No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

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Archive for the 'Politics – Milwaukee' Category

April 16, 2014

The Bucks have been sold for $550 million

by @ 16:10. Filed under Business, Politics - Milwaukee, Sports.

Today, Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl announced the sale of the Milwaukee Bucks to hedge-fund managers Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry for $550 million pending NBA approval, with the proviso that the team stay in Milwaukee and not become, potentially, the next incarnation of the Seattle Sonics. The three also announced that they would kick in a total of $200 million toward a replacement for the BMO Harris Bradley Center; $100 million from the new owners and $100 million from the old owner.

On the sports end of the story, hopefully the new owners will put a competitve product out on the court more often than once every 6 years (which, not exactly coincidentally, was inevitably the year Kohl was up for re-election ot the Senate).

The word is that a new arena will cost somewhere north of $500 million. I know Wikipedia is less than fully-reliable, but I went through the entries for the 14 aremas built for existing franchises that opened since 1997, and only the newest arena, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, came in at over $500 million when it was built. That $1 billion cost shattered the previous record of $480 million for Orlando’s Amway Center, which was built in 2010, and $420 million for Dallas’ American Airlines Center, which was built in 2001.

Even when adjusting for inflation, only 4 modern arenas came in at over $500 million – the Barclays Center ($1.03 billion in 2014 dollars), the American Airlines Center ($559 million in 2014 dollars), Los Angeles’ Staples Center (opened in 1999 for $375 million, or $531 million in 2014 dollars), and the Amway Center ($514 million in 2014 dollars). The average inflation-adjusted cost of the modern NBA arena, including the Barclays Center, was just under $400 million, with that dropping to $351 million if one ignores the New York Bloat.

I have to wonder whether Milwaukee is ready to shell out for the second-most-expensive arena in the NBA. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, just interviewed on the Mark Belling Show, said that he had not heard any solid plans for financing a new arena. Given the most-likely sites of the former Park East freeway just north of the Bradley Center and the lakefront (which are the parts of downtown without any buildings) are county-owned land, one would expect Abele to be in the loop.

Belling is spitballing the idea that it would be privately owned. There’s a world’s worth of difference between $200 million and $500 million, or even $351 million if the historical average holds. Naming rights wouldn’t cover it – not even the record-setting purchase by Barclays for the Brooklyn arena would cover the $300 million spread. Worse, while other sports venues have worked aignificant money out of naming rights, the Bradley Center board hasn’t been nearly as successful. The entire Bradley Center corporate sponsorship package was revealed to be a mere $18 million over 6 years when BMO Harris bought the naming rights 2 years ago.

The $550 million, plus another $100 million committment toward a new arena, is an amazing price, considering Forbes valued the franchise at $405 million just three months ago. Even though there was reportedly a 9-group bidding war, that does not explain that much of a premium given the no-move proviso. Given all three principals are big-time Democrats (Kohl a Democrat as a Senator, Edens and Lasry as massive, active donors to Democrats), someone might want to keep an eye on Kohl’s still-active Senate campaign committee.

Revisions/extensions (5:18 pm 4/16/2014) - The total $650 million (including the $100 million new arena committment) sale price shatters the previous record sale price of an NBA team – the $513 million sale of the Sacramento Kings and their equally-ancient arena, the Sleep Train Arena, last year.

April 22, 2011

Sloth makes waste, electoral edition

(H/T – Lisa Sink)

Over at Shorewood Patch, Marie Rohde explains why those municipalities still using Optech Eagle opitical-scan machines and seeking to upgrade to the current version of the software are going to go through a hand recount of those ballots – the software update that would allow the storage of both the election-day run of ballots and a recount of that election on the same memory cartridge took close to three years to be approved by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (in fact, it was approved only earlier this year) and has yet to be approved by the Government Accountability Board, a process which will likely take another several months.

Thanks to that, the recount will cost just Miwlaukee County an additional $500,000 over the cost of doing the recount by-the-book (optical-scan ballots are run through the machines, the DRE/touch-screen ballots are hand-counted). That is expected to drive up the cost of the recount to close to $1,000,000.

I wonder how many modern optical-scan machines could be bought with that money. I know Oak Creek has a few of those, as not all the wards here will need a full hand recount, but unfortunately, none of them were at my polling place on April 5.

Revisions/extensions (5:57 pm 4/25/2011) - The story gets curiouser and curiouser. Even though the Government Accountability Board lists ES&S as the vendor of the majority of the Eagle systems in use in Wisconsin (the link lists all the voting systems by municipality), it’s actually a Sequoia Voting Systems (since acquired by Dominion Voting Systems) machine. Moreover, not only is no system from Dominion currently certified by the Election Assistance Commission, it appears that the version that includes the Optech line that is still under testing (WinEDS 4.0) does not include the Eagle as part of the test.

R&E part 2 (6:43 pm 4/28/2011) - Things are quite a bit clearer after representatives from Dominion contacted me. To wit, Dominion Voting Systems says that WinEDS 4.0 does work with the Optech Eagle optical-scan machine, and once the underlying system is approved by the EAC, the GAB will test the software with the Eagle.

July 22, 2010

Thursday Hot View – Ald. Jim Witkowiak’s testimony to GAB regarding vote fraud

Kevin Fischer points to a rather remarkable presentation by Milwaukee Alderman Jim Witkowiak during yesterday’s Government Accountability Board hearing. Wisconsin Eye brought its cameras to the meeting, which first dealt with challenges to the nomination papers, and moved to an indepemdent candidate for state Assembly who wanted to put “NOT the ‘whiteman’s bitch'” as her statement of principle on the ballot (the GAB board narrowly did not overturn the staff recommendation of not allowing it, with 3 of 5 present board members voting to allow it and the potential 4th/deciding vote for allowing it absent).

