Why does Milwaukee County need an 18-member Board of Supervisors?

Why does Milwaukee County need an 18-member Board of Supervisors?

While it might constitute heresy for a liberal such as myself to suggest it, I actually think Milwaukee County’s Board of Supervisors could use some trimming down to a more reasonable number of supervisors (and no, cutting the size of the board by one seat to get rid of a conservative doesn’t really count).

When I wrote in May 2011 about the Marina Dimitrijevic-led plan to reduce the size of Milwaukee County’s board by one seat, I noted I didn’t necessarily favor a plan to reduce the size of the board by four seats, as was suggested by Supervisor Joe Sanfelippo. However, over a year and a half later I’ve come to the conclusion that shrinking the size of the Milwaukee County Board by four seats just might not be enough of a cut. Given Milwaukee County’s population of just over 952,000 residents and the current size of the board, each supervisor in Milwaukee County represents just over 52,000 residents.

In stark contrast, the 5 county supervisors in Los Angeles County (California) serve a total population of 9.8 million people, leaving each supervisor in that county responsible for representing just under two million residents.

In Cook County Illinois, 17 supervisors represent just over 5.2 million residents of that county, with each supervisory district representing approximately 300,000 residents.

And last (but certainly not least) is King County, Washington, which has 9 elected council members representing just over 1.9 million residents, with each council member representing 211,000 residents.

While I certainly understand that Milwaukee County, Los Angeles County, Cook County, and King County are all unique – as are the constituencies contained within those counties – I still cannot help but wonder why Milwaukee County needs an 18-member Board of Supervisors when other counties have been able to function and provide services to far more residents served by fewer elected officials. What work is done by our 18 County Supervisors that couldn’t be done by 11 supervisors…or 13 supervisors….or 9 supervisors?

Is the job of being a County Supervisor that much more difficult and time consuming in Milwaukee County than it is in Los Angeles, Cook or King Counties, thus explaining the need to have more supervisors in Milwaukee County, with each representing fewer citizens?

I don’t think it is, and voters in 12 of Milwaukee County’s 19 municipalities agree with me.

56 comments to Why does Milwaukee County need an 18-member Board of Supervisors?

  • What would be the gain in having a smaller board? What’s the upside?

       1 likes

    • What would be the loss? What’s the downside?

      Other than the budget, what do supervisors spend so much time doing to justify full-time salaries and benefits?

         0 likes

      • What would be lost? Well, for starters, representation for minorities. Second, a system of checks and balances. Third, more money – did you ever look at what these smaller board members make per year? Not to mention the size of their staff?

        Interestingly, Los Angeles County as no county executive. That might be the better way to go. After Ament, Walker and Abele, it’s pretty obvious where the real problem lies.

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        • Chris, the “representation for minorities” argument is bunk, because there’s no reason a smaller board couldn’t be drawn with enough minority majority districts to ensure minorities continue to have adequate representation on the County Board.

          I’m curious though….what “checks and balances” would be lost? The County Board would still exist and would still serve to keep the County Executive in check.

          As for your “more money” comment, I don’t think we need to pay our County Supervisors more considering the work they do.

          Look, I understand the whole “more = better” perspective on the size of the County Board, but I’d rather have a lean, efficient County Board than the bloated, ineffective mess we have now. What do our current County Supervisors do for forty hours a week, 52 weeks a year?

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      • They don’t. Nor should they have to spend all of their time justifying their salaries. When was the last time you asked your Supervisor if you could shadow them for a few days? Oh you didn’t? Now who’s lazy and overpaid?

        The reality is that some people, out of ignorance, vote for people who put in very little effort. Should those of us who vote for people who actually carry the load of the slackers be penalized because others are too stupid to elect a worker bee?

