Thursday, September 16, 2010

O'Donnell Park Slammed Again; Has The Buck Stopped Yet?

I said couple off days ago that indifference was hardly a campaign platform from which Scott Walker should offer himself to the state's voters.

Events indicate he continues to get away with it.

The Journal Sentinel tells us that the investigator looking into the fatal collapse at O'Donnell Park says the parking structure was in very bad shape, and he'd inspected hundreds of buildings.

In really bad shape. As in, "one of the worst."

County Executive Walker - -The Captain of Indifference - - morphs into The Master of Deflection as he addresses some of the issues in the story, but apparently not exactly how this happened...on his watch.

Note graphs two and three in that Thursday Journal Sentinel story: Walker addresses what should be done, maybe, but not how things were allowed to get that bad.

And he uses the County Board for cover - - instead of bashing the Board, which is his norm:

"Also Wednesday, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker said while he favored repairing the damage to the O'Donnell garage, he was open to considering demolishing it if that's what the County Board decides to do.

"I'd be willing to talk to the board" about demolition, Walker said. "I don't have a hard-core feeling" that repair is the only option."

Isn't the County Executive's job to execute? In other words, to lead, to fix. to manage - - which means to be the responsible party.

It's rooted in what we used to call an "action" verb, for crying out loud. It's about doing things, not commenting on them after the fact.

Scott Walker's been the executor, the executive, the one [ostensibly] in charge - - where the buck is said to stop - - since 2002.

But has he really been managing the County's infrastructure all the years? Was he supervising what needed to be fixed, what was decaying?

Again, I'm not seeing it.

Did he even know the structure was in bad shape?

If not, why not?

And if he did, why didn't he manage the problem like the boss, the chief executive of the County?

That there are structural problems at the parking structure not related to the fatal concrete slab collapse with a $2 million price tag - - suggesting either deferred maintenance or shoddy inspections or a casual institutional approach to building integrity - - was somewhat buried in a Saturday Journal Sentinel story that focused instead on the bridge connection to the Art Museum's Calatrava addition.

That's an important issue, but secondary, I think to how we got here in the first place.

Here's what's at the core of the issue: Walker was more interested in the political opportunities at the Courthouse than in managing County programs, in an urban setting, in the public interest.

So we have deteriorated infrastructure, a House of Horrors at the Mental health Complex and all sorts of social services stripped of essentials - - while the County Exec is motorcycling around the state in his now fifth year of running for Governor.

For God's sake: Walker is just getting around to filling the top economic development post in County government after a two-year vacancy.

And this is the basis of a promotion to Governor?


Michael Horne said...

Why hasn't Walker pointed the finger at the Ament administration, builder of the structure? Is it because the public's memory is too short to rekindle the anti-Ament outrage that got us Walker in the first place?

James Rowen said...

I think because Walker has been there for eight long, long years and is responsible for eight years of management, inspections, maintenance, budgeting etc.

He can't keep blaming Ament (just as Republicans say Democrts can't blame Bush because Bush was gone in January, 2009!) so better just to keep everyone focused on what happens next.

Which is important but only part of the picture.

I guess we will have to wait until Walker & Co. are deposed.

Anonymous said...

Talkative labor official divulges strategy, unaware he's being taped

Anonymous said...

Taking into consideration Milwaukee County developed this property near the lake front by building a parking structure and a transit center speaks for itself.

Move the Transit Center to the Intermodal and sell the property to private developers, returning it to the tax roles.

Of course that would make too much sense.