TCD’s week in review
Obama and Baldwin see a jump in recent poll numbers, Lt. Brian Murphy makes a public appearance, and Act 10 gets shot down but the confusion continues.
Lt. Brian Murphy
The first officer at the scene at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek on Aug. 5 made his first public appearance on Sunday, Sept. 16, at Classic Lanes, across the street from the temple. He was there for a car show benefitting victims of the shooting. It was also his birthday. In the video on Fox 6, he said, “You don’t know how nice it is to see my birthday. I don’t mind getting older now.”
Lt. Brian Murphy spent weeks at Froedetert Hospital after he was shot more than a dozen times at close range by gunman Wade Michael Page. Murphy is still recovering after being released from the hospital on Aug. 22.
“I just wanted to let everyone know how appreciative I am my family is for your kindness prayers, and support it means so much to us,” said Murphy.
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin flipped the script on former governor Tommy Thompson in the latest Marquette University Law Poll. The poll has Baldwin with 50 percent of the vote and Thompson with 41. In the August poll, the opposite was the case, as the first poll following the GOP Primary had Thompson with a 50-41 lead. The change is being attributed to a shift by independent voters. According to the results, “In August independents preferred Thompson by 47 percent to 37 percent among likely Wisconsin voters. That reversed in September, with independents supporting Baldwin by 50 percent to 38 percent.”
Common Council Creativity
A Milwaukee Common Council committee, led by alderman Michael Murphy, endorsed a new plan for generating revenue on Wednesday. The plan would explore the possibility of selling sponsorships, advertising and naming rights for city property to companies and nonprofits. Noted possibilities for this “Civic Partnership Initiative” include selling space on trash and recycling bins, city vehicles, parking garages, parking meters, and city-owned buildings. Alderman Murphy cites New York City’s $33 million partnership with Snapple as the city’s “official beverage” as a way this type of advertising has been effective. While it’s a good sign that the Common Council is exploring creative new possibilities for bringing in revenue, it’s important to tread carefully and be mindful of any potential dystopian elements at play. I mean, we wouldn’t want the future of Milwaukee to look like this, would we?
Milwaukee Public Schools announced this week a new partnership with Junior Achievement of Wisconsin aimed at teaching 8th graders the basics and benefits of personal finance. The program, JA Finance Park Learning Journey, is a three-year partnership and will educate all 8th grade students in the district on basic financial concepts and additional “career exploration.” In the press release, Junior Achievement of Wisconsin president Tim Greinert said, “The students will create a budget, allocate expenses and make personal investments. They become the sole providers for a family and must accommodate the family needs without overspending.”
Wisconsin Avenue Bridge Celebration
On the newly-reopened Wisconsin Avenue Bridge this Saturday, ART Milwaukee and NEWaukee present the Wisconsin Avenue Bridge Celebration and Riverwalk Art Walk from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. As is often the case with ART Milwaukee/NEWaukee events, there’s a lot going on. The Riverwalk Art Walk from 12-6 features gallery showings from more than 40 artists, there’s two stages of live music featuring great local bands like I’m Not A Pilot and Kane Place Record Club, a boat parade, performances from Danceworks, and lots of good food and drinks from downtown favorites like John Hawks Pub and Mo’s Irish Pub. It’ll be a busy day in downtown Milwaukee, with Doors Open Milwaukee also happening on Saturday (and Sunday) , and President Barack Obama will be campaigning at the Summerfest Grounds before hosting a fundraiser with Henry Aaron at the Milwaukee Theatre. Quite the day, Milwaukee.
Last Friday, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas ruled against parts of Act 10, the state’s law ending collective bargaining rights for public employees, saying it violates both the state and U.S. Constitution. Gov. Scott Walker responded by (predictably) calling Colas a “liberal activist judge” and said, “We are confident that the state will ultimately prevail in the appeals process.” It was not clear on Monday what this ruling means for school and government employee unions. On Tuesday, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen requested the ruling be put on hold pending appeal, and the appeal was then filed by the state Department of Justice. On Wednesday, Judge Colas said he will issue a written ruling on Van Hollen’s request, but did not say when a decision will be issued. The confusion, not the ruling, is the loser here, and if the history of the Act 10 debate is any indication, the confusion is far from over.
State Medicaid budget
An additional $650 million is needed to cover Medicaid expenses in the next state budget. Wisconsin health secretary Dennis Smith submitted the request after Gov. Walker told state agencies to submit budget requests with no spending increases. Smith’s proposals do not include any changes in benefits, but are due to rising costs as more people are using the state’s Medicaid services. The proposal does not reflect any changes from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which despite being upheld by the Supreme Court, is not being implemented by Gov. Walker.
Poverty in Milwaukee
29.4 percent of Milwaukee citizens lived in poverty in 2011, making the city one of the most impoverished in the nation, according to recent figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The poverty rate indicates a household income for a family of four that is roughly 22,000 per year. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “In all, 171,500 city residents, including 67,229 children, lived in poverty last year.”
The Mukwonago school lunch boycott
New requirements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that limit calories to 850 and raise prices for school lunches were boycotted this week by students in Mukwonago High School. The amount of school lunches served at the cafeteria decreased from an average of 830 to 290 on Monday, the day of the protest. The tipping point that led to the boycott? Garlic bread. Food Service Supervisor Pam Harris had this to say: “The portion of garlic bread was cut in half, or a little less than half, and that’s such a popular item that it was really noticeable. I think it really pushed some of our kids over the edge.”
It was a not a good week for the Republican presidential candidate, and it’s showing in the polls here in the swing state of Wisconsin. The Marquette University Law Poll has President Obama with a 14-point lead over the former governor of Massachusetts, which is on the high end of many recent polls. The Real Clear Politics poll average in Wisconsin has Obama with a seven percent lead, and Talking Points Memo‘s PollTracker has Obama with a 6.4 percent lead. Romney got a slight increase in state polls when Paul Ryan joined the ticket, but that has quickly disappeared.