My column in this space and in the Feb. 23 edition of our magazine generated an inordinate amount of readerÂ feedback.
The column was headlined, "Let's get out of our own way." The essence of the message was that downtown Milwaukee stands at a generational crossroads, with severalÂ catalytic projects hanging in the balance, including a new arena, a streetcar system, the Couture office tower, a Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. Inc. tower and maybe even a 50-story Johnson Controls Inc. headquarters.Â However, each time a project is proposed to propel the city forward, someone or something seems to pop up and attempts to stop it.
Judging from the feedback we received, many readers feel the same way.
Bob Monnat, partner and chief operating officer of Milwaukee-based Mandel Group Inc., said, "Steve Jagler correctly points out that Milwaukee could very well be on the cusp of greatness â€“ if only weâ€™d let it happen.Â Our parochial nature â€“ after all over 70 percent of residents have lived here their entire lives â€“ contributes to an attitude skewed against change of most kinds.Â The fear seems to be based in the belief that 'change' in Milwaukee will cause us to lose those special qualities that we have all come to appreciate. The truth couldnâ€™t be further from this 'no change' attitude.Â Milwaukee has curated â€“ perfected â€“ every way to say 'no' to nearly any creative proposal brought forth by either the public or private sector.Â Yes, public funds should be thoughtfully invested, not thrown about, but at some point we have to have the commitment to view long-term investments as such, rather than simply characterizing them as expenditures."
Consultant and BizTimes columnist Christine McMahon said, "Your article, 'Letâ€™s get out of our own way,' captures so eloquently and succinctly the prevailing mindset in Milwaukee. Thank goodness our forefathers had vision.Â They saw the lakefront as a place where people could gather and create community.Â Because of their vision, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world gather each year and create memories that last a lifetime.Â Thanks for being a gentle but courageous voice in addressing a pervasive issue: how the fear of change paralyzes progress."
Milwaukee attorney Jay Urban said, "There's one thing that is certain about change, and that is thingsÂ change.Â No matter what opposition to the amazing, forward thinking and positive for the regional Milwaukee place in the economy, these changes are coming.Â The question will be whether Milwaukee will have the courageÂ to be part of great things or whether those opportunities will goÂ elsewhere. Those who want to stay the same will witness change because it is coming, but they could also prevent us from benefitting from it."
Milwaukee marketing consultant Todd Fabos said, "Loved your commentary columnÂ in the last page of theÂ BizTimes. You hit it on the head, and I couldn't agree more. People love to pipe up when they want to complain about something. You pretty much took the words out of my mouth with that column though. Always seems like there's someone more concerned about stopping the project than working to make it a reality. I've lived downtown forÂ nine years now and would love it if more of these projects were seen through to completion."
Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Steve Jagler
"Hard work. Dedication. And the mindset that failure is not an option." That is how former Green Bay Packers great Willie Davis answered a question about the secrets behind his post-football career as a successful executive in the beer distributing and radio businesses.
Several jaws dropped and eyebrows rose in January when BizTimes predicted a robust year of national economic growth for 2015. Well, we're at the quarter pole, and so far, so good.
Under new ownership, the Milwaukee Bucks made significant strides by building a young pool of talent on the court this season. However, the organization also has quickly assembled an impressive pool of young talent off the court in the front office.
By virtually every measure, Minnesota is taking Wisconsin's lunch money, according to a recent study by the LaCrosse Tribune, which lies right at the border.
Since 1851, Wisconsin's state motto has been "Forward." However, these days, a more appropriate motto might be "Just hold on a minute..."
If it seems like so many public policy decisions are hanging fire in Wisconsin these days, it's only because they are. And so many of these loose ends seem to be intertwined and interdependent.
As the legal slog to develop a new streetcar system in Downtown Milwaukee continues to play out in court, in City Hall and at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, proponents and opponents alike would do well to keep an eye on Cincinnati.
If asked to return for another term as secretary and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Reed Hall says he would be honored to serve again.
In recent years, the Milwaukee Bucks have not had much to celebrate when they've conducted their annual preview luncheon with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. This year, however, there was a tangible buzz in the room at the event, which was held at the Harley-Davidson Museum.
In essence, preserving net neutrality would ensure that all consumers and businesses will have universal levels of access to a fast Internet, not just some preferred customers who would pay for "faster lanes" on the Internet.