December 10, 2009

The story behind RCCVB's change to real racine

Two versions of the RCCVB's new name and logo

Fools rush in where others have made a mess of things.

Which may explain the soft rollout of a new name, logo and "brand identity" by the Racine County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Everybody in tourism is aware of the mess that developed earlier this year when Gov. Jim Doyle unveiled the Wisconsin Tourism Department's new slogan, "Live it like you mean it."

Ridicule was the almost-universal reaction. Um, isn't that already trademarked by Bacardi rum? Yup.

With that in mind, RCCVB -- the old name never really rolled off the tongue, eh? -- is carefully putting its new face forward, and has renamed itself real racine, all in lower case. It's been a year-long process, starting with meetings with community leaders early in the process, an email survey, work with Carthage College, even a 2002 study -- all talking about the things visitors see in Racine County, what we mean to them, what our most salable aspects are. (At right, RCCVB's old logo.)

"It's definitely the lake," Dave Blank, president and CEO of the RCCVB. But it goes beyond that. "We make people feel welcome, we're hard-working and down to earth. That's what brought us to this brand. It reflects this. That's why it's lower case: people are at home here. We make them feel welcome.

"We did a market-wide benefit analysis, looking at the entire value proposition, the brand personality. real racine is just the tip of the iceberg," Blank said.

The "benefits that describe Racine County," as listed in the brand guidelines document by Boelter & Lincoln, the Milwaukee consulting firm (hired by the RCCVB for $25,000), are as follows:
  • Functional: Beach/Lake, Architecture, Convenience, Marina, Downtown, Farmers Markets, Dining, Sports, Hotels.
  • Emotional: Homey," Pride, Hard-working, Honesty, Relife (time with friends and family).
  • Self-Expressive: "Regular person," Down to Earth, Laid back, Easy-going, Athletic.
Does that feel like us and you? If so, they've done a good job.

The brand's value proposition, what the consultants call the county's "flag in the terra firma... the difference between us and the rest of the world" is: We're a well-established community of hard-working, reliable folks who make you feel welcome... A place where you always feel at home."

There's more to the two-word, lower-case logo than meets the eye as well. Boelter & Lincoln say the "twin wave" was inspired by "the fresh, clean feeling of laying on the beach and the genuine quality of our people... The mix of blue and brown, water and land, relaxation and reliability back up our brand's message. This graphic statement is echoed within the 'dot' of the letter 'i.' The twin benefits of living in Racine county speak loudly, even within a simple logo treatment."

Blank -- who has been very successful at luring national events like triathlons, hot rodders and cycling classics to Racine in recent years -- says other CVBs are doing the same thing he's doing, rebranding an organization that always has had less to do with "conventions" than with tourism. The RCCVB is also partnering with the Downtown Racine Corporation this year, for the first time producing a joint single tourism brochure, a 56-page magazine actually. It will come out in January, 110,000 copies distributed at 650 locations around the state. The partnership will also help advertisers, who now need a presence in just one publication (and at reduced ad rates).

When he "finds" the money, Blank plans to change the sign on the RCCVB's office at 14015 Washington Ave. in Ives Grove. In the meantime, the biggest change will be in real racine's advertising. Print ads will be based on strong photography, showing people enjoying Racine County. Local photographers Brad Jaeck and Carol Hanson are providing images linking people with the county's attractions. "We actually hear wonderful things from visitors about Racine and Racine Country," says Blank.

Now the trick is getting that message out to even more potential tourists. And updating the website.

Postscript: The JT ran a poll with its story about the RCCVB's name change, asking: "Do you like the new Real Racine name for the visitor-promotion group?" So far the results are definitely mixed: 106 say yes; 105 say no.

167 comments:

  1. Whatever the name Dave and staff are the very best

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  2. OK, it's 2 o'clock on a Thursday afternoon. I'm a tourist and I just spent 45 minutes looking at the displays at the heritage museum. Next up........... uh, hmmmmmm,........' let's see........GO home? Other than shopping and eating, this city HAS nothing for tourists to do!We're trying to be Chicago with Mayberry's attitude and sights. Real Racine forgot a prefix. GET real Racine!

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  3. Crawl back under your rock, 2:18. There's lots here, but you're too blind to see.

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  4. I think they meant to say "LYING" on the beach, not "LAYING" on it -- unless everyone on the beach is a chicken.

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  5. Dear Al, Yes, there's a lot here--scads of poverty, misery, corruption and the highest minority infant mortality rate in the Upper Midwest. We've got billionaire business bullies riding roughshod over non-union labor in this evil little company town.

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  6. I wouldn't recommend Racine to any visitors other than Masochists seeking a source of pounding pugnacious pain. It's nothing but a tarted up arty little bastion of big-buck banditry built on the backs of the poor and the lower middle class.

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  7. What to do after the Heritage Museum? RAM, Wustum, Golden Rondell, the Frank Loyd Wright homes, ride the bike trails - in the city. In the county visit Swan Farms, Borgardts, the Union Grove Dragstrip, the Racine County Fair, tour the quilts on barns, follow the rustic roads, Green Meadows, Jo Don Farms. I guess there is a bit of stuff in Racine.

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  8. 2:56 Museums, two amateur theaters, a local symphony, choral groups, bars with live music, free entertainment on Monument Square all summer, North Beach, fishing, boat rentals, great architecture... stop concentrating on the negative and you might get a life.

    There are just four billionaires in town; their life and mine don't intersect. Rather I'm one of the 80,000 other people, who can have good, fulfilling lives without the bitterness you love to wallow in.

    Don't bother responding. I've wasted too much time on youl already.

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  9. The sooner an enlightened government dissolves Racine as a civic entity, the better. Unless you're from certain prominent plutocratic clans or you're one of the elite's pet six-figure-per-annum Ivy League lackeys, there's NOTHING for you in Racine.

