistance while the city and county work to switch their water supply.

Did you get that?

“That includes water deliveries and other health assistance while the city and county work to switch their water supply”.

Uh… where ya gonna switch your water supply to? City of Racine?

From the post:

Environmental Problems Increase in SE Wisconsin While the Racine Water Utility Acts Without Proper Authority

Great Lakes Compact: A regional commitment

The Great Lakes Compact was approved by all eight Great Lakes states, the U.S. Congress, and was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008.

The Compact bans the diversion of Great Lakes water outside the basin, with limited exceptions.

Only two situations allow a community located outside of the Great Lakes to apply for a diversion.

  1. A community that is located partially in the Great Lakes basin may apply for a diversion.
  2. A community that is located within a county that is partially in the basin, may apply for a diversion.

Any community applying for a diversion must demonstrate that it has exhausted all available options for getting water. In other words, a diversion must be a last resort.

Any diversion application must be approved by all eight Great Lakes states. The two Canadian provinces bordering the lakes are allowed to provide input as well. Any state may veto the diversion application.

Scott Walker, Robin Vos, Cory Mason, Jonathan Delagrave and Dave (the Village Idiot) DeGroot are just part of yet ANOTHER Gang of lying Politicians, seeking to expand their power, control and wealth transfer schemes. To them,  Lake Michigan is just another asset to be given away  to a Foreign Corporation for their use, abuse, and abandonment! After all the wealth has been extracted, for their personal benefit, the taint and costs will remain for the surviving inhabitants ! May you get a large screen TV as compensation!

We’ll fix it for ya –

Foxconn will provide very few jobs with (mostly) low wages (and temps) dependent upon government subsidizes,  and the “investment” will be financed by taxpaying  Residents – all on borrowed money from lenders which will have a first claim on taxpayers and require long term principle and interest payments. Foxconn will also be given “limited liability” for all the environmental damage they will create – and the locals will be stuck with all the long term bills and the environmental damage  after Foxconn has told SE WI  “SEE YA” , is gone, leaving the water supply of SE Wisconsin  heavily contaminated! What then? Import your drinking water from polluted and contaminated  Michigan?

Better LEARN TO SWIM! Because it’s coming – and the water will be TOXIC!

So just where is the voice of  Environmentalist Racine Mayor Cory Mason (D) and former Mayor (?) John Dickert who currently serves as the President and CEO of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative ? Silent…..

They have been bought and paid for by their Masters to remain silent. NO DOUBT! Just ask Foxconn’s newest employees!

Please join Cindy and I is JUST SAYING NO to allowing Governor Scott Walker, Representatives Robin Vos,  Cory Mason & MTP President David DeGroot to violate the Wisconsin Constitution (and their Oath of Office) by granting special rights to Corporate interests, stealing people’s property, destroying multi-generational Farms alongside an entire long established Community, loosening environmental protections, permitting heavy metals water pollution, instituting slave labor wages, providing taxpayer subsidies to multi-billionaire Corporations, and politician overreach.

 

 

BREAKING NEWS: House Passes Sensenbrenner Bill to Protect Private Property Rights – UPDATED!

Washington, D.C.—Today, the House unanimously passed Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner’s (WI-05) Private Property Rights Protection Act (H.R. 1689).

The bill addresses the controversial Supreme Court decision in the 2005 case Kelo v. City of New London, which expanded the eminent domain power granted by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. In Kelo, the Court ruled that “economic development” can be justified as a “public use” under the Constitution’s Takings Clause.

To combat this expansion of power, H.R. 1689 would make any state or locality that uses the economic development justification for eminent domain ineligible from receiving federal economic development funds for two years. This creates a major incentive for governments to respect the private property rights of its citizens.

Additionally, the legislation bars the federal government from exercising eminent domain powers for the purposes of economic development.

Rep. Sensenbrenner“This bipartisan legislation restores the individual private property rights guaranteed in the Fifth Amendment. The framers of the Constitution would be horrified by the paradigm created by Kelo:a government free to seize and transfer private property from individuals with fewer resources to private entities with more. I’m grateful to my colleagues for their support of this bill and urge the Senate to immediately send it to the President’s desk.”

Congressman Sensenbrenner offered the follow remarks on the House floor:

 

“Mr. Speaker,

I am pleased that the House is considering H.R. 1689, the Private Property Rights Protection Act. My bill aims to restore the property rights of all Americans that the Supreme Court took away in 2005.

The Founders of our country recognized the importance of an individual’s right to personal property when they drafted the Constitution. The Fifth Amendment states “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” In Kelo v. the City of New London, the Supreme Court decided that “economic development” could be a “public use” under the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that the government could take private property from an owner, in this case Susette Kelo, to help a corporation or private developer, in this case Pfizer.

