Ever wonder how the politicians determine who to call, mail or why they might knock on your door?
These articles on data mining with voter information, local demographics & door to door politics tell the story:
Sara Lin & Monte Morin write about a familiar topic – local opposition to Wal-Mart Supercenters:
A bid by the world’s largest corporation to bypass uncooperative elected officials and take its aggressive expansion plans to voters failed Tuesday, as Inglewood residents overwhelmingly rejected Wal-Mart’s proposal to build a colossal retail and grocery center without an environmental review or public hearings.
With all votes counted Tuesday evening, 4,575 Inglewood residents had voted in favor of Wal-Mart’s plan, while 7,049 had voted against it
Speaking of Entrepreneurs, IBM launched System/360 on April 7, 1964. Many consider it the biggest business gamble of all time. At the height of IBM’s success, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. bet the company’s future on a new compatible family of computer systems that would help revolutionize modern organizations. Get a behind-the-scenes view of the tough decisions made by some of the people who made them, and learn how the System/360 helped transform the government, science and commercial landscape.
John Byrnes has written one of the better articles [164K pdf] I’ve read on the topic of Wisconsin’s generally poor entrepreneurial track record. He correctly points out that:
- Most attendees at recent VC & Economic Conferences were from government agencies, community development organizations, schools and universities (why? most real entrepreneurs don’t have time to sit around and talk, they’d rather make things happen)
- Byrnes further muses that perhaps our culture is to blame: “We may be dealing with the long-term effects of an overprotective social climate that discourages risk taking.”
- Too much overhead: Byrnes cites a recent study by the California-based Milken Institute which shows that Wisconsin has more economic development offices and business incubators per capita that almost every other state, including California! Byrnes calcuates that the ratio of business support people to entrepreneurs is 100 to 1; if you add educators, the ratio is 1000 to 1!
Byrnes is right on. We don’t need more state sponsored programs (that generally only benefit the largest firms). We in fact, need less paperwork (I can’t imagine how a small business keeps up with it all….), more risk taking and a more entrepreneurial financial environment (California has this in droves).
Byrnes article appeared in the April, 2004 issue of Corporate Report Wisconsin.
David Brooks pens a too funny look at the proposed Liberal Air and it’s counterpart Right Wing Express. The faculty seating arrangements are too funny….
On a more serious note, I recently received an email from County Executive Kathleen Falk regarding non stop air service to and from our local airport. She also attached a note from Brad Livingston, our airport director regarding their current initiatives (non-stop service to and from Atlanta along with potential incentives to increase service).
Dane County 04/06/2004 spring election results are available here.
Locally, congrats to Ruth Robarts, Shwaw Vang and Johnny Winston, Jr. for their School Board seat victories. None of the races were all that close (although from a spending perspective, Winston & Vang far outspent their opponents while Robarts was substantially outspent by Olson & MTI). Thanks also to Alix Olson, Sam Johnson and Melania Alvarez for taking the time to run.
We do indeed need more discussion about local issues, and this election, with debate on topics such as curriculum, budget, board leadership and PAC/Group spending was useful. Bummer that so few people showed up to vote!
UPDATE: Lee Sensenbrenner summarizes the results here, along with Doug Erickson’s summary of the board races here.