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Crazy Talker Walker

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on July 9, 2009

Scott Walker has a knack for coming up with some really bad ideas that, if allowed to happen, would only harm Milwaukee County.

Sometimes the County Board doesn’t catch on in time, and the bad things happen, like when Walker wanted to privatize the call center, but only ended up sticking tax payers with a bigger bill when the state took over. Or selling the county grounds to a private development company for much less than what the land was worth.

Sometimes the County Board is able to see through Walker’s smoke and mirrors, and prevent the bad things from happening, like when Walker wanted to move the mental health complex to the old St. Michael’s Hospital.

The County Board had just proven themselves again when they didn’t jump on board with Walker’s plan to privatize the airport. Instead they ordered a study to be done on the feasibility of following through with Walker’s misguided privatization scheme.

It’s a damn good thing that they did, too.

From JSOnline’s All Politics Blog:

Nearly all applications for privatization under a federal law have been withdrawn , including the proposed privatization of Chicago’s Midway Airport, according to a review by Mitchell Airport Director Barry Bateman.

One airport that was privatized, Stewart Airport in Newburgh, N.Y., reverted to public ownership. The only airport listed as still actively considering privatization was New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport.

Of course, I’ve been saying it was a dumb idea for a year and half. Others, like Greg Kowalski, also noted that privatizing the airport makes no sense.

Walker is undaunted in his insanity:

Walker has said he’ll revive his push to privatize Mitchell as a means of shifting airport revenue to subsidize county buses, which face multimillion dollar shortfalls in the coming years. He’s said the county could get $500 million or more by leasing long-term airport operating rights to a private firm.

So, instead of doing something positive for Milwaukee County, like supporting the sales tax referendum, which would have given a dedicated source of revenue for the transit system, the parks, and EMS, as well have provided much needed property tax relief, Walker felt that it would be better to follow an unrealistic pipe dream in privatizing the airport. When his plan fell through, as it inevitably would, we would be in a legal tangle over the airport and have a destroyed transit system.

I think that some of the County Board Supervisors said it well enough:

“This isn’t in the realm of reality” for Milwaukee Mitchell Airport, said Supervisor John Weishsan Jr.

County Executive Scott Walker’s support for exploring privatizing Mitchell was dismissed by Supervisor Toni Clark as “crazy talk.”

Even if investors could be found to purchase operating rights to Mitchell, the result would be higher fees to airlines and consumers, said Supervisor Christopher Larson.

Given Walker’s propensity for boneheaded ideas, instead of making a video about Big Talker Walker, the original artist should have made one called Crazy Talker Walker.


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