Thursday, January 3, 2008

New year wishes evoke vision for Milwaukee

In the spirit of the new year, has issued a list of one hundred wishes for a better Milwaukee that succeeds in communicating both a love for and an educated concern for the city. The list strikes a balance between the quirky (number 78: more “pizza by the slice” shops throughout the city), and the serious, with many vital policy issues rising to the top.

Some items speak to what all good citizens desire – good schools, less crime, a local government that is without scandal, and of course, great local sports. Other points take Milwaukee to task on specific gaps, such as needs for Park East development, a tenant for Pabst City, and money for parks.

While the staff writers are not necessarily a representative group, it is revealing to view Milwaukee through their lens. Their vision for this city is light on the bratwurst of yesteryear and heavy on forward-looking elements such as wishing for city-wide wi-fi , commuter rail, more local female politicians, and multiple environmentally-friendly points including more bike lanes, clean bodies of water, community gardens, and an improved citywide carbon footprint.

While a wish for no tax hikes makes the list at number 19, a savvy commenter points out that many, if not most, of the other wishes would require increased revenue.

The list concludes with wish number 100: “Never again to hear the phrase ‘Milwaukee has an inferiority complex.’” As usual, time will tell whether wishes grow to become resolutions and actions. Though the Public Policy Forum cannot promise to chart the density of local “pizza by the slice” shops in 2008, we are committed to continue addressing regional policy issues to build a better Milwaukee and southeast Wisconsin region.

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