The Way I See It!

I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.

Turf War - What to Build?

Cudahy, Master Plan, Metra, Milwaukee Wave, retail, Talk Back, TIF, Wal-Mart, Wave, Wisconsin


I get the impression Wal-Mart is NOT really interested in the Pennsylvania and Layton site as some people would wish they should be.


This is our last, best hope for a Wal-Mart!  Period.  People please don’t fall under the spell that a gift like this will come again!


In working with Cobalt, the long narrowness of the site, coupled with the environmental problems, won't generate enough revenue to probably make it economically affordable.


I respect Joe Henika very much, but I think he is “Naïve” in thinking Wal-Mart will want to stay focused and willing to build in Cudahy.


Contrary to belief, everyone’s driveway is a destination!  I strive to park my car every day and plan my day to do so.  Maybe some don’t feel that way and don’t want to go home.  I want to see my family!


Wal-Mart is a destination!  Any shopping place is!  Unless you are talking tourism.


Based on numbers run by Cobalt, to get about $10 million in TIF assistance on the environmental on that site, they needed to create $53 million in development for the numbers to work.  People, they will ask for TIF money!  Any business building in Cudahy in a TIF can! 


Is it that all TIFs are bad or just bad at Cudahy Station?

Is 10 Million the most ever asked for?

What is the most ever received?


I just wanted to clarify something Wal-Mart is not getting a TIF; the TIF is for the Wave.


In the Mayor’s 2008 State of the city address, 36 minutes into the speech, he states “Wal-Mart itself is not asking for a tax [TIF] subsidy.”  I just think it needs to be said again.  Taxpayers are not paying for Wal-Mart.


Again, anyone can ask for a TIF.  Not all do, Joe Halser (City Lounge Co-Owner) was kind enough to inform me that City Lounge is in a TIF district but they have never received nor requested to receive any tax dollars for their venture.  It has all been privately funded.


Does Cudahy have a master list available to look at what TIFs have been requested and approved over the years?  Does the Mayor have the last say if one is approved?  Who’s name is stamped on the document?


With all of this fuss over the Cudahy Station TIF, don’t you think the city should have the records posted for the public to see?  After all, we are paying for it!


As Mayor McCue said, “Once elected as your next mayor, I will work hard to attract new business that will benefit and enhance our community.  At the same time, I will not give unnecessary incentives to developers.”  Source


How do we know if unnecessary incentives are or were given to developers?  Remember the classic Ronald Reagan quote “Trust, but verify.”


Cudahy offered $8 million in TIF funds for the United States Bowling Congress to locate in a new 70,000-square-foot building at Cudahy Station, located at the intersection of Layton and Nicholson avenues.  The building would have cost $13.5 million to build.

The part about Cudahy offering the $8 million tax [TIF] subsidy to get $13.5 million building is truly amazing.  If the residents of Cudahy knew about that one, they would go ballistic! 


Oops, I guess I just told them if they didn’t see it already.


I am told from Mayor McCue, that the information from The Business Journal of Milwaukee is wrong.  Neither the city nor the Mayor can offer a TIF.  The developer must request one.  Mayor McCue said it should be that the developer Continental Properties, offered it to the Bowling Congress. I just wanted to include what Mayor McCue had to say.


How can a developer make an offer to a business, that has only days to make a decision whether to move, if the whole process takes time and has to go to the committees in regard to how a TIF gets approved?  Can it be fast tracked?


In the end, would Mayor McCue have approved or rejected the TIF request for the Bowling Congress?  What do you think?  I think he would accept.  This was a highly publicized, high profile item in the news.


Can you imagine if Joe Henika knew that they were giving $8 million tax [TIF] subsidy to get $13.5 million building?  Again, I just told him.  Please, someone check in on Joe.


I can't believe that the Milwaukee Journal did not report about the incentives offered.  Well, I guess I can.


Pennsylvania and Layton site - Even when the market was booming, at most, with a Wal-Mart Supercenter, two to three medium box stores (size of Best Buy), and a couple of small special stores or a restaurant closer to Layton, top end you could only push about $47 million in assessed value on the site.  (Remember there is a height restriction of no more than three floors.)


That is why, if Wal-Mart doesn't feel that they can get the city to move in the next 30 days, they will probably throw in the towel on Cudahy, and move onto other sites in other cities.  Other more cooperative and welcoming, not to mention, an organized city.


In the end, we will be driving, and the steel will be rusting, the city will be cowering (having to cleanup the site) and because of the issue those NO group are making on the TIF, the next developer will not come forward because of the false stigma of asking for a TIF.  Nothing like shooting yourself in the foot.  We will sit on it, just as the Mayor wants us to do. 


We can drive for our goods.  We don’t need a convenience of having a Wal-Mart in Cudahy. Right? Why have any retail in Cudahy, we can all drive to Oak Creek. 


