Bob Donovan
Press Release

Abele’s “asinine” comment regarding Public Safety Action Plan way off base

Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan September 6, 2016

By - Sep 6th, 2016 09:41 am
Chris Abele and Bob Donovan.Chris Abele and Bob Donovan.

Chris Abele and Bob Donovan.

Typically I would not comment on an individual who over the years I’ve given little thought to, but since as reported last night on the CBS 58 newscast, County Executive Abele referred to the Common Council’s proposed Public Safety Action Plan as “asinine” I feel compelled to do so.

Let me begin by saying this: The Public Safety Committee that I chair was charged with the responsibility of reviewing, analyzing and making recommendations to improve policing and the criminal justice system within the City of Milwaukee. No more, no less.

Period. End of story.

That’s what we were asked to do and that’s precisely what we delivered on. Plans involving jobs and economic development, youth programming, education, and community engagement will be forthcoming.

Now I can certainly understand the County Executive’s desire to deep six this plan because it sadly points out some glaring deficiencies in his own administration. But to call the plan “asinine” is a bit overboard.

So, let’s take a deep breath, a step back, and a closer look.

Is it “asinine” to want to hold criminals accountable for their own criminal behavior? Is it “asinine” to want more beat cops patrolling our neighborhoods on foot or bike? These same officers — day in and day out — getting to know the very people they are protecting and vice versa. After all, studies indicate there is no better way to improve police-community relations.

Is it “asinine” to want a local, better managed secure detention facility for our youth as an alternative to Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake?

Is it “asinine” to want to target in on the worst of the worst when it comes to gun violence – all in an effort to get these individuals off our streets and to end this senseless carnage?

Is it “asinine” to want and call for a high level of safety by addressing street drug dealing, prostitution and reckless driving – some of the everyday things tearing at the very fabric of our once proud neighborhoods?

All of these issues are included in our plan, and of course none of it is “asinine.” You know it, and I know it.

So let me tell you what is “asinine.”

It’s asinine for some public officials to continue to embrace public policies and pander to special interests.

It’s asinine for the County Executive to implement and even expand upon policies and procedures without any clue as to the success or failure of those same policies (sadly, this was pointed out to the committee by his own staff!).

It’s asinine for the County Executive to support policies that jeopardize the safety of our citizens by placing repeat, chronic offenders on ankle bracelets and GPS tracking only to see these individuals commit more crimes and bring additional terror and trauma to our neighborhoods.

It’s asinine for the County Executive to trash a plan when in all of his years in office he’s never offered one of his own (other than to continue with policies that have actually contributed to the very mess that we are trying to clean up). He is satisfied with the status quo; I am not.

Something else is “asinine” and it’s this: That this community continues to elect – as C.S. Lewis would say – “Men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise.”

And finally, this, too, is “asinine”: That the County Executive forgot the sage political advice he ought to live by…

“It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open up and remove all doubt.”

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20 thoughts on “Abele’s “asinine” comment regarding Public Safety Action Plan way off base”

  1. Vincent Hanna says:

    “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open up and remove all doubt.”

    WCD uses this one all the time, and neither one ever takes their own advice.

  2. alba says:

    Donovan, you are thin-skinned blowhard. Get back to work.

  3. Rich says:

    It is “asinine” to continue to operate solely in your little silo as if you have unlimited funding and “more cops” is the answer to everything.

  4. Frank Galvan says:

    Little Trump.

  5. David says:

    How much would Bob raise our property taxes to get safer neighborhoods? I’m all for it, but let’s be honest about the cost.

  6. David Nelson says:

    Where to begin.

    “Typically I would not comment on an individual who over the years I’ve given little thought to”. This statement is not true. I say this without being able to read another person’s mind. Any political animal in the area has put considerable thought into Abele. He is too prominent a figure to do otherwise, regardless of what one thinks about him. In other words, Donovan begins with a spin, one that is a blatant attempt to reduce a political opponent’s stature.

    “It’s asinine for some public officials to continue to embrace public policies…” This chunk of a sentence makes no sense. All politicians embrace public policy to some degree. Unless they want to turn the whole system on its head, keeping nothing of the intent or structure of government.

  7. Casey says:

    David – I believe the cost is less than $1 per $1,000 of assessed value.

