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Issue of the Week: Scott Walker Ducks Responsibility

Plus Winners and Jerks of the Week

Jun. 18, 2008
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Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker may be eyeing higher office, but if he wants to run on his record of being fiscally responsible, he’s got some explaining to do. Not only will the county have a budget shortfall of more than $30 million in the coming year, but his plans to fund mass transit will do nothing to fix the problem.

Everyone knows that Milwaukee’s bus system is in trouble, and Walker’s decision to cut routes and raise fares hasn’t helped the bottom line. His steady opposition of the Kenosha- Racine-Milwaukee rail line has stymied mass transit in the region.

His solution? Add more rapid-transit buses instead of commuter rail, and fund the bus system by privatizing the General Mitchell International Airport, a county asset that works well and adds revenue to the county.

Never mind that Walker’s airport plan would jeopardize funding for transit— not save it—and would take years before any plan could move forward. It gets him headlines and makes him look pro-business, and that’s all he cares about.

But the tide may be turning against Walker’s irresponsibility, stonewalling and shortsightedness. A county panel has recommended a small sales tax hike that would be dedicated for transit. A report by a pro-business transit consultant not usually supportive of rail has recommended that the county reverse Walker’s policies and consider adding a transit sales tax as well as the KRM commuter rail line. And Milwaukeeans—and the suburbanites who generally support Walker’s radically conservative agenda—are realizing that the future is in mass transit, not political games played to get attention from the Republican Party and lobbyists.

Event of the Week:
Motorcycle Ride in Memory of Lost Children

Commemorate the lives of Quadrevion Henning and Purvis Parker, who drowned in the McGovern Park lagoon, Jasmine Owens, the victim of a drive-by shooting, and Alexis Patterson, who has been missing since 2002, at the #1 Stunnas Still On Top Weekend Memorial Ride on Saturday, June 21. The ride begins at 10 a.m. at McGovern Park, and ends with a picnic at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park from noon to 6 p.m. For more information or tickets, call Dee McCollum at 975-8416 or go to www.numberonestunnas.com.

Winner of the Week:
Jim Kreuser

He was the only candidate on the ballot and won with a meager 2,743 votes, but Kreuser became Kenosha County executive last week in a special election. Kreuser replaces Allan Kehl, who pleaded guilty to receiving $15,000 from businessman Dennis Troha. We expect Kreuser to run a cleaner office— and be a vocal advocate for the KRM commuter rail line.

Jerks of the Week:
The Wisconsin Global Warming Task Force

Sure, the task force recommended that the state become more reliant on renewable energy sources such as wind. But the task force also recommended that Wisconsin relax its moratorium on nuclear facilities. Instead of waiting for a storage site for nuclear waste—such as Yucca Mountain in Nevada—to be completed before planning for new nukes in Wisconsin, state utilities can start planning for new nuclear reactors without knowing exactly where the waste will go. Which means that the radioactive waste will stay in Wisconsin…

Blog of the Week:
Scot Ross at One Wisconsin Now
(www.onewisconsinnow.org) Sensenbrenner: Proving Rolling Stone Right...Again
Gazillionaire Kotex heir F. Jim Sensenbrenner spent today doing his best to keep Wisconsinites who have lost their jobs because of the endless Bush economic policies he supported away from extended unemployment benefits.

Sensenbrenner, famously characterized by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone as [“your basic Evil Prick”] was the only member of the Wisconsin House delegation to vote against a plan to extend unemployment benefits for workers by 13 weeks.

This despite the jobless rate skyrocketing by the largest percentage in over years and despite the fact 325,000 jobs have been lost so far [this year] due to failed Bush economy. F. Jim’s birthday [was] this Saturday. How appropriate his message to Wisconsin’s unemployed is “let ’em eat cake.”

(Check out more local blogs at blognetwork.expressmilwaukee.com.)

“Democracy without honest information creates the illusion of popular consent while enhancing the power of the state and the privileged interests protected by it.”

Image of the Week:
Grain Silo by Peter Gnas


"This is the view from the roof of the eight-story grain silo at the former Pabst Brewing Co. Directly in front are remaining buildings under renovations, as well as a church. It was a beautiful day - I wish I could have stayed up there all day."

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