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.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Opinion - My Honor

I'm more interested in local politics than I am in national politics.  So when I read an opinion piece by Rep. Mandela Barnes about how Governor Walker and Republican legislation has led to "the great political divide" in Wisconsin.

I get tired of hearing the same old line from do nothing legislators so I wrote a letter to the editor.

They published it.  You can read it here.

Friday, July 31, 2015

My Boy the Judge

Most parents have a crown of pride when they talk about their children, no matter what the circumstances are.  I'm very blessed to have two wonderful kids who are very different yet successful in their own ways.

My daughter has a heart of gold I only wish I could match. Her hearts desire is filled with being a mom and her career as a social worker, which is her part time gig. She's a staunch advocate for the kids and even "adopted" one boy who aged out of the system. She's apolitical yet has some strong views which I've learned a lot from. I couldn't be prouder of her.

My son on the other hand is very political with some equally strong views and I've learned a lot from him. He's also been appointed by Gov. Walker as a Court of Appeals Judge for District II in Wisconsin.

For the past five years, he's been Gov. Walker's chief legal counsel which has been exciting for him as he's been in the center of "a transformative time in Wisconsin history, as we worked to bring big, bold reform to the state." quoting the Governor.

Brian will bring with him a sense of fairness with a respect of the constitution. District II will be well served by this young man.

Brian will also bring his wife and five children closer to Milwaukee so I can see them more often. This is a win/win for me.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Democrats Say What? on Bucks Arena

This Tuesday the Wisconsin Assembly will be getting together and voting on a resolution/law concerning the building of an arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. Democrat Peter Barca who is the minority leader in the Assembly was on "UpFront with Mike Gousha" on Sunday to talk about what Democrats will do when it comes time to vote.

What I found funny about the interview was that the script the Dems are using is being passed from interviewee to interviewee. Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, Sen. Jennifer Shilling and now Rep. Barca have all followed the same path.

Now the Republicans need us and we finally have a seat at the table is the #1 line.  

Problem with that line of crapola is from all accounts people with seats at the table from the beginning included both Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. From all I've read both are part of Blue Wisconsin, the Democrat blue Wisconsin.  Not only that the owners are financials bundlers for Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

As for the Assembly Dems not being involved in negotiations it's a bit incredulous to think that Senate Democrats sat down with Republicans and kept their assembly brethren out of the conversation.

But then again, we are talking about Democrats.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I Called For It - Marina Dimitrijevic Stepping Down

Marina Dimitrijevic is stepping down as Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman, a move I called for last week when it was first announced that she was in the running to be hired as the leader of the Working Families (non) Party in Wisconsin. This is a good wise move by Dimitrijevic.

But I still question her vulnerability representing and voting on measures that may be a conflict of interest. What she has going for her is that the next meeting of the County Board is this coming Thursday, July 30th and then the board basically takes the month of August off, because ... it's August.  So she can collect on her $72,000 County salary until her approximate $70,000 salary for the Working Families (non) Party kicks in.

Her conflict of interest will be become very apparent during the 2016 County budget process as organizers of the WFnP are usually vocal opponents toward any fiscal conservatism that comes up in the budget.

It will be very interesting to see who steps up to fill her shoes. From press reports, Sup. Theo Lipscomb and Sup. Michael Mayo are vying for the position. Right now I'm seeing a 7-5 Lipscomb lead with 5 in the middle and one not sure what his dad would want him to do.

The winner is the one who can dish out the most appealing committee seats.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Republican What Reach

As a political party the Republicans need to do a better job of sharing and promoting their platform which will lead to success for individuals and our city, state and country. The state party in Wisconsin (RPW) has done an admirable job in laying the groundwork for such an outreach. But there's been a roadblock for the past few months.

The position of outreach director in the black community has been vacant recently. The goodwill which was growing with the previous director is slowly slipping away and there doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency by the State party fill the position. One thing the party leaders need to recognize is that with a senatorial and presidential election only 17 months away they need to get off the pot.

