In Milwaukee County government, the elected Supervisors and County Executive positions are "non-partisan," but one can easily split the Supervisors into two philosophical camps: Those that represent City of Milwaukee residents, and those who represent suburban interests. Since the population of the city outweighs that of the suburbs, the city enjoys a perpetual majority on the County Board. Like him or not, former County Executive Scott Walker's suburban bias helped keep some semblance of balance, although his vetoes were often overturned. Such is life in the minority.
Last week, city Supervisors decided to make their majority a little bigger. County Supervisors gerrymandered one more seat for the city and will slice our 6th District out of existence in 2012. Previously, the 6th District was the northeast corner of Milwaukee County, starting with Whitefish Bay, Fox Point, Bayside, River Hills and a small part of Milwaukee.
The North Shore suburban voice will now be silenced as Whitefish Bay will be added to Milwaukee's East Side district. Fox Point, Bayside and River Hills will be added to Milwaukee's northern district. This move effectively merges two city and one suburban "seat" into two city seats. The redistricting passed the County Board by a vote of 11-7, and newly elected County Executive Chris Abele decided not to sign nor veto the legislation, explaining "I strongly considered vetoing this measure, but it appears that a veto would not be sustained."
Since a veto could only be overturned with 13 votes, Abele is either really bad at math, or he used a pretty sloppy excuse for his actions.
Either way, Whitefish Bay's Supervisor Joe Rice, will be out of a job in 2012. A suburban voice has no chance of winning a district dominated by Milwaukee's downtown and East Side residents.
Of course, the policy effect before and after the 6th District is erased, is zero. City Supervisors have a perpetual majority and the suburban Supervisors have little ability to win important votes.
As a note, the 19 municipalities that make up the County, excluding the City of Milwaukee, accounted for 37% of the population, yet pay 53% of the County tax levy.
To recap: Milwaukee County, where most services are delivered in the City of Milwaukee to their own residents, while most of the funding comes from suburban taxpayers, has voted to further reduce suburban representation. Thanks, Milwaukee. You're a pal.
Dear Ozaukee County,
You lookin' to expand?
Signed, The North Shore.