Michael Horne
The Roundup

Selig Take A Hit

By - Jun 28th, 2004 12:00 pm
Sign-up for the Urban Milwaukee daily email

The Washington Post, in an article Sunday, June 27th, had some harsh words to say about Bud Selig and the saga of Miller Park. For instance, did you know that after Miller Park’s opening on April 6, 2001, Tommy Thompson “vowed never to set foot again in the park he helped build as long as Selig owned the Brewers”?

“There were just so many misleadings and mischaracterizations,” Thompson is quoted in the paper. According to the former governor, the Brewers “provided misleading financial information to get the stadium built, then broke promises to use the increased revenue to make the Brewers competitive.”

The stadium story is relevant to readers in the nation’s capital because both the District of Columbia and neighboring Virginia hope to lure the Montreal Expos to new, government-funded stadia.

The Post quotes Sen. Michael G. Ellis (R), who was majority leader when the stadium was proposed as saying, “I would be very, very nervous if I was a taxpayer in the Greater Washington, D.C. area. … Nobody is better equipped to show people how to fleece the taxpayers into building them a new stadium than Allan H. (Bud) Selig. He could write a textbook on how he committed the taxpayers of Wisconsin to build a stadium at no cost whatsoever to the Seligs.”

According to the article, the stadium process involved the “cooptation of Wisconsin’s most powerful media.” The story quotes Charles Sykes as saying, “I used up a lot of my credibility with my audience, and to be a conservative pushing a tax increase is a difficult thing. I think I made an exception to the principle that you don’t raise taxes for corporate welfare.”

Sykes’s boss, Robert Kahlor, then chairman of Journal Communications, Inc., also chaired a stadium task force and was a registered lobbyist for the project. Sue Ryon of the Journal said, “we were totally compromised at that point. We had no credibility. … We felt as a newspaper, as an editorial board, handcuffed, and that was pretty much from the beginning.”

I worked at the Milwaukee Sentinel when the stadium story broke in that paper, and found it extremely odd that the story and accompanying graphics just appeared out of nowhere (or, shall I say “from on high”) and were not the product of the usual tumult of the newsroom there. I remember mentioning to Bruce Gill, my editor, that I thought it was extremely out of the ordinary. He just shrugged his shoulders.

The best local coverage of the stadium story was from Bruce Murphy, writing in Milwaukee Magazine. Murphy also operated milwaukeeworld.com for a while, and if you use the handy Google search engine here, you will be able to access many stories he wrote about the stadium for this website.

Unfortunately, you will probably not be able to read any new Bruce Murphy stories about the stadium, since Murphy is now a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Lord Pleads Guilty to Class “C” Felony, Journal Mum

Michael H. Lord, the Milwaukee art dealer and founder of Bastille Days pled guilty last Wednesday, June 23rd to criminal felony charges of stealing more than $175,000 from the estate of his aunt, Edna Geske. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has yet to report this very significant event.

Perhaps the editors there can mark their calendars for July 14, 2004 – Bastille Day – at 1:30 p.m. when Lord will be sentenced in Milwaukee County Circuit Court Branch 42, (Room 632) Hon. David A. Hansher presiding. (The Courthouse is located at 901 N. 9th St.)

Lord still faces a raft of civil cases relating to the operation of his business, Michael H. Lord Gallery, 772 N. Milwaukee St.

Other firms, like New York’s prestigious Pace MacGill Gallery simply gave up dealing with Lord.

How will this affect Lord’s membership in the 16-member Milwaukee Art Dealers Association?

I called Anthony Petullo of the Anthony Petullo Collection of Self-Taught & Outsider Art, a member of MADA, and a trustee of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

“To my knowledge there has been no action yet,” regarding Lord’s membership, he said, at the time unaware of the guilty plea.

Once informed, Petullo said “a number of members of MADA will be interested in this news.” The group will meet in a couple of weeks, he said, and you can imagine the Lord plea will be discussed. Petullo then made a number of comments that he asked not be printed here.

It will be interesting to see if the 772 N. Milwaukee St. building, where Lord lives and works, will be on the market soon, since there may be other accommodations forthcoming for his housing. (For a Class C felony, the term of confinement in prison may not exceed 10 years.)

His business in Milwaukee may likely suffer as a result of the plea, especially if he’s locked up somewhere, although he does plan a show of photographs for Gallery Night, July 23rd, nine days after his sentencing.

We shall see.

Attorney John S. Schiro, who represented Lord, said he could not comment on the expected sentence, saying it is his policy to not discuss pending cases.

Green Party National Convention Highlights

With exclusive milwaukeeworld photographs by Joe Klein

According to the Official Bylaws of the Green Party of the United States, Article I, the purpose of the Party is first to “assist in the development of State Green Parties,” and second to “create a legally structured national Green Party Federation.”

