Friday, May 1, 2015

Abele Fails Milwaukee's Most Vulnerable Citizens - Again

Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele wanted to allow his wealthy country club buddies profiteer off of the county grounds where the mental health complex is.  To do so, he started pushing the patients at the complex out the door without adequate safety measures.

AFSCME and other unions warned of the folly of such actions.  They pointed out that this would only endanger these vulnerable citizens due to inadequate resources and inadequate planning.

The Milwaukee County Board heard and heeded these warnings.  They made the wise decision to put safety measures into place, such as requiring the necessary services be available before a person is placed in the community and tracking the patients after they are discharged.

Emperor Abele found such commonsense provisions to be insufferable.  The county taxpayers and these vulnerable citizens needed to be exploited, dammit!

So Abele did what he always does when he doesn't get his way - he threw a tantrum.  Abele ran to his personally bought and paid for state representative, Joe Sanfelippo, and had him write a state law that stripped the board - and Milwaukee County taxpayers - of any say in how the mental health system is run.

Instead of the county board and the taxpayers having any authority, Abele and Sanfelippo created a Mental Health Board which has been a boondoggle since day one and keeps getting worse.

Since Abele had set off on this foolishness, people have gotten maimed and, even worse, people have lost their lives.  All due to the greed of Abele and his friends.

Now it is being reported that Abele has again failed our most vulnerable citizens because he didn't want to listen to the people:
Milwaukee County's plan to send the last of its long-term psychiatric patients to a Franklin group home has hit a snag after neighbors complained that they did not want the facility built there.

The developer had won Plan Commission approval for a hookup to the city's water system, which was necessary to be able to build the facility at 9120 W. St. Martins Road. But after neighbors protested, Franklin's Common Council took the unusual step of rescinding the approval.

In a series of heated meetings in recent weeks, residents and at least one alderman said they had not been informed the land would be used to house patients who were being moved into the community from the county's Mental Health Complex.

Last year, the county closed its long-term Hilltop Unit, which once cared for as many as 60 patients with developmental disabilities and mental illness. This year it aims to close the complex's Rehab Central, which serves people with complex medical and mental health needs.

The county plan called for building a home for up to five residents in Franklin on a rural plot of land that already was zoned residential. The residents would be supervised 24-hours a day and cared for by staff from Matt Talbot Recovery Services, a social service agency under contract with the county.

Now, instead of battles with the County Board over how fast to downsize the aging and oft-criticized Mental Health Complex, county administrators are facing opposition as they try to shift patients to the sort of community-based care experts say can be better and cheaper.

That challenge has proved to be especially difficult in the suburbs. Since 2010, the county has helped create more than 500 supportive housing units — with only 80 outside of the city of Milwaukee.

At the Franklin Common Council meetings, neighbors raised concerns about whether the new home would cause property values to fall, whether sex offenders and other criminals would be allowed to move in and whether the property was a wetland, and therefore could not be developed.

"We don't want it," said Michael G. Busch, whose property abuts the land. "We're not happy. Can you put it somewhere else?"

One man suggested a fence with barbed wire be installed around the property to "keep residents contained." Another shouted obscenities at Matt Talbot lawyers.
Now the lawyers for this private agency is threatening to sue the City of Franklin to force them to take the group home. This will prove to be very costly for all people involved.

If Abele had listened to the real experts instead of hiring people to tell him what he wants to hear, things could have gone a lot smoother. There could have been several outreach meetings instead of one last minute one to help smooth the way for this to happen. The neighbors could have been properly educated and the vulnerable citizens would have been welcomed. Because of Abele's myopic greed, even if the private agency wins the lawsuit, the people won't accept the residents and they will not be successfully integrated into the community, which will only set up more problems down the road.

Then again, as I pointed out earlier, Abele's concern is not meeting the needs of these vulnerable citizens or being accountable to the taxpayers.  Abele's only concern is enriching his already rich friends.

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