Friday, October 9, 2015

Congratulations to Rebecca Bradley

picture from
Gov. Scott Walker has named Rebecca Bradley to the open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  That is good news.

I've had the opportunity to hear Bradley speak and each time she showed herself as a caring jurist, not only for the law, but in particular about those who came before her court.  As a Children's Court Judge she shared some of the heartbreaking situations the young people who appeared before her came from and her desire to change lives for the better.

I'm confident she will continue this fine balance as a Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Martha Laning and Democrat's Black Problem

A video surfaced this week that featured Democratic Party Chairwoman Martha Laning describing her experience of sitting with Rep. David Bowen at a President Barack Obama event.  Here's the video:

The controversy sounding this is interesting.  Those on the right are claiming it's racist mostly because they want her to be held to the same standard that we are judged by.  I would venture that they really don't think her story is of a racist nature.

Those on left are ignoring it like it never happened.  If they did choose to confront it with the vitriolic vigor they would have if a conservative or Republican did this, they would demand her resignation, a public flogging  or at least a mouth washed out in soap punishment.

Some in the black community are calling her out on it.  They've offered no recourse from what I've seen, they seem to be satisfied with an acknowledgement that it's racist, if not of personal intent but then of the institutional type.

I've got a different take on this.  First off, Laning had to tell these grass root Democratic members who David Bowen was. She had to describe him and did as a "wonderful black young man."  Wouldn't you think that these Democratic activists who voted for the leadership tandem of Laning / Bowen should know Rep. Bowen?

Secondly, Laning admits in a round about way that she's never been in an event where the crowd is majority black when she says that she would like to go to an event with filled with African-Americans.

I don't think Martha Laning had any mean or racist intent in telling the story.  I do think that it shows that out of urban area Democrats are no different than out of urban area Republicans. 

And that should make urban voters take a second look at who they vote for.

Westlawn Get $30 Million - Where's Gwen Moore

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a $30 million federal grant to upgrade the housing at Westlawn housing project on Milwaukee's northwest side.  The money will allow the City to redevelop 708 mixed-income housing units, including tearing down and replacing nearly 400 units at Westlawn, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.  It's interesting that there is no mention of this grant on the city of Milwaukee website.  You'd think it would at least warrant a press release.

The grant was announced last Monday at a press conference in Milwaukee. The MJS article includes quotes from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Nani Coloretti, Mayor Tom Barrett, Police Chief Ed Flynn, MPS Superintendent Darienne Driver and some residents of Westlawn.

Missing from the announcement of this important development was Milwaukee's Congresswoman, Gwen Moore. Where the heck was she?  Miss Moore was in Washington  fighting for planned parenthood telling people that "I Don’t Think We Do Children A Favor By Forcing Women To Give Birth."

There was not even a mention of this grant on her government website. But her battle for Planned Parenthood funding (and their donations to her) took center stage.

At some point Milwaukee residents will come to realize that Rep. Moore isn't working for them, but is in the hands of the large money special interests that keep her in office.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

County Board Craziness

The Milwaukee County Board met this week and once again they showed why they will be a part time organization come 2016.  They voted to waste $150,000 on a lawyer friend of Board Chair Theo Libscomb to again look into the validity of Act 14 which pulled back the power and pay of the board.  When she was chair of the disorganization, Marina Dimitrijevic spent $99,000 to do the same thing with negative results. This after county attorney Paul Bargren advised the board that the law will stand. I guess that's why they pay the guy, to not listen to his advice. Hopefully it will be three strikes and your out.

I'll start with the weirdest moment of the meeting.  Supreme Moore Omokunda closed the meeting with a special privileged request to honor John Coltrane who is dead and would have had a birthday on September 23rd - if he was still alive. The jazz master's best selling album was "A Love Supreme" and Moore Omokunda said he grew up on listening to this album and misunderstood the lyrics to say - I love supreme - which he reminded people is his name and the supervisor said he did love himself.

So if I got the story straight Supreme Moore Omokunda who was born Sowande Ajumoke Omokunde but has also gone by the monikers of Supreme Solar Allah and Supreme Solar Allah listened to John Coltrane sing A Love Supreme, misunderstands the lyrics, but likes them because at some point in time in the future he will change his name to Supreme and this is the reason he used a special privilege to close the county board meeting in honor of Coltrane.

