Dave Reid

Governor Walker’s Pro-Sprawl Agenda

By - Mar 15th, 2011 11:36 am
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Gov. Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker

It was clear that the election of Scott Walker to the Governorship was going to negatively impact transit as well as other services in Milwaukee, but beyond the ‘fiscal’ matters the agenda he has laid out goes far behind what even we predicted.  Hidden in the budget repair bill, the budget bill, and incorporated in actions taken by this new administration there is a clear pattern of pro-sprawl, anti-urban policies.

Governor Walker’s move to implement pro-sprawl policies has been quick and wide spread.  Starting even before he took office, his opposition to the $800 million high-speed rail system cost the State of Wisconsin a service that would have benefited Milwaukee and Madison directly.  Quickly this was followed up with dramatic changes at the Department of Natural Resources .  It started with the appointment of Matt Maroney, the former Executive Director Metropolitan Builders Association of Greater Milwaukee, to the Deputy Secretary position, and was quickly followed up by the DNR announcing that it will be reducing air pollution, or rather the reporting of air pollution.

There’s more.  There was the passing of legislation that removed small wetlands from protection so that these wetlands could be developed, often enough into parking lots.   There is a proposed rule that would negatively impact  wind turbine siting, while opening the door for more sprawling development.  Every penny of funding for bike infrastructure was cut from the budget.  Another measure alters the tax impacts for pre-fab home construction, which will essentially have Wisconsin exporting sprawl to neighboring states.  Even the PACE program which would have protected our local food source, our farms, and slowed sprawl is to be eliminated.

The budget also dramatically speeds up freeway construction, while at the same time slashing local street funding and cutting transit. As predicted there will be a significant hit to transit systems statewide as there are deep funding cuts, the possibility of losing federal funds for some systems, a proposed dismantling of regional transit authorities, and the moving of transit funding out of the transportation fund into the general fund.  If this laundry list of agenda items shows anything, it is that there is a pro-sprawl agenda coming straight from the Governor’s office.

It’s unfortunate, because Wisconsin had been on track to be better prepared for our global future.  But it looks like as oil prices continue to rise, environmental impacts continue to pill up, and as the demands of the creative class go unanswered, Wisconsin will be unprepared and unwilling to move forward.

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40 thoughts on “Governor Walker’s Pro-Sprawl Agenda”

  1. Chris says:

    It’s disastrous policy. As a lover of Milwaukee and WI, I hate to admit that it’s getting harder and harder to want to stay here. These moves will set the state back not just years, but decades.

  2. Greg Flisram says:

    Dead on the mark. Although you forgot to mention his further attempts to eliminate the state’s farmland/open space preservation programs and dismantle of the state’s Office of Energy Independence. The Gov is intent on turning Wisconsin into Wississippi. Say goodbye to Progressive Wisconsin, bring on the Wal Marts and trailer parks.

  3. Dave Reid says:

    @Greg True, but I had to stop somewhere:)

  4. SS says:

    @Chris

    Come on, “disastrous”? What do you call the last 30 years of policy in Milwaukee then? The census numbers are here, Milwaukee continues its slow decline, despite or as a result of the local leadership. It’s sure starting to look like this urbanization movement was just a myth that was puffed up by the housing bubble.

    I too am finding it harder to stay in WI. Why? Because there are no jobs and no job growth. The M&I and Bucyrus sale really drove it home. There is nothing left here. And if I have to read one more pathetic cheerleading attempt from some local pol about Milwaukee being a water technology hub I’m gonna puke! Why, because we’re on Lake Michigan? What difference does that make at all? The fastest growing county in WI right now? St. Croix County, part of the Minneapolis metro area, a place that is booming with dozens of major corporate HQs.

    In fact the only reason I have a shred of hope left for WI and Milwaukee is because of Scott Walker. Like it or not, it is a fact that removing collective bargaining is going to help control government costs at the state and local level. That is a good thing for residents and business. Walker’s proposal in the next budget to blow up MPS might be the best thing to happen to Milwaukee in 50 years. I don’t know if any of you have kids, but MPS is the absolute #1 thing that keeps families out of the city. You want urban density, mass transit, increasing property values? Then you need families back in the city. Remove the cap, allow virtual online schools to grow, and maybe it’s not to late for Milwaukee to turn around.

