Bobot Calls for Term Limit
Vince Bobot plans to request a change in the City Charter to limit the term of Milwaukee Mayor to two consecutive terms, he said Sunday evening in an interview at his headquarters. The proposed change requires approval by the legislature and the governor’s signature.
Captain in at Fifth, Out at Third
Police Chief Nanette Hegerty encountered her first controversy in her new job when she removed Captain Glenn Frankovis from his command of the Third District. Frankovis called criminals in his districts “thugs,” which, apparently is not a proper way for a cop to talk nowadays. In a roll call message to his staff, Frankovis pledged to make “thugs’” lives “even more miserable than before,” after the Monday transfer of Officer Michael Lutz from the 3rd district to a downtown position. Ald. Fred Gordon called the anti-thug lingo “inflammatory and incendiary,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Saturday.
A review of Frankovis’ comments in the newspaper since his November 2001 appointment to the 3rd district position as part of a 300 officer shakeup by then-Chief Arthur Jones shows that Frankovis has always been a provocative speaker, and that his reference to criminals as thugs was hardly out of character. He even has compared the tough 3rd district to Afghanistan. “We will be identifying who’s causing the problem, and we will locate them, and if they’re violating the law, they will go to jail. … If you think about it, what we will be doing is not unlike what’s going on in Afghanistan right now.”
In the same interview, Frankovis said, “I want criminals to be afraid to walk down the street.” These comments do not seem out of place for a police officer, but you never know what can get you fired these days.
Prior to his appointment to head the 3rd District, he was at the helm of the 5th District. As a result of the Jones era shakeup, the largest in the department’s history, Frankovis was replaced by Captain Vince Flores, who ran the 5th district until a little over two weeks ago. Flores was transferred from that position to head “S.O.B. Vice Control,” in a move unheralded in the press.
Flores was replaced by James C. Shepherd as captain of the 8.82 square mile 5th district, with a population of 97,000. His appointment received no media notice. Shepherd introduced himself to members of the Brady Street Area Association at their annual holiday meeting December 16th at Villa Terrace.
Frankovis’ outspokenness may have cost him his position, and we may be heading to an era where police captains will think twice before uttering anti-crime sentiments to their subordinates, even in an attempt to rally them or to boost their morale. If the strictures against speech such as Frankovis’ were applied to other levels of the government, we’d have George W. Bush referring to Osama Bin Laden and Al Quaida as “the distinguished gentleman from Afghanistan and his honorable associates.”
Frankovis, in the December 24, 2001 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, was compared to Teddy Roosevelt, a historical figure he has studied alongside such others as President Dwight Eisenhower and General George Patton. His response? “I don’t know that I speak all that softly – and I’m a cop.”
In other police department news, Sergeant Kenneth Harris now runs the Public Information Office at the police department, where his job is to field calls from the media. He has been in office two weeks. “I was tagged, and now I’m it,” he says.
Bids Top Estimate: Marsupial Bridge Hung Up For Now
The twice-delayed bid opening for the proposed Holton Marsupial Bridge was held Thursday, December 18 at the Zeidler Municipal Building. The good news: Zenith Tech, Inc. was the low bidder. The bad news: its bid of $3,065,953 was considerably above the estimate of $2,314,252 for the project. Tom Miller of the city’s Public Works Department was asked by milwaukeeworld about the future of the span, a pedestrian crossing planned to be suspended beneath the 1926-era Holton Viaduct. “We don’t know for sure yet,” he said. “First, we have to figure out why they’re so high. Then, I guess it’s back to the drawing board – we may have to redesign a less expensive bridge.”
The plans for the bridge, drawn by La Dallman Architects, do call for certain aesthetic enhancements, including a plaza under the east end of the viaduct, along with special lighting, limestone edging and decorative railings. That last item was reckoned at $375,000. For the most part, though, the bridge is a rather straightforward one, much like its host structure, a muscular remnant of socialist over-engineering. It calls for a connection to the riverwalk on the west side of the river at Lakefront Brewery, and a terminus at the site of the old Beerline “B,” historically the rail artery of Milwaukee’s brewing industry, now a bike path. The project is to be funded with Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) federal funds. Zenith, a Waukesha company, was one of three bidders for the project. The others were Lunda Construction Co., which bid $3,332,000 and Edward Kraemer & Sons, Inc., which bid a whopping $37,804,292. The Kraemer over-bid can possibly be traced to an ambiguity in the bid document, which called for, in item 8, “5830 incentive strength concrete structures,” to be bid as a “dollar unit.” Kraemer entered $5,830 as its bid, whereas its competitors, either rightly or wrongly entered $1. The city’s computer then multiplied $5,830 by $5,830 in the Kraemer bid to come up for a sum of $33,988,900 for that particular item, whereas its competitors’ bid was $5,830 for the item. These things happen in construction estimating.
Lakefront Brewery owner Russ Klisch, informed of the bid results said, “let’s hope Norquist can pull this one out of his hat. But it looks like it might be a bit late for that.”
Farewell to Park
It’s easy to see why city planning director Peter Park is heading to Denver. It has something to do with the way they name neighborhoods in the Mile-High City. “they name neighborhoods in Denver according to the parks in the area,” says Park, who must like the nomenclature conceit. “I have bought a house in South Park Hill,” he said, and will join our other friends in South Park.
So how did his call to Denver come about? “I got a call in the summer from Will Fleissig, whom I knew from the Congress for New Urbanism,” the outfit that will soon be headed by departing mayor John Norquist. (Fleissig is an architect/developer in Denver, and was the planning director for nearby Boulder.) “I wasn’t thinking of moving – I was thinking of staying in Milwaukee – I wasn’t looking, but I went out there.” Park was called back “on a perfect autumn day,” as he recalls, and met with about 20 of the city’s developers, planners and public officials. “I was very impressed with Mayor Hickenlooper,” he says. Denver differs in many ways from Milwaukee – it is still very much a developing city, and is much more “western” than here, where vestiges of our east coast ancestry still retain considerable influence.
A farewell party was held for Park from 2 – 4 p.m. on Friday, December 19 in room 101 of City Hall. Commissioner Julie Penman was there, chatting up developer Barry Mandel, who says he’s sitting out the mayor’s race until after the primary. Boris Gokhman also made an appearance.