Immediately after that, the GAB began taking open public comments. Ald. Witkowiak was second on the list, and he explained how both same-day registration and a lack of an ID check can and does affect elections, even to the point of changing the results. I do recommend watching the entire appearance, which begins at the 1:50:50 mark of part 2 of WisEye’s coverage and runs to the end of part 2. A quick summary:

  • In the spring 2000 election, Witkowiak lost his re-election bid by 17 votes.
  • During the recount, after the campaign of Witkowiak’s opponent admitted to him they caused irregularities, Witkowiak found about 200 people who didn’t exist yet voted in the election, scattered between those who registered at the polls and those who claimed to be somebody they were not. The Milwaukee Election Commission did disallow a bunch of votes, but because there is no way to tell who the disqualified voters voted for, it was a random vote removal and thus did not change the result of the election.
  • An assistant city attorney who sat in on the 2000 recount process said that Witkowiak, “There’s more meat in this sandwich than I’ve ever seen before in my life.” Of course, this is Milwaukee, so nothing was done..
  • Witkowiak thought he was done with politics after 2000, but the residents of his district pulled him back into the race in 2004, and he once again became an alderman.
  • Fast forward to 2008. Witkowiak found that 400 people had registered at the polls in the spring primary, which for the first time in Wisconsin also included the Presidential primary (previously, the Presidential primary was held with the spring general election). Since Witkowiak had a spring general election to run in, he wanted to get a hold of those 400 to campaign to them. After a bit of a delay, the Milwaukee Election Commission gave them to him.
  • Witkowiak did a mailing to those 400, and about 80 of those mailings came back as undeliverable. He then went out to try to find those 80, and while he did find a few that existed, he couldn’t find about 75, with reasons ranging from people living at or managing apartments at the location never hearing of the alleged registered voter to the address being a non-residential property to the address simply not existing.
  • Witkowiak turned over the evidence to the Milwaukee County District Attorney and the Milwaukee Police Department. Guess what happened? If you said, “Nothing,” give yourself a prize.

March 3, 2010

Number of the day – $100,005

by @ 17:29. Filed under Education, Politics - Milwaukee.

The MacIver News Service reports on the average compensation at Milwaukee Public Schools:

2009-2010 school year (aka FY2010) – $56,500 in salary, $95,316 including benefits
2010-2011 school year – $56,500 in salary, $100,005 including benefits (or a 4.92% increase overall)

Meanwhile, according to the Census Bureau, the median per-capita income between 2006 and 2008 in the city was $19,092, with the median family income $42,950. I doubt the average resident in the private sector had $40,000 in benefits to boost their total compensation, or the equivalent of 12 weeks of vacation.

January 19, 2010

Tuesday Hot Read – Nick Schweitzer’s “Government Sponsored Theft”

by @ 16:19. Filed under Politics - Milwaukee.

Nick Schweitzer dug into the forced sale of a pair of Milwaukee parcels formerly owned by Bee Bus Line to the city of Milwaukee for the benefit of neighboring Integrated Mail Industries (emphasis in the original):

Of course, the way the article is written, it seems so wonderful. After all… jobs will be created with this new land! But let’s look at what really happened here. IMI went to Bee and asked to buy the property for a price. Bee said it wanted moren (actually they just wanted at least what they paid for it), and IMI, instead of continuing to negotiate in good faith, went to the city and demand they use eminent domain to take the property at a lower price and resell it to them. This is nothing but government sponsored theft.

If property rights meant anything, then a property owner (Bee Bus Lines) ought to be allowed to ask whatever they wanted for that property. If their price is too high, than no sale will be made and they’ll be stuck. But just because IMI didn’t want to pay a price doesn’t mean that they ought be allowed to go the city to “force a sale”. That is like suggesting that if a woman declines a man at a bar, he ought to be able to go the police and have a cop hold her down while he rapes her… to force the completion of a “transaction” he demanded of her. Having a right to something means nothing if it does not include the right to refuse sale of that item, for whatever reason. This isn’t the God Father… you have the right to refuse an offer.

I’ll force you to go to Nick’s place to catch the bombshell of the poliical leanings and donation patterns of the owners of the AB Dada Group, ISI’s parent company. I’ll just say that Milwaukee’s reputation as a “clean government” took another hit.

June 19, 2009

The obligatory L’affair Flynn-McBride post

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice broke the news that Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn and UW-Milwaukee journalism lecturer/freelance journalist Jessica McBride (both married, and not to each other) had an affair at roughly the same time McBride wrote a lengthy piece on Flynn in Milwaukee Magazine. There are a few different directions I can take this bout of stupidity from the two of them.

First, if other rumors are true, this is not the first time either one of them have had an extramarrital affair. That limits my sympathies to the children of McBride and her husband, and any minor children Flynn may have.

Second, while this is a serious ding in Flynn’s credibility, it is not quite fatal for him. For those on the left that want to bleat hypocrisy, there is a major difference between Flynn and former President Bill Clinton – unlike the serial denier, who lied about L’Affair Clinton-Lewinsky to a federal grand jury investigating him for sexual harrassment, Flynn got out in front of this and admitted it, as well as apologized, before the story hit print. In fact, the Journal Sentinel reports that both Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett and the Fire and Police Commission are standing behind Flynn.

The same cannot be said for McBride. She has in the past taught journalism ethics, so she knows that it is a serious breach of trust to be bedding one’s sources, whether it is before the stories are written or whether merely the spark is formed during the course of pursuing the stories with ignition shortly thereafter.

Revisions/extensions (2:07 pm 6/23/2009) - Thanks to James Wigderson, there’s a follow-up that includes Bice’s questionable tactics and writing, based on a revealing of the timeline.

May 26, 2009

NML wants to soak you so it doesn’t have to pay

(H/T – Patrick McIlheran via Dad29)

Edward Zore, CEO of Northwestern Mutual Life, had perhaps the dumbest letter ever published in yesterday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Let’s start by fisking said letter:

I am writing to express my support for the creation of a three-county Regional Transit Authority and a viable, dedicated funding source for transit and Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail. As CEO of a major business in Milwaukee County, I know dedicated funding for transit is critical to the future success of my business.

The local business community in Milwaukee is solidly behind the current RTA’s recommendations to shift funding for transit to a dedicated sales tax. Many opponents of this transit proposal argue that shifting transit from the property tax to a sales tax is anti-business or will drive business away. That is categorically untrue.

As one of the commenters over at P-Mac’s place said, I wonder if Zore’s attitude would change if insurance premiums on NML policies were subject to that sales tax. Dad29 notes that businesses like NML pay a lot in property tax, but don’t exactly pay a lot in sales tax.

A quick point or two of order – while there is a 3-county transit authority in the state budget being worked ov…er, on now (and indeed, there is a nascient 3-county RTA now), its sole purpose will be the KRM, and its major funding source would be a massive increase in the car-rental tax (from $2/rental to $16/rental). There also is in that budget a Milwaukee County-only RTA, which would be funded by a 17+% increase in the sales tax (from 5.6%-5.85% to 6.6%-6.85%).

