Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Public Apology To Representative Jonathan Brostoff

A while ago, I got very upset with something that Representative Jonathan Brostoff had done.  I though he had turned corporate on us and lost my temper.  I was really rather boorish and out of line with him.

It turns out, he was the last one I needed to worry about, considering that he was on of the few Democrats that didn't go along with selling out Milwaukee to the plutocrats involved with the Bucks arena deal.  From his press release on the arena vote:
I want the Bucks to stay in Milwaukee and do not oppose building a new arena, but I could not support today’s proposal. It is a bad deal for my neighbors in this Assembly District and for Milwaukee County.

Governor Walker and his legislative allies argued that the Bucks will leave Milwaukee if public funding is not given. They claimed that we “cannot afford” the negative economic impact of the Bucks’ departure from Milwaukee and that there will be a huge positive economic impact if the team remains, but sports economists found that there is no evidence to support a connection between sports facility construction and economic development.

There have also been estimates of lost revenue as well as job creation projections, but these numbers vary greatly depending on the source. Of course no one opposes economic development, but our community would be far better served, in contrast to the current arena proposal, by not slashing the funding of UW-Milwaukee and the UW System as a whole– a system that generates $24 in economic activity for each $1 spent.

The hundreds of millions cut from UW System funding should be restored; that will produce jobs in the state. Our public education, criminal justice system, environmental protection efforts, road maintenance, public transportation, and so many other public services all cry out for greater support, yet all of them are diminished by the subsidies and tax breaks that anchor this proposal. Wiping out decades in public investment to support our community's most vulnerable and needy to pay for this arena is wrong.

Milwaukee County, which has had more than its fair share of recent struggles, is now being asked, via the arena proposal, to shoulder an additional $80 million in legacy costs. It would be taken from some of our community's most vulnerable and needy by further cutting services such as Milwaukee County's mental healthcare system. I could not support such a plan.

I understand this is an emotional and important issue. I have listened carefully to neighbors, consulted with colleagues, and worked to get a better deal, one that would build the arena with consideration to the needs, interests, and values of our community. The proposal today was a bad deal for the residents of this Assembly District and for Milwaukee County. I am saddened, because I know that we could have done better, but absolutely resolute in my decision to vote “No.” Many people want to see this arena get built, myself included, but not like this.
It was with great relief - and embarassment - that I realized that Brostoff was one of the few Democrats that isn't afraid to step on Emperor Abele's silk-stocking clad toes or the toes of any of the other plutocrats.

He obviously did not deserve my harsh words much less my doubt. For my bad behavior and my doubt, I apologize to Representative Brostoff and only ask that he continues to represent his constituents and all of Milwaukee as well as he did in this vote.


  1. Appreciate the opportunity to read the words of Rep Brostoff, as they were thoughtful & informative, even though the dye has been cast.
    Too often, we hear the words of only a limited, more vocal group of legislators on major issues.
    Also heartening to know a willingness to acknowledge errors, and apologize for them.

  2. Its an excellent statement of position.
    However our new DPW chair seems to think the deal was a great example of bi-partisanship.
    Ill be waiting for that apology... Think Ill get it?

  3. The arena deal was bi-partisan caving to Big Money lobbying & campaign cash. Read TruthDig's expose with all the smoking guns (courtesy of Open Records Law).

    But there's still time to try to get city CC to reject horrid
    subsidies for the completely unneeded BUCKS BAR MALL. Its goal is to siphon business from Third Street and Water St. It will add zilch to the economy--just cannibalize existing businesses.

    Barrett's all in, so expect Dems to fall in line. At least an arena will provide some unique entertainment. This mall, built with $100M in direct/indirect public subsidies, will mimic models that frequently fail. Downtown does not need another mall!

    Someone needs to tell the Visiting Bucks Billionaires "Enough is enough!" They can't get 30 acres of free public land, $400M from taxpayers, plus subsidies to over-run local businesses!

  4. I admit, Gen Con moved (161000 distinct persons including 57,000 player/attendees this year - as much as I hated to leave Milwaukee - I have to be honest enough to say that it would not have fit by now) and I've only been to Milwaukee once since, to visit friends in the city -- but isn't Grand Avenue Mall still open? That seemed to be working when last I was there.

  5. I can't believe that the Democrats didn't use this vote as an opportunity to leverage something in return. Brostoff did the right thing in voting against the bill. All the Democrats should have voted with him. What's wrong with them?