        You’ve fallen for the age old republican trick of bundling people in order to divide them. It’s like when I saw construction workers standing around each other off of I-45 this summer. There were about a half dozen of them that were standing around in a circle — for all I knew they were talking about the Packers and their favorite NASCAR drivers. From my uber-educated glance at 65mph driving past them for 2 seconds I could have surmised that they were typical union slackers sucking off of the taxpayer teet. Because all public employees are right? Hell, there are radio talk shows dedicated to talking about how lazy union workers are, especially public union workers.

        Actually there’s more to the story than meets the eye. You may want to be careful not to oversimplify. Things are often more complex than the simple minded want us to believe. A few full time Supervisors can easily save the county millions. I wrote about it here: http://watchdogmilwaukee.com/jim/2013/los-angeles-county-board-is-a-poor-comparison-to-the-milwaukee-county-board/

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    • And to respond to your questions, there’s cost savings to be realized in a smaller (and part-time) County Board. Cutting the board from 18 members to 11 and reducing it from full time to part time will save roughly $500,000 in salary for supervisors, and while that’s a drop in the bucket of the county’s overall budget, that’s $500,000 or so that could be put back into transit, parks, etc.

      Further, the county didn’t implode when the size of the Board was reduced from 25 members to 19, and I’m willing to guess we’d be just fine with fewer than 18 members.

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      • Actually, no. The remaining supervisors will have their salaries increased to reflect their larger areas, such as in the examples you cited.

        No, the county didn’t implode, it was allowed to start to die slowly as the likes of Joe Rice, Joe Sanfelippo and Mark Cesarz were allowed more power. Or are you happy with a transit system that has been cut more than 20% in the last ten years and faces a 30% cut next year. Are you happy with quasi-privatized parks? Are you happy with less services?

        I know I’m not.

        And the inner city and other areas had less representation than before. But I guess their rights are OK to trample on as long as it saves a few pennies for the better off people, eh?

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        • Chris, just because the size of the board shrinks doesn’t automatically mean the supervisors will have their pay increased. I’m not sure where you pulled that nugget from, but it doesn’t pass muster.

          “No, the county didn’t implode, it was allowed to start to die slowly as the likes of Joe Rice, Joe Sanfelippo and Mark Cesarz were allowed more power. Or are you happy with a transit system that has been cut more than 20% in the last ten years and faces a 30% cut next year.”

          Chris, that’s three supervisors out of 18….the last time I checked, majority ruled on the County Board. Are you really trying to argue that just three supervisors (Joe Rice, Joe Sanfelippo and Mark Cesarz) were able to thwart efforts by the remaining 15 members of the County Board to restore funding to transit? I find it almost impossible to believe that the progressive/liberal majority on the County Board ceded so much power to three members, as you seem to be arguing.

          As for your comment about representation in the inner city, no one’s arguing the rights of anyone should be trampled on – there are certainly ways to reduce the size of the board while ensuring representation for all.

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          • Zach, you’re above petty semantics. Or I thought you were.

            I said the likes of, which indicates that they are not the only ones. That’s just a chickenshit argument.

            But let’s say that we cut the board to nine, now those three and the others like them have a lot more power, don’t they? Gee, it doesn’t even take a math major to figure that one out.

            And as for your argument about representation for all, did you miss the gerrymandering the state went through? Are you saying that that couldn’t happen here?

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            • I absolutely know gerrymandering could happen in the county… Marina Dimitrijevic’s effort to eliminate Joe Rice’s is proof positive of that. Marina said publicly she was targeting Rice’s seat for elimination to get rid of a conservative from the board, but I suppose that’s the good kind of gerrymandering.

              As to the rest of your comment, you seem to be operating under the assumption that a reduction the size of the County Board would only affect those districts occupied by liberal/progressive supervisors, while leaving the more moderate/conservative supervisors untouched. You and I both know that’s not at all possible, because any major reduction in the size of the County Board would most certainly affect those seats held by conservatives as well as those held by liberals.

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      • We had part time supervisors like Sanfelippo and Cesarz. Look at how they voted and how they repped their areas.

        Now look at people like Haas, Dimitrijevic, Romo West, who are going out and listening to their constituents.