What that sales tax will kill is retail businesses, especially those near the county borders and those specializing in high-cost items. It doesn’t take all that much for someone living in, say, Wauwatosa to go to Brookfield for a fine four-star dinner or a camera and spend less money.

Let’s continue…

Northwestern Mutual has two major offices in Milwaukee County and employs a significant number of residents of Wauwatosa. Our current transit system is so inadequate and obsolete that my employees cannot get from our downtown office to our Franklin location on the Milwaukee County Transit System. The lack of available transit in this region has a much greater impact on my company than a shift in how we pay for transit.

P-Mac points out that the beautiful and recently-expanded Franklin campus is 1 1/2 miles away from the nearest bus stop (Route 27), and well past the point where the sidewalks on 27th St. ends (1 mile, to be exact).

I do have a point of order – there was, for a while, a limited-schedule extension of Route 27, Route 227, that went past the NML Franlkin campus to the Franklin Industrial Park south of Ryan Rd. between 46th St. and 60th St. However, that route was cancelled due to low ridership. Guess not many NML workers rode the bus out to Franklin.

Let’s continue…

Of the top 50 most populated U.S. cities or regions, only seven do not have or are not developing rail transit. Wisconsin is already behind other regions in this regard, and without a stable bus transit system – much less improved transit and commuter rail links connecting Milwaukee to other regions – southeastern Wisconsin will be left behind as the state’s talent pool is attracted to other developing regions. Those remaining in Wisconsin cannot get to their jobs.

STOP THE TAPE!!! Just how are enough NML employees making it out to Franklin for not one, but two good-sized office buildings if one can’t take a bus, train, or sidewalk there? I believe I forgot to mention that there are enough NML employees getting there by car that they built a parking ramp.

As for a commuter train, the closest point of approach for the westernmost rail line, which is used by AMTRAK, is just under 1 1/2 miles. The closest AMTRAK station is 4 1/2 miles away. The closest the KRM, which would be on the easternmost rail line, would get is 4 1/2 miles, with the station being roughly 5 miles away. Further, neither AMTRAK nor the proposed KRM serves (or would serve) Wauwatosa.

P-Mac also hacks away at the idea that light rail would work. Anybody care to guess how much it would take to run a light rail line between Wauwatosa, the downtown Milwaukee NML campus (because we can’t expect NML employees to be bothered by transferring to the streetcar) and the Franklin NML campus?

May 1, 2009

Here come the trains and taxes

(H/T – Charlie Sykes, who properly invokes the BOHICA acronym)

Greg Bump at WisPolitics stayed up late so I wouldn’t have to, and he documented the extent of the screwing of the taxpayers regarding transit by the Democrats of the Joint Finance Committe last night and early this morning:

  • The requirement to get Milwaukee County Board and residential approval to build a light rail system in Milwaukee got stripped out on a party-line 12-4 vote. A related resolution to require a countywide referendum for any entity wanting a light rail system fell on a party-line 4-12 vote.
  • An unelected Milwaukee County Regional Transit Tax Authority, with 2 members selected by the county board chair, 2 by the Milwaukee mayor, and a member selected by the governor (and notably, no members appointed by the Milwaukee County Executive, a theme that selectively repeats itself), will get the authority to create a brand-new 1% sales tax, with 15% going to the city of Milwaukee, and the money going to transit, parks, cultural, and emergecy medical service programs. That went through on an 11-5 vote, with Sen. John Lehman (D-Racine) joining the Republicans.

    Do note the 15% that goes to the city. The current Milwaukee County Transit System has expressed its desire to not operate any light-rail system, and specifically the “Downtown Collector” that got rammed into the federal budget. The city is likely to use that 15% to fund the starter light-rail system.

    Also note the entites that get to appoint the unelected taxing authority. Not only is there no guarantee that a suburban resident will get a seat as no suburban municpality has appointment power, but the executive of Milwaukee County, unlike the executives of the city of Milwaukee and the state, gets no voice.

  • A separate unelected KRM board to run the bigger choo-choo, funded by an indexed-for-inflation $16-per-transaction car rental fee (an 800% increase in the current $2 fee going to the existing Regional Transit Authority) applied to Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha Counties, with 2 members selected by the Milwaukee County board chair (and 0 by the Milwaukee County Executive), 1 member selected by the Racine County board chair (and 0 by the Racine County Executive), 1 member selected by the Kenosha County Executive (and 0 by the Kenosha County board chair), 2 members selected by Milwaukee’s mayor, and 1 member each selected by Racine’s mayor, Kenosha’s mayor and the governor. That passed on a party-line 12-4 vote.

    An attempt to exempt the portion of Racine County west of I-94 (a minimum of 7 miles west of the KRM line, with no transit service between the area west of I-94 and any of the KRM stations) fell on a party-line 4-12 vote. (Revisions/extensions, 11:45 am 5/1/2009) This area, along with the part of Kenosha County west of I-94, was exempted from governor Jim Doyle’s RTA reorganization proposal.

    I wonder why Kenosha County’s executive gets appointment authority, while Racine County’s executive and Milwaukee County’s executive doesn’t. Indeed, that was reinforced on a party-line 4-12 rejection of an amendment to make the Racine and Milwaukee County executives equal to Kenosha County’s. I wonder if there’s a court case to be made here.

    Again, note that there is no guarantee that there will be anybody from a municipality other than Milwaukee, Racine or Kenosha on this unelected taxing authority.

  • Dane County also gets its own unelected Regional Transit Authority. While that also passed on a party-line vote, there are a couple of key differences between it and the Milwaukee County version that really makes my blood boil over the fisting I’m taking in the ‘burbs:
    • The funding sales tax, which would be 0.5%, would require a non-binding referendum.
    • The appointment authorities are vastly different:
      • Two Madison metro residents appointed by the county executive and approved by the county board
      • Two members appointed by Madison’s mayor and approved by Madison’s Common Council
      • One member each from Fitchburg, Middleton and Sun Prairie, appointed by the respective mayors and approved by the respective Common Councils
      • One member appointed by the governor
      • One village member appointed by the Dane County Cities and Villages Association

    You notice anything different between the makeup of the Dane County RTA and the Milwaukee County RTA and the KRM board, like the guaranteed presence of suburban members, or the requirement of approval of the legislative branches, or a role for the county executive?

I’m not exactly hopeful my state Senator, Jeff Plale (D-South Milwaukee) will either remember that he once wanted to get rid of sales taxes entirely or kill the RTAs. He is far more afraid of the East Side/UWM liberals than he is of outraged taxpayers. After all, someone who had to drop out because he committed vote fraud got 26% of the vote in the 2006 Democrat primary.

