Friday, December 19, 2014

Milwaukee County Continues Screwing the Pooch

The Milwaukee County Board overplayed its hand in dealing with Northwestern Mutual Life and the selling of O'Donnell Park.  By a vote of 9-8 they stood on the assumption that they had the upper hand on one of Milwaukee's finest companies.

During the hearing we had supervisors tell each other how smart they were and how NML should listen to them on how to spend their money.  Hopefully something the Board learned was to have a backup plan, like NML did.

Shortly after the vote NML announced they would move forward by announcing that they would build a mixed use facility including a parking structure on property they already own in the downtown area.

During the hearing there was a slew of pontificating including from Sup. Jursik explaining how she spent an hour talking to NML CEO John Schlifske telling him how her idea for the use of the parking structure and park would be a better choice than his.  We had John Weishan saying that Milwaukee County is good partner to work with and NML should  take them on as a partner in the project with Theo Lipscomb getting up right after Weishan saying that this relationship is buyer-seller one and that the County should get the most money it can, wanting NML to pay more than the $14 million dollar assessment.

The saving grace presented for Milwaukee County and O'Donnell - a coffee shop and beer garden, thanks to Jursic and Jason Haas.  I'm not kidding.

One Supervisor, Deanna Alexander, talked not about her desire but that of her constituents and that she surveyed them and 80% wanted to sell the O'Donnell.  She voted for her district. I don't remember one other Supervisor mentioning a survey of their districts, probably because they were afraid of the answer.

The question that will hang over the board is will any supervisors suffer consequences for this poor decision.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Racial Divide - Milwaukee County Style

In a weak attempt to make a statement the black County Supervisors in Milwaukee stood up during the special presentation part of todays meeting made a mini speech about justice or lack thereof,  took off their suitcoats and shirts to bear their black "I Can't Breathe" t-shirts.  To be honest about this only the young bucks, as Supervisor Mayo referred to them as, wore the shirts.  Mayo and Supervisor Willie Johnson Jr displayed the shirts.

Supervisor Khalif Rainey took this opportunity to complain that Gov. Walker has the Wisconsin National Guard on alert in case the protests against the presumed non charging of the police officer in the Dontre Hamilton.

A note to Rainey - the mob doesn't rule.  And if they choose to break the law there are consequences. That is justice.

So where was the racial divide?  From what was evident in viewing the board meeting not one white supervisor was asked to participate even though some were salivating at chance.  It's more than disingenuous for politicians to stand on their soapbox and complain about a racial divide and when given a chance to show solidarity among people turn their back on it.

UPDATE: it was brought to my attention that County Board Chair Marina Dimitrijevic also wore a t-shirt.  She did not make a speech to support the effort other than saying something to effect that she stands with them.  Thanks to Capper from Cognitive Dissidence for the heads up.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Oh No Trolley - Part 1

The Milwaukee Common Council's Public Works Committee was quite the watch tonight.  The issue at hand or seat as it may be was the proposed streetcar / trolley.

Listening to the Mayor's sales group one would have to believe in the land of Oz.  According to the graphics they presented there would be "no taxpayer impact".  Yet city comptroller Martin Matson testified at another hearing on Tuesday that the city would probably be on the hook for $1.8 million dollars a year to cover the costs of the current 2.1 mile route.

Ald. Joe Davis was very adamant in his questioning of the need and the placement of the trolley.  The other Alderman running for Mayor in 2016, Bob Donovan continued to express his desire to have a city wide binding referendum on the issue and talked about the shenanigans that the Mayor is investigating concerning the issuance of Tax Increment Funding.

Davis and Committee Chair Bob Bauman had a pretty interesting go around concerning the trolley.  Davis tried to express how the trolley will not help his constituents and Bauman responded with condescending and testy come backs.

The issue will more than likely be taken up at the next Common Council hearing on December 16th.

I'm against the trolley.  From a fiscal standpoint I see no positive.  To support the proposed $1.8 million deficit the city has proposed to increase parking fees, increase the hours one needs to pay for street parking downtown and take TIF money from the general fund for this small bit of trolley.  What will the costs and added taxes be with the desire to expand the trolley to other areas of the city.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day Thanks

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Reimer for Where?

Current Wisconsin Assemblyman Daniel Reimer is running for re-election, or so he says.

