Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

A Tale of Two Cities

New city report reveals huge split between Milwaukee’s desperate poverty and wonderful amenities, neighborhoods. What are its solutions?

By - Jul 15th, 2014 02:42 pm
Milwaukee City Hall

Milwaukee City Hall

The report naturally offers an optimistic title: “Growing Prosperity: An Action Agenda for Economic Development in the City of Milwaukee.” Weighing in at nearly 120 pages, with lots of graphs, data and action points, it’s something of a slog, but is supposed to provide a kind of “state of the city” report and road map to the future. The report was overseen by Department of City Development Commissioner and ever-busy deal maker Rocky Marcoux, in consultation with Paul Brophy, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, with advice from a huge cast of Milwaukee movers and shakers. Cecil B. DeMille has nothing on Rocky Marcoux when it comes to putting together a huge production.

So yes, it’s dull reading, yet you can’t help being stunned by just how contradictory Milwaukee is, simultaneously the best and worst of towns.

As the report notes, Milwaukee “has a high livability index with… national sports teams; entertainment options in professional theater, live music, comedy, performance arts and dance; iconic museums; a delightful range of tourist events (brewery tours to Harley-Davidson reunions); an unrivaled festival season; a renowned park and trail system; world-class museums, major universities, liberal arts and technical colleges.”

Other positive bullet points:

-“The region also has lower-cost industrial real estate than other regions, strong infrastructure, and moderately priced utilities… attractive to industry… In contrast to many large U.S. cities, Milwaukee has a significant inventory of large development sites… most located in industrial parks or existing Business Improvement Districts.”

-The Milwaukee 7 region is home to seven Fortune 500 companies, making it “one of the top ten U.S. regions for headquarters on a per capita basis.”

-With more than 150 arts and cultural organizations, the city consistently ranks as one of the top 25 arts destinations in the U.S. by American Style and “in 2013 ArtPlace ranked Milwaukee’s East Town (and a portion of the Lower East Side) as one of the top 12 art places in America,” the only Midwestern city ranked so high.

-A Market Value Analysis of Milwaukee with nine peer cities found nearly 50 percent of Milwaukee’s housing units were located in block groups designated as “high value” or “regional choice” while distressed neighborhoods comprised a much lower portion of neighborhoods than in other peer cities.

So there’s plenty to brag about in Milwaukee. Yet consider the depth of its problems:

-It’s the 9th most impoverished big city in the U.S., with nearly 30 percent of residents living below the poverty line.

-Approximately 31 percent of city residents have only a high school diploma, and 18 percent did not complete high school at all.

-In a survey of 2012 Milwaukee Public School graduates, more than 40 percent had no post-graduation plan!

-“The city faces a number of challenges in human capital: higher unemployment rates, particularly among minority populations; large numbers of potential workers lacking the technical and soft skills (e.g., punctuality, work ethic, etc.) needed to succeed… and other barriers to employment such as lack of valid driver’s licenses… or previous criminal records that discourage employers from hiring.”

-Fewer than 50 percent of jobs in metro Milwaukee are accessible in 90 minutes via transit. “This is a particular concern for Milwaukeeans who work in Waukesha County industrial parks… their commute can begin hours before their work start time, and require multiple bus transfers… for residents who have children… their commute may begin at 5 or 6 a.m. in order to get children to school by 8 a.m. and make it to work on-time.”

-Nearly 20 percent of Milwaukee households do not have a vehicle, and more than 25 percent commute via carpooling, public transit, or walking. “Median earnings for those who commute to work by bus are just under $15,000 annually—just 54% of the median income for all local commuters.”

-“Milwaukee has one of the lowest rates of entrepreneurship among America’s largest metro areas.” Just 7.9 percent of adults are self-employed, which is 2.3 percent below the national average. “In fact, in 2013, just 170 businesses were created for every 100,000 adults in Wisconsin, ranking it 45th in entrepreneurship in the U.S. Venture capital generation was similarly lackluster: Wisconsin businesses raised just under $36 million in 2013; neighboring states Michigan and Minnesota raised three and seven times as much, respectively.”