    So you DON’T want the freeways to be improved? What do you propose, that we tear them down and build a wall around the city to keep everyone in? The interstate is the most important economic driver in our area. You know the saying you can’t win with defense? Pass all the wetland restrictions you want, it’s not going to convince people to move to Milwaukee. Instead of trying to prevent people from choosing to live outside the city, let them choose freely where to live, and make the city a better choice.

    Why would a married couple in their late 30s with 2 kids, say 8 and 9, want to live in the city of Milwaukee right now? Better yet, why would anyone move to Milwaukee from out of state right now? Charm? Nostalgia? That’s not sustainable.

    BTW, I think we can all agree that Tom Barrett needs to go. He got the job by default and he never wanted it anyway. There is a serious leadership void in the city.

  5. Nick Aster says:

    @SS I think Walker has good points about taxes, MPS, and reigning in costs (though I disagree with his strong-arm method and just how far he went). But his bizarre opposition to high speed rail pretty much solidifies that he doesn’t really understand what the new economy is going to look like. I hope that lower taxes help bring in business, and that new business brings the new economy with it.

    At any rate, the urban renaissance is real. MKE loses people because of MPS, that’s the main problem. Can’t blame people for that. Otherwise, the pull of real, walkable neighborhoods is only going to grow.

  6. SS says:

    @Nick, I would argue that HSR would have been a failure no matter what, but I think even you would agree that without dense urban cores in Milwaukee and Madison it would be a failure. So let’s not put the cart before the horse, HSR isn’t going to revive downtown Milwaukee.

    And that goes for all the other stuff too, like trams, bike lanes, and removing parking. You can’t have walkable neighborhoods if no one lives in them, and they don’t live there because of MPS. I truly believe that dismantling MPS is the most important step to fixing Milwaukee, and it’s way more important than bike infrastructure or HSR. If you get people moving into the city again, you’ll get the tax base back and MKE will have no problem funding all the pro-urban projects it wants without depending on the state for money.

    Don’t let all the pro-union rhetoric blind you from what is really in the budget bill because the MPS teachers are going to fight this to the bitter end, but this could be a revolutionary change for the city in a good way, and anyone that actually lives in the city should be able to recognize that.

  7. Nick Aster says:

    @SS .. yeah, I tentatively agree with you. If for no other reason than starting from scratch is the only thing that hasn’t been tried. But as for HSR – remember, we’re talking about an investment that will pay off over 50 years or even longer. Many things will change in that time, plus it’s not just about Madison and Milwaukee, it’s about a much larger Midwest network based on Chicago. Just sayin’

  8. Jesse Hagen says:

    A question open to anyone critical of rail or high speed rail:

    What is your standard for judging the rail from Chicago to Madison a failure? How would it prove to you that it’s a success… or a failure?

  9. Dave Reid says:

    @SS Welcome back… I’d just point out that even despite the huge .4% decline in population that “You can’t have walkable neighborhoods if no one lives in them” people do in fact live in Milwaukee’s neighborhoods. In fact Milwaukee is significantly more dense than many many U.S. cities.

    And in response to something else. I moved to Milwaukee land from out of state, and then into the city for the quality of life.

  10. SS says:

    @Jesse what different does it make at this point? The HSR train has left the station. It’s never going to happen, at least while Walker is here. Are you going to pout about it for the next 4 years and never support Walker on anything, or realize that Walker’s proposal for MPS and school choice has enormous potential to fix the biggest problem in the city? This is far more important than an unneeded train, and it’s what we should be talking about. Another big issue worth discussing is residency requirements. Between MTEA, Walker, Barrett, and the Common Council, there are going to be strange bedfellows on these issues and the public needs to get informed on each of their motivations. Lets not get distracted with wetlands and windmills.

    That is .4% over 10 years. 10 years of failed policies and failed urbanism. Considering the amount of recent hype and real construction of condos and apartment in the downtown area, I think -0.4% is not what people were expecting. It’s time to get serious about the real problems here, and I’m thankful that the governor is trying to get this debate started. Everyone else including Barrett has just passed the buck for years.

