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Archive → December 4th, 2016

Residents ask is Lockport becoming the next Bensenville

These Warehouses are in Homer Township, Semi-Trucks are going down Gouger from 159th Overweight without being tciketed, some speeding, on roads not built for 80,000 lbs. Unsafe for School District 92.

Is Lockport becoming the next Bensenville? 

I can speak for all of the homeowners in Creekside Estates because I represent them as the Homeowners Association President. Everyone in this neighborhood purchased their homes with the intentions of living in Lockport for a long time.  

Our Subdivision is comprised of 44 homes located on the Northern Boundary of Lockport. About two weeks ago, we received a letter from Big Run Wolf Farm, which he received from the City of Lockport. The letter explained how PROLOGIS was exploring the idea of building a series of five industrial warehouses directly behind our subdivision and four other subdivisions. 

This project was an ill-conceived plan from the start without the well-being of the residents in mind. Besides lowering our property values and increasing safety concerns for commuters and school children, due to the increase in truck traffic, Big Run Wolf Farm should be of everyone’s concern. Approximately 40,000 people visit the farm each year. Some elected officials may feel that bringing an industrial park to Lockport will attract new restaurants and retail to our area. In my opinion, most of my neighbors can and would prefer to live with the sounds of a howling wolf!

Most elected officials selling point to its residents is that this project will bring more retail and restaurants to Lockport. If anyone has driven past Bensenville, ask yourself this question, when is the last time I traveled there to eat or shop? My guess is never. One other question, why would an elected official decide to place an industrial park right in the center of five residential neighborhoods? For most of us that built our homes in the years of 2004-2006 we all lost approximately 30% in the value of our homes across the board. If this facility goes in research shows that a minimum of a 20% reduction in value can be expected. The great recession was out of our control, this is not!

Our intentions are not to back down. We are not interested in higher berms, higher trees or real estate tax credits. As a resident in Lockport and a representative of Creekside Estates as their Homeowner Association President, we are hoping that the elected officials of Lockport do the right thing. Most importantly, please listen to your taxpayers. We are what make Lockport a great community, not a bunch of warehouses!

Our sign should always read, Welcome to Lockport, not welcome to the next Bensenville!

Michael Bonomo, Lockport resident

In what direction do we want the City of Lockport to go?

This is the question we ask ourselves as residents of Creekside Estates in Lockport. On November 8, 2016, at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, a development by Prologis for a 206.36 acre industrial/business park on the property located south of 143rd Street and west of I-355, and east of Archer Avenue was proposed. The property is to be sandwiched into an area surrounded by 5 residential communities and a beloved Wolf Ranch. 

The proposed development will occupy 2.1 Million sq ft. of space with 1,373 parking spaces, 572 semi truck parking spaces along with 328 semi truck docking doors. The effects of such a monstrosity will be numerous and irreversible. Property values will not just decrease, they will plummet. The proposed type of property with hundreds of trucks belching noxious diesel fumes, harming the health of our children and adults, polluting the natural habitat, threatening endangered species, bringing rats and other vermin, creating traffic congestion nightmares will undoubtedly be an economic and environmental catastrophe. We can see no positive outcome for the residents of the city of Lockport should this Prologis Development proceed. 

The possibility of this development is a result of recent re-zoning changes of which many residents have been, until recently, unaware. Does this type of development portray the direction we want the City to go?

Carol and Jerry Welenc, Lockport residents

Protecting a neighborhood

We are absolutely stunned our city leadership believes that constructing 2 million square feet of industrial warehouses in the middle of five residential neighborhoods and the Big Run Wolf Ranch is a sound idea. The negative impact on our quality of life, environment, safety, crime, traffic and real estate values will be detrimental to all of us.

In a Daily Southtown article from August 6, 2015, 1st Ward Alderman Jim Petrakos questioned whether the city council was approving too many light industrial projects. And I quote Alderman Petrakos, “We don’t want a lot of empty warehouse buildings along I355.”  In addition, Alderman Petrakos had testimonials from his neighbors lauding the fact he vehemently fought industrial development behind his and their homes in the Karen Springs subdivision on his www.jimpetrakos.com website. So, which is it Mr. Petrakos, industrial development is bad if it is in your backyard, but good if it is in mine?

