Monday, March 31, 2014

Noting Park East Development, And A County Golden Oldie

Tom Daykin catalogues the development going on in the Park East corridor.

One of the obstacles to getting projects started there had been Milwaukee County government's inexperience or unwillingness during the Ament and Walker years to do development and real estate marketing.

Walker's disinterest in Park East redevelopment ran deeply.

He felt the need to monkey-wrench anything that then-Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist had set in motion, like the Park East tear-down, the downtown trolley or anything smacking of progressive New Urbanism, despite Walker's talk about jobs and business growth.

For Walker, running County government was a step to the Governor's office, so the inside political game that led to the operation of a secret communications system in his office suite to coordinate with campaign operatives too precedence over nuts-and-bolts public policy and service delivery.

He had no County agenda. He had a Walker & Co. agenda.

And look whom Walker had appointed to 'manage' County economic development in general and the Park East acreage specifically: Long-time Walker crony and now-convicted felon Tim Russell:
Russell's highest-paying county stint was as associate economic development director, starting in April 2003. 
He was paid about $83,000 a year in that post. Walker also nominated Russell to lead the county's economic development office in late 2004, but county supervisors voted down the Russell appointment the following April on a 12-7 vote amid complaints that Russell was unqualified and a Walker campaign functionary.
Walker took the unusual step at the time of sending a letter beseeching County Board Chairman Lee Holloway to back Russell's appointment, saying he was needed to provide continuity on the county's efforts to market vacant Park East Freeway corridor land. 
Supervisor John Weishan Jr., a frequent Walker critic, said Thursday he and others were irritated at Walker repeatedly placing Russell in county posts despite concerns Russell did campaign work on county time.


Anonymous said...

Your first link is to the wrong article.

James Rowen said...

Thanks. Fixed. Everyone needs an editor. Where do I send your check?