March 30, 2009

4-Blocking U-Haul “one-way” rates

by @ 8:51. Filed under Politics - Milwaukee.

Tom McMahon does it again

Normally, I would close comments when I borrow Tom’s stuff; however, there is something to add this time. In addition to, and indeed, related to the supply-and-demand note from Eugene, there is another reason why it costs so much more money to get a U-Haul truck outbound than inbound. U-Haul sees it likely that trucks inbound to Milwaukee will return to their points of origin full and paid for by somebody using that truck, while it sees it likeky that trucks outbound from Milwaukee will need to have somebody paid by U-Haul to return that truck to Milwaukee.

I believe former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson said it best: “When the last company leaves Wisconsin, please turn off the lights.” Of course, with the Doyle/Spendocrat “energy” plan, it is likely that the lights will be off before that happens.

Revisions/extensions (12:10 pm 3/30/2009) - In the comments, HeatherRadish suggested looking up one-way rates between Milwaukee and places like Detroit, Buffalo, Philadelphia and LA. These are all for pickup of a 26′ U-Haul truck on 4/4/2009:

Milwaukee-to-Detroit – $542
Detroit-to-Milwaukee – $735

Milwaukee-to-Buffalo – $997
Buffalo-to-Milwaukee – $720

Milwaukee-to-Philadelphia – $956
Philadelphia-to-Milwaukee – $1,072

Milwaukee-to-Los Angeles – $1,788
Los Angeles-to-Milwaukee – $2,026

January 7, 2009

First high-profile victim of the Milwaukee sick-leave ordinance – Heinemann’s

by @ 18:09. Filed under Business, Politics - Milwaukee.

The overpopulated restaurant market explains the closure of Heinemann’s Fox Point and Brookfield restaurants, but there is an interesting line in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story that relates to its Milwaukee restuarant and commissary –

(Heinemann’s co-owner Peggy) Burns also blamed the new Milwaukee ordinance that requires employers in the city to provide sick days to their workers.

I’m shocked, SHOCKED that a business that operates at the margin would go under because it is being forced to pay for 9 days of paid sick leave vacation.

Revisions/extensions (8:30 pm 1/7/2009) - I need a copy editor.

November 5, 2008

Very painful night

Welcome to the Wisconsin Socialist Collective of the United Socialist States of America. Yes, the people have spoken, and by a margin that, at least in Wisconsin, is beyond the margin of fraud, we’re about to head down the path of Eastern Europe circa 1985.

The Democrats have handily taken over the Assembly. Even without the still-close races in the 43rd (the Dem is leading by 304 votes with a precinct still to report), 47th (the 28-vote margin the Republican has will in all likelyhood be challenged), and the 67th (where ex-“Republican” Jeff Wood, whose future caucusing preferences are unknown, won by 175 votes), they have a 6-seat margin. Here comes the tripling of the sales tax the voters of Milwaukee County demanded. Here comes the socialization of health care the voters of Oak Creek and South Milwaukee demanded. The school referenda that are a mixed bag will be no more; those spending and tax increases, forced in large part to the suddenly-disappearing QEO, will simply fly through without the voters’ say.

The voters have also proven that Wisconsin is as reliably ‘Rat Red (I refuse to call the Dems’ color “blue”; just be thankful I don’t call it the Communist Red that it should be) as Illinois in a statewide election. I can’t argue with the numbers and history. Outside of Tommy Thompson, who had the incumbent factor working for him since 1990, and the fluke of J.B. Van Hollen in 2006, the Republicans have not won a meaningful statewide election since 1986 (no, state treasurer is not meaningful and besides, we now have a part-time Boston Store clerk Dem as state treasurer). Moreover, Barack Obama’s 376,000-vote margin was well beyond the 55,000 fraudulent vote estimate from John Fund.

On to the national scene – the Dems proved that popularity is extremely overrated. They were rewarded for being at the helm of the “least-popular” Congress ever with an absolute, no-Joe-Lieberman-needed majority in the Senate, and an increased majority in the House. When combined with two of the most-liberal of their number in the executive branch, that means every liberal pipe dream will be enacted, from the overturning of every previously-allowed limitation on abortion (which Obama promised will be the first thing he signs), to a forced increase in union rolls, to the elimination of the private retirement system. While the damage to the Supreme Court, at least in Obama’s first term, will likely be limited to granting the liberal seats a 30-year extension (barring something happening to either Justice Kennedy or the 4 conservatives), the lower courts will become far more liberal as the Dem-caused vacancy crisis is suddenly filled with Lawgivers-In-Black.

Still, the night’s biggest losers weren’t conservatives, Republicans, or even the people of this country. They were Jeff Wood and Joe Lieberman. First, I’ll take the case of Wood. He burned his bridges with the Republican Assembly caucus when he decided to bolt. Because the Democrats won’t need his vote to get anything they want done in the Assembly done, he’s a man without a caucus.

Similarily, Joe Lieberman is no longer necessary to keep the Dems in power in the US Senate. While, at the moment, the filibuster survives because the Dems didn’t get to 60 in their caucus, and won’t regardless of where Lieberman caucuses, I don’t expect the filibuster to survive the next Congress. The Democrats will be under enormous pressure to get their one-party socialism agenda done before 2011, partly because that is what the nutroots demand, and partly because without a quick-cementing of power, the pendulum will swing back and smack them upside the head.

I can’t be all negative, however. Paul Ryan handily won re-election, Michelle Bachmann in Minnesota hung on, Mark Honadel made a miraculous comeback to hang onto his seat (I thought it lost when he was down 10 points with 16 of 24 precincts reporting), Bill Kramer and Leah Vukmir will be back in the Assembly, and there is one last day of sunny Indian summer left in the land of cheese and beer. If we are going to truly repeat American history, which has twice rejected permanent one-Democratic Party rule, we have to build on those few successes.

November 4, 2008

Election Night Drunkblog

I’ll be starting at the Sam Adams forward observation post, and moving to Papa’s for Drinking Right somewhere around 7. Since the first polls close at 6, that’s when the fun starts.

I’ll be taking requests for races to follow (or at least try to follow between drinks).

Election Day plans

I will be working with the Sam Adams Alliance and several other bloggers to report on voter/election fraud in and around Milwaukee until about 7 pm. Please stay tuned to this place, Vote Fraud Squad, and the #voterfraud hashtag on Twitter.