        They’re not the ones going around filing false criminal complaints, cozying up to Walker and the Republicans and trying to privatize everything.

        I would rather have representation that listens to me and has time for me than someone who tries to tell me what I should think or stoops to lying, cheating and stealing to get their way.

        Lastly, a smaller board would be easier to buy and control for plutocrats like Abele and GMC, or for the people like Walker and the Bradley Foundation. Do you want a supervisor representing you or the special interests?

           1 likes

        • Chris, it’s clear you and I are going to have to “agree to disagree” when it comes to the County Board. You think things are working just fine as-is, and I disagree.

          However, I do have a question for you – do you think the board was right to reduce its size from 19 members to 18 last year?

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          • Nope. They should’ve increased it. If places like Dodge County and Washington County can have 30+ supervisors, much smaller populations and be called conservative, we should have at least as much. I’d much rather do away with the county executive.

            Or do you think that Ament, Walker and Abele are good for Milwaukee?

               1 likes

            • So if we do away with the County Executive, why do we need a county board? After all, didn’t you argue about the need for checks and balances in an earlier comment? If we eliminate the County Executive, who will serve to keep the county board in check?

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              • Well, your LA County example would point to that. Their Board acts as exec, legislature and even a little bit of the judicial roles. They are also in check by citizens committees and the actual judicial branch. It’s amazing what one learns when do one’s own research.

                Thanks for the link, BTW, it is proving extremely useful

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              • To a certain extent you’re right, but you don’t go far enough. Milwaukee County should be eliminated. Turn all over to either the state or the city.

                The responsibility of the County Executive is not to keep the board in check. He is not their parent. It is not a top-down kingdom.

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  • I have always believed in MORE democracy instead of less. I owuld much rather be 1/52,000 voice than 1 in 952,000. When you represent a million constituents it takes tons of money to even think about running which breeds career politicians of the paul ryan sort.

    When you go smaller it allows for average citizens to run and serve who normally wouldnt have the resources to do so. This creates politicians like Melissa Sargent and DIanne Hesselbein.

    I know who I prefer.

       1 likes

  • PJ

    Zach,

    What is your case for Los Angeles, Cook, and King counties in terms of success? What makes these counties successful by virtue of their smaller representative bodies? Economic development? Cultural development? Vision for urban planning? Procedure? Crime reduction? What is that Los Angeles has done with 5 supervisors that Milwaukee has not with their 18? What is the metric you’re using to measure public benefit outside of salary cost? It really isn’t quite enough, I mean it’s a bit thin to ask: What is the down side?

    What do supervisors do to justify their salaries? Why don’t we find out? I mean honestly, that argument smacks of David Rauzer doesn’t it?

    Questions for which I don’t have an answer: Was there a benefit in reducing the board from 25? Did the county improve? Did standard of living in Milwaukee County improve? Can any improvement or lack thereof be tied directly to the size of the board?

    I guess I’m saying I’d like a robust discussion. I wouldn’t consider Cook or Los Angeles model counties to emulate. Maybe we should be looking at the municipal structures of more progressive areas in the country. Now that would be an interesting study.

    I tend to agree with Jeff and Capper. Democracy isn’t efficient by design. I can understand modifying the hierarchical structure, but just lopping off elected positions… ooh it makes me leery. If the only goal in doing so is to cut salary cost, well that isn’t justifiable to me.

       1 likes

  • John Casper

    “I’m curious though….what “checks and balances” would be lost? The County Board would still exist and would still serve to keep the County Executive in check.”

    Reducing the number of County Supervisors is a huge win for special interests. It would become exponentially less expensive to buy access. The oligarchs can see the future. The land around the FRESH WATER of the Great Lakes is destined to become some of the most expensive real estate in the world. When it’s not flooded, it will be among the most productive farm land. Even when it is flooded, it will provide access to giant vertical farms, impervious to flooding or drought, sitting off shore in all the Great Lakes. When the Koch brothers in Kansas want to buy a couple of thousand train loads of fresh water, it’s those people who will provide access. Manufacturers who need large amounts of fresh water will need easy, inexpensive access.

