June 23, 2010

Second meaningless advisory referendum on the agenda

It appears that one meaningless advisory referendum isn't enough for the Racine County Board and County Executive Bill McReynolds.

Especially when transportation funds are involved.

In April, the County Board voted to put on the November ballot an advisory referendum -- i.e., something without any weight at all, requiring absolutely no action by anybody -- asking: Should any new tax to support transit or rail services, such as a sales tax or local vehicle registration fee, be permitted in any part of Racine County? 

McReynolds is now asking the County Board to set a second advisory referendum before county voters this fall -- this one calling for a change in the state's constitution. In other words, something with even less weight than the previous advisory referendum, given that a Constitutional amendment requires affirmative votes in two separate Legislative sessions, and then a favorable vote statewide. Chances of this one passing in our lifetimes are minimal to nil.

This second referendum, to be voted on in the September primary, asks: Should the Wisconsin Constitution be amended to prohibit any further transfers or lapses from the segregated transportation fund? 

So let's see: The Nov. 2 vote is clearly seeking a mandate to reject any new funding for regional bus service or that two-railed devil, KRM. And the Sept. 14 vote seeks a mandate to build even more highways, presumably at the expense of any form of regional transit.

Nobody puts it in such black-and-white terms, but that's the bottom line.