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Dimitrijevic Speaks Truly About BHD Needs

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on September 5, 2010

From Milwaukee County First:

In case you missed it, Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic had an article in today’s Crossroads section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel regarding the need for a new mental health facility.

The whole thing really is a must read, but there are two key points I would emphasize.  Here’s one:

Building from scratch is better than a retrofit. The proposal to rehab the former St. Michael Hospital was short-sighted and not fully thought out. It was a lease rather than a purchase, was a no-bid contract, is not located on land already owned by the county, is older than our current facility and was too costly to renovate. Because of these factors, building new simply makes more sense.

It does get so tiresome to have to repeatedly point out the fallacy of the whole St. Micheal’s suggestion, but apparently neither Scott Walker or the local paper seems willing to admit that.  And why doesn’t the fact that it was a no-bid contract bother anyone?

And now for the other issue:

The truth must be told. The county executive has a record of cutting critical mental health services that promote independence, provide rehabilitation and preserve individual integrity and dignity. He vetoed funding in the 2010 budget for a number of programs, including the Community Alcohol and Other Drug Addiction program, Targeted Case Management and the Community Support Program. The board voted to override all of those irresponsible vetoes. These programs provide true rehabilitation and help the county avoid more expensive hospital stays.

In the end, isn’t that what we all seek?

In October 2008, the county executive vetoed a County Board initiative to build a new mental health facility on the County Grounds, stating that it was cost prohibitive. This was a major setback. While I am pleased that he has completely changed his position and now supports building a new facility, it would have been nice if he had reached this conclusion sooner.

Our County Board coalition realizes the urgency of improving the way we deliver mental health services. We are not moving too fast.

The time is now. No other solutions or alternatives have emerged. The goal of our coalition is to provide mental health care that will make us all proud.

In other words, cutting corners doesn’t work.  In his “cost saving” moves, Walker has repeatedly made things more expensive in the short and long term runs.  This ends up taking away from other important things, like the parks and the transit system.

It also shows once again why we need a real leader with real ideas, and not some charlatan in an empty suit.


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