All the negatives and poverty in Milwaukee are heavily concentrated among minorities, particularly African Americans, in a city that seemed to change overnight, from 61 percent white in 1990 to 37 percent in 2010. Yet minorities, particularly African Americans, are also the key to the future, giving the city a younger potential work force than the rest of the metro area and state.

As you look at this list of assets and deficits, the logical conclusion is that Milwaukee has invested enough money and energy on arts groups and festivals and museums and sports teams while underinvesting in its schools and transportation and central city redevelopment. There’s no doubt the solutions to poverty aren’t simple but we could probably all agree that creating a city of festivals and pro sports teams won’t do much to address the problems.

So what does this action plan prescribe? The list of recommendations is lo-o-o-ng and certainly includes some useful proposals, but the emphasis is many small ideas. There is often a workmanlike quality to the style of Marcoux and his Mayor Tom Barrett, adding up various well-intended projects but lacking a big vision. Of course, the city is greatly handicapped by a shrinking revenue base, as I’ve previously reported.

The report suggests building on five industry clusters in the metro area, including the finance and insurance cluster, with 46,000 workers, headquarters and business services (26,000 workers), power, energy, controls and automation (19,000 workers) and food and beverage processing (14,000 workers), but also includes the much touted water technology cluster, with no figures on the number of workers. This cluster might some day develop, but if you can’t even estimate the number of workers involved, how can you include it with the other four clusters?

Similarly, the report touts changes at the the Grand Avenue Mall, though it remains an obvious failure. And it notes the redevelopment of the Menomonee Valley, truly a big success, but in same breath talks about the Reed Street Yards area (where water technology businesses might develop) and Century City development in the 30th Street Corridor (where the city hopes to attract manufacturing) as though they in same league as the valley redevelopment. Maybe some day in the rosy distant future, but not now.

Two things in the report hit me with great force.

First, the potential impact of on-the-job training for jobs that require science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. The need for these jobs is actually growing, with 21.4 percent of jobs in metro Milwaukee demanding STEM skills in 2013. And average STEM wages in the metro area were in excess of $68,000 and less than $39,000 for non-STEM jobs. These figures cry out for a focus on training and and connecting youthful city residents, most of whom are minority, to such jobs.

And second, the potential impact of minority-owned businesses. Nationally, while businesses owned by whites grew by 81 percent from 1982 to 2007, companies owned by African-Americans jumped nearly 523 percent and Hispanic-American firms soared by 696 percent.

Milwaukee County businesses are far more likely than those state-wide to be owned by African American (13.2 percent in the county vs 2.6 percent in Wisconsin), Hispanics (3.6 percent vs 1.3 percent) and other minorities (4.2 percent vs 2.2 percent).

In a metro area well known for its levels of economic and racial segregation, with poor transportation to suburban jobs, minority-owned businesses could be hugely beneficial. Latino-owned businesses tend to locate in neighborhoods in which 37 percent of the population is Latino, the report notes, while African American-owned businesses locate in areas that are 44 percent African-American. And two-thirds of the employees of black-owned businesses are African-American.

There are many things the city and private sector could do to nurture such businesses. That could perhaps be a key to melding the two cities of Milwaukee into one unified place of prosperity.

Short Take

I should note that the report is at this point a draft waiting for approval from the Common Council, but its statistics are unlikely to change in the final version.