The now infamous Kelo decision created a massive backlash. As former Justice O’Connor stated, “The government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more.  The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result.” Even in the 13 years since Kelo, polls show that Americans overwhelmingly oppose property being taken and transferred to another private owner, even if it is for the public economic good. 

The Private Property Rights Protection Act is needed to restore to all Americans the property rights the Supreme Court invalidated. Although several states have since passed legislation to limit their power to eminent domain, and a number of supreme courts have barred the practice under their state constitutions, these laws exist on a varying degree. H.R. 1689 would prohibit state and local governments that receive federal economic development funds from using economic development as a justification for taking property from one person and giving to another private entity. Any state or local government that violates this prohibition will be ineligible to receive federal economic development funds for two years.

The protection of property rights is one of the most important tenets of our government. I am mindful of the long history of eminent domain abuses, particularly in low-income and often predominantly minority neighborhoods, and the need to stop it. I am also mindful of the reasons we should allow the government to take the lead when the way in which the land is being used constitutes an immediate threat to public health and safety. I believe this bill accomplishes both goals.

I urge my colleagues to join me in protecting private property rights for all Americans and limiting the dangerous effects of the Kelo decision on the most vulnerable in society. I reserve the balance of my time.”

THERE IS HOPE FOR THE OPPRESSED and BELEAGURED RESIDENTS OF MOUNT PLEASANT!

Please join Cindy and I is JUST SAYING NO to allowing Governor Scott Walker, Representatives Robin Vos,  Cory Mason & MTP President David DeGroot to violate the Wisconsin Constitution (and their Oath of Office) by granting special rights to Corporate interests, stealing people’s property, destroying multi-generational Farms alongside an entire long established Community, loosening environmental protections, permitting heavy metals water pollution, instituting slave labor wages, providing taxpayer subsidies to multi-billionaire Corporations, and politician overreach.

From A Better Mount Pleasant: https://www.facebook.com/abettermtpleasant/

SUPPORT PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS – CALL YOUR U.S. SENATOR TODAY

Our right to own private property is one of the most fundamental rights of Americans. That right is supported by the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution allowing the government to take private property for public use with just compensation. Those rights have been threatened since the 2005 US Supreme Court decision in Kelo vs. City of New London. In a narrow decision, the court allowed the taking of private property for economic development. The decision was widely criticized and since then, 46 states have enacted new laws to protect private property rights.

On July 23, 2018, the US House of Representatives voted UNANIMOUSLY to pass H.R. 1689, the Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2017. The bill would prohibit state or local government from exercising its eminent domain authority for economic development. This is a bi-partisan issue – supported by both Republicans and Democrats alike. This legislation has been introduced in every legislative session since the Kelo decision in 2005 but when it has made it to a vote in the House, it died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Below is a list of all Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee. If your state is on the list, please call one or both of your Senators and ask them to bring the Private Property Rights Protection Act to a vote. (Or just call each of them anyway – it can’t hurt!)

Don’t let them get away with claiming to support private property rights while failing to support efforts to strengthen laws to protect those rights. I have also included contact information for Wisconsin Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson. Please call them and ask them to help get H.R. 1689 signed into law.

This literally will take you less than five minutes but could impact you and your family for generations. Thank you.

SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
Arizona / Jeff Flake (202) 224-4521
California / Dianne Feinstein (202) 224-3841
California / Kamala Harris (202) 224-3553
Connecticut / Richard Blumenthal (202) 224-2823
Delaware / Christopher Coons (202) 224-5042
Hawaii / Mazie Hirono (202) 224-6361
Idaho / Mike Crapo (202) 224-6142
Illinois / Dick Durbin (202) 224-2152
Iowa / Chuck Grassley (202) 224-3744
Louisiana / John Kennedy (202) 224-4623
Minnesota / Amy Klobuchar (202) 224-3244
Nebraska / Ben Sasse (202) 224-4224
New Jersey / Cory Booker (202) 224-3224
North Carolina / Thom Tillis (202) 224-6342
Rhode Island / Sheldon Whitehouse (202) 224-2921
South Carolina / Lindsey Graham (202) 224-3808
Texas / John Cornyn (202) 224-2934
Texas / Ted Cruz (202) 224-5922
Utah / Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251
Utah / Michael Lee (202) 224-5444
Vermont / Patrick Leahy (202) 224-4242

WISCONSIN SENATORS
Tammy Baldwin (202) 224-5653
Ron Johnson (202) 224-5323

DOJ Validates Concerns Regarding Mt. Pleasant Open Meetings and Free Speech Violations

Press Release: DOJ Validates Concerns Regarding Mt. Pleasant Open Meetings and Free Speech Violations

From: A BETTER MT. PLEASANT·MONDAY, JULY 16, 2018

“​Community group files complaint for censoring residents living in Foxconn area at two public meetings.”

