Michael Horne
The Roundup

Voting With The Mayor

By - Oct 25th, 2004 12:00 pm
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Mayor Barrett’s office announced Monday that he would vote at City Hall at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The office amended its announcement shortly after it was issued to tell us the mayor would vote at 12:15 p.m. instead.

In retrospect, the 1 p.m. time was closer to the truth, because when Barrett, accompanied by Sen. Gwen Moore made it to the fifth floor of City Hall at 12:25 p.m., there were almost eighty people already there to vote.

Barrett exited the fifth floor elevator and looked toward the Election Commission’s office, ready to march in and cast his ballot.

Immediately he looked the other direction, trying to locate the end of the line, which stretched along the corridor toward the northern end of the building.

He headed straight to the end of the line, and waited his turn.

A few other less hardy souls, including Barb Candy, and Reps. Richards and Zepnick thought it would be a lark to dash in and vote alongside the mayor, turned on their heels instead, both pleased and dismayed at the multitude assembled to exercise their franchise.

The process was orderly and efficient, and the Election Commission staff, under the circumstances, performed with alacrity and efficiency.

Workers made their way down the line of the voters, handing each a white envelope and a yellow card. Each had to be filled in with the voter’s information.

Then the staff gathered the cards, leaving the voters with their envelopes.

By the time the voters reached the head of the line, in about a half hour, the staff had filled out a few blanks in the yellow cards, like Aldermanic District and Ward. (I’m A.D. 3, Ward 51.)

Then, each voter was issued a ballot and directed to the half dozen voting booths that lined the corridor to cast their vote. The clerks pre-folded the ballots so they could be sealed into the white envelopes after the vote.

Completed ballots, in their envelopes, were then collected by a staff member who issued each voter a nice, round “I VOTED” sticker.

Then all was done, and the voters could go on to the rest of their day, freeing up next Tuesday for more getting-out-the-vote or other activities, like planning which election eve party to attend.

Mayor Walks to Poll

Shortly before he voted Tuesday, Mayor Barrett, accompanied by key administration officials, made his way toward City Hall, where his office and polling place are located. At five after noon, Barrett walked along the riverwalk past the Harry Franke street clock at the northeast corner of Border’s Book Store downtown, at the river and Wisconsin Avenue.

He was accompanied by Dr. Bob Greenstreet and DCD Commissioner Rocky Marcoux.

I had written when he was appointed that Marcoux lived a block away from the Mayor. “Actually, I live two blocks from the Mayor,” Marcoux corrected.

Why did DCD spokesperson Andrea Rowe’s new press release refer to the “Beerline” neighborhood, when mentioning the awards the area received? We always knew it as the “Beer Line ‘B’” neighborhood.

“Aw, leave Andrea alone! She’s doing a good job!” he retorted.

“No, no! I think it’s a good idea,” I responded. “Beerline.” One word, no alphabet suffix. I like it.

Marcoux used to work with the Housing Authority, which reminded me that the Convent Hill housing project on the east side is wrapped from head to toe with a heavy mesh – even right over the windows.

It didn’t look like the tuckpointing was an issue.

Actually, Marcoux told me, the entire brick veneer of the building is separating from the structure. The mesh holds it all together for now.

And in the future?

The buildings will not be repaired, Marcoux said, but would be demolished. In their place will be a new mixed use development including affordable housing. “It will all be on the tax rolls,” he said, unlike the existing structure.

(Which reminds me: you should check out the little shed on the corner of the property. It includes two very old bells – 1860’s or so – that had hung for years on the property when it was the site of the Convent of Notre Dame, which stood for a century on the site. The bells and the belfry were all salvaged from the original building. Make sure to look at the floor when you are there, and go ahead and ring the bells if you want, if only to rouse the ghosts.)

Greenstreet on Scaffold:Good Idea

We all know that City Hall will be undergoing several years of expensive and extensive reconstruction. Let us hope that these years will not be spent with a hideous scaffolding at the site of the project.

While Bob Greenstreet, our design guru was walking down the street I suggested to him that the project would benefit from a scaffolding that at least would emulate the lovely (and powerful) arches at the south end of the building.

Perhaps even a competition could be held to come up with an attractive and cost-effective design for a scaffold that will be part of our lives for years to come.

(When the Washington Monument was rebuilt, the Federal Government paid for a beautiful scaffold designed by Michael Graves.)

Anyhoo, Greenstreet said he liked the idea and would pass it on to the Department of Public Works. Now then, architects among us, get busy and design a lovely scaffold for this magnificent building.

Almost Through With These Visits!

The email box continues to fill up with invitations to all kinds of campaign activities here in the Badger State, and the week before election day is taking on the appearance of a rock and roll concert.

Here is one invitation from the Kerry campaign:

“Please join us for the Fresh Start for America Rally with John Kerry in Madison on Thursday, October 28. The Foo Fighters will also be taking the stage to perform live.