39 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law: A Tale of Two Cities”

  1. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Milwaukee has been run by the Left for over 100 years so they cannot blame the state as their have been numerous leftist governors in that time, the state is in good shape, there has been numerous leftist presidents in that 100 years.
    There are no entrepreneurs cause they have all left for greener pastures where they are not demonized for being businessmen, you know that rotten 1%. While Milwaukee has declined the surrounding counties, sick of the rhetoric of people like Dimetrjvic, Weishan, Moore, Taylor and many others, went somewhere where they were appreciated. Milwaukee runs at the behest of the unions and would not let Wal-mart and others come in, that then located in New Berlin. The schools, run by the Left cannot teach kids to read. Crime is virtually unstopped cause the Barrett/Flynn/Chisholm/Kremer group refuses to put people in jail, put people in jail that violate gun laws, prosecute felons that try to get guns. Chisholm is far more interested in playing politics with huge amounts of money being spent for John Does. Milwaukee is a mess cause the Left has made it that way. Their theories do not work.

  2. David says:

    Here we go again. WCD your schtick is so tiring. Turn off your radio and think for yourself. How have Milwaukee leaders / mayors ruined the city? Let’s see…. forced busing decision came from the Feds, the majority of entitlements are Federal, the subsidized housing loans that built up the suburbs are Federal, the subsidized freeways that expidited white flight from cities are Federal and State, the failed urban renewal programs that were thrust on cities were Federal. Face it WCD, your whole way of life was and is subsidized.

    Furthermore, given the challenges facing Milwaukee, the City is actually holding its own. It is by far the most interesting and complex city in the State and one of the more unique cities in the nation. My concern is with our do nothing metro area. While the City is holding on to and even adding population, our metro area is getting thumped by our peer cities. WCD, that’s where you should spend your energy. WHY are our suburbs and metro area being outperformed by the rest of the country? And by the way, those lefties in Madison are doing pretty well. What’s your theory there?

  3. Observer says:

    Bob, I’m surprised you still live in SE Wisconsin. If you could clap your hands and have Milwaukee disappear, think long and hard at what you’d have left.

  4. David says:

    One more thing. Outside of Madison and Milwaukee and other selected cities, this state is populated by people one generation removed from the factory. They’re conservative, risk averse and xenophobic. Current state leadership wants to take us back to the1950s. I’m sure life was grand in the 50’s WCD, but I would rather look to the future. Our culture combined with a lack of vision, supported state government more interested in ideology over substance does bode well for the future.

  5. Mike says:

    Wisconsin Conservative Digest begins with a falsehood. In the last 100 years, the Republicans held the office of President for 58 years, the office of governor of Wisconsin for 52 years and the office of Mayor of Milwaukee was held about 50 years by Democrats and the other half by Socialists, Fusion and Non-partisan parties. At the state and national level the dominant party was Republican over the last 100 years. Thus, they can be blamed according to the reasoning used by that digest.
    »Another falsehood: There are entrepreneurs but not enough.Those that left followed the natural movement of the population to the suburbs along with the freeway system and tax structure. They certainly are hardy enough to withstand rhetoric. It was a financial decision to move.
    »Another falsehood: MPS has 4 schools nationally ranked higher than any of the schools in the suburbs. The author of the digest reply fails to use correct spelling and grammar: “their” instead of “there”; “the state is in a good shape” is a separate sentence; ” has” instead of “have”; cause instead of “because”; a comma is required after”…declined”; missing the conjunction “and” before “prosecute”. Also, the reply fails to capitalize Wisconsin.
    »Another falsehood: Milwaukee crime statistics report an overall downward trend in crime based on data from 12 years with violent crime increasing and property crime decreasing. Based on this trend, the crime rate in Milwaukee for 2014 is expected to be lower than in 2010.
    » Another falsehood: Chisholm has an Avvo rating of 6.7 and receives top marks for professional conduct.

    The response from the Wisconsin Conservative Digest is weak, whiny and withers under scrutiny. The author of the digest reply is either ignorant, lazy in efforts to build an honest remark or willfully manipulative in an effort to deceive.

    There is a high probability that the supposed Wisconsin Conservative Digest reply is actually from a scheißekopf.

