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In Buzz Commentary

Replacing the Hoan Bridge could create billions in development potential.

Report makes Hoan knockdown attractive

A Hoan Bridge built closer to street level could create $5.7 billion in potential development on about 500 acres of prime waterfront real estate, according to reports on MilwaukeeRising.net. The Web site quotes a consultant's report on the project.

State Department of Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi started a Hoan Bridge controversy when he suggested that it would be cheaper to tear down the bridge and build a new grade-level structure as opposed to repaving the deteriorating bridge. Deck replacement is slated to run from 2010 to 2013.

The report says the bridge is oversized for current traffic flows and suggests a better option would be a four-lane boulevard. The bridge is about 2.5 miles long.

One proposal suggests up to 9,900 housing units could be built with a total estimated value of $5.7 billion, About 8,100 jobs could be created and more than $18.2 million in state income taxes and $1.7 billion in new property taxes revenues would pour in.

Another alternative would be to build about 5,000 housing units worth about $2.2 billion that would create 1,300 jobs and pour in $698 million in new property taxes.

The DOT estimates it would cost $30 million more than fixing the bridge in the short term but would end up saving $80 million in other costs by 2025.

Bauman's Got Brewer Fever: Milwaukee Ald. Bob Bauman is wagering his counterpart in Philadelphia that the Brewers will beat the Phillies in their best-of-five tilt this week.

Bauman accepted the friendly wager of Philadelphia City Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr., who -- like Alderman Bauman -- represents his city's 4th District.

"It's a straight-up wager: If the Brewers win, we get a package of hoagies (Philly style subs) and a box of Tastykakes treats (baked snacks similar to Hostess products)," the alderman said. "If the Phillies win, well we're not going there."

Film Forays into Fraud: Just in time for the voting season, Milwaukee filmmaker Holly Mosher has teamed up with filmmaker John Ennis to bring voters "Free for All!" a film examining election fraud with a humorous twist. Voter fraud seems to be the big topic of discussion on both the left and the right sides of the political spectrum.

The satirical documentary uncovers evidence of voter suppression schemes that swing U.S. Elections. The 95-minute unrated feature-length indie film features Ennis in "one dude's quest for democracy."

The film is screened free at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3 at the Peace Action Center, 1001 E. Keefe Ave. It's released nationally on DVD Oct. 7.

The film explores recent evidence of election fraud happening in the U.S. since 2000, when thousands of black Democratic voters were disenfranchised in Florida. Ennis noticed the pattern reoccurring again in the 2004 election and decided he "can't just be some dude shaking his head anymore." He grabbed his camera and went on a mission to find answers in the swing state of Ohio during the 2006 election.

Along the way, while interviewing a number of authors, scholars, politicians and celebrities to piece together the big picture, he discovered a scandalous privatized electoral system. Despite the daunting evidence and circumstances, Ennis found hope by launching his own citizen journalism group called Video the Vote, which has inspiring results. However, investigative journalist Greg Palast points out that Ennis' work is not yet done -- the 2008 election is the next to be stolen and now is the time for American voters to steal it back.

Other information that comes to light in the film includes evidence of rigged recounts, provisional ballots not being counted in swing states, systematic purging or "caging" of voters, strategic intimidation and intentional misinformation.

Adds Mosher, "This election year, the game at play in Ohio and across the country is not to win the most votes, but to stop the most voters. This film uncovers evidence of a variety of schemes to swing our elections -- rampant corruption, conspiracies to block millions of voters, privatized elections run by biased officials, misinformation, voter I.D. obstacles, malfunctioning voting machines, legislated voter suppression, polling place confusion and more."

No Drug Testing at Whitnall: A dose of common sense reigned over the Whitnall School Board as it voted this week to defeat a plan that would drug test kids involved in extracurricular activities. The testing would cost about $4,000. Board members in the 4-2 majority rightly felt that existing drug and alcohol policies should be enforced rather than stigmatizing a student for wanting to be involved in outside activities. There were also questions regarding testing accuracy and constitutional issues.

Peace Activist Honored: Long-time Milwaukee activist Julie Enslow will be honored this weekend with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice. Enslow has spent her life involved with campaigns promoting peace and justice.

She was a founding member of Mobilization for Survival, a Milwaukee peace and justice group in 1977 and is now a full-time staff person for Peace Action Wisconsin, the Mobilization's successor. Her activism began in the 1960s with an open housing campaign and civil rights actions, working with United Farm Workers, and against the Vietnam War.

Her current focus is on nuclear weapons non-proliferation, stopping weapons in space, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and ending U.S. war and occupation in Iraq.

As a volunteer organizer or staff member of Peace Action, Enslow helped initiate the Milwaukee Organizing Committee Against the Gulf War, and worked with the Nuclear Weapons Freeze and Jobs with Peace referendum campaigns, She has traveled to the former Soviet Union, and to Israel and Palestine as part of national peace delegations., served as national board member of Peace Action and co-chair of Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice. She also has been a cook for St. Benedict's Community Meal Program for more than 30 years, since it was founded.

The Lifetime Awards are held at 4 p.m. Oct. 4 at Marquette University's Alumni Memorial Union, #227, 1442 W. Wisconsin Ave. A special reception and potluck will be held afterward, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Irish Cultural Center, 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave. with speakers and music.


Talkbacks

kinnickinnic | Oct. 20, 2008 at 6:18 a.m. (report)

mm-mm Good ! Dining by the side of the sewage treatment plant. I'll buy a milion dollar condo there to, just so I can be near the fine smell. I want to get in on the ground floor of this bondoggle.

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Builder | Oct. 3, 2008 at 1:17 p.m. (report)

Funny that jsonline just posted this story today. How many reporters do they have over there?

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Downtowner | Oct. 1, 2008 at 1:23 p.m. (report)

Greater Downtown is not "overbuilt" with housing. It needs more. The connection must remain, but a "Pabst City like" proposal could work there ... but a Park East type scenario would take 10+ years would take years to develop. Can't we keep the Hoan, add a bike lane and do development underneath and around?

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Hoany McBridge | Oct. 1, 2008 at 1:01 p.m. (report)

Don't get me wrong, I love that bridge. But if "they" could make use of that strange eyesore called Jones Island, and turn it from the kind of place where one dumps dead bodies, to a new mixed-use retail area, this could actually be cool. I'm pretty sure "they" don't intend to strand Bay View and the south side, forcing drivers to take Water St. to Downtown.

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kman8900 | Oct. 1, 2008 at 10:46 a.m. (report)

Tearing down the bridge is crazy. Instead of zipping south, we would have to putt along, hitting stoplights and dealing with traffic. Sounds like fun. This is the idea of the same lefties who want the choo-choo train that goes in a circle that no one will ride.

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