Whither MKE County: It’s Just a Power Grab By the Wealthy Elite.

A number of new voices are starting to weigh in on Assembly Bill 85 as introduced by Representative Ron Sanfelippo et al…the latest are Milwaukee County Supervisors David Bowen and Russell Stamper II and Mike Wilder, director of the African-American Roundtable.

Their blatant power grab would limit the power and budget of the Milwaukee County Board and give unprecedented and unchecked power to the county executive, stripping away local control and effectively silencing the voice of the people in the process.

This bill gives unmatched authority to the county executive and renders supervisors virtually powerless to oversee what local government does while also reducing the voice of the people. Decisions about contract approvals, the sale of county-owned land and judgments about our cultural institutions are just a few examples of the unbridled power that would be granted to the county executive. Little would be left to protect our parks and museums from being put up for auction to the highest bidder.

This bill is a direct attack on democracy in Milwaukee for the sake of special interests, outsiders who have no personal stake here and see us only as another path to profit. Wealthy corporate elites represented by the Greater Milwaukee Committee have been plotting to take over and dismantle county government for years. Now they’ve found a willing accomplice in County Executive Chris Abele to help them finish what they started.

To pay lip service to the principles of democracy, the bill includes a referendum allowing the people of Milwaukee County a vote during the takeover process. Advocates of this legislation tout the referendum in a thinly veiled attempt to deflect attention from their true objectives: unilaterally taking power away from the people and handing it over to a favored few.

Many people don’t realize that the referendum would include only the issue of compensation for county supervisors. Every other provision in the bill would go into effect from Madison without local input. Voters here will not have a voice on the most profound aspects of the bill such as centralizing power and eliminating accountability and oversight of local government.

My biggest problem with this bill…is the fact that Madison is telling Milwaukee County how to govern itself…the voters here should decide the who, the what and the wherefore of Milwaukee County Government…not the state representative from Antigo or the state senator from the Fox Valley…they have very little sense of what Milwaukee County is all about.


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1 thought on “Whither MKE County: It’s Just a Power Grab By the Wealthy Elite.

  1. We need only look to the recent past to realize it is not a good idea to grant unlimited power to an executive without the checks and balances provided by a board.

    Didn’t a former County Exec’s illegal attempt to bypass the board and privatize Courthouse guards cost the taxpayers a bundle of $$$$?

    And what if the County Exec is incompetent and ignorant of 15 felonies being committed by his staff and associates?

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