  6. Paul K says:

    Reports with facts, figures, and real data are important for understanding the problem. But once you understand the problem, the real challenge is to do something about it. Sadly, too many people say “what problems?” so we never move forward and we never solve issues. This is a great city with great people. It’s time we got together to make Milwaukee better.

    I’m going to get the report and take a look at the Recommendations.I wonder if Urban Milwaukee could set up a special sub-site for consideration and discussion of these Recommendations?

  7. Tyrell Track Master says:

    Stellar article. One quib: “Nearly 20 percent of Milwaukee households do not have a vehicle, and more than 25 percent commute via carpooling, public transit, or walking.”

    That’s actually a good thing 🙂 Except in the sprawl zone, of course.

  8. Paul Miller says:

    To echo Tyler: That “more than 25 percent commute via carpooling, public transit, or walking” is definitely a good thing. Those are people who *are* employed and *are* contributing to the economy but are able to do so without using a car, or by using one fewer car. (This also means more disposable income in their pockets. I know that when I lived in Milwaukee, I didn’t own a car, and one of the upsides is that I was able to spend a lot more on local goods and services than I would have otherwise.)

    Now, the fact that 20% of households do not have a vehicle is both good and bad. One one hand, it means that there are a lot of poorer folks who can’t afford a car and who lose out on job opportunities in transit-inaccessible and transit-inconvenient areas. At the same time, it’s also an indication that despite the dreadful lack of investment in transit and despite the absence of light rail and streetcar networks, there is still a decent (not great, but decent) system that works well enough to move at least 20% of the cities’ households around. Those 20% of the households may be transit-dependent, but there are other people who also use transit by choice, even if only occasionally. Again, MCTS is not the system it could be, but compared to some other large cities with “bus only” transit in the city (Indy, San Antonio, Nashville, Albuquerque, Columbus, Jax, Cincy, OKC, and more), Milwaukee has a reasonably decent network with a reasonable culture of ridership. It’s a damn shame that it’s not better and it’s a damn shame we don’t have rail, but the current level of usage means Milwaukee is a city that *could* transition into a transit-friendly city more easily than a place like San Antonio, or heaven forbid, Oklahoma City. In other words, there is a hidden strength in the relatively high percentage of households without a car. We have the density to make robust transit work considering that it already halfway “works” on a very basic level with the modest and incomplete system we have now.

    Of course, the region as a whole is so politically divided, and because the suburban counties don’t want to see (or even acknowledge) a shared future, we keep losing out on the chance to take transit to the next level and address an issue of economic, cultural, and environmental importance. It’s so frustrating to see so many of the suburban conservatives take a narrow view: “I don’t use it, so I shouldn’t have to pay for it.” Even though, as with most public goods, a strong transit system ends up benefiting even the people who don’t “use” it directly. Herein lies the conservative failure to think systemically, to acknowledge the ways that we’re all deeply intertwined, and to see the when the core city is thriving, everyone benefits. *sigh*

    Okay…off my soapbox on the transit issue. I just get disheartened because there’s so much potential for it to work in Milwaukee, but it faces such absurd opposition here from the red counties.

  9. David Ciepluch says:

    Southeast Wisconsin once held many manual labor jobs that a person could leave high school one week, and jump into middle class status. These days are long gone with tax policies of the 80s closing up business here, and outsourcing to Mexico, China, South Korea and elsewhere. The recent economic collapse took out Chrysler in Kenosha, GM in Janesville, and paper mills in the Fox Valley as examples that occurred across Milwaukee over the decades. All are permanent losses of manual and skilled labor positions that kept people in middle class status and allowed their children affordable options to a brighter future.

    Nothing has really replaced these job engines.

    One main area that could provide a lot of jobs for decades is major renovation of thousands of homes and commercial buildings to bring them to a higher standard of efficiency and renewable energy for the 21st Century. New construction will not fill a major component of jobs in the next few decades. Reconstruction could offer many unskilled and skilled labor positions and maximize the use of local materials and cut into the annual expenditure of over $12 Billion annually that is sent out of state for the purchase of fossil fuels for electric production, natural gas as the primary heating fuel, and gasoline for transportation. An efficient mass transit system also plays into this theme.

