In his fantasy piece, Franzen pulls out all of the usual talking points with complete disregard to whether they are even accurate, much less honest.
After the lead in to the story and the unsurprising anti-Milwaukee stance, Franzen tries - and miserably fails - to justify his hateful stance:
The proposal to reduce the size of the board and its budget was blasted as a distraction by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, and he's probably right. The reality is that downsizing the board - which we have supported - without reducing pay leaves supervisors with plenty of time to micromanage county operations as they do currently. Paying them on the basis of a part-time job - as is the case in every other county in Wisconsin - is the way to go. They still can exercise the appropriate check on the administration.As I and many other people have repeatedly pointed out, Milwaukee County supervisors are paid at the same rate that the supervisors are paid - about a dollar per constituent. Furthermore, Milwaukee County has so much more than any other county that such a comparison is ridiculous. No other county even close to a million people, nor all of the amenities that Milwaukee County has. Such things as world class museums, a correctional facility outside of the county jail, a mental health complex, a transit and paratransit system of our caliber, an international airport and over a hundred parks. One also won't be able to find another county in the state with supervisory districts equivalent to a state representative's.
When the salaries of Milwaukee County Board supervisors were compared to other counties of a similar size, it was found that Milwaukee County supervisors were making about $20,000 a year less than the others.
The facts show that we are getting one helluva bargain with the county board just as it is.
As for Franzen's blatantly ludicrous notion that supervisors are "micromanaging" the county departments, I would point out what Kieth Crum, Treasurer for the Milwaukee Transit Riders Union, eloquently pointed out:
This is perhaps the most outrageous assertion made by the largely conservative, big business backers of downsizing. It’s also flatly untrue. On the contrary, the board has acted on its responsibility to look out for the best interests of Milwaukee County residents, even when that has meant going against the interests of the wealthy corporate elite that run Milwaukee. This includes standing up to the county executive when he proposes unsound ideas. The county board has a history of doing just that; making common sense budget adjustments and saving vital public services from the chopping block in the process.Franzen isn't done though. He continued with his nonsense:
If the board is to be downsized, we'd favor a smaller number - nine strikes us as about right. Furthermore, cutting the budget by 40% also probably doesn't go far enough: The board currently has far more staffers than it needs.So Franzen is saying that nine strikes him as about right. As I pointed out when Sheldon Lubar uttered the same inanity:
His idea of a perfect world is one where the Voter Fairness Act does not apply. His utopia is where minorities and poor people don't have equal or effective representation in government. After all, why should the pissant common person be allowed to have representation when it only serves to get in the way of their superiors, like Lubar.Apparently Franzen is stricken with the same affliction where he thinks that minorities - or most people in general - deserve representative government. He'd rather see a government that only represents the plutocrats, the corporations and other special interests.
As for his claim that the board has "far more staffers than it needs," well, I have no clue what he is basing that on. I suspect he has no clue either.
But I do know that if he had his way, there would be no analysts to allow the board to make informed decisions. There would also be no clerks to record meetings or votes, so there would be no way to know if one's supervisor is representing them well or not.
Perhaps that is what Chris Abele and people like Franzen want. They saw two years ago that when people know the facts and know how they're getting screwed over, they get pretty mad. It's better to keep the people in the dark, including the supervisors, so they can go on with their profiteering in peace.
To sum it all up, I again point the gentle reader to Crum, who wrote:
With the crises that Milwaukee County is facing right now, including the potential for a 30% cut to transit, decrepit parks, unemployment, poverty, homelessness and racial inequality, what we need from state level is a fair shake financially not attacks on our ability to govern ourselves. As Milwaukee County residents and bus riders, we believe that it’s time for the state government to take its hands off our county board and collaborate to help us start improving Milwaukee for everyone before it’s too late.Indeed.
I would add only that Franzen is as pitiful as his boss, David Haynes, who also has trouble being honest with the readers. I'd question why anyone would buy that paper anymore, but that's like asking why anyone watches Fox News.
Life is much easier for some when they live in an echo chamber that only supports their bigotry and hatred rather than be a member of society.