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This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Drexel Interchange policy, process flawed


How Not to Govern 101

There are just so many things about today’s tie vote by the Franklin Common Council, broken by Mayor Tom Taylor to approve funding for a Drexel Avenue Interchange.

Let’s start with the policy.

Is the interchange even necessary? Proponents in my view have not made a solid case it’s needed.

Job creation? Supporters have claimed thousands of jobs will be generated from the project. Sounds like Doyle-ese to me. Our governor made fast and free forecasts about thousands and thousands of jobs that would be created from the high speed rail line from Milwaukee to Madison. The real # is 55 permanent jobs.

Where is the fact-based data, where is the cost-benefit analysis that shows economic impact including jobs specifically for Franklin?

The entire project would be located in Oak Creek.

I honestly believe that some aldermen fell for the, HEY, IT’S TAX INCREMENTAL FINANCING (TIF) money. HEY, IT WON’T KICK IN UNTIL 2013.

My response: HEY, IT’S TAX MONEY. HEY, IT’S GOVERNMENT SPENDING.

Pushing our spending out into future years is the kind of foolish budgeting trick that has gotten my employer, the state of Wisconsin, in deep, deep fiscal trouble.

And I’m sorry but I just don’t see the groundswell of support for this project. Have people been knocking down the doors at City Hall screaming, “BUILD THE INTERCHANGE!! BUILD THE INTERCHANGE!! LET’S BAIL OUT OAK CREEK!!

The process

Most often the average citizen doesn’t care. He/she just wants results. I think that’s changing, however.

Remember, Franklin officials had months to figure this out and take a stand prior to today’s DOT-imposed deadline. So what did they do?

They noticed today’s meeting on a gorgeous, sunny, 80-degree late-April afternoon. Who was paying attention? Who cared?

They met on a beautiful 70-degree SATURDAY AFTERNOON. Again, who was paying attention? Who cared?

I’m told a little over a dozen private citizens attended today’s special meeting. The rest were highly concerned Oak Creek officials.

Hmmmm. Ramming through key legislation at the last minute. Haven’t we read that headline a lot the past couple of weeks?

It’s interesting that today I spoke with real estate agent who said it’s common knowledge in the market and industry that Franklin is over-taxed. You know why? Because we can’t say no when it comes to spending.

Hopefully I am wrong about the Interchange and Franklin will benefit greatly. At the moment, call me skeptical.

Despite my disappointment, having said all that, city officials are still light years ahead of the deer in headlights bunch at the Franklin School Board.

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