Thursday, June 04, 2009

Rakolta Profits From Film and Alternative Energy Industry, Trashes Michigan Anyway

Oh come on, I'm hardly even trying here. I'm reading all the news stories like usual, and these glaring Republican contradictions just leap right off the page at me. I really don't want to start playing Death Race 2010 yet, and neither does the rest of the state, but I feel I would be negligent if I didn't point out these tidbits when I see them.

Possible GOP gubernatorial candidate John Rakolta Jr. - yes, he of big money Republican donations and the Voice the Vote Hitler ads that he was "unaware" that he was financing * wink * - has nothing but complaints about business conditions in our state, while he is busy cashing in on both the film industry AND alternative energy. Nice how these guys find a way to fill their pockets while they repeatedly dismiss the Democratic leadership that brought them these opportunities.

Finley wannabe Daniel Howes used Rakolta as a weapon in a recent column...

"Michigan is a failed economic model," Rakolta continues, reprising his remarks to a Mackinac panel Wednesday. "If we wait 'til the gubernatorial election, we'll be on the precipice of disaster -- if we aren't already."

That crash you hear may be the silence breaking, finally, with what Rakolta rightly calls the "courage to speak the truth." There are others -- you know who you are -- who agree with him, starting with (probably) the entire executive committee of Detroit Renaissance.

... but the "truth" about John Rakolta comes out in an interview with Michigan Business Review's Sven Gustafson. Rakolta's Walbridge construction firm is $75 million into the new Motown Motion Picture Studios in Pontiac...

There will be 12 sound stages of various sizes, various quality for film, TV, video, audio recordings. There will be about a 400,000 square-foot basic front-office production area, (which) will include the teaching part of the studio. We will have many, many partners, all the way from animation studios to universities that are taking space.

The whole idea is to not only produce entertainment content but also to train the Michigan workforce and to partner with the various universities that have film schools at their home locations.

... which will bring 3,000 jobs there, and up to reportedly 10,000 spinoff jobs to the area, so, why don't you say thank you to the nice governor. And, while you are at it, John? Might want to send a lovely gift basket for the wind energy business too.

One of Walbridge's subsidiaries is called Walbridge Equipment Installation. We move and install heavy equipment, the kind that you would see in the auto companies: Stamping presses, furnaces, assembly lines, things of that nature. And as the auto business began to contract, we began to look for new ways to utilize our existing core competency and technology, and installing wind farms is a very complex, very heavy kind of business.


So far they've been in Pennsylvania and the East Coast, but we're hopeful that here in Michigan, as we recently passed this (renewable portfolio standard) law, that we want to be part of that. So we are vigorously pursuing work with both Consumers and (Detroit) Edison and any other wind provider that might decide to come to the state.


Rakolta has managed to diversify and take financial advantage of the "new" Michigan, but he goes on to call the measures that brought him all this good fortune simply a "band-aid", until budget and taxation issues are addressed. While we do need to address those crucial issues, running around to the press to tell everyone how "bad" Michigan is probably doesn't help sell us to other investors at this point, right? Just a guess. Makes you wonder how much business the Republicans have scared away from this state.

Another guess is that Rakolta would call for more tax cuts for people like him, even though he has profited handsomely from the set-up we have now - especially with the film industry.

Not sure how these people can live with their own hypocrisy. But they certainly find a way, don't they?