Michael Horne
Plenty of Horne

Doyle, Gard in University Club Sandwich

By - May 26th, 2006 12:00 pm

The campaign trail and the warm weather have met, and Milwaukeeworld is an active place.

Sheriff candidate Vince Bobot held a fundraiser at Yanni’s on E. Mason St. Monday, May 22nd, sponsored by John Budzinski.

A number of attorneys found the location convenient, and they paid their respects. Among the lawyerly crowd was Matt Flynn, enjoying the company of other worthies as Boris Gokhman and Ald. Robert Bauman.

That day, the Journal Sentinel had run an editorial once again deploring the mayor’s veto of the rubber-wheeled tram system Bauman opposed. This time, for a change, the newspaper gently raised the “r” word, as in “rail.”

“Isn’t that interesting?” Bauman mused, as he savored some fried calamari appetizers.

Budzinski had some news. He is retiring from active involvement in the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada, where his $250,000 annual salary makes him one of the better paid union workers in Milwaukee.

While at the U.A.O.J.A.A.O.T.P.A.P.I.O.T.U.S.A.C., Budzinski handled a number of significant responsibilities. He had been in charge of pipeline operations for the union, but after 2001 he became responsible for government projects, and carries a very high security clearance.

He’s negotiated contracts for workers on secret projects as part of his most recent assignment. Don’t think for a moment that particle accelerators would be built with non-union labor. Not if Budzinski had anything to say about it.

For retirement kicks, Budzinski has bought the Wisconsin master franchise for Unique Pizza and Subs. A press release from the firm says Budzinski and his daughter Grace expect to have five new locations and 31 converted locations open by the end of 2007 in the state, with sales of $12,601,400 expected. See? That’s what happens when you quit your day job.

The firm expects to open stores in Madison, Milwaukee and Oshkosh.

Budzinski was also at Centanni Thursday, May 25th for a fundraiser for John Chisholm, the District Attorney candidate who has been making the rounds of late. Vince Bobot returned Chisholm’s favor of earlier in the week, and showed up at this event briefly.

Tom Mullins, Bobby Head and John Piette were the hosts of this after work gig, featuring free wine and champagne and a bountiful array of snack goodies. Mullins is all excited about the 81st running of the Hambletonian, coming up at the Meadowlands August 5th.

Compared to thoroughbred racing, harness racing ranks up there with dressage as a high-class equine sport.

During the evening, retired police union head Bradley DeBraska showed up to have a look around and to chat up some members of the force who were supporting Chisholm’s run. Small town – DeBraska and Budzinski are both former members of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.

When DeBraska was union head, he kept a file of prisoners who were due to come before the state Parole Commission, and he’d speak against the prisoners if they had been guilty of crimes against officers. Three prisoners who killed police officers in the 1970s will come before the board this year alone, and commission chairman Lenard Wells, himself a former Milwaukee police officer, resigned after a furor when he accepted the commission’s recommendation to release two of them.

With DeBraska gone, it appears the Police union leadership is not keeping track of these hearings, and the fact remains that there were no letters, family members or next of kin opposing the release of the killers of Dennis Lee Obradovich, a Milwaukee police officer who was killed in 1975.

As the champagne flowed at Centanni’s, Assembly speaker John Gard was being feted at a reception in the first floor of the University Club, where his guest of honor was Bart Starr, who graciously posed for pictures with big donors.

Meanwhile, a private dinner was being held for Governor Jim Doyle on the third floor of the club. The governor’s staff said the event was not on his official calendar, which can mean only one thing – it was a campaign event. (Could you possibly imagine Jim Doyle dining merely for pleasure and nutrition?) I called Melanie Fonder of the Doyle-Lawton campaign to find out who sponsored the dinner. She has not returned the calls.

More fundraisers are on the way, including one at Vivo Urban Grill, 600 E. Mason St. for the Assembly Democrats on Thursday, June 1st. The guest of honor will be former assemblyman Tom Barrett, who once represented Milwaukee.

Then Tim Carpenter can celebrate his run for office and his no contest plea April 28th in Racine County Circuit Court, where reckless driving charges against him were amended to “Inattentive Driving.” Carpenter paid a $236 fine to the court. His event will be Sunday, June 4th from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. at Walker’s Maple Grove, a classic Milwaukee bar at 3555 S. 13th St.

This article was originally published by Milwaukee World.

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