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  10. Mike - crawl back in your hole...

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  11. As for the gentleman who says that the plutocrats' lives don't intersect with his existence, I only wish that his statement were true. Anytime the privileged class and its fiscal flunkeys feel like harming the rest of the populace, they can do so with immunity and impunity in bought-and-paid-for Racine. (None of the above is an attack on the aforemantioned gentleman and his veracity. Although he and I disagree as to the interpretation of data anent Racine, I respect him highly. He tells what he sincerely believes to be the truth. Whether or not his view of Racine is accurate is a matter of opinion.)

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  12. One thing I do know for sure: whenever I attended universities outside our area, I heard only pejorative comments about this badnews burg. Between the stories about the kleptoplutocrats who ran (and still ruin) the sorry place and the well-documented history of strikes and race riots, Racine had--and continues to possess--a reptilian reputation.

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  13. Unless you're part of the in crowd, there's zippo for you in this town. If I weren't trapped here by family responsibilities and my economic situation, I'd be out of Racine a.s.a,p.

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  14. Mr. Angry's you never let me down - the two of you.

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  15. If the national media ever expose the facts about Racine's raunchy realities, certain prominent people may rue the day they tried to make a Rustbelt town morph into an art colony-cum-resort of last resort. Contrary to their whimsical wishes, Racine on the Lake will never be a clone of Carmel by the Sea.

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  16. I don't know about Mr. Angry. All I know is that Dave and his friends have been assigned a task I'd call "Mission Impossible." Selling Racine to anyone who knows the history of this sad place is utterly futile. (Nothing in this message is intended to offend Dave and his staff. They are doing their best with a hopeless situation.)

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  17. AL, let me crawl from under my rock for a minute. The things you mentioned are all happenings here in Racine, but NOT on a Thursday in December. I will admit that both Art museums are worth the visit, but until 8 pm when Racines limited bar scene kicks in, there's really not a lot to do here. I hope that changes over time, but to lure tourists here under false pretenses does them and us a disservice.

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  18. 4:31 I didn't realize we had to entertain you 24/7 but even on this Thursday in December, how about the party at the Library, celebrating one million checkouts this year (4:30 p.m.); the United Way's victory banquet (6 p.m.); the Racine Camera Club's annual holiday party (7 p.m.); All My Sons at Parkside. You coulda taken a tour of the SCJ Administration building earlier this afternoon (classic Frank Lloyd Wright); the Zoo, the Lake, the Kenosha Civil War Museum, River Bend ... I could go on, but why bother? You've made up your there-ain't nothin'-for-me mind. Be miserable. I'm too busy.

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  19. Al, don't want to get into a pissing match, but you've just proven my point about Racine. Put those activities on a brochure ad see how many people will travel here? The lake, zoo at 8 above zero? Party at the library? Load the kids up honey!!
    We're goin' to Racine!

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  20. Dear Al, I don't want to offend anyone. However, a lot of the activities you enumerated are upper middle class stuff guaranteed to turn off mainstream Americans. An interest in Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings is definitely an elitist quirk. Most folks who work for a living wouldn't walk across the street to look at one of Wright's mostrosities if you paid them. As for parties at libraries, as nice as they may be for privileged people, they'd bore the heck out of Joe and Jane Average. (Many working class Americans don't have a library card and aren't about to get one anytime soon.) What we have here in Racine is scads of genteel bourgeois stuff designed without the working class in mind.

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  21. A good example of pricey elitist recreation is a certain high school's $35.00 per person Renaissance feast featuring madrigals and motets. Although the well-heeled classes would enjoy it, most toilers would find other uses for $35.00.

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  22. To most workers, Racine offers nothing but booze, blunt (pot) and boredom. While some upper middle class people may enjoy Racine's events and amenities, the majority of our toilers wouldn't miss them.

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  23. Dear marxist jerkoffs,

    Please die already.

    Sincerely,

    People Who Believe in Racine

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  24. "While some upper middle class people may enjoy Racine's events and amenities, the majority of our toilers wouldn't miss them."

    Workers of the world unite! And then STFU and get the hell out of here.

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  25. AL, you rock!
    SDJ

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  26. Heather in Caledonia12/11/2009 8:20 AM

    What?!? Most middle class and working people don't own a library card and don't plan on getting one? What?!? Maybe because it's so EXPENSIVE to get one. :) Maybe because they aren't interested in reading, watching movies, listening to music, etc - those are just things RICH PEOPLE do, anyway. Please. I am all for disagreements and arguing your point, but these people who constantly use this site to complain about people who have more money than they do is getting really OLD. When I start seeing these posts, I start skipping them to see if someone's going to actually say something interesting. Don't allow the bitterness you have for the Johnson Family to run your life - you can life here quite happily (I do!) without making a fortune and hating others who do. Life is not about money.

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  27. You rock too, Heather!
    SDJ

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  28. Heather - great comment. I bet you are hot also! These complainers as you refer to them don't like attractive people either.

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  29. We have a zoo, the lighthouse, parks like cliff side park, beaches, The lake front, antique shopping we could do better but some people want to just relax when they get away from it all.

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  30. Am I wrong or did Mr. angry not use the term 'oligarchy' in this blog? That would be a first.

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  31. Who's Mr. Angry? There are plenty of folks who feel left out and marginalized in a town that's strictly for the rich and their retainers. The only way to become socially-acceptable and respectable in Racine is to inherit or make money. In this sick city, the money-makers are corporate crooks, drug dealers or counterfeiters. (Years ago, when my Pop was told that anyone could make money here, he replied: "Yeah, maybe--but only if they gyp the rest of us, peddle pot or have a special printing press in the basement."