In other words, the party does not expect to elect the next president, but nominated David Cobb anyway.

According to Cobb, “Kerry may not be Bush, but he’s no progressive.” Still, the party, by concentrating on numerous state and local elections, seems to place a high goal in removing George Bush as president. Those who supported Ralph Nader in 2000 realize they were the key to the Bush “victory,” and feel the need for repentance. Therefore, many members will likely vote for Kerry nationally and for Green candidates locally since almost nobody wants a replay of the 2000 election.

Nobody, except Green presidential hopeful Kent P. Mesplay, Ph.D., who said, “it is harmful to say, for example in Florida, ‘it’s okay to vote for John Kerry,’ and then to try another approach in another state.”

“Mesplay, not Misplay,” was his slogan, but he didn’t win against the mighty Cobb forces.

That the party nominated a candidate at all was considered a rebuke to Ralph Nader, who is running as an independent, is not a Green, would not accept the party’s nomination if offered, but wanted its endorsement.

This was all too much for the Cobb supporters, among 800 delegates to the party’s national convention “Forward 2004!” held in Milwaukee last week at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Midwest Airlines Center.

The party faithful spent hours discussing convention rules, and things like the “Mission, Policies & Procedures of the Bylaws, Rules, Policies & Procedures Committee,” which then had to deal with a “Proposal for change in the procedures of the GPUS as relates to the introduction and adoption of proposals,” along with the “Report of Lavender Green Accomplishments in Support of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, transgendered, Intersexed and Queer Communities.”

Corporate sponsorship does not seem to be the Green Party’s forte. About the only recognizable product at the exhibition hall was a display of Dr. Bonner’s “All-One” soaps, newly reformulated with hemp seed oil.

The Bonner company, which is locally-controlled, is an advertiser in the Vote Hemp Report, issued by Vote Hemp, Inc. This is industrial hemp, we are told, or the stuff we used to call “ditch weed,” with an extremely low THC content.

Hungry delegates who signed up for the meal program dined in the Polaris restaurant atop the Hyatt.

Thirsty delegates were limited to Miller products, which, although union-made, are from a company owned by a giant, foreign conglomerate. A street party Saturday offered Lakefront Brewery products, from a non-union, but locally-owned company. Life is full of compromises.

Shepherd Express and Sen. Moore: A Bit of History

An article in the current Shepherd Express laments the “early” endorsement of Sen. Gwendolynne Moore in her bid for Congress by the national group Emily’s List.

Yes, there are two women running for the seat (along with two men), so it is odd that the Shepherd Express finds it remarkable that Emily’s List, founded with the goal of electing pro-choice women to office, has endorsed one in a race that will be settled in the primary.

No word (to borrow a Shepherd expression) on the candidate the paper will endorse, but it does not appear to be Moore.

And herewith, a bit of history.

If you remember back to the primary election of September 8, 1992, you will see that Moore trounced two opponents when she first ran for the office she is now abandoning in her congressional run.

Moore won with 11,066 votes. In second place, with 8,011 votes, was Louis Fortis. Fortis today is the publisher of the Shepherd Express, so that settles that.

The Emily’s List article is unbylined in the paper, a technique used by the Shepherd Express in the past when the publisher wanted to interject his opinion into a news story, or when a reporter was obliged to do his employer’s bidding. (In the online version, the story is credited to Doug Hissom.)

Did I say, “in the past?” Why, the very same issue of the paper carries an anonymously-written story about “how the republican party was hijacked by the radical right.” In fact, that anonymous article is the only thing featured on the front page of the paper. Confusingly, the cover art consists of bumper stickers for Senate candidates Tim Michels, Bob Welch, Russ Darrow and Robert Lorge, not one of whom is mentioned in the article.

Flynn at the MAC

Congressional candidate and Quarles & Brady attorney Matt Flynn drew a respectable crowd to the Elephant Room of the Milwauke Athletic Club Thursday to raise money for his campaign. Among the attendees: Judge Ted Wedemeyer, Mike Mervis, Commerce Secretary Cory Nettles, Marvin Pratt, Mike Guerin, Pat Ryan, Kailas Rao, Atty. Luke Sims and others too numerous to mention including Bob Titley.

Bobot and Pratt cordially shook each other’s hand; Pratt seemed quite relaxed. Bobot, who like Pratt, ran for mayor and lost, is now practicing law out of an office at 2300 N. Mayfair Rd. His business card says he is also a Court Commissioner.

In his remarks, Flynn mentioned that some of his supporters are republicans, and he rattled off the names of Don Davis of Rockwell Automation and Richard Abdoo of WE energies, neither of whom were there or are in his district.

