Thursday, March 07, 2013

Micromanaging Milwaukee from Madison

The primary reason given for undercutting the Milwaukee County Board has been the oft repeated allegation about micromanagement.  I find it remarkable that Republicans and their allies complain about alleged micromanagement within the same local level of government while at the same time actively trying to micromanage the City and County of Milwaukee from Madison. 

Gone are the days of local control conservatives.  The crowd running things in the Capitol and their sugar daddies in big business have been very busy trying to micromanage local governments, especially and almost exclusively in Milwaukee. You can really take your pick of any number of examples:
  • Before Scott Walker even took office he threw away millions of dollars in investment made by the City of Milwaukee to develop the former Tower Automotive site. He did that when he essentially chased the anchor tenant of the development, Talgo, out of the state along with future jobs.  And NOW Scott Walker lectures about economic development in the city? He who was an absolutely horrible steward of Milwaukee County's biggest economic development prospects? 
  • Scott Walker, his allies and appointees have been trying their best to overrule and otherwise derail the City of Milwaukee's streetcar project.  There is no groundswell of real opposition to this project within the City of Milwaukee and the vast majority of Milwaukee's elected officials and many business leaders support it.  But these "local control" conservatives apparently think that they know better judging from their high seat in state government. At this point it appears that they will ironically try to use state government bureaucracy to kill it. If that fails don't be surprised to see more tailored legislative action that trumps local control in Milwaukee. 
  • Now they want to target policy involving the single largest item in the City of Milwaukee's budget - police and fire. Yes, those two things alone represent 60 percent of the city's expenses but apparently the state government doesn't trust the principle of "local control" enough to allow the city to decide its own policy on residency.  Scott Walker has political favors to continue to bestow for services rendered, so he and his allies have no interest in the long abandoned traditional tenants of their Republican faith. Apparently they don't mind replacing it with "the ends justifies the means."
  • Regarding the Madison-based decision to remove power from the Milwaukee County Board, the real intentions were made clear very early.  The micro-managers from Madison were originally planning to quickly ram through legislation to accomplish their goals and that of their special interest beneficiaries. Although they have since bobbed and weaved, there wasn't and there still isn't any real interest in an actual substantive local debate about this local issue.  They intend to force us to live with their big plans no matter how much money they have to spend on "educating the public" or dispatching armies of lobbyists.
So please kindly spare us your phony concern about alleged micromanagement and disputes within a local unit of government while you simultaneously attempt to micromanage nearly every major issue in both the City and County of Milwaukee.  

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