Waukesha's lobbying and communications efforts in pursuit of a Lake Michigan diversion are leaving no stone unturned.
Read along, thanks to Waukesha records released to this blog that show:
* Face-to-face meetings at Waukesha's behest with various Milwaukee officials;
* Additional media, governmental, union and business sector meetings and organizing under discussion to help win a precedent-setting diversion of Lake Michigan water to Waukesha with Milwaukee being the water-seller most desired by Waukesha.
In summary: Waukesha is thinking strategically and resources behind it.
Not so clear.
The emails and other records reveal busy communications among Waukesha officials and contract lobbyists in October and November to schedule and prepare for the Milwaukee meetings.
Waukesha officials have also been meeting with outside groups and agencies, including staff at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, records show.
The meetings with the Milwaukee officials were to include one or more of the following: Waukesha Mayor Larry Nelson, Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Daniel Duchniak, and two lobbyists from Martin Schreiber & Associates, a lobbying and PR firm under a $10,000+ monthly contract to the Waukesha Water Utility: Schreiber firm partner Bill McClenahan, and former Milwaukee Ald. Michael D'Amato.
Meetings were set up initially as early as Nov. 4th with Milwaukee Alds. Robert Donovan, Council Pres. Willie Hines, James Witkowiak, Willie Wade, and more followed.
Ald. Joe Dudzik was scheduled for Nov. 10th, with Ald. Ashanti Hamilton and Comptroller Wally Morics on Nov. 20th, though some times and appointments changed, as the records show.
One later email indicates that Morics, and Alds. Hamilton, Hines, and Robert Bauman were scheduled or rescheduled on Nov. 20th, along with Ald. Terry Witkowski "at the South Shore Yacht Club for lunch."
Ald. Tony Zielinski was set for a meeting at Alterra Coffee on 1st and Pittsburgh on Nov. 23rd, and Alds. Dudzik and James Bohl on Nov. 25th.
McClenahan asked D'Amato by email on October 28th, at 1:33 p.m. what sort of materials would be best prepared for the Milwaukee officials.
D'Amato replied later that afternoon:
"3 things as an intro
"One, the need for water in 2 bullets. Radium, stipulation
"Two, who needs water. Service area map including % of developed land. Who is city of Waukesha? Income, housing value, wrking class, growing diversity. Do not use latino # alone. Roll into growing "people of color." [the abbreviations were D'Amato's]
"Three, what are options and what's in it for Milwaukee. Indicate all 4 options, unique circumstance that makes diversion possible (map). Discuss approx amount of $ that will go to city for next 20 yrs. Use modest escalator to boost amount.
"That should do it for most people," the email concludes.
Another interesting document that shows Waukesha's attention to detail is a proposed work plan drafted by McClenahan for discussion among the Waukesha contingent at a Milwaukee Athletic Club lunch on November 4th.
This is the text, records show, with bold-facing in the original:
"Additional needed meetings with Mayor Nelson (or for Mike solo): [Mayor] Barrett, [Alds] Murphy, Bauman, Puente, all other council members
"Additional other meetings: Wauwatosa, West Allis, New Berlin? Racine? Oak Creek? Governor Doyle? Local Legislators?
"Discuss public meeting and hearing schedules and locations
"Other action items:
"Respond to enviro letters
"Consult with DNR on process
"Finalize application by for [sic] Dec. 8 release
"Op eds, letters to editor (Journal Sentinel, Business Journal, Freeman, Daily Reporter)
"MMAC, other business meetings
"Union supporters - how best can they help? Also contact additional unions
"Revise or prepare additional handouts."
My bottom-line analysis:
Waukesha has an array of lobbyists, staffers, elected officials, lawyers and consultants who are focused on obtaining the Lake Michigan diversion, which Waukesha has said it would prefer to purchase through the City of Milwaukee.
The Waukesha approach is multi-layered, with experts brought on board as needed.
In a recent posting, and by contrast, I quoted another document from Waukesha expressing satisfaction with the City of Milwaukee's decision against hiring an expert adviser to help calculate the true value of water.
Not because the Milwaukee expert would have been too expensive. Money had already been earmarked for the contracting. Milwaukee said it could handle these possible water sale valuations on a case-by-case basis.
So, I'd say: advantage Waukesha. It knows how to play the game.