Thursday, May 27, 2010

Walker Veto Ploy On Water Plan Foiled By County Board

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors convincingly overrode on Thursday County Executive Scott Walker's veto of a Board resolution opposing Waukesha's plan to discharge, on average, 10.9 million gallons of effluent into Underwood Creek in Wauwatosa.

I had taken note of the veto, here, and, given the original 13-3 Board vote to approve the resolution, it's not surprising - - least of all to the County Executive - - that the Board would choose to affirm what it had done rather side with Walker.

In fact, the vote to override escalated to 17-3 against Walker - - who was siding with the Lake Michigan diversion and return flow plan that Waukesha sent for review a week ago to the Wisconsin DNR - - without getting the Milwaukee County Board's input.

Walker had wagged the predictable finger of regional cooperation at the Board in his veto message, but where were Waukesha's briefings and meetings and partnering with the Supervisors in the neighboring, wastewater-targeted County as the diversion plan was being written?

I think the Waukesha County Board of Supervisors would have responded the same way to a proposal, say, from Wauwatosa, to discharge its effluent into the Fox River and let it flow through downtown Waukesha.

Members of the Milwaukee County Board can read a map, so they know that the bodies of water into which Waukesha effluent would flow are in Milwaukee County, not in Waukesha County.

And they know that the effluent is not proposed to be piped to the MMSD for transportation and treatment.

Board members also know that both Underwood Creek, and the Menonomee River into which the creek empties have had flooding and pollution issues that continue to be addressed at great cost.

It's of little comfort to Milwaukee County supervisors that Waukesha is relying on a paid contractor, news releases and palliatives from politicians to assure Milwaukee County residents that Waukesha effluent won't cause flooding or pollution.

For Walker, this issue isn't about clean water or dry basements. It's about politics - - and Walker got what he wanted: An appearance of policy engagement and news coverage he can use in his search for votes as a candidate for Governor in very-Republican Waukesha County.


PurpleAvenger said...

and here i was just this morning asking what we needed to do to get them to set an override vote . .. nice to see them moving decisively on something.

James Rowen said...

I keep hearing from people who express surprise at the Board's actions.

I am not..

Waukesha dissed the Board by overlooking it though the County and its waterways are between Waukesha and Lake Michigan.

Making return flow very relevant.

Plus, John Weishan, the supervisor leading the charge from West Allis, is on the SEWRPC commission and deals with regional planning.

There are a lot of permissions, easements and impacts that Waukesha will have to confront and obtain if it were to obtain Lake Michigan water. This is the first such application, so the script gets written as the application process unfolds, and Milwaukee County is smart to establish itself as a player.