Yesterday, I wrote about the recent setback for the Edgewater redevelopment, and how I perceived an element of elitism in some of the arguments against the project. Now, in a letter likewise issued on Wednesday, Steve Breitlow of the Building Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin laid it on the line for Mayor Soglin and the alders who voted to kill the Edgewater funding and the jobs that would have come with it.
Without further comment, here's Steve's letter:
Madison City Alders,
I would like to express our extreme disappointment in the Mayor and Madison City Council. We have spent years and hundreds and hundreds of hours working with the city, the developer and other groups interested in moving Madison forward. This Edgewater Developer came to us as union trade labor and asked to partner with us to develop an unprecedented community development and labor agreement. It was a "Done Deal." Prior to last night's City Council, Madison was looked upon as the most progressive labor supporting government bodies in our State. Last night half of you and the Mayor changed that perception. It is now our reality that you actively oppose union trade labor to the point that you will go out of your way to kill our jobs along with long term economic development.
This Mayor and Madison City Council words of support of good paying and/or union jobs and strong economic development are now nothing more than political rhetoric.
We continue to be amazed by alders speaking words of concern and support about things like good union jobs and PLA's and then vote to kill the project and hundreds of union jobs.
At the end of the day whether you are a new alder or were on the council during Edgewater Approval, by going back on a done deal you may have created an ironic and potentially chronic precedent. If it were not for a private lawsuit filed against the City based on their discontent with the decision by the last city council, the Edgewater Redevelopment could be near completion. The lawsuit ran the clock until it was dismissed for lack of merit. The non elected private group got their intended result simply by stalling the project until reconsideration from a different group of elected city leaders.
It is like a "recall" on Madison City Development approval. It does not take a much talent or money to file a lawsuit. What city project or action will be next?
Although not written yet I am confident that this Madison Mayor and this City Council made history last night. To lead labor and a developer along and watch them clear countless hurdles and expend vast amounts of capital and human resources only to eliminate the finish line. It is incredible that such a bold move can be made with such a weak display of leadership.