The board also discussed a useless resolution that stands in opposition to County Exec Chris Abele taking control of 1-3 failing Milwaukee Public Schools in the next two years. county board member after county board member stood up and wailed on the proposal stating and restating every talking point from MTEA.  Only one supervisor, Deanna Alexander brought up the fact the new law only affects the lowest performing schools in MPS and is an idea to help kids who move through those schools who can't read.

The throw away line of the meeting was Eddie Cullen talking about "his job", not the one as a County Supervisor, but that as a teacher in MPS.  Not a good testimony when others on the board are trying to persuade county residents and wasting $150,000 on a potential lawsuit that the being a supervisor is a full time gig.

La Tonya Johnson gives 4th Graders a STD lession during Wisconsin Assembly session

This from Thursday, Sept 24th's Wisconsin Assembly session - Milwaukee Democrat La Tonya Johnson talks about STD's and how wonderful Planned Parenthood is while 4th Graders from Mosinee watch from the spectator gallery.

The sad part of this is the arrogance of Rep. Johnson in not paying attention to those who are trying to inform her of her audience. It seems she is taking lessons from when Gwen Moore was in the Legislature and use to cry if no one would listen her. 

Here's a hint Representative, when people on your side of the isle are trying to get your attention - it's for a reason.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sex - A Human Emotion?

I admit I'm a geek.  I enjoy watching legislative hearings.  Two reasons, I prefer to get information directly from people and it's often entertaining.

On Thursday, Sept. 24th the Wisconsin Assembly debated cutting taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.  Lots of weird reasoning flying around the Assembly floor.

Here's Democratic Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-20) from Milwaukee's South Side sharing her expertise in Sex Ed.

Makes you wonder.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Trumply Stumply

What Me Worry?
The situation that is Donald Trump is very unique for the Republican Party.  "The Donald" is running like a Democrat and he's attracting voters who are quite displeased with the lack of movement Republicans had promised in the last election cycle.

If you listen to Trump (which isn't always easy) you hear a lot of talk that really doesn't say anything. He does seem to have perfected complaining in a positive way, which was also the 2008 Obama appeal. State the problem as though you are the answer to question.  Don't really offer any solutions to the briefly stated and over simplified problem other to reassure the crowd that you are the answer.

This is a different tactic for conservative candidates.  They usually talk about what solutions they will act upon when elected. It's not that they always follow through, but the solution or issue is the usually the main focus for Republicans not the open ended promises that the individual is the answer.

Liberals on the other hand, especially locally, run on the person. This election tactic is even more evident the further left or progressive the candidate is.

Case in point, Rep. Mandela Barnes defeated Jason Fields in 2012 on the premise that he would be the progressive answer to Fields, who was the most productive Milwaukee assemblyman in passing positive bills for the city.  Now Barnes is readying a State Senate campaign to take on current Sen. Lena Taylor.  What will Barnes run on?  It certainly won't be on his legislative successes.  So one can only assume it will be that Barnes will be the progressive answer to a legislator who is willing at times to work with Republicans to get things done.  His solution to the non problem of getting things done in Milwaukee will be another NO when voting to take action.

Though there is a movement in Milwaukee to call out do nothing elected officials, it still isn't large enough to change the power structure in the city.  The good news is that we still have 3 months to recruit challengers for municipal elections and then another 3 to persuade residents to vote their values and to hold the current group of electeds accountable for the action of lack thereof.

Republican Presidential Primary voters on the other hand have six months to evaluate if they want to follow the feel good failure votes of Democrats or to choose the person with the best solutions for moving the country forward.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Not the Best Business Recruiting Video For Milwaukee

There's a video floating around of some gang members from Milwaukee flashing guns and money along with some braggadocio talk about shooting police.  It's a disturbing video.

It was brazenly released on Facebook last year.  This year it's being aired because one of the participants in this video was busted for drug related offenses.  The Journal Sentinel article shares the views of those involved in the case, disgust and bewilderment reign.

