Milwaukee Streetcar Debate Stoops to Fear Mongering
Crocker Stephensen reports on the unfortunate turn in the conversation about a proposed streetcar in Milwaukee, when Alderman Joe Dudzik predicted the following results for the project on WTMJ-AM radio's Wisconsin's Afternoon News Show:
There's going to be a couple of assaults, or maybe a rape or a shooting on one of these streetcars and the millennials who claim they are going to be riding this thing are going to be nowhere to be seen, and we're going to be stuck with the ongoing maintenance cost forever.
It's happened in other communities. You go down to Chicago and they have their own police that basically ride on their streetcars just to keep certain people off.
Twelve of Dudzik's colleagues signed a letter condemning the statements. Two opponents of the streetcar did not sign—aldermen Bob Donovan and Robert Puente.
Local political blogger James Rowen provides commentary on the episode by discussing some of the history of fear mongering tactics in Milwaukee as well as pointing out some of the inadequacies of Dudzik's logic about the current situation in Milwaukee. Also, Rowen issues this plea: "I am embarrassed for our city. Have mercy on us. Pity doesn't quite get at it."
In other Milwaukee Streetcar news, Crocker Stephensen also reports on the opposition of the Amalgamated Transit Union (i.e., bus drivers' union) to the streetcar.
Katie Delong and J.J. Bayatpour also report that a group called the "Citizens for Responsible Government" has threatened a lawsuit should the project move forward without a popular vote.