That got your attention, didn't it?
I asked you all here today because I want to hear your big ideas for Milwaukee. I don't care if they seem realistic or do-able. I want to know what you really wish Milwaukee had.
Be it a 10-line subway system, riverboat casinos Downtown or Sarah Palin as mayor, share your big Milwaukee idea here.
What got me thinking about all this was the city of Turin. I know, you don't wanna hear about Italy, and that's fine. But humor me for a moment and look at Turin, an industrial city not unlike Milwaukee that has had to recast itself as the world economy has shifted in recent decades.
Sure, it's a little different because, as Italy's former capital and its stature as the country's auto capital, Turin occupies a more prominent stature in its own country than Milwaukee does in the United States, where there are a lot of cities much bigger than ours.
But if you asked the Torinesi 20 years ago if their city could host the Olympics in 2006, they'd have run away laughing. OK, they're much too polite for that, but once you walked away they'd have guffawed.
If you also asked if they could rip up the city's major streets to build a subway -- yes, an actual underground, cut and cover project -- they'd send for the men in the white coats, after doing a spittake.
But it's a reality. I've ridden that subway and it's a gleaming testimony to big thinking.
My big Milwaukee idea, then, unsurprisingly, is to set aside all the tiny, wishy-washy light rail, rubber-wheeled rail, connector, trolley, circulator projects that are floating around and start tearing up Wisconsin Avenue.
Sure, you think I'm nuts and sure it seems impossible. But so what; let's talk.
I don't want to hear why we can't do anything. No whining, no naysaying. Just ideas -- ridiculous or not.
Tell me your big idea. Once they're all in, I'll blog again and pick some winners.
Use the Talkback feature below to spout off.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.