Friday, July 13, 2007

New World Map May Show Sun Revolving Around Waukesha County

Still fuming over some transit funding shifted by the often pro-suburban regional planning commission to Milwaukee - - which runs the largest bus system in the state - - a few Waukesha County supervisors think the commission misrepresents Waukesha.

Mind you - - this is the same regional planning commission that has recommended tearing out scores of homes and businesses, and millions in tax base, from Milwaukee for the commuting convenience of Waukesha County residents.

And that grabbed $260,000 in Milwaukee County property transfer fees to fund the water supply study that Waukesha County asked the commission to conduct, and that is busy studying all sorts of regional water supply schemes to get Milwaukee water from New Berlin to Western Waukesha County, where groundwater has been depleted by chaotic annexations and other sprawl development.

There is a pervasive sense of entitlement to regional and Milwaukee land, water and dollars on the part of some Waukesha County leaders.

In land-locked Milwaukee, this perverse, anti-regionalism exceptionalism, where regional cooperation usually means "Waukesha-Should-Always-Get-What-It-Wants" is nothing short of comedic.

So let's be honest:

Despite the bluster, Waukesha County isn't pulling out of the regional planning commission.

The county gets far more than a dollar in value and outcome for every dollar it sends the commission's way.

And Milwaukee County still is the commission's largest annual funder, not Waukesha County.

And let's continue to be honest: the commission is deeply connected to Waukesha County for a divorce to take place.

Remember that the commission a few years ago bought its current, $4 million headquarters on a no-bid basis from Ruekert & Mielke, one of its favored consulting contractors, so the commission could move from downtown Waukesha to more suburban Pewaukee.

And the commission had all seven county partners, with Milwaukee again bearing the largest share, pick up the remaining costs on the commission's lease with the downtown Waukesha building that became the Les Paul museum.

In a sense, regional expenditures helped Waukesha get a museum.

And Pewaukee got the commission's jobs and the prestige of housing the regional effort - - far from more urban Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha, where the commission apparently feels comfortable.

The Pewaukee offices are so far from Milwaukee that it isn't even connected to the bus system that Waukesha County is now complaining about because the Milwaukee bus system is finally getting its fair-and-rational transit aid.

Maybe they should take another gob of Waukesha transit subsidy and use it to run an express line from Milwaukee to Pewaukee so the public can get a better look at the commission's offices and its many committee meetings?

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