Saturday, July 4, 2015

Run From the Change in the Open Records Law

One of the things I learned long ago is that just because you are in a position of leadership it doesn't make you perfect. In fact a good leader will correct an error in the quickest most prudent way possible.

This coming week the Republican leadership in Wisconsin is in that position and one can only hope they come to their senses and withdraw their support of a change in the open records law. Since when did Republicans support a less open government? From a grass roots level - never. From a leadership level - it should be never.

Originally it was inserted into the state budget that may well be voted on this week, but with rightful pressure from the left, right and middle of the political spectrum they are back tracking. What is still somewhat puzzling and disappointing is a seeming hesitancy to totally back away from the suggested change.

Republicans have been in a position of power for about 5 years and this will be their third budget. They need to remember that the best leadership is one that serves others, not one that dictates to others - like the cartoon says that's upside down.

One can't make an error if they do nothing (Democrats), but there is no shame in trying something and finding out it is wrong. As long as you move quickly to rectify the error.

A word of advice for the Republicans - move quickly and eliminate any talk of changing the open records law and stop giving the opposition ammunition come election time.

Happy 4th


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rep. Kessler's Hidden Bigotry

We often hear of how Republican and conservatives are racist. The political left is often quick to toss those accusations, oftentimes stretching meaning to make their point.

What we rarely hear about is the hidden soft underbelly of bigotry and racism by the left itself.  On Tuesday the Wisconsin Assembly passed a bill to eliminate the 48 hour waiting period for handgun purchases.

In a news report from the Minneapolis StarTribune we come across this quote by Milwaukee Assemblyman Fred Kessler, "It's just going to result in more violence in our urban communities."

According to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "critics of the bill said it would eliminate an important safety provision from state statute and allow consumers to purchase guns impulsively, potentially leading to domestic violence and so-called crimes of passion."

So the political argument is that a couple get into a dispute, one of them runs to the local corner gun store, gets quick approval to purchase a gun and bullets and the episode ends with a shooting.  But according to left leaning Kessler, this scenario will happen in the black community more than other area of the state.

It seems that while playing the race card, very poorly here, the true feelings of the former judge are showing.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Voter Fraud at the DPW Convention?

We often hear Democrats telling us that there is no voter fraud. We hear from Republicans that they see people with Illinois license plates at Racine, Kenosha and Milwaukee polling places.  It's tough knowing who's telling the truth (not really).

The Dems will be voting for their new state chair on Saturday and to say it's been a boondoggle would be nice.  There are accusations flowing like beer at a fraternity drinking party.

The process has been crazy. Heck they were not going to allow the venerable icon Vel Phillips to be a delegate. After some scrambling that poor decision was change.

So where's the voter fraud?  Here's an excerpt from a Blogging Blue web post:

Now here’s where things get interesting. Despite all evidence showing Michael Rousek lives and works in Chicago, Illinois, he’s listed as a Milwaukee County delegate to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s 2015 convention, and the address listed for Mr. Rousek on the delegate list is a home in the City of Milwaukee that according to City of Milwaukee records is not owned by Rousek, but is owned by two different men, one of whom is Facebook friends with Jason Rae. I attempted to reach Rousek to confirm details pertaining to his residence, employment, and if he was in fact going to be an alternate delegate at the DPW convention, but I received no response to my inquiry.

Another delegate who caught my eye is Dr. Brad Backhaus, who’s listed as an alternate delegate to the convention. According to his public Facebook profileand LinkedIn profile Dr. Backhaus lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Backhaus is also friends with DPW Chair candidate Jason Rae, having attended Rae’s recent wedding in Milwaukee. According to the delegate list for Milwaukee County, Backhaus is listed as living at a residence in the City of Milwaukee, despite everything I’ve seen that would indicate he lives in Chicago. In his defense, Dr. Backhaus does indicate on his Facebook profile that he is originally from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, so at least he has some connection to our state. That being said, I’m not entirely sure how someone who from everything I’ve seen seems to live and work in Chicago can be a Milwaukee County Democratic Party alternate delegate to the DPW convention, but perhaps I’m just missing some key piece of information.
It's a bit difficult to argue voter fraud doesn't happen when those in your own party question it at your own convention.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

I'm In Favor of the New Arena

I'm a conservative, especially with other people's money. I was in favor of Miller Park and I'm in favor of the new Bucks arena. I hope this won't get me kicked out of the conservative social circles.

My reasons are personal more than fiscal, which might make me a liberal or progressive. I'm old enough to remember when the Milwaukee Braves left for Atlanta. At the time I was a huge baseball fan, in fact you might have called me a fanatic.

There was a void during the non baseball years. Now maybe the void was in my mind, but I Iistened as people talked and you could hear it in their conversations. It left an impression on me. This void was not immediately filled by the 1970 Milwaukee Brewers. It took time for the city to embrace the new team and forget the pain of losing the Braves.

I think the same will happen if the Bucks leave. Think about this years NBA draft. We have UW standouts Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, Hamilton High School and UCLA phenom Kevin Looney and J.P. Tokoto from Menomonee Falls High School and North Carolina. It's possible that two or three of these young stars could end up being a Milwaukee Buck and probable that all four will get to play in the new arena. That adds an added level of passion to something that often get nominal interest if any from people.

I'd imagine that the excitement level of area hoops players would drop quite a bit if there were no Milwaukee Bucks. Now the question arises should we invest $150 million to feed this dream scenario?

