Is This Some Sort of a Machiavellian Plot in Wheeling?

You know, no matter how much I think about writing these opinion pieces, I struggle to put into words the logic behind my deep-seated positions. Take, for example, the purchase of property on 19th Street for the construction of a new “public safety building.”

According to Councilman Palmer, and I paraphrase, the expenditure of millions upon millions of dollars is justified to attract the best applicants to serve in our police and fire departments.

He compared it to attracting star athletes to universities to participate in sports. What a ridiculous analogy, and it makes no sense.

I would counter by saying that attracting the best applicants is based on how much they will get paid, period. Have they forgotten, or do they care, that Wheeling is already in debt to the tune of $190 million , we have an eroding tax base (which they hope to supplement by their enactment of a $2 user fee), a continued exodus of taxpayers, and yet he (Councilman Palmer), and those who voted with him, would like you to believe this new building will help Wheeling grow and prosper.

Is this a distraction, or a Machiavellian Plot? Which by definition is conduct or philosophy “that condones opportunistic and unethical ways of manipulating people.”

If I had hopes of a response, I would ask these questions of the mayor, council, and you, the taxpayer:

First, how does the expenditure of millions of dollars, increasing our debt, raising our taxes (user fee) for the acquisition of contaminated property, and construction of a new building generate any additional income to the operations of the city government?

Second, wouldn’t that site (zoned industrial) be more valuable for future industrial or commercial development? My cursory observations reveal we have a limited amount of land that is zoned industrial, and land that is available to anyone interested in relocating or starting a new business in Wheeling. In my opinion, our current city administration was short-sighted when they permitted the large industrial zoned tract (LaBelle Nail Plant) to be rezoned so an out of state developer could, and did, construct subsidized housing.

I don’t understand the logic of the mayor and council. Why would they encourage the construction of subsidized housing at the expense of industrial development, especially when we have hundreds of empty homes and apartments throughout the city? Isn’t it about time that the mayor and council take their foot off the accelerator, and put it on the brake, before we run out of pavement?

Confucius once said, “to see what is right and not do it, is a lack of courage.”

Hope springs eternal!

Jerry Jacobs is a candidate running for mayor of Wheeling in the May municipal election. The News-Register has offered him space for a commentary each month until the election in May, and will make the same offer to other candidates for mayor.


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