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Monday, January 26, 2009

LAIC, Openness, and Making Money off Gifts from Citibank.

Our local economic development organization, the Lake Area Improvement Corporation, seems to have discovered public relations lately. Two big front-page spin sessions in the Madison Daily Leader, a big press release on their own usually static website... boy! the LAIC can certainly be open when they want to be. Now if they would only pay attention to the research and President Obama and recognize that openness is not just pronouncements from the Politburo but two-way communication coupled with transparency and participation (not just for the folks who bring money to the table, but for all of the public you serve).

I am pleased to read that the LAIC's land speculation and picking of winners in the marketplace has been such a rousing team effort. Whether this effort is really warranted remains open to debate. The LAIC might put that debate to an end if it released for public viewing the vaunted LAIC housing study. Alas, the asking price for that study is still $250, and I still haven't been able to justify within my household budget an expenditure of that magnitude for data that really ought to be free to the public.

But wait a minute: as I read the press release, I am reminded that the LAIC received donations to cover the housing study. Citibank gave the LAIC a $2500 grant to help cover housing study costs.

The LAIC is charging us for a study that they paid for with handouts from others.

Funny: the LAIC tells me they don't believe in handouts. I guess that's another LAIC principle, like communication, that applies only in one direction.


  1. Only when the LAIC Board of Directors, City of Madison and contributors demand more openness and transparency of Dwaine Chapel's office will we see this community come together and reach for new goals that actually involve job creation and economic development that benefit many instead of a select few. Our job losses have been staggering and our job creation has been zero. A performance review is in order.

  2. LAIC is trying to give itself a facelift after all the well-deserved bashing they've taken for favoring one businessman over others these past two years. Where are the jobs? Our town is hurting. We need employment not housing.

  3. The sad thing is those TIF dollars could have gone directly to bring in a new employer before times got tough. We can attract new employers by selling what we really are by someone who lives here and cares about this community. In my opinion, the job should pay much more so the LAIC can lure the one guy in town who has inherent understanding and is a natural promoter to leave the restaurant business for a while. I would lick some stamps. jh

  4. I agree with jh, Brian Kearin would be a good director of the LAIC, he also works on cars.

  5. I read the comments and Cory's info on not having access to the housing study. Development group should open the study to the public, realtors, banks, developers. All need to know what direction the town should go.


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