“Come to the rally and find out how you can get involved in these final days leading up to the election. Volunteer mobilization will begin at the rally: Bring your cell phone with you to help create the world’s largest open-air phonebank to get out the vote.

“Tickets are required for the rally. To print your complimentary ticket(s) or to volunteer at this event, please click here:

http://www.johnkerry.com/madison

WHEN:

Thursday, October 28
Gates open at 10:00 a.m.

WHERE:
State Capitol Square
Madison, WI

DETAILS:

Due to security, please do not bring any umbrellas, bags, or signs. Please limit personal items as well. This event will take place RAIN or SHINE. Parking is limited — please use public transportation. For more information, click here:

http://www.ci.madison.wi.us/metro

Polling Place Mailing “Colossal Mistake”

“We’re off to a good start,” Judith Ann Moriarty wrote me on October 20th, not without irony. A mailing to her new home on N. Prospect Avenue from Wisconsin Citizens Action Fund informed her that her polling place would be at Cass Street School Lincoln Center for the Arts – which are two places, neither one of which is the correct polling place.

“We vote across the street at the 1451 Renaissance Place,” she wrote.

Days later I also received the mailing.

“Your Vote is My Voice,” the mailing read, featuring the photo of a young Hispanic boy. “Thomas” wants me to vote so he can go to a good school, so he “can go to the doctor when I’m sick,” and so “my mom and dad can make enough so we can have a safe place to live.”

“Enough is Enough. Take Charge of Our Future, the Power is in Your Hands.”

Why it is enough to break your heart.

The mailing also got my polling place wrong. It says I should vote at “St. Peter and Paul,” but did not give an address. (Technically it should be “SS. Peter and Paul Congregation, 2491 N. Murray Avenue.”)

Now, SS. Peter and Paul is over a mile from my house, and I know that my polling place is five doors away from my home – I don’t even have to cross any street to get there.

So what happened?

According to Larry Marx, the co-executive director of Wisconsin Citizen Action, the mailings were compiled from a data base his group established. The list included data like ward, polling place, and schools and churches where the organization could search for volunteers.

Unfortunately, in what Marx called a “colossal mistake from a data entry standpoint,” in 42 wards, a clerk entered the “school and church” data where “polling place” should have been entered.

“We feel just devastated by this,” said Marx, who added the error really “defeats the purpose of what we have been up to over the last year.”

The group will spend an “unexpected” $16,000 to send out a new first class post card with the correct information and will send out another two scheduled mailings.

Marx said the problem undermines much of the work the group had accomplished.

He said Citizen Action had registered nearly 23,000 first time African American and Hispanic voters, and has targeted 117,000 infrequent and new voters in four cities in the state – Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay and Racine – for intensive get-out-the-vote efforts, which will include 7 to 9 contacts before the election, including door-to-door visits.

If you would like to know for sure where you vote, and live in the city of Milwaukee, go to http://itmdapps.ci.mil.wi.us/electedreps/electrep.jsp and punch in your address.

If you do not want to vote at your polling place (I can imagine how traumatic it might be to have to revisit your old grade school) you might follow the lead of such dignitaries as Mayor Tom Barrett and Sen. Gwen Moore who will cast their ballot a week early at City Hall. Tom and Gwen will vote Tuesday, October 26th at 12:15 p.m. at the Election Commission, Milwaukee City Hall, 200 E. Wells Street, Room 501. You could do the same, freeing up your next Tuesday to get your neighbors to the polls.

Curious Bust in Ozaukee County

On the first of October, agents with a warrant swept into the Cedarburg acreage of Peter J. Huiras, 49, and charged him with five felonies, including manufacture/deliver THC, possession of THC (2nd offense), Possession of cocaine, Possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms and Felon possessing a firearm.

It was not a good day for the artist/guitarmaker, a gentle guy from a wealthy and prominent Ozaukee County family. (Dad Ralph Huiras has been, successively and simultaneously, a farmer, banker and lawyer; Grandpa was an Ozaukee County judge.)

Usually, when a District Attorney like Sandy A. Williams goes after a drug dealer, you’d expect the individual to be charged with dealing drugs – but not in this case.

It appears Huiras was approached by a young Ozaukee County man, about 21, who expressed an interest in guitarmaking. Huiras began teaching the fellow, it seems, and perhaps smoked a joint with him – but he never sold any drugs.

Then, something made the young man turn on Huiras. The individual had been arrested on drug charges, and it appears the D.A. made him a deal if he would narc on Huiras. That has been done, and Huiras has a bit of a mess to get out of. His attorney is William J. Farrell, one of his father’s partners.

To look at Huiras’s artistry, and to see a photo album of his family, his “Jamaican family,” and his pets, go to http://www.violinguitarmaker.com . Pay close attention to the wallpaper used as a background on the site.

Jim Glynn Memorial

Turner Hall was the site of the memorial service for James E. Glynn, Jr., the musician who died October 18th shortly after returning to Milwaukee. The Turn Hall was filled with hundreds of friends, many of them musicians and members of Milwaukee’s many progressive movements. (You’ve never seen so many 60-year olds with ponytails in your life.)