  8. Vincent Hanna says:

    David Nelson I love how the man who issues what feels like 20 press releases a week tries to start this one off with a burn of the County Executive (someone who like it or not Donovan has no choice but to think about frequently) that implies he’s being forced to comment on this even though he doesn’t want to. It’s both hilarious and pathetic.

  9. AG says:

    I don’t understand Abele’s criticism of the entire committee’s plan. There’s ideas from all points of view included and for once actually had political opponents working together to come up with some collective solutions. I’ll have to read more about what exactly his opposition is.

  10. Vincent Hanna says:

    Was public input involved in putting together this plan? Or just the council?

    Abele’s website links to this story to explain his opposition to the plan:

    -Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is explaining his criticism of a Milwaukee Common Council committee safety plan.

    Abele is critical of the report from Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan’s Public Safety Committee. Last week, the report drew protesters at a full council meeting.

    Monday, Abele made it clear he doesn’t like what Donovan’s committee came up with.

    He says the recommendations in the report will cost a couple hundred million dollars between the city and the county.

    Abele says he doesn’t know where that money would come from without raising taxes or cutting services somewhere else.

    Abele says the most frustrating part of the report is that it implies the solution to crime is locking more people up. He says that’s not acceptable when Wisconsin has the highest percentage of African Americans behind bars in the United States.

    Abele said, “The implication of all the recommendations in the Public Safety Committee report would result in more African Americans being incarcerated. And that’s not something I support at all, I think it’s asinine.”

  11. AG says:

    It seems to me like the items on the report are all things we hear the public asking for. If they need to, send it to the voters to decide if they want a tax increase. I for one support a small increase to cover the costs of many of these items. The additional police especially.

  12. Vincent Hanna says:

    I don’t think the public is calling for more incarceration. I think people want to see stiffer punishment for specific violent crimes. Not the same thing.

    Also, was the public part of developing this plan or did the council do it on their own?

  13. AG says:

    Vincent, obviously you haven’t read the plan. Saying this plan is seeking “increased incarceration” is political BS. Unless you think targeting repeat criminals for prosecution instead of a blanket increase in prosecution… I guess that would increase incarceration rates? I don’t know who is against targeting repeat offenders though… though I’m sure there are some.

    Anyway, all their recommendations address specific topics that have been issues for Milwaukee in the last few years.

    See link below.

  14. AG says:

    And to address your question about public input, please read the second and third paragraphs of the introduction.

    There’s only so much talking we can do, lets finally work on implementing solutions.

  15. Vincent Hanna says:

    Easy AG. Getting a little hostile. Bad for your blood pressure. I will make every effort to read the entire plan as soon as possible.

  16. AG says:

    Ha, no just saying it how it is. So much politicking and spin, combined with the bureaucracy of government, and nothing ever seems to get done to effect change. This plan won’t solve the jobs issue or education or a lot of other things, but at least for this slice of problems in the city, we finally have an actionable plan created by input from all sides. Lets do this!

    I’m actually excited, not hostile. I swear!

  17. WashCoRepub says:

    I think it’s great that Mayor Barrett is finally coming around to what Bob Donovan & others (**cough**Conservatives**cough**) have been saying for years… more cops on the street! Maybe he’s just worried about armed Trollyjackings, but regardless, it’s great to see some council members and the Mayor realize what’s needed.

  18. Vincent Hanna says:

    @Washington County – Does this mean you’ll be visiting Milwaukee again soon?

  19. Vincent Hanna says:

    Interesting plan. Some of it I have no beef with. It does raise some questions though.

    What are the chances Milwaukee receives an increase in shared revenue? There is talk of imitating NYC’s policing methods and stepping up traffic enforcement. That will mean a rise in misdemeanor arrests right? And more incarceration?

    How do we get 280 more officers and make sure they are quality officers? I heard a retired officer from Sheboygan say that the number of enrollments and the quality of those enrolled are down at many programs that train new officers. That seems like a serious problem. Also is it wise to shorten the amount of training for new officers as this plan proposes?

    Boot camp-style schools? There are a lot of horror stories about those places. Not sure that’s wise.

  20. Vincent Hanna says:

    Also, the Justice Department report on MPD is released next year right? Has the Council possibly received an early report on its status/findings?

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