Tuesday, February 14, 2006


I find this rather curious. Jay at folkbum, channelling Seth at In Effect, disses Alberta Darling for hoping that W-2 moms can get jobs at the renovated Bayshore. Darling is not supposed to have any authority to speak to the problems facing Milwaukee. As Brian Fraley points out, its not clear what these guys want. Should Darling not give a rip about whether poor people can get jobs? Is the problem that we don't let single moms just sit at home and collect welfare? That worked real well. Is it that Bayshore jobs won't pay enough? I guess I wish there was someone who was willing to hire 9000 unskilled people at $25/hr too. I bet even Alberta Darling would like that.


Anonymous said...

The Journal’s Business section (2-15-06) has an article entitled Road To American Dream. The article quotes Laura Reiff, an immigration lawyer and co-founder of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition. “It’s not a wage issue. It’s a demographic issue. It’s a willingness to go into the service industry, which U.S. workers just don’t seem to want to do.” She estimates 80% of the country’s roofers, some of whom start at $19 an hour, are illegal immigrants. I am not suggesting W-2 moms become roofers, I am suggesting we need a new approach to the motivation issue. The Government policies of the past have failed.

Seth Zlotocha said...

The majority of my post was focused on Darling's quote that the Bayshore renovations are "a once in a lifetime opportunity" that's "as good as it gets." I then counter that quote with info on the demise of the state's only other "lifestyle mall," Greenway Station in suburban Madison. That mall, which started in 2003 amidst great fanfare, is now nearly empty.

It's no secret that Darling despises the W-2 program--the JS article even mentions that. My prediction here is that after Bayshore doesn't provide that "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" Darling unrealistically expects, she won't hesitate to use it as proof that W-2 can't work. My point: She's setting up a straw-man situation with Bayshore.

Do I want Bayshore to succeed and provide thousands of people with jobs? Of course. But I think we need to be realistic about what to expect from the mall's expansion, particularly with the dominance of Mayfair in the Milwaukee area and as the retail market heads more and more toward online sales.

As for Darling's quote that the Bayshore expansion is "a perfect opportunity to match W-2 moms with real jobs," my objection was over the insinuation that being a mother isn't a real job. I found that statement to be quite ironic considering the career choice of a good portion of Darling's female North Shore constituents. I also took some issue with the focus on moms because, after all, W-2 has plenty of dads in it, too.

Jay Bullock said...

As I noted in response to Brian, Darling has shown no interest in working towards positive solutions that bring revitalization to the central city, providing meaningful, stable, long-term employment security with livable wages. But she's falling all over herself that there are all these minimum-wage jobs at a suburban mall providing Glendale with the tax boon. She was patronizing and opportunistic. Seth explains it well.

Rick Esenberg said...

Suggesting that Darling was denigrating stay at home mothers is, to put it mildly, an ungenerous interpretation of her comments. I'll wait to hear about all these long-term, highly paid jobs that the government is supposed to know how to "create."
In the meantime, some people who need to get entry-level jobs will have them.

Seth Zlotocha said...

Ungenerous? Why didn't she say "W-2 participants" or even "W-2 parents"? She's a public figure who should know better than to single out mothers when commenting to the state's largest newspaper.

Besides, that was such a small part of my post. My real point was about the overly-high expectations Darling is setting-up with the Bayshore expansion.

I've always found you to be more thoughtful than other conservative bloggers, which is why I assumed you'd be happy to correct your characterization of my post after I clarified it (not that it needed much clarification--the original post is pretty clear about the point I'm trying to make). Instead, you're hiding behind questionable semantics.

Rick Esenberg said...

I'm sorry, but I guess I just don't see the need for clarification. I dodn't see the point in dumping on Alberta for supporting something that will get some people jobs for who don't have them. The fact is that W-2 is largely made up of Moms and these are real jobs, as opposed to make work ones. I really think its a stretch to say that she's dumping on "stay-at-home" moms. I'll admit she was a bit more enthused than a cynical curmudgeon like me would be, but she's a politician. They outdo sales people in unwarranted sunny-ness.

You may be right about Bayshore, although I think that Mayfair has come to dominate the area by default. Grand Avenue was never going to work (which is too bad in my view) and Northridge imploded through a combination of exaggerated fears, the blowback from some poorly conceived public housing and the decisions of its merchants to stop offering stuff that women from Mequon would want to buy. Bayshore started to get stretched beyond its capacities. I think Milwaukee is probably big enough for two regional malls.

But the one thing I have learned in the corporate world is that I am a lawyer and not a business person. So who knows?