Mary Lazich's Idea Of Regionalism: A Free Ride
Which, given that you can't ride the bus from Milwaukee to New Berlin, is somewhere between irony and a bad pun.
Here is what the State Senator (R) from New Berlin had to say on her blog about the notion that New Berlin would make anything in the way of a regional benefits payment to Milwaukee for extending water service to New Berlin:
"Despite an approved Compact, Milwaukee holds a gun to New Berlin
By Mary Lazich
Monday, Jul 28 2008, 12:55 PM
"I must admit I was taken aback when I read the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel that Milwaukee is negotiating with New Berlin to sell Milwaukee water.
"The price tag would be hefty $1.5 million one time fee in addition to actual costs.
"During the lengthy deliberations about the Great Lakes Compact, I made it clear that despite my reservations, I supported an effective document that was good for the Great Lakes, the state of Wisconsin, and would preserve our greatest natural resource.
"Time and time again, I heard Compact proponents make the case that the Compact would address the water needs of New Berlin.
"The conventional wisdom was that the Compact needed to be approved quickly, and if it was, New Berlin’s water woes would be taken care of.
"Making those arguments were city of Milwaukee officials from Mayor Tom Barrett on down.
"They claimed the city of Milwaukee would no longer have issues with New Berlin getting water if Wisconsin would simply okay the Compact. It seems that isn’t the case.
"Wisconsin has approved the Compact, but for the city of Milwaukee, on this critical public health issue, it’s still business as usual, imposing a hefty price tag for a community in desperate need of water.
"For the city of Milwaukee, it was never about the Compact. It was and remains a question of money and control over a suburb to the west."
My, oh my, where does one begin to unpack these 'arguments?'
* She was "taken aback" reading a July 23rd newspaper story that New Berlin and Milwaukee were negotiating a water sale?
The news that those negotiations were authorized by state officials was reported in a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 54 weeks ago, and there were subequent stories about negotiations, meetings between Milwaukee and New Berlin's mayors about water, etc.
(Tip also to Lazich and blog writing staff: There is no slash mark between "Journal" and "Sentinel" in "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel." Check the paper's front page more than once every 54 weeks for confirmation.)
Where's she been getting her information about Great Lakes water: the Ohio newspapers?
Or did she forget her earlier blog post where she blasted New Berlin Mayor Jack Chiovatero for meeting with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett about water, or as it was described on her blog, "cozying up."
* The Compact, approved just a few weeks ago, would end New Berlin's water woes?
So it was up to outsiders to fix New Berlin's problem?
Wasn't that New Berlin's responsibility, something Lazich would understand, as a former New Berlin city council member, Waukesha County Board supervisor, state representative and now State Senator?
Lazich does not mention that New Berlin officials for years, on their own, and in the face of federal action, delayed cleaning up its water supply, then decided over the last couple of years not to buy water filtration upgrades that could have cleaned the water, and met the federal requirements, because New Berlin felt it could get better water - - Milwaukee's water - - cheaper.
* Lazich says "During the lengthy deliberations about the Great Lakes Compact, I made it clear that despite my reservations, I supported an effective document that was good for the Great Lakes, the state of Wisconsin, and would preserve our greatest natural resource."
Now come on, there: There's more spin in that sentence than an out-of-control Tilt-a-Whirl.
By "effective document," Lazich must mean the revised, fantasy Compact she wanted renegotiated by all eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces as an alternative to the draft Compact she vocally opposed from Day One, stalled in a legislative study committee, and voted against this year on the Senate floor.
New Berlin Mayor Chiovatero still has to get this deal past his City Council; he and his brace of first-line consultants will not have to cozy up to New Berlin council members to help them understand that a $1.5 million payment to Milwaukee is a smaller number, and hence a better deal for cleaner, reliable water, than is $6 million for radium-removal filtration equipment and maintenance to further deplete their wells.