Local Control used to be a sacred tenet…particularly in the Republican arena…and in a way it still is but the Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature have a funny way of expressing it.
Because a certain county executive got in a snit about being stymied in his efforts to make county government over in his own image, he found a Republican ally in a spiteful former county supervisor who managed to get elected to the state assembly. Did Milwaukee County residents get taken into account as their local county government got defanged? Well, only in passing and only if you count the farcical 2014 referendum on supervisor pay as local control. Did we get real input from county residents? Was there even lip service to local control? No, we got 90 some assembly members and 25+ state senators with no ties to Milwaukee County stuffing ACT 14 down our throats.
Now it’s still in litigation, but over the objection that it violated local control and was opposed by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities…did the City of Milwaukee maintain local control in residency requirements? Were the 100 other municipalities around the state similarly effected given any semblance of input? Was there even any valid public discussion on removing residency requirements? Not on your life…an issue that is the very essence of local control…a perfect candidate for local referendums…was snuck through in the 2013 – 2015 Biennial Budget.
But whoa, those dastardly traffic roundabouts…if the Wisconsin Department of Transportation tries to foist anymore of those, those things on the motoring public…well local control DEMANDS that local government has the final word on their construction!
The bill, a brainchild of state Rep. David Craig (R-Town of Vernon), requires roundabout projects to win approval from local governments, through a majority vote, prior to construction.
A release from Craig’s office said the bill had strong bipartisan support in the Assembly and Senate.
“This legislation ensures that local communities have a say in the roundabout process and ensures that Madison bureaucrats — many of whom will never use the roundabouts they design — cannot trample on the voice of those who will actually navigate these roadway projects,” Craig said after introducing the bill.
The only one of the three things I have just mentioned where the pesky Madison bureaucrats just might know something more about than the locals…is roundabouts…I mean…we have a whole building of traffic engineers in Madison who do this sort of thing every work day of the week. It’s their job description!
But they might never use the roundabouts they design so they can’t be trusted to design them? What about those state assemblymen and state senators who will never use Milwaukee County government trampling on the voice of those who are actually affected by MKE county government? Or the same group of elected state officials who may never ever actually set foot in the City of Milwaukee (unless they need to use the airport) trampling on the voice of those who actually use city services and rely on their first responders?
But never fear, defending local governments from roundabouts is the first line of DEFENSE of local control!