Posts Tagged ‘Transportation’

Yesterday in Milwaukee, our long waited talk about the Milwaukee Streetcar is over. The vehicle came in from Pennsylvania via a truck and it was parked downtown near the Post Office at around 11:30am . And yes, the interest “per se” was building due to a fight that lasted for over 2 decades in an idea to connect means of transportation in the city. It really started with former Mayor John Norquist.

Just to think, as of the newslinks, it’s been 60 years this month of March since a Streetcar last appeared in Milwaukee, and it’s here. Many of us under 60 years old only saw Milwaukee Streetcars in museums, books, displays of the past when Milwaukee was coming up. And yes after that, the buses came in for MCTS.

Now after all the debate, after all the madness, after all the protesting, after all the ideas that Potawatomi Hotel & Casino would pay for the first year and nicknamed the vehicle “The Hop” if you will, and many others: even my “letter” to the City of Milwaukee Common Council of making that big decision on this blog of the need of jobs in the city, NOW IT’S HERE! Lock it up with an iron clad and let it operate. And speaking of that, The Streetcar needs folks to work!

Now since it’s here, word is that the testing will continue for the rest of the year to make sure that it’s in place starting in April. We just can’t ride the thing out of the gate. And yes of course the naysayers will have their continued say. But like many things: it will all come around in time. In my view.

The Streetcar or The Hop may seem controversial, but like the book by Eric Bischoff which it titled promptly to a point: “Controversy Creates Cash.”

So let’s give this thing a chance. After all, is this a country of opportunity? Plus this should be some sort of small victory in Wisconsin after the blown coverage of the High Speed Rail being faulted by Scott Walker.

Follow the continued momentum via the streetcar website:

There will be more commentary to come.


Oh yes. I have to talk this. Really I have too.

I’m sure that many in America already knows about the deal that was signed when Foxconn, a Taiwan company that landed a deal that would boost Wisconsin’s job numbers concerning employment. We all know that when Scott Walker boasted a plan to have the 250,000 jobs to happen, actually DID NOT WORK. I told you so, Wisconsin. The same words, I told you so rang out so many times I can’t event count. And this was about 6 years ago. Now with the jobs for Foxconn according the sources that it would attract about 13,000 jobs. And it’s going to come to the area of Racine or Kenosha Counties. And just like Amazon, they will NOT come to the Milwaukee Metro Area. And the fact is that yes, when Foxconn inked the deal there had some concerns about also about the taxation part. This deal per se might cost us taxpayers to be on the hook for the next 15 years. How is this deal is going to be beneficial for taxpayers like me for the next couple of years?! Like really, Madison. Plus, Foxconn has been in bad blood in the last couple of years. To the residents of Pennsylvania, we have read about your dilemma about the plant that hasn’t been built. And many of us in Wisconsin are fully aware about it the promises that you were to be given, but didn’t work. And the result was bad broken politics. We get it.

I’ll bet many probably thought, really Wisconsin?! Have you been screwed up already? Oh and other thing, many think that this would seal up Scott Walker’s deal as a way to get reelected for 2018.

Now since the Foxconn company is coming to the state, what will become of us whom don’t have transportation to get to the jobs? We know that Amazon can’t do it alone, but many of us don’t have a jeep, a truck, a car, or a Go-Kart to get to Foxconn every day? Think about it. And what will the state black residents have a say in this?

Oh wait! We had an idea that was seemed very VERY interesting. It was a High Speed Rail Train that would have linked Milwaukee and Madison. You do remember that we HAD over 800 million dollars stacked up for the Talgo Trains and the jobs? Is all that memory coming back? And what did our glorious Governor Numb Nuts did with that money and the jobs and the trains? He gave it all away! The state got sued due to a breach of contact and it was THE biggest blunder ever! Wisconsin, you should have kept the trains. But you failed to follow the advice of Scott Walker. And those like Robin Vos and Alberta Darling. And did I mention that part of which of that dumb decision was geared towards racism? Let that sink in! After 6 years. That was also to help integrate the region. And many were worried that black folks would go to Jefferson County for coffee and donuts. Really?! And to do the math, Wisconsin’s black population is around 8%.

Oh, now that there is talk about using a Canadian Railway track to combine the Twin Cities, Milwaukee and Chicago for a Intercity Rail Route with Amtrak. That seems like an idea, but how is THIS is going to get paid? And the thing is, you got this Foxconn plant coming up, and they need some kind of transportation for Freight and also what about those who don’t drive, that live in far places, how are they are going to get to work? You see what I’m saying? Yeah let that REALLY sink in! And now Walker wants a train! So hypocritical.

