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Walker’s and Abele’s Radical Plans to Blow Up County Government

Issue of the Week

Aug. 12, 2014
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Did Scott Walker aim to blow up Milwaukee County government at the same time he was leading it?

Last week, a judge released files created on computers seized from then-Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and his top aides during the first John Doe investigation. A few of those files show Walker’s thoughts on eliminating county government, a radical step that’s totally in line with his anti-government ideology.

A document titled “Big Ideas for 2008,” apparently written by Walker or an aide, lists “consider metro government or elimination of county government,” “airport lease (proceeds to transit?)” and “break MPS up into smaller districts,” among other things. The document isn’t dated, but if he had been thinking about these goals in 2008 or earlier, he would have been well ahead of conservative Republican businessman Sheldon Lubar, who floated the idea of “blowing up” county government at a Rotary Club of Milwaukee meeting in December 2009. Sheldon Lubar is current County Executive Chris Abele’s primary advisor and father figure.

Walker, of course, didn’t blow up county government, lease the airport or break up MPS.

But Walker’s successor, Abele, has gone a long way toward completing Walker’s 2008 agenda. With the help of conservative, outstate Republican legislators and the backing of Lubar and the Greater Milwaukee Committee, Abele radically attacked the democratically elected Milwaukee Board of Supervisors and consolidated power in his own hands.

Not only does Abele’s power grab diminish the necessary checks and balances in government, but courthouse observers have told the Shepherd that Abele’s Act 14 sets the stage for him to spin off parts of county government into separate entities, such as a parks district or transit authority, that would still utilize taxpayer money but not be beholden to those same taxpayers.

Lubar, with Abele at his side, told an audience in May that his next target was the democratically elected MPS board. So if Walker is re-elected governor in November, expect this plutocrat-supported proposal to pop up in the next legislative session as if it’s a done deal.

Another unearthed Doe document from June 2006 has Walker pushing back on then-Board Chair Lee Holloway’s resistance to setting up a parks district. The spin-off never happened.

But unlike Walker in 2006, Abele is currently dealing with a weakened board that may not have the muscle needed to halt his radical plans.

Make no mistake: the Walker-Abele agenda is radical and has nothing to do with the public good. Rather, these two conservatives are following a plan to allow taxpayer assets to be seized by certain business interests for their own profit. Beware.


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