March 26, 2009

The three-letter word our next mayor must focus on

Was there ever a question about what Racine's next mayor must focus on?

The number one issue, to paraphrase Vice President Joe Biden's gaffe while on the campaign trail last October, is "a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S.”

No matter how you spell it, J-O-B-S should be at the top of each of our eleven candidates' to-do lists. Not crime, not solar power, not KRM, not diversity, not firewood, not doggie parks, not the Root River, not gas-powered buses, not...

For proof, just look at the latest unemployment rates released by the state Department of Workforce Development.

Racine County joblessness hit 10.2% in February, up from 8.9% just one month ago. Last year, the figure was 6%.

Unemployment within the city of Racine hit 15.6% in February, up from 13.6% a month earlier, and 9.1% one year ago.

No, those aren't the worst in the state: The city is in second place, behind Beloit's 16.9%; the county is "only" 30th worst out of 72.

As a whole, the state's unemployment rate is 7.7%, compared to the nation's 8.1%. During the Great Depression, unemployment hit 25%, so we're nowhere near that level; try using that trivia factoid to cheer up any of your 241,000 jobless neighbors (up from 139,200 a year ago).

I'm not faulting the candidates for mentioning all those other issues at recent forums; they were simply responding to questions. Still, if anyone needs a primer on what's important, well, it's a three-letter word: J-O-B-S.


  1. It is jobs. Right on. We need out of the box thinking.
    RCEDC has done NOTHING to bring or keep jobs NOTHING cute little news stories are not jobs. Trying to force slums into West Racine is not jobs no bid contacts are not jobs.
    IMHO RCEDC are a bunch of hacks.
    Some up for Mayor have good ideas for bring jobs to Racine most do not
    This is our one chance Racine lets do this right

  2. If any of these guys could really bring jobs to Racine during a recession, he should run for Governor. Our current Governor is as anti-business as it gets.

  3. Uptown Downtown3/26/2009 2:59 PM

    The only way to bring more business, and keep businesses here is to buck the Federal and State trend of punishing the "Rich" and successful.. Let's make sure the next Mayor understands how Budgets and Businesses work. I think a CPA would an excellent choice!! Someone who agrees that building a successful Busing system is a good idea. and diluting money away from our current transit system is a good idea. Let's not spend a bunch of money on silly Art districts over the next 2 years. and focus on keeping our budget tight and under control.
    Jody Harding is the Answer folks. She has the sharpest pencil and the firm attitude necessary to say NO or at least "Not right now", when asked about frivolous spending. Jody was the only one willing to get in the race against Becker, and should be the leader of the Common Sense voter block.
    Vote for Jody I am!!!

  4. Jody, what would you say to a CEO to try to get him to relocate his business to Racine...

  5. Hallelujah - someone said it!

    I haven't lived in the city for awhile, but am certainly watching this race closely - as the City of Racine goes, so goes much of the rest of the county.

    Something that goes hand in hand with joblessness is education. One of the main reasons Racine continues to have problems bringing in good businesses is an underskilled workforce in the city. Though RUSD and Gateway are not under the direct purview of the mayor, I'm hoping the new mayor will take a more proactive role. I don't care if he insuiates himself into the process - somebody needs to other than the tired old message coming from RAMAC and RCEDC.

    Coincidentally, you mention crime as a focus of the candidates - if I'm not mistaken, as jobless rates decrease, so usually do crime rates.

  6. Green Racine3/26/2009 6:03 PM


    I have been screaming for years that RCEDC and RAMAC have had no clue for YEARS.
    I love the No Bid Contracts from RCEDC and the fact they do a song and dance but where are the companies?
    Someone also needs to tell Rodger at RAMAC that it is 2009 not 1945 old style manufacturing jobs are not coming back.
    also we need to ask both groups with the largest Wind Power event in the world going on in May just 90 MI away and no one from either group will have a booth or any plans to send someone there.
    We should ask why the only one bothering to go to recruit companies to look at moving to Racine is our local Film Maker?
    Well at least he did help pass a law bringing 50+ Million to Wisconsin far more then RCEDC or RAMAC ever did I think.

  7. I get a kick out of candidates running for office that they will bring jobs to Racine. Goverment doesn't create jobs, private business does. If goverment creates job your taxes are going to go up, because goverment creates jobs by growing their workforce.

  8. Uptown Downtown3/27/2009 11:54 AM

    anon 3:05 and anon 7:55. I don't speak for Jody but I have spoken with her and am supporting her.

    Anon 7:55 made the great point Mayors and Govt. can't create more jobs directly except Govt. jobs.

    But by controlling spending at the City and County level, (thanks Bill McReynolds), and focusing on a Business friendly, lower tax City..we can make Racine a magnet for businesses and mid-upper income person to come to our City.
    Not to be a snob..but those are the people who will make our schools better and will employ the under-employed..and create opportunities, for better jobs, etc. More people with out young children will also help our economy, as they will bring tax dollars, and spending money without adding to the burden of education.

    How about some excellent high end Condo's facing the Lake where the current YMCA is? Another Hotel on the Lake? You won't fix Jacato Dr. or the Public schools until you cut taxes and bring the more affluent citizens back to our City. You can also make sure the current residents money goes further, if their taxes are lower. So shop and support our business whenever possible, encourage smarter and thriftier spending at all levels of Govt. and watch us GROW!

  9. More condos on the Lake? (Just wondering...what the occupancy is on the ones we already have?) Lets move the library to the Westgate mall... To hell with educaton! If the YMCA goes condo, so goes the library.I'd rather put my hard earned tax dollars toward education.The people with the big bucks can build their own homes and pay someone to do the upkeep.

  10. Isn't jobs a 4 letter word?