Our Republican state hood “friends” really messed up. They realized it. Talgo at the time could have benefited ALOT of jobs. I visited the Talgo plant 5 years ago in the black community in the 2700 block at Townsend Street area, and wanted to see the HSR trains up close. They were good. With all the digital stuff and everything. Plus they worked hard on them! Our people. And the State shamefully gave it all up. All because they thought the tax payers would be on the hook for the vehicles. Or the personal favorite: boondoggles! “No one will ever ride it.” Um………you really think that Badger State? Better change your tune and repent. I hear mostly about the value of the trains on Black Radio like WNOV than 620 WTMJ or 1130 WISN. And let remind our Republican fans, not many in the state doesn’t have their own transportation! And Foxconn wants in. We’re unprepared. Matter of fact were unprepared in getting some of the highways and roads done. Which was LOOOONG talked about for years! Let that also sink in! Why you asked? Too many dang politics messing up. And dang is not a bad word.

At least the Milwaukee Streetcar is still on point.

All of this in my view needs the reexamination of what we really want to have in the state. And of course there will be questions. Like already as I speak, Foxconn is already being talked about but it should be talked about more in the areas of Milwaukee’s north side that can get more insight about what is going on. Especially when the state’s transportation system is on one leg losing to political standpoints so many times over!









It hasn’t been like this since I was a toddler. For the first time in about 36 years, the Milwaukee Transit System is on a 3 day strke. But before I dive into this, let me assure the MCTS audience that I had and have workers and bus drivers in my family that driven and worked on buses for the MCTS for many many years. With this strike, it has hit hard on the workers, the poor and most of all, our 11 day festival of Summerfest in which the routes are effected with men, women and children riding to the midgate to enjoy the shows and activities. But as many know, the reasons behind it due to the budget side of work, fair wages, salary, breaks and many other Union-like factors. For this, I present this blog letter to all of the Milwaukee County Transit System Bus Drivers, Mechanics, Office Personal, and supporters who rely on the buses every single day!

Dear Milwaukee County Transit System:

It’s me Stephen. A former bus rider, now driver, and a Milwaukee Black Blogger that is a supporter.


I feel every single one of you that that is going through this strike. I feel everyone that rely on the services to get to school, appointments, events, or any other use of transportation that gets the need and want for the services of the citizens of the Bus. There is no excuse of why there no talking between the Union and the Bus Company’s higher representatives in order to get a resolution, an official resolution, in order to get this deal on the table, and discussion, and most of all an all around deal that this make sense.

Yes, I have Milwaukee County Transit System REALATED folks in my family, that are or were Bus Operators, Tankers, and Mechanics that worked for the company for quite sometime. My late uncle, rode the bus on routes of the 80 and the 12, and even the MCTS Seasonal Trolley that earned income. Sadly, my uncle died in January 1999 at the Fond Du Lac Station in Milwaukee and it was a big shock to all of us in the family. His funeral was at my old church building back then, and the honorable Pall Bearers at the time were indeed the MCTS Drivers who knew my Uncle on the job. My family at the time THANKED them for their support, and also assistance in our bereavement. If you were apart of my uncle’s tribute back in 1999 at the time of his passing and remembrance, I say this as a family member: THANK YOU! I have another uncle, who has lymphoma. And there were times I hear about him going to work  and making the cash. And even though his health may not be up to par, but he is not going to let his disorder of health stop him for getting to and from work as a mechanic for the MCTS.I have older cousins, who previously worked as Bus Operators knew the game very well.

Sorry I had to get like that. But you never know why things like this happen!

But when I thought about them, this is why I respect the drivers of what they do. As far as the Streetcar thing, different angle. But this is not about the Streetcar. This is about the Buses.

For those who are bus drivers, and mechanics, and other employees of the MCTS, that got harassed, beaten up, cursed at, facing the stress of customers, work, complaints, and many other concerned factors, I FULLY UNDERSTAND! I get it’s not easy. I work as a church secretary and I get those. But for you all, I have many things to say, but I have this: Hold On.

For you drivers that have been out all night with the picket signs: HOLD ON!

For the office workers who have to put up the papers and complaints: HOLD ON!

For the Mechanics that have to spend all the time fixing up the buses that many have to ride and drive, even during the strike: HOLD ON!

For all of us who know folks that need rides to the Schools, Doctors, Church, Dentists, Summerfest,the club, Fourth of July Fireworks, or any other use to get to work: I say this to all: HOLD ON!

For those in the Upper Management, that had to make day to day decisions, that is hard: HOLD ON!

