Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Only Thing that Matters is the Next Election

One thing about Scott Walker that has become abundantly clear is that there is nothing more important to him than the next election. Unfortunately for Milwaukee County this has brought eight years of short-term politically motivated thinking that has translated into terrible policy in just about every area of the county.

  • Constant deferred maintenance leading to horrible and often dangerous structures. (parks, courthouse, transit building)

  • Drastic cuts in staffing levels that lead to record overtime costs, overburdened staff and resulting state and federal intervention (House of Correction and the Mental Health Complex)

  • Raising bus fares and cutting service now only to suffer ridership loses later.

  • Frankly, the examples of Walker's short-term self-centered approach to policy seem endless. One example that crystallizes this point for me can be found in a 2002 email discussion about Walker, the county grounds and flood control efforts in Wauwatosa.

    At that time Walker had just come into office and it was clear that blind ideology and the next election were the most important things to both Walker and his cronies. After some very serious flooding issues in Wauwatosa in the late 1990's MMSD, local businesses, the community and the county worked hard on a solution to prevent a repeat. That solution included putting detention basins at strategic points on the nearby county grounds. Shortly after Walker came in he and his cronies clearly tried to at least slow the process if not kill it altogether.

    This and other discussions at the time make it clear that Walker and company were constantly obstructing the hard work of others involved in this important project. But the part of the email that stands out the most to me is the following observation:

    "Dennik and Walker have also stressed to Luigi that they don't
    want any bulldozers on the County Grounds project until after the 2004

    My translation: Although preventing flood risk was a critical issue for the community, the only thing that really mattered to Walker was the next election.

    (There are other telling observations in the email so I am providing the full text of it here.)

    1 comment:

    Jim said...

    That email kind of says it all.

    Also, sometimes I wonder how you and capper both can manage to bullet point Walker's many failures without bashing your head against a wall. Or do you bash your head against a wall while doing it?