Ald. Bob Donovan
Press Release

City of Milwaukee: Government by elitists and the people don’t count

Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan December 17, 2014

By - Dec 17th, 2014 08:42 am

For anyone paying attention to yesterday’s Common Council actions regarding the proposed downtown streetcar, there are two key takeaways that should be VERY disconcerting to the average Milwaukee citizen.

First, the mayor is now truly taking extra steps, and attempting to make extra certain, that the streetcar project will never go to the people in the form of a binding referendum. The move to avoid the referendum on the public borrowing for the project (by having the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee issue bonds for the project) is pure circumvention of the public process set forth in state law and is truly SHAMEFUL!

Not allowing the public to have its voice heard in a binding referendum means the mayor truly doesn’t care what the people think, and shows elitism at its worst, in my opinion.

Second, barring a miracle, it certainly appears (based on yesterday’s votes) the votes will go the mayor’s way in January when the streetcar comes up again for a vote. However, I choose to remain optimistic and hope to sway a few of my colleagues my way. My bottom line is that I have fought against the streetcar because I am serving the people I represent and fighting for their best interests – something I have been doing since I was first elected 8th District Alderman.

I can only assume that my colleagues – both those for and against the streetcar – are also motivated in the same manner, and are casting their votes because of what they’re hearing from constituents.

That said, while I certainly respect my colleagues who believe this project will be an ongoing jobs program for unemployed city residents, I do not hold that opinion. This project will only provide a limited number of short-term construction jobs, and VERY few permanent jobs. We need to attract private sector businesses and corporations who can provide the long-term
employment opportunities that Milwaukee truly needs, and we need to make major changes to our educational system to help prepare our children for jobs and careers.

In my years of service as an elected official, I have developed a tremendous respect for the collective common sense of the people. A referendum would provide the opportunity for the people to voice their collective common sense on this project, but it’s clear the mayor doesn’t want to hear what the people have to say when it comes to the streetcar.

At the very least, yesterday’s move to hold the Council’s next action on the streetcar project until January means that my colleagues and I can now enjoy the holidays without a bitter taste in our mouths.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Mayor.

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16 thoughts on “City of Milwaukee: Government by elitists and the people don’t count”

  1. Michelle Jensen says:

    If every governing decision should be left up to popular vote, why do we need Council members?

  2. Tim says:

    Why don’t we put a binding referendum out on whether to expand I-94, of course including the tax increases needed to pay for it?

    I won’t hold my breath.

  3. PMD says:

    You would think the streetcar project had a budget of $100 Billion and was going to bulldoze Donovan’s home in order to create tracks based on all the press releases and grandstanding and rhetoric from Donovan. Why has this, of all things, generated such passionate and dedicated and zealous hatred from him? It even dwarfs his anti-crime screeds.

  4. Eddie says:

    Ald. Donovan – perhaps if you spent less time sucking up to Charlies Sykes and Jeff Wagner etc. you would realize that a vibrant downtown and bringing more people to downtown for shops, restaurants, entertainment (a new arena and convention center) is essential for the survival of the City of Milwaukee. Parts of downtown are coming back – Water Street, East Town, Third Ward. Now is the time to revitalize all of downtown. Think about the city and not satisfying Charlies Sykes or Jeff Wagner who both justdrive to their radio gig and leave for the northern suburbs once they go off the air.

  5. PaulS says:

    Would you care to share with the City, Alderman Donovan, the results of the binding referendum that you offered to the good people of the 8th District?

    Of course, there is no such thing, nor should there be.

    Listen, sir. We’re not so stupid that we can’t hear the AM hate-radio dog whistles you’re blowing here. Public transportation: evil and socialist. You say that, “we need to attract private sector businesses and corporations who can provide the long-term employment opportunities that Milwaukee truly needs.” Thank you for the obvious restatement–but killing *this* plan does not support that need. In fact, the streetcar line project does *exactly* what you are calling for.

    From the Statehouse to the streetcorners of MKE, we are sick to death of the Party of NO. Get on board, sir. MKE has not obligation to wait for you.

  6. MARY GLASS says:

    December 18, 2014

    Season’s Greetings!

    “Core Constituents” are not in the StreetCar “claim of jobs. This is another BAIT-N-SWITCH game of mayor Tom Barrett. This is the leader that just asked the Core Constituents for an increase in the 2015 budget (September 23, 2014). He said he was about empowering the neighborhoods. The Streetcar project is about the Haves-NOTS paying for the HAVES. The downtown Vegas show while our neighborhoods BURN in poverty.

    Milwaukeeans, Core Constituents, will again be “left-out” if we listen to the “downtown hype” lead by monopoly-oligopoly backers of this project.

