Monday, October 24, 2011

Which Scott Walker Story Was Most Ignored Since Friday?

(first posted 7:59 p.m. Sunday) Was it:

*  Projections by his own Department of Revenue and reported on by AP on Friday that Walker will fall far short of the signature, 250,000 new jobs he said he'd create in four years - - a campaign promise and tag line that helped push him across the finish line with just 52% of the vote and routinely gets written into his post-election speeches and releases?

[update: late Sunday night the Journal Sentinel posts a story on which a headline writer pulls the punch: "Walker's job goals may be tough to meet."]

*  Or was it rolling out a bill that would undo a 244-year-old legal tradition in Wisconsin: the guarantee of public access to waterways and shorelines, and the requirement that a  dispute between public access and private access to these common resources be resolved in favor of the public interest, thus ensuring preservation for future generations, too, over dredging, filling and paving?

The Walker bill also freezes any further designation of waterways as scientifically important, with sensitive natural inhabitants, and allows for developmental incursion near, and into them.

A DNR website explains (italics in the original) the law and its evolution into a Constitutional principle, including  this crucial, fine point about public access and usage being superior to private control of waterways which Walker's bill will undermine: 

All Wisconsin citizens have the right to boat, fish, hunt, ice skate, and swim on navigable waters, as well as enjoy the natural scenic beauty of navigable waters, and enjoy the quality and quantity of water that supports those uses /
Wisconsin law recognizes that owners of lands bordering lakes and rivers - "riparian" owners - hold rights in the water next to their property. These riparian rights include the use of the shoreline, reasonable use of the water, and a right to access the water. However, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court has ruled that when conflicts occur between the rights of riparian owners and public rights, the public's rights are primary and the riparian owner's secondary.
I'd say the environmental story has been the less covered, as the AP did a fine job exposing the Revenue Department's projection of the campaign promise failure.

You could write a nifty little essay about Walker's essential shallowness by combining the hollowness of his campaign rhetoric about jobs and his disdain for environmentalism bu simply noting his distortion during the campaign of Tom Barrett's environmental agenda as "radical," when now, in fact, it is Walker who wants to implement a truly radical attack on the environment and law.

Both the job-creating issue and the proposed corrupting of the state's conservation legacy must be driven home to voters as fresh reasons to recall Walker and remove him from an office he is not fit to hold.

Three more years of this destruction of the state's legacy and credibility - - Walker is #1 in Wisconsin this year for PolitiFact ratings with the word "False" - - will leave us rated #50 as a destination and moral beacon.

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