At first glance, Gov. Scott Walker’s “Transform Milwaukee,” initiative, a $100 million economic development plan designed to revive the economy of the state’s largest metropolis by restoring industry, thus creating jobs; developing new businesses, tackling the city’s foreclosure crisis, and rebuilding its inter-modal transportation infrastructure, is ambitious and commendable.
But why now? Why wasn’t this plan, one of the largest economic development commitments in the state’s history to rebuild Milwaukee (especially segments of the Black community along the 30th Street Industrial Corridor) unveiled sooner—before the recall election that threatens to topple the governor?
Is Walker sincere in his effort to help Milwaukee return to the days when it was an “economic power-house?”
We admit we have our doubts. And we’re not alone in our suspicions. When listening to Black talk radio shows or talking to people in the community about the governor’s proposed initiative, there is an uneasy feeling that it’s being set up for the “ol’ okie-doke.”
Many central city residents we’ve heard and talked to believe Black Milwaukee’s plight is being used—again—to further the political ambitions of a governor who finds himself in the cross-hairs of an angry state citizenry bent on making Walker the second governor in U.S. history to be recalled from office.
They’re mad at Walker—and the Republican controlled state legislature—for stripping away public workers’ collective bargaining rights, drastically reducing health care for poor families and the elderly, and taking away a large amount of funding from state public school districts while simultaneously prohibiting districts from raising property taxes to off-set the funding losses (with Milwaukee’s school district being the hardest hit).
And let’s not forget the governor chasing away over $800 million in federal funding for high-speed rail, which would have created thousands of jobs across the state…including Milwaukee.
While the governor’s generous plan is tempting; and while our community can use the job and business creation to generate a socio-economic renaissance, we can’t help but ask: “What if Walker wins the recall election? Will there still be a “Transform Milwaukee Initiative,” or an excuse that we “just can’t afford it right now?”
And if Walker loses the recall, do we risk having this initiative go down in defeat with him? Is what he’s doing a ploy to woo Black votes away from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett into his hands?
The question is: “Can Walker be trusted now, after his demonstrative actions when he was first elected?”
Your vote will dictate the answer. Go to the polls Tuesday, May 8 and VOTE!
June 30, 2014 //
By Julianne Malveaux--NNPA Columnist When the Koch Foundation gave the United Negro...
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