Return to Nicholas Johnson's Main Web Site

Return to Nicholas Johnson's Coralville Rain Forest Web Site

It's Time to Level the Playing Field

Joe Van Ginkel

Winterset Madisonian

January 25, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Winterset Madisonian, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" (and with permission of the author) for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Winterset Madisonian.]

  As I ponder the City of West Des Moines' plans to annex into Madison County, I can't help but ask the question, "Why would anyone in Madison County want to live in West Des Moines?".  I know of only two landowners willing to sign their consent forms.  In order to be fair maybe they would be willing to do the same things for me that they have done for them.  Besides, it is time to level the playing field.

  So here is what I would like.  First I am interested in purchasing the copy rights to the term "Madison Village" for use in my subarea.  I need it only for a limited time.  Down the road we'll find a corporate sponsor.  On the bottom forty, down by the creek I would like to get "supermall zoning".  We can divert the water through the middle, and the resulting visual effect would draw shoppers from four states.  We'll put a miniature bridge in the center of it.  In order to enhance the selling value of the property and attract a suitable management company, I would like 60 Million dollars in TIF funds applied to the project.

  We can build a four lane road through the middle and around the property, courtesy of the DOT, providing handy access to the proposed freeway.  Across the street from the mall we'll locate the world headquarters of a giant bank which I'm sure will  qualify for a Values Fund grant and multiple other grants from various taxpayer funded sources totalling at least $82 million.  We'll promise IDED that we'll provide "one thousand new jobs" and "two thousand consolidated jobs".  On top of that I would like a 24" sanitary sewer line to haul off the waste, courtesy of the city and WRA.  If you run out of cash, we'll bond it.

  Since it will take a while for this project to get off the ground, I will also need a ten year program of tax credits and abatements applied to the property.

  If the taxpayers complain, we'll explain that we are creating jobs for Iowans in the name of economic development.  If the neighbors complain we'll plan a road through their house or put a 24 hour Walmart in their front yard, despite their objections.  (Complete with secret meetings and tax credits)  We'll pave the surrounding area either by inflated special assessment, or simply by requiring developers to provide it.  If they continue to give us a hard time, we'll invoke eminent domain rules and re-develop their property for private commercial use.

  I'm sure that all these things will enhance the selling value of my property, so I will also need to borrow a wheelbarrow from Public Works to haul the money.  Also if we have any "lawmaker trouble" along the way I might need the special services of your two full time lobbyists.  Like one of those amendments written in the unique vernacular that forever bears fingerprints.

  If you can get all this through the City Council and Zoning, I'll donate to the campaigns of your elected officials.  Plus, I will build a bridge across the Raccoon, free of charge.  How about a covered bridge?

Joe Van Ginkel