Burke Gets Break
Last week we learned in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that former State Senator Brian Burke was to be tried October 12 on charges of using state employees for campaign purposes and other charges.
Dane County Circuit Court Judge Bill Foust said the trial could proceed before the State Supreme Court rules on issues involved in the cases of Sen. Chuck Chvala, and Reps. Scott Jensen, Steven Foti and former staffer Sherry Schultz.
On Thursday, Burke’s attorney Matthew O’Neil of the Friebert, Finerty & St. John firm asked the Supreme Court to halt the proceedings in the Circuit Court.
The Supreme Court granted the stay Friday, and Burke’s trial is postponed. Interestingly, since Burke is not a party to the matter before the Supreme Court, he is basically on a free ride while that trial proceeds for the other defendants.
“I have no comment,” Burke said. “Maybe my lawyers will comment, but make sure they’re not on the clock when they do.”
Mayor Tom Barrett has finally got around to naming a director of the Department of City Development, the agency that has traditionally been any mayor’s personal plaything and larder for plum assignments. He must have been turned down several times in his quest to get the new development chief, while people like Antonio Riley decided to stick with whatever jobs they had. (Riley had no comment when asked if Barrett had approached him about the job.)
He finally settled on Richard “Rocky”Marcoux who lives a block from the mayor on W. Washington Boulevard. They probably ran across each other mowing the lawn, or taking the kids to St. Seb’s, but here we are, finally.
Marcoux is currently Director of Development of the City of Milwaukee Housing Authority. His team will include Bob Greenstreet, the city planner on partial loan from the UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning and Deputy Director Martha Brown, a department veteran who probably could have run the place herself, and may have indeed done so in the past.
Marcoux comes equipped with a six page resume including a Marquette degree (Speech, 1982), and so many professional honors that I’d feel embarrassed listing them. Marcoux (“Mr. Marcoux,” as he calls himself in his resume,) “was a self-employed cabinetmaker and finish carpenter until 1986 when he joined the Housing Authority as a Public Housing Manager. … Under his direction the Housing Authority and its agency partners completed over $250 million of construction since 1992.” Welcome aboard.
Fighting Bob Fest 2004
Milwaukeeworld.com took a journey to the driftless region of southwestern Wisconsin to take in the rural beauty of some of nature’s oldest hills and to catch up on some political rhetoric that dates to about the age of the landscape. The event was Fighting Bob Fest III, subtitled “Rights At Risk,” and it was organized by the indefatigable Ed Garvey to honor the memory of “Fighting” Bob LaFollette, who was our governor 100 years ago. Speakers included Tammy Baldwin, John Nichols, Robert McChesney, Sen. Tom Harkin, Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb, and others, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Gwen Moore and Attorney General Peg A. Lautenschlager. We include a few reports below, beginning with the startling news of a first sighting of a long-unseen Kennedy.
The Kennedy family has never been known to keep its members out of the public eye – with one considerable exception.
Thus, it was with considerable surprise that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., son of the former Attorney General and Senator, and a nephew of President John F. Kennedy introduced to the crowd at Fighting Bob Fest his aunt, Rosemary Kennedy, 86.
It is believed to be the first public appearance of Ms. Kennedy since at least 1941 when her father Joseph P. Kennedy sought to treat her mild retardation (dyslexia, according to a recent historian) with a prefrontal lobotomy.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. announced the presence of his aunt to the estimated 3,000 attendees at the event, held at the Sauk County Fairgrounds September 18th .
The astonished crowd gave the reclusive Rosemary a round of applause.
Ms. Kennedy sat in the front row of the assembly, with a copy of her nephew’s new book, “Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Democracy” in her lap. Her right hand was held, and gently stroked, by a companion; another companion held her left hand.
Ms. Kennedy was dressed in slacks, a blouse, jacket and tidy white athletic shoes. A thick shock of brown hair capped her wizened visage. She was seated on a reclining wheelchair, which afforded her apparent comfort and mobility. Ms. Kennedy’s 86th birthday was September 13th . She left the event after the conclusion of her nephew’s remarks on the status of the government’s environmental agencies and departments in the Bush administration. [See story]
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. brought his list of evildoers to the Fighting Bob Fest in Baraboo, Wisconsin September 18th , and recited the names to the crowd. The biggest name: George W. Bush, called by Kennedy, “the worst environmental president in U. S. history.”
According to Kennedy, an environmental lawyer who is on the road touting his new book “Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy,” [Harper Collins; ISBN 0060746874; 256pp. $21.95], “The number one environmental hazard we face is George W. Bush.” Kennedy said Bush has put “bottom feeders in charge” of the nation’s environmental programs. The result: a threat to our environment, security and democracy as we know it.
According to Kennedy, his traditional clients – conservative farmers and fishermen who he represents in lawsuits against polluters – “see the current administration as the greatest threat not just to their livelihoods but to their values, their sense of community, and their idea of what it means to be American.”
What is to blame for failing to alert America to the perilous state of affairs he sees? According to Kennedy: the negligence of the American press, particularly the White House Press Corps.
“The White House Press Corps should drink poisoned Kool-Aid because they are a cult,” Kennedy said.