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  32. Dear Heather, Although life isn't about money, grim existence in Racine is definitely dominated by the desperate search for filthy lucre. Try telling some poor soul who's worried about his rent or an unpaid traffic fine that money isn't important. The rich make sure that the rest have to fret about money in order to have a ready supply of cheap docile labor available for ready, steady exploitation.

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  33. Dear People Who Believe in Racine, I believe in Racine, too--in the same way that I lend credence to the existence of wars, famines and other evils. As it is today, Racine is a disgrace to the Badger State, the USA and the developed post-industrial world. Civic boosters and their ballyhoo can't banish the fact that the Dumbbell City has a higher infant mortality rate than some Third World countries. As for our poverty statistics and our unemployment rate, Racine leads the putrid pack. Never mind, though--Racine has public art galore, including an obscenely-overpriced Nic Noblique sculpture purchased with urban revitalization funds.

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  34. You don't have to be a Marxist to see that Racine has major social and economic problems. If you've ever observed kids on the Route 7 bus make the "sign of the horns" or some other nasty gesture when the vehicle passes a certain corporate office building, you'll understand what I'm saying. I believe the yougsters have a chant in which the defunct owner of the structure is described as follows: "He ain't meek and he ain't mild./ S.C. ----- is Satan's Child."

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  35. Any way you look at them, company towns are hotbeds of hatred and social pathology. Racine is just a typical dysfunctional Rustbelt municipality dominated by a possibly well-intentioned corporate clan and its bourgeois flunkeys.

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  36. The bottom line is that Racine is overloaded with bourgeois amenities (e.g. a zoo, a symphony, museums and theater groups) but bereft of practical help for the non-arty majority. (If you don't believe me, try obtaining fuel assistance or go looking for a job which pays a living wage in this bedizened bedbug burg.)

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  37. Unlike Mr. Angry and his ilk, I don't totally blame the notorious Waxies for our Mess on Lake Michi-Gone. (By and large, those private sector privateers are what too many generations of power and privilege have made them.) Rather, I blame the capitalist system which created the Waxies and allows them to oppress their victims. Until capitalism heads for history's landfill, Racine's problems will persist.

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  38. In any event, until we solve our socio-economic problems and rescue ALL our citizens from poverty, Racine will remain badly-battered Badgerland's saddest, sickest joke.

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  39. 11:40 - you said "The only way to become socially-acceptable and respectable in Racine is to inherit or make money." God forbid if someone makes some money. Ha!

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  40. Mickael - your "Unlike Mr. Angry and his ilk, I don't totally blame the notorious Waxies for our Mess on Lake Michi-Gone. (By and large, those private sector privateers are what too many generations of power and privilege have made them.) Rather, I blame the capitalist system which created the Waxies and allows them to oppress their victims. Until capitalism heads for history's landfill, Racine's problems will persist." quote gives you away.

    I didn't know if was anyone's responsibility to provide you with entertainment. Frankly the complainers on this blog are too busy bitching about the lack of someone entertaining them to actually do something for themselves.

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  41. real racine-$25,000 spent for that? Who will know what it means?
    If you wanted a trendy name and for free how about C Racine?

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  42. It's funny watching one have a conversation with one's self. The meds must be wearing off.
    OLIGARCHY!!!

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  43. No, I don't use any medications. Gentlemen, I'm just trying to tell you the truth about this tragically-divided town and the elite's lack of empathy with the less-fortunate majority of our population. Until we solve Racine's chronic poverty-related problems, endeavoring to market it as a destination city will remain a farcical exercise in futility.

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  44. Most of the folks I know can't wait to escape from this toadish town. If you don't believe me, drive around and look at all the "For Lease," "For Sale" and "For Rent" signs in Racine.

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  45. My friends from Indiana say that Racine is a "spiritless ghost town." Any soul it ever possessed departed long ago.

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  46. Memo to the last person who leaves Racine: You won't have to turn out the lights because it never had any in the first place.

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  47. Are you finally leaving? Good. This city will improve greatly with your departure. Where do we forward your mail? Gary, Fort Wayne, Clarksville or Muncie. You are probably going to one of these fabulous towns. Enjoy.
    SDJ

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  48. IF only I could leave this company town, I'd be out of here a.s.a.p. (By and large, most of my friends feel the same way about what they call "Wax-illa.")

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  49. Decades ago, a corporate crime family found a small city which it could control and a pool of cheap labor which it could exploit. That's all anyone needs to know about Racine.

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  50. It would be easy for you to leave. Come out of your parents basement, borrow their car and drive in any direction.

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  51. Yes, by all means go -- although contrary to Anon 2:21 above, I'd suggest that East is a bad choice.

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  52. Please fill me in on the names and the crimes. If you can not provide true, solid evidence we will continue to ignore your "sky is falling" routine.
    Stop kicking cute puppies!

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  53. Thanks for helping. Poor fella probably doesn't have the sense to avoid driving into the lake.

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  54. Barbs and snide comments notwithstanding, the man whom you ridicule just may be right about Racine. My visitors from Minnesota and Iowa have noticed the same mixture of aestheticism and callousness toward the poor whenever they've spent some time (and cash) here. Incidentally, some of them have felt so uncomfortable here that they've informed me that in the future I'll have to travel to their hometowns--they don't ever want to see Racine and experience what they term its "creepy" atmosphere again.

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  55. Yup, I know what you're talking about. I've got a cousin in Adamstown, PA who says Racine should change its name to "Stepford." (He got that idea when he beheld a bunch of slender pastel-clad blondes swarming near a major corporation's downtown headquarters. Although the babes were in motion, they seemed to have no emotions. He added that they reminded him of "bleached zombies" and gave him "the willies.")

