The Milwaukee County Executive race is starting to heat up. In one of the few debates that Walker has bothered to show up for, the congeniality that was present in earlier debates, is starting to slip. Steve Schultze, posting at the All Politics Blog on JSOnline, reports:
The temperature rose during the final moments of an otherwise cordial candidate debate tonight at the Jewish Community Center in Fox Point between Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and state Sen. Lena Taylor, the challenger in the race.
Walker lashed out at Taylor in his closing remarks, bristling at her characterization of his job performance as mismanagement.
"One candidate likes to throw a lot of mud and talks a lot like a partisan lawmaker, without giving a whole lot of concrete answers," Walker said.
While Milwaukee County showed a surplus last year and enjoyed a stable bond rating under his watch, the state of Wisconsin while Taylor has served on the Joint Finance Committee faces a $650 million deficit, he said.
Taylor said her criticism was only "telling you what is real. I'm the only one who comes to the table with skills," she said. "The present county executive doesn't finish what he starts. He didn't finish college, he never ran a business," Taylor said. "And frankly, I don't think he wants to finish a second term as the county executive."
She said the county owes its 2007 surplus in part to her ability to obtain state funding.
Walker's aborted bid for governor in 2005 and early '06 has fueled speculation he may want to run again in 2010, though Walker has not publicly stated whether he's pondering that move.
As noted above, Walker is also starting to skip out of debates. Ken Mobile reports about Monday night's non-event that Walker blew off, and wonders why:
My Question to Scooter is what was more important than a debate in which you committed to weeks in advance? Only things that would excuse him would be that a family member is gravely ill, he was in an accident, or was subpoenaed. But to say you had another commitment and don’t explain yourself is a slap in the face to the organizers of the forum and to the voters of Bayview and Milwaukee County who took time out of their busy evenings to listen to a debate that was important to them.
Maybe Walker didn’t want face ordinary folk and explain how he has mismanaged transit to the point of death or why he refuses to invest in Milwaukee County’s infrastructure. Maybe he didn’t want to explain how our parks system, the once jewel of Milwaukee County, is deteriorating. Whatever the reason, Walker needs to come up with an explanation other than a “scheduling conflict;” especially in a forum in which he had knowledge of and was committed to weeks in advance.
I personally am not surprised. He debates the same way he has run the county for the past six years--in absentia.
Adding more painful truth for Walker, Gretchen Schuldte points out how Walker is trying to wreck more than the transit system in Milwaukee, by refusing to meet more of his obligations. This time, he's neglecting the bus shelters:
ADDENDUM: I also forgot to mention this fine posting by Dan Cody, who highlights what can happen when a government gambles our futures and the futures of our children, like Walker is so eager to do.
And there the matter sits. The county may be reviewing the matter again, but for now its attitude seems to be" To hell with Milwaukee County Transit System customers. Let 'em slip and fall.
So it's not just transit the County Executive Scott Walker's administration is trying so hard to cripple; it's transit riders, too.