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As I See It

Mayors not to blame for crime woes



No question, crime is a problem in Milwaukee. And one Wisconsin lawmaker thinks the city should be punished for not doing more to stop it. Rep. Janel Brandtjen is warning Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett that the city could see its share of state funding reduced if crime numbers don’t drop in the state’s largest city. But crime in any city isn’t the fault of the mayor. Should we blame La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat if crime numbers go up? Milwaukee doesn’t even have the state’s highest crime rate. That dubious distinction belongs to the Wisconsin Dells area. Should the state withhold money from them too? Sure, cities can take steps to try to reduce crime, like hiring neighborhood resource officers as La Crosse has done. But that takes money. The fact is, the city of Milwaukee has seen its share of state money for police protection decline by $12 million. The city meanwhile has increased its local spending on police protection by $91 million. It is not as if the city isn’t trying to bust the bad guys. Brandtjen’s statement to Milwaukee’s mayor also criticizes what she calls his failed liberal policies, and insists he demand prison for repeat offenders. But that is something that the courts, not the mayor, can control. Does she think that providing less money to Milwaukee would make the city safer? Lawmakers like Rep. Brandtjen would be better served to author legislation seeking to increase public safety, rather than writing hate filled news releases.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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