Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Tosa pops up at lunch with the County Executive

Community, Politics

After spending Thursday with the County Board Audit and Finance Committee in hopes of overriding the county executive's transit budget, it seemed a little odd to spend the lunch hour today with Scott Walker.

The event was a leader's lunch sponsored by the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee and hosted by the Milwaukee Center for Independence. Walker discussed transit, mental health, and the parks. Then he took questions from the audience. The first was about the Bucks--a way to touch on enhancing trade relations with China.

Then Dick Vogel, executive director of Kathy's House on 103rd Street, raised the issue of Wauwatosa's taxing of nonprofit communities for older adults such as San Camillo. Kathy's House offers a place to stay for families of adults receiving treatment at the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center. It rents the building from St. Camillus, and it too will be affected by tax increases there. That doesn't seem right.

Walker expressed sympathy and said he preferred finding other ways for a city to get revenue from non-profits. But it isn't his issue to solve. 

Just as transit needs to find a new approach that's neither the city's nor the county's but something that works for both, it seems that this tax issue needs to find an approach that's not all or nothing. Parts of continuing care communities serve different functions and can be treated differently. The fairest solutions don't usually lie on either extreme of the spectrum.

I hope Walker's proposal for an independent Parks Board goes through. It seems like a solution, not just a partisan posture.

And though I don't like many of his other ideas, they are at least logical. He's smart, hires good people, and seems to be an honorable man. And he's much more circumspect about slamming the board than they are about slamming him.

You learn a lot more listening to both sides than you do seeking the comfort of the one you think you're on.



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