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  56. One thing is certain: the company clique in charge of Racine doesn't like independent thinkers and creative people. Instead, it wants brainwashed salary serfs who'll keep the wage slaves dumb and down. Since perceptive out-of-towners can pick up such signals, attempts to peddle Racine to the world as an art-and-culture center are a pathetic farce.

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  57. Who really cares about what a crazy guys cousin in some off highway tourist trap says about this city. Especially a guy that has online conversations with himself. Must be a symptom of radon poisoning. Please step out of the basement for a while and get some air and sunshine.

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  58. My house doesn't have a cellar. However, even though you disagree with a person's statements, taunting him does nobody any good. Unfortunately, lots of visitors to Racine have described our city as "creepy" or "bizarre." The late great August Derleth (who worked for H.P.Lovecraft) swore that there was a curse on Racine and even told his "Creative Wisconsin" disciples several stories about the mysterious malediction.

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  59. Certain (but not all) experts on Native American folklore claim that a wicked tribe which indulged in torture, human sacrifice and--possibly--cannibalism performed rituals which brought a demon from another dimension into our world. Apparently, the fiend liked the land that would later become the site of Racine. (N.B. Derleth's mentor, H.P.Lovecraft, was fond of this theme. In all likelihood, Derleth derived it from his erstwhile preceptor, added references to Racine and trotted it out to spook his "Creative Wisconsin" clique.) Other tales dealt with a French explorer--La Salle--and his dirty demonic deeds. Later on, Derleth dragged in the French playwright Jean Racine and his putative role in the death of a mistress. Ditto our town's somewhat disreputable founder Gilbert Knapp and a prominent industrialist who dabbled in ceremonial magic at the behest of Frank Lloyd Wright's thoroughly-evil third wife. (Supposedly, the businessman--who harbored only good intentions--sought to invoke the spirit of prosperity to benefit not only his family but the entire community. However, because Mrs. Wright deliberately taught him the wrong ritual, he wound up inviting the spirit of ruthless greed--Mammon--to take up residence here. Post-Derleth versions of the legend have the fiend shower the entrepreneur and his heirs with wealth while demanding that they build him increasingly-pricey temples forever. Since failure to construct the endless succession of shrines could lead to the loss of loot, lives and immortal souls, the industrialist's scions are condemned to perpetual obsession with and expenditure on architecture.)

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  60. Seriously, August Derleth was a pretentious twit who traded on his connection with H.P. Lovecraft. I'm old enough to have attended some of his "Creative Wisconsin" sessions, where I observed him making total fools out of local factory owners' gullible consorts and kiddies. From observing Derleth in action, I acquired a lifelong suspicion of lyin' literary and social lions. (By the way, whenever Derleth was due in town, the businessmen whose wives were scheduled to convene "Creative Wisconsin" meetings in their residences headed for their offices. How I wish one of those guys had stayed around and told Derleth a thing or two. Frankly, it's a shame that a MAN never put that charlatan in his place.)

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  61. You read my mind! I was thinking the same thing. Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.

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  62. "Please fill me in on the names and the crimes. If you can not provide true, solid evidence we will continue to ignore your "sky is falling" routine.
    Stop kicking cute puppies!"
    Please provide requested information or the taunting will continue. I find this game is not fair. You can taunt the Johnson family repeatedly and yet you say taunting will do no good.
    Such a hypocrite. Post the charges and names. No more paoti trips through the minds of crazy fiction writers.

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  63. I do not use and have never used peyote. Drugs and writers' notions aside, Racine DOES have a sinister reputation in certain circles. According to some First Nations People and New Agers, the trouble got rolling when early settlers disturbed and desecrated Indian burials. Others say the ultra-negative energy started surging when Gilbert Knapp and his gang destroyed a big serpent effigy mound and engineers altered the course of the Root River. Stories about this stuff are pandemic. One thing I DO know, though--August Derleth and his insane, inane "Creative Wisconsin" movement scared plenty of literary ladies and scribbling kiddies with this bunk.

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  64. Once a community acquires a negative reputation, it's almost impossible to shake it off. (Some places trade on it by organizing ghost hunting tours or taking paying guests through purportedly-haunted mansions. Since Racine has plenty of impressive Victorian buildings, we could develop quite a spook industry here.)

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  65. Hocus pocus hokum notwithstanding, Racine has REAL socio-economic problems which aren't going away anytime soon. Poverty, high unemployment rates, one of the developed world's worst infant mortality rates, gang activity--you name the issue, Racine's got it. What's more, the national media have discovered Racine and publicized our town's plight. Thanks in part to the New York "Times," everybody knows about our tragic minority infant mortality rate. Then there are the Milwaukee and Chicago reporters who get the word out about our special youth groups in the 'hood and our dysfunctional school district. Touting art and architecture won't solve Racine's notorious problems. In fact, our tendency to flaunt art and promote upper-middle class aestheticism when thousands of our residents are trapped in poverty makes Racine look either ridiculous or downright evil. (A gentleman who teaches history at a Christian university once told me that the superbly-manicured campus of a major corporation's headquarters made him think of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette's palaces at Versailles right before the downtrodden French populace settled accounts with its oppressors in 1789.)

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  66. Until we solve our REAl problems, luring visitors to Racine will remain an iffy proposition. Meanwhile, the juxtaposition of slums and empty storefronts with corporate ego monuments and art galleries will continue to scare away the perceptive paying public. Who, after all, wants to stop in (much less drop dough in) a tarted up Rustbelt company town?

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  67. Soylent green is made from people!!!

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  68. A certain consulting firm made easy, sleazy green from gullible people.

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  69. My what a lot of comments! Some of them rational, too!

