Once again he’s passing the buck when it comes to any kind of hard decisions (you know, the kind you expect your elected officials to make) regarding the public services of Milwaukee County:
Citing the possibility of pool closings and a continued decline in parks funding, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is renewing his call for an independent park district partly modeled after similar governing bodies in Chicago and Minneapolis.
The district could raise taxes annually up to the same state-imposed levy limits in place for the county, which next year would allow a 3% increase, Walker said in a draft letter seeking support for the park district from Milwaukee-area state legislators. –
It’s going to be a great day for Milwaukee County when we have a new County Exec. who actually works to fix the problems of our county instead of passing the buck just so he can keep saying “I didn’t raise taxes” while our public places are literally falling apart.
Once again, Senate Democrats are on the side of middle class American’s and the working poor. Sen. Harry Reid says Democrats will hold up their own pay raises until Republicans pass an increase to the $5.15/hour minimum wage.
“We’re going to do anything it takes to stop the congressional pay raise this year, and we’re not going to settle for this year alone,” Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said at a Capitol news conference.
“They can play all the games the want,” Reid said derisively of the Republicans who control the chamber. “They can deal with gay marriage, estate tax, flag burning, all these issues and avoid issues like the prices of gasoline, sending your kid to college. But we’re going to do everything to stop the congressional pay raise.” – Sen. Harry Reid
Remember folks, when the government breaks the law and our media outlets report on that illegal activity – like spying on Americans or going through their financial records without a warrant – it’s the media outlets who are the real criminals, not the government!
In effect, President Bush is telling the New York Times and any other media outlets that report on his administrations illegal activities:
It’s not right when teenagers try to hide the truth to protect a friends or their own illegal activities, and it’s not right for the President of the United States to do it either.
Over the last few weeks, the media and a number of right wing politicians have tried to take the Democratic party to the proverbial woodshed over their support of a plan for withdrawing US troops out of Iraq.
Democrats were called all sorts of names and characterized as white flag waving un-patriotic defeatists who didn’t have the stomach for victory, usually as irony would have it, by people who never served in the military to begin with or avoided war in Vietnam through repeat deferments altogether.
News over the weekend though makes it appear that Democrats are on the right side of the pullout debate though. The New York Times has an article about how the top US commander in Iraq wants exactly the kind of phased pullout that Democrats have been calling for:
But The New York Times, quoting unnamed U.S. officials, reported Sunday that Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, plans to send home about 7,000 of the 127,000 American troops by September without replacing them. More than 20,000 more would leave by the end of 2007, the Times reported.
On top of that, the Iraqi government also seems to agree with Democrats that it’s time for the US military to start leaving Iraq as well. So not only does the Democratic plan to pull out of Iraq match up with what the military commanders on the ground think, but also that of the nation that we’re occupying.
The real question now is why won’t Republicans get on board? “Stay the course” never was a real plan, and it’s bordering on lunacy for the President and GOP controlled Congress to keep repeating it now that there is a plan from the Democrats which has backing from the military and the Iraqi government.
I’ve been covering the ‘Free’ Milwaukee Wireless story since it broke last Fall, and while I’ve been hopeful that it would go ahead as promised, it now looks like the deal that Milwaukee brokered with Midwest Fiber Networks is no longer a sure thing.
Back in January, I expressed some concern about the proposal:
I’ve been quite vocal about my concern that the city benefits from what I think is going to be a very successful venture. Benefits mean many things of course, but I’ve believed that the common council and the Mayor’s office should look past the “We’re going to be first” appeal of this project to make sure that in our rush to be first, we don’t give away too much to Midwest Fiber Networks in terms of exclusivity and financial considerations.
And at a Common Council meeting earlier this week, it became apparent that the deal wasn’t going so smooth, with Midwest Fiber Networks not keeping with it’s goal of having the near West side of Milwaukee’s new wireless network up and running by early this Summer. It turns out they haven’t even started working on it yet.
In an article the Journal Sentinel ran on these events, the owners of Midwest Fiber Networks couldn’t be reached for comment, which I found more than a bit odd and worrying. These are the same folks who were in front of every reporter and camera they could find last fall when negotiations were taking place – one of the owners even commented on my weblog a few times – and now they’re nowhere to be found.
Dragging their feet to get the work done and not answering media inquires are two troubling signs in this deal from Midwest Fiber Networks, and frankly they have a reputation for this kind of behavior in past deals, which is why I and a number of other IT professionals in Milwaukee expressed concern about the city relying on them for our wireless plans.
There’s supposed to be more information coming out about this soon, and I’ll be sure to pass it along as usual. For now though, the plans for Milwaukee to have wireless coverage anytime soon doesn’t look promising.
I think I need to start a category in the blog for these kinds of posts showcasing the differences between Democrats and Republicans.
Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland gives today’s example by explaining how a Democratic bill to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour was pulled from the House schedule so Republicans could instead vote on a cut in the federal estate tax that benefits the heirs of the wealthiest American’s.
Bottom line: Democrats are supporting the working poor while Republicans support Paris Hilton.
