After months of meetings, statements, editorials and heated debates, the Milwaukee Common Council voted down a motion to reconsider the streetcar proposal, 6-9, moving forward with Mayor Barrett’s $124 million Milwaukee streetcar proposal.
The votes were nearly identical to the previous vote on Jan. 21. Those voting against the streetcar proposal and in favor of a reconsideration included Alds. Joe Davis, James Bohl, Robert Donovan, Robert Puente, Tony Zielinski and Joe Dudzik.
Voting against the reconsideration, and therefore in favor of the streetcar plan, included Alds. Nik Kovac, Ashanti Hamilton, Bob Bauman, Milele Coggs, Willie Wade, Jose Perez, Terry Witkowski, Russell Stamper and council president Michael Murphy.
The lone changed vote was that of Zielinski, whose pro-streetcar vote in the previous meeting was made in order to ask for a motion to reconsider the matter at this morning's meeting.
The goal of the previous delay was to allow more time for streetcar opponents to gather the signatures necessary – approximately 31,000 voter names – to force a binding referendum on the matter. The signatures were due by Feb. 8.
"I think it's clear what the council did today was make a statement against a lot of false rhetoric and make a statement for the future of Milwaukee," Ald. Nik Kovac told OnMilwaukee.com. "We did more than make a statement; we made an investment in economic development and in transportation."
Before the verdict, Zielinski, Davis and Donovan made statements to further emphasize their rationale for opposition, noting the other financial issues facing the city of Milwaukee, the future costs of the streetcar and its expansions and – in Donovan's case – the streetcar's lack of "modernity." Davis and Donovan also emphasized their philosophical belief in a referendum.
"This is a Pyrrhic victory, and I just wanted to state all of this stuff on the record because when you-know-what hits the fan – and it will; one day, sooner or later, this will come out – you can't say that you didn't know," Zielinski said in his statement.
"It's rather disingenuous of the mayor and some of the proponents of the streetcar to be continually talking about where it's going to be expanding to without ever mentioning how we're going to pay for it," Donovan added, later noting he didn't see its significant appeal to "the generation of Uber and Lyft, the generation of smart phones and instant taxis at the touch of a fingertip."
Mayor Tom Barrett will host a bill signing ceremony today at 3 p.m. in the Cudahy Pub in the lobby of The Pabst Theater.
Prior to the streetcar-related proceedings, the Common Council honored Arike Ogunbowale. The DSHA student and star high school basketball player, who will attend Notre Dame, was recently named a McDonald's All-American.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.