    The importance of LOCAL government used to be a cornerstone of conservatives. When ideas like this get floated, it’s another reminder that genuine conservative approaches to government have largely been replace by the Charlie Sykes/Bradley Foundation/Greater Milwaukee Committee oligarchs.

    On the national level, even if we tripled the size of the House of Representatives, I’m not sure it would approach the “original intent,” of the Founders. Likewise, the growth of the U.S. to 315,000,000 people means every state should have three U.S. Senators, maybe four. Supreme Court should be doubled. The number of federal judges should probable be tripled.

       1 likes

  • John Casper

    Part of this dynamic here may be that the Bradley Foundation and the Greater Milwaukee Committee always paint the “Supervisors,” as the spenders and the County Executive, as the adult in the room who wants to put a halt to Supervisors simply handing out $100 dollar bills on the street. That’s certainly the impression I got from Ivy-League educated Rob Henken in this recent piece.

    “A change in tone in budgeting”

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/a-change-in-tone-in-budgeting-2t799ol-174854801.html

    I bought all of Reagan’s “trickle-down,” shtick. Wish I had known then what I know now. We’ve been lowering the MARGINAL tax rates on the 1% since the Eisenhower administrations.

    Top Marginal Tax rates 1916 – 2011

    http://www.whereistheoutrage.net/wordpress/2012/03/08/marginal-tax-rates/

    NOTHING ever “trickled down.” They just used those tax breaks to buy both parties and the media.

    Honest government does not come cheap. If you want local and state governments to attract quality workers, you have to pay them. That includes benefits and retirement packages. If you want to pay more bribes and get less in return, keep cutting their salaries.

       1 likes

  • No sympathy here. I live in a rural county of 17,000 people with 21 county board supervisors.

       0 likes

  • So…when did we adopt tea party talking points?
    almost verbatim right down to the apples to palm trees comparison to LA County?

       1 likes

    • Ed, “we” didn’t adopt tea part talking points; I simply expressed my opinion and then those who disagreed articulated why they disagree with my opinion.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion.

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      • If you had picked any county for your initial comparison besides, LA I might believe it was totally YOUR opinion…but every time the right here in MKE county talked about reducing the size of the county board they picked LA for comparison. Nothing about LA, county, city, etc has anything in comparison to Milwaukee.

        I am not against a rigorous discussion of the size of the Milwaukee County Board and it may be a good time to begin such an adventure. But nobody has presented any solid reasons to support any particular board size.

           1 likes

  • John

    The counties you cite have less responsibilities than the Milwaukee County board. IL, CA, and WA have a weak county/strong city system. Wisconsin has a strong county system where the courts, social services, transit, and parks are run through the counties. None of that is the case in the counties you try to draw a comparison to.

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  • I think your last line is the most telling. In every municipality that it’s been brought up, people have overwhelmingly voiced an opinion to downsize. The Sup’s who don’t want downsizing try to pass that off by saying “it’s only a small portion of the population”, but the fact is if it were brought up in the city of Milwaukee, the result would be the same.

    Outside of a few of the Supervisors who do put in a lot of hours, you’re right that a lot don’t. It’s always been that way though because it’s been allowed to be that way. There’s no accountability for sup’s who don’t put in the work or for who it’s a “part time” job.

    My own Sup fit’s into that category despite the fact that he pulls in over $100k in taxpayer funded salary yet never seems to have the time to return calls or emails or attend public events.

    Who cares how many Supervisors are in Washington or Waukesha County? 12 is a perfectly acceptable number of supervisors considering what their responsibilities actually are.

       1 likes

    • “There’s no accountability for sup’s who don’t put in the work or for who it’s a “part time” job.”

      I believe that the ballot box is meant to hold them accountable? no?

