Thursday, April 2, 2009

Redefining Moments


It has been well documented, both at this site and at several others, that Milwaukee County Executive and wannabe governor Scott Walker has flipped innumerable times when it comes to his stance regarding the federal stimulus dollars. He has flipped so much and so fast that he puts an Olympic gymnast to shame. Instead of me listing all the different posts that his flip-flops are listed, I would simply refer the gentle reader to this site, where the DPW has set it out in a nice, clear fashion.

Unfortunately, Walker's continuing re-defining of his positions has continued.

Via James Rowen, we find that the Biz Times has also been covering Walker's lack of consistency. Most of the article is stuff that I have covered here before. However, there is one section which caught my eye. Walker took umbrage with some of the Biz Times' phraseology, and tried to spin it as that he was misquoted. In an effort to be fair, I do have to say that this is a plausible excuse, as that the media often is accused of this in an effort to sensationalize the story. I also have a letter from Milwaukee County Board Chairman Lee Holloway, dated March 5, which indicates that Walker had been making that claim from the beginning.

If Walker did not say this, why didn't he publicly protest it, or at least write one of his usual emails to Charlie Sykes? After all, it's not like Walker is afraid of doing a bit of showboating.

But all of that is small potatoes when compared to something else that I saw tonight.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's editorial staff wrote a post on their blog about Walker and the stimulus. The author of the post, Ernst-Ulrich Franzen, defends Walker by saying that Walker did apply for stimulus dollars after all, but should have applied for more. (Would someone please remind me again why we are supposed to believe that MJS is liberal?)

For proof that Walker applied for the monies, Franzen mentions, but does not link to the press release Walker issued after the Board overrode his veto, and after Supervisor Theodore Lipscomb ran down a laundry list of money for which the County could be eligible.

Michael Horne, of MilwaukeeWorld.com, does some good investigative journalism by tying up the facts that this list was made up after the fact, and that there is no confirmation that these requests had been actually ever made.

However, there is even more to the story. For the sake of making it easier for the gentle reader, I have taken a screencap of the stimulus list that Walker claims to have either applied for or has already received:

After seeing the editorial post on JSOnline, I contacted Supervisor Lipscomb, who is the chair of the Task Force. I asked him if he had a chance to look over the list, and he did say that he did see the press release.

As he pointed out the other night, most of the items on the list are formulaic, and have not been applied for. But what is there is not completely accurate.

Supervisor Lipscomb told me that the first row, which deals with the child support funding, is formulaic and it is what is expected that we will get from the state when those monies are distributed, but that the County would still have to apply for it first.

Lipscomb pointed out that the third line regarding $4.7 million for neighborhood stabilization is not even stimulus money, but money that is coming from a federal bill that was passed last summer. He added that while the stimulus package includes money for neighborhood stabilization, the rules for it haven't even been created yet.

He also said that the $97 million dollars Walker has listed for the local bridge and road program is far from being accurate. He said that at the very most, Milwaukee County would be eligible for $38 million, but that the amount we receives may very well end up being less than that.

What he did not have to tell me is that the second line, about "Build America Bonds," makes no sense whatsoever. The County obviously did not receive the money if the amount is still yet to be determined. Nor does it make sense to believe that Walker would have made an open-ended request given the stink he has made about the stimulus dollars in the first place.

Lipscomb did express surprise that Walker did not include the $2.5 million dollars that the County is receiving for the airport that Representative Gwen Moore announced a couple of weeks ago. He added that Governor Jim Doyle and Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk were rather proud to announce the stimulus money that was coming to the Madison airport. He thought that would have made a good opportunity for Walker to promote the County.

Supervisor Lipscomb did provide a note of positive news. He told me that Walker had assured him that his people would be at the next meeting of the Task Force and will be ready to start working with the Board. That meeting is scheduled to take place this coming Monday.

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