Monday, October 13, 2008

Region's Employment Gap Speaks Volumes About SEWRPC

The Journal Sentinel cites another study showing the huge economic chasm in the region between white and African-American populations. UWM's Marc Levine has again crunched the numbers and offered us a regional self-portrait that is infuriating.

If we had a proactive regional planning commission, we would have had a coordinated, passionate, risk-taking campaign years ago to make sure these studies' conclusions were reversed.

And that the planners would use their public resources to attack the region's real problems that hold the regional economy back.

The state statute that creates Wisconsin's regional planning commissions has this to say about each region's master plan - - and you tell me if the evidence over SEWERPC's 50 years - - and only two Executive Directors - - is meeting that objective, especially for Milwaukee?

"66.0309(10) (10) Adoption of master plan for region. The master plan shall be made with the general purpose of guiding and accomplishing a coordinated, adjusted and harmonious development of the region which will, in accordance with existing and future needs, best promote public health, safety, morals, order, convenience, prosperity or the general welfare, as well as efficiency and economy in the process of development"

But that is not how the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission has defined itself. It is content to manage piecemeal planning from a remote location in the City of Pewaukee.

From an office building it bought without competitive bids or advertisments from one of its frequent contractors.

Every day that SEWRPC churns out its business-as-usual reports that are disconnected from its residents and its other studies, too, the longer and deeper is the region's missed opportunity for Big Picture,Cutting-Edge Planning.

In a word: Leadership.

As I have said many times on this blog and in various op-eds, Milwaukee County should stop flushing away more than $800,000 annually on SEWRPC operations because Milwaukee city and county residents are getting back nothing of value in return.

Enough is enough.

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