    Did anyone mention the fishing on the Root River below 4 mi Road/Hy 31? I'm no regular fisher person, but I've talked with a couple folks who come up from Chicago to take advantage of the 'undeveloped' aspect of the river, combined with close proximity to eateries, hotels, etc. They thought it beat any stream you could reach miles and miles south or west of Chicago.

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  70. yup... Racine has issues... but so does every other freakin town in the rust belt, and for that matter the nation... out in many of the western states the rural areas have no jobs and crystal methane, same goes for down south.

    If we can figure out a way to:

    1. capture the local dollar and recirculate it

    2. tap into the huge markets north and south of us.

    3. start creating a community we don't have to apologize for...

    it's easy, you start by saying hello to your neighbors, maybe spend an extra 5% at a local shop once a month, slow down... quit freaking out, the sun will rise.

    If you don't like it, do something about it cause no one else will.. and no matter where you go either someone is doing the work, or someone already did the work.. get over it, do it.

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  71. Although I don't want to hurt anyone, the previous comment is corporate ballyhoo of the type dished out by hyper-remunerated hucksters at motivational seminars. It's going to take a lot more than upbeat propaganda and pep talks to fix our broken-down city full of broke toilers oppressed by spirit-breaking big buck bullies. Racine's woes are small-scale versions of national problems caused by corporate capitalism and the boardroom buccaneers who benefit from it. Only a strong people's government capable of smashing capitalism and installing a centrally-planned socialist economic system can rescue our nation--and our sorry city--from wreckage and ruin.

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  72. In case you haven't noticed we have been drifting towards socialism for the last 40 years. Doesn't seem to be working. Maybe if we went back to capitalism our problems would be solved...and you would have to get a job.

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  73. Feel-good attitudes and banal bourgeois platitudes won't reform Racine.

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  74. In its present condition, Racine is urban junk destined for history's landfill.

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  75. Dear 9:08 A.M., If you're addressing me, it may interest you to learn that I have two jobs and still can't survive with dignity in this system. As for socialism, we haven't had the genuine article in the USA, so don't blame it for our problems. If you want to observe real socialism at work, visit Denmark, The Netherlands and the Scandinavian nations. Assuming you'd enjoy a longer journey, New Zealand's socialist system is excellent. (By the way, the Kiwis also have the cleanest government in the world. When money is no longer the be-all and end-all of existence, corruption shrinks to miniscule proportions.)

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  76. The thing that I think is humorous is how many people say if they could, they'd leave Racine. What's stopping you? There is absolutely no reason if you are so unhappy that you cannot leave. Look for a job outside of Racine which is much easier than in this city, hop in your car, take a train or hop on a bus and get the hell out of here. Don't make excuses about moving, as the Nike commercial says "Just Do IT."

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  77. You guys are pathetic, Shut up! Your getting off the subject!

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  78. 3:44 - didn't your mother ever tell you not to say that??

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  79. So, what would be a good tourist attraction for the non-elite? Really, I'm not trying to bait anyone here. If the "average person" doesn't like museums or architecture,(which is perfectly believable) what would they like? That seems more to the point for this article.

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  80. Oh, and please - for the sake of argument - let's just leave the evils of the capitalist construct aside for a moment. Asking the Racine Tourism folks to fix that is like asking the guy working on your car to do something about the horrible transportation infrastructure.

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  81. Dear 5:09PM,Regarding non-elitist tourist attractions, you probably wouldn't want them here. Cheap theaters, casinos and water parks come to mind. If you desire to see what Main Street rather than Wall Street enjoys, visit the Wisconsin Dells.

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  82. Regardless, with the economy on the fritz, I doubt that any tourist attractions will bring playing, paying guests to Racine.

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  83. Besides, tourism has a nasty way of corrupting communities. (If you don't believe me, research Las Vegas, Reno, Orlando, Miami and New Orleans.) Also, tourism and its seasonal, low-wage jobs will well-nigh invariably drive out factories and the decently-remunerated jobs which they provide. When a city turns into a tourist trap, local ordinances protecting quaint historic districts steer investors elsewhere. Since aesthetically-obsessed municipalities view factories and working class neighborhoods as eyesores, the plants and their employees wind up in other, non-touristy cities.

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  84. Until we ditch our elitist cult of beauty for its own sake, industries which generate family-supporting jobs will shun our arty-tarty town like the proverbial plague.

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  85. Taxes in this socialist wanna-be state cripple expansion of business and scares most outsiders out of even thinking of starting something here. This is just one of many issues that need to be resolved.
    Art is everywhere. Take off the blinders. To say this is the root cause of all evil and failure is shallow and ridiculous.
    This is a great city with some of the same problems that many other areas of the country are having.

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  86. 5:05 - the beach, the parks, the golf courses, the lighthouse, festivals. And for those that think tourism drives factories out of town - wakeup, the unions already have chased manufacturing out of Racine, so we are stuck with looking for other options e.g. tourism. End of story!

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  87. Although Racine is a great city for the rich, it's a great pity for the rest of us. Thanks to capitalism, the fortunate few exploit the unfortunate majority and snicker all the way to the banks which they own in this evil town. Until our nation consigns capitalism to the cosmic trashcan, our country, our state and our city will be hell for anyone who wasn't born into the hyperprivileged class. Needed: a people's government which will nationalize and share America's wealth with ALl our citizens.

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  88. Another thing we need in commonsense over at Unified, which blows the long-suffering property taxpayers' money on non-essentials. Our students are barely literate, they can't do simple math, and some of them are incapable of locating Wisconsin on the map. Never mind, though--they get to impersonate members of Elizabeth the First's royal court and warble ditzy ditties at a certain high school's Renaissance feast. When they arent't trilling Elizabethan madrigals and motets, they're belting out numbers by Elton John in silly musicals or playing with butterflies. (If you don't believe me about the lepidoptera, please see p. 1B of the "Journal Times" for 12/15/09.) Next year, the kiddies at McKinley will be collecting pennies for schools in Pakistan. At Unified, we've got everything but good, basic, economical education and the common sense that would throw the ballyhoo out of the curriculum. Now--in the midst of a depression--the boys and token babes at Unified want to hit us for new schools...

