It's true. Despite many business leaders, community leaders, and even a conservative transit authority have said that Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin will be in a world of economic hurt if something isn't done quickly to improve the transit system, the local squawkers keep their rants going. They would sacrifice the community they are supposedly standing up for, all for the sake of a couple of rating points.
Community leaders said in a conference Wednesday that negative comments in the media toward the formation of a regional transit authority or extensive rail service here make movements toward those efforts more difficult.
The leaders, who were part of a panel discussing how to overcome the political boundaries of establishing an RTA at the Community Development Summit hosted by the Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, said editorials in newspapers across the region have portrayed the effort in a negative light and talk radio personalities have unfairly condemned the idea.
In particular they repeatedly referenced a June 18 editorial column in The Freeman by talk radio personality Mark Belling in which he referred to mass transit users as “the fringe” and said transit issues fit into the “seven words you can’t say on talk radio.”
“I’m absolutely amazed by the negativity of people here,” said Donald Sykes, president and CEO of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board.
Panelists said there are a lot of social and political boundaries halting the RTA in the eyes of the public and misconceptions cause a divide between citizens and businesses on the issue. Regional perceptions such as the stereotype of Waukesha County residents being unwilling to allow urban African-Americans into their community were also cited.
They said local lawmakers are also failing to listen to businesses in favor of rhetoric, which deepens the political divide.
Here is a prime example of someone not getting it.
H/T to James Rowen.