Scott Walker isn't a County Executive -- he's a cartoon. Every statement, every proposal, every budget he's made since he took advantage of Tom Ament's misfortune to gain an office he never would have otherwise has been an unserious joke, meant only to strike poses for the right-wing base he thinks is going to advance his blind ambition to be Governor. When Walker proposes something, you know it's not going to happen -- the only question is who is going to be the adult that fixes the mess.
Among the proposed victims of the political document he calls a budget and his grandstanding vetos are the mentally ill, bus riders, lakefront tourists, park users and the entire community, who will suffer increased crime because they no longer have the benefit of the rehabilitation efforts by the highly-successful Community Justice Resource Center. Also high on Walker's let's-beat-them-up-for-political-gain list are county employees, who will have to suffer through unbargained "furlough" days, and the citizens who expect the services the employees, on random days, will not be around to perform.
And then there are the county employees in the Courthouse itself that Walker doesn't want around at all. Those would be those who maintain and protect it. Of course, since Walker spends as little time there as possible -- and, when he does, he spends all his time on the phone with wing-nut radio hosts -- what does he care if the place is cleaned or secure? He probably figures he can get the Merry Maids in there for the $125 a week he plops down to get his house in Tosa cleaned and save money by not having all these annoying county cleaners all over the place.
But, of most concern to me as a daily visitor to the Courthouse is his attack on the security staff that have gotten people in and out of the building since early this decade. After 9/11, everyone in the country responsible for public buildings went nuts. In the Courthouse, they put metal detectors at the entrances they left open and closed many others (the Ghandi statue at the MacArthur Square former entrance stares at three permanently locked doors). It took a while to get the system working -- a fellow lawyer and friend of mine once refused to take off his shoes while entering the building, spurring the current system of security passes that get us trusted regulars in the building without the petty indignities suffered by the thousands of visitors who come to the Courthouse everyday.
The veteran security staff gets us passed through and the citizens screened in a pleasant, efficient and professional manner. I am terrible with names in the first place, but I know their faces and they know mine. Besides waving me in, I can see them dealing with the county residents who come to the Courthouse to conduct business; perform jury duty; attend court hearings; get licenses; drop small claims cases on unsuspecting neighbors; get copies of deeds, birth and death certificates, etc. They are absolutely superb in getting people through the metal detectors and directed to where they are trying to get to in the complicated three-building Courthouse complex.
Proposing bringing in third-rate security goons from Bob's Security Service or whatever it would be is insane. The only people who would support it -- other than Bob -- are people who never come to the Courthouse and have no idea what it takes to make the security system efficient and competent. That would be people like Scott Walker and his roving band of goofballs, who are only concerned with scoring vapid political points and couldn't care less about making the county government work.
The Courthouse is one of the few places where almost the entire community has to appear at some point or other for the important or mundane business of life. The visting, taxpaying citizens should be greeted by permanent professionals who have a stake in getting them through and keeping the building safe. The security staff at the Courthouse entrances have grown into a talented bunch who represent our county well. To lose them to the greedy political ambitions of a opportunistic punk like Scott Walker would indeed be a tragedy.