Family lured Jerrianne and her husband to South Milwaukee in 2002 from Southern California where she worked as, first, a journalist, then, as a court information officer. She now stays busy with media-relations consulting, playing with her three grandchildren (part of the lure), writing, discovering her new environs, and hoping her garden will produce before the first fall frost.
Pretty impressive. A hundred -- maybe as many as 150 -- folks showed up at South Milwaukee City Hall tonight to learn, listen and speak about the back-door effort stemming from some black hole to tear down the Hoan Bridge that spans -- high enough for ocean-going ships to clear -- the Port of Milwaukee.
Unlike some of the recent boistrous great TV theater shoutdown heathcare and energy legislation public forums, no evidence that any of the South Milwaukee town hall attendees had been bused in by United Health Group or American Petrolium Institute. They really were all neighbors -- even Wisconsin Senator Jeff Plale and Assemblyman Mark Honadel.
Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik, with South Milwaukee Mayor Tom Zepecki hosting, honchoed the meeting, She gave a great succinct PowerPoint presentation on the history of the bridge and explained the official channels and procedures that should be used for such a proposal.
Much was said about how vitial the bridge is to the commerce, development, safety and convenience of South Shore communities and residents and how replacing it with a rather medieval concept of an almost ground-level 'lift' bridge -- that would bring bridge traffic to a halt with idling engines pollutiing the air while the bridge was up to allow Port of Milwaukee shipping traffic work its way through -- or a network of surface streets bracketed with round-about traffic-managed intersections -- would inconvenience and set South Shore communities and points beyond back on their heels, economically, environmentally, developmently and commercially.
There are way too many specious reasons offered by bridge-demolition proponents (none of whom attended or at least who made themselves known at tonight's meeting) -- including that it supposedly would cost more than $200 million to just resurface it (nevermind that the estimate just two years ago was only $40 million or that $200 million is 1/4 the cost of rebuilding the entire Marquette Interchange with all of its overpasses and ramps -- to list here. But folks will have another chance to hear them and all the legitimate reasons to keep the current bridge intact, plus have a chance to be heard and to sign a Save the Hoan Bridge petition, at another town hall meeting next week.
Jursik has sceduled another public forum for Thursday, Aug. 27, at the Cudahy Public Library at 6:30 p.m.
In the meantime, Jursik and the Coalition to Save the Hoan are asking South Shorers to contact their elected officials -- including Gov. Doyle and Wisconsin Secretary of Transportation Frank Busalacchi -- and tell them you oppose replacing the Hoan Bridge.