If you have any tips, please e-mail me at votefraud@norunnyeggs.com.

November 3, 2008

The not-so-awaited Egg endorsements

I’ll start down the ticket because I can with a quick revision/extension at 9:55 pm 11/3/2008 to add most no-challenger races

Various advisory referenda in Wisconsin asking for government-provided health care, including Oak CreekNo. This is a back-door attempt to try to bully the Legislature into adopting universal health care in Wisconsin. The one plan that meets the suggestion of the standard referendum, Healthy (and Depopulated) Wisconsin, comes with a price tag that would double the tax burden in Wisconsin.

The Milwaukee County sales tax advisory referendum asking for a tripling of the county sales tax to 1.5%No. Even the supporters admit that this is a $65 million-$80 million tax increase. That is assuming that, if that tripling is authorized by the state, half of the receipts would go to property tax “relief”. If not, and all indications including historical are that it won’t, it’s a $130 million-$160 million tax increase in a county where a $200 item would become cheaper to purchase outside the county.

The city of Milwaukee direct legislation asking for paid sick leave to be imposed on all businesses in the cityNo. Another 9 days of vacation will drive what’s left of business out of Milwaukee. How bad is it? Even the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel came out against it.

Various school building and tax-increase referendaNo. At the risk of being called Dr. No, a time when the economy is at best tightening is not the time to be building new Taj Mahals for the teachers and administrators. Kids won’t know the difference between a 40-year-old building and a shiny new one, at least if the school districts wanted to do maintenance instead of create a “crisis”.

21st Assembly DistrictMark Honadel The math is simple; Honadel wants a stable-to-lower tax burden. Brower wants an ever-higher tax and regulatory burden.

14th Assembly DistrictLeah Vukmir

57th Assembly DistrictJo Egelhoff

97th Assembly DistrictBill Kramer

Any other Assembly or state Senate race I missedThe Republican Folks, I’ll put this in simple terms. The Democrats, should they gain complete control of state government, will make this a regulatory and tax hell. From Healthy (and Depopulated) Wisconsin to Gorebal “Warming” to a complete lifting of whatever property tax limits are in place, they promise more-expensive government.

Any other race where only one party or the other is represented except the 5th Congressional (specifically the Waukesha County District Attorney race)Dave Casper (write-in) Asian Badger pointed out in the comments I missed the idiot DA in Waukesha County. That’s probably because I don’t live there, but I’ll correct that oversight and give Dave a second chance for a victory party.

1st Congressional DistrictPaul Ryan Yes, Ryan is my Congressman. He is also a visionary who isn’t afraid to touch the third rail of entitlements.

8th Congressional DistrictJohn Gard Gard frankly got screwed two years ago. Those of you in northeast Wisconsin have seen subpar representation out of Kagen, and this is your best and probably last chance to oust him.

Any other Congressional race out thereThe Republican (with the exceptions of Don Young and Ted Stevens, where I recommend a write-in) This will be much like my state Legislature endorsement. The current crop of Democrats are chomping at the bit to turn us into Cuba; don’t reward the leaders of the worst Congress ever with more seats.

President/Vice PresidentJohn McCain/Sarah Palin I know I’ll probably be fighting a McCain administration more than I’ll support it. The alternative, a socialization of this country, is too frightening.

August 1, 2008

Where’s that property tax “freeze”?

I could’ve swore that local governments were supposed to be capped to a 3.86% increase in property-tax levies last year. Imagine my surprise when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that property tax levies actually increased by 6.1% in southeast Wisconsin last year, with municipalities increasing their levies by 5.2%. I don’t know what’s worse; the fact that they busted the cap by 33%, or the terming of that 33% busting as a “hold” by the presstitute who wrote the story, Mike Johnson. Hell, I wouldn’t even term the average county increase of 3.4% a “hold”.

July 16, 2008

Another shiv in the back of Milwaukee’s business climate

by @ 19:54. Filed under Business, Politics - Milwaukee.

(H/T – Peter)

JSOnline’s DayWatch reports that the various groups seeking to impose mandatory paid sick leave on every private-sector employer in Milwaukee via direct legislation had enough signatures verified. Businesses with more than 10 employees would be required to provide an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, or 9 full days (72 hours) for a full-time employee, while small businesses would have their liability capped at 5 full days (40 hours). Employees would also be able to bank the time, but not take more than 72 hours per year.

Since this is direct legislation, the only way this can be stopped is if the Common Council decides to let the voters have their say, and then the voters reject it. The Council cannot otherwise do anything other than adopt it as-is.

Welcome to France.

April 22, 2008

Polar opposites on phone taxes

Just when I thought there were no real differences left in the two halves of the bipartisan Party-In-Government, Sen. and certain Republican Presidential nominee John McCain and the tag team of Milwaukee mayor John Norquist, Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm, and governor Jim “Craps” Doyle (WEAC/Potawatomi-For Sale) prove me wrong. First, the local ‘Rats from Sunday’s Journal Sentinel story:

Barrett, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and Police Chief Edward Flynn are asking Gov. Jim Doyle and the Legislature to give municipalities control over the 911 telephone surcharge that is supposed to expire Nov. 30. They’re hoping to add that provision to the budget-repair bill now under consideration….

The surcharge on cellular telephone users was created in 2005 to cover the costs of technology to pinpoint the locations of cell phones during calls to the 911 emergency number. Montgomery said that technology has saved at least 15 lives statewide.

The fee started at 83 cents a month, rose to 92 cents in 2006 and then dropped this year to 43 cents.

But before the fee expires, Barrett wants lawmakers to authorize municipal governments to retain the surcharge and expand it to cover all telephones, including land lines provided by both telephone and cable companies. Milwaukee would be able to boost its charge to a maximum of $1 a month in 2009 and $1.50 a month in future years.

Revenue from the surcharge would help fund the emergency services that respond to 911 calls, a technique that city officials say is also used in Chicago, Baltimore, San Francisco and other major cities. At 50 cents a month, the surcharge would generate more than $2 million a year for Milwaukee, rising to $5.2 million for a $1 charge and $7.8 million for a $1.50 charge….

So, rather than find a way to cut $7.8 million from the bloated city budget, Milwaukee’s idiots want to raise taxes by radically expanding both in scope and amount upon something that is supposed to expire. Excuse me while I hurl, and note that these same Gorons want to keep the Miller Park tax past its supposed sunset date in 2014 so they could play with trains.

