Never Let a Good Tragedy Go to Waste

capital timesWhen Liberals Obscure Reporting

It didn't take long for the liberal media to start testing the waters on the O'Donnell Parking Garage tragedy.  It's a tragedy that happened in Walker's backyard, and it simply too good for them to waste.

Joel McNally, from the Capital Times, wrote a piece trying to connect the county's deferred maintenance of the parks system to the tragedy at O'Donnell's Parking Garage.  It was an attempt to blame County Executive Scott Walker without explicitly making an accusation.  Such attempts are cowardly because they provide the writer with plausible deniability if he was ever called to the carpet.   

I'm not exactly sure what passes for journalism or essay writing at the Capital Times, but I'm pretty sure they can do better than this.  Besides the basics of lacking a clear thesis, McNally's article also lacked a fair gathering of the facts.   For example, it might have been helpful to know that the original architect of the O'Donnell Parking Garage was fired and sued by the Milwaukee County government nearly two decades ago.

The article ended up being a hit-piece on Walker and all those who share a "right wing ideology" of tax cuts and controlled spending.  The article made a few points worth refuting.

Refutable Points

First, McNally stated that Walker represented a more extreme version of a tax-cutting philosophy and that he was responsible for the deterioration of our nation's premier parks systems.  Again, McNally is selective with the facts.  What McNally didn't mention is that the Milwaukee County Parks won a national gold metal of excellence last year from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and the National Recreation and Park Association.  Liberals like McNally are rewriting history, and it's important that they are corrected when it happens.

Second, McNally stated that Walker blatantly attempted to shift blame to his predecessors for the original design and installation of the decorative panel.  In McNally's world, he wants to believe that Scott Walker's tax-cutting philosophy contributed to the deterioration of the O'Donnell Parking Garage.  Unfortunately, McNally's world isn't real, and there is no evidence that links deferred maintenance to the slab of concrete that fell. 

Democrat officials may be spenders, but they are also practitioners of cronyism.  And it appears that the original architect of the O'Donnell Garage was offered the job without proper vetting.  Unfortunately, cronyism resulted in a few shortcuts and ultimately an inferior design.  Almost immediately after completion, the parking garage showed signs of stress, deterioration and structural weaknesses.  In order to rectify the problem, tons of soil were removed from the fourth story of the building and its structural supports were reinforced and strengthened.  McNally neglected to mention this history ostensibly to lay blame on Walker.

McNally said nothing about the architect, how he was hired, why he was fired, and that the Milwaukee County government pursued a lawsuit against him.  Was Walker shifting the blame?  Such a question presumes Walker is blameworthy.

If you were the County Executive, what would you do if all the critical, potentially critical, and necessary repairs were made to the parking structure, and yet this tragic event occurred nonetheless?  If there was no deferred maintenance on the building, logic leads you to something more fundamental or more architectural with the structure. 

To McNally, however, Walker's deferred maintenance must be the cause of the collapse because he want to say, "I told you so."   But the county released a report of all the maintenance done on the O'Donnell Parking Garage, and it showed that nearly all of the violations were corrected.  If McNally refuses to believe the report, then that is his right.  But as a "state columnist", it is his duty not to cherry pick the facts.

Conclusion

McNally has an ideological problem with fiscal conservatism.  By scaling back funds to the public parks, McNally argues that it will burden our grandchildren with millions in deferred maintenance.  On the flip side, however, it is not sensible to pour millions into the public parks when 10% of our taxpayers are jobless and when most are forced to make cuts to their personal finances.  Public funding should always reflect the taxpayer's ability to pay.  When people start trimming their own budgets, the government should do likewise.

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