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2006 Airport Legislation

2006 Airport Legislation

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Published by Cory Liebmann
2006 editorial from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board. Also includes the underlying story that prompted the editorial.
2006 editorial from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board. Also includes the underlying story that prompted the editorial.

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Published by: Cory Liebmann on Apr 05, 2013
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04/05/2013

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3/25/13Multi-Print Viewe0-infoweb.newsbank.com.countycat.mcfls.org/iw-search/we/InfoWeb1/5
MITCHELL AIRPORT An anti-regional maneuver 
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
- Thursday, March 23, 2006
 Author:
RESLER, Staff: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 
If a college political science class is looking for a classic case of how not to accomplish something worthwhile, the proposal to create a regional airportauthority fits the bill to a T.People who should have known better, namely private business interests and state lawmakers, missed the runway by a mile. In drafting the proposal tocreate the authority, they needlessly burned political bridges and, in effect, thumbed their noses at local democratic representation.When state Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), Sen. Jeff Plale (D-South Milwaukee) and Rep. Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) proposed the authority inDecember, they argued that Mitchell International Airport, run by Milwaukee County, is an economic regional asset and therefore should ideally begoverned on a regional basis.This idea has merit. But some Milwaukee County supervisors asked why, if the county had done a good job running the airport, they should turn over the job to a regional authority. They also felt the lawmakers and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce were trying to push the county out of thepicture.The county has indeed done a good job of managing Mitchell, but we suggested earlier that the supervisors should think regionally. A recent article by Journal Sentinel reporter Larry Sandler on how the legislation to create the authority took form casts a whole new light on the matter,however. The results are disquieting.Based on Sandler’s interviews and e-mails and documents obtained by Supervisor Richard Nyklewicz Jr. under an open records request, Sandler foundthat more than three years before the public knew about it, business lobbyists were drafting a bill to create the authority that would wrest control of Mitchell from the county."One reason, "Sandler wrote, "for cutting supervisors out of the issue and barring the governor and county executive from appointing any elected officials tothe authority’s seven-member board was the business leaders’ fear that elected officials could block future airport expansion that would likely requirebuying and bulldozing nearby homes."Nyklewicz and other supervisors are furious. County residents, especially those who live near the airport, should be, too. Supervisor James White,chairman of the Transportation Committee, called the move "the most anti-democratic proposal that has come through here in a long time." We agree.Stone and Tim Sheehy, president of MMAC, say the intention was not to circumvent local elected officials or their constituents, adding that the authoritycouldn’t levy taxes. But it would still be a public agency.
 
3/25/13Multi-Print Viewe0-infoweb.newsbank.com.countycat.mcfls.org/iw-search/we/InfoWeb2/5
Sheehy notes that business leaders have been publicly talking about a regional airport authority for years. But this just makes all the more puzzling whythis specific proposal then would be forged behind the scenes."It’s apparent to us that, left to their own devices, county supervisors wouldn’t have initiated this," Sheehy told us.Maybe not. But going behind their backs is a lousy way to advance regionalism. A regional authority to govern the airport, a regional asset, remains an idea worth pursuing — this time, however, openly and with all stakeholdersrepresented.Copyright 2006, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received throughwire services or other media.)
Edition:
Final 
Section:
 A News
Page:
16 
Record Number:
MERLIN_6853335 Copyright (c) 2006, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)
 
3/25/13Multi-Print Viewe0-infoweb.newsbank.com.countycat.mcfls.org/iw-search/we/InfoWeb3/5
Airport transfer born in secrecy Business leaders wanted Mitchell expansion out of county's control
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
- Saturday, March 18, 2006
 Author:
LARRY SANDLER, Staff: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 
More than three years before the public knew about it, business lobbyists were drafting a bill to create a regional airport authority that would take control of Mitchell International Airport away from Milwaukee County government. And a key priority in those behind-the-scenes talks was ensuring that neither the County Board nor county voters would have a say in the handover.One reason for cutting supervisors out of the action — and barring the governor and Milwaukee County executive from appointing any elected officials tothe authority’s seven-member board — was business leaders’ fear that elected officials would block future airport expansion that would likely requirebuying and bulldozing nearby homes.Those details about the failed legislation emerged from e-mails and documents released by Supervisor Richard D. Nyklewicz Jr. — after he filed open-records requests to get them — and from interviews.State Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), Sen. Jeff Plale (D-South Milwaukee) and Rep. Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) announced plans in December for a bill to create an airport authority funded by user fees, with no taxing power. But the bill’s language didn’t become public until it was introduced March 3— just four days before a public hearing.The Assembly’s Urban and Local Affairs Committee didn’t vote on the bill, effectively shelving it for the year. Stone says he plans to bring it back in thenext session.Business interests, led by the Greater Milwaukee Committee and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, have long pushed for the airportauthority. They say airport officials could act faster outside the county bureaucracy, and that one county shouldn’t have sole control over such a major regional economic asset.Nyklewicz, whose district includes the airport, joined most other county supervisors in arguing that the county should not lose control of an airport it hasmanaged well.Expansion opposition fearedMMAC Vice President Pete Beitzel said he agreed that the county was doing a good job now, but he was concerned about future leaders. He pointed to atime in the 1980s when supervisors representing districts near the airport controlled four of seven seats on the board’s transportation committee, with thelate Supervisor Daniel Cupertino Jr. holding the chairmanship."He made a statement that ‘Over my dead body is there going to be another runway,’ " Beitzel said of Cupertino, who represented Milwaukee’s Bay View

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