From Bill Sell

Main: Transit and The19th Assembly

A note of personal opinion. The Transit Services Advisory Committee where I proudly serve the County Board was not consulted about this statement.

Dear friend

To friends in my district about my personal support of Jonathan Brostoff for Assembly.

First of all I apologize for assuming you have any interest in my choice or this race. In fact, I believe you may have made your choice, you may have already voted. You may know me as a stubborn transit advocate, and I’m writing because this election has transit implications.

If you have not made up your mind, I invite you to consider Jonathan Brostoff.

We have a fortunate choice of five stand-up candidates, including Joe Klein who will be on the November - not the August - ballot, and is an avid student and user of public transit.

I told Sarah Geneen she is my second choice; and she told me, candidly, that’s what everyone says. Sarah is a person who will re-emerge; her love of public schools is on the mark, but like Dan Adams her platform will serve well on the Milwaukee Public School Board.

Dan says he will identify good performing schools and work for schools from Madison.

What “Madison” would do with Dan’s energy? The wrong thing, of course. Turning Madison loose on Milwaukee Public Schools is no solution, not now under “voucher” Walker, not in 2008 with the benighted Governor Doyle.

Equity is the State issue. Teaching versus testing is the State issue.

Schools around the state have different levels of funding, controlled by different levels of taxation, controlled by different scales of housing values. This is a perfect set-up for guaranteeing unequal schools, and unequal outcomes. And it is those outcomes that have risen to emergency levels.

Jonathan’s platform alone speaks to a Regional Transit Authority, that step Madison must take to save transit. This struggle is not just Milwaukee’s. Eight urban regions throughout the state need regional; but regional is now against the law.

Transit is in a state-wide crisis brought on by Walker’s foolish investments in new highways during a decade’s-long drop in driving, and a brain drain of young people whose preference for a public transit city changes everything about roads in the future.

Jonathan’s work with the young, the vet, and other outliers of our community has made this young man the kind of politician that will stay close to his base. He finds his strength where his heart is, with people.

Transit will wither without a State solution. Marina, running for a state office, omits any reference to transit in her platform.

Transit must be recognized as essential by any candidate that believes in Milwaukee’s future. After ten years, 40,000 to 100,000 jobs were made inaccessible by transit. Her website and snowstorm of pricey campaign mailers ignore this issue.

So I wondered how she could be so distracted from a core Milwaukee issue? I wondered, has she abandoned her base?

  • I ask this because she ignored her advisors that her pet project design would be hazardous to personal safety of bus riders.
  • I ask is she leaving Milwaukee too soon?

Marina’s tenure of two years as Chairwoman has been tumultuous but too short; I would rather have Marina continue sobered by experience. “Board Chairwoman” was bruising but continuity will earn her credits for having saved a piece of our democracy from the right wing cabal in Madison.

When she first ran, I enthusiastically worked for her, carrying literature to the several neighborhoods in Bay View. And four years later, the same.

But in the past 2 years Marina has ignored at least eight pleas from two members of her own advisory committee to revise a bus shelter design that screamed “Danger.” Marina had leverage because she arranged $50,000 from the County for this “shelter.” Twice, while there was still time last year, I asked, during a conversation after the Bay View Massacre Memorial; I asked during a conversation after the Sustainability Conference; I asked by email and phone - always a “promise” to get together. Never even a 20 minute coffee. I feel right to question where transit fits into her plans.

Then the candidacy of Jonathan Brostoff arrived like a breath of fresh air.

Marina’s abundant mailings in the past few days, like so many “re-subscribe” postcards that fall out of magazines, are offensive to me. They are costly and reflect the overall thrust of a campaign to dial up numbers rather than votes. This cannot replace face-to-face. She never knocked or left me a note.

Oh, yes, I was invited to meet and greet Marina at the Wisconsin Club - a building I have never in my life seen the inside of.

All successful politicians report they lost a race when they were young. And this is hers to lose, for our benefit, perhaps for hers, too. For now.

I’m going with a trusted citizen whom I’ve known for over four years now. I see how Jonathan works, what he values, and the way he listens - to voices, certainly not money. His support team includes Dems who do not want the same old, same old.

Bill Sell

Be a voter on August 12, 2014.

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Page last modified on August 09, 2014, at 04:53 PM