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  89. The fifth word in my comment should have been "is," not "in." Even so, I stand by my staements about Unified.

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  90. Until we reform our out-of-control school district which does everything but teach kids the basics, we'll have a heck of a time selling Racine as a decent community. Last year, Unified inflicted a crazy crane program on kids who should have been mastering basic skills. (You can check on this precious piece of pricey trash: I believe its name was "Three White Cranes, Two Flyways, One World." )

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  91. All in all, I have nothing but the highest respect for Dave and his associates. Marketing Racine as a worthwhile community is a task which I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

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  92. Mr. Angry - it is nice that you have taken your threatening comments out of your posts! Did the police catch up with you???

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  93. Who's Mr. Angry? Sad to say, lots of Racine residents aren't happy with the noxious nonsense in our Lakeside Looneybin.

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  94. But lots are.

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  95. 9:41 - You always have the option of leaving Racine - we won't miss the likes of you and all the other whiners.

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  96. We're not whiners--we're honest residents of this town. With luck and hard work, we'll organize and eliminate the costly caca from the budget.

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  97. Since when is complaining a crime? Over in Europe, citizens complain about problems and elect officials who solve them. Of course, in most of Western and Central Europe, governments actually heed the citizens' pleas for help and take action on their behalf. Here in America, we have a dysfunctional form of government which does little if anything constructive for the majority of our people. (Perhaps that didn't happen by accident. Years ago, an American History instructor at UW-Madison told me that the Founding Fathers deliberately saddled us with a defective constitution bacause they were afraid that the common man would want a strong federal government which would help him at the expense of the rich. According to my mentor, our constitution should have been called the "Con" because it was designed to trick us into believing we had rights while the plutocrats smirked and exploited most of us.)

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  98. History lessons aside, Racine has serious issues which render it well-nigh unmarketable to perceptive people.

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  99. During this mega-recession, selling Racine to ANYONE is going to be tough.

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  100. If even an ultra-privileged individual such as William Boyd can see that Racine has serious child welfare and infant mortality problems, we've got big trouble. (Generally, billionaires and their mega-millionaire kin are the last people to notice any form of social pathology. Assuming you'd like to read Mr. Boyd's letter, it's on the opinion and editorial page of the "Journal Times" for 12/17/09.)

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  101. 3:41 - I would not believe one word from a UW Madison professor - over 90% of them are communists.

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  102. Dear 3:41 PM, The professor who said that our constitution was a "con" didn't belong to any Marxist organizations. Rather, he just did his homework where our Founding Fathers were concerned. Sad to say, many of them were wealthy men who had little if any compassion and empathy for the poor souls whom they sent out to fight and die in the Revolutionaty War. From what the professor told us, these privileged white males were afraid that the egalitarian ideas in the Declaration of Independence would inspire poor white males to desire a better life and use their power at the polls to achieve their goals by electing federal officials who'd seize and redistribute the elite's wealth. Since the slave owners and indentured servant exploiters at the top didn't want to relinquish their loot, they slapped together a constitution which inflicted a weak-to-dysfunctional federal government on our people. That way, the paupers, artisans and small farmers would remain powerless while the rich white males would continue to run the nation.

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  103. The gridlock in Washington and America's disgraceful poverty statistics didn't happen by accident. The rich wanted the poor to stay where they were and designed our constitution accordingly. Unfortunately, the elite desired a government which would be well-nigh totally useless to the ordinary man and they succeeded in imposing it on him.

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  104. Getting back to Racine, the poverty and sheer misery here didn't happen by accident either. Gilbert Knapp and the early industrialists who sweated fortunes out of our rank-and-file forebears darned well knew what they were doing and laughed all the way to the bank. Later on, other labor exploiters built even bigger fortunes, started their own banks and laughed even harder. The result is a town full of playpens for the rich and their upper-middle class epigones on one hand and slums jammed with the elite's suffering victims on the other. Perceptive visitors who sense the pain and tension in our town rarely desire to repeat the experience. Selling Racine to people who know what they're looking at is a thankless and futile task.

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  105. You missed your comet ride a few years back.

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  106. Well I'm laughing all the way to the bank - and you know what? It feels pretty good. Merry Christmast to all and Happy New Year - I'm looking for a even more prosperous 2010 and more trips to the bank! Suck it up losers.

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  107. If you're addressing me, I'm no pal of the comet kooks. As for your bank trips, enjoy them while they're legal and before the government nationalizes financial institutions. Capitalism as you and I know it is on the way out. (No, I can't give you a date for its well-earned demise. However, I can tell you that in a decade or two, the hyper-privileged class will be divested of its loot and many of its members could wind up in federal pens.)

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  108. More garbage from the communist manifesto.

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  109. No, it's just a glimpse of the future.

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  110. Mr. Angry - in a couple decades it won't be my problem any more - however your premise is pointless. It is nice however that you are no longer threatening bloggers out here any more. Again, I look forward to more money, spending time with my family and traveling in 2010. And you can sit in your sad apartment with your sad outlook on life and your depression medication. Happy Holidays

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  111. Who's Mr. Angry? And, anyway. I don't have a sad outlook on life. Rather, I'm a realist who knows that the great Yankee cash-cadging carnival is almost over. Enjoy what's left of it and have a HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!

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  112. Hey!!! You said something nice there at the end. The meds must be finally working.