Those that twist the truth when convenient shall be tangled in their own ways!


If I'm the problem, then I'm the one that needs to get out of the way so it can get better.  If somebody else is the problem, then they've got to be big enough to step out of the way or do what is right!


Maybe it is my own “Naïveté” that sees this!

Here is an email I received and my response back, with some additional comments.  Please people keep the emails coming.

Mr. Hollenbeck,

My name is (removed, by request), I've been a Cudahy resident for about 17 years and
like you, I actively support this Wal-Mart.  I'm behind you 100%.  About two
weeks ago, I decided to ask Mayor McCue about the plan, I said he should think
about what the citizens want and put his own negative thoughts behind for the
benefit of the citizens.  I wrote him a letter and this is what I stated:

Dear Mr. McCue,

I’m writing as a Cudahy citizen to urge you to reconsider your thoughts about the Wal-Mart plan.  I’ve lived in Cudahy for about seventeen years and I have seen many things come and go around here, and I’m writing to say that we need this Wal-Mart.  A lot of people really want this Wal-Mart, not the whole town, but I know many people want this.
 I know that you have already made your statement on what you think about Wal-Mart, you have made the statement of “It’s not what were looking for the city of Cudahy.”  I just want to ask what is it your trying to look for in Cudahy? What is that one thing that we need to get people to come here, I know a Wal-Mart is not a destination point or tourism attraction, but it’s something the town would like, you would be surprised on how many people in Cudahy are on a fixed income, have a tight budget or are trying to save a few dollars.
You have already made your statement about Wal-Mart and what you think of it, I honestly believe that you should think about what the citizens of Cudahy want instead of trying to make Cudahy into a tourist attraction.
 Yes, we do need people to come to Cudahy, but we also need business.  The Wal-Mart company is willing to help us out, they will bring the business that Cudahy desperately needs.  You can’t let this opportunity slip away because of your negative and personal beliefs.

Don’t take offense to this Mr. McCue, but sometimes I think you need to put your own differences aside and think about what Cudahy really needs.  Please reconsider the Wal-Mart plan.

A Cudahy citizen,

I wrote him that letter, on Tuesday the 1st of April, he left a message on my machine saying that he wanted to talk to me about it.  I called him Friday and I told my side saying that business is what we really need.
McCue had stated that he has not decided yet about the Wal-Mart.  His concern is the use for the land that the Iceport is on.  He said that we can do better and is a big box store really an option with the KRM rail line coming through.
 Stating that he thinks we can do better than putting a big box store there.

He also stated that he was misquoted in the paper saying he is "not a fan of Wal-Mart" he saying that "it just doesn't fit with our master plan."

My question to you Mr. Hollenbeck is this.  Did it sound like I just got the run around; to me he sounded like he answered my questions but left some openings?

And do you think he has already made a decision about the Wal-Mart yet, but just isn't telling us?  What is your opinion?

Here is my response back!


I think you got the double talk politician answer.  Answering the question without answering it.  He has not to mine or many others stated what should be in there instead.


Also, if you look back at his campaign platform ( ), he talks about Wal-Mart coming to Cudahy.  That was when Wal-Mart was not on the Iceport, but Pennsylvania and Layton.  So all of this gobbledy-gook about Wal-Mart is fine just not on the Iceport is not so much truthful as a political answer.


Yes, I do think his mind is made up, yet I do think he is softening.


The Master Plan is flexible and not rigid as the Mayor makes it out to be.


If he was misquoted “Why not have it fixed right away”?  When the paper misquoted me, I have them fix the online on and run a retraction.  Which they did.  Why is it now he is just bringing it to light?


Maybe the reader is wrong, maybe he misheard Mayor McCue, maybe not.  I was not there to know the truth (on the phone).  Why would the reader lie?  Why would the Mayor deny it?   What can be accomplished from this?


It sounds to me that the Mayor is still banking on KRM, probably at the insistence of VandeWalle and Associates and is willing to just sit out the 20-30 years before it happens.


Didn’t your parents teach you to bank on something you know is real?


The Mayor’s view of utopia for Cudahy does not include Wal-Mart


He, Smith, the Pavlic types (remember they voted against), have no intentions of having their name on the Wal-Mart.


When I offered “YES Wal-Mart” signs to some of the city personnel they acted as if I was giving holy water to a vampire.


People, think back to the 2004 election and it was no surprise that Bruce S (lost reelection), Tom Centernowski and Jill Gestwicki (decided not to run) disappeared from the political landscape, and all voted in favor of the Iceport development.  Smith survived because he had no challenger, and truth be told, if the construction had not have stopped in Feb 04, probably Jack Vaccaro would have been Mayor of Cudahy from 2004 to 2007.


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