Citizen Wausau

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Tanks, Parks, and Internet Hypocrisy

by on November 30th, 2010

I like tanks.  I like parks.  I even like the internet.  I spend very little of my time near or working with tanks.  I spend a little time each week involved in parks and park-related activities.  And I spend far too much time on the internet, but something needs to be done.

So, if you follow along on the internet, the $200,000 that Mayor Jim Tipple (and do not get me started on that guy) has promised to the completion of the 400 Block (that is what I am calling it no matter what Joe McGrath wants me to say) is literally the straw that will break the camel’s back.  It is a symptom of downtown culture run amok, that all of the friends of the cool kids (a phenomenon I might just support) get anything that they want, and the rest of the city goes without — the idea that the spending of this $200,000 will literally break the city, the county, the state, and the federal government to bits.

It is spending that will lead to the apocalypse, at least if you ask the commentators on the Wausau Daily Herald website.  This park, and all the surrounding flotsam, is the end-all-be-all of corruption and government over-spending.  It is an amazing sort of thing to read these anonymous voices that seem to forget that roughly a million bucks was raised privately and given to the city. That fact is totally lost on the crowd.

But, at the same time, if you do a review of the comments about the tank/armored truck Marathon County Sherriff Randy Hoenisch wants to buy, well that apparently is not so bad.  The County, unlike the City, has money to burn and that expenditure is totally okay.  You know, safety, law and order, and all that.  The Sherriff, who I like personally, got very passionate at a County Board meeting telling the County Board that if they voted “no”, and someone died, he would bring the widows of the slain officers to their doors and make them explain why they voted “no”.  That’s great.

So, putting the Sherriff’s outburst aside, and focusing on the $200,000, and the WDH commentators, I have to point out the bullcrap.  So the 400 Block is used by let’s say, 10,000 people annually at things like concerts, the farmers’ market and other stuff.  The money for the 400 Block was raised, for the most part, privately.  Sure, some of it came from the City over the life of the project, but it is pretty much private.  A case can be made that many people enjoy the park, and I am sure that you can say that you do not like the park for yourself. That’s valid.  I do not like the John Muir parking lot, but I can at least acknowledge why we have it.

The Tank on the other hand, from what I know, is used in stand-off situations.  The idea is that we are having more of these things and we need to keep officers safe.  That the other tank we would use, well it comes from someplace like Shawano, and it takes a while to get here.

But, how many stand-offs do we actually have in Wausau?  I remember two in the last couple of years.  I am sure that there are stand-offs that we do not know about, secret ones that are handled without public fanfare and adulation, but let’s round it up to five then.  Five stand-offs, $200,000 for a tank.

Look, I am all for armoring Humvees, and better body armor and bigger, faster guns and more expansive training for soldiers and law enforcement.  But the amount of vitriol for the $200,000 for the 400 Block is officially insane considering all the fiscal hawks out there who oppose it, yet those voices are silent on the $200,000 for a armored truck that would be used maybe a few times a year.

Are we anticipating an upswing in stand-offs or zombie insurgency?  What’s more, how do the fiscal hawks posting anonymously slide past an equal expenditure of money for what could be thought of as a smaller problem — you know, stand-offs?

I do not have a problem with either, I suppose, but the sort of hypocrisy driving the WDH comment section on these two issues is amazing in its disparity.

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