Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Don't Forget SEWRPC Meeting Today On Justice Agenda

This is another reminder that the regional planning commission's Environmental Justice Task Force is meeting today in Waukesha at 4:00 p.m.

The task force is SEWRPC's relatively new official link to low-income and minority communities and issues; Tuesday's meeting will include significant discussion of the region's land use plan and SEWRPC's long-delayed housing study (33 years and counting).

Coincidentally, SEWRPC is up for its every-four-years federal certification review - - a public meeting scheduled for Wednesday, October 22nd, from 5-7 p.m at the Milwaukee Downtown Transit Center.

Four years ago, the meeting was a public hearing that produced such concentrated heat on the agency in public testimony that federal reviewers told SEWRPC it needed to improve its community outreach - - thus leading, three years later, to the task force creation.

Not looking for a repeat performance by the public at the 2008 certification review - - if SEWRPC were to flunk the review, it could no longer have a major hand in transportation spending in its seven-county region - - the feds and SEWRPC have changed the format to a town-hall chit-chat, where people who wish to testify or comment can talk to an official at one of several listening stations in the big Transit Center conference room.

So while attending and commenting at the certification review is important, it's also recommended that activists come to the task force meeting today and directly comment on the broad agenda there.

The task force opens the floor to the public at the end of each of its meetings.

The address is Rotary Building, Frame Park, 1150 Baxter St., Waukesha. Details and a link to the agenda are here.

1 comment:

Jim Bouman said...

On your recommendation, Jim, I went to the meeting.

It was a sad reiteration of the standard SEWRPC routine: a bunch of bored suits going through the motions, challenged by a bunch of earnest citizen trying to help them see a point of view that is entirely foreign.

I got to observe some really alert and interesting fellow citizens in the audience: the wonderfully acerbic and prepared Gretchen Schuldt from "Milwaukee Rising" blog, as well as first rate professional staff from the Metro Milwaukee Fair Housing Council and the ACLU.

The bored and dismissive SEWRPC staff were there because they were required to go through the motions of community input with real people (as opposed to their usual constituency of developers). The chronically self-involved Task Force hanger-on, Jackie Schellinger, was a bizarre (nothing new for this "community" representative) counterpoint to alert and critical audience members.

SEWPRC reps seemed--to a man--to be wishing they were anywhere BUT in this meeting.

Just going through the motions.