FROM Rethinking Schools, a Milwaukee publication that...

Salmagundi

March 18, 1994

FROM Rethinking Schools, a Milwaukee publication that describes itself as "an urban educational journal," comes an ingenious suggestion.

If you must have a new stadium, Rethinking Schools says editorially, and if you refuse to spend more money improving public education, then use the new stadium for schooling.

"Think of our proposal's benefits for Milwaukee Public Schools," says the editorial. "Ample parking, good bus transportation, built-in security . . . , the best in technological innovations and luxury boxes that would make perfect early childhood centers. And hey, gym class would be a snap!

"OK, OK, it's not a realistic proposal. But that doesn't mean we're not outraged by the blathering support from city, state and county officials for the Brewers' latest plan to build a stadium with a retractable roof, upping the cost to the $190 million range. The announcement and immediate support for public officials comes less than a year after widespread whining that there wasn't enough public money to support the $366 million Milwaukee schools building referendum. . . ."

The editorial goes on to quote Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson on the prospects of public financing of the stadium: "I'm here to tell you that if it requires public financing, the state will put in as well as the city and the county. We want the Brewers to stay here."

All of this sound familiar? Change the name of the team and city, the name of the sport, the name of the governor. Extortion, however, is extortion wherever it occurs.

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