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CITY AREA AND CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS BLIGHTED
Posted on Tuesday, August 24 @ 03:56:06 CDT by van

News and Views No matter how much logic, reason or input of information was presented by "the public" it was obvious the Democratic majority of the Lincoln City Council had already made up their minds to do the dastardly deed they did. Under the lack-luster leadership of Chairman Terry Werner, the wishes of Mayor "Mama" Seng prevailed by a vote of 4 (Democrats) to 3 (Republicans) and a large piece of real estate generally bounded by "M" Street on the south, 48th Street on the west, "R"Street on the north and 52nd Street on the east were declared "blighted." A good dictionary definition of "blighted" is an "impaired condition", hence, the term applies more to the council than to the geographic area in question.

More often than not, shenanigans such as was witnessed by those attending the city council meeting on 23 August 2004 and those watching it on Channel 5 are associated with some sort of clandestine deal designed to feather the nest of an undisclosed benefactor who just happens to also be a "close friend" of or political campaign donor to one or more elected public officials. While the "real agenda" was and still is, for the moment, hidden, the truth can not long be held from the people of Lincoln.

After listening to Wynn Hjermstad of the Urban Development Department ramble on ad nauseam lobbying for her department's plan to be approved and Traffic Engineer Roger Figard joining in the chorus, Chairman Werner allowed public testimony. Hjermstad admitted under questioning that the study, about as kinky as Seng's hairdo, was personally directed to be done by our illustrious mayor herself. We need an in-house "Archie" to occasionally "stifle" our dear Edith Bunker look-alike.

Attorney Mark Hunzeker, representing BAL VI, L.L.C. a major stakeholder in the property in question seemed to be against declaring the area "blighted", but council members who usually bow down to him, ignored his testimony. BAL VI, L.L.C., according to records in the assessors office, is actually Julius Misle. Some of the others shown to be owners of pieces of property in the area are Realty Trust; Robert Nefsky; Abram, L.L.C.; and TOMAR, L.L.C. Nothing ever came out in the public hearing regarding the feelings of all of the other owners of property in the area.

Hjermstad, in attempting to justify her department's recommendations, gave the council information which was, out of her own ignorance or willful intent to deceive the even more "intellectually challenged" council members, substantially false! "Tax Increment Finance" is a term which I firmly believe neither she nor members of the council fully understands. Here is how it works.

An appraisal of the land designated as "blighted" is made and that serves as a base-line. Then the property is acquired by the political sub-division (in this case the City of Lincoln) either through outright purchases or through the use of the "Right of Eminent Domain" (where a government can take away private property for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of the sovereign power over all lands within its jurisdiction). A person or entity is chosen to "develop" the land The land conveyed to the developer, bonds are sold to finance the development and the developer gets, in essence, a very low interest rate loan from the political sub-division. After the development is completed, a new "assessment" is made for tax purposes. The difference between the real estate in "blighted" condition and later in "developed" condition provides additional revenue which is used to retire the bonds. Now the question arises - how long does the city have to wait to get any appreciable tax revenue flowing into the city coffers. Werner, in an ongoing display of fiscal stupidity, publicly stated "About 14 years." Who then is the immediate benefactor of the game to be played? You guessed it! The developer.

It was left unclear as to where the money could come from for the city to purchase the "blighted" real estate. Dana Roper, the seersucker suited senior (and possibly somewhat senile) city attorney could not answer or perhaps chose not to answer all of the questions asked by council members, thus giving more reason for one to suspect some "sweetheart deal" in the making.

Since the council members are too damn important to use the microphones before them and since the chairman obviously directs the media guy to lower the volume of the public address system so many of the people in the room can't clearly hear the testimony given, many of those attending the "hearing" were kept somewhat in the dark.

A number of folks chattering at a break taken seemed to indicate that if left alone, private interests would be found to privately develop the property in question. Thus, the taxpayers would not be screwed for years, out of all of the tax revenue forthcoming from the area subsequent to development of all or part of same.

By declaring all of the designated real property as "blighted" some well established businesses in the area have been placed in jeopardy. Bumbling bureaucrats, at the whim of her majesty "Mama" Seng, could storm in and take over land currently occupied by long-standing commercial businesses generating decent levels of property tax revenue, if she or her on-staff "brain", Mark Bowen, in the future found one or more political cronies who wanted to make a few million, at the expense of such businesses and the taxpayers of the City of Lincoln.

There are other even more sinister dimensions to this whole subject which will be covered in future articles. But for now, start thinking about declaring the dominating Democrat dunces on our city council as "blighted." In my opinion, they habitually operate in a clearly impaired (mental) condition!

VansOpinion
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