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  113. Nope--I don't touch drugs. Even so, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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  114. 3:03 - You know who Mr. Angry is (there are two of you) and that's the problem you should be on anti depressants.

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  115. There is only one. He has conversations with himself.

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  116. But there are plenty of men who are angry about the corruption in our city.

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  117. If Becker doesn't do time for his crime, there'll be comments from angry men which will make Mr. Angry's remarks look like the verses in Christian greeting cards. We are tired of Racine's corrupt-to-the-core clique of Good Old Boys and the dirty deeds of those scummy scamsters.

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  118. Dear 12/18/09 2:49 PM, Although I'm not Mr. Angry, I can't resist commenting on your remark that the coming collapse of capitalism won't be your problem because you won't be here to deal with it. Back in eighteenth-century France, King Louis XV repeatedly said the same thing about his country's corrupt monarchy. (I believe his words were:"Apres moi le deluge.") Even though King Louis XV did succeed in personally escaping the revolutionary wrath of his people, his heir and grandson, Louis XVI, DIDN'T. In 1793, the deposed Louis XVI was guillotined. If you're interested in the survival of your heirs and other capitalists, please consider the possibility of peacefully altering the system to share some of the nation's wealth with capitalism's victims. Otherwise, by 2030, we could have an economic system as well as a new form of government which your entrepreneurial heirs may not like.

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  119. From any angle, Racine is unmarketable. By and large, super-solvent outsiders won't want it because a rival dollar sign dynasty already controls the sorry place. Unless they're employed by the local oligarchy, upper-middle class types with ambitious ideas will find other towns to inhabit. Lower- middle class and working class people know all-too-well what a company town is and how such a community offers them nothing but chimp chores for chump change. Accordingly, they wouldn't take an interest in this badnews burg. Finally, since Wisconsin,our city and our county do so little to help the poor, they'd be fools to settle in Racine.

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  120. Let's face the facts: Racine is a dying Rustbelt blue collar town dominated by an excessively wealthy and powerful WASP clan dedicated to its own aggrandizement at the expense of the impoverished majority.The abovementioned cash-cadging kinship network destroys the lives of thousands while spouting fulsome platitudes about family values. Despite the propaganda, nobody who knows what Racine is will fall for the spiel. Changing RCCVB's name to "Real Racine" won't make the truth about this sad city disappear. We should have saved the $25,000.00 and spent it on HALO or the Food Bank instead of this farce.

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  121. ...or give it back to the people who paid it in. Let them decide what to do with it.

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  122. Mr. Angry - 3:50 and 3:59, I love it when you respond to your own postings. Let capitalism prevail and the rich rule !

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  123. Don't you wish! Whether or not the oppressor class and its lackeys like it, capitalism is headed for history's junkyard. Enjoy your toys and your loot while they're legal. Within twenty years, we'll have a centrally-planned economic system and a government whose officials will be empowered to nationalize entire industries with a stroke of a pen.

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  124. Then there won't be anymore corrupt little company towns like Racine in our land. At long last. America will join the rest of the developed post-industrial world. Finally, we'll have a strong federal government which cares for all its people instead of pandering to the corporate elite.

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  125. Of course, a decent government and help for the common man are part of the future. In the mean time (and it IS a MEAN time), we'll have to work for the destruction of the status quo through legal, peaceful, non-violent and political methods only.

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  126. For their sakes, I pray that our oligarchs may learn from their Scandinavian counterparts. The Nordic billionaires and millionaires have discovered that if they accept high taxes to fund cradle-to-grave social safety nets for the populace and maintain a low profile, their governments allow them to retain some of their loot. As long as they refrain from flaunting their pelf and they pay their taxes on time, their governments tolerate them. By and large, they've concluded that half a loaf is better than zero bread, so they behave themselves accordingly.

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  127. One thing is for sure, unlike a certain local tribe of treasure tyrants, the Scandinavian plutocrats DON'T parade their power and bully the rank-and-file.(A very prominent lady who likes to hold "grandiose" gatherings at a place I call "Whitebread" should take note and learn from her Nordic counterparts. Because most of them don't prance and preen, the ordinary people put up with them and don't demand the immediate seizure of their assets.)

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  128. In any event, Racine in its present state of socio-economic misery, is unmarketable. I have nothing but sympathy for Dave and his friends as they tackle their hopeless task.

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  129. Mr. Angry - give it a rest to the comments on comments. It nice to see however, you are no longer threatening the city. The rich will always rule - you guys just sit back at your PC's and whine - the rich are out making things happen, taking care of their own and enjoying life. Ha!

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  130. I see you have a complete lack of respect for "the toilers" as you call them. Friends and relatives had died fighting the spread of communism. Their lives will not go to waste!

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  131. No Mr. Angry, I have no respect for you - whine, whine, whine - Ha!

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  132. It's obvious you have never lived there because you would realize only the lazy are happy there. I left Denmark several years ago because I was tired of working hard and seeing the government cradle these increasing numbers of lazy people. That system only helps the rich and the poor, burying the middle class into debt. It won't be long before those systems start collapsing under their own weight.
    Before you praise it, try it.

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  133. Mr. Agry is so much fun to goat! Ha!

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  134. Angry - that is. He falls for it every time.

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  135. He sounds like a snake oil salesman. Always trying to sell something that doesn't work.

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  136. 11:32 - He's in a world of his own - dream land!

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  137. Although I'm not Mr. Angry, I'd advise you gentlemen to refrain from tormenting him or any other disadvantaged person. Our Father in Heaven has a way of dealing with purse-proud bullies. If you don't believe me, read the parable of Dives and Lazarus.

