Friday, January 15, 2010

Milwaukee's fiscal woes won't be solved by Dems' press releases

Published 1.15.2010 at Examiner.com

The primary reason I decided to support Scott Walker's bid for Governor last year is that he is one of the few state pols who "gets it." The "it" in this case -- is fiscal sanity.

I make no claim of neutrality, so when a Web article from the state Democratic machine came into view yesterday, I was naturally skeptical. The title alone was hair-raising, "Inmates Released, Public Safety Plans Cut: "Patchwork" Walker's Latest Hypocrisy Exposed by Political Ally"

The "Political Ally" referred to is Milwaukee County Sheriff, David A. Clarke Jr. -- another leader who also understands how to operate within his means.  My word, I wondered, what had County Executive Scott Walker done? The piece issued by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, references, "...a scathing letter to Walker" from Sheriff Clarke.

In the first place, the Sheriff's letter was addressed to several County supervisors and Mr. Walker, not solely to Mr. Walker, as the article implies.

Secondly, when the sum and substance of this piece didn't square with my own understanding of Mr. Walker's views, I looked to his Communications Director for Mr. Walker's official positions, which were described thus:

"The budget Scott presented for 2010 DID NOT include furlough days for Sheriff's deputies."

An amendment passed by the members of the County Board applied floating furlough days to everyone and it could not be line-item vetoed. The County Board are the ones that put this into Scott's budget.  

Now, the Sheriff has a series of actions he wants to take as an alternative to furlough days for deputies. Scott supports an alternative and has been working with his office for past few weeks.

Scott Walker WILL NOT and DOES NOT support the early release of inmates as part of an alternative plan. In fact, he would veto such a plan if approved by the County Board.

Instead, Scott will continue to work with the Sheriff's office to avoid the release of inmates - as well as furlough days"

Finally, I contacted Sheriff Clarke's office seeking comment on the "scathing" letter as described in the article in question, and the Sheriff responded through a representative that Sheriff Clarke,

“...is not going to politicize his budget and these conversations should definitely take place between himself, the County Board and the County Executive.”

Perhaps someone forgot to tell the Dems.