      But you are correct…how many supervisors Washington or Waukesha or Los Angeles county have should have no bearing on the discussion…but 12 isn’t a perfectly acceptable number…I don’t think we should ever put ourselves in position for potential perpectual tie vote…

      btw: My county supervisor has been very visible and has been holding any number of town hall meetings on the budget, transit, parks, and other concerns in the district. Just because they aren’t in the courthouse 40 hours a week doesn’t mean they aren’t on the job.

      When push comes to shove I imagine many of those people asking for a smaller or part time board will be pretty put out if they can’t reach their supervisor and get a response asap. Just sayin’

         1 likes

      • If the ballot box were truly the mechanism for accountability, the worst offenders wouldn’t be re-elected. Cesarz is a great example. The guy was an admitted no-show and yet was re-elected prior to resigning.

        As to your last comment, people are put out now that they can’t reach their Sup. I don’t know if the number of Sup’s has any effect on how people get frustrated by non-responsive elected officials. Doesn’t matter if it’s 25 or 7, the size of the board has no correlation to how quickly they respond.

        Jason does do a great job and is very visible in the community, I agree. Unfortunately he’s in the minority.

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        • so what ‘accountability’ do you suggest other than the ballot box in a representative form of government? And how does changing the number of supervisors improve that accountability? Or responsiveness? The size of the board has no affect on either of them…it depends on the quality of those we elect…so we shouldn’t use them as issues in deciding number of supervisors.

          Money can be an issue if we are all satisfied that our needs as citizens and constituents are being met…reducing the board saves some money…but that shouldn’t be the deciding factor…the real question is: how many people do we need in the County Courthouse to effectively run county government? If it’s in fact nine…then that’s the number and we save some more money…if it’s 25 we need to spend the money.

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          • We do have accountability for Supervisors. It’s called elections. If you have a Supervisor who doesn’t return calls, then vote against them in the next election cycle or else run against them.

            It’s true that, just like the private sector, half of the board does most of the work. If you have a slacker of a Supervisor, then you have the responsibility to not support them. Full time representation means that you get another set of eyes looking at these multi-million dollar projects. Why would you not want a little more oversight if it costs as little as we’re paying Supervisors now?

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  • John Casper

    Republicans control all three (3) branches of Wisconsin government and they never shut-up about “job-killing-government-regulations.” The text book example is marijuana, which I would never encourage anyone to use, unless they had a serious illness. State of Washington just legalized it and they’re projecting a 1/2 a billing in new revenue just from the excise tax. http://justsaynow.firedoglake.com/2012/11/06/washington-state-joins-colorado-in-legalizing-marijuana/

    That doesn’t include what you save up and down the law enforcement supply chain, or what you get in terms of jobs.

    Chinese paper mills use hemp, because it’s legal. Wisconsin paper mills can’t.

    Instead of putting on a cat fight for the oligarchs at the Bradley Foundation and the Greater Milwaukee Committee, Abele, Manske, and the Board could petition Gov. Walker to legalize pot. They could rightly argue that it’s the best way to “broaden the tax base,” that it’s the low hanging fruit on the way to his promise of 250,000 new jobs. http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/151246245.html

    What’s Gov. Walker going to say? I just discovered a new-found love for FEDERAL law and an antipathy for “states-rights.” And oh, by-the-way, I was wrong about farmers selling raw milk to each other. http://www.wisconsinwatch.org/2011/06/26/should-raw-milk-sales-be-legalized/

    That’s where the drama should be, holding the GOP accountable for their rhetoric.

    Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) is trying to get people interested in a great idea, solar roadways. http://solarroadways.com/intro.shtml
    It makes even more sense when you know that we pay $1,000/ton for concrete that doesn’t generate any revenue. Here’s a more recent three-minute video that emphasizes that the project contains no individually untested technology. They’re all proven, they just haven’t been integrated. We need working prototypes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gb4Qsecwvc

    Putting roofs made of solar panels over parking lots is another example of using already available technologies, solar panels (Helios), micro inverters (ZBB). It improves the value of the parking lot and generates cash.

    http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/solar/photovoltaic-pv/solar-parking-project-finds-space-in-oakley.html

    Since it’s now becoming even more apparent that the occupation of the Middle East is just “Tour of Booty,” for a lot of Generals, maybe we can invest those dollars in U.S. workers.

