Mayor Barrett is asking folks to go to the Huffington Post and vote online to support his grow-your-own food initiative. Seriously.

Comments Sheriff David Clarke:

Are you kidding me? High unemployment, 4th highest poverty rate in the nation, at the bottom reading and math scores for his K12 public school system, high crime, home foreclosures and this is what he gets energized about? Planting gardens to replace homes? How much property tax revenue from these gardens will be generated? How about him suggesting an innovative learning model for MPS or a job generating plan to attract businesses? A garden start-up so we can eat healthy? Really? Why isn't the media asking these questions? They're too busy attacking me for speaking up about crime. and worrying about my 30 sec PSA. 

But there is also a matter of timing, which is, uh, awkward.

Think anyone in the Mayor’s office might have suggested, "let’s not put this release out only two days afterthe front page story about how our flavor-of-the-month crony capitalism to Sweetwater Organics is an epic fail and a costly joke.

You know, this story:

Sweet Water Organics Inc., which used more than $200,000 in city cash to finance its urban fish farm, fell far short of its job creation goal for 2012 and will likely miss a coming payment on that forgivable city loan, Milwaukee aldermen were told Monday.

As a wise woman I know has so accurately noted:  "We had a time where 'grow your own’ was the basis of local economies.   It was called the Middle Ages."

Maybe people should go to Huffington Post and instead of voting... send copy that Sweetwater story to them.

Here's the mayor's pitch: 

So, I'm always looking for innovative ways to create jobs, which is why I'm very excited for this opportunity today.

As you may have heard, Milwaukee was named a finalist in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition created to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life – and that ultimately can be shared with other cities across the nation.

Our urban agriculture effort--HOME GR/OWN--is a project that tackles a very real challenge to many American cities--foreclosures and the availability of good sources of food--with an innovative solution that will create stronger, healthier neighborhoods, and good local jobs.

Milwaukee is now competing against 19 other cities across the country for the $5 million grand prize as well as one of four additional prizes of $1 million each. Voting in the competition just started minutes ago.

And here’s how you can help. 
By visiting the contest on the Huffington Post, you can vote for Milwaukee to win $5 million to help take this idea to scale.

Milwaukee was selected based on its innovative idea to transform foreclosed properties into community assets that improve public health and spark economic opportunity through urban agriculture. As Mayor, I’m proud that Milwaukee is leading the way. This effort empowers residents and community organizations to transform foreclosed properties into community assets that improve public health and nutritional outcomes, revitalize neighborhoods, and spark economic opportunity.

The voting just opened. Please go now to cast your vote and show your support for this innovative program that creates jobs, demonstrates urban innovation and improves food security for some of our neediest neighborhoods.

Best,
Tom