    The problem is how to jump start such an initiative on a large enough scale. Some limited scale examples have been done by local nonprofit organizations like Layton Boulevard West Neighbors in home renovations.

  10. Brad says:

    The reason Milwaukee is left with little to no middle class can be linked directly to the liberal idea of forced school bussing. The intentions were good but the results were devastating for cities. Instead of brining all public schools up it dragged all of them down. Instead of integrating the city it resulted in middle class flight to the burbs. What you are left with are the wealthy who could afford private school, and the poor who could not afford to move. The bussing also destroyed neighborhoods, discouraged parental involvement in education and the results are what we are left with today. There are certainly other factors but school bussing and the resulting destruction of public education in MKE is the main reason we no longer have a middle class in the city. The leadership in the city and county is the reason downtown hasn’t kept pace with the surrounding communities in terms of economic growth. We have a perfect example right now. NM wants to pay millions for an under used and decrepit parking structure that will require millions more in repairs. Instead of thanking them and signing the deal gladly the county board is dragging their feet and spitting in the face of the greatest corporate citizen in the city. The Park East is another example. Developers have been trying to build there for decades but they are faced with constant opposition. Barrett is so busy trying to build a trolley that will create nothing but headaches and deficits he can’t focus on any else that might actually encourage economic development. The long and short of it is liberal policies have devastated the middle class and thrown up road blocks for business for decades. Until we change leadership and adopt the policies that have allowed the burbs to thrive we will continue to be a tale of two cities.

  11. PMD says:

    WCD says people are not put in jail. The facts say we incarcerate more black males than any other state in America. Darned facts. Not that WCD cares.

    Milwaukee has its fair share of serious problems, which are well-documented. A lot more work needs to be done to address them. But it’s still a phenomenal city. There are so many amazing amenities, from museums to incredible restaurants to the lakefront to events like the film festival and Doors Open to the Brewers to summer festivals to great local coffee to excellent concert venues like the Pabst. There’s so much to love about the city. If all you do is dump on it, it says a whole lot more about you than Milwaukee.

  12. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    You guys blame everyone except your little sister for your inept, corrupt leadership in Milwaukee.
    as for putting crooks in jail? Everyone arrested for killing and shooting people, in Milwaukee, has long record of crime. First thing that the DA does is to plea away the gun crimes.
    Wake up before YOU get shot.
    If everyone was as concerned about crime and MPS as they are about a new toy: Arena, Milwaukee would shape up. But why would all of you suburban white eyes care anyway, They are just inner city kids shooting each other. Disgusting, the Left.
    Some good Conservative leadership could clean this place up asap. Conservatives care.

  13. David says:

    We have all seen Republican management of governing and it has led Wisconsin to a bottom in class showing compared to every other Midwest state. And bottom in class in just about every measured area for a national comparison. Republican leadership brings laws written by corporations from ALEC, that robs citizens of hard won rights and real benefits and wages over the decades. Walker governance has cast a dark pall and stench over the land that is difficult to measure and kills off any potential spirit of progress and spirit.

    This alone (ALEC corporate laws) should scare the living hell out of any true conservative and liberal.

  14. PMD says:

    I’ve asked it before and have yet to receive an answer from WCD, but what the hell, I’ll try again. What would conservatives do to reduce crime, specifically gun violence, in Milwaukee? Don’t give me any simplistic nonsense like “they’d fix MPS.” I want specifics. And what are conservatives doing right now to show that they care about inner city kids shooting each other? I’d love to know.

  15. Bruce I have not been following you for very long only for about 5 – 6 years, however, I am so impressed with your spot-on assessments. Even my years at City Hall you knew what you pretty much was talking about.

