The outreach committee created by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission in 2007 to formally bring low-income and minority communities into the agency's work heard a first-time, introductory presentation Tuesday afternoon by Steve Adams, SEWRPC's new outreach manager.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Adams outlined his background, SEWRPC responsibilities and goals to the Environmental Justice Task Force - - and caught the essence of SEWRPC's decades-long isolation and self-destructive insularity by saying: "we gotta look beyond traditional approaches," and "we have to tell people what the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission does."
He agreed to employ alternative media and a wider range of settings and strategies to bring SEWRPC business directly to people and groups, rather than expecting them to come to SEWRPC sessions.
Another tidbit from the meeting:
Milwaukee Ald. Willie Wade, a task force member, gave a presentation on the city's agreement to sell water to New Berlin.
Wade explained that the sale went through the Common Council in large measure because New Berlin was an existing Milwaukee customer.
"We were already partners," said Wade.
Another task force member asked Wade what he thought was in store if and when the City of Waukesha applied for a Lake Michigan diversion, with an offer also to purchase water from the City of Milwaukee.
Wade alluded to Milwaukee's sometimes rocky relationship with Waukesha:
"It may be ugly," said Wade.
As I've said often on this blog, it is a crying shame that these and other SEWRPC meetings are not electronically recorded.
As is usually the case, no traditional media covered the meeting.
Maybe convincing SEWRPC to buy and use a tape recorder, or, heaven-forbid, video recording and streaming equipment, could be one of new outreach manager Adams' goals.
Under SEWRPC policy, a committee's proceedings are not made public until approved at that committee's next meeting: with an occasional lack of a quorum to pass an approval motion, and interim periods of months between meetings, there are long delays in the posting of some committee's work and discussion on the SEWRPC website.
Hand-written minutes do not capture the complete goings-on; SEWRPC's committees make recommendations on major highway, transit, land-use, water, housing and development policies and spending, and the public, which funds SEWRPC 100%, deserves better communications.