Michael Horne
The Roundup

Race For Governor is On!

By - Dec 13th, 2004 12:00 pm
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Well, it is official. The race for Governor is on. We know this not from the many public appearances of many candidates who envision themselves the new occupants of the Executive Mansion, since they’re too coy to fess up. For instance, Scott Walker’s fundraiser last week, ostensibly to continue his distinguished service in the County Executive’s office was widely regarded as a ploy to raise money for a Madison bid, but we remained free to imagine it was not.

Well, leave it for the incumbent governor – Jim Doyle – to officially kick off the campaign season with a letter to his supporters leaving no doubt of his intentions. In the governor’s own words, “It’s been less than two years since my inauguration, but the 2006 race for Governor has already begun.”

He begins the letter smoothly enough – telling Wisconsin democrats that they did a Great Job keeping the Dairy state in the democratic column. Then, he asks for suggestions on how we can do better the next time around. Nice touch!

He even gives us an email address to send our suggestions. Smooth!

“We plan to use your feedback to help develop our strategy for 2006,” the governor writes. “As always, you will continue to play a critical role in how we plan our campaign and your help will be the backbone of our victories in the future.”

You see, he cares!

Then, he spoils Christmas for us, because it seems Governor Doyle’s reelection committee needs our money NOW! – before the end of the year!

This is urgent!

Here’s how he puts it: “It seems early to already be back asking for your financial support, but we need to show potential opponents how committed we are to retaining the Governor’s Office right now as they are lining up support to run.

“I need a strong showing at the end of this campaign finance period on December 31st. A strong report will go a long way in the way that pundits and the press assess the coming race. Can I count on your support of $250, $100, $50 or whatever you can afford?”

Of course the Governor is aware he is dealing with mortals, and seems concerned that our preparations for the holidays might distract us from donating whatever we can afford to his cause, so he reminds us as follows:

“With the holidays coming when everyone gets busy, please take a moment to help today. You can make your donation on my redesigned website at www.jimdoyle.org.”

Why don’t you do so right now? Surely your children will understand if you simply explain that Santa had other priorities this year.

Here Comes The Judge

Governor Jim Doyle has scored his fourth Milwaukee County Circuit Court appointment with the announcement that Paul Van Grundsven would be elevated to the bench. Van Grundsven’s investiture will be in the Ceremonial Courtroom – Room 500 – at the courthouse. The event will be at Noon, Friday, December 17th. … David Halbrooks has begun circulating nomination papers for his planned return to the Municipal Court bench. He will follow his usual strategy of knocking on doors and showing up at events in his bid to defeat Valarie Hill, the woman who beat him for the seat he held that formerly belonged to Vince Bobot who resigned it to run for Mayor.

Halbrooks says he has already received the endorsement of the Milwaukee Police Association.

Here Comes Santa

I will be Santa Claus once again on Brady Street this year, beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 17th, when Santa will escort the carolers of Three Holy Women Parish on their rounds of the Brady Street merchants. Annette French of Dragonfly will kindly let me add one more season’s use to her Santa outfit, while Heidi Calaway of Vieux et Nouveaux has been busy choreographing the event, which will include a lighting of the Christmas tree at the firehouse across the street at Brady and Franklin Place. This should be an evening of good cheer, and Santa will be on his best behavior, you can be assured.

Kohl’s White Sale

The Milwaukee Courier, in its edition of Saturday, December 11th, has a full page “Warning.”

“T-Mobile and Kohl’s Discriminates against African American Newspapers,” the headline reads.

According to the Courier, the community should not spend its money at these two entities. (Black People, Wake Up! Do Not Shop At T-Mobile Kohl’s,” is the way the paper puts it.)

Why?

Again, according to the ad, “In 2003, T-Mobile spent less than $25 thousand advertising in African American newspapers and Kohl’s spent nothing while both spent over $250 million with white newspapers during the same period.”

According to the ad, the firms do not advertise with black newspapers because “they say black people don’t read and that white newspapers reach the black community more effectively than black newspapers.”

This indeed seems unfair. A much better reason for not advertising in black newspapers is that they are so poorly written and contain very little of what we would call news, and even less of what we would call “features,” or “entertainment.” Then again, the same criticism could readily be leveled at white newspapers.

Still, one must admire the Courier for its audacity in a virile espousal of its sense of entitlement.

I don’t know if any newspaper has ever publicly said it “deserves” certain advertisements, so that’s nervy. Chances are, the Courier is right, and the merchants are wrong for neglecting these important outlets, strictly from a marketing standpoint.

OIC Investigation Continued

The Journal Sentinel wrote a puff piece on OIC-GM Monday, December 13 in which it rehashed some – a very, very few – of the complaints against the agency.

So, it is time for milwaukeeworld.com to do a little more work to tell you about the stories you are not being told by the daily paper, despite the facts being right before their very eyes in readily-accessible documents.

Let’s see – have we mentioned that OIC paid $11,400 in rent to Carl A. Gee, its former president in 2003?

Since one of OIC’s strategies to get out of its difficult situation is to sell some of its real estate, it would be nice to know what real estate it owns, and which is under the control – still – of Gee, who probably won’t need much real estate where he is going.

Penelope McGee made $69,000 at OIC last year. Why is that name familiar?

We must also talk about the pallet company that OIC owned, and a real investigator with subpoena powers should study its books, and then we should go down to City Hall and check out the records of the Turning Point – remember that tavern? It had OIC ties. So much to do!

Also, we must investigate the Garfield Foundation, and look for its ties to OIC and Gee. And while we are at it, what can we learn about OIC Investment Associates, which paid $170,000 to Atlantic Broadcasting Company, a George front?

