Southeast Wisconsin's MPO Lacks Diversity

<p>Statistics provided by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commisison (SEWRPC) at the request of the American Civil Liberties Union show that SEWRPC's technical advisory committees are 98% white.</p>
April 12, 2007, 6am PDT | Steve Filmanowicz
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Writing in Madison's daily Capital Times, Milwaukee writer and environmental policy consultant James Rowen says SEWPRC deserves "a failing grade for representing the entire region's taxpayers, since Milwaukee is now a 'minority-majority city' and most of the state's minority citizens live in the seven-county SEWRPC region (Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee, Walworth, Racine and Kenosha).

The lack of racial and ethnic minorities on SEWRPC committees, says Rowen, is "why you can go to one of these meetings, as I do, and find a setting that resembles what the Mississippi State Highway Commission probably looked like in 1964, before federal civil rights legislation purportedly made such lopsided, lily-white, publicly financed governmental decision-making illegal."

He concludes, "It would be a real public service if opinion-makers in government and media changed the focus of the public debate in Milwaukee, from the racial makeup of crime blotters to the racial composition of committees and commissions, and the inclusivity of their recommendations."

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Published on Friday, April 6, 2007 in The Capital Times
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