Flynn then outlined his campaign themes. “It is easy to list the challenges in this country,” he said. “We have a 500 billion dollar deficit, we are at war, other countries don’t like us, we have health care problems, unemployment and a trade imbalance.” He then called on “smart people of good will fighting to change things” to vote for him.

He said he has been holding listening sessions around the district where he sits down with 30 to 50 people to receive the wisdom of the common folks. He said the meetings help him to realize that he “doesn’t know everything.”

People are afraid they will lose their jobs, they will lose their health care, and that their kids will not find jobs.

“There are no jobs, no grants, no contracts and 60 per cent unemployment in the Capitol Court area,” he said, and found that to be unacceptable.

He said we went to war in Iraq for “reasons for war that were not true.” Now, he says, if we pull out of Iraq, look out for even more trouble.

“A precipitous withdrawal would not only endanger troops, but lead to genocide,” he told the crowd.

Flynn said 50 percent of America’s health care is paid for by the government, when you include Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran’s Hospitals, community hospitals, prison health care, government employees through their insurance contracts, and the like.

He said the current system is not working, and that the public opinion of the need for some kind of health care system – the “political will,” as he put it is in place today. Implicit in his remarks is that the current administration has no political will to implement such change, and is ignoring what is in its self-interest.

Flynn said any solution to our health care system could come from a FDR-style brain trust, something I had not heard before.

Later I asked Flynn if the democratic party feeds him this information, since Kerry has been making many of the same points. “No, I came up with that myself,” he said.

Flynn’s wife Mary Flynn was also there at the event. She said she wouldn’t mind moving to Washington, if her husband won the seat. We have not had a professional congressional wife out of this city for years, so that could be quite a social coup. I told her she could go on rounds of visits to other Congressional wives, but she said she was a speech pathologist, and would more likely get a job instead.

Footnote: Not all democrats are pleased with Flynn’s run. He had been heavily lobbied to run for County Executive against Scott Walker, but demurred from what would have been a good Democrat vs. Republican fight. Instead, he will fight with other democrats to win a safe seat with no particular challenge after the September primary.

Cash on the Freeway

Citizens Allied for Sane Highways (CASH) was pleased with the outcome of last week’s Transportation Summit in Milwaukee.

“Finally, some sanity in the process,” said co-chair Gretchen Schuldt, a former Milwaukee Sentinel reporter who now runs the Story Hill neighborhood website. CASH is opposed to the freeway expansion in Milwaukee, and the Story Hill neighborhood is surrounded by freeways on two sides. According to Schuldt, the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning commission is “pushing a $6.2 billion freeway reconstruction and expansion scheme for the Milwaukee area but has ducked the question of how to pay for it.”

At the summit, Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi said the Doyle administration opposes increased taxes or the implementation of tolls to fund the highway project.

CASH co-chair Robert Trimmier had some choice words to say about the Summit, sponsored by Kevin Soucie and the Milwaukee Metropolitan chamber of Commerce.

“The MMAC forum was all about setting the stage to raise taxes. It wasn’t about reallocating existing resources in a responsible manner. This forum was all about getting more money for road builders and their cronies in government and industry. Wisconsin doesn’t need that, Wisconsin cannot afford that, and Wisconsin taxpayers won’t tolerate that.”

Carpetbagging, 2004

I called Fred Kessler twice to ask him about his plans to run for the seat being vacated by Shirley Krug in her quest for congress. He hasn’t called back, probably because he is busy moving to the west side from the east side to be in the 12th Assembly District, or maybe because he wants to save the story for his chums at the Shepherd Express. He will likely face Rene Settle-Robinson, a podiatric surgeon. I was not able to reach her either, to get her response to the political ambitions of her new neighbor.

Krug was at Club Havana Friday evening, the day after she held what she called a successful fundraiser in Madison. She will have another fundraiser Monday in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward at a private residence. At the Club Havana event, a birthday party for a friend, Krug chatted up John Balistrieri of the Shorecrest Hotel who was seated on the veranda with Nick Anton, who has like three days to open his new Brady Street restaurant in order for its “Opening in June” sign to be true. Anton says his wife JoAnne Anton, the able aide to Sen. Herb Kohl is on a leave and is working full time for the Kerry campaign. … Former Municipal Judge David Halbrooks was also there, en route to the Simon and Garfunkel concert that evening.

He told the cautionary tale of a hard-working east side politician with plenty of money who campaigned relentlessly only to find he had no political “base.”

I thought it sounded like what Matt Flynn might be facing in the next few months, but Halbrooks said he was talking about himself, and his surprise defeat in April.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *