Friday, March 13, 2009

March Madness: Walker Style

Yesterday, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker found out that the 1,423rd time is not the charm.

Even though he has repeatedly brought forth the motion of moving the mental health complex from the county grounds in Wauwatosa to the dilapidated St. Michael's Hospital on the north side, having that bone-headed idea shot down each time, he thought he'd try it again.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the story in the section called "Regional Briefs" in their dead-tree version, but their online site hasn't been updated for a few days now, at least as of the time of this writing.

There is much that MJS doesn't tell us in that little blurb. They only mention that Walker's budget director, Steve Kreklow, came up with a fourth set of numbers trying to make it look more appealing to the County Board's Finance and Audit Committee. The only thing that I noticed that was really new was that Team Walker is finally admitting that the St. Mike's is not the best idea, when Kreklow is quoted as saying that the St. Mike's renovation "perhaps is not ideal in a perfect world, but it is functional."

Well, a cardboard box is functional, too, and might last longer than the old hospital site and would most likely last longer than the developer's involvement in the hospital. The developer, WEAS Development, made the grand promise of doing all the maintenance and housekeeping for the next 25 years. But developers aren't in the business of building management or being a landlord. Odds are strong that they would have sold off the contract within five years, and the County would have been stuck with this new and unknown factor. That does not mention the fact that after the contract expires, whoever holds the other end of the contract, would have the County over a barrel. The County would be needing housing for several hundred patients, no building and no land to build a new facility on. They would be at the mercy of the landlords.

But I have talked about this before. In fact, it feels like I've been talking about this forever.

I have been told that during the hearing yesterday, Walker's new Deputy Chief of Staff, Tim Russell, a political appointee due to his working on previous Walker campaigns, told the committee that there was no way Walker would agree to a new building. He was then overheard telling John Chianelli, the head of Behavioral Health Division, to plan on having revisions done to the current building.

If Walker was a real leader, with any kind of vision and creative thinking, would realize that there is a win-win scenario available. Unfortunately for us taxpayers, Walker's limited vision and experience doesn't allow him to see beyond his single plank platform of tax freezes. His avarice and aspirations don't allow him to see past selling off land to curry political favor and campaign contributions.

If Walker had real leadership skills, he would be able to look at the big picture. The State and the Dept. of Transportation is hellbent on doing reconstruction on the zoo interchange. From what I have heard and seen, at least one, if not more, county-owned buildings, including the Zoofari building and maybe one or two buildings at the former Children and Adolescent Treatment Center would be razed.

If the state did raze these buildings, they would owe the county recompense for them. They could use this money towards building a new facility on the county grounds.

And Walker would still be able to work out negotiations with Children's Hospital, Froedtert, the Medical College, and whoever else wants part of that parcel of land where the current facility is. The money from this sale and/or lease could be added to the money from the state towards the new, state of the art building.

Not only that, but a good and wise executive could also parlay the deal into having these land vultures agree to having their contractors build the new hospital. Given all of their expansion lately, they are very familiar with how to work with these contractors, and it would probably save both the private agencies and the county if the same contractor(s) are used for both constructions.

The monies from these two sources, plus some stimulus dollars that Board Chairman Lee Holloway applied for while Walker was busy posturing, would cover most, if not all, of the cost to build the new facility, which the County would then own, and not have to worry about new landlords or what would happen at the end of any leases. All without raising the tax levy.

Those with mental health needs, or the providers of these services, would have a brand new, state of the art, functional mental health facility which was close to medical hospitals. The taxpayers for very little, if any, tax dollars, would have a great investment. The private agencies would have access to the county grounds that they've been coveting. And Walker would still be able to curry his political favor and campaign contributions.

Unfortunately, our current county executive is neither good nor wise. Instead, he will pursue the more expensive route of hiring a contractor to do the renovations needed to fix all the disrepair he allowed to happen over the past several years, at the taxpayers' expense, and the county-owned property across the street will still sit underutilized.

This is just another example why I keep hearing a growing rumble for Walker's recall.


  1. You repeat yourself a lot. Every article you write on Walker starts with some new gripe, but turns into a rant where the same criticisms are used over and over again. If you don't have new material, then make the article smaller.

    Also, your focus on Walker is borderline obsessive. And I'm surprised that WisOpinion permits you to publish your attacks on him so frequently.

    And finally, many of your criticisms are baseless. And when you are corrected on them, you ignore it and continue to publish more articles with the same erroneous facts. For instance, how many times are you going to state that Walker refused to accept stimulus funds? Since when is requiring that certain conditions be met become a stubborn refusal to accept federal assistance? And yet you continue to distort the facts, in part, facilitated by WisOpinion.

  2. From the MJS:

    Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker says thanks but no thanks to any federal economic stimulus money for county projects.

    Unlike Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who sent the federal government a $599 million wish list, or Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, who asked for $3.7 billion from what could be an $800 billion to $1 trillion federal shot in the arm, Walker said Tuesday the county and the country are better off without the spending.

    The only federal economic stimuli Walker endorses are tax cuts, and he credited President-elect Barack Obama for recommending $300 billion in such cuts as part of a much larger stimulus plan.