There are many needs in the state and Milwaukee and these funds could help. The problem with that line of thinking is that the money won't be in the cookie jar if it weren't used to keep the Bucks.

If the "it's cheaper to keep her" is true, this is a good investment.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dems Eating Dems

A few weeks ago the Republican Party of Wisconsin (RPW) held was can best be described as a low key convention. The biggest controversy was the passing of a floor resolution concerning the support of the prevailing wage. Now the question for legislators is will they bow to the will of the majority of the RPW?  The coming weeks will be interesting.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) on the other hand is roadshow to behold. The RPW chair is a volunteer position with Brad Courtney doing an OK job of keeping the troops in line.  The Chair of the DPW is a paid position and Mike Tate, the outgoing chair, was paid over $100,000. Not a bad gig if you look at the results he's produced.

This year 5 people and their second in command are in the running for the position which will be voted on at the yearly convention this upcoming weekend in Milwaukee.  But the Dems are eating each other up like a chubby boy at an all you can eat Chinese buffet.

It's plain old ugly and this last week before the convention will only add to the unseemly actions of the combatants. One group, Citizens for a Blue Wisconsin, wanted to do a Milwaukee area forum to allow those wanting to lead the Democrats to tell one of their largest bases what the plan is.  Well this didn't go over well. In fact not one of the 5 people running for Chair showed up and the accusations from bloggers on all five sides of the issue against one another are crazy.

This seems to be a case of another diss of the city and the black community in general by the Democrats. The sad part is that despite the initial anger there will be few in any consequences for the Democrats.  I have a feeling that it will be all kumbaya in the end. A hastily called substitute forum will be held this Thursday.

From a political viewpoint I'm enjoying the fracas. From a personal standpoint, this is troubling and disgusting. When your best position in a political fight is falsely attacking your opponents you have morally lost the battle.




Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

It's a bittersweet holiday, yet so needed today. You don't hear about sacrifice very often.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

RPW Convention

The Republican Party of Wisconsin is hosting their convention this weekend in LaCrosse.  I won't be able to attend but I do have a bit of advice for the leadership and elected legislators.

Consider the beginnings of the Republican Party, go back to the basics and be a party built from the bottom up.  Allow for discourse and discussion, in fact embrace it. Look at the potential to be a truly big tent political party.

Words without action mean nothing. 


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Another Fail for Justice Abrahamson

Today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had one of the most unique editorials by Ernst-Ulrich Franzen. It's concerning the election of the Supreme Court Chief Justice in Wisconsin.

The first thing one notices is that he quasi acknowledges that Justice Patience Roggensack is the Chief Justice. He also states that as I have in the past, that Justice Abrahamson is embarrassing the Supreme Court and diminishing her status as a prudent jurist.

He strays from the truth when he questions how the court elected a new chief, using an email ballot.

Here's a question I would have of Mr. Franzen, "Do you think that a Chief Justice Abrahamson would have called a meeting to discuss the process of the election of a successor?"  And if so, why didn't she do it right after the election knowing that 3 weeks later the change in the Wisconsin Constitution would become law.

As I understand it, one of the duties of the Chief Justice is administrative and I would again toss out the idea that Chief Justice Abrahamson again showed her disdain for the citizens of Wisconsin  not acknowledging the change was coming and addressing the issue and  instead of filed a lawsuit to protect and extend her lack of leadership.

Now there's an opening for Chief Justice Roggensack to do what Mr. Franzen suggests and that is to call an open meeting that will set what the future process is for electing a Chief Justice every two years from here on out.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Milwaukee Foreclosure's - The Gift That Keeps on Taking

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did a watchdog report on another "fine mess" the City of Milwaukee has gotten us into. Well actually it's a mess that's been going on in front of the administration and common council and was well hidden.

In reality it is lack of communication between city agencies with the help of the county.

To see how this chess game is played to the disadvantage of Milwaukee take a peek at the article.  Basically a foreclosed house is sold at sheriff's sale, the city is notified for tax purposes without the new owner having to claim ownership in the form of a deed which is not required by law. So it seems the Department of Neighborhood Services can have the correct information, but it often doesn't share the updated information with Treasurer's and City Assessor's offices. As a consequence a tax bill is sent in the name of the person who lost a home to foreclosure, often without them knowing it.

Sound confusing? It is.

What's even more discouraging are some of the quotes in the newspaper article.
"It's not uncommon that the tax bill goes to the wrong person," said Kerry Urban, special assistant to the city treasurer. "It's kind of sad because it happens so frequently."
 Asked why the departments were not already sharing the records, (Aaron) Szopinski said: "We assumed the system was functioning normally and properly."
Watching the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee was even more infuriating. Szopinski and a representative from the Department of Neighborhood Services tried to smooth over this quandary by saying the relevant departments are talking with each other.

Hey Mayor Barrett's administration how about doing something and doing it quickly. Action is required here, not more meetings by suits.

A sad commentary for the city is that State Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) is trying to fix this issue with a change in state law. A few aldermen commented that with a Republican controlled legislature they weren't sure that Goyke's efforts would be considered.

Another sign of the insignificance of Milwaukee area Democrats.

No matter how you look at, this needs to be addressed right away. Lives already set back by financial difficulties are being hurt, some vulture land purchasers are playing the system and making some easy cash and Milwaukee government - you need to look at home first before laying blame anywhere else.