    IMO, you are correct. We have focused on arts, festivals, museums and sports (AFMS), spending millions in the mainstream, traditional white organizations in Milwaukee. And although, we need strategic investment in schools, city infrastructure and central city development. I think a component of strengthening central city minority communities is investing in AFMS. There are many minority AFMS investment opportunities that will keep the young folks busy and positive activities in the community. African World Festival, faith based plays and public art installations, the African American Arts Center, etc. are all great opportunities to engage the community.

    It also seems that there has been a strategic effort to avoid investment in minority businesses and communities. After de-industrialization in conjunction with white flight, many central city communities, even during the economic good times, find it difficult to get access to capital. Businesses/entrepreneurs in many minority communities are devastated after a failed business and find it much more difficult to come back after a failed venture.

  16. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    I have outlined the plan for reducing crime in Milwaukee many times.
    1. Adopt plan used by Giuiani/Bloomberg
    2. all gun criminals go to jails asap for min. 5 years.
    3. prosecute all straw buyers.
    4, prosecute all felons that try to buy guns.5.
    5 Follow the plan advocated and used by Glenn Frankovis under Artie Jones that reduced violent crime.
    6. Milwaukee ten worst run. Dump Barrett/Flynn/Chisholm/Kremer and get new leaders.
    If we do not fix MPS, in 1974 I advocated busting it up as many Leftists are proposing, nothing will ever get better. Forget the arena, concentrate on these problems first.

  17. Bruce Murphy says:

    To Paul and Tyrell Track: 25% dependent on buses could be good if these are solidly middle class people choosing to bicycle, ride on Uber ,etc. but most are low income and the bus system may not connect them to jobs in Waukesha and other outlying areas, so to the statistic unfortunately becomes another way of measuring poverty and lack of opportunity.

  18. PMD says:

    OK that’s what I figured. Vague references to other cities and a few generalities that pretty much everyone agrees on like prosecuting straw purchasers. Hardly a detailed, comprehensive, specific plan that clearly outlines how different conservative leadership would be if given the opportunity.

  19. PMD says:

    I work for a place that serves low income individuals. Most of the staff is from the same neighborhoods as the people served. The bus system is a huge problem in terms of getting to and from the various sites we have. They need to take 2 or 3 buses, or they need to walk a mile or two before or after getting on a bus. In the end it takes forever for them to get where they need to go.

  20. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    PMD read the entry. Do your research, I do not have all day to type Frankovis and Bloomberg’s effective plans. Too damn lazy, standard leftist. All Leftists do is whine, blame Bush, Reagan, Walker. Never any answers.
    i give Bruce credit, he has solved problems and does put up a lot of ideas.
    I have worked in or around inner cities for 50 years. we do need better bus service so what happens? They want to build an arena and a choochoo.

  21. PMD says:

    Wow defensive much WCD. I am not asking for a 100-page report here. I’ve asked you this over and over again and all you ever say is “go do the research yourself.” You keep saying if conservatives were in charge crime would improve, but you have nothing to back that up, and just dodge when asked for specifics. So who’s the lazy one here? Anyone can tell someone else to go find their own answers. And did someone here blame Bush, Reagan, and Walker for crime in Milwaukee? That’s an odd statement.

  22. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Nothing, not one answer, typical Lefty. all talk, all BS, no answers. just like Barrett, you have hard time figuring out how to take pee.

  23. PMD says:

    Alright then. I’m off to Google “How to take a pee.”

  24. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    If cannot find, try urination, hands free!

  25. Nicholas says:

    WCD, what is Flynn doing that is so wrong?

    What is the alternative “conservative” style of Policing you would advocate?

    What is Flynn doing differently than any of his Peers who embrace Broken Windows and Community Policing?

  26. Brian Jacobson says:

    I like that photo.