And then, we all remember that Dave Begel was accused of soliciting signatures for Gary George’s gubernatorial campaign on state time.

Isn’t it time we mention – and I can prove this one – that Begel wasn’t soliciting campaign signatures as much as he was forging them? Go back to the files and take a look – that is Begel’s handwriting all over.

(Mr. Begel refused to comment on this matter. He also refused to cooperate with state investigators on certain aspects of the George story.)

Gary George should join a prison choir, because there is a whole lot of singing going on right now. The delay in Carl Gee’s sentencing to January should give him a chance to “sing” a bit more too. Soon everybody will be in tune.

Todd Robert Murphy Still Being Investigated: Colon’s Plan

As we told you here long before anybody wrote about it, there is a curious connection between OIC and Todd Robert Murphy and Gary George. Namely, OIC paid money to Todd Robert Murphy for “PR” services, and Murphy paid Gary George. We also mentioned that the connection is being investigated by the U.S. Attorney. According to Spivak and Bice in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sunday December 12th, it was they who told you about the OIC-TRM-GG connection, so forget I ever mentioned it, even though I did so weeks before these cats.

People wonder, “how is Todd Robert doing financially?” and I wonder too, especially if he has to pay money under the table to corrupt politicians.

The best I can tell you is that from the beginning of January, 1996 to the end of March of that year, Murphy paid himself a salary of $2,500 per month, which could be considered modest.

At the end of the month, he gave himself a raise to $4,166.66 per month, which probably helped him with his bills on his way to greatness.

Regrettably, I do not have more recent salary information on Mr. Murphy, but I would gladly share it if I did.

Pedro Colon enters this story because I have been thwarted in getting information about Murphy’s contracts with OIC-GM since some of the contracts are not subject, apparently, to an open records request since they did not involve government money, if you can believe that.

Colon points out that he might like to introduce legislation that would force all of OIC’s books to be open since, as he put it, “it is the government contracts that give them the opportunity to expand into all the other businesses they are in.”

Photo ID’S Required at Library

Here is one more chance for you to pose for government officials. Back in August the Milwaukee Public Library announced that photo identification will be required to check out materials from the library. The policy goes into effect on January 4th 2005 – the first day of the new year that the library will be open.

According to library officials the policy came after recommendations from library staff concerned about maintaining the integrity of the library’s collections and to see that materials remain accessible to patrons.

It is not a Department of Homeland Security mandate, we are assured. Patrons will have a choice to present their Wisconsin photographic identification or opt to have the library staff photograph them.

The photograph will be retained with the patron’s records, but will not be imprinted on the library cards.

The library mentions that people who lose their identification will notify credit card agencies, banks, and government offices like the DMV and Social Security, “but they never remember to call the library.

“Then, after a few weeks they get these bills in the mail and wonder, ‘what’s this?’”

The photographic identification should limit the number of attempts to fraudulently check out (steal) items from cards found or stolen.

The mayor will make it official at a 9:30 a.m. news conference Wednesday, December 15th at the Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave. Be there!

That Dam Bridge Finally Opens

It appears the last element of the Dam bridge is finally in place — the lighting for the structure that rides atop the ruins of the demised dam across the Milwaukee River. The dam was broached in the late 1990’s and has since allowed the Milwaukee River to return to is original banks after a century and a half of inundation. Many years ago a pedestrian walkway surmounted the dam, but that was demolished long ago, probably during a 1950 project.

Now, we can walk across the structure once again, and this time in style. The new bridge features light standards that are attached to the bridge at a rakish angle, and are the structure’s most notable architectural feature. The bridge’s railings and structure are of CorTen steel, designed to patinate over the years. The walls of the bridge are made of vertical elements. Even the shortest dam pedestrian, or one on a stroller or wheelchair, will be able to see through the wall to enjoy the scene, which is about as spectacular as a river can get hereabouts.

A neighbor wondered when the first joint will be smoked on the span. Sorry, but I’m not the type to carry a watch.

If you would like to set your clock for the dedication ceremony for the event, then show up at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the site, which you can now approach from either Caesars Park or N. Riverboat Road. The Riverboat Road site is accessible by wheelchair. Mayor Barrett will be there and hot chocolate will be served!

Only one home remains on Riverboat Road. Two old houses were torn down there last month. However, Barry Mandel’s new condo project is taking shape along the steep bluffs there.

While you are in the neighborhood, head south on N. Water Street where the demolition of the old Gallun Tannery is underway. This is a huge project, and many of the Cream City bricks are being salvaged. The view across the river, hidden from us for 120 years or so, is awesome.

MilwaukeeWorld is Host to Major Art Event this Weekend

The penthouse of the Wells Fargo building, 735 West Wisconsin Avenue, will be the site of the Leo Feldman X: The Holiday Craft Show from 6 – 11 p.m. Saturday December 18th. The annual campy show will feature the most entertaining Christmas Craft items and a broad spectrum of Milwaukee’s demimonde, including Bob Watt as Santa, Jimmy von Milwaukee as host, and milwaukeeworld as sponsor. Musical entertainment will be by Master Zaster Blaster, all the way from Riverwest.

Also, all the way from Manitowoc will be Shimon and Lindemann whose book “Season’s Gleamings” has been flying off the shelves and has been featured in USA Today, the New York Times, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NPR and on other media outlets.

I will be milling around, trying to drum up interest in my etchings. Or pastels. Or craft works.

Five dollars gets you in the door.

Refreshments will be served.

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