       0 likes

    • John,

      Wi is open for business NOT logic or common sense. If the Marijuana lobby wants to pony up money to Robin Vos, then Marijuana leaglization will be put on the agenda and passed. If they pony up enough money to Vos and his crew then there will be little free bongs the way there are little free libraries. Until they do though forget it!

         2 likes

  • PJ

    Zach,

    Check out Multnomah County, Oregon (County Seat = Portland)
    1 County Chair + 4 Commissioners overseeing 4 districts
    http://web.multco.us/board/about

    And Portland’s municipal structure:
    http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?a=9178&c=27481

    Humboldt County, California (County Seat = Eureka)
    Board of Supervisors = 1 chairperson, 1 vice chairperson, 1 clerk of the board, 5 supervisors overseeing districts + 3 administrative assistant positions
    http://co.humboldt.ca.us/board/

    Arcata’s City Council:
    http://www.cityofarcata.org/government/city-council

    population milwaukee county approx. 950,000
    population multnomah county approx. 750,000
    population humboldt county approx. 135,000

    Granted Humboldt and Multnomah are smaller in population than Milwaukee (Humboldt considerably smaller) but maybe there is something to be learned from scale in more ways than one.

       0 likes

  • [...] Caucus or Kooks Gone Wild? » Bruce Murphy: The High Cost of the County Board On Monday I shared my thoughts about the size of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors in an entry that provoked a lively discussion about the merits and drawbacks of downsizing the [...]

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  • [...] now more recent posts around the blogosphere, including our own Zach Wisniewski and a piece over at Urban Milwaukee by Bruce Murphy tout similar ideas. Almost former County [...]

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  • You’re comparing Milwaukee to Los Angeles. Each Supervisor there has a fiefdom. The cost to run for office there is obscene. What you’re suggesting here is to eliminate the ability for the common man to run for public office.

       2 likes

    • Point taken. As a “common man” the last thing I want to do is eliminate the ability of average folks to run for any office.

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    • Though I will note that the other 71 counties in Wisconsin have part-time boards, and those boards aren’t populated exclusively by rich fat cats.

         1 likes

      • LOL. Well, yeah, but they each represent like 3000 or less people. Some of those counties have more cows than people. To compare them is silly. How many constituent calls do you think they could possibly get? Proportionally we would have like 300 County Supervisors if we followed the rural Wisconsin model.

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        • Dane County has a population of 495,000 and a County Board that numbers 37 members. By my math, each supervisor represents just over 13,000 constituents, not 3,000 or less.

          The Racine County Board has 23 members representing just over 195,000 residents. I’m sure you can do the math to find out that each supervisor represents more than 3,000 constituents.

          Also, I’ll note that the Milwaukee County Board was part-time for over 100 years, and Milwaukee County survived just fine.

          Further, I’d love to see some data showing exactly how many constituent calls Milwaukee County’s supervisors receive, in a county that’s almost completely urban, I’d be willing to bet most folks would call their alderperson before they’d call a County Supervisor.

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          • Polk County has a population of 44,040 and a County Board that numbers 23 members. By my math, each supervisor represents just over 1,914 constituents, not 3,000 or more.

            Milwaukee County did not have a County Executive until 1960 and worked just fine.

            As for data on constituent calls, they vary by district. Districts that have historically low levels of service have a lower expectation.

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            • Ed Heinzelman

              Some of the counties with small populations are fairly large geographically…it takes more time to cover their districts compared to a dense urban area like MKE county

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              • And let’s not forget that in more rural counties, a county supervisor may be the first person someone calls if they’ve got an issue, especially if they live in an unincorporated area. Here in Milwaukee County, there isn’t that problem.

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  • Ultimately, the point I wanted to make in writing the original entry was that I think there’s a lot of room for a good discussion on whether the County Board is “right sized” to do its job.