Brother Steve Glynn, the noted attorney, delivered a very impassioned speech about Jim’s life, his pluck, resolve and audacity. Steve made it clear he was deeply upset that his brother decided to move to Portland about three years ago, where Jim simply did not have the support network he enjoyed here in Milwaukee. His delight at Jim’s return to this city – if only for a few weeks before his death, was palpable.

The memorial included readings from poet Harvey Taylor, who collaborated with Tony Finlayson on a couple of pieces. Steve Cohen and Peter Roller performed two tunes, including an original. Jack Grassel and his wife Jill Jensen wrapped up the event with a song.

A brochure for the event included a photo of Jim playing the drums on October 2nd. The brochure used these adjectives for Jim: “animal lover, dj, peace activist, brother, friend, musician, teacher, environmentalist, swimmer.”

And it ended: “Please honor Jim by VOTING for a safer environment, a more peaceful world, a more humane healthcare system, etc. … you know what to do: STOP BUSH!”

More Kennedy Visits

Well, the Kennedy family is getting cozy with Wisconsin lately. This summer we attended the Fighting Bob Fest and heard Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. excoriate the Bush administration for what he considered to be its environmental sins. We even printed a photo of Kennedy, and mentioned that his never-seen Aunt Rosemary was in the audience. (Later, a Kennedy historian confirmed my hunch that Rosemary had not been publicly introduced in over a half century.)

Then, last week, Caroline Kennedy was at UWM with John Kerry talking up his presidential campaign.

 

Caroline Bouvier Kennedy Schlossberg Introducing John F. Kerry (framed by TelePrompTer) at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Helen Bader Auditorium in the Zelazo Center. (Photo - Mary Jo Klein)

Caroline Bouvier Kennedy Schlossberg Introducing John F. Kerry (framed by TelePrompTer) at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Helen Bader Auditorium in the Zelazo Center.
(Photo – Mary Jo Klein)

Now, this Thursday night, October 28th, actress and activist Meg Ryan joins with RFK Jr. for a live speech at the Marquette University Varsity theater, 1324 W. Wisconsin Avenue. The event is free and open to the public, and begins at 7:30 p.m. Kennedy will sign his new book, “Crimes Against Nature,” at 9 p.m.

Benefit Concert Set

Nia Imani Family, a residential facility for recovering women and their families will be holding its Ninth Annual Concert at Villa Terrace, 2220 N. Terrace Avenue. The event will be Sunday, November 14, at 6 p.m.

The annual concert, $35, is always a sellout and is always a critical and popular success. This year the theme is “Songs Seldom Sung: Duets,” and the headliners are Sheri Williams Pannell and Claudia Schmidt.

Pannell was the stage director of Lady Sings the Blues at the Skylight Opera Theater last year, and Schmidt, a Milwaukee native, appeared for many years on “A Prairie Home Companion” until Garrison Keillor got weird and decided he didn’t need her any more.

Nia Imani – Swahili fior “purpose” and “faith,” was founded 10 years ago by Belinda Pittman, who remains the group’s executive director.

The group’s facility includes 14 apartments, communal areas, meeting rooms and administrative areas in a supervised, structured environment.

Mothers in the program often find it is the first time in their lives that they have been involved in any supervised, structured environment, outside of jail.

They are expected to participate in the program for 6 – 24 months, after which they graduate.

Indeed, a big part of the concert is the graduation ceremony in which the women take their bows and rejoin – or join for the first time – society.

It is a heck of a moment, and I have witnessed it many times. This year three women will graduate.

For more information, call 1 414 933-1633 or email me at horne@milwaukeeworld.com . Include “Nia Imani” in the header, and I will get you all the information you need. Act fast, as tickets are running out, and we need to concentrate on something other than the elections.

More Interesting News

The boxes for MKE, the new weekly newspaper that Journal Communications will debut on Thursday, October 28th, are in place on the city’s streets. The paper will go to the presses on Tuesday. … The Waterfront Center is an international organization that recognizes advancements in riparian and lake neighborhoods.

Milwaukee joined the ranks of such first class cities as Vancouver, Toronto, San Francisco and Philadelphia in recognition of its recent projects, particularly the Beer Line neighborhood, the design of which was superintended by Vetter Denk Architecture.

Since 1997 more than 650 housing units have been completed or are under construction in the neighborhood, representing nearly $128 million in new investment.

According to Kelly Denk, “the Beerline Neighborhood is a great example of what we call ‘pride of place’ – the people who bought River Homes actually got together socially before the condos were even built and started to get to know their neighbors. They are all so proud to be a part of the diversity of residents and public uses that make this a true neighborhood.”

The news was released by Andrea Rowe, the Communications Manager of the Department of City Development in one of her first communications in her new job. Her predecessor Roseann St. Aubin went on the School Board.

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