At the November 8, 2016 zoning meeting, a representative of Prologis said that this type of development in the middle of several residential communities is a rarity for them. I would challenge anybody reading this article to go to any of the Prologis facilities in Illinois and see if they have one surrounded by single family homes and a wild life preserve like the Big Run Wolf ranch. You won’t find one.

We don’t know what we are more disappointed in, that Mayor Steven Streit and our First Ward Alderman Jim Petrakos believe this to be in our best interest, or the lack of transparency we were shown as a community in this process.  

Greg Mierzwa, Lockport resident

Source: Will County News

Global Trumpism

Why Trump’s Victory Was 30 Years in the Making and Why It Won’t Stop Here

Trump’s victory was predictable, and was predicted, but not by looking at polls. Polling has taken a beating recently having failed to predict the victory of David Cameron’s Conservative Party in the British general elections, then Brexit, and now the election of Donald Trump. One can argue about what’s wrong with the methods involved, but more fundamentally what polls do is to treat these phenomena as isolated events when they are in fact the product of a common set of causes 30 years in the making.

There are two issues at play here. The first is known as Galton’s problem, after Sir Francis Galton, the inventor of much of modern statistics. Galton’s problem is that when we treat cases as independent—the British election, Brexit, the U.S. election—they may not actually be independent. There may be links between the cases—think of Brexit’s Nigel Farage showing up at Trump’s rallies—and there could be subtler contagion or mimicry effects in play as information from one case “infects” the other, changing the dynamics of the system as a whole. Could there then be a higher set of drivers in the global economy pushing the world in a direction where Trump is really just one part of a more global pattern of events?

Consider that there are many Trumpets blowing around the developed world, on both the right and the left. On the one side, insurgent right-wing parties are bulldozing the vote shares of traditional centrist parties all over Europe. For example, the Finns Party is the second-largest party in the Finnish parliament. In Sweden, the Swedish Democrats are the third-largest party in parliament. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s political party, Fidesz, runs the country having won two elections. Meanwhile in France, the most popular political party is the National Front, which in all scenarios but onewhatever such exercises are actually worth—is expected to win the first round of voting in the 2017 French presidential election. But when all the other parties in France close ranks to prevent the National Front from winning the second round, it’s hardly a victory for democracy. And even in that bulwark of stability, Germany, the upstart Alternative for Germany beat German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union into second place in her own backyard.

A clash outside the Labor Ministry in Athens, Greece, January 2013.

A clash outside the Labor Ministry in Athens, Greece, January 2013.

But there is also a left-wing version of this phenomenon. Consider the Scottish National Party (the clue is in the name), which has annihilated every other political party in Scotland, or Podemos in Spain, which has won 69 out of 350 seats in the Spanish parliament. Left-wing upstart Syriza runs Greece—even if it’s under Troika tutelage—and Die Linke in Germany is yet another drain on the vote share of the once-dominant Social Democrats, whose own vote share has utterly collapsed.

These parties of course have very different policy stances. The new right favors nationals over immigrants and has, at best, a rather casual relationship with the liberal understanding of human rights. The new left, in contrast, favors redistribution from top to bottom and inclusive rather than exclusionary growth policies. But they also have more in common than we think. They are all pro-welfare (for some people, at least), anti-globalization, and most interestingly, pro-state, and although they say it sotto voce on the right, anti-finance. To see why, consider our second issue.

At the end of World War II, the United States and its allies decided that sustained mass unemployment was an existential threat to capitalism and had to be avoided at all costs. In response, governments everywhere targeted full employment as the master policy variable—trying to get to, and sustain, an unemployment rate of roughly four percent. The problem with doing so, over time, is that targeting any variable long enough undermines the value of the variable itself—a phenomenon known as Goodhart’s law.

