We all realize that this winter has been one of the hardest on our streets and highways. All of us have certainly hit potholes that rattled our filings when they couldn’t be avoided. But I am not sure that using inmates from the County House of Corrections to fill the potholes is the correct answer. But that’s exactly the suggestion from 5th District County Supervisor Russell W. Stamper II:
“I’ve been driving through the city, dodging potholes, running right into them. It’s become ridiculous,” Stamper said.
Thus, Stamper has suggested that inmates and those sentenced to community service could be trained to help in street repairs. Stamper said that repair of city streets must be a priority not only because of the danger but because bad streets affect the perception of the city’s diverse neighborhoods.
In a statement, Stamper said Wednesday, February 26th: “When streets are deteriorating, when potholes are present every few feet, and when streets become unsafe to travel, it not only affects perceptions of the neighborhood, it affects travel and commerce. This is a situation we simply cannot tolerate, and I hope other city and county officials agree that using inmates and those who are sentenced to community service can be part of a creative solution to this critical issue,” Stamper said.
“Department of Public Works (crews) are probably busy. They’re doing their job. However, they need help. They seriously need help — and I’m trying to create ways to help assist the people that are already doing the work,” Stamper told FOX6 News.
Stamper says his program is still very early in its developmental stage, but says he has already begun making contact with the appropriate folks at the city, county and state levels of government.
YIKES! Is this a valid method of solving the problem? Or is it an attention getting campaign ploy? Supervisor Stamper is running for the aldermanic seat vacated by Willy Hines. Click here for the supervisors actual press release.
Unfortunately the current weather and that expected the next week to ten days isn’t going to be conducive to repairing our streets…and few municipalities are going to have the budgets available to do the work. But it seems to me we’d be better served hiring our unemployed friends and neighbors to do the work. Certainly there are enough locally unemployed who could use a job. What happened between last week’s ‘living wage’ vote and this week’s let’s use prisoners stand? Let’s not be Alabama.
I respect County Supervisor Stamper, but this is a bad idea.
PS: Thank goodness Sheriff Clarke won’t be running any chain gangs in Milwaukee!