    I certainly think there’s valid (and very persuasive) arguments to be made on both sides of the discussion, and I appreciate the insight and opinions that folks have expressed in the comments.

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    • You’re asking the wrong questions. You’re thinking way to small.

      The question is, should there be a level of government between the state and the cities? Since Counties were made to be one days travel from the main place of governing by the main means of travel of the day (horses), is there a need now?

      In Germany they did away with them during feudal times.

      So now we’re diddling around on the edges talking about how we can neuter this level of government in the most populous county in the state. Those who are advocating downsizing are no better than pyromaniacs. They’ll happily ruin what is there without regard to what is needed or to what is the best of a bad system without addressing the real problem in the entire state — a level of government that has seen its day come and go.

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      • John Casper

        Jim, what benefits are the 99% going to see from the shrinking of Milwaukee County government?

        What’s the difference between County government and the State Assembly?

        Nebraska has a unicameral? Is that what you want?

        What does the number of elected representatives have to do with the “size” of government?

        Google is in bed with the Federal government and has swallowed all the ad revenue that used to drive investigative reporting. http://bytegeist.firedoglake.com/2012/10/04/has-google-destroyed-the-4th-estate/

        No newspapers and too few elected representatives, what could go wrong?

        The U.S. Congress is the exact size the Founders wanted when the nation did not have four-million people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1790_United_States_Census
        Now we have north of 300,000,000. It’s very cheap to buy Congress. You make it more expensive if you add a third Senator to each state and double the size of the House of Representatives. You also reduce the negative impact of gerrymandering. Elites and oligopolies will hate that.

        The oligarchs and the elites are pushing this neutering of County government. It reduces their cost and effort to buy it. See privatization. Do you think they’re going to stop when they’ve downsized County government?

        We should increase/double the pay County Supervisors receive to attract better qualified reps.

        My guess is that the long range goal in this is easy oligarch access to the receding fresh water Lake Michigan.

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      • I think lyou are thinking too small…for the past two weeks I have been thinking through a variety of articles addressing MKE County Government…I have one that thinks even beyond what you are suggesting and haven’t had time since I got back to do the research on it…but I may put it on the front burner this weekend.

        But even your suggestion ignores what the responsibilities are of county government and can the cities cope with them individually or do we trust the state to perform them? And I think we’d need to amend the state constitution to effect some of the potential changes.

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        • It shouldn’t matter if you trust the state to do it or not. Just because you distrust one level of government doesn’t mean the solution is to make even more government.

          It’s time to stop looking back to feudal times for ways to do things. You can’t trim government spending by dithering around the edges. Eliminating an entire level would make it so much more clear as to who has the responsibility for a problem.

          Effectively, having counties is one big giant unfunded state mandate that allows state politicians to underfund real problems. Take away the place they can point to for blame and all of a sudden they have to take real responsibility. What Sanfelippo’s plan does is it sets Milwaukee County up to fail so that he and other dirty politicians can blame someone else for a failure.

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          • John Casper

            Jim, what are these “unfunded” state mandates? Please be specific.

            WRT accountability, you’re flat wrong. Wall Street crashed the economy in 2008. No one has even been indicted, because the oligarchs control the media and the duopoly. Gov. Walker’s WEDC was buying ad space from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

            Cutting the number of local representative simply makes it easier for well paid attorneys (from the 1% and oligopolies) to crush an equally underfunded Judicial branch to obfuscate about responsibility.

            Here’s a federal bankruptcy Judge complaining about being overworked: “I have hundreds of other bankruptcy cases I put on hold to decide this,” Kelley said, rebuking the lawyers midway through a 2 1/2 -hour hearing.”

            http://www.jsonline.com/features/religion/judge-says-cemetery-fund-is-part-of-milwaukee-archdioceses-bankruptcy-estate-5s8bldr-186573221.html

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  • FYI: In madison it is practically impossible to beat an incumbent on the county board….

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