PBS recently broadcast Milwaukee Water 2015. Mike Gousha spoke with Mayor Tom Barrett and UWM chancellor Carlos Santiago regarding Milwaukee's water hub endeavor and economic development, in general.
Dr. Santiago expressed the opinion that anyone disagreeing with/questioning the "Milwaukee as a water hub" meme was not being helpful and is a pessimist who believes Milwaukee can't "turn it around."
It's not that such initiatives have not worked in the majority of other cases and therefore some are skeptical of Milwaukee/UWM putting all their eggs in this one basket. No, that's not it. These doubters just don't have hope. They don't believe in Milwaukee. They're unwilling to take a chance on Milwaukee.
Is this really the debate? Hope-ers versus Doubt-ers? Or is chancellor Santiago using childish smear tactics to avoid the well-supported critiques of the skeptics. He appears to be attacking the messengers and not their message.
It doesn't matter to Santiago that such initiatives don't work more often than they do work.
Maybe we should have a broader investment initiative, rather than just a few magic bullets prefaced on hope.
[I do agree with a Mayor Barrett regarding a framing issue: we should be labeling ourselves The Fresh Coast rather than allowing others to call us The Rust Belt.]
For Further Reading:
Colleges: Cash Cows?
Save Our City
Watering Down Corporate Accountability