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Discrimination At The Courthouse

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on December 15, 2009

From Milwaukee County First:

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has posted an article which highlights one of the biggest problems with Milwaukee County government – blatant discrimination.

The article gives two examples.  The first is the act of the newly shaken up Personnel Committee, which was recently recreated with the most conservative members of the Board.  Their first act was to approve setting Milwaukee County back ten years:

A Milwaukee County Board committee on Monday recommended that the full board sustain County Executive Scott Walker’s veto of a measure that would lay the groundwork for granting domestic partner health benefits to county employees.

The Personnel Committee voted 5-2 to uphold Walker’s Nov. 16 veto. Walker and other opponents of the domestic partners measure said the benefit would be too costly at a time when the county faces serious budget problems.

Just when Milwaukee County was poised to join the rest of the world in being equitable to all of its employees, these fools have jeopardized this progress.

Hopefully, the rest of the Board can see how wrong-headed and mean-spirited the new Personnel Committee is and will just ignore their hatred and discrimination against homosexuals.

Towards the end of the article, they also have a break down of Walker’s most recent round of lay offs:

Also Monday, supervisors received a report that said 55% of the county employees being laid off because of job cuts in the 2010 budget are African-Americans. The 72 African-Americans are among 131 county workers losing their jobs because of privatizations and other cutbacks.

Whites accounted for 37% of the layoffs, or 49 workers. Hispanics accounted for 4.5% of the layoffs. Those of Asian or American Indian background accounted for the rest.

The article ends with a quote from Supervisor Peggy West, who remarks, “it was unfortunate that the county layoffs would hurt minority communities hit hardest by the recession.”

This type of discrimination is also very sad, but not very surprising.

Scott Walker and certain members of the Board have a long history of discriminating against the disadvantaged, the poor and minorities.  Some of these acts of discrimination include, but in no way are limited to:

  • Repeated attempts to close the community centers,
  • Repeated attempts to close the public pools, with this year including not only closing the pools, but then building a water park in a well off suburb,
  • Repeated cuts to transit routes,
  • Repeated downsizing and cuts in services to the mentally ill,
  • Repeated downsizing and cuts in services to the poor (Income Maintenance programs),
  • Denying equal rights to homosexual employees,  and
  • Repeated downsizing of the lowest paid jobs, the majority of which are minority employees, but giving overly generous raises to his own staff and friends.

It is this kind of blatant discrimination that has kept Milwaukee County from staying ahead of other communities as being an attractive place to live, work and play.  This discrimination has not only fed into creating our current economic problems, but has also prevented us from any meaningful recovery.

It is beyond time that our elected leaders put their personal prejudices and their political aspirations aside for the betterment of our community, to work to increase our standing both socially and economically as a leader in the state and the country, and to stop their malicious attacks on our most vulnerable and our neediest citizens.


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