There is the grassroots groundswell movement from the political left to the right in the city of Milwaukee. To sit on the sidelines and not be proactive is a huge tactical error by the RPW.

One of problems the Republicans have had in the past is that those involved in the state politics have jobs that are basically two year election cycle long. As a consequence  they only look 2 years or 4 years down the road when making plans .

In winning over the black vote President Lyndon Johnson claimed that he would have "those n****** voting with the Democrats for 200 years". The bad news for the Democrats, is we are at the 50 year mark and his plan is starting to unravel.

The mission for state Republican is to adapt a 200 year strategy for outreach rather than their short-term election to election outlook.

Black individuals and organizations continue their assiduous activities and a black conservative coalition has formed to bring them together. This is another missed opportunity for party growth as long as the outreach director position remains unfilled.

The Milwaukee North Branch of the Republican Party of Milwaukee County has been active in their outreach events. Recently hosting a booth at the Juneteenth Festival along with an upcoming Pints & Politics to be held at Garfield's 502 Club. The RPW has been supportive of these activities, and even tho all politics is local their support needs to be turned up a notch.

My compadres in Republican state politics, don't make the same arrogant mistakes Democrats do and talk a good game yet not deliver after elections are over. Take action and hire an outreach director for the black community - NOW.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Working Families (non) Party & Dimitrijevic's Conflict of Interest

So the far left in Wisconsin's Democratic Party want to splinter off into the Working Families (non) Party, because the Democrats aren't far enough to the political left already.

Inspired by the Tea Party, which doesn't claim to be a political party but a movement, this is a liberal / progressive move wants the freedom of the Tea Party movement but doesn't want to give up the control. Hence the party designation.

But is it a political party? The answer is no according to a recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article. This non party will not put up candidates to run for partisan office and it will work to influence the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Much like the organizers currently do.

So if it doesn't do what normal third parties (Libertarian Party, Constitution Party, Green Party, etc) do is it really what it's misnomer of a name claims it is.  Obviously not.

What they are is the same far left group who've run out all middle-left Democrats from the party. It's the same groups who've adopted a modus operandi of what Frederick Douglass called a mobocratic spirit.

According to the MJS article they are zeroing in on Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic as their first state director. In general this would not be a disturbing event, but if you look at those behind the Working Families non Party I can see a huge potential conflict of interest here.

Shouldn't the Board Chairwoman immediately recuse herself in all proposed legislation that participating organizations such as Wisconsin Jobs Now, the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association and individuals (Peter Rickman & Mike Wilder) who are involved in creating this non party have collaborated on. They are currently in negotiations to hire Dimitrijevic and the potential for a conflict is real and already present.

Even if Dimitrijevic steps down as Board Chair can she continue on the board while recusing herself from conflicting legislation.  I smell a lawsuit coming if she doesn't immediately leave the county board or remove herself from consideration of the Working Families non Party position.

The old saying is that people's impression is their reality and the impression / reality meter here stinks.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Dead Doe

This is wonderful news, the Wisconsin Supreme Court shut down the John Doe Investigation and the fishing expedition by Democrat Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.

One of the reasons I'm pleased with this is that it will give extra impetus to the Wisconsin Assembly to address the John Doe law. Talking to a lawyer friend of mine, he explained that the law was so poorly and loosely written that judges were making it up on the fly. As situations came up it was brought in front of a judge and he/she had no legislation to look at so they would have to decide on their own.  We all know that judges shouldn't write laws, but in this case they almost had to.

A second argument for the rewriting of this law is to stop the abuse from ever happening again. You see as much as I like my conservative friends, I don't doubt that some would follow the very poor example of Chisholm and company given the opportunity.

Lastly I would hope that the state legislature would open the process on the restructuring of the proposed new bill. We need to get the concerns of every individual interested in this aired and fairly debated.