Dave Reid

DPW Defends Pothole Filling Process

By - Sep 4th, 2008 11:14 am
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The hot topic of this committee meeting was a recent Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article accusing the Department of Public Works (“DPW“) of having a racial bias in their handling of pothole filling.  Jeff Mantes and Jeff Polenske laid out DPW’s process in regards to pothole repair.  Explaining that they prioritize arterial roads higher than neighborhood streets because these roads impact more drivers and have greater safety concerns because of higher speeds on these roads.

Alderman Joe Davis, Sr. and Alderman Ashanti Hamilton were clearly bothered by this article’s findings and let DPW know it.  Alderman Hamilton stated that “my constituents can pay taxes but can’t get their potholes fixed on time” and further made his discontent clear saying “you have lost the benefit of the doubt”.  Ironically he also pointed out that many of his districts major arterial roads have recently been rebuilt.  This was key because representatives from DPW had explained that their priorities were to repair potholes along major arterial roads first and go into the neighborhood streets later. It was evident that the research for the article didn’t take this into account and as new roads wouldn’t need pothole filling the primarily work in this district revolved around neighborhood streets which DPW had indicated were a lower priority.

The committee as whole appeared to question the report’s validity and the mayor’s staff pointed out a variety of methodology flaws.  These flaws including errors that could over count requests or place requests in the wrong census track, both of which could significantly sway the outcome of the research.  These concerns prompted Alderman Robert Bauman to question the article and pointed out how irresponsible an article like this is, if based on poor methodology.  Alderman Willie Wade joined in expressing his displeasure with the article’s methodology saying “personally I think we’ve been had” and that “we are here because of an article from the Journal Sentinel with bogus data”.  Generally the committee was concerned if the findings were valid but Alderman Bob Donovon seemed to wrap up the sentiment by repeating an old cliche, “you cant always believe everything you read in the paper”.


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