Friday, March 22, 2013

Downsizing The Board Is Not The Answer

On Thursday, the Milwaukee County Board passed a resolution to ask the state legislature for the authority to downsize their number from 18 to 13.  The vote was 9-7 in favor of the resolution.

Supervisor Steve Taylor, the crackpot from Franklin that proposed this bit of folly was overjoyed with its passage, as he shows in his press release:
I have been a proponent of reforming the Milwaukee County Board since I was a candidate for the Board. I am glad to see that the majority of my colleagues are on the same page with respect to this resolution and its intent. It is important to note that in addition to creating a more efficient county government, this resolution aims to ensure appropriate minority representation on the County Board, reflective of the diversity we see throughout Milwaukee County. Its approval is a step in the right direction and should the State Legislature provide us with the tools to downsize, I hope that other members of the County Board who share my vision will not hesitate to proceed with appropriate steps towards meaningful reform.”
A more mature, more intelligent man, Supervisor Michael Mayo, felt otherwise. From his press release (emphasis mine):
Supv. Michael Mayo Sr. today criticized a resolution that passed the County Board by a 9-7 vote asking the state Legislature for permission to downsize, saying it is the wrong approach to County reform and that it would potentially hurt minority representation on the Board.

“I will fight hard for minority representation and make sure there is a balance in representation between the City of Milwaukee and the suburbs,” he said. “Downsizing is the wrong approach to reform. The resolution passed today was called a ‘tool’ for downsizing and reforming County governance. But this resolution is not a tool, it’s a mallet.”

Mayo, Chairman of the Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee, said that downsizing the Board would actually mean that supervisors represented more people than members of the Legislature.
He said that even with 18 Board members, each Supervisor represented roughly 52,000. With a reduction of three Supervisors, that number would jump to about 67,000.

“How can you represent your constituents with a lack of resources and no staff?” he asked, referring to a bill before the state Legislature that would cut the salaries and the staff of the County Board. “The Legislature isn’t interested in reform, it’s interested in stripping power from the Board and giving it to the County Executive. That’s not reform, it’s a tremendous shift in power away from the Legislative branch.”

Mayo said that although he strongly opposes downsizing, he will work hard with his colleagues and his constituents to see that any reform such as downsizing will benefit the entire County.

“We might get lemons, but I’ll work to make sweet lemonade,” he said.
It's fairly obvious that the supervisors who voted for this resolution are hoping that it will be enough to stop AB 85, the Usurpation Bill.

If this is indeed their thinking, I think they just made a major blunder.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and his cohorts at the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC), who are the ones that had written the Usurpation Bill aren't interested in democracy. They aren't interested in a balanced government. They aren't interested in a representative government. They aren't interested in integrity. They aren't interested in efficiency.  They aren't interested in the public good.

The only thing that they are interested in concentrating as much power in Abele's hands, just like Scott Walker did when he became governor.

They want this so that Abele can turn Milwaukee County into their own plutocratic playground.  He will sell off what they think they can profit on.  The rest he will privatize or simply abdicated his duties thereof.  He's shown this much in his two budgets and other policy decisions.

If and when AB 85 is passed and if the Board stays at its current 18 seats, Abele would only need to hold sway over five of the ten supervisors on the Finance and Personnel Committee to get whatever he wants passed.  It wouldn't even have to go in front of the whole board.

And with the money that Abele and GMC has at their disposal, it would be nothing for them to buy that many seats, much like the Bradley Foundation and Koch Brothers bought the governor's office for Walker.

If the Board gets downsized, it only becomes that much easier for him since he will only need to hold sway over three or four of the seats to get what he wants.

The really ironic part of all this is that if usurpers really wanted to make Milwaukee County Board "just like the other counties in Wisconsin" by cutting their pay to $24,000 and making them part time, they would actually have to almost double the size of the board.  The other counties pay their supervisors about a dollar per year for every person they represent.  At the present numbers, each supervisor represents 52,000 people, much like a state representative.

Funny thing is, I don't see Joe Sanfelippo, the state representative acting as the sock puppet for the GMC offering to cut his pay to a similar amount. I wonder why that is.

But they aren't about to increase the size of the board to make it just like the other counties, because that's not really their intent.


  1. Thanks capper.

    Interested to learn how Rep. Sanfelippo and the rest will react to this:

    "Five of 6 ex-Bell council members found guilty in corruption trial"

    The more you centralize power, the more quickly it's corrupted. It's why the Founders rejected a monarchy and put such a high value on "de-centralized" power, three co-equal branches of government.

  2. Why isn't there more -- no, make that "any" -- effort to recall Abele, or to just close up and shutter the County Exec's office?

    Does it have anything to do with the fact that the local paper is owned and operated by the same people that own and operate Abele?

    And would be no big chore for them to out-spend and drown out any recall message, as they did for Gov. Wanker.

    Never mind.

  3. the recall election was stolen -- no way Wisconsin swung 15+ points from walker in june to obama in november. There are statistical anomolies, but few will talk about them and GAB will not release ward-by-ward data, only ward groups.

    But even using what is available -- the results are impossible! Richard Charnin (google him) has the details.

    But the public has now been brainwashed by the media, and it is not just journal communications, that recalls undermine democracy and can't be won anyhow.\

    So why do progressive accept proprietary, closed,non-transparent election results anyhow?

    In any case -- recall won't happen and milwauikee county is subject to anomolies in vote counts when you do the numbers as Richard Charnin has done.

    1. Ward by ward breakdown from the GAB website:

      Wear your tinfoil hat much?


    Course, to folks of his/her ilk -- truth does not matter -- idiot.

    Those are WARD GROUPS and not each voting ward, but even an analysis of the aggregate groups shows the straight-line upward slope -- always increasing support for walker and repugs as wards get aggregated.

    This violates law of large numbers, not that morons like anon know anything about stats or wants to understand the scientific process.

    Richard has much more analysis -- just scroll down that blog.

    Charnin has more analysis -- including newer work that documents anomolies in Wisconsin and updates his recall analysis here:

    1. No that is a Ward by Ward breakdown. In some smaller communities some wards are combined into a reporting unit, but there is no way to separate the votes out. Even though it may look like multiple wards, in actuality they are one ward and treated as such. This is how it is always done and not something special or nefarious for the recall election. You may want to understand how results are reported and tabulated before you start calling people morons.