A quick trip to his website doesn't build a very solid case for sending him back to Madison and he's already used the first two year stint to get his Law Degree from UW Madsion so what will he do in the next two years, get a second degree

Under photo's from his website one would expect pictures of him and constituents.  Nope, instead his one picture is of him and Sen. Tammy Baldwin pointing at a refrigerator.

Now as a freshman legislator no one would expect a long a list of successfully passed bills he's sponsored.  But nothing - nada - zilch - zero?  No legislation he can speak of.  I wonder what he's telling people as he knocks on doors.  Here's my guess, "The Republicans blah, blah, blah".

During one of the final sessions of the assembly as the issue of photo ID was being debated, Reimer stood up on the floor, pulled out his UW ID, talked about how he had attended the Law School and would not be able to use the ID to vote. Before he could continue, he was reprimanded by the chair and told he knew he couldn't use props on the Assembly floor.  His reaction was to giggle like a little kid and tell the Assembly he didn't know the rules because he's been busy with school.

The people of the 7th Assembly District sent this young man who's website calls for "time of new leadership" to Madison to represent them, not to make law school his top priority.  Maybe he should have spent less time with the law books and maybe spent more time learning the rules and regulations of his $50,000 a year job.

Unless of course the rumors on the street are true that he's taking his law degree and assembly experience to Chicago market law firms.

Education seems to an issue that's intrigued Reimer.  He says this on his website "We have excellent schools that anchor our neighborhoods and community."  REALLY? We have struggling schools and changes need to be made. The status quo is not the answer and neither is his suggestion of "re-establishing collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin's teachers" as a way to improve the education for the kids. It would improve life for the teachers (his union base) but do nothing for the education of the kids.

I do agree with the young Reimer about one thing, it is time for new leadership and Republican challenger Scott Espeseth has been working hard to win votes. If I lived in the district, Espeseth would get my vote.

A Numerical Victory for Voter Suppression

According to early reports, 15,453 people in the city of Milwaukee took advantage of early voting this year. Listening to the pre-voting hysteria one would believe that this number pales in comparison to previous off year election totals.  

We were told that by unifying the voting times for every Wisconsinite, Republicans would be disenfranchising minorities, the elderly, students and the other built in Democrat casualty groups.  In fact the change to give every Badger voter (and those traveling up from Illinois) uniform voting times was suppose to bring the apocalypse of voting.

It didn't.

In fact 8,557 more people early voted this year than did in 2010 and 5,309 more than in the recall election. And that is with less hours available to vote. It seems the disenfranchised really aren't. These groups the Democrats consistently underestimate are far more resourceful than they are given credit for. 

Looking at voter totals from around the country we will see the same results when voter id takes effect in Wisconsin. Voter totals will increase.  You see when you encourage people to become involved early they rise to the occasion. Not only will they respond, they will become more engaged and make better decisions.  

So why does this bother the left? The more informed voter will not idly stand by and allow themselves to be labeled disenfranchised and incapable of making decisions on their own. The time is coming when the "the soft bigotry of low expectations" will be a burden the political left will no longer be able to lift.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Will 3 be a crowd in Milwaukee's 2016 Mayor Race or just the begining?

The 2016 spring election season will be a fun one to watch.

Alderman Joe Davis announced his intention to run for the office of Mayor of Milwaukee. He is the second alderman to announce with Bob Donovan being the first.  It is assumed that current Mayor Tom Barrett will unload his war chest for another run.

I have to admit that Ald Davis is an intriguing option. From what I've seen watching the City Channel he is not a part of the hefty lefty vein of the Common Council, but he's definitely leans left in his politics.

In a JSOnline article covering his announcement he mentioned the option of a Boarding School for MPS.  I'm totally in favor of that.  He also announced in a radio interview on WTMJ that he will be giving up his 2nd District Alderman seat to concentrate on his mayoral run. That means there will be heated primary to replace Ald. David on the Common Council.

The radio interview was well done and I liked his view on the Dontre Hamiltion as it stand at the moment and how he sees Milwaukee's job problem as one of getting business to come to Milwaukee.  By that I hope he means getting city bureaucracy out of the way of job makers.

I'm looking forward to a wave changing 2016 election season led by Gov. Walker and a Republican legislature continuing moving Wisconsin forward.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

An Opportunity to Heal or Another Match on the Racial Bonfire

At the Finance & Personnel Committee hearing covering the Police Department there was a bit of a dust up when the Vice-President of the Milwaukee Police Assocation, Mark Buetow, brought the feelings and potential consequences of the recent firing of a police officer by Chief Ed Flynn to the attention of the committee.