Long before Goodhart, an economist named Michal Kalecki had already worked this out. Back in 1943, he argued that once you target and sustain full employment over time, it basically becomes costless for labor to move from job to job. Wages in such a world will have to continually rise to hold onto labor, and the only way business can accommodate that is to push up prices. This mechanism, cost-push inflation, where wages and prices chase each other up, emerged in the 1970s and coincided with the end of the Bretton Woods regime and the subsequent oil shocksto produce high inflation in the rich countries of the West in the 1970s. In short, the system undermined itself, as both Goodhart and Kalecki predicted. As countries tried harder and harder to target full employment, the more inflation shot up while profits fell. The 1970s became a kind of “debtor’s paradise.” As inflation rose, debts fell in real terms, and labor’s share of national income rose to an all-time high, while corporate profits remained low and were pummeled by inflation. Unions were powerful and inequality plummeted.

The era of neoliberalism is over. The era of neonationalism has just begun.

But if it was a great time to be a debtor, it was a lousy time to be a creditor. Inflation acts as a tax on the returns on investment and lending. Unsurprisingly in response, employers and creditors mobilized and funded a market-friendly revolution where the goal of full employment was jettisoned for a new target—price stability, aka inflation—to restore the value of debt and discipline labor through unemployment. And it worked. The new order was called neoliberalism.

Over the next thirty years the world was transformed from a debtor’s paradise into a creditor’s paradise where capital’s share of national income rose to an all-time high as labor’s share fell as wages stagnated. Productivity rose, but the returns all went to capital. Unions were crushed while labor’s ability to push up wages collapsed due to the twin shocks of restrictive legislation and the globalization of production. Parliaments in turn were reduced to tweet-generating talking shops as central banksand policy technocrats wrested control of the economy away from those elected to govern.

But Goodhart’s law never went away. Just as targeting full employment undermined itself, so did making inflation the policy target.

Consider that since the 2008 crisis the world’s major central banks have dumped at least $12 trillion dollars into the global economy and there is barely any inflation anywhere. Almost a quarter of all European bonds now have negative yields. Unsurprisingly, interest rates are on the floor, and if it were not for the massive purchasing of assets in the Eurozone by the European Central Bank, deflation would be systemic. In sum, we may have created a world in which deflation, not inflation, is the new normal, and that has serious political consequences, which brings us back to Trump.

Using an ATM during a power outage in San Juan, Puerto Rico, September 2016.

Using an ATM during a power outage in San Juan, Puerto Rico, September 2016.

In a world of disinflation, credit became very cheap and the private sector levered up—massively—with post-crisis household debt now standing at $12.25 trillion in the United States. This is a common story. Wage earners now have too much debt in an environment where wages cannot rise fast enough to reduce those debts. Meanwhile, in a deflation, the opposite of what happens in an inflation occurs. The value of debt increases while the ability to pay off those debts decreases.

Seen this way, what we see is a reversal of power between creditors and debtors as the anti-inflationary regime of the past 30 years undermines itself—what we might call “Goodhart’s revenge.” In this world, yields compress and creditors fret about their earnings, demanding repayment of debt at all costs. Macro-economically, this makes the situation worse: the debtors can’t pay—but politically, and this is crucial—it empowers debtors since they can’t pay, won’t pay, and still have the right to vote.

The traditional parties of the center-left and center-right, the builders of this anti-inflationary order, get clobbered in such a world, since they are correctly identified by these debtors as the political backers of those demanding repayment in an already unequal system, and all from those with the least assets. This produces anti-creditor, pro-debtor coalitions-in-waiting that are ripe for the picking by insurgents of the left and the right, which is exactly what has happened.

In short, to understand the election of Donald Trump we need to listen to the trumpets blowing everywhere in the highly indebted developed countries and the people who vote for them.

The global revolt against elites is not just driven by revulsion and loss and racism. It’s also driven by the global economy itself. This is a global phenomenon that marks one thing above all. The era of neoliberalism is over. The era of neonationalism has just begun.

 

Source: Will County News

Insanity/ Big Government declare a war on cats

Now they’ve gone too far: Greens and feds declare a war on cats

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CatThis article was originally published on FEE.org.

An overzealous federal agency is targeting Florida cats in a pest removal operation and it’s becoming a huge problem for pet owners.

Throughout the ages, cats have held a high place in society. Scholars commonly hold that felines were first domesticated in Egypt 4,000 years ago due to their ability to police the dirty, disease-carrying rodents that plagued the land. This heroic role made cats so revered in ancient Egypt that some worshiped the animals as deities.

