Yesterday Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele vetoed a measure passed by the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors that would include a $1.2 million glass and metal facade as part of the O’Donnell Park garage renovation. Last week Abele had given clear signals he would veto the measure, saying at the time that spending $1.2 million on decorative panels for the O’Donnell Park garage made “little sense” considering the possibility of redevelopment of O’Donnell Park and the parking garage beneath it.
After the board approved by a 13-5 vote to spend $1.2 million on the decorative aluminum and glass panels for the O’Donnell Park garage, County Supervisor Pat Jursick, who represents the 8th Supervisory district on the Board of Supervisors, said the main reason for spending $1.2 million on the decorative panels was the “public’s perception of safety.” (emphasis added)
Now I know that as a liberal I’m supposed to be in favor of profligate government spending (at least according to conservatives) – no matter what the spending is on – but I fail to understand how it’s responsible to justify spending $1.2 million of taxpayer funds on decorative glass and aluminum panels that serve no purpose except to increase the public’s “perception of safety.” To be honest, I’d rather see the money saved by eliminating the decorative panels used for more pressing infrastructure issues (there’s certainly no shortage of those, given all the County’s deferred maintenance), but apparently thirteen members of the board feel improving the aesthetics of the O’Donnell Park garage takes precedence over deferred maintenance or general budget savings.
Given the 13-5 vote in favor of spending $1.2 million on the decorative panels for the O’Donnell Park garage, the County Board seems to have the votes to override County Executive Abele’s veto, so it certainly appears that we’ll see $1.2 million spent to increase the public’s “perception of safety,” instead of using those savings for some other project that may require more immediate attention.