    So, tell me how can we continue to fund “cart-before-the-horse” mega projects with our government-people funding when the Core Constituents are not written in start to finish in the DNA.

    STOP IT.

    The constituents in Alderman Bob Bauman, Alderman Willie Wade and the others being led by the usual water-carrying methods, to STOP IT. Both Bauman and Wade constituents are in dire need of public transportation to employment (in-and-out of the city) and their family members need to get to places of care – hospital and urban care, daycare, schools, social organizations, shopping centers (outside of neighborhood) and other business needs. They are the population that too often have tariffs on their drivers’ license or do not have a car. Do they NOT KNOW their constituents?

    Aldermen Wade and Bauman constituents are men and women, incarceration returnees, all vets, long-term under-employed core constituents without aggregate family-supporting employment.

    Millennials are part of the whole. They are mentioned by the mayor as if they just walked on the planet.
    These folk need true leadership not “bait-n-switch” rhetoric. That is why they are marching in MASS.

    Full-time family employment (not temporary and maybe) that will impact their impoverish neighborhood risks. This is the “priority” of THE FULL COMMON COUNCIL, especially lead by: Alderpersons Joe Davis, Milele Coggs, Jose Perez, Ashanti Hamilton, Russell Stamper, Tony Zielinski, Jim Bohl, Bob Bauman, Willie Wade, Bob Puente, Nik Kovak (power committees) and Michael Murphy (lead role). Any alderperson voting in a majority in January to pass this slave-holding project should be placed on the 2016 Release list – Fired as Alderperson. This is a deal-breaker.

    Alderman Donovan is right when he says: This project will only provide a limited number of short-term construction jobs, and VERY few permanent jobs. We need to attract private sector businesses and corporations who can provide the long-term employment opportunities that Milwaukee truly needs, and we need to make major changes to our educational system to help prepare our children for jobs and careers.

    Where are Core Constituents

  7. PMD says:

    “We need to attract private sector businesses and corporations who can provide the long-term employment opportunities”

    Exactly. Improved public transportation in the city is one way of doing that since people, especially younger generations, looking for jobs care about good public transportation and alternatives to automobiles.

  8. Dave says:

    You had me until “elitists”. Whenever I hear that word, it’s always coming from someone incapable of using logic and reason to formulate opinions and steer the debate and instead throws out meaningless words to describe those generally better educated, smarter than themselves and better equipped to make public policy.

  9. Tom says:

    Bob Donavan is simply a political mouth piece for AM hate radio led by Sykes, Belling and Wagner — the despicable three stooges. Give it up Bob. We don’t need you if every decision goes to a citywide referendum. Take your hate and your buddies hate and get lost.

  10. Joe says:

    Thank you Mr. Donovan for speaking for my students and their families even though you don’t represent their district. The diversion of tax dollars out of MPS will cause harm in the short and long term. Proponents are hoping to offset that harm with a “maybe” in terms of future economic development. Downtown jobs only help residents who qualify for the jobs. Taking money out of the schools does not help the students get qualified.

  11. Patrick says:

    Well is is nice to see that there is a unanimous agreement that you Ald. Donovan are the elite out of touch with this city and your constituents.

    You want more private sector jobs? They will only come if we can prove we care about how their employees get around. Fixed rail means a permanent commitment transit and business growth.

  12. Dave says:

    The streetcar would take $0 from MPS. Streetcar is financed by dedicated federal funds as well as TID funding which are property taxes that are not being collected now based on proposed and future developement, much of which is predicated on the streetcar being built.

  13. Ken says:

    Yeah! And the next thing you know, they will wanna us to stop smoking in our Milwaukee bars…gosh darn elistists!

  14. cAROL says:

    If the people of MKE will be responsible to pay for Barrett’s folly of a trolley, they should have the RIGHT to vote on it. Improve on the transit system we now have, buses can be put on any route. Trolley breaks down, it can’t be towed out of the way. The cost per foot to lay track, move utilities, subsidize rides is incredible. Ask Kenosha about their bankrupt trolley. Don’t just decide Milwaukee “need” this folly because it looks “cool”, start doing research and lead with YOUR pocketbook, not mine. Go Bob Donovan, you’re our Trey Goudy.

  15. Dave says:

    “start doing research”

    You should take your own advice, cAROL. Like most opponents, it’s clear you have no clue how this street car is financed, operates or how public transportation in general is paid for. Considering Urban Milwaukee has provided plenty of information on this, your ignorance can only be assumed to be willful and thus shameful. Turn off the am radio and use your brain.

  16. Nicholas says:

    Just wait until the new legislature takes office in January, I would bet good money, that they will try to pass legislation blocking the project.

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