I have no idea whether the tragedy at the O'Donnell Park parking structure is attributable to deferred maintenance and neither, as far as I can tell, does anyone else. To reach that conclusion one would have to know why the accident happened and then identify some particular proposed action that would have prevented it or uncovered the flaw that caused it. To simply note that O'Donnell Park has had problems or that there are proposed repairs to the structure that have been deferred tells us exactly nothing about the connection of these matters to the accident. Scott Walker says the County was aware of no needed repairs or existing problem that could have caused such a collapse. While the investigation is just beginning, no one has pointed to a single fact suggesting otherwise. It may turn out to be so, but we don't know yet.
But that doesn't mean that the political ghouls have held their fire. The Recess Supervisor seem to have jumped on it before the next of kin could be informed. The latter seems to acknowledge that there is no proof that deferred maintenance contributed to the tragedy but, the political arts being what they are, it doesn't matter. He's not exploiting anything, just providing us with a political science lesson. Tom Foley allows that while it is "perhaps" tasteless to inject politics into such a tragedy, it is inevitable so ... what the hay. He might as well get in on it.
But the worst person in the world in this regard is former Milwaukee County Supervisor Jim McGuigan - one the Board members who brought us the County pension scandal. Having been recalled by the voters for the gross stupidity that may ultimately cost a government already overly burdened with legacy costs a billion additional dollars, you'd think he'd be wandering around Brown Deer in sack cloth and ashes. But no, he authors a blog with the ironic title of "Watchdog Milwaukee." A bit late on that, Jim, don't you think?
McGuigan's defends himself by blaming others. Who would have thought to question claims that, since the stock market had gone up, it would never go down? Who would have doubted that the way to address the potential for early retirements prompted by the County's already ridiculously generous pension plan would be to make it even more generous?
I am perfectly willing to believe that at least some of those responsible for the pension mess were clueless rather than cunning. The Board may well have gotten poor advice from its human relations manager and actuaries, although the idea that one could promise the world to employees without risk to the taxpayers seems - as we say in the law - frivolous on its face.
Still, we ought to be chastened by our mistakes. One would think that, having blundered into a first class mess, McGuigan might display some humility and generosity in questioning the judgment of others.
Not for a minute. McGuigan accuses Walker of "killing off constituents to satisfy a craven lust for power." He says that "[t]onight there are two parents who have lost a son because Walker has decided that politics is more important than safety." He doesn't know - he couldn't possibly know - whether there is any truth to these allegations.
I suppose that one shouldn't be surprised that someone who voted to financially hollow out County government would not be overly concerned about whether he knows what he's talking about. What we do know is that Thursday night two parents lost their child and Jim McGuigan couldn't wait until after the funeral to politicize their loss.