PEOPLE-Local 645

  • Quality of Life Alliance

Walker Puts Campaign Before Constituents. Again.

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on March 31, 2009

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, in another clueless and self-contradictory act, vetoed a resolution by the County Board to actively and aggressively pursue federal stimulus dollars.

It was a clueless act in the fact that the board originally passed the resolution on a vote of 17-2, and an override is as close to a lock as you can get in Milwaukee County nowadays.

But it was also, as is par for Walker, self-contradictory. In the article, Walker is quoted as saying he thought the policy to be “reckless and not in the best interest of the taxpayers.” Apparently, he feels that it is much better for the taxpayers to have to pay back the feds for the stimulus bill even though they never used a dime of it, and still to have all the infrastructure repairs to pay for out of the tax levy.

Not only that, but Walker goes on with this:

Walker said that although his stance on stimulus aid generated criticism from supervisors and others, there may be only a few additional projects for which the county seeks funding under the revised stance favored by the board. County staff had to consider all potential projects for funding under his narrower criteria and can forward any that haven’t made the cut yet, he said.

Did you catch that? Walker, who just said that the Board’s stance of aggressively pursuing all stimulus dollars the county is eligible for is “reckless and not in the best interest of the taxpayer,” goes on to say that there were only “a few” additional projects that the Board would approve of that he hadn’t already.

Does this mean that Walker lied when he called the Board’s policy reckless, or does he mean he is not in the best interest of the taxpayers? It would be interesting to see a reporter ask him that question, but I would be shocked if one of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s reporters would go against their policy of not ever saying anything close to critical of Walker.

Fortunately for us, the County Board is well aware of his game-playing style of management, and were prepared for him. They had already called a special meeting for tomorrow morning. This did two things. It forced his hand to either veto, returned the resolution unsigned, or to acknowledge reality and sign the bill. Guess which option he did not choose.

The Board have five things slated for tomorrow morning’s session.

These include overriding Walker’s veto of the resolutions regarding the stimulus money as well as a veto of a resolution that would allow the county to seek competitive bids for a consulting gig that would help African-American men and other minority men find jobs (as opposed to the no bid contract for Gerard Randall).

Other items that the Board will take up include some tidying up of the Sheriff’s Office’s takeover of the House of Correction and putting the final nail in the coffin of the insane idea of moving the mental health complex to the old St. Michael’s Hospital.

SIDE NOTE: The St. Michael’s bit was in the first edition of the MJS article that I saw. But by the time I had a chance to write this post, they took it out. I wonder why. Was it because it wasn’t deemed as important as the other two topics? Or was it that it said that Walker wasn’t available for comment, which makes on speculate on his whereabouts, i.e. was he on the campaign trail again?

The last item is a bit of genius from Supervisor John Weishan:

…a resolution adopting a policy statement endorsing the continued operation of the Farm and Fish Hatchery programs located at the House of Correction as programs of overriding value for the residents of Milwaukee County.

This resolution basically would curtail Walker’s recurrent attempts to cut it out of each year’s budget.

The farm and fish hatchery serves many purposes. It gives inmates skills and a work ethic to help them land a job and become productive members of society when they are released. It provides fish for the lakes and lagoons throughout the county parks systems that people enjoy going fishing for. It also helps provide tons of fresh food for the Hunger Task Force (who by the way, pays for a lot of the cost of the farm, making it a win-win situation).

Since it does good for many people in the community at low cost to the taxpayers, Walker is sure to veto it. But it is still early enough in the year that the Board will have time to override it before the budget process starts up in the fall.

I hope that the County Board comes up with more proactive ideas like that to limit the amount of damage Walker can do.

After all, since Walker is gearing up for full campaign mode, it is up to the Board to prevent as much of Walker’s “scorched earth” attitude towards Milwaukee County from occurring as they can.

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