    @Dave You don’t have to answer if you don’t want, but did you move here for a job? You have family here? Do you have kids? I understand why today’s young urban professional wants to live in the city, I live in the city for many of the same reasons that you do, but once you have kids all your priorities change. And you can build all the bike lanes and Alterra coffee shops you want, but that’s not going to create the tax base thats needed to sustain the city, we need families living here.

  11. Jesse Hagen says:

    Haha, exactly, you won’t give a reason because anything you say can be applied to highways. You’re not stupid, but you do have wrong-headed beliefs about rail.

    As for Walker and MPS, if he’s giving Milwaukee such a fair shake on education, why doesn’t he fix the funding issue with choice schools? Why are the costs for that program borne by Milwaukee so heavily and not have the costs split like they are with any other school district?

    Besides, who are you to tell me what I should be talking about? Your arrogance is legendary to tell others what’s important. I would say schools are a part of the equation, but Walker’s strategy is to drain Milwaukee of resources plain and simple.

    Drain the tax dollars from the state of WI, drain the political power of the unions, drain the budgets for services that improve life in the city. This has been a systematic slash and burn campaign and no amount of red herrings about what we ‘should’ care about will make up for it.

  12. SS says:

    Whatever man, I’d measure it by how many people use it every day, which would be what, a couple hundred? I don’t want to get into a debate about HSR because it’s dead. MoveOn, isn’t that what the liberals say? The state voted for a governor that proudly campaigned on killing HSR, while his opponent meekly supported it on the basis of 150 promised Talgo jobs. Go talk about whatever you want. Scream about HSR and look like an idiot, what do I care. Let the grown ups work on the real problems.

    I didn’t say Walker was giving Milwaukee a “fair shake”, whatever “fair” is supposed to mean. He’s opening up the debate on how we fund schools in this state and how students are being denied opportunities because of where they live or what their teachers’ union contract says. It’s a debate long overdue. It’s far more interesting and important than the stupid train. The MPS teachers are going to scream bloody murder on this, but all their complaints will have nothing to do with student education. It’s going to be a fascinating debate that will reveal of lot of peoples’ real agendas.

    Dave argues that Walker is anti-urban and pro-sprawl. Not only is that not the motivation behind his proposals (it’s cutting spending), but his plan to limit public union power and break up MPS might be the most pro-Milwaukee idea to come out of Madison ever. You guys can’t see the forest for the trees.

  13. Dave Reid says:

    @SS I originally moved to the region for the job. Downtown for the quality of life. I’ve worked downtown and all over the metro and haven’t moved an inch. In fact I turned down a big job offer a few years back because I didn’t want to live in Minneapolis, not as great a city as Milwaukee. Yes sometimes people choose quality of life over money. No I don’t have any family here, though they are in Chicagoland. And no I don’t have kids. And yes I understand kids are important to the future though I’ll point out that household size has declined for decades so possibly the solution is more households.

    If you actually look at the census numbers, and not just the Milwaukee ones, but nationally the dense walkable cores of cities are growing. If anything the problem is not enough well built urban environments. Further maybe 50 years of sprawl policy and a declining manufacturing base has hurt cities.. na… no way

    Walker isn’t anti-urban and pro-sprawl ha that’s all else I can say on that one.. ha.

    That all said I don’t disagree that a better education system is one that is needed on numerous levels, but I’m not sure his union busting actually fixes the issue.

  14. Jesse Hagen says:

    @SS

    You seem to be the one babbling about HSR, I’m talking about saving money. Walker politicized that investment by the Feds and has cost the state infrastructure, jobs, and now $60,000,000.

    http://www.biztimes.com/blogs/milwaukee-biz-blog/2011/3/15/walkers-great-train-robbery-sticks-us-with-a-60-million-bill

    It’s not a matter of “we’re broke”, when the governor tosses $60,000,000 out the window. It’s not a matter of “we’re broke”, when there are hundreds of millions of dollars for new road projects. C’mon, you’re smart enough to have the work ‘pretext’ in your vocabulary.

    Walker was elected to be a fiscal conservative and to create jobs. He’s only managed to cut programs, not lower WI taxes and he hasn’t created jobs, just given more corporate handouts.

