Monday, March 24, 2008

Today's Journal Sentinel Story On Water Begs One Major Question

State Sen. Mary Lazich tones it down significantly in her remarks in today's front-page Journal Sentinel story about the Great Lakes Compact - - no tirade, no ranting about totalitarianism and dictatorships - - but one question hangs over the story like a August thunderhead ready to break:

If her arguments against the Compact had merit, why did the body in which she serves - - the Wisconsin State Senate - - approve the Compact 26-6, with eight of her 15 Republican Senate colleagues voting "aye?"

The answer: Those 26 bi-partisan members were grounded in reality, while the others were playing partisan games or living in Neverneverland.

If she couldn't even sell her views to her own party, especially her plan to send the Compact back to multi-state renegotiation for major changes dismissed in the four Great Lakes states that already have approved it - - why should a reader think her ideas have any chance of resurrection now?
It's like making the case that the Milwaukee Braves should come back to Milwaukee.

That train has left the station.

Lazich continues to want so-called "majority rule" put into the Compact for water diversion approvals by the eight Great Lakes states to communities like Waukesha.

But wanting is one thing, and reality is another.

Across-the-board observers as diverse as then-Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager (2006) to the conservative Waukesha blogger Jim Widgerson last week have separately pointed out - - a unanimous approval from all eight states is the diversion approval procedure already etched into Federal law.

No state is going to give that up, and Wisconsin should not argue for it, since Wisconsin would be giving up its right to block a badly-designed diversion that could hurt the Great Lakes, too.

Lazich and others should also be careful of majority rule.

Sounds good (does she support it at the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, SEWRPC, where the City of Milwaukee has no commission seats, but little Walworth and Ozaukee Counties each have three) but...

Is it a majority of those eight states, or a majority of the people in the those eight states?

Take majority rule to its logical, one-person-one-vote conclusion, and the states of Illinois, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania or Michigan could out-vote Wisconsin and Waukesha County any and every time.

What Mary Lazich wants and what the rest of the Great Lakes region and the Wisconsin legislature are going to do are very different things.

And thank goodness for that.

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