Saturday, November 18th, 2017

It’s not over even when Jeff Scrima sings


If people want to understand the frustration of the Common Council in Waukesha, the discussion of referendums on projects over $50 million is a good starting point. The Common Council was poised to vote down the mayor’s referral when Aldermen Joe Pieper and Paul Ybarra asked Scrima if the issue was now settled. Scrima said “yes” each time.

Then the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asked Scrima.

Yet in an interview with the Journal Sentinel earlier Tuesday, Scrima gave a different answer. He said he wanted to see the matter on a future council agenda with other options.

“In order to come to a solution, the council could adjust the dollar amount (from $50 million), and they could exclude items from referendum, like water,” he said.

After the council meeting, Scrima explained the seeming contradiction. He said the only vetted and settled matter was his exact referral dealing with a referendum on any capital project of $50 million or more.

“It still may come back,” he said.

Pieper and Ald. Steve Johnson, chairman of the Ordinance and License Committee who said he also understood Scrima to say the matter of a referendum on any capital project was settled, attempted to talk to Scrima about it after the meeting. Scrima deferred, insisting on a private discussion.

Good luck to Johnson on that. Who knows what Scrima will tell him. (By the way, why wouldn’t Scrima want to have that discussion in front of the people he keeps talking about? Afraid they might see him look like a jackass?)

I understand the utility of having these kinds of referendums. However, Scrima’s proposal was directed right at Waukesha’s application for a Great Lakes water diversion.

That raised an interesting question of how the referendum question would look. Instead of yes or no on the Great Lakes diversion, could you have a referendum as an either/or question? Such as, “Should the city of Waukesha build a pipeline to connect to a Great Lakes water source in order to comply with a federal court order on the acceptable levels of radium in the drinking water, or should we attempt Mayor Jeff Scrima’s crazy idea of drinking water from the quarries and digging more shallow wells that will cost more money, have an adverse effect on the environment, and possibly involve the city in endless legal battles?”

Okay, the GAB might not allow “crazy,” but you get the drift.

So the Common Council wisely decided not to adopt Scrima’s referendum policy (although I think it could be reworked to not include projects mandated by law or funded through water utility rates).

When they asked Scrima if the issue was settled, all he had to say was that the council may be asked to revisit the issue in a different form at some future date. He wouldn’t have to explain. He wouldn’t have to have a different referendum requirement in mind. All he had to say was that the issue may not completely go away.

Instead we get another Scrima three-ring circus, and depending on which ring you look at you’ll see a different position, hoping to please all audiences. Unfortuantely it’s a flea circus.

How did we elect this guy again? Oh yeah. The other guy was a Democrat who wore funny shoes and never wore a tie.

Are you not entertained?

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