  15. Witt Dog says:

    Good article! And .4% decline for Milwaukee is a blessing. The improvements in Milwaukee in the last 15 years have been from the inside out, and will continue to be. The downtown, Third Ward, Brady St, Bay View, 5th Ward have arrived or are continuing to grow. Quality growth is way more important than just growth for growth sake.

    @ss, yes the schools need to improve. Mabye the schools would be better if the people who used the highways everyday used their salaries to pay property taxes in Milwaukee and raise the average house value, so the tax rate wouldn’t remain so high. You also argue that the city should be robbed of urban transportation amenities like HSR and bicycle improvements, but the suburb shouldn’t be robbed of its transportation amenities, freeways. Freeways divide urban neighborhoods, are unsightly, rob the city of valuable property tax base, and have a legacy of displacement and racism across this country. Transportation is about moving people, not vehicles. Urban areas with inherent location efficiency like the areas I mentioned above are going to keep growing in Milwaukee.

    Being fiscally conservative has nothing to do with choosing to spend the remaining dollars we have on unsustainable sprawl, instead of urban investments. Milwaukee is the economic driver of the state that allows people to drive the highways, not the other way around!

  16. He’s clearly got a pro-construction agenda, which is technically good for jobs. But he doesn’t seem very forward thinking or innovative. He was clearly anti-transit at Milwaukee County and despite an huge increase in bike traffic and bike supporting businesses, it’s disappointing that he refuses to acknowledge alternative transportation at all.

  17. Dave Reid says:

    @Witt Dog well said!

  18. SS says:

    @Witt More money??? Seriously, you think the problems in MPS can be solved with MORE MONEY? It’s laughable that anyone can say that at this point. Even the libs don’t believe that anymore. MPS budget is over $1 billion, of which more than half comes from state aid (yes, the people on the highway you despise so much already pay more than enough toward MPS), and average teacher compensation is over $100k. How much is enough for you?

    Third Ward, Brady Street, blah blah blah. You do know the city extends west of the river? Though I guess that’s the problem, isn’t it? You just try to forget what happening over there and hope the cops can keep it contained.

    Milwaukee is NOT the economic driver of the state. The people that live outside the city but work in it are. So instead of advocating these fantasies of tearing down freeways because you think it will *force* people to return to the city, deal with reality: people own cars and that’s not changing. Everyone who lives in the city right now owns a car too. The freeways aren’t what is keeping people from living in the city, but that’s all you guys obsess over, they are the lifeline that keeps Milwaukee relevant. People choose where to live, and most don’t choose Milwaukee. Even though as you all know, there are many positive reasons to live here.

    That’s true that quality growth is more important. But the costs of operating the city are rising so dramatically right now, growth, at least of the tax base, is critical. Otherwise the budget will have to be cut drastically, which will push even more people to leave. WHEDA subsidized apartments are not quality growth.

  19. Dave Reid says:

    @SS “Third Ward, Brady Street, blah blah blah. You do know the city extends west of the river? ” duh… The point is to bring more quality neighborhoods to the entire city.

    “Milwaukee is NOT the economic driver of the state.” funny.

    “So instead of advocating these fantasies (incidentally Milwaukee has already done this so not really a fantasy) of tearing down freeways because you think it will *force* people to return to the city” Nothing about ‘forcing’ anyone to do anything…

  20. Dave Reid says:

    @SS Oh yeah and it is UrbanMilwaukee.com SS so we’ll always be here arguing for an urban built Milwaukee.

  21. Dave Reid says:

    @SS One thing on MPS and schooling in general is I’d like to see year round school available, at the very least in the worst performing areas. Because there is a straight line from poverty to performance, and part of that is that poor students have less opportunity to learn during the break and so they actually back track during time off, whereas middle class and upper class students improve or maintain during the summer. Now I definitely don’t have the answers for education but because of some of the reading I’ve done on the topic I do believe that could help.

  22. Witt Dog says:

    @ss I prefer WHEDA investments that allow people walk, bike, or take public transportation, and yes even sometimes drive, than subsidized highways to sprawl that keep sapping disposable income and our collective wealth. And when I say subsidized highways, not only do the gas taxes not pay for the roads, but all of the military expenditures to keep the pipelines running, as JHK has aptly described. I didn’t appreciate that while I was in Iraq, and I don’t appreciate what Walker is doing now.

