Saturday, February 20, 2010

Regional Struggles Flow In Waukesha County

While there is growing turmoil about a possible City of Waukesha water agreement with Milwaukee, the long fight over merging the two municipal Pewaukee's continues unabated.

You'd think that Greater Pewaukee would be the center of regional cooperation in the area, as its home to the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Commission, and Phil Evenson, its former executive director and now a SEWRPC consultant on such matters, is chairing the two Pewaukees' merger committee - - but apparently to no avail.

So it goes west of 124th St., where the notion of sovereignty - - defending your turf, against all enemies, foreign, domestic, imaginary - - gets thrown around a lot in Waukesha County politics.

It got invoked at the public meeting in Waukesha's Common Council chambers in late January when the Lake Michigan water diversion plan got rolled out.

Fears were expressed that Waukesha would get strangled in entangling alliances if the water sale with Milwaukee called for socio-economic cost sharing, in some as yet-to-be-defined fashion.

You hear whispers that the tap could be turned off, or water rates be sent into the stratosphere.

There are claims that a water deal with Milwaukee could trade away Waukesha's birthright - - and that comes from the candidate who ran first in Waukesha's just-completed Mayoral primary.

Repeated again, here.

And it was only two years ago, when the Great Lakes Compact was under discussion, that State Sen. Mary Lazich, (R-New Berlin), melted down on the Senate floor over the so-called sovereignty issue.

For a moment, I thought British were coming! Maybe in league with Milwaukee - - a new axis of evil.

In fact, Waukesha Alderman and water commissioner Rick Tortomasi closed an op-ed in the Waukesha Freeman last Saturday with this rhetorical flourish:

"Lastly, let me assure our citizens that I believe the current Waukesha Common Council would NEVER approve a water agreement with any community that would jeopardize Waukesha’s sovereignty! "

So tell me: Is there something in the water out Waukesha way that makes some politicos think they are auditioning for "Braveheart?"

No comments: