The Unsustainable Mayor

Posted in Weekly Newsletter on by .

sewerworkerRegular readers are familiar with our belief that many people adopt the label of Liberal Democrat as a sort of self-administered pardon for wide-ranging bad behavior.
It doesn’t always work.
Last week Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett released his “sustainability plan,” a dog’s breakfast of green sentiment and future mandates that at best will probably make common-sense actions cost more.
Alas, two days later, the Wisconsin Supreme Court turned up with more serious things on its mind, ruling 4-2 against the Mayor’s Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) in a suit brought by downtown building owners. The plaintiffs argued successfully that Milwaukee’s big, expensive, and lamentably inadequate sewer system has, among its many failings, eroded the foundations of valuable downtown real estate.
The Court ordered the case back to circuit court to determine a method of abating the damage to private property.
Milwaukee taxpayers are unlikely to escape with their hides intact, but that’s the fault of bad municipal leadership, not of the property owners who have been harmed.
The remedy is to elect better leaders. Voters might have thought they were doing that when they booted Mayor Marvin Pratt in favor of Barrett, partly on the strength of Barrett’s now nine-year old “100-day plan” to—among other things—fix the MMSD.
Whatever happened during those halcyon 100 days, an MMSD fix wasn’t part of it. The amount of sewage dumped into Lake Michigan since then exceeds by—literally—a factor of millions the amount that cost Marvin Pratt his job.
But never fear: The mayor has another plan.

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