Supervisor Bowen and others react to referendum vote

David Bowen

David Bowen

“Yesterday, wealthy special interests won a bad poll of public perception at the expense of our democratic principles.

The referendum that passed tilts the balance of power in Milwaukee County, diminishing legislative oversight and local control while granting bloated executive powers.

“I do not believe this referendum speaks for everyone in Milwaukee County.

This referendum was purposely put on the ballot at time when the authors of Act 14 knew voter turnout would be low, particularly for districts within the City of Milwaukee.

It is a reprehensible tactic designed to exclude those voters who do not agree with a corporate political agenda.

“Multiple wards in my district clearly opposed the referendum. However, the City of Milwaukee had a voter turnout of just 8.97 percent.

The opinions expressed in these wards were overshadowed by their more conservative counterparts in places such as the City of South Milwaukee, which had a voter turnout of 28 percent.

“This result is an example of why it is so important for people to turn out to vote.”

Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic responded as well to Tuesday’s referendum vote: “The results of last night’s referendum were not surprising.

The outcome was predetermined when, almost one year ago, state Republicans introduced legislation to dilute the people’s representation.

As wealthy special interests subsequently raised money to campaign for the misleading referendum, weakening local representation was the goal.

“Supervisors represent the working families of their districts and ensure the voices of our diverse community are heard when it comes to policy discussions of transit, income inequality, parks and public safety.

The Board remains dedicated to serving our constituents, and we will continue to provide taxpayers a balance against unchecked executive power.

“All options are on the table because we must ensure a strong representative branch of county government for future generations.

As we move forward and respond to recent changes in state law, I plan to create an inclusive task force with diverse appointments. Everyone will have a seat at the table.

“Over the next two years, this task force will be charged with strengthening the legislative branch.

For example, the task force may explore different options for adjusting the Board’s operations for the next term beginning in 2016 and ensure the office is accessible and attractive to a wide slate of diverse candidates.

It also will work to ensure the Supervisors can continue to do the job they were elected to do: provide oversight of administrative operations, create policies and adopt Milwaukee County’s billion dollar budget.”