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Friday, January 27, 2012

Osborn Misses the Mark on Lake Park Proposal

By Aaron S. Robertson

In her assessment of what has been taking place here in Muskego regarding the proposed lake park development, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Community Columnist Louise Osborn gravely skewed the facts (“Muskego residents ignored,” 1/27/12).

Osborn claims that some-400 residents packed a Common Council meeting this past Tuesday, 1/24, and that, in her view, 90% were against it, 10% for.

First off, a number of estimates place attendance around the 250-300 mark. Chairs were set up for 250 people. While a number of attendees stood throughout the meeting, there were also a number of empty chairs. Secondly, whatever the attendance number was, not all registered an opinion. Far, far, far from it. And when it comes to her percentages for and against, she appears to have those numbers backwards. According to the written minutes for the 12/13/11 Common Council meeting, 90% of those who spoke favored the plan, while 10% opposed it (9-1).

The majority of speakers also favored the plan during the 9/12/11 Parks and Rec. Board meeting (6-5) and the 9/27/11 Common Council meeting (8-5). Between those who spoke and those who wished to simply record their position on paper during the 1/10/12 Common Council meeting, those who favored the proposal dominated 10-4.

Curiously, I do not see Osborn listed as being present during any of these other meetings, at least not in the role of a speaker or one who registered an opinion on paper. I also do not recall the “huge crowds of concerned citizens” present at these other meetings.

And while I acknowledge here that the opposition out-spoke proponents 31-19 at Tuesday’s meeting, that number is far from the 90-10% Osborn would have us believe. Furthermore, I simply ask: where were all of these angry residents for the previous four public-input opportunities on this matter? Many of them claim they simply didn’t know about any of this. I find that hard to believe. This process has been going on in full public view for over five months, since August.

Osborn also fails to mention that the $25,000 each of these residents will receive for moving expenses is mandated by the state.

Finally, the city is in great financial shape. Its debt is structured to be paid-off-in-full within the next few years, and it has a Moody’s rating of Aa(2) for outstanding obligation debt. This is the result of both fiscally-responsible Common Councils and department heads through the years. Together, working as a team, they have made tough sacrifices, have wisely invested in opportunities that foster economic growth, and have ensured that the quality city services we have come to expect and appreciate do not have to be cut or scaled down.

All of these facts speak for themselves.

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