This spring, in response to national protests over the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Gannett, the largest newspaper company in the U.S., announced it would end the practice of publishing mugshot galleries which disproportionately target people of color who have not yet been found guilty of a crime. Gannett said that mugshot galleries presented without context may feed into negative stereotypes and are of limited news value.
Unfortunately, the Journal Times is not owned by Gannett. In a city which has been ranked as the second worst to live for African Americans in the U.S., the Journal Times publishes mugshot galleries almost daily as of late. Of the five Wisconsin newspapers owned by parent company Lee Enterprises, the Journal Times is the only one that still does.
Mugshot galleries generate pageviews to satisfy advertisers. The long lasting damage they cause is real. Most importantly, mugshot galleries are not a replacement for news stories which inform and keep communities safe.
It is time for the Journal Times to take responsibility and join the rest of our state’s newspapers and end this practice.
A recent Journal Times article touted the opening of Tivoli Green “market rate” apartments in Mount Pleasant.
According to the article, the approximately $60 million investment was generated by “private investors” and two lending banks.
Missing from the list of project funders was the $9.8 million in cash incentives from TID funds that were provided by the Village of Mount Pleasant. Funds that were “negotiated” after developer Wangard threatened to abandon the project.
TID funds are like a credit card used to help create development in a defined area, most often in the form of roads and utility infrastructure. They are not meant to offset direct investment costs of private developers like Wangard.
In their hurry to rush through a housing project, Mount Pleasant continued its practice of funding private development with public dollars.
The immediate benefit of most development is to generate property tax revenue. But Tivoli Green must first pay back the TID before it will ever generate revenue that pays for municipal services like the road repairs the village needs — services the village now says will require a countywide sales tax to help cover.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent and borrowed to benefit private corporations and developers in Mount Pleasant and the village credit card is maxed-out.
It’s time for you to pay for their mistakes, it’s a shame the JT doesn’t tell their readers the full story.