Revisions/extensions (4:42 pm 4/22/2008) – Fred notes in the comments there already is a 911 surcharge on landlines. That brings me to another reason why I hate these “small” and numerous charges; it’s all too easy to say, “Just a few shekels more for the chilrun/the elderly/the sick/the pooor/insert ‘disadvantaged’ group here.”

Meanwhile, McCain at least doesn’t like new taxes. From this morning’s Wall Street Journal:

Among the better ideas John McCain announced last week is a ban on new cellphone taxes. For America’s 257 million wireless subscribers, the GOP Presidential candidate is advancing a sensible policy with political punch.

A recent analysis by economist Scott Mackey in the journal State Tax Notes shows that the average monthly tax burden on wireless customers is more than 15% – double the average sales tax burden. In some states, such as New York (big surprise), the total tax bite is more than 20%.

If the pols were exercising even modest restraint, wireless consumers would now be enjoying a reduced tax bill. That’s because in 2006 the IRS stopped applying the Federal Excise Tax on Telecommunications to wireless services. The feds weren’t being generous. After the IRS suffered a series of defeats in federal court, then-Treasury Secretary John Snow ordered the bureaucrats to stop gouging consumers. The language of the law, passed in 1898 to fund the Spanish-American War and rewritten in the 1960s, clearly did not apply to today’s digital services.

But even though that 3% IRS levy has been knocked off the monthly bill, the overall cellphone tax burden is the same 15% it was in 2003. Increased Federal Communications Commission fees to underwrite universal service plus higher state taxes have offset the potential relief for consumers.

The WSJ editorial goes on to note there is a bipartisan (not Party-In-Government, surprisingly) propsal to put a moratorium on new cell phone taxes after listing a few other bizzare attempts by the PIGs to dig deeper into the pocketbook.

April 2, 2008

Spring election instant react

I know a few of you were keeping an eye on the live thread, and I have to thank Pete, Coop and Dad29 for helping me out with the results. I really should be sleeping, but there’s a couple of random thoughts I still need to do:

– Be afraid, Doyle. Be very afraid. An 18-point win for Scott Walker does not bode well for your chances in 2010, stacked Government Accountability Board or not.
– That having been said, other than Walker, Paul Cesarz, Mark Borowski, and Joe Rice (who did not have an opponent), the tax revolt is dead in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Racine Counties. $400,000 for a shed? Why not? $9 million in borrowing for maintenance? Go right ahead. $12 million for a Taj Mahal fire station? You betcha. $66 million for a makeover? Hey, at least it’s not $110 million. You wasted the breathing room we gave you last time? Go ahead, here’s some more.
– Fortunately, it spread further out. Attempts to jack taxes in Germantown, Hartford and Jefferson got shot down.
– Sanity will soon return to the state Supreme Court. Dickie Scruggs’ friends had best find a new state to try to pillage. The bad news; Doyle gets to choose the next judge of Burnett County.
– On the other hand, the same voters who delivered the margin of victory for Justice-elect Gableman decided that in the battle of stinky and extra-smelly, they would take extra-smelly.
– Bold prediction of 2008: there will be a lot of 3-3 ties broken by Hizzoner here in Oak Creek.
– Finally, a blogger makes good on an election. Congratulations, Kathy.
– I hope the guards at the jail Michael McGee-Jackson Jr is at took away his shoelaces; his world is crashing in on him.

April 1, 2008

Wisconsin spring general election live thread

Welcome to the NRE Wisconsin spring general election live thread, covering the non-partisan portion of the 2008 elections. The elections I’m keeping an eye on:

– Wisconsin State Supreme Court – Louis Butler (inc.) vs Michael Gableman
– State constitutional amendment limiting the governor’s use of the line-item veto
– Milwaukee County Executive – Scott Walker (inc.) vs Lena Taylor
– Milwaukee County Board – various races including the 9th
– Jailbird Milwaukee Alderman Michael McGee’s re-election bid
– Kenosha’s 5th Aldermanic race with Kathy Carpenter
– Racine County’s 3rd Supervisory race with Lou D’Abbraccio

February 26, 2008

Milwaukee Police Department in favor of voter ID, no same-day registration

I’m a bit late to the party, as Brian, Charlie, Fred, Owen and Jim Geraghty have already jumped all over MPD’s Special Investigations Unit’s report on the November 2004 election, released this morning. The troubling part is that the entire election apparatus in Milwaukee fouled things up so much, it was nigh impossible to prosecute any individual participating in vote fraud. That goes to something John Washburn noted a while back (paraphrase because I can’t find the exact post right now): it’s the entire system, not individual cases.

Speaking of the system, I’ll repost the recommendations from the SIU (page 26 of the report), interjecting where necessary:

It is the opinion of the Task Force investigators that more than any other recommendation we could make, our investigation has concluded that the one thing that could eliminate a large percentage of fraud or the appreance of fraudulent voting in any given Election is the elimination of the On-Site or Same Day voter registration system. It is the opinion of the Task Force investigators that given the inability of Election Inspectors to check the eligibility of voters (e.g. felons) or in other cases the reluctance of Election Inspectors to check the eligibility of a voter (e.g. verification of information on cards), on the day of any election, there is no other way to ensure that only eligible voters are voting on Election Day. It is our opinion that as it relates to not only the irregularities encountered with the 1305 ‘un-entered’ cards, but with the 2004 Election overall, a time period for the verification of registering voters prior to any Election must be included to ensure that the person registering is an eligible voter. If a verification period would be provided to the Election Commission before any Election, the majority of the problems detailed in this report would not have existed.

That last assumption is assuming, of course, the Election Commission is interested in honest elections. The facts do not exactly support that assumption. I’ll repeat one particularily-troubling item from that paragraph – “…in other cases the reluctance of Election Inspectors to check the eligibility of a voter….”

As it relates to felons, a verification period would have allowed Election Commission employees to check those potential voters registering with an up to date list that could be provided by the State of Wisconsin Department of Corrections. If this would have been done and those persons who are in the Ward book would only be permitted to vote, felons who are ineligible would not have been included.

Again, that assumes that the Election Commission is interested in honest elections. The good news here is that eventually the state-run voter registration list, with a tie to a list from the Department of Corrections, will be online. The bad is, at last check, it isn’t.

