9 Most Commented-On Stories of 2015
Crime, the streetcar, teacher pay, the Bucks bailout and other issues left readers battling.
Sometimes the comments go on longer than the original story. Here are the nine stories generating the most comments in 2015, culminating in the most debated story of the year.
A study commissioned by the Greater Milwaukee Committee argues we must imitate other cities in building more hotels and bigger convention center but its data actually contradicts these conclusions, Bruce Murphy writes.
“I agree with the report and disagree with this article,” says Will. “Milwaukee is too spread out, the Bradley Center is pathetic, the Bucks district as it stands is a dead zone, we have way too few restaurants, and our convention center is way too small. I also think Milwaukee’s hotels (minus the Pfister and IC) aren’t good.”
“Milwaukee operates on a sad scarcity model,” says Chris. “It’s a bizarre mindset. People here are convinced that if we concentrate effort in new places we’ll somehow drain all the life from something else… This is NOT how a vibrant city functions. Vibrant cities offer more everywhere.”
Chief Flynn decries gun violence in city and blames NRA for opposition to any regulations of guns.
“If we enforced the laws on the books the way they are written now, then we would avoid a lot of his issues. We need to prosecute more criminals for the felonies they are committing,” AG says. “When they only get a misdemeanor slap on the wrist there is no incentive to change their behavior.”
“AG: If we follow your line of thinking to it’s logical conclusion, then you should be advocating for massive increases in state dollars for local DA offices to prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent,” Sam says.
Abele helped seal deal to subsidize new NBA arena and readers weigh in:
“The current owners of the Bucks could easily afford to pay for everything in this plan by themselves,” Bill Sweeney says. “Or they could get other extremely wealthy people to also invest in this plan. They do not NEED public money to build what they want to build… Polls show that the public are overwhelmingly opposed.”
James counters: “Note what Minnesota, Minneapolis and Hennepin County taxpayers have done with constant public sector investment partnering with private sector investment. ALL of these recent investments are in downtown Minneapolis:
— $1.1 billion in a new Vikings stadium — $545 million in a new Twins baseball stadium – Target Field — $129 million to upgrade the Timberwolves basketball arena – Target Center.”
Because the public opposes taxes to subsidize sports teams, legislators must find stealthier finance mechanisms, Bruce Murphy argues.
“We don’t need the Bucks,” Andy Umbo says, “I’ve been to the games and they have the top tier of seating closed off and the rest are barely filled. We don’t need to pay our tax money for any of that, or to enrich a private team owner.”
PJ says: “I am not speaking from the viewpoint of a fan who wants to sit in a posh arena or ball park. I’ve been to exactly 2 Bucks games.. However, does anyone remember S 43rd street before Miller Park?… having a world class ballpark in the neighborhood has done wonders for the property value… How many people now enjoy employment along that corridor?”
Michael: “I too am skeptical about the streetcar proposal. It doesn’t seem to be solving any transportation problem… You can get an Uber from one end of the street car route to the other for around $6. Nor is it solving a development problem. The downtown/east side of milwaukee already has a wide variety of development projects in the works.”
David: “People seem to forget that the proposed route is just a starter system. The plan is to connect neighborhoods and ultimately the region. Bus service has been cut by 25%, it has no dedicated funding and continues its death spiral. The buses or streetcar debate is a false choice because once the streetcar is killed, the right becomes an opponent of buses.”
Bill: “The one thing a streetcar accomplishes…is that the powers that be get to try and dictate where development will occur. I think that’s why it appeals to liberals because many of them like to dictate how people live…I don’t know that the supporters have ever really explained what this will provide that a bus cannot.”
Tom D replies: “Rail attracts more passengers than buses . Streetcars are faster than buses . Streetcars can cost less per passenger mile to operate than buses . Streetcars are cleaner (no tail pipe) and quieter than buses.”
The law that largely eliminated public unions continues to divide people.
Will: “There used to be a lot of goodwill stored up for teachers and other govt employees because of their roles in society, but I would say its all been squandered by greed, specifically the greed of the union leadership.”
Casey says: “If teachers’ salaries are not competitive they will leave to greener fields which very well could lead to a decline in the quality of education.”
Margo Allen: “I support the drivers, even while I have envied their pay and benefits… The job can be difficult — drivers have little control over what equipment, routes, and hours of work. The public has harassed them and attacked them time and again.”
Tim says: “It’s not like these people are running into burning buildings; they’re driving a bus around town & can retire after 27 years. They’re trying to hold people hostage to get more for themselves.”
Wisconsin Conservative Digest says: “This is a prevention program. Inner city runs on welfare and drug money. I cannot tell you how many times people called me in the pharmacy and asked me for something to ‘clean their systems’, how many people getting or trying to get opioid Rx’s to get high…”
John Wintheiser says: “The money spent on this foolish idea would be better spent expanding drug treatment programs and making them more available to people with a drug problem. The fact of the matter is that a treatment program can be very difficult to find for people who want help.”