  23. MKEGopher says:

    @ SS

    “He’s opening up the debate on how we fund schools in this state and how students are being denied opportunities because of where they live or what their teachers’ union contract says.”

    Let’s consider what Walker’s stance really means for the MPS’s least advantaged:

    * Because of funding cuts and the elimination of collective bargaining, class sizes – which were limited through union provisions – are ballooning to 35 – 40 students per class in MPS elementary schools.

    * Voucher schools – where the redirected MPS funding will largely go to – have no legal requirement to take students with IEP’s (special education students), placing a greater burden on an underfunded MPS system, and robbing IEP students of equal educational opportunities.

    * Voucher schools do not have to meet the same educational or institutional standards of public schools.

    * Voucher school teachers aren’t required to have teaching degrees under current state law. While a degree doesn’t make the teacher, it certainly helps.

    Now I’ll openly admit that MPS is a broken system that needs reform. And there are some wonderful voucher schools that I’m certain provide a stellar eduction. That said, Walker’s agenda fails to adequately reform the system, and places a greater burden on MPS’s most disadvantaged.

  24. CJ says:

    ss: First, I don’t think anyone would argue a city resident the freedom of owning a car. The difference is simply having the choice to NOT drive that car when gas prices are so rediculously high, or reducing repair expenses, etc… WIth transportation options becoming more limited (and freeways becoming increasingly larger), this option is almost null and void.

    Secondly, many Republicans are using the excuse that Walker tackled this bargaining rights issue to help balance the state budget. This is simply untrue. What you Republicans won’t say is that our Teachers Unions spend MILLIONS supporting Democratic issues and it hurts the bottom-line and overall efforts of the Republican party – plain and simple. You, and Walker, and the rest of the state’s Republicans are just to cowardly to admit that fact. Why? Because that’s called dirty politics and it would make you look terrible. The money WI saved by reducing the bargaining rights pales in comparison to the money it could create by concentrating on increasing the business tax-base – period.

    Lastly, I don’t know anyone in their right mind that would say ANY Teacher is overpaid. Really?! I am a middle school Math Teacher. You sit in a public school classroom for ONE day and tell me $40,000 is too much. With your attitude, you won’t last 10 minutes with those kids. In fact, I am glad you are not a Teacher – the classroom is a better place because of it! A Nurse, with the same 4-year degree I hold (just in a different discipline) earns twice as much as me! But because my salary is state-funded, let’s slash my rights to bargain for that salary and HOPE I can continue to support myself with the meager wages I currently earn. I am paying for every benefit I get when I am not only being Teacher to your kids, but I am also a Mom, a Dad, a babsitter, a disciplinarian, a waiter, and often times a psychologist because people like you mess your kids up so much! I hope you do not have children, and I hope those same children are not being taught by the very Teachers affected by this mess in WI.

  25. Nick Aster says:

    @SS is dead correct that fixing MPS is more important in the short term for Milwaukee than just about anything else. I’m not 100% sure, however, what the best way is to do that, nor am I sure that Walker’s way is the right way. But the one thing I agree on with Walker is that shaking up the teachers unions and forcing down things like the teacher’s health insurance bill (and subsequently property taxes) is probably a very good idea. In fact, you could probably cut the insurance in half, and give teachers raises at the same time – and still lower taxes. Lots of inefficiencies in there.

    As for my favorite issue, however: HSR will be back. It might be years from now, unfortunately, but the long term viability of inter-city rail in the US is a huge and a no-brainer. The costs to run the MKE-Madison extension were peanuts given the long term payoff of being ahead of the game while the rest of the country builds theirs and gas sits around at $5 a gallon. It’s terrible that it somehow got turned into a political thing, and Walker made a terrible mistake opposing it.

  26. SS says:

    I love crazy teacher rants. It proves how elitist and detached from reality you are. You’re why I consider homeschooling.

  27. CJ says:

    Provide facts and substance with your responses ss (instead of empy opinionated responses) and we may have an inteligent debate. Nothing is “elite” about a Teachers wages and/or benefits.

    Your attempt at demoralizing my work with your remarks is elementary, at best, and we (Professional Teachers) prefer that people like you, really do homeschool your children.

    And please, learn proper Grammar and sentence-structuring before your next post.