Where the “Not in City” voters are concerned, the same verification period would have allowed to (sic) the Election Commission to do the same thing that the Task Force was able to do: confirm or deny that the registering voter was or was not a City of Milwaukee resident. This system would have registered eligible voters mistakenly omitted by the Election Commission, such as the Appleton Avenue family. All members of this family will have to re-register before voting again. This verification period also would have informed those voters who were simply mistakenly voting in Milwaukee that they are not voting in the proper Ward. But, most important, a verification period could have stopped someone such as the ineligible Chicago resident fromvoting in the City of Milwaukee and now will be eligible to cast future, unchallenged, votes.

I’ll note that the Appleton Ave. family’s story is found on page 15. I am familiar with that area of Milwaukee, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how the Election Commission determined that the 11000 block of W. Appleton Ave. (approximately 6200 north), which is just over a half-mile northeast of that family’s previous residence and about 7/8 mile as the crow flies and over a mile as the car drives inside city limits, is not part of the city of Milwaukee.

That episode also points out a potential problem with the statewide voter registration list. If city of Milwaukee employees can’t determine an address is in the city of Milwaukee when there is no doubt an address is in the city, how is a state employee in Madison going to tell that, say, 7121 W. Bluemound Rd. is in Wauwatosa and 7129 W. Bluemound Rd. is in Milwaukee, or in which city the residents at 7125 W. Bluemound Rd. should vote (both Milwaukee and Wauwatosa have tax records with 7125 W. Bluemound Rd. as the address of record).

That example is of a block that was developed and had its city limits locked decades ago. I won’t even go into areas with new construction, like Oak Creek, or in areas where annexation of parcels is still possible.

As an alternative, if On-Site registration is to continue in its present form, then the presentation of a government issued identification card that includes the voter’s name, address (including city) and date of birth should be presented before that person is allowed to register and vote. The inclusion of identifcation alternatives such as a credit card bill, library card, lease, etc., where no photo is provided, does not ensure that the person presenting these types of documents is in fact the person they are asserting to be.

Why merely an alternative to ending same-day registration?

In the absence of any substantive change, it is recommended that the Election Inspectors be provided with adequate training and resources to ensure that they are not allowing persons who live outside of the City of Milwaukee to vote.

Again, that speaks to the apparent lack of interest on the part of the Election Commission to run honest elections. Given that each polling place includes a rather small section of the city, it should not take a lot of training to check addresses given by new registrants against a list of streets and address ranges to determine whether that address is plausible.

The investigators further recommend that after every election, the City of Milwaukee Election Commission fulfill its mandated responsibility to report those occurrences where persons may have violated Wisconsin State Statutes to the Milwaukee County District Attorney.

I believe mhking has the right phrase for this smackdown – “Just damn.” Of course, it also assumes that the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office has a serious interest in honest elections, and history has shown that it doesn’t under the leadership of both former DA E. Michael McCann (known around these parts as McCan’t) and current DA John Chisholm.

November 29, 2007

David Clarke not running for Milwaukee mayor

by @ 18:14. Filed under Politics - Milwaukee.

I had advance warning of Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s announcement that he would not run for mayor of the city of Milwaukee, but due to the circumstances under which I heard it, I kept it under my hat. With what little has been published (the regional news brief is identical to the DayWatch dispatch), I don’t know if I’m at liberty to expand too much on his phrase that the timing isn’t right. I will say that what isn’t right is the makeup of the Common Council.

I am saddened that Sheriff Clarke reached the decision he did, and I had hoped that he would reconsider between the time I found out about it and now, but I understand why he made it.

October 16, 2007

Crying River Flood Warning keeps on getting expanded

Today, it’s the Wisconsin Center District, which (mis)manages the Midwest Airlines Center, making with the waterworks. Head flack Franklyn Gimbel is blaming the lack of a new state budget tax increases at the state level for his inability to beg for increased taxes at the local level to pay for a second expansion of the MAC. The MAC is currently subsidized by a 3% tax on car rentals in Milwaukee County, a 0.25% tax on “restaurant” food and beverage sales (actually applied to all taxable food and beverage sales) in Milwaukee County, a 2% tax on hotel rooms in Milwaukee County and another 7% tax on hotel rooms in the city of Milwaukee.

I have two things to say to Gimbel and company, beyond “No more taxes!”, that is:
– You idiots knew in 1999, before the first expansion was complete, the MAC was undersized and would be undersized after that first expansion.
– Instead of wasting something north of $45 million on turning the old Auditorium into an underutilized “theatre”, you morons could have used that money to complete that planned-for second expansion.

July 29, 2007

Once again, MJS says “cooperation” really means “suburbs feed Milwaukee’s bottomless pits”

Revisions/extensions (6:16 pm 7/30/2007) – I was a bit harsh on Jason Fields. The editorial didn’t have the extended quote from Fields, which provides a reason for his lack of ideas, and I failed to pick it up in the extended excerpt linked to below. Here it is:

Here’s what bothers me whenever we talk about these issues, because I respect and admire everyone in this room. We all agree that it should be about valuing kids, it should be about the child’s education. But once we leave here, we get into these political battles between opponents, but everybody’s saying it’s about the kids, it’s about the kids.

But if I go back and say, “Listen, we need to break up MPS; we need to make it smaller,” I’ll get raked over the coals for saying something like that, even though we all know at this table that’s probably the best idea. . . .

Of course, that brings up a couple of other issues, namely the stranglehold the teachers’ unions have on the ‘Rats, and the lack of courage on the part of Fields to buck that stranglehold.

(H/T – Reaganite)

While everybody’s favorite croc merely focuses on the “metropolitan fiscal control board” portion of this morning’s editorial on the latest round table of community leaders. Let’s expand the focus some and do some fisking (since it’s been, what, 2 weeks since I took a machete to one of their editorials):

The amazing thing was how fast the conversation turned to education. In a discussion last week among key area leaders on regional cooperation, education quickly became the topic of discussion.

The importance of an educated work force, of good schools and of a regional community that places a high value on education was stressed again and again by the nine speakers in a round-table discussion hosted by the Editorial Board. What became immediately clear is that education is not just an issue faced by one school district – Milwaukee Public Schools – or one community.

So why the focus on MPS?

Failure at MPS or any other district affects communities and businesses throughout the region. Everyone in southeastern Wisconsin has a stake in what happens in MPS, in Racine Unified, in the Waukesha School District and in all of the other school districts in the area.

AHHROOOOOGAH! AHHROOOOOOGAH! The BOHICA siren is going off; I hope you’re listening out in Brookfield, Mequon, Germantown, and other assorted out-of-Milwaukee-County locations.

