Bloggers sound off on most important issues of 2009

The issues that dominated the headlines in 2009 also played out prominently in the course of debate among authors during the year in the BizTimes Milwaukee Biz Blog.

We invite readers to contribute to the conversation in 2010. You can e-mail your blogs to steve.jagler@biztimes.com. In the meantime, here were some of the most poignant issues and commentary from the Biz Blog in 2009.

Blogger: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

Issue: Control of Milwaukee Public Schools

“To achieve this vision, it is imperative that we hire a strong, effective superintendent, establish clear and high expectations, provide that superintendent with the fiscal and political support he or she needs to achieve those goals, and hold the superintendent accountable for success. Unfortunately, it is next to impossible to achieve these steps under the current system, as the current outcomes in MPS demonstrate. Under the current system there isn’t any clear accountability – and blame is shifted among the board, administration, superintendent and other external entities.”

Blogger: Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker

Issue: His vow to decline federal stimulus funding

“We will review every program and prepare applications where appropriate, but we did not create a ‘wish list’ of things we do not need and cannot afford. Spending money (that comes with strings attached) when we cannot afford to pay it back is exactly what got this country – as well as many businesses and individuals – in financial trouble. We will not make that same mistake here in Milwaukee County.”

Blogger: Steve Baas of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce

Issue: The proposed city sick leave mandate

“By ruling this costly, job-killing mandate unconstitutional, the judge gave Milwaukee a glimmer of hope that it would be allowed to compete nationally for jobs and economic development on a level playing field.”

Blogger: Gary Billington, Plunkett Raysich Architects

Issue: The mindset to survive the Great Recession

“Training your mind to look for the silver lining, being flexible, being persistent, looking for new sources of knowledge, seeking common ground, showing respect, creating balance in your perspectives, having calculated courageousness, embracing lifelong learning, being willing to reinvent yourself frequently and most importantly, seeking consensus are, in my opinion, the new norms for survival and prosperity.”

Blogger: Rich Meeusen, Badger Meter Inc.

Issue: Developing Milwaukee as a water technology hub

“What most people do not realize is that, over the past 100 years, the Milwaukee area has grown into a major hub of water technology companies … In fact, a recent survey conducted by the Greater Milwaukee Committee found over 120 Milwaukee area companies in the water technology sector.”

Blogger: Republican Jim Burkee, history professor at Concordia University Wisconsin

Issue: The direction of America’s conservative movement

“Ideological movements need people like Rush Limbaugh to convey beliefs in engaging and simplified ways – something he is particularly skilled at doing. But if conservatism is to retain any semblance of intellectual depth, the seriousness and reasoned consistency necessary to transform it again into a broad, majoritarian movement, conservatives must vocally reject any notion that Rush Limbaugh is a prominent or serious leader. Looking to a man who refers to opposition leaders as ‘Dingy Harry’ and ‘Barack the Magic Negro’ conveys all the sobriety and profundity of ‘Joe the Plumber.’ It’s entertaining, but hardly the stuff of movements.”

Blogger: Jon Rauser

Issue: Health care reform

“Our national debt is growing … without the added cost of a ‘public option’ How on earth can we call on government to spend even more? The better course is for the government to lead reform but in the private sector.”

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Steve Jagler
Steve Jagler, former BizTimes Milwaukee editor.