This was mid-day on 32nd and Auer.  The blue star on the graphic to the left shows where the neighborhood is located.

What struck me is that it is in the 30th Street Corridor, highlighted in red, an area that Milwaukee is trying to develop.  From the cities website, " The City of Milwaukee has undertaken an ambitious effort to transform the 30th Street Corridor into a modern employment center and economic hub for the Near North neighborhood."

There seems to be a disconnect somewhere in the plans. How the heck does Mayor Tom Barrett and Department of City Development Commissioner Rocky Marceau, Aldermen, Ashanti Hamilton, Willie Wade and Russel Stamper think they can recruit businesses to the area when this nonsense is going on.

We have a problem in the city. It needs to be addressed by those who have the power to do something.  Mayor Barrett, Police Chief Flynn and the Common Council - that is you. Enough of the pie in the sky, head in the pot hole leadership. Take command.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Is Atty. Lester Pines Wisconsin's Highest Paid non-employee?

It seems that Wisconsin is still taking it in the shorts with former Gov. Jim Doyle's not so fast train from Milwaukee to Madison and it's with the help of Doyle's and the Democrats go to lawyer, Lester Pines.

Talgo received a no bid contract to build the train and a 20 year maintenance agreement courtesy of the former Governor. Problem was, there was a shift in the leadership in Madison and Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislature laid those cost inefficient plans to rest.

Shortly after the call to Pines ensued.

A quick google search pulled up some of other jobs Atty. Pines has scored courtesy of the State of Wisconsin.

Lester Pines was appointed by Governor Doyle on multiple matters to represent what Doyle considered to be the state’s interest.  Pines currently represents legislative Democrats in the re-districting battle.  In addition, Pines often represents state employees, sometimes even against the State of Wisconsin.
When 14 Democratic state senators fled Wisconsin last year in an effort to torpedo a Republican law to curtail collective bargaining rights for public employees, a prominent GOP attorney advised the Senate majority leader to bring them back, by force if need be.The Democrats turned to Madison attorney Lester Pines....Not only that, he also took on the Republicans' voter ID law.
 From Act 10 to voter ID, Pines has gone to the courts and helped to stall implementation of some of the cherished policy goals for Walker and the Republicans.
From all accounts Mr. Pines is a heck of an attorney and fights hard for his clients. That's very admirable.

It also seems that thanks to the Democrats Attorney Pines may very well be the person who is paid the most from the State of Wisconsin.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Tale of Two Trolleys

Had the opportunity to walk the streets of downtown Memphis and New Orleans this past weekend and one of the observations I had was about the trolley's in each city.

In Memphis, on our walk back from the Civil Rights Museum to our car I notice that the trolley rails were being "redone" to make them unusable. The construction consisted of re-tarring the streets and filling in the ridges on the sides of the rails to make them useless.

A short time later a smaller bus type vehicle passed us up that claimed to be a hybrid trolley. After doing some research is seems that the regular trolley system was rendered obsolete after "An investigation and a peer review of MATA’s operation found that the cars had not been adequately maintained and that there was little or no training or regulation of system personnel. MATA officials weighed the option of ordering new replica trolleys before deciding to overhaul the existing fleet. A WBHQ Fox 13 Memphis report noted that a $6 million federal grant for the repairs brought with it a host of regulatory hurdles the agency has had to clear before service can be restored. The cars’ age — according to the review, the historic trolleys are at the end of their useful life even after taking into account their restoration upon arrival in Memphis — isn’t helping matters any."

The trolley is being replaced by a hybrid bus that uses four wheels.

The New Orleans trolley system is a whole new (old) ballgame. In a city where the streets are extremely narrow, there is no room for trolleys on them. So instead the trolley runs on the meridian between the streets with a rail line going both ways.

They always seemed to be busy enough and were out of the way of traffic unless one was making a left turn or u-turn. I was told that the area between the rail lanes was used for jogging and dog walking. A fact that was soon born out by observation.  All in all it seemed to be a very efficient and used system of transportation.

The Memphis system on the other hand seems to have taken a mid course correction.  One that Milwaukee officials should look very closely at as Milwaukee resembles Memphis more than it does New Orleans.