    Perhaps you should not homeschool your children afterall. We do not need more of you in this world.

  28. Dave Reid says:

    @ss Help us out explain, if you can, why teachers are ‘detached’ from reality? What because people with more education get paid more? Explain.

  29. SS says:

    Are you kidding me Dave? What do I need to explain to that asshole telling me “not to have children” and that “we don’t need more of people like you in this world”? What is that all about? Because I said MPS teacher compensation is over $100k which is true? It scares me that these teachers go ballistic about this stuff. They compare their 9month salary w/o benefits to people that work 12month and pay for 25% of their health ins and half their 401k. And because they have the same degree they believe their pay should be equal? That is detached from reality. It’s impossible to have a rational conversation about a serious budget and social problem with someone who believes that, and then starts screaming like a whiny child if someone doesn’t share their beliefs. And once they start attacking my grammar, well then it’s hopeless.

    In fairness to you CJ, I have friends and family that are public school teachers and they all act just like you.

  30. Chris says:

    Why are you guys engaging someone only willing to regurgitate talk-radio bullet points? You’re better off screaming at Charlie Sykes or Mark Belling — it will yield the same results.

  31. Dave Reid says:

    @SS Sorry I didn’t catch that part… lets all clean it up k?

  32. CJ says:

    ss, You should be prepared for such an attack when you are clearly throwing empty opinions around with Rush Limbaugh – like rhetoric; holding absolutely no factual ground to substantiate your opinions. “I have friends and family that are public school teachers and they all act just like you” does not count as facts to support your opinions.

    You intentionally ignored my request to provide facts to support your opinions and also ignored the fact that Walker, and Republicans like yourself in Wisconsin, have railroaded it’s citizens with false information. This entire issue of bargaining rights was to derail the Unions from it’s support to the Democratic leadership in Wisconsin – period. It does NOTHING to balance the state budget. I can think of six other ways of balancing the state budget than to take away ANYONE’S bargaining rights – can you?

    Oddly enough though, you stayed clear away from responding to these facts and instead, gravitated to personal insults, name-calling, and anything but substantiating your empty opinions.

    Once again, I urge you to provide facts with your opinions to engage in an intelligent debate. Otherwise, take your personal ranting elsewhere.

  33. Jason says:

    Wow, this is the exact reason I gave up politics and religion 13-years ago and never looked back. I can pretty much remember the sunny So Cal day when I decided I’d focus on the 90% that is great in life.

    I have an older brother who I love dearly. Great guy and he used to be a fun, fun guy. When I get home, it’s sad to see what he’s become. EVERYTHING is negative with him…I suppose listening to the vitriolic, caustic conservative talk-radio everyday would do that. Those that are obsessed with politics become consumed with what is wrong, what the other party is doing to screw it up, and how they would fix it if given the chance. I find the irony that if I asked my brother and those like them what sweat equity they have put in their community, I’d hear crickets. Their contribution to making life better for those around them is limited to rhetoric…not neighborhood clean-ups, trail maintenance, or other forms of volunteerism. Instead of rattling off the things they love about the community, they do nothing but b***h. They are sad, ugly, and hateful people.

    Dave, I want to thank you for your efforts; you have contributed mightily to our community. I love your web site and your passion for our city. I live away right now, but my wife and I are committed to coming back and raising our family in the Milwaukee area. After living in DC and in So Cal, I can talk endlessly about why I love my city. I would love to meet you one day to thank you in person. To the teacher- thank you. You are not paid nearly enough. In the profession I belong in, I often hear the “hero” tag; the true heroes are those that take care of our children, our educators, and those that volunteer to make their communities better. For all, don’t get fixated on what Walker’s doing, control what you can and don’t become convinced it is all doom and gloom. Otherwise you’ll end up the bitter, old hatemonger that no one likes to be around.

    Again Dave, keep up the good work.

  34. Dave Reid says:

    @Jason, and I hear what you’re saying and I generally I try to stay out of it on UrbanMIlwaukee, but there was just too much evidence piling up to not write this article. And anytime you’re in town shoot me a note… that would be great.

