There are still many questions left unanswered.  And why are they important?  It shows that it is “business as usual” in Crystal City.  The smelter developer continues to act in secret and conveniently lets his insiders know information that is not available to the public.

As of Wednesday, March 24th these questions are still unanswered:

  1. BulletSome elected officials are given information and others are not.  It is hard to know how much information is being kept from some elected officials because only the ones “in the know” have the information. 

  1. There are a couple of examples that will help to prove the point. 

  2. During a council work session, councilperson Debbie McKenna persisted in asking the Mayor and other council members about the sources of the financing behind the Wings project.  There had been rumors that the Chinese had pulled out.  But no one ever confirmed it.  During that session councilperson David Picarella told Debbie McKenna “if I told you, you would let other people know”.

  3. In another situation councilperson Terry Laburay stopped by City Hall to check her mail box on a Sunday.  She ran into the building commissioner and the Mayor having a meeting with the smelter developer Jim Kennedy and several unidentified men.  Councilperson Laburay officially asked for a copy of the map that she saw and the identities of the men.  The information has still not been produced.

  4. Lastly, the groundbreaking ceremony of March 27 was announced to the press before it was even told to some of the council members.

  5. BulletWings says that construction is beginning but no new DNR or EPA permits are public.  When it was reported in the Leader newspaper that Bob Niemeier said permits were in the works, Jack Ginnever personally contacted Bob to ask him “what type of permits” so that Jack could narrow down his search.  Bob’s response was that the information “needs to be provided by the public information offices of those organizations”.  Requests to produce any permitting activity in these agencies have turned up empty. 

  6. This is the first step in any feasibility of a major project like the proposed smelter.  At the city council meeting on March 22nd, Bob Niemeier of Alberici talked about permits but gave no proof that any pertinent permits are in the works.  He did admit however, that the air quality permit alone would take over a year to obtain.  This should bring some serious questions about the feasibility of the project.

  7. BulletTom Schilly won’t debate Jack Ginnever.  Jack Ginnever contacted both the local newspaper and local radio so that the citizens could witness an honest, unbiased debate between the mayoral candidates about the very important issues that are facing them.  Jack Ginnever contacted Tom Schilly directly and his answer was that “we are in litigation”.  Ladies and gentlemen, Jack is in litigation too!  But there are so many other things that the citizens deserve to know about.  “Litigation” is not an excuse. 

  8. BulletYou water bills went up 10% last year.  This is true.  In April of 2009, your water rates increased from 76.8 cents per 100 gallons used to 84.5 cents per 100 gallons used.  In addition, since March of 2005, your rate has gone up 19%.  The recent State Audit shows that for the years of 2008 and 2009 there was over $840,000 worth of water unaccounted for (calculated at todays rate of 84.5 cents). 

  9. Jack Ginnever has been in talks with the city water superintendent.  Jack agrees with the superintendent that the city’s water treatment facility is severely outdated and needs a major change.  And Jack is confident that water waste can be greatly reduced by carrying out the water superintendent’s plans. 

  10. BulletNo one is talking about Chinese involvement.  This is not an issue about culture or race.  This is an issue about the independence of the United States.  Despite rumors that have been spread, there is still a 300 million dollar deed of trust with Minmetals Inc. on the iron mine that belongs to the smelter developer.  It is not common knowledge what the financial arrangements are with the Chinese company.  But the deed is still on file in the Washington County Recorder of Deeds office.  

  11. There have also been talks given by the Jefferson County Port Authority and County Executive Chuck Banks stating that the barge port plans for Crystal City are attractive to China because they will be able to ship goods up the Mississippi River to Crystal City where they can be distributed from a central area in the U.S. 

  12. But no one is talking about how much the Chinese have invested or how much control they could have over the smelter and barge port.  And, if this gives China better leverage to move their manufactured products into the U.S., how are these projects saving jobs in the U.S.?