What’s needed is a regional response, which should include more involvement of businesses outside Milwaukee County in MPS and other school districts’ programs, more collaborative efforts such as the Kern Family Foundation and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Lead the Way program and a debate on what fundamental changes need to be made at MPS and other troubled districts, including whether to change their governing structure. Such a debate should be considered for other local governments, the idea being to make them more manageable, more accountable and more in control of their own affairs and budgets.

After all, it is all the gubmint’s money, and there’s no bigger gubmint outside of Madistan than in Milwaukee, so they need EVERYBODY’S cash.

Businessman Sheldon Lubar of the Greater Milwaukee Committee put his finger on the problem early in the discussion: “You cannot reach the levels that I think all of you want to see us reach if you have a dropout rate of 50% of your high school students.”

I’ll point out that the problem isn’t the lack of money. If money is what solves education problems, MPS, RUSD, and the like would be the best districts in the state.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said one of his biggest surprises after taking office was the need to improve work force development. “If there’s one issue where I would love to take this community and shake it by the shoulders, it is how important education is in this world economy now,” he said.

How could he be surprised? Before taking the job of milk-carton photographee, he had spent a bunch of years in perhaps the only city with worse schools than Milwaukee.

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker talked about breaking up MPS into several districts; Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas argued for the need to reduce health care costs, the single biggest driver of government and school district costs; state Rep. Jason Fields (D-Milwaukee) talked about the politics of changing the educational system.

“This issue has been occurring for the last 20 years, but nothing’s been done about it,” Fields said. “If I sit at this table and we all agree that we need to do something, when we leave this room not a damn thing will change, and those black kids, kids in my neighborhood and my community, will still be in the same position.”

Irony, thy name is Jason Fields. Walker suggested something potentially constructive. Vrakas, who doesn’t really have a dog in the MPS fight, suggested something that would free up money. Fields blathered on without any suggestions. Guess who got the extended quote?

That needs to change for the sake of giving those kids a reasonable chance at a better life but also for the sake of southeastern Wisconsin’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.

Again, mo’ money is not the solution.

Other things need to change, too, as the discussion made clear:

Transportation: Barrett and Walker need to come to terms on transportation issues and how to spend $91.5 million in federal funds that has been sitting unused for 16 years. Bringing in a mediator or transportation experts to resolve the dispute, as suggested by Lubar, makes sense. The onus for compromise lies more on Walker, who supports some rail components such as KRM and a regional approach but who needs to push harder for his ideas and who still remains stubbornly opposed to other rail components. Rosemary Potter of Transit NOW was right when she argued that the area needs a truly regional transit system governed by a regional authority and funded in a way that takes the burden off property taxpayers. But judging by the discussion, compromise on transportation issues is a ways off.

No, the onus is on the free-spending choo-choo fans because rail, whether it’s the Milk Carton’s light-rail-lite or the KRM, is not an answer. I’ve previously gone on the record as saying that $91.5 million would be better spent retiring some of the bonds held by Red China, and I’m sticking with it.

Did I not sound the BOHICA alarm? That “truly regional transit system” governed by a “regional authority” is code for Milwaukee dominating everything while the burbs feed the bottomless pit. Morever, we do not need a RTA, especially one which spent all of its money trying to get more.

Water: Compromise needs to be reached on water quality and supply issues; the region can start with the request of New Berlin to obtain Lake Michigan water. Water, as state Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) pointed out, is “our oil” and critical for economic health. There is a good model for agreement – worked out by William Mielke of the Waukesha engineering firm Ruekert & Mielke Inc. – in Racine County for supplying services and sharing the benefits of growth. To his credit, Barrett said such an agreement was possible involving Milwaukee and New Berlin.

Before I comment, I need to find out more about that. Considering the Journtinel supports it, it sounds like BOHICA. Fred? Unreal? Peter? Another of the Racine readers? Could you provide some missing info on this?

Governance: Lubar’s insistence on the need to change the state’s governance structure brought to light a critical issue. Wisconsin’s system of governance is out of date and out of touch. Too many decisions that affect taxes are made by bodies with little or no accountability to the public. Elected officials often have too little say over their costs and revenue. He suggested creating a metropolitan fiscal control board that would have budgetary control over certain entities, such as Milwaukee Public Schools, Miller Park, Milwaukee Area Technical College and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. Margaret Farrow, former lieutenant governor and president of the Waukesha County Action Network, pointed out that a review of the state constitution and of how government works and is paid for in Wisconsin is long overdue.

STOP THE TAPE! There’s so much to hammer here, and Reaganite only hammered one small part. I don’t have time to deliver a lengthy beatdown, so I’ll be brief. The problem is shared revenue, and a metropolitan fiscal control board, dominated by the city of Milwaukee, doling out the cash to “everybody” (I note that only Milwaukee-specific entities are listed) would only make it worse.

Specifically with regard to MPS, I refer you to the title of this piece. All that state aid those of you in Glendale, River Hills, Oak Creek, Brookfield, Thiensville, New Berlin, Union Grove, West Bend, and Oconomowoc (among others) send to MPS isn’t enough for the monster.

Oh, and those of you in Mequon and Germantown can forget about getting out of MATC. Not only aren’t you getting out, everybody else is getting sucked in.

Maybe if we stick Racine, western Waukesha, and northern Ozaukee and Washington Counties in MMSD’s taxing reach, they’ll finally build a deep-enough tunnel. NAH!

Economic development and basic cooperation: Asked what he’d like to point to as an achievement a year from now, attorney and former state Commerce Secretary Cory Nettles suggested creating a “regional top 10 collaborative list, and to make the list, you would have to very clearly demonstrate your impact in creating jobs within the region and reducing the cost of government.”

Allow me to start – lower spending. Oh, that’s right; we’re talking about PIGs in gubmint.

A good idea. What’s needed, as several speakers pointed out, are fewer words and more action. Certainly, the work of the Milwaukee 7 on regional economic development has been groundbreaking, but regional leaders have to build on those efforts to keep that momentum going.

Oh, it’s been groundbreaking all right. Everybody out of state is breaking ground…

Bickering among ourselves in southeastern Wisconsin does nothing to help us compete against Southeast Asia or the rest of the world. We must get our act together.

…especially in Southeast Asia. Part of that’s federal because they’ve listened to the likes of the Journtinel idiotorial board for many moons. Do we want to listen to that kind of advice and turn southeast WisTAXsin into so much a tax hell, the rest of the state looks attractive by comparison?

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