MT. PLEASANT, WI JULY 16, 2018 – During a publicly noticed meeting of the Mt. Pleasant Community Development Authority (CDA) on April 17, 2018, village residents were prevented from speaking during public comment about the redevelopment plan for Foxconn, the only item on the agenda and one which affects the land and homes where these same residents live.

When the public comment period began, CDA Chairman Rob Richardson announced that no public comments would be heard regarding items listed on the meeting agenda. Richardson asked each of the dozen or more residents who had signed up to speak (by filling out forms provided by the village which said they could speak on “any item”) if they had something to say about a subject NOT on the agenda.

Visibly confused and upset, members of the public challenged Richardson’s actions, saying he could not restrict what people had to say in a publicly noticed public comment period. Richardson replied that he had been “told” he could. Chairman Richardson continued to restrict comment topics in spite of challenges by the public.

“I have never seen anything like it in a public meeting. Governmental bodies are warned not to engage in discussions during public comment about items not on the agenda,” says Kelly Gallaher, spokesperson for the local grassroots organization A Better Mt. Pleasant. “This was the exact opposite. They were trying to stop the public from commenting about things they were preparing to debate.”

A Better Mt. Pleasant wrote to Mt. Pleasant Village Administrator Maureen Murphy the following day to express concern and ask under what authority did Mr. Richardson have to restrict the topic on which the public wished to speak.

“We received a reply the next day from Chris Smith, the newly hired village attorney. He said that since governmental bodies in Wisconsin are not required to have a public comment period, the actions of the CDA Chairman were appropriate and legal.” Gallaher says, “Mr. Smith’s opinion was not just disappointing, we felt it was wholly incorrect.”

On May 9, 2018, in the next CDA meeting, the chairman did it again. When the public comment period began, Mr. Richardson and special village legal counsel, Alan Marcuvitz, announced the CDA would hear no comments regarding items listed on the meeting agenda. Any such comments would be ruled out of order.
“Chairman Richardson read through the list of people who signed up to speak and asked each of them if they had something to say about topics not on the agenda. It was a nauseating display – with the village president sitting right beside him,” Gallaher said. “They were violating the free speech of their own neighbors – again – and not a single member of the CDA spoke up in opposition.”

On behalf of A Better Mt. Pleasant, Gallaher filed a formal request for opinion with the Wisconsin Office of Open Government and collaborated with Wisconsin State Representative Peter Barca, who contacted Attorney General Brad Schimel for guidance

On July 13, 2018 the Department of Justice forwarded their guidance to Rep. Barca, Village Attorney Smith and the Mt. Pleasant CDA.

The DOJ guidance said the actions of the CDA do not appear to comport with the policies of the open meetings law, that governmental bodies are to receive information from the public on any item during publicly noticed public comment periods, and, most importantly, governmental bodies who act to restrict topics offered by the public in public meetings may face First Amendment liability damages.

“The CDA was wrong. The village attorney was wrong,” says Gallaher. “It took months of correspondence and research, the actions of a state representative and the attorney general’s office, to tell the Village of Mt. Pleasant what any reasonable person already knew – they were illegally and inappropriately trying to censor the public. They failed at every level of public responsibility and duty.”

On Monday, July 16, 2018, Kelly Gallaher filed a formal municipal complaint with the village on behalf of A Better Mt. Pleasant.

“The DOJ guidance made it very clear it is unlikely the actions of Mt. Pleasant would be upheld in a court of law or by the Attorney General, but village officials were cautioned against restricting public comment about agenda items during a publicly noticed comment period,” Gallaher continued. “We expect a formal apology to the residents who had the right to speak and were denied. We also expect change.”

“Mt. Pleasant has an embarrassing history of violating state policies on meeting notifications, failing to approve and publish minutes of official actions, and operating with little to no accountability. This behavior must end. We are absolutely willing to take this village to court in order to bring about real institutional change.” Gallaher concludes, “it’s their choice, they can continue to be an embarrassing example of how local government should not work or they can learn to be better.”

A Better Mt. Pleasant is a nonpartisan, community organization dedicated to advancing a fair, accountable and transparent local government in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Department of Justice Guidance – July 2018
CDA Municipal Complaint – July 2018
Press Release: Mt. Pleasant Village Officials Threaten and Censor Foxconn Area Residents
Press Release: Village of Mt. Pleasant to certify blight resolution in illegal meeting
A Better Mt. Pleasant shared their post.

A brief comment about the note we published this morning and the municipal complaint which was forwarded today to the village.

We don’t care if the residents who wished to speak were Democrats or Republicans – their rights were violated for no purpose whatsoever. The arrogance displayed by the CDA, village attorney’s, and the village president who sat there and let it all happen, illustrates exactly how local government should NOT behave.

We expect apologies to these people and we expect change. If they offer neither, we are absolutely prepared to take them to court