TCD’s week in review (5/04/12)
1. The Governor’s election fund
During the Dec. 11 – Jan. 17 campaign filing period, Governor Scott Walker raised a record $4.6 million in his efforts to remain governor. Walker more than doubled that record by raising more than $13 million in the most recent stretch (Jan. 18 – April 23). More than two-thirds of Walker’s funds come from outside the state of Wisconsin, with more than $1 million coming from each of the following states: Texas ($1.6 million), Illinois ($1.4 million), Florida ($1.3 million), California ($1.2 million) and Missouri ($1 million). Tom Barrett has not yet raised $1 million for his campaign.
In 2006, the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and other community partners started the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. On Thursday, the initiative was awarded the Common Good Award for Advancing Health during the United Way Worldwide Community Leaders Conference in Nashville. Milwaukee showed a 31 percent decline in teen pregnancies between 2006 and fall of 2011. The goal is to reduce pregnancies by 46 percent by 2016, and in Nashville, the initiative was honored as a national model for community collaboration.
The Marquette University Law School poll released this week shows Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett as the frontrunner to win the Democratic nomination for the upcoming gubernatorial election. Barrett, polling at 38 percent, leads closest challenger former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk (21 percent), Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug LaFollette, (8 percent) and State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (6 percent). 19 percent remain undecided. Where does Barrett stack up against Walker? In the report, Marquette Law School Poll Director Charles Franklin noted, “The contest is now essentially a tie.”
The Milwaukee Housing Authority is partnering with Growing Power to create 30,000 square feet of community gardens at the newly revitalized Westlawn housing project. The first residents to move back into Westlawn, the state’s largest housing project, arrived on Monday. (For more on the Westlawn project, see TCD’s story from November, 2011.)
Through a cooperative effort between the Oshkosh-area business community and two of Wisconsin’s veteran politicians, Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl and Republican Rep. Tom Petri, US 41 will graduate from state highway to federal interstate by the year 2014.
According to the aforementioned Marquette University Law poll, 29 percent of those surveyed “say there is someone they have stopped talking to about politics due to disagreements over Walker or the recall.”
2. Kathleen Falk
While few expected Doug LaFollette or Kathleen Vinehout to emerge as contenders in the upcoming primary, Kathleen Falk‘s campaign looks to be ending at roughly the same time. Though 19 percent of voters are undecided, Falk has to close a margin of 17 percentage points by Tuesday’s primary. Over the last few months, the labor-backed group Wisconsin for Falk spent $3.9 million. The four Democratic gubernatorial candidates will debate this Friday.
3. Sgt. Philip Wentzel
A high-ranking Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputy, Sgt. Philip Wentzel, is facing child pornography charges and is being held in federal custody. Wentzel faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Wentzel’s attorney said, “He has cooperated fully with the FBI. This is not a new allegation. This is a new charge, but the allegation takes place over a year ago.”
4. Transform Milwaukee
Earlier this week, Gov. Walker unveiled a new economic plan for Milwaukee’s poorest neighborhoods. The program, “Transform Milwaukee,” will center on the 30th Street Corridor, and aims to bring in new business to revitalize the area. The area’s state representative, Tamara Grigsby, ranking member of the Joint Finance Committee, said in a press release, “I can’t help but think that this ‘new’ plan for Milwaukee is just another gimmick to improve Walker’s image,” and mentioned the downsizing of 30th Street Corridor business Talgo Inc. after Walker rejected $810 million in funds for high speed rail. Though the area is certainly in need of a “transformation,” building a long term sustainable workforce in an area that currently has the state’s highest unemployment rates seems unlikely when you consider the latest round of cuts to Milwaukee Public Schools — it plans to eliminate more than 400 full-time jobs for the 2012-2013 school year under the current budget.
Despite Ryan Braun’s three home run night in San Diego on Monday, it was a rough week for the Brew Crew. The team lost a winnable road series against the Padres, getting shut out in the final two games. Making matters worse, former Brewers pinata Jeff Suppan pitched five scoreless innings en route to a Padres win on Wednesday. Also making matters worse, theoretical starting first baseman Mat Gamel tore his ACL and is out for the season.
I haven’t hit the panic button just yet, but I’m quite familiar with its location.