  35. Kevin says:

    If you want to slow sprawl in the Midwest you need to fix the serious problems in Milwaukee and other cities, not complain about the governor or his budget. You’re not going to win the crusade on sprawl though. Minneapolis is a city in the Midwest we can look up to, but even it has TONS of sprawl. Chicago is the 2nd most “urban” city in the US in my opinion and it too has piles and piles of sprawl. It’s just happens, regardless.

    The largest problem with the city though is simply the economy/employment in general, which is true for the entire state as well. Sprawl or not, Arizona (a state smaller in population than WI in 2000) has added over 410,000 jobs in the last 10 years. In the same time period, WI has managed to lose nearly 88,000 jobs. If you need a closer comparison, MN, a state close in size and obviously location, gained about 17,500 jobs. Imagine if we mirrored MN and had over 100,000 more people employed than we currently have. The last administration broke the economy of WI and it needs to be fixed, first and foremost.

    Otherwise, Milwaukee needs safer streets and better schools. In short order, MPS needs to be laid to rest. It has proven that it cannot provide all students a decent education. Such a large uneducated and unemployed pool of MPS failures has created a pool of people prime for crime. MPD has done a commendable job at fighting crime, but still this city has a LONG way to to before it rivals any “unsustainable” suburb in terms of crime. These are the areas this city needs to improve on greatly in order to move forward in the future.

    I mean if you think people live in the ‘burbs because they love spending an hour in traffic everyday, then you simply don’t get it. It’s because they know there’s a much better chance that when they get home their kids will be there better educated and safer place. That’s the environment Milwaukee needs to create for it’s everyday citizen.

    The last statement in your article seems to underline your inability to understand the situation. Losing tens of thousands of jobs and having an unreliable, crumbling infrastructure system does not put us “on track to be better prepared for our global future”. New jobs put us on that track. The move in gas prices is also in your favor. I’ve heard talk of $5/gal gas in the near future, and at that price even a 30mpg car could cost some people I know $15 PER DAY in gas expense.

    People are going to look elsewhere for opportunity if Wisconsin doesn’t provide it. I know a lot of states that do, and that’s where they’ve been moving too. It’s sad to see our talent in the Midwest sent out everywhere because that’s what happening. Exurbs and outer suburbs will be shunned by the market simply by the price of energy. $5/gal actually helps Milwaukee.

  36. Dave Reid says:

    @Kevin
    I’m sorry but the proposals coming from Madison are 100% sprawl policy, and it needs to be pointed out. Because with these policies come consequences.

    “The last administration broke the economy of WI and it needs to be fixed, first and foremost.” I’m pretty sure it was the great recession that broke the economy of WI (in fact Wisconsin has done better than average through all this).

    And yes cities have sprawl, and to some extent always will sprawl, especially with all sorts of policies that subsidize and encourage it.

    “Losing tens of thousands of jobs and having an unreliable, crumbling infrastructure system does not put us “on track to be better prepared for our global future”.

    Yes the again job loss is a problem, again I’ll note a national (really international) recession. And we were preparing to build new infrastructure, that could have helped to prepared Wisconsin for $5/gal gas.

    “I’ve heard talk of $5/gal gas in the near future, and at that price even a 30mpg car could cost some people I know $15 PER DAY in gas expense. ”

    Right exactly, urbanism + transit. We had been on track to build new infrastructure, but not anymore.

    Nobody denies we need to better education our populace, but as of yet nothing proposed actually does that.

  37. Jesse Hagen says:

    @Kevin

    I agree 100% that MPS needs to be shut down; for the students and taxpayers alike, it is failing.

    However, the recent legislation doesn’t do that, it just cuts funding. It doesn’t reform how MPS is governed or improve how they spend the money they have. It doesn’t lower Milwaukee property taxes or promise to better educate children.

    The governor and his grand old party have the votes to do literally whatever they want with MPS, but they choose to change nothing, just cut funding. Only the state can shut down the district or break it into 6 smaller districts, or make any meaningful change. Legally the state has the control and they choose to make no changes. Literally, Walker is for the status quo… but with less state funding.

    Throwing money at a problem doesn’t work, neither does ignoring it.

  38. Witt Dog says:

    @ Dave… you can now add TIF districts in Townships to the pro-sprawl agenda 🙂 It just get better all the time!

  39. Dave Reid says:

    @Witt Yeah I did see that…

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