This is a choice quote by the President from last night’s Presidential Dinner GOP fundraiser in Washington D.C.
If you want your taxes raised, vote Democrat. If you want your taxes low, keep Denny Hastert and Bill Frist as leaders of the House and the Senate. – Pres. Bush
He’s telling those who could afford $2,500 per plate to attend the fundraiser – the wealthiest of the wealthy in America – that Democrats are going to raise their taxes. I personally hope that’s one of the first things a Democratic controlled Congress would do – roll back the obscene tax cuts for the richest %1 of American’s who can afford $2,500 (only $25,000 for a table!) a plate for a GOP fundraiser.
One other thing Mr. President: It’s going to be hard to keep Bill Frist as leader of the Senate even if Republicans keep control in November: he’s retiring and it’s been no secret for as long as I can remember that he wouldn’t serve past 2006. Good to see you’re in the loop on that.
Read the full press release at the
Milwaukee County Democrats site for more information.
I’ve become impressed over the last year with Vince’s ‘straight shooter’ attitude and his willingness to explain concrete plans for dealing with violence in Milwaukee County. Compare that to our current sheriff who writes opinion pieces for the Wisconsin Conservative Digest that call for bold steps like school uniforms and lowering taxes.
More dire news today for residents of Milwaukee County about our public spaces:
Milwaukee County would close all but four pools in its parks system next year, and lay off one-fifth of its full-time parks maintenance workers, under a 2007 budget proposal submitted Wednesday by Parks Director Sue Black to County Executive Scott Walker. – JS Online
This is really disheartening news to me for a number of reasons. The first and most important is our County leaders are knowingly and systematically killing off our public parks and pools. I don’t blame the parks director Sue Black, she was told last year to either slash funding for the parks or she’d be out of a job by her boss, County Exec. Scott Walker.
The only thing he can utter about the situation is, “None of this is easy”. Wow! Thanks for that insightful analysis Mr. Walker. That’s exactly the kind of response you’d expect from someone with the title of ‘County Executive’.
I’ve got a quick story about our County pools by the way.. On a hot day last Summer, my 12 year old nephew Tony, Jenny and I set off to our nearest County pool at Washington Park to cool off. When we showed up, we were surprised to find out that it was closed. One of the hottest days of the year, on a weekday, the pool was closed. OK we thought, we’ll try another pool.. Maintenance or something.
So when drove across town to Lincoln Park only to find that it too was closed. On one of the hottest days of the Summer, on a weekday. From the parking lot of Lincoln Park, we called the County Parks number listed on the ‘CLOSED’ sign only to get an automated voice recording thanking us for calling the Milwaukee County Parks system.
We were pretty disappointed to say the least, more even more so for the tens of thousands of kids from Milwaukee who have one less option for positive recreation while they’re not in school during the Summer. It’s ridiculous to hear some of the same politicians complain about unorganized ‘gangs’ of youths while they’re busy boarding up any kind of public service for those kids to keep them off the streets.
I don’t blame the county parks workers either. They’re just following marching orders as they nervously anticipate the next round of budget cuts that will bring the ax down on their job.
The bottom line is something needs to be done. Imagine a city the size of Milwaukee with only four public swimming pools. Imagine your kids not being able to play or enjoy a picnic in a County park because the grass is 10 inches long and you need a weed whacker just to make it from the street to a picnic table. Imagine the eyesore that hundreds of under-maintained or neglected County parks buildings will be when they’re left to rot because there’s no staff to take care of them or money to fix them.
The leadership of Milwaukee County just doesn’t seem to get it, and it’s not just Scott Walker either. The only thing Parks committee chair (and my County Supervisor) Lynee DeBruin could muster up about the situation is,
“It’s been difficult to close them because people love them. But the question is, can we afford the fix?”
Again, this is a real lack of leadership from someone who should be taking the reigns and finding a solution to the problem we’re facing as a County.
Instead, we’re getting verbal shrugs of indifference and rhetorical questions.
The real question is why aren’t our elected County officials doing more to solve this issue that we’ve all seen coming for years? The residents and visitors of Milwaukee County who enjoy our great County parks deserve an answer to that question, and soon.
USA Today has a preview of the Democratic Agenda going into the 2006 midterm elections, and some highlights about specific plans the Democratic Party has when it takes control of the House and possibly the Senate this fall. Among them:
- Enacting recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and boosting national security funding
- Grant authority to the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prescription-drug prices with pharmaceutical companies for those in Medicare’s drug program
- Increase the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour from $5.15
- Eliminating about $18 billion in tax breaks and subsidies for oil companies
- Cutting student-loan interest rates by half
Protecting American Security, lowering health care costs, providing a living wage, eliminating tax breaks for big oil, and lowering the cost of higher education all sound pretty good to me… It’s the exact opposite of what’s been happening in this country for the past five years as real wages have fallen, national security funding has been wasted, big tax breaks have gone to the oil companies and richest 1%, and higher education and health care costs have skyrocketed.
Another hole shot in the Republican talking points about ‘Democrats not having any direction’.