Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Rowen's take on Water politics in Waukesha--with a kicker from Water Blogged....

What is likely to be quite troublesome for the Waukesha Water Utility over the next few years is that it has been virtually run by one guy for most of the past 21 years. A guy whose judgment seems to be increasingly--exponentially--faulty.

Daniel Warren, Water Utility President, runs what he believes is a tight ship.

o Over the past four years, there has been virtually absolute unanimity on the key decisions. Warren makes up an agenda that calls for a Closed (secret) meeting, and there's never a dissent, never a peep questioning the necessity/propriety of making still more faulty, in secret, decisions-- like those Jim Rowen recounted in this recent Political Environment blog post.

o He was investigated and found in violation of the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law twenty seven months ago. Lackluster lightweight DA, Paul Bucher, (who has, mercifully, moved on) let him off the hook with a "give-a-hundred-bucks-to-charity" non-penalty.

o He has a key role in an evolving mess of financial jiggery-pokery at the Waukesha School Board (where he was recently installed as president). In 2006, as chairman of the School District Finance Committee, he made the case to the others on the School Board for borrowing money to invest in wildly speculative investments in CDOs--those once-nifty-now-worthless turds in the Wall Street punchbowl that underlie the current world-wide economic cataclysm.

o He is one the key actors in the development of Pabst Farms (evincing yet more faulty judgment).

o Twenty months ago he demonstrated astonishingly bad judgment and an unexpected recklessness by lurching into his SUV, and attempting to weave his way home on Hwy 16, late on a Saturday night with a BAC of 0.138, otherwise known as "shitfaced" and fallingdowndrunk.

It's time for Dan Warren to accept the thanks of this community for decades of work (a great deal of it quite competent and certainly useful) on the Waukesha Water Utility Commission and leave the remaining work of finding solutions to pressing problems to a diverse and broadly-experienced group of citizens. He should decline any nomination to a continued role as president during the last year of his current term.

It is also time for the Waukesha Common Council to see to expanding (and term-limiting) the membership of the Water Utility Commission. Warren has been able to dominate Commission decision making because it is packed (40%) with ex-officio members from the mayor's office and the Common Council and two other citizen-members, neither of whom shows much potential for leadership.

If Waukesha is to come to some resolution of its water supply and water quality problems, it will best be done by a new group of citizens and municipal leaders with common sense and a concern about living in the real world, citizens who are skeptical of development pipe dreams, consultant-driven schemes, and customer-be-damned secrecy in finding the right path to a solution to this community's water supply and water quality problems.

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Of the biblical allotment of three score and ten I have lived only three of them more than a bicycle ride from one of the Great Lakes. I grew up ten blocks from Lake Erie in the (once Irish/Italian ghetto, now newly-hip) "Near West Side" of Cleveland. I can still cycle to the Milwaukee lakefront in an hour and a half; but, a round-trip has always been more than I would (noror ever did) attempt. -0- I'm a "...somewhat combative pacifist and fairly cooperative anarchist," after the example of Grace Paley (1922-2007). -0- I'm always cheerful when I pay my taxes (having refused--when necessary--to pay that portion of them dedicated to war). -0- And I always, always vote.