Sunday, August 28, 2016

Anti-transit ideology, fantasy still rule region, Walker budgets

[Updated] I want to add one more item to nearly two weeks' blogging that tries to expand the context in which citizens and opinion-makers and officials discuss the recent violence in and reporting about Milwaukee, including these blog items:

* A summary post about the many intentional state and regional financial, policy and legal decisions over decades which kept the City of Milwaukee land-locked and its predominantly-minority residents segregated by race and income from regional housing, business development, job opportunities and transit in the wealthier, whiter surrounding suburban counties;

A followup post focusing on then-Milwaukee County Executive and now Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's long disinterest in Milwaukee employment and hostility to the city and Milwaukee County's transit deficits and solutions.

Then a blog reader reminder me of a post I'd written in February, 2007 about Walker and transit. 

I was grateful for the reminder, as I sometimes forget what I've posted here - - there are more than 17,000 posts just since June, 2010, when Google began keeping score - -  but shame on me for not going back further in the archives to find something relevant.

And relevant to more than the discriminatory disconnects and disregards and damage done to Milwaukee through public policy choices and spending that marginalize the state's biggest city.

The story told in the posting sheds more light on the mindset - - a term used advisedly, and generously - - of Scott Walker which he'd tipped us to nearly ten years ago, and a good three years before he was elected Governor.

A Governor who is willing to starve state transit, borrow to the hilt, ram through, despite denials and double-talk even more highway expansion on the west side where residents don't want it and please the road-builders with a blank check because he told us in 2007 he wants everyone in Milwaukee to own and drive a car.

Even though before the Great Recession deepened, data showed that 23% of City of Milwaukee households were without access to a vehicle.

As ludicrous is the poor en masse magically getting flush enough to buy cars - - does Walker - - he with the private transit taxpayers r\give him 24/7 since January, 2011 via state-paid cars, drivers, airplanes, pilots - - see the contradiction and his cause-and-effect responsibilities as he keeps the minimum wage frozen at a poverty-enforcing $7.25/hr? - -  given the upfront purchase, licensing and registration costs to owners, plus operating and maintenance expenses, the greatly expanded car ownership Walker fantasizes about does underscore his hostility to transit and 'justify' the added highway expansion he supports that would reward his road-building pals. 

Talk about a win-win for ideologically-blinded free marketers.

So if you still need a "Eureka Moment" to grasp who Walker is and to explain, shall we say, his 'philosophy' - - if his audible dog whistles about the poor, or his warning to upper-income exurban Waukesha County exurbanites about letting Wisconsin 'become another Milwaukee,' or his presence at a secretive and under-reported right-wing summit anointing him for leadership didn't already supply that nugget you needed to grasp who Walker really is, I give you the 2/24/2007 posting, in full below (and if I can get a link to the Journal Sentinel roundtable cited, I will pass that on, too):


Scott Walker: County Executive of Fantasy Island 

Politicians say the dumbest things when the spin machine is making too much noise in their heads.

Case in point: Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, who trashed Mayor Tom Barrett's recently-announced bus-and-trolley transit improvement proposal.

In a County with a declining transit system organized around outmoded buses, why would the County Exec. dump on a plan that would benefit the system and the county, too?

Here's what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Walker told the paper's editorial writers Tuesday about why he opposed transit improvements in the county he purportedly leads:

"...Walker said he would like to grow the local economy enough so lower-income people don't have to rely on transit and could instead afford to buy cars if they chose."

As a friend quipped to me Friday night, right - - so they can drive their cars to jobs in Waukesha?

Walker even invoked the ghost of light rail, killed in Milwaukee by talk radio and the Thompson administration nearly a decade ago, to demagogue against Barrett's proposal - - which is not a light rail plan.

I know Walker knows the difference, but when have the facts ever driven the local debate about transit?

In Milwaukee County politics, talk radio sets the agenda, then Walker, knowing his lines, reacts with rigidity, fantasy and spin.

There's a slogan you can write down and put on your refrigerator [echoing Walker's 2002 campaign mantra].

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the end, Milwaukee's greatest hope will come from raising academic expectations and standards in all neighborhood schools.