“We are not getting the truth. We’re getting Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson and the President can get away with anything,” Kennedy told the cheering crowd.
“Imagine how devastated I was when I had the least money of the candidates for the congressional race. … Guess how hopeless I felt when the Journal Sentinel did an analysis and guess who had the least personal income of all candidates.” – Gwen Moore, congressional candidate, addressing the Fighting Bob Fest III.
Moore was tucked into the speakers list at the fest after her victory in the primary election September 14, and spent a little time outside her district rallying the progressives in the crowd.
Moore had been strongly supported by Ed Garvey, the organizer of Fighting Bob Fest, who had called her the only true progressive in the three-way primary in which she trounced Matt Flynn and Tim Carpenter.
Moore recounted her tales of woe and misery in the days before her stunning 65% victory in the race, a victory that will likely see her representing Milwaukee in the House of Representatives next session. A lack of a strong republican opponent in the overwhelmingly democrat district, where over two-thirds of the ballots cast election night were for the democrat primary, will leave Moore relatively free to campaign for the party this election, and not simply for herself.
“I have my eyes on the prize, and the prize is putting Wisconsin in the win column for John Kerry, John Edwards and Russ Feingold,” she said.
Moore is a powerful speaker, and does not issue bombast in half-measures. Wheareas one could imagine Matt Flynn to be an expert at the behind-the-scenes negotiations that ultimately rule Congress, Moore will likely be one of those representatives whom we will be able to catch late night on C-SPAN trumpeting her causes.
Speaking of herself, Moore said, “ I am someone who was not worried about looking Congressional.”
(True enough. At Moore’s victory party at the Italian Community Center she wore acrylic open-toed heels with little plastic flowers attached. Tammy Baldwin looks like Nancy Reagan compared to Moore.)
Milwaukeeans have not had a rookie Congressman since Citizen Barrett went to Washington in 1992, at which time the city had a backup representative in the form of Jerry Kleczka.
Moore will enter the House of Representatives as a freshman member of the minority party, so it is safe to say she will not be heading any committees anytime soon, nor is she likely to serve on any important ones.
Who will Mayor Tom Barrett turn to whenever the city has its hands out?
Moore will likely lack the seniority and clout to bring home much bacon, but Barrett could reach out to the ambitious Paul Ryan, the 1st District Republican who is on his way to his fourth term in congress. Ryan is a member of the money-generating Ways and Means committee, along with the Joint Economic Committee and several subcommittees in the current congress.
Ryan’s district, when redistricted after the 200 election, included all of Greendale, Hales Corners, Franklin, Greenfield and Oak Creek, plus a teensy part of West Allis. This is a fairly significant portion of Milwaukee County, and was given to Ryan to increase his exposure here for possible future mischief as a candidate for a statewide office like Governor.
Senator Alberta Darling lost her dear buddy Mary Panzer in a stunning Republican primary victory for Rep. Glenn Grothman during last week’s primary. Darling, a co-chair of the powerful Joint Finance Committee, might find herself in a challenge for that position after the new legislature formulates itself in January.
But, do not blame Mary Panzer’s woes on ideology. Mary Panzer had other problems bedeviling her, including being “out-of-touch” with constituents, a code phrase for not returning the telephone calls of constituents.
Grothman, her opponent, tricked her by announcing his candidacy on the very last day to do so, and in the enlightened forum of AM talk radio the election was played out. Panzer’s defenses against the attack from the right wing were few and ineffective.
If she weren’t a Republican, perhaps Panzer could have gained sympathy for her plight by appealing to the voters’ sense of compassion.
She could easily have run advertisements asking, “Why are these men picking on me?”
Utility disconnection notices hung Friday from the door of Frauchinger’s Sausage Bar, 724 N. Milwaukee St. The tavern, which would have worked anywhere else as a faux Milwaukee bar, simply could not make it in a city still full of the real thing. … Wells Fargo Bank has secured a judgment of foreclosure in the amount of $134,620 against William J. Stace, for the Miramar Theatre, 2443 N. Oakland Ave., Milwaukee. Stace and his wife Pamela Brown have put life into the old Miller Theatre and into the immediate neighborhood. It would be a shame to lose this gem. The foreclosure sale is set for November, 1, 2004. … Kathryn “Murph” Burke of Merrie Olde Fox Pointe has incorporated “Murph’s Original, LLC,” for reasons that could not be determined by press time. … DeLind Gallery of Fine Art has opened “Naughty But Nice,” a mildly racy show of prints, drawings, paintings, sculptures, etc. of a vaguely (and not-so-vaguely) erotic theme. Gallery owner Bill DeLind says the show is designed to attract younger collectors and potential collectors, both by its subject matter and by the reasonable prices. … Bella’s Fat Cat has opened its new branch at 2737 S. Kinnickinnic Aveneu. Owner Mike Schmidt had been looking for a second location for years since the opening of his first store at 1233 E. Brady Street. … Aladdin Restaurant has opened at its new location at the northwest corner of N. 2nd St. and W. Wisconsin Avenue. … Butch’s Clock Steak House, an old brand here, has opened at the old Aladdin location, at the northeast corner of N. Plankinton and W. Wells St. in the Cawker Building.