consultants are sandburs

Sunday, October 28, 2012

RAMSEY - With recent history in town as it is, and with much sandy soil, should we anticipate fracking mining as the next big thing?

Strib reports here on fracking sand mining, this excerpt from mid-report:

Steve Rannenberg, president of the Wisconsin County Code Administrators (WCCA) [...] said the offers raise conflict-of-interest questions because land-use staffers have a hand in picking winners and losers in a burgeoning business that can be highly profitable.

In one case, a county sand specialist who worked for months on a mining application quit and went to work for the sand company as soon as the application was approved.

"Should the public be concerned? I would be inclined to say yes," Rannenberg said.

But Mike Fitzgerald, president of Superior Sand Systems Inc., said companies are buying experience, not influence. He said the public backlash against a company that hires county staff can outweigh the advantage of gaining instant local expertise.

"It actually handicaps us," Fitzgerald said. "People immediately lurch to the assumption that we did that in some way to gain influence in an underhanded way."

That "have a hand in picking winners and losers" language, and "Should the public be concerned," and "buying experience, not influence" seem to have a resonant dimension.

It probably is just me and simple tinnitus, not any real resonance, while in need of another morning cup of coffee to get my mind right. Nobody would, in Ramsey, "lurch to the assumption" that a hiring in any particular set of circumstances, in Ramsey, might be aimed "in some way to gain influence in an underhanded way," in Ramsey.

Going back to say 2002 and 2003, we can say that land owners in Ramsey may sometimes speculate that putting their land to the highest and best use [putting the most profit in their pockets] is in the public interest as well as their own, and all manner of hare-brained things can result. But is that a general fracking truth?

It is noteworthy how individual "property rights" might appear or be argued to trump the public interest in Ramsey, when/if ever in conflict. Even if you as a reader might believe in that priority ordering less than others believe it, it seems a currently "in vogue" manner of thought.

In Ramsey. Among some.

I suppose hearing a cash register "ka-ching" ring at times while considering current events is, again, bothersome tinnitus instead of any resonance.

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