Michael Horne
The Roundup

A Chance to Speak Up for North Ave

By - Aug 9th, 2004 12:00 pm

Roseann St. Aubin of the City of Milwaukee Department of City Development has been busy sending out press releases for her as-yet leaderless agency. A recent one, quoted here, gives us a chance to speak up on an issue first raised in the Norquist administration in 1999 – the idea of developing an African American Entertainment and Cultural District for the city.

Of course, we had a top-notch such district, on Walnut Street, but it was sacrificed decades ago for the cause of highway widening, freeway construction and “urban renewal.”

The district is planned for W. North Avenue, between N. 7th and N. Martin Luther King Drive.

The area contains a number of nice buildings that could be rehabilitated along with some vacant lots and some properties that need to be repurposed.

It is worth noting that the area also is that portion of W. North Avenue that freeway travelers are likely to notice as they head to and from the east side. Most of the rest of that stretch of W. North Avenue is in rather attractive shape, thanks to such projects as the new St. Marcus School.

According to Ms. St. Aubin’s release:

“The study team focusing on the development of an African American Entertainment and Cultural District for Milwaukee has scheduled a public meeting on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 at 6:00 p.m. The session will be held at the Wisconsin DNR Regional Headquarters building at 2300 N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.

“Milwaukee Alderman Mike McGee, Jr., excited about the Bronzeville project in his district, is urging the community to be involved in the discussion and planning of the proposed entertainment district ‘from start to finish.’ ‘The Bronzeville project is one of the most important ventures ever planned for the 6th Aldermanic District, and I believe that it can be a dynamic, credible, and viable venue for the community,’ said Ald. McGee.

“The concept of the district as a year-round hub for African American music, art and cuisine began in 1999. The plan currently focuses on a four-block area along W. North Avenue, from N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive to N. 7th Street.

“Since the last public session was held this past February, the Milwaukee Common Council approved funding for a study on the feasibility of creating such a district in the city. At Wednesday’s meeting, as part of this study, consultants will make a presentation aimed at getting specific feedback. Participants will be asked to weigh in on issues such as parking and preferred building facades.”

Start Your Engines: Milwaukee Ranks Well in Drive Time Study

The Pep Boys chain of automotive accessory stores has commissioned a study by Bert Sperling that finds Milwaukee to be in the top one-third of 75 cities, according to ease of driving.

Factors studied included commute time, average commute distance along with other factors like gasoline prices and – sound the death knell here – climate.

The worst cities include such likely ones as Boston, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Baltimore and New York, while the best cities include such places as Bakersfield, California, Anchorage, Laredo, Texas, Boulder, Colorado and Fresno, which some of us do not even consider to be cities.

Columbus, Ohio, which has some similarities to Milwaukee, ranks worse, possibly since the city is trisected by parallel north-south rivers, with few options to cross said streams. Our bridges may be crooked, but at least they exist.

The author’s model seems to neglect such things as the existence of an alternate grid, such as our city possesses, and probably stresses things like “pleasant climate” a bit much.

Thus, places like Las Vegas, which is basically an interminable strip mall in a baking desert, will score better than Milwaukee, just because we get frosty for half the year.

Still, we score far better than such places as Hartford, Houston, Miami, Cleveland, Louisville, Detroit and a host of other places I would rather not be. Check out the list at http://www.bestplaces.net/drive/drive_study3.asp


One of the neatest documents to come out of the cornucopia of Peace Action Wisconsin is the “People’s Guide to the Republican National Convention.”

The map includes information about over 600 points of interest in New York, along with information on “protest sites,” “war profiteers,” “cheap eats,” “free net access” and everybody’s favorite, “bathrooms.”

The cover of the map shows an elephant climbing the top of the Empire State Building, a nod to King Kong, and includes helpful information from the National Lawyers Guild about what to do if you get (or plan to get) arrested.

Among the tips:

“Carry quarters, phone card, a snack”

“Carry only one photo ID with a good address”

“Do not carry anything you do not want the police to have (like your phone book)”

Good advice, for New York or anywhere.

We also learn in New York it is illegal to use wood or PVC sticks for signs, since they could be used as a weapon.

What to do?

“Use cardboard tubes instead.”

We also learn that last January the city reinstated the once-defunct “mask law.”