If a person were to kill a cat, even accidentally, the act was punishable by death. Upon their death, cats were often mummifiedand left to lay with their trophies: dead rats. However, times have changed for the once-renowned species.

Criminalizing instincts

The Smithsonian recently published an article titled, To Save the Woodrat, Conservationists Have to Deal with an Invasive Species First: House Cats. This is the latest entry in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s cat fight with residents of Key Largo, Florida, and their beloved pets.

In 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Service implemented a pest management plan designed to trap cats the agency perceived as a threat to the Key Largo woodrat. The furry targets of this sting operation were accused of trespassing on federal land, which is a woodrat habitat, and doing what cats do best: hunt and kill rats.

When agents prowl off of federal land to trap private citizens’ cats on private land, the agents are acting unlawfully. Instead of focusing only on the large swaths of feral cats that pose the primary threat to the rats’ survival on the island, the Fish and Wildlife Service went overboard. Resident cat owners complained that agents set baited traps adjacent to the private property of the owners who live next to the federal park.

Then, Fish and Wildlife Service agents trapped Rocky, a pet cat of Spencer Slate, a Key Largo businessman who runs a scuba diving center. According to Slate, the traps “were all about 50 feet from [his] property” when Rocky was lured in one night. As a result, Slate saidthat “Rocky’s face was so bloodied by the trap’s spring-shut door that he did not recognize his pet.”

Slate discovered this after a Fish and Wildlife Service agent showed up at his business to serve him with a written citation threatening jail time for allegedly allowing Rocky to enter federal land. When delivering the citation, the agent neglected to return the captive kitten, instead depositing Rocky at an animal shelter nearly 15 milesaway.

In the face of agency abuse, Slate refused to roll over, taking his case to a federal judge who dismissed the citation after the scuba captain demonstrated that the Fish and Wildlife Service had set the trap that captured Rocky outside of federal land.

As Mark Miller, managing attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Atlantic Center in Florida, explains, “when [Fish and Wildlife Service] agents prowl off of federal land to trap private citizens’ cats on private land, these agents’ actions implicate a number of constitutional clauses” that could make the agents’ actions unlawful.

Furthermore, the fact that Slate was threatened with jail time for the instinctive response of his baited cat is a gross misuse of government power. This tactic represents the phenomenon of over criminalization, the use of the criminal law and penalties to punish every mistake and to solve every problem — including a pet cat wandering around Key Largo.

More of the same

One would hope that after Slate exposed this injustice in court, the government would start leaving pets and their owners alone, but this is not the only example of federal regulation of domestic animals.

For instance, it is a crime to “allow” a pet to make a noise “that frightens wildlife” on land administered by the National Park Service. It is also a crime to walk your dog in a national park on a seven-foot leash, 36 CFR § 2.15(a)(2) and 36 CFR § 1.3. Keep Lassieclose or she could put her owner in the slammer.

Over the years, courts too have weighed in on animal treachery. In 1926, the English Court of Appeals held in Buckle v. Holmes that a cat owner is not responsible for the damage caused by his trespassing pet.

It is a crime to “allow” a pet to make a noise “that frightens wildlife” on National Park Service-administered land. Even earlier, in 1890, a Pennsylvania court held in McDonald v. Jodrey that a cat owner is not responsible for the “predatory habits” of the species, but can only be held liable for the “known mischievous tendencies” of a particular pet.

The judge in Slate’s case is not the only judge who would likely view the adoption of a wildlife conservation strategy that encourages federal agents to confiscate pets as an alarming government overreach.

Adding the threat of jail time for property owners who are mere bystanders to government conservation efforts and the natural instincts of orderly pets is all the more unjust.

Legend has it that Pope Gregory IX denounced cats as an incarnation of Satan in the 13th century. This led to the mass extermination of medieval felines.

With cats no longer present to stand guard, Europe experienced an explosion in the rat population, which spread the ravaging bubonic plague throughout the land. Scholars estimate that the Black Deathkilled one-third of Europe.

The Fish and Wildlife Service ought to heed this historical warning and leave the cats of Key Largo alone.

 — David Rosenthal

David Rosenthal is a visiting legal fellow in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Source: Will County News