Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Come On Milwaukee, Give Ann Wilson a Chance

Had the chance to watch the Milwaukee Common Council meeting where Ann Wilson was railroaded. She was and still is interested in becoming a member of the Fire & Police Commission (FPC).  What a disgusting display of weakness by a handful of aldermen. 

Ms. Wilson was appointed by Mayor Barrett and by all accounts attended every meeting possible, made the rounds of aldermen and at a hearing before the Public Safety Committee answered not only question from the members but also from citizens.  The hearing was going along well until Ald. Bob Baumann and Ald. Milele Coggs started to question not Ms. Wilson, but “the process.”

It was at this point in the committee meeting that Alderman Joe Davis laid down some law on the rest of the committee.  Take a peek at the video below.

At the full council meeting Ald. Donovan opened Pandora’s Box by asking the alderman who indicated they were abstaining in the vote to confirm Ms. Wilson, why they were doing so.  This is where the weaseling started, except for Ald. Willie Hines who was on the board of Ms. Wilson’s place of employment.

Ald. Ashanti Hamilton, Milele Coggs, and Nik Kovac each took turns trying to justify their fake no votes.  Ald. Bauman was totally upfront about his no vote and the traveling Alderman, Joe Davis was excused as he was in Washington DC at a National League of Cities event.  Donovan eventually abstained after being persuaded by other Aldermen’s speeches.

What’s amazing is that not one alderman spoke negatively of Ann Wilson yet she was denied the position which she’s been wanting to serve on for a couple of years according to the MJS.

Here’s what infuriates me.  The process has been the same since 1885.  You’d think that’d be enough time to make some changes if the aldermen really cared.  I can’t find any evidence that one potential candidate for the FPC has ever been denied, at least in recent history.  It looks like it’s been a rubber stamp until this meeting.

I believe that the aldermen who denied Ann Wilson an opportunity to serve on the FPC have just testified that they have not done their job as aldermen and alderwoman.  Despite their praises of Ms. Wilson they unashamedly looked to blame others for their poor performance or negligence in the past.  Those who abstained have used Ms. Wilson as a political pawn and hostage and she and the citizens of Milwaukee don’t deserve such shoddy work on their part.  I wonder if any of the self-righteous aldermen have ever approached a state legislator before the community ruckus happened to change the way a person is appointed and approved for the FPC.

Interestingly enough right after the board voted to deny Ms. Wilson her opportunity, Mayor Barrett reappointed her.  I guess holding the mayor’s feet to the fire will have to happen in future appointments. 

No matter how hard they tried to sugar coat their decisions the four non-voting aldermen need to realize that their lack of action was a no vote for Ms. Wilson. They choose the wrong venue and time to test the mayor. 

The Common Council should approve Ann Wilson and then work with the mayor on upcoming openings.  They made their point, the community has had it’s say and it would be the most fair approach and help stop the continued downward spiral for Milwaukee.  I'm pleased that my alderman, Jim Bohl, is on the right side of this issue.

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