What is that?

“The law criminalizes anyone wearing a mask with other persons ‘similarly disguised.’ Specifically, three or more people cannot wear masks within an undefined proximity of one another in a public space.”

This law must make Halloween Hell in the Big Apple.

The map also includes officially-sanctioned convention events like “’Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ with Libby Pataki,” which will probably draw a different crowd than the “Bike Messenger Film Festival.” Well, it’s a big city.

Check it out for yourself at www.rncguide.com

Living Lorge

The busiest piece of campaign literature in recent memory has crossed my desk, and it is from Robert Gerald Lorge, an attorney, who tells us in Red, White, Blue and Black that he wants to be our next United States Senator. He is one of four Republican candidates for the seat, with the others being Tim Michels, Russ Darrow and Bob Welch.

“There’s Going To Be A Very Big LORGE PARTY And You Are Invited!” the invitation screams, and it will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (“or Until The Cows Come Home”) Thursday, August 26, 2004 at Don’s Supper Club in New London.

If you don’t know where New London is, the invitation tells us it is “North of Appleton, West of Green Bay, South of Shawano, East of Waupaca.”

(These are the kinds of directions Lewis and Clark had to follow. Two centuries later, not much has changed.)

The party is to celebrate Lorge’s birthday and will only cost you $10. (Cash bar.)

But wait! There’s more!

We are also invited to attend an “’American Jobs’ Beer and Bonfire Party!” on Saturday, Labor Day Weekend, September 4, 2004. That one will run from “Noon to Midnight or Until Those Cows or Horses Come Home…?”

That one will be at “Chairman John Moder’s Ranch,” located between New London and Clintonville.

It’s another cash bar, and you are also expected to bring fuel for the bonfire in the form of a “Made in China” empty box to burn.

Now where are we going to find one of them?

Lorge tells us he is a “100% 2ND Amendment” candidate, calling it “The Original Homeland Security Plan.”

He’s a pro-lifer, wouldn’t you know, “GOD, CHURCH, COMMUNITY, FMAILY.” He is not too crazy about taxes, particularly double taxation, and he wants us to “Stop Communist China’s Slave Trade.”

[“Communist China!” We haven’t heard that phrase since the Nixon administration.]

Lorge gives us a blank to fill in with the amount of our donation to his campaign (this should be easy) and adds, parenthetically, “’Thanks to Russ Feingold’ the maximum contribution was raised to $4,000 per person and $8,000 per couple. This is NOT Campaign Reform.”

Lorge whose dad was Senator Gerald Lorge, also implicates other ancestors in his brochure, where we learn he is “Grandson of German and Scandinavian Farmers and French Blacksmiths who taught me the value of hard work and family values.”

These must be some crazy family values, since by his count he either has at least four grandfathers, or was partly descended from a French husband-and-wife Blacksmithing team.

Doc Boxer Touts Omaha

Mayor Tom Barrett promised during the campaign that he would be Milwaukee’s Number One Salesperson, in addition to other hats he must wear as mayor. One of the influential people who worked hard to sell Milwaukee on Tom Barrett was Barbara Boxer. Now comes Ms. Boxer’s husband, Richard Boxer, M.D. in an advertisement for a city in World Traveler magazine, a glossy publication produced by Northwest Airlines.

And what city is it that Dr. Boxer recommends?

Omaha, Nebraska.

At least if you have cancer, which Dr. Boxer, who is referred to in the advertisement as “a nationally recognized cancer expert,” had about seven years ago.

Dr. Boxer admits he had treatment in both New York and “here in Milwaukee.”

Dr. Boxer made a call to Dr. Rick Klausner, director of the National Cancer Institute. Let Dr. Boxer take it from here:

“I asked him, ‘What do you think I should do?’ He told me, ‘It doesn’t matter what I think. The only person in the world whose opinion counts is Jim Armitage at the medical center in Omaha.’”

Of course, Dr. Boxer then went with “the only person in the world,” who, apparently could treat cancer, and Dr. Armitage served him well, since Dr. Boxer is alive and healthy. He is free of cancer, and he also survived the trip to Omaha.

Dr. Armitage, of the Nebraska Medical Center, must be very busy, though, and will be even more so once all other cancer doctors go out of business.

Who could dare compete with “the only person in the world?”

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