Insult to injury: Long-suffering Stevens Point property owners being forced to bail the city’s boat

Wait a minute.  So those are my trucks behind that seawall?  (Photo courtesy of Mike Richards)

Wait a minute. So those are my trucks behind that seawall? (Photo courtesy of Mike Richards)

Want to anger your neighbors? Invite them all to a party, then send the entire bill to just a few of them after the party is over, telling them they took two appetizers over the limit.

Now let’s take a step back and talk about flood insurance.

Unless it’s the IRS, there’s probably no federal agency more vilified than the Federal Emergency Management Agency — none I’d less like to work for, none that gets a worse rap, none that’s as underappreciated.  That’s unfair to FEMA, but it’s also fair to say that none deserves our money less, as federal flood insurance is a boondoggle of the highest order.

About 200 Stevens Point property owners are finally going to be out from under the yoke of a program that encourages those with money to build stuff where they shouldn’t, where floods destroy it and then let all of us pay for rebuilding it.   Except that I get to pay a whole lot more than most people do.

It’s a despicable political outcome to a well-intentioned but poorly executed effort, and as one of those unfortunate Point property owners, I say good riddance to the 100-year flood zone and its attendant insurance costs.

The city’s attempt to portray a few property owners as the sole beneficiaries of the seawall is a disingenous breach of trust and a violation of the most basic precepts of community.

For my family, the cost was scheduled to be more than $1,900 in 2015-16.  The City of Stevens Point apparently feels that, because I and my fellow residents east of downtown had to flush that money down the toilet for all these years, we should happily accept an assessment to pay for buildup of a seawall that has removed us from this burden.

Essentially, because we had to live with a problem of someone else’s creation for many years, we shouldn’t be angry about having to pay for work in someone else’s backyard that finally gets rid of the problem and brings a number of other community benefits along with it. Continue reading

An infuriating day, but potatoes will save Wisconsin

What's the matter with these people? Don't they know any better? (Click photo for original site -- BTCGM International Union)

They should just eat potatoes, right?  Right?  (Click photo for original site — BTCGM International Union)

A day that started off wonderfully, in a class with some remarkable sixth graders, ended with news of yet another pay cut in disguise for Wisconsin state employees.  In honor of our civic-minded state legislators, I therefore offer my newest post category — “Preposterous Ideas” — and simultaneously introduce the term “general strike” to my blog, which has heretofore not hosted that particular term.

But this isn’t about a general strike, which isn’t at all preposterous.  No, it’s about potatoes, which are indeed.

Let me back up a little bit, because I want to put in a few good words for the sixth-grade classes of Tiffany Reindl and Kim Boden at Jefferson Elementary School in Stevens Point.  Ms. Reindl teaches my son’s class, and I had the honor of spending Monday and Wednesday mornings visiting with both groups to talk about journalism (see bottom of this previous post).

Continue reading