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Walker, Through Vetoes, Shows His Inability To Lead

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on November 17, 2009

Scott Walker issued his vetoes today, and they are absolutely mind-boggling in their ineptitude and utter foolishness.

First, Walker vetoed a resolution calling for a study into the viability of providing health care benefits to the domestic partners of eligible county employees. Supervisor Chris Larson decried this veto, claiming that it will treat some county employees as second class citizens. My friend and fellow board member at Milwaukee County First, Jason Haas, points out the potential cost, if benefits were to ever be granted, is minimal, especially when contrasted to the gain it would provide for Milwaukee County.

This move by Walker is just another example of Walker’s bigotry and his pandering to his extremist right-wing base, disregarding such quaint notions such as equality and promoting the county back to leadership status.

But then Walker really shows how his ideology and political aspirations have caused him to lose all contact with reality and that he is nothing more than a hypocritical fraud when it comes to leadership.

Some of the vetoes that Walker did to the amended budget were completely predictable, even if wrong-headed, like his profiteering privatization schemes, expecting non-negotiated concessions from the unions and discriminating against the poor, the needy, the disabled and the elderly.

It has been shown that the privatization that he insists on pursuing doesn’t save the tax payers one penny, but in fact actually ends up costing more than if the jobs had been kept in the public sector. That doesn’t slow Walker down though, because union-bashing is one of his handful of campaign stump speeches. Besides, he can steer those contracts to his campaign donors.

But to eliminate things like the pools, the community centers, mental health services, park maintenance, and the Community Justice Resource Center shows that Walker no longer has a moral compass to guide him. These vetoes show that he is more than willing to step on anyone, but especially the most vulnerable of our citizens, in order to pursue his myopic and monomaniacal pursuit of the governor’s chair.

Also inexcusable is Walker’s veto of the preservation of the farm and fish hatchery. The farm and fish hatchery costs tax payers absolutely nothing, as even the pro-Walker local paper points out:

… Eliminate the county’s Farm and Fish Hatchery in Franklin, which is run with inmate labor. No savings.

but provides invaluable services by allowing the Hunger Task Force to feed hundreds, if not thousands, of hungry Milwaukee County citizens.

So if it costs nothing, and yet provides such a valuable service, why would Walker veto this, and not embrace it like most politicians would? The answer is twofold. Walker believes this will play well with his base, which usually doesn’t want to be bothered with trivia like the truth. But it also is just another perennial attempt by Walker to open up this land for development, and maybe score himself some big campaign donations.

But the most baffling and most telling, but not most egregious, example of Walker’s inability to be an effective or responsible leader is his restoration of the parking meters along the lakefront.

As I pointed out last week, while observing the County Board voting on the amendments, the parking meters makes no sense whatsoever:

Much to the joy of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and all lovers of the parks and the lakefront, the proposal to put parking meters up along the lakefront was roundly defeated. The clincher to its defeat was the fact that implementation of said plan was to raise $450,000, although it was pointed out that there was no explanation on how Walker’s staff came up with that number. In exchange, UWM informed the Board that it would cancel its lease for parking with the County, resulting in a loss of $94,000. UWM also would end its contract for U-Pass, the bus shuttle service, which is worth $2.3 million dollars.

There is no way under the sun that anyone can call foregoing $3.2 million dollars of guaranteed revenue for a hoped for $450, 000 as being fiscally responsible. The fact that Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Steve Schultze didn’t call him out on this is another example that investigative reporting is indeed dead.

These vetoes by Scott Walker are not holding to his campaign pledge of fighting taxes. Nor are they politics as usual, as County Board Chairman Lee Holloway states.

They are just another showing of his cynical and hypocritical posturing in his perpetual chase of the governor’s seat, and that he will go to any extreme, even doing unconscionable harm to the most vulnerable among us in this pursuit.

Please call your County Supervisor today, and tell them that Walker cannot be allowed to run his campaign off the backs of Milwaukee County anymore.


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