    Maybe they publish me because I am a good writer. And if you don't like the repetitiousness of my posts, tell Walker to open his eyes and start being a good leader for once, instead of continuing with his same insane ideas time after time after time.

  3. I would bet the farm that ol' "Capper" here has never even stepped foot in St. Michael's hospital since many of the renovations were made 5 years ago.

    I have worked there and know people who work there.

    But he is arrogant enough to call it "dilapidated."

    I could care less if Wisopinion keeps supporting this liberal sycophant, as long as there is a comment section that I may continue to publicly expose his ridiculous on!

  4. You know people that work there? Really? They must not get paid too well since St. Michael's closed three years ago. I distinctly remember how they left my clients high and dry without even a referral to a new doctor.

    And if the building is in such good shape, why no other offers to buy it? Why did the Wheaton Franciscan people say they were going to tear it down three months ago if the County refused to take it? The County refused, so they should have taken it down.

    It is just Walker begging for more time, so he can push the deal (it's not going to happen, but he keeps trying) and score more campaign dollars like he did from the folks at the Medical College.

    You really got to get better if you are going to keep playing.

    And why the concern about WisOpinion? Jealous?

  5. Capper,

    You forgot to include this part of the article:
    'Though he doesn't categorically reject the idea of federal money going for local infrastructure projects, Walker said he won't ask the federal government for anything.

    'All we are asking for is 'do no harm,' " the county executive said. "I'm not asking for any new projects or things to be done here.'"

    Also, I won't deny that you are a good writer. However, your writings are very undisciplined. You are more interested in quantity, not quality - and it shows.

    This is why it's surprising that WisOpinion publishes your stuff. If I were the editor there, I would disinclined to display links to bloggers that spend an inordinate amount of time taking swipes at a single politician. It's like the bartender providing alcohol to a drunk. Also, your stuff is weak in substance. It's fairly obvious that it takes you a matter of minutes to put up a post. Other bloggers on WisOpinion actually spend time writing their stuff, which get published on other sites more prestigious than WisOpinion.

    Try putting up something that you haven't said 100 times in earlier blog posts, and you might get a larger readership for your blog.

  6. You do realize that you have proved me correct. All your quote says is that he was unwilling to make a stand.

    The second part of your comment shows your unfamiliarity with my work, or which of my posts have been posted in the past. I have had several posts about Alberta Darling, the Bureau of Child Welfare, and even one criticizing Doyle.

    BTW, my readership has almost tripled since I first started this solo site. But thanks for the input. And if Walker didn't keep making the same mistakes, I wouldn't have to make the same criticisms. He does lack vision, doesn't he?

  7. Like I said, you have obviously not been in St. Michael's lately. Instead of admitting that calling SMH "dilapidated" was a mistake (and as the other commenter pointed out, "undisciplined") you, in typical liberal fashion (= irrational), try and justify your ignorant comments with more rhetoric.

    For the record, even though SMH isn't a "hospital" and it's future is very uncertain it is a place where actual services and offices are provided, people do actually work at the facility Monday thru Friday.


    Just admit you made a mistake and take your medicine son.

  8. Um, do you have reading comprehension problems? I provided the link in an earlier comment to WF's own announcement that they were closing SMH.

    But even if your fantasy land was true, which it isn't, it doesn't negate the fact that renovating the current building or building a new one would be cheaper, safer and smarter.

    So, sorry, you're still wrong. And getting darn closing to outright lying. Do you work for Walker?

  9. People are currently work at the facility of St. Michael's hospital, period.

    You can deny reality if you want, but I made a phone call to Wheaton yesterday to confirm it.

    The number is 414.527.8000, go ahead call it and ask them if people actually work at that facility and they will tell you YES.

    It doesn't matter what is going to happen to the facility, the hospital is NOT "dilapidated" many renovations were made to the facility when I WORKED THERE 5 years ago. More renovations are needed, but "cardboard box"??? Typical liberal tactics.

    You spoke out of your ass and not from knowledge.

    You are purposely obfuscating the point in order to cover up your ignorant statement regarding the current condition of SMH.

    You still haven't admitted that you have not actually stepped foot in SMH in the last 5 years....hmmm I wonder why?

    Have you or haven't you stepped foot in SMH in the last 5 years? Do you PERSONALLY know what the facility looks like currently and what kind of shape it is in?

    Thought so.

    Obviously, you are one of those people who can never admit when they make a mistake.

    Oh and UM, you are obviously the one with reading comprehension problems, since I had already said that SMH wasn't currently being utilized as a hospital, but that was besides the point.

    You might win some, but you just lost one...

    Better luck next time son.

  10. It's been vacant all these years. What staff do they have there? Security?

    And if it is so good, why hasn't anyone snapped it up? I'm sure there are other people looking for a building. Mmmm.

    But you still haven't responded to my points, so I reckon that means that they are valid.

  11. Not to butt in, but didn't you say the building was dilapidated?

  12. It is older than BHD, and if BHD is supposed to be so bad, then SMH must be worse, right? Or are you willing to admit that Walker has been willfully neglecting his duties?

  13. Are you still maintaining that St. Michaels is dilapidated?