8th district candidate for Alderman Justin Bielinski questions opponent Bob Donovan's safety plan
Just days after Mayoral Candidate Bob Donovan unveiled his public safety plan, 8th Aldermanic District Candidate Justin Bielinski called into question whether it really could happen, mainly because of money.
Bielinski was a live guest Thursday on the CBS 58 News at 4 p.m. which seeks to respond to viewer interest in live unedited discussion by those who shape our community.
\"He says things that sound good on TV, but there's not a lot of substance,\" Bielinski said.
Donovan offered this response when asked about his proposal to hire at least 300 additional police officers.
\"I understand those that would ask from where the funding for additional officers would come from--we're speaking of $15-$20 million annually to achieve my plan to hire 300 to 400 new cops. I would point out the City easily found more than $60 million for a 2-mile streetcar starter line. I believe far more Milwaukeeans would favor hiring more police officers over a streetcar and likely attempts soon to expand it. That being said, the question truly is: Do Milwaukeeans on a whole believe we need to improve our public safety? I believe they do, what with our city facing skyrocketing rates of auto theft, gun crimes and homicide. We'll need to sit down and make the choices in our budget that need to be made based on what ALL Milwaukeeans want from their local government. That, and I believe there's potentially a good amount of support we could receive from the state. I will announce plans on additional issues throughout the summer and fall, and as we move forward I will have more specifics on funding for this particular plan. Again, bottom line, to my fellow Milwaukeeans: Do we or don't we need improved public safety and to hire more police officers--which have been reduced in number under the Barrett administration. If the answer is we need to follow through with my plan then we need to make the choices that will see that it is accomplished.\"
Bielinski says he doubts the state would be willing to commit such resources.
\"Over the course of a police career, that's hundred of millions of dollars that he has not said how he would find in the budget. We have pension and insurance obligations,\" Bielinski stated. \"I don't think we could get much out of the state. The state seems set on punishing or withholding resources from Milwaukee.\"
Bielinski, who is a special education assistant at MPS, said he supports Donovan's idea of expanding the shot spotter technology. It allows officers to pinpoint the origin of gunfire through a computer unit in their squad car and respond quicker to scenes.
Bielinski is against expanding Operation Impact which uses private and business dollars to pay for surveillance cameras and better street lighting until the funding is open for public debate.
Bielinski said there should be greater efforts to fight binge drinking and perhaps reduce the number of liquor licenses and stiffen fines for problem taverns. He sees a direct connection between alcohol and drug abuse to violence and crime.
Bielinski also emphasizes that he supporters Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn.
\"We need to trust the chief.\"
Bielinski says he cannot support Donovan's proposal to allow the mayor, not the Fire and Police Commission, to appoint the Police Chief.
\"I don't see how politicizing that office makes our streets safer.\"