So the City of Wauwatosa approved on Tuesday UWM's chaotic and unfunded plan to build on more than 80 acres at the soon-to-shrink Milwaukee County Grounds - - with the blessing of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors which had already taken the land deal money and run.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning, predictably, sat on its developer-happy, highway-enabling hands, too, saying nothing about the loss of the County Grounds acreage - - just as they said nothing as the Pabst Farms project was developed in Western Waukesha County on land SEWRPC had suggested be kept designated agricultural.
No doubt SEWRPC would say that no one asked its opinion about the County Grounds, and, yes - - why would anyone ask? - - as SEWRPC has already recommended the expansion of all the highways right next door to the County Grounds - - I-94, I-894, and US 45 - - in a $6.4 billion freeway reconstruction plan the agency wrote for the state that does not contain a recommended nickel for transit.
So it is left to UWM and the failing Milwaukee County Transit System to somehow, someway provide transit links to the County Grounds from UWM's main campus miles away crosstown on Milwaukee's East side.
Look for surface parking instead - - the lowest usage of prime real estate known - - to anchor what will be called the new campus' transportation plan.
Speaking of transportation, the regional East-West Corridor Study had endorsed light rail with service to the County Grounds, but anti-urban, anti-transit forces in Waukesha County blew up the study more than a decade ago, and the Tommy Thompson administration gave up on the concept - - which it had endorsed until panicked by right-wing talk radio and local politicians in Waukesha County, which is the core of the GOP's conservative base.
So goes planning and land preservation and transit provision in and around these parts - - even though plenty of political leaders churned out Earth Day proclamations in April that, in light of recent and real-time events, look pretty insincere.
State legislators led by Democrats even killed the Clean Energy Jobs Bill on Earth Day itself, with the help of State Sen. Jeff Plale, a prominent Milwaukee Democrat (sic) who had helped craft it.
Wauwatosa is looking at another environmentally-hostile shoe to drop: the use of its Underwood Creek as a municipal toilet by the City of Waukesha - - the latter wanting to flush its wastewater through Wauwatosa to save proposed piping costs when returning Lake Michigan water to the Great Lakes watershed.
And, yes, SEWRPC has preliminarily endorsed the Lake Michigan water diversion plan for Waukesha - - and even told Waukesha in writing it can send the water into relatively-undeveloped acreage that expands the Waukesha municipal water service territory by 80% - - and, with a SEWRPC shrug, said environmental reviews of the diversion plan were up to others.
Waukesha and SEWRPC and UWM are telling us they see the land as something principally to pave, pipe through and build on rather than a limited resource to preserve and pass down.
Activists in Wauwatosa tried their best to persuade their elected officials that digging up the County Grounds and disrupting Monarch Butterfly migration territory was not in the public interest, but in the end, UWM's private sector-fueled Real Estate Steamroller could not or would not be stopped.
Maybe those Wauwatosa residents who spoke against desecrating the County Grounds will have more success keeping Waukesha's daily flow of 11 million gallons of wastewater out of the Creek that runs through their downtown - - a situation that Waukesha would certainly resist if Wauwatosa chose to save a few bucks by discharging its wastewater into Waukesha's downtown Fox River.
And I do give credit to Milwaukee County supervisors, led by John Weishan, Jr., who recently voted 13-3 in opposition to Waukesha's diversion and discharge plan.
But if Wauwatosa disregards its power and responsibilities in this matter, and were to capitulate to imperious Waukesha down the line, then Wauwatosa and the rest of Southeastern Wisconsin will have proven they learned little from the oil spill devastation ongoing in the Gulf of Mexico.
And learned nothing about Gaylord Nelson.