  27. David says:

    Brad, forced busing did not cause white flight. It certainly accelerated the problem, but white flight was well underway before the talk of integration. Secondly, spitting in the face of one of its greatest corporate citizens??? The corporate citizen that was just given a $70M TIF?! Get a grip Brad. Furthermore, why should we trip over ourselves to sell the structure to NML? Why not sell it to someone that wants to build on the site? I would think that location can be more than a parking structure. And we can agree to disagree on improving public transportation. Study after study shows that fix route service generates millions in private investments. Brad, whether you believe it or not, the so called lack of leadership in Milwaukee has resulted in billions of dollars in investments just within downtown and adjacent neighborhoods. I’m not sure where you’re getting your information but you’re a little misguided. Finally, most would agree that our metro area is not doing that well especially when compared to our peer cities. I’m not sure what world you’re living in Brad.

  28. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    All the aggressive entrepreneurs went to Waukesha while Milwaukee retained the old time guys like NML.
    I have been in many CofC’s the last 50 years and the story was all the same. They were tired of dealing with mindless leftist like Dimitrijevic, Ament, others so they put their businesses in Waukesha. Look at the difference in growth. Norquist had some sense, except with freeways, Barrett is troll. Same with Conservatives in Tosa, West Allis. They left cause of the mindless, nutty rhetoric of the Left, taxes. Businesses out there are welcome, crime is nil, taxes are better, you can deal with the city/county instead of some demented clowns that demonize business.

  29. PMD says:

    Milwaukee is vastly superior to Waukesha and West Allis. It’s not even close. Tosai is fine but I prefer Milwaukee.

  30. Nicholas says:

    Why are so many companies moving downtown then? All these questions…

  31. PMD says:

    He’ll never answer your questions. He’ll repeat the same old talking points against Milwaukee/Barrett/Flynn/Chisholm, and then he’ll shift to something else entirely. He’s a parody of a cranky old conservative white male.

  32. David Ciepluch says:

    For over 150 years, the Milwaukee area has formed the backbone of the economy of the state. It still does and has the greatest density of population and economies of scale. Even in the least prosperous zip code in the state with the lowest median annual family income, 53206, still has more economic purchasing power per square mile than Mequon. Milwaukee has funded the remainder of the state for most of its history from collected taxes. Milwaukee and Dane Counties would be in great shape financially if they could retain all of their state income, property, sales, license registrations, gasoline, and other forms of taxation within their own territory. Dane County benefits from all the tax funds sent their way for University and students and governing from the rest of the state that insulates them from more drastic economic upheavals like de-industrialization that has occurred in Milwaukee.

    We are not an island and what benefits Milwaukee, benefits the remainder of the state and the other way around. What a novel idea it would be if we had politicians and leaders working in the interests of real solutions that benefits the majority of citizens and improves the quality of life. Instead current leaders in Madison are more interested in trashing the city and ignoring the least among us without any political power.

  33. stacy moss says:

    -The Milwaukee 7 region is home to seven Fortune 500 companies, making it “one of the top ten U.S. regions for headquarters on a per capita basis.”

    This figure is probably helped by the fact Milwaukee has lost a third of its population over the last thirty years.

  34. stacy moss says:

    Nationally, while businesses owned by whites grew by 81 percent from 1982 to 2007, companies owned by African-Americans jumped nearly 523 percent and Hispanic-American firms soared by 696 percent.

    If this is true I think we should consider letting more African American males out of prison so they can stay at home while their wives run these businesses.

