Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Mow, DOT, mow!

I recently received complaints from constituents about the lack of grass mowing by the state Department of Transportation (DOT) in some medians in Milwaukee County. Observations were made that in some locations, “the grass in the medians is well over 2 feet tall and it has not been cut all summer long. To make this unsightly mess even worse, the Dept. of Transportation has cut the grass in the area's that are near intersections for safety reasons. This looks absolutely terrible.”

An angry constituent informed me that he was told by the Milwaukee County Highway Department that it had, “a directive from the DOT to not cut the grass to save money” and that “the DOT has told them that the grass will not be cut anymore this year.”

I wrote the following letter and e-mail, sent to Governor Doyle, and DOT Secretary Busalacchi, July 23, 2009:

Dear Governor Doyle and Secretary Busalacchi:

I write with urgent concern about median grass cutting in Milwaukee County.  During recent years I have received numerous complaints about tall grass and weeds in the medians.  Some people are so frustrated, that they have taken it upon themselves to cut the medians near their property.  A few years ago a benevolent Milwaukee County Supervisor, trying to provide constituent service, told of his cutting the grass in the median and a humorous, yet not so humorous tale, of almost losing the lower backside of his body.

I am especially annoyed about this issue because during road design/construction, I have pleaded with DOT staff to eliminate the grass in the median, predicting just the scenario we have today.  In addition, many and possibly all, of the communities in Milwaukee County have procedures in place requiring property owners to cut their grass or government will cut it for them and charge the property owner.

I understand the economy and shortage of money is the reason the directive is issued by DOT to eliminate median grass cutting.  However, there is a lot of stimulus money floating around, especially in transportation, and some prioritizing of transportation spending should be able to address this issue.  Since it is past mid July, it shouldn't take too much cutting to get past the growing season. 

Please address this issue as soon as possible.  I do not care to read about injury to people, and I cannot justify to constituents the requirements that property owners must cut their grass and that government does not have to cut their grass.


State Senator Mary Lazich 

The Racine Journal Times this week reported that officials from seven counties are requesting the governor relax the limits on mowing.

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