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  138. Getting back to Racine, this town is corrupt to the core. After we vote in a progressive government, the place should be dissolved as a city and annexed by Kenosha or some other municipality. Frankly speaking, Racine is exactly what my English teacher (A. Jarvis) called it--"The Mistake on the Lake."

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  139. For anyone who wasn't born into its elite, Racine has been nothing but a curse. When it's dissolved as a civic entity and becomes part of Kenosha or Milwaukee, only the crooks will cry.

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  140. 2:43 - Mr. Angry has been tormenting readers of this site for months. No one should feel sorry for that sad sack.

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  141. 2:43 - he also was actually threatening people up until recently.

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  142. If you've misinterpreted his honest appraisals of our economic system and its probable fate as threats, you're wrong. I've read his stuff and, although I may not agree with all of it, he's right about capitalism's crimes against humanity. Sooner or later, America will become a social democracy with a socialist economic system. (Unlike Mr. Angry, I can't give you a time frame. However, the signs of socialism's rise to power are here for those who are sufficiently perceptive to see them. Legislation promoting health care as a right instead of a privilege is just the start...)

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  143. Returning to our original topic--Racine--the city as it presently exists is a disaster. An out-of-control corporate elite, a callous upper-middle class, a struggling lower middle class, a barely-surviving working class and a beaten-down pauper class all mean trouble with capital "T" for anyone who tries to accomplish anything constructive here. Too much arrogance on some sides and anger among other factions mean that NOTHING worthwhile will happen in Racine for the foreseeable future.

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  144. When I call my relatives in Ohio and Kentucky, the first question they ask me is how many gangs we have in Racine. Then they want to know if any of my friends or co-workers got shot recently. With a reputation like that to overcome, Racine has major PR problems.

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  145. Also, somehow they heard about a certain hyper-privileged dowager and her pet fiber glass cow. I have one heck of a time convincing them that the elderly gal in question isn't a lunatic who spends her idle hours and her late mate's mega-moolah on entire herds of bogus bovines. When I tell them about her good deeds for the Salvation Army, they don't believe me.

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  146. One thing I've learned from sad experience. Somebody sometime in our town's past did a major hatchet job on Racine. I've got business associates in California and Minnesota who won't come here. If I want to meet them and treat them, they and I wind up in Chicago.

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  147. True. I've got relatives in Iowa who think that Racine is more dangerous than Chicago!

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  148. So I said to myself, "Self..."

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  149. For those who don't like Racine or speak badly of it - get the hell out of town. If not, keep your sad negative comments to yourself.

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  150. "Our Father in Heaven has a way of dealing with purse-proud bullies."
    Madam, you are a bully. You don't reply to any questions. You stand on your soapbox while beating people over the head with a thesaurus and obscure written opinions. Then you run away and hide under the "Anonymous" guise. Did you ever hear of the phrase "never cry wolf"? You repeat the same drivel over and over again making it difficult to focus on others' more valid opinions and thoughts.
    Please stop bullying.
    SDJ

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  151. I'm a Mister, not a Madam. Still, the fact remains that the rich are the enemies of humanity. Anyone who sees this town and knows what he's looking at will agree with me that billionaires inflict misery wherever and whenever they seize power. Racine is Exhibit A in the case against private sector privateers and their predatory system.

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  152. Dear 9:09 AM, If you want to see bullies, visit a corporate boardroom. Inasmuch as Racine is infested with corporate creeps, selling this place as it is to decent people is what my Pa called a "losing proposition."

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  153. 9:28 - You are no Mr. You are a pathetic whimp.

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  154. 9:33 - You and your "Pa" (pretty classy) are a "losing proposition."

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  155. History will determine who the winners and losers may be. Right now, though, I have a tough time convincing out-of-town friends and business associates that Racine is good for anything except a sardonic,sarcastic laugh.

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  156. I asked nicely and said please. Now stop bullying people. Thank you.
    SDJ

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  157. 9:33 - Is your last name Kettle? How's Ma doing?

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  158. Informing them about a gal I'll call "Widow Wax" and her philanthropic efforts falls on deaf ears. Somebody, somewhere started a story that she fills a faux prairie with gigantic toy moo-cows and hangs pricey Austrian crystal beads around the bovines' necks. Inasmuch as the little lady with the big bucks belongs to a greatly-loathed clan, convincing people that she's a positive influence is a project doomed to futility. Alas, people believe what they want to believe. At present, any burg with an over-bearing tribe of billionaires is going to have major PR problems where Mr. and Mrs. Middle America are concerned. The idea that SOME hyper-privileged folks can be good and do good just won't fly during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And any town dominated by corporate oligarchs is sure to be well-nigh unmarketable until the economy turns around for our rank-and-file citizens.

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  159. Mr. Angry - did the police catch up with you?

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  160. For everyone's sake, let's pray for a swift economic recovery.

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  161. My economic situation does not need recovery - what's all the hype about!

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  162. Dear 9:23 AM, If you wish to remain rich, please promote the prosperity of your fellow-citizens. Sad to say, folks who suffer from poverty tend to resent the wealthy. Eventually, the downtrodden and disenfranchised may organize to improve their situation. As any historian will tell you, the poor and the working classes often elect officials who tax the privileged class' fortunes down to size. (In other cases, if the marginalized people possess no faith in the system, they may resort to non-political, far-from-peaceful measures.) Either way, when the common man is pushed too far by uncaring big-buck bullies, he finds ways to punish them.

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  163. ...and any historian will tell you it never works.

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  164. Racine residents are self centered, arrogant in their simplicity, and focused solely on their self promotion. If you don't believe me, watch their driving habits! I have had the misfortune of living here for three years and have never been cut off or pulled out in front of more times anywhere else than in this misbegotten pathetically union dominated craphole, than anywhere else in the world. I HATE THIS PLACE!

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