  35. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Our family homesteaded 40 acres in Manitowoc cty. in 1856, coming from Czech area, scratching out a living, barely. during that time Milwaukee was the center of civilization for Wisconsin. without Milwaukee we would be Iowa. we know that.
    We moved her in 1964, Milwaukee was thriving, crime was very low. MPS had passable schools and lived in Milwaukee, bought real estate there and was very happy.
    I have had propele of all colors in my apt., pharmacies for all that time. Have been very involved in community in too many organizations to mention, but school busing changed that. Dumbest thing that eve happened. People with families that did not want their kids taken from their neighborhoods left. I worked with Sensenbrenner to develop Chap. 220. In 1974 I tried to get Bill Dyke to bring forth the splitting up of MPS, it had gotten worse and worse with the advent of unions and busing. the more the Feds have become involved, and the Unions the worse schools have become. After the Viet Nam war we saw the anti-freeway people and the far left kooks come into govt. with a variety of nutty beliefs demonizing businesses and businessmen. the suburban areas, Waukesha were actually quite small, only 4 Assembly districts in 1964. My pharmacy was right on the border.
    People were leaving Milwaukee in droves, especially the businesses, taking the 1%, those dastardly people, with them. They elected people like tom Barrett who has never know a question that he can solve. It has been straight downhill till Milwaukee is now in the top ten in worst run, poverty, segregation, crime, youth unemployment, abandoned houses and no one has any solutions, just whine and blame. Saddest group of people I have ever seen. It is so bad that Tom Barrett hs done everything possible to leave, running for gov. three times, in ten years. Running for office is exhausting, I know have run many campaigns. No time to solve problems.
    The only people who have talked about these problems, Clarke and Donovan have been blackballed by the Left. 75% of the people love them.
    Unless Milwaukee wakes up and realizes that the leader of the community, all nutty Leftists nothing is going to improve.
    In Tosa, we had school problems, they actually wanted to start selling parks to pay ongoing expenses. We tossed them out, Conservatives and Liberals.
    Meanwhile Milwaukee goes nowhere in key areas needed to make it a great city again. they did assemble a book of ll the best excuses to use when nothing is solved and give it to the writers in this column. Bruce Murphy is the chief whiner and he is doing good job of teaching everyone.
    I had five kids, three of them special forces, a doctor, an Olympic silver medalist, 2 national champions, too many state champions too mention all graduated from our colleges, UW and UWM. When they came up with these whiney answers and excuses, as kids, they were immediately sat down and given the riot act. They listened, In Milwaukee they are given talking points on who to blame and how much to whine then they repeat them daily on these blogs. No wonder they never solve any of them.
    If Milwaukee wants to be a great city again they have to zero in on the real problems, not spend their time worrying about parks, arenas and Scott Walker.
    West Allis had many of the same rpoblems, even worse when AC and KT left but thnakd to leadership it has been rebuilt. Same with tosa. ilwaukee sits.
    Henry Maier was not an idiot democrat, neither was Norquist

  36. Observer says:

    I don’t wish to hijack any thread but found this article interesting and somewhat connected to the main topic. It’s not a real long read but I found it fascinating and perhaps you might too.

  37. Cmke says:

    I’m wondering if anyone in the comments section actually read the action agenda. I’d rather hear thoughts on that personally. Reading your arguments is distracting from the point.

    Anyway I’m most startled that this action plan is infected by corporate interest and really doesn’t lay out much of a plan except the same-old-same. Read the “vision” in the plan. Also ask why a “Flying Car” logo appears in the document. As well as a plan to fund the group Newaukee which is know for bro-parties and being a lapdog to the GMC. Also look for the word segregation in that document – you won’t find it. Try and find an actual strategy on dealing with black unemployment, you won’t find it. The whole thing is a jumping off point for the corporations that really run our city to continue their stranglehold, advance their agendas, pay their friends and leave us all the rest of us in the dust – worsening segregation and advancing the ravages of poverty and underfunded education.

  38. Bruce Murphy says:

    To Cmke: actually the report does talk about segregation and notes it is a problem.

  39. Cmke says:

    You’re right Bruce, there is 1 paragraph about it but of course there is no plan of action. “These demographic disparities create significant barriers to the economic success of the city and the region, and any strategies developed for city
    or regional economic growth will need to address and at least attempt to mitigate these race-based disparities.”

    “Any strategies for economic growth”? Isn’t that what this document was supposed to be? Does it follow it’s own advice? How is supporting Flying Car addressing this?

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