For those who are in the 998 ATU Union: HOLD ON!

Not only HOLD ON, but KEEP PRESSING! Until the strike ends this week by the 4th of July.



P.S. for more info on the Transit Strike, check out the MCTS website, and the FAQ’s of the Transit Strike, reference this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.

I wrote this blog in April of 2010, in commenting about NBA player Josh Smith. Of his statement about Milwaukee in general. This was on a previous blog of Fox 6 in Milwaukee, WI. Not controversial, but just stating a point of why Milwaukee (or Wisconsin) is behind and other cities are catching up.

Forgive me for writing this topic. I know that this might shake up some things. It has been mentioned too many times in the city of Milwaukee: is there something to do for black people? I hate to ask this, but it has to be questioned. For those that have been left in the dark, this was recently commented by Atlanta Hawks basketball player, Josh Smith. He was asked about the question about Milwaukee in general. He commented that: “There ain’t nothing to do in Milwaukee,man. Everybody knows that. Even they know that”. And this was during the seven game series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks. – which by the way the Hawks won and then got swept by the Orlando Magic. And I was cheering for the ATL to lose anyway. Now I for one feel, that there is something that the African-Americans in the 414 can do in the city. But the question really has to be challenged. And for the record, when I watch sports between Milwaukee/Atlanta, I watch the teams competing, not the same everyday issues.

I was reading the Milwaukee Community Journal last week, a black newspaper, and Mikel Kwaku Osei Holt, commented the problems and somewhat things that seem to bother the black side of the brew city. Ranging from the high unemployment rate among black men, teen pregnancy, and prisons-you may have heard some comments like “Wisconsin is the worst place for black people”. I’m not kidding here. He really touched some bases on this, and the “Milwaukee is soooooooo boring” comments. Also, his commenting included concerts. Why do most concerts (ala Jay-Z) go to the other markets, except the Milwaukee Market? I’m trying to find that out myself. For fashion: like transportation, the brew city is behind on that.

From what I have read, I think this is from the entertainment aspect. In terms of nightclubs and other black related gatherings. Another question has been asked too many times: Where do the black professionals go? I’m suprised that Milwaukee currently doesn’t have a black owned movie theater to call home. It probably did years before I was born. On the positive, he mentioned the museums, Jazz in the Park, and Summerfest (speaking of which, Public Enemy will be here on June 25). The Milwaukee County Zoo and the Lakefront itself. Nothing wrong with those. I have been to all those places and it’s a way for me to just go out and chill.

For Atlanta: I have nothing against Atlanta. Period. Never have been there. I have relatives and some close friends living there, and based on my understanding, they have more black folks working in office buildings and businesses than up here. That’s a fact. Not an opinion. Mikel Holt also commented that if Marvin Pratt would have been elected mayor 6 years ago, the Brew City would have been another version of Altanta. Or as he puts it “Atlanta North”. If I were to visit Atlanta, and see all this cultural things and black owned executives companies that they talk about, I might be impressed by it. Not just stopping by the house where MLK grew up, the Georgia Dome, or the CNN Center. And if I were asked where I was visiting from, I probably would say the Midwest, but to be real, I’ll say “Milwaukee, Wisconsin.” without any hesitation, or fear. Despite of what or how they feel about the city.

For Milwaukee: It’s a cool city in all and I feel blessed to stay in the Midwest. As for the problems of being behind, it’s time to catch up. I often say that Wisconsin or Milwaukee are at the “Tail-End of things”. Simply because of being behind. When you look at other cities like Chicago, Atlanta, NY, or any other city is on the move, you kind of ask yourself, “How do they do that?” This is at a point where you or someone like me, has to get out and take notes. That’s right I said it. Get out and take notes. And have some pride.  Usually for me, I don’t really think about subjects like this more often because, I’m working 30 hours per week monday through friday, and helping out the city for voting days. Plus getting involved in Alumni functions for my college, high school, and university organizations. And I know someone who probably thinks about this, would interject and say “So What. Are there any other better stories than these two cities? The troops are dying in Iraq/Afghanistan, unemployment is rising, education is in need of fixing, and foreclosures on houses are up. This story would not make the 11:00 news.” Just others opinion. Maybe.

For the black community: Hear me out when I say this: I think it’s time to stop complaining about what other cities are doing, and ask ourselves what can we do to turn this around in our city? What needs to be done to have the Blackside of Milwaukee to resurrect? Like Mikel Holt, I’m not trying to disrespect Milwaukee. Don’t get me wrong, I think it has potential to get some ideas in motion. But the work has still yet to be finished.

This is my take. Right or wrong. Just my thought.