First let me tell you where I stand at this point in time. I'm very sorry for the loss of the family involved. The Chief has every right to fire the officer.  The officer has every right to appeal the Chief's decision (thank you unions). Until I know all the specifics of the case I'm not comfortable saying whether the officer should be charged with a crime and if one is pursued I'm glad I won't be on that jury.

Mr. Buetow as a representative of the MPA, was given an opportunity to discuss how the budget may affect his members. He started off by mentioning that 3 furlough days were still in effect for the police yet there are eliminated for most Milwaukee employees. I'd imagine this is because of Act 10.

Then he brought up the "politically motivated firing of our brother officer" and its effect on the officers job and career along with a slam at Chief Flynn.

This prompted a response from Alderwoman Coggs who was "truly disgusted" by the political aspect of Mr. Buetow's bringing up the "Red Arrow incident" during the budget process.

After her rebuke, Alderman Stamper chirped in with a hearty amen.

Then Alderman Hamilton finished the trifecta of attacks with a direct charge on Mr. Buetow's person while talking about working together like adults. He then finished off his remarks by saying he didn't even want to hear or allow a response from Buetow.

Alderman Joe Dudzik finished off by saying that there's been a fair amount of politicking by both sides of the issue and he wanted to gracefully move to another matter.

This is emblematic of the huge divide between police and the community on the north side of Milwaukee.

I find the incident interesting in that will the county unions stand behind the "brother" in this case?  If so, will it bring a divide between the black community and unions?  If a true discussion happens will all sides drop the damaging politically correct bandwagon and truly talk and more importantly listen to each other to move the issue forward.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Way to Go Unions

No really, I'm not being facetious here.  It's not often I'm in the corner with a public union, but at today's Finance & Personnel Committee - Budget Hearings. The union rep for AFSCME District Council 48, Ken Wischer, made a great point on city personnel and looks to have persuaded the committee and representatives of the mayor to make a change in the upcoming budget.

As weird as this might sound we're talking tree stumps. Ken brought up the point that in 2012 the council approved $240,000 for a ONE time expenditure for outside contractors toward stump removal. The next year it was combined with tree planting for the ONE time total of $400,000. That amount was added to the storm water fee. In 2014 the amount of this ONE time expenditure $200,000 and this years ONE time request was for $360,000.

As is often the concern of conservatives ONE time expenditures are very rarely ONE time.

One of the reasons the city is behind in stump removal is that they've shrunk the work force. So to catch up the ONE time expenditure was approved.

It was brought up that the reason for the change to privatize stump removal is fringe benefits of city workers.  Ken brought up that with Act 10 those costs are no longer the same and the city should re-look at the costs of new hires compared to what was the norm three years ago.

After a honest and thoughtful back and forth between Committee chair Nic Kovac, Ken Wischer and the representatives of mayor it seems a fair compromise may be reached.

As long as it saves the city money I'm all for it.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Burke vs Walker Debate #1

I haven't watched the first debate between Gov. Scott Walker and challenger Mary Burke, but I did listen to it.  It's become a modus operandi of mine since hearing a President Barack Obama speech one evening coming home from work. Listening gives a much different analysis than watching.

I thought the questions were a bit mundane and led to a repeating of talking points for both candidates. It would have been nice for a follow up to be more specific. But I guess that as someone who follows politics more then most people I would naturally come to that conclusion. Hopefully the next debate on Friday will be a bit more indepth.

Over all I thought both candidates did well, no major game changers. Miss Burke's answers sounded read off a script while the Governor sounded more off the cuff, but sill rehearsed.

The biggest flub of the event was Burke's answer to the last question of the evening, an opportunity to say something nice about Gov. Walker.  With Walker going first (taking the full minute given him) he quickly bragged on Burke's philanthropy. Even given a minute, while Walker answered, to ponder her answer Burke still difficulty coming up with an answer and her pause before answering seemed endless.

So who won? Neither had a great advantage but I would give Gov. Walker the first round. Miss Burke seemed the rookie which she was and Gov. Walker was much more relaxed in his answers.

I always enjoy reading Twitter and Facebook after these events and the winner often - actually always - is determined by poster's political slant. Below is a great example.
Not wanting to argue the point I do wonder how does one win a debate, but not on issues? It's sometimes tough to debate a liberal.