Monday, December 24, 2018

A Better Mount Pleasant Sends:

“The government you elect is the government you deserve.” 
Thomas Jefferson 
“Take a sad song and make it better.” 
The Beatles 
Time to BOOT DEGROOT! (added) 
Together - ABMP readers and contributors worked to make the Village 
more accountable and more transparent. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t 
always fun, but we made things better. 
In no particular order: 
1. LIVE VIDEO OF VILLAGE MEETINGS: The Village now broadcasts live 
Village meetings and Foxconn informational sessions - because we did 
it first. Oh sure, they say they were going to do it - just like we 
all say we're going to the gym this week. 
Videos of Village meetings mean that more people can participate. 
Folks at home don’t have get out to village hall to see what’s 
happening, you can watch from home...or watch later. Preferably with 
We credit the Village for doing a good job in setting up the recording 
- certainly better than Kelly did with her iphone - now if we can just 
get the audio and video synced up correctly. 
2. MAKING EXECUTIVE PACKETS PUBLIC: For years, residents were 
strangely prohibited from seeing and reading the executive packets of 
information given to Trustees before meetings - even though it is 
public information. ABMP filed an open records request for all Village 
executive packets - as a result the Village now posts them before 
Village meetings. 
Residents can now see the same information trustees see at meetings. 
Go to the Village website and click on Agendas and Minutes, then go 
down to Village Board Packets. 
official record of actions taken by the Village. The approval and 
publishing of minutes as soon as reasonably possible is required by 
law. The purpose is for residents to be appropriately apprised of 
actions taken on their behalf. 
Over the last two years, minutes weren’t approved for weeks, even 
months after votes were taken. It wasn’t just bad government - it was 
lazy, disrespectful government. 
ABMP made an issue of it in meetings, posts and in a letter to the 
Journal Times. These actions got attention and action. For much of the 
last year, minutes have been approved regularly. Guess it wasn’t so 
hard after all. 
4. FOXCONN STORM WATER FAILURE: In late summer, residents began 
remarking on flood water runoff problems at the Foxconn construction 
site. Even a casual observer could see that barriers to protect from 
silt runoff into the Pike River were ridiculously lame. 
Sure enough, after a few days of heavy rain, mud and silt began 
pouring into Lamparek Creek leading directly to the Pike River 
watershed. ABMP videotaped the flooding and filed a complaint with the 
The DNR said Foxconn contractors had failed to do their job and the 
Village failed to provide the oversight residents were promised. The 
episode didn’t cost Foxconn much money - but it was embarrassing. 
In the end, they did a good job correcting their mistake and hopefully 
it won’t happen again - thanks to sharp-eyed readers who alerted us. 
5. FOXCONN TRANSPARENCY: Early on in the Foxconn process, the Village 
Project team didn’t seem to think breaking down the bills for various 
contractors was very important. Hundreds of thousands of dollars 
listed as “Foxconn Bills” was supposed to be good enough for you. 
ABMP filed an open records request asking for the bills and published 
them right here so residents could see where their money was going. 
As a direct result, the Village started including more detailed 
information in the Village Board meetings and on the agendas when it 
came time to approve invoices and make purchases. 
6. FREEDOM OF SPEECH: The Village has always had a very odd 
relationship with residents speaking their mind. No example was ever 
more stunning than when the Village CDA tried to keep residents from 
speaking on items listed on the agenda during public comments last 
spring - not once, but twice. 
ABMP filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s office who came 
back and gave the Village a clear message they were treading in some 
funky water that wasn’t likely to hold up in court. 
So what did our Village leaders do? Apologize? No, they doubled down 
and tried to get the Attorney General to change their written 
guidance. The Attorney General said “nyet.” 
That’s your Village, fighting hard (and paying lawyers) to keep you 
from speaking. It didn’t work and we will make sure they never do it 
public town hall meeting last June - after residents were promised 
meetings would be scheduled and never were. Close to eighty people 
showed up and many more watched live on Facebook. 
Coincidentally, Village Project Manager Claude Lois announced the 
Village’s first town hall at our town hall...yup, totally going to the 
gym this week. The Village has continued to hold meetings each month - 
that's a good thing. 
8. FOLLOWING THE MONEY: Our readers and contributors are tireless 
researchers with handy calculators. ABMP has brought residents real, 
useful information about Village spending. 
Whether it’s the more than 100% over-budget EMS palace or the insane 
rise in costs for the Village Assessor - our readers get the 
information they deserve to know. 
It’s your money - and while the majority of the Village Board is still 
on a spending bender, we’re going to keep bringing you the facts. 
9. THE PEOPLE’S VOICE: Over the last year, ABMP has gone from being a 
small town Facebook page to being a legitimate counterpoint to the 
public relations firm hired by the Village to dispatch talking points 
and write press releases for Dave DeGroot. 
We’ve been featured not just in Wisconsin print press, radio and TV, 
but in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, New Yorker, the Guardian, 
the Verge, and of course the Reply All podcast. 
Outside the Wisconn Valley “cone of silence,” there is fact-based 
criticism by respected financial experts and investigative journalists 
that the Foxconn deal was too rushed, too generous, and Mt. Pleasant 
was too damn eager to even bother asking questions. 
You aren’t going to read those views in the Journal Times - not as 
long as Publisher Mark Lewis sits on the RAMAC Board. You will read 
them here. 
Why? Because we hate Foxconn? No. Because you deserve better than to 
be spoon-fed rainbows, pixie dust and “faith-based economics.” Foxconn 
has real life implications for our residents. For some it may be 
great, but for those who have sacrificed, or been treated unfairly, 
they deserve a voice too. 
10. APPLYING PRESSURE: We didn’t get everything we were promised. We 
didn’t get annual reports for Police and Fire which were promised. 
Since they make up more than 70% of Village spending you deserve some 
data and some responsible planning. We aren’t giving up on that. 
If we have to file open records requests for the information and give 
you the reports ourselves - we will. We’ve already started compiling 
A government who doesn’t fear its own people, is a government who 
takes them for granted. Village officials read this page everyday. 
Good. We’re going to keep doing us. 
Thank you for reading. Thank you for contributing. Have a great 
holiday and we will see you next year! 
A Special Thanks to Kelli for continuing to hold MTP Government accountable! 

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