There is a newly formed advocacy group in Milwaukee County that calls themselves “MY Milwaukee.” This group is nothing more than the coalition of the Greater Milwaukee Committee and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin.
Their stated goal is much like ours: to make Milwaukee County a great place to work, live and play. However, a closer look at their “initiatives” reveal that their objectives are not that much different from the one’s GMC has been touting for years, which in turn largely reflect prominent member Sheldon Lubar’s desire to “blow up” Milwaukee County as opposed to rebuilding it.
In fact, to support their positions, they cite studies done by the Public Policy Forum, which the GMC had commissioned and carefully crafted in order not to get true results, but results that they wanted to support their original desires, as we have previously pointed out:
However, a precursory reading shows that while PPF did put some painstaking work into their research, and presented their findings in a rather neutral tone, the whole gist and focus of the report shows a strong leaning towards the dismantling, or at least, a great paring down, of Milwaukee County. Even if not intentional, it is understandable. The sponsor of this study is the Greater Milwaukee Committee, a group that Sheldon Lubar plays a major role in. Lubar is one that has long advocated for the demolishing of Milwaukee County.
Some of their objectives are worth discussion and parallel ours, such as a collaboration between Milwaukee County and surrounding municipalities and taking an audit of current county assets (buildings, etc) and see what can be sold off.
Other ideas are not as responsible, but are politically popular among certain factions, such as creating a regional authority for transit and one for the parks. The demand for a transit authority as opposed the the dedicated sales tax that the people wanted has led us to where we are now, with a transit system that is on the verge of collapse and will suffer severe cuts as it is. We’ve also seen the dangers of taking away public control of the parks, thanks to the New Yorkers who have lost theirs.
Some of their other initiatives include:
- Severely slash the number of supervisory districts (which would also slash representation for minorities and create an unfair balance on the board, reduce the quality of representation and not save any money).
- Balance the leftover deficit from Scott Walker on the backs of workers as well as the poor, the disabled and elderly.
- Outsource most services to either the municipalities, the state or to private vendors, all of which will further reduces services and/or raise taxes.
- Replace the treasurer with a comptroller
- Severely alter mental health services (endangering the entire community as well as those requiring in patient treatment)
- Merge benefits such as the retirement and health care systems with the state (which, under the current administration, is extremely unstable – much better would be to join with the municipalities in the county.
But their most notorious initiative is calling for a statewide “Local Government Flexibility Toolkit,” which would include putting Milwaukee County under a “fiscal stress test.”
This was pointed to by blogger Ed Garvey has being the prelude to a Fiscal Martial Law, such as has been implemented in Michigan. Fiscal Martial Law is when the state can determine that a city or county is in fiscal distress and appoint a manager who strips the elected officials of their power and takes it on for their own.
Scott Walker has denied that there was any movement towards this. Likewise, GMC has issued a press release claiming that this was not their desire. However, other bloggers are contradicting these claims, citing “an insider” at the law firm that is alleged to have been hired to draft such a bill.
Another concern that people have expressed to us is the fact that this group would actually use the following picture, which shows an African American family in what appears to be cross hairs:
While it is hard to believe that they did this intentionally, it would show how out of touch and insensitive this group is to the people of Milwaukee County and what the people really want. They will do much better for themselves, and all of us, when they understand that the best choice would be not my Milwaukee or your Milwaukee, but a Milwaukee for all of us.