Barrett: Green Investment, Water Are Keys To Milwaukee's Growth
I think we will hear more from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in his State of the City address Wednesday about the need for green investment in Milwaukee, with water research and production being major priorities.
In other words, Milwaukee can grow by managing its water resources in the city, from the Lakefront to the Menomonee Valley, and in partnership with agencies like the MMSD - - managing the water for the benefit of people who live here and who might move here, and not shipping it out.
[Update: Here is the full text of Barrett's speech, and, as predicted, there are details about his commitment to infrastructure improvement, green job development and other grow-the-city initiatives, thanks in large measure to the stimulus funding.]
You combine that mindset with strategic investments of stimulus funding, and you have more than a plan to ride out the recession: you've got a plan to grow the city's tax base and workforce.
Which should help drive down crime.
And improve the schools.
And revive older neighborhoods, and their commercial and industrial property.
It's all connected.
Some people get it, and some don't (we're looking at you, Scott Walker).
This is what urbanity and sustainability are all about, and it's great that Barrett wants to make those issues and principles central to Milwaukee's future and its identity.
Didn't Barrett support the sale of Milw water to New Berlin?
It's good to give encouragement, but you're crediting the mayor with too much. Selling water to exurbs fuels their development, and stifles Milw redevelopment efforts.
When other Waukesha County communities make their water request, my guess is Barrett will myopically support them too.
I assume Barrett is drawing a distinction between the sale to New Berlin, an existing customer pledging to return to the basin a surplus of water, and Waukesha, which is entirely out of the basin and which still wants to dump water into the Fox River and Missiisippi watershed away from Lake Michigan.
I don't think you can call this a promise about not selling more Milw water, but his speech seems to suggest you're right. Hope so.
Barrett: "I'm not talking about selling our water. I am talking about growing and selling our expertise with treating freshwater."
Freshwater sciences, infrastructure repairs and redeveloping forgotten neighborhoods is great and honorable considering the money available and the foresight to put it where it's needed. What's not great is having a budget that eliminates health department workers, firefighters and public works employees; you know, the ones that are praying to keep their jobs and tax-base-supporting-residency-requirement-City-homes. There is NO job growth when you cut an incumbent position and fill it with a newly created, unsustainable 'green gig.'Where's the stimulus in that?
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