TCD’s week in review (1/06/12)
In his second professional start, Matt Flynn had a game for the ages in the final match of the regular season. Flynn gained NFC Player of the Week honors after throwing for a team record six touchdowns and 480 yards en route to a 45-41 victory over the playoff-bound Detroit Lions. Flynn is a free agent at the end of the season and his performance will likely make him some serious coin if he hits the open market.
A three-judge panel announced Tuesday that information on how Republican lawmakers drew new legislative districts in 2011 cannot be kept from the Democratic group suing for violation of the federal Voting Rights Act. In a ruling the Journal Sentinel called “scathing,” the judges unanimously re-affirmed that both the consultant and Senate aide deposed must reveal any and all information known about the redistricting. At one point, the ruling bluntly states, “Quite frankly, the Legislature and the actions of its counsel give every appearance of flailing wildly in a desperate attempt to hide from both the court and the public the true nature of exactly what transpired in the redistricting process.”
Rep. Tamara Grigsby, who suddenly entered the hospital two weeks ago, was released from intensive care on Tuesday. A statement from the 37-year-old Milwaukee representative indicated she had made “phenomenal progress in her medical recovery.” Our hearts go out to Ms. Grigsby and her family and friends, and we wish her the best in her recovery.
4. Cash-strapped homeowners
Foreclosures filings in southeastern Wisconsin dropped to the lowest levels in four years, down 14 percent from a year ago. The largest declines occurred in Waukesha and Racine counties, each with roughly 23 percent drops. Milwaukee County also showed a decline of 12.3 percent.
County Executive Chris Abele will, in all likelihood, run unopposed for re-election. The lone opponent, Steve Hogan, failed to collect the necessary number of signatures to appear on the ballot, and there have been no indications that others will contest Abele as a write-in candidate.
Tom Barrett is reportedly “seriously considering” a run for governor in the likely recall election. Union leaders have already urged Mayor Barrett not to try it, throwing their support behind Kathleen Falk. As TCD’s Bad Democrat noted weeks ago, Democrats need to be careful not to run into the type of in-party fighting that has plagued the Republican presidential primary, and this is further indication that a consensus candidate may not exist. (Paging Mr. Feingold…)
2. Milwaukee’s LGBT community
The Milwaukee LGBT community lost an activist to homicide this week. Desiree Harrell, 43, an active member of Milwaukee’s LGBT community, was shot multiple times in her car late Monday night outside of a bar owned by Harrell’s sister. According to the CBS 58 story, “Investigators are not commenting on family theories that she might have been targeted because she was gay and an activist for gay rights in the community.” A vigil was held Wednesday night.
3. Snow business
The lack of snow this winter is a welcome absence for those of us with a general distaste for it (i.e. whiny street parkers like myself), but some industries, including Wisconsin farmers, are seeing some negative effects of the mild winter, as blankets of snow generally protect crops from the frigid effects of Wisconsin winters.
4. Honest government
Three more people have been charged in the ongoing John Doe investigation of Walker’s current and former aides, including a longtime Walker campaign and county staffer. Tim Russell is charged with taking funds from numerous sources, including more than $21,000 from Operation Freedom, an annual military appreciation day at the Milwaukee County Zoo. He allegedly used those funds for tropical vacations with his domestic partner, Brian Pierick (also charged, for two counts of child enticement, pictured right), and a campaign strategy session with Herman Cain. Another individual, Kevin Kavanaugh, has been charged with taking more than $42,000 in donations to the Milwaukee Purple Heart chapter, intended for the families of killed or wounded vets. Now-Governor Scott Walker requested the investigation in 2007; District Attorney John Chisholm said his office has been working on the case for at least 1.5 years.
5. Free news seekers
Between Christmas and New Year’s, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel unveiled its plan to incorporate a paywall into its website, JSOnline, in a similar format to that which has been implemented by the websites of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. As of Wednesday, Jan. 5, those who do not subscribe to JS Everywhere will get 20 free views per month, but after that, it’s pay up or stay locked out. So be careful with those clicks from now on.