Thursday, July 17, 2008

San Diego Has - - Gasp! - - A One-County Regional Planning Commission

Some officials in the public and private sectors freaked out a few weeks ago when I suggested in a Journal Sentinel op-ed that Milwaukee withdraw from the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) and create its own one-city or county commission.

Impossible they said, even though Dane County has its own one-county commission, and has turned over to the City of Madison government the responsibility for transportation planning.

If that were the case around here, we'd already have an up-to-date housing study (SEWRPC issued the last one in 1975, when Gerald Ford was President) and modern transit, like light rail.

And a commission that gave minorities a decent shot at jobs, and not the 7% minority hiring rate that includes only one minority member on the 42-person professional staff that has managed to land a job there.

(Along with four other minorities in so-called technical and clerical full-time positions.)

Instead, Milwaukee has to wait for the suburban planners and engineers working out in Pewaukee for a seven-county commission that includes rural Walworth and Ozaukee Counties, and anti-Milwaukee Waukesha County, to get us on their suburban-oriented agendas, or to give our needs their input and approval.

Take a look at the website for SANDAG - - San Diego's one-county planning commission.

Compare it to SEWRPC's mid-90's website: You decide which site looks like it wants you to get into the issues, participate and move a public-spirited agenda forward.

Unlike SEWRPC, which takes Milwaukee's money but doesn't give it representation on the commission board, SANDAG even gives San Diego's Mayor a seat right at the table!

Imagine that.

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