Michael Horne
Plenty of Horne

Pridemore Thrown Out of School

State Superintendent candidate ejected for interfering with vote at Washington H. S. polling place.

By - Feb 13th, 2013 11:16 am
Don Pridemore

Don Pridemore

Rep. Don Pridemore, the Republican assembly representative who is vying with incumbent Tony Evers to be the State Superintendent of Public Education, was ejected from the polling place at Washington High School during the November 6th, 2012 general election. According to “Wisconsin Election Protection,” a report from non-partisan observers of voting during the presidential election:

“State Rep. Don Pridemore (Hartford) was ejected from the site for repeatedly interfering with the voting process and refusing to obey the Chief’s multiple requests to stop his disruptive behavior.”

The report, which confirmed accounts of Pridemore’s disruptive behavior noted in my recent column, was issued by the Legal Coordinating Committee of Wisconsin Election Protection, with the participation of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network and My Right, My Vote.

Undaunted, and with the defiance you’d expect from the kid kicked out of class for misbehaving, Pridemore included Washington High on his “Common Sense Conservative Reform Tour” campaign kickoff on December 4th, 2012, which sends a message more of pugnacity than tenacity.

Donate To Pridemore? Supporters Not Buying It.

Although the superintendent position is non-partisan, Pridemore clearly wanted to be in the race as the Republican proxy, much as we have seen in similarly non-partisan judicial races. Lining up with the deep-pocketed conservatives is generally a good way to raise more funds than your opponent, and Evers himself alluded to this during a campaign event when he said, “My opponent has access to money I will never have.”

Access to money is not exactly the same as having it in your mitts, however, and the campaign finance reports issued Monday, February 11th, 2013 show that Evers has little to worry about from the fundraising angle. The reports showed Evers with $100,000 cash on hand, of which $48,000 had been raised during the first five weeks of the year. For the same period, Pridemore had $33,000 on hand, and had raised a mere $2,400.


An underground electric cable blast hit Downtown around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 10th, blowing a manhole cover some 75 feet into the air, according to witnesses, and creating a 15 foot wide crater around it. There were no injuries, but the blast shut off power for 550 customers in the area, including the Hotel Metro. It also disrupted programming from WMSE, 91.7FM (who broadcasts out of Krueger Hall at 820 N. Milwaukee St.). There was no evident property damage, despite the blast occurring at the intersection of E. Mason and N. Jefferson streets, right outside the George Watts & Son china shop, and the DeLind Gallery of Fine Art. Bill DeLind said it was remarkable that hundreds of thousands of dollars of art escaped any damage or destruction, though it probably is easier getting a hundred grand out of an insurance company than out of an art collector these days.

Fire on Arlington Place

Laura Remus, 29, is an energetic, fun-loving woman who put herself through nursing school by working as a bartender at the Y-NOT II. She’s the type of Urban Milwaukeean who shows up at work early to hit the books for a couple of hours, and is the principal organizer of any party in which she is involved. Monday evening, February 11th, at about 4:30 p.m. she was at the laundromat washing her clothing, little knowing that the articles circulating in the dryer would soon be the only possessions she had left in the world.

For at that moment, her home at 1721A N. Arlington Place was erupting in flames, just as Corey Larson, the deli manager at Glorioso’s Italian Market was making his way toward his residence. “It’s a big fire,” he reported in a telephone call to Plenty of Horne from the scene. Flames were pouring out of the windows of the 2-story building, a fiery mashup of what appears to be a pair of very old Polish Flats.

By Tuesday morning, Remus went with her parents to see what she could collect from her home, but couldn’t get in since the place had been boarded up overnight.

But the photos she had taken the night before showed that there would be very little to salvage in any event.

“Here’s my coffee table,” she said, showing a nice wooden table burnt to a crisp. “This is my living room floor,” she said, offering a photo showing what just looked like a mess. “What’s that pile of stuff in the middle of the floor?” she was asked. “That’s my living room ceiling,” she said. A similar situation prevailed in the kitchen, but there were areas of the apartment where nothing was on the floor, simply because there was no longer a floor there. This includes the area where she would have been sitting — or maybe snoozing– had she been home.

Remus was told the fire started in the basement where a space heater had been running to keep the pipes from freezing. The building was purchased last year by a corporation associated with the Suminski family, the funeral clan that has owned property on the block since before the cottage was constructed in 1890.

Remus said she has received “800 offers of help” since the event, with friends willing to lend her a hand to get resettled. She has a place to stay for now. She has Tony DePalma’s offer of a fainting couch to fall back on if needed. Typically for a nurse, her greatest feeling of loss was not for herself, but for others. In this case, it was the dozens of vintage baseball jerseys that she stored at her home for a friend. “I even lost the Molitor,” she said, tears welling in her eyes.

A welcome facade restoration is under way at Mai Thai Restaurant, 1230 E. Brady Street, which remains open during construction.

A welcome facade restoration is under way at Mai Thai Restaurant, 1230 E. Brady Street, which remains open during construction. Photo by Michael Horne.

More Interesting News

A welcome facade restoration is underway at Mai Thai Restaurant, 1230 E. Brady Street, which remains open during construction, and was undamaged when fire swept through the building at 1721 N. Arlington Place, just to the northeast, during a period of heavy winds.

Meanwhile the Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich shop at 1334 E. Brady Street is closed for renovations, while the staff works shifts at other locations. “We get a lot of the drinking crowd here,” a worker said. “And we are expanding the seating to keep them inside and off the streets at bar time.”

Spectacle! at The North End

The Mandel Group continued its trend of multipurpose real estate events when it unveiled “Portrait” and “Silhouette,” its two newest components at “The North End: a Neighborhood by Design” on February 1st, 2013 (Click here for photos of this event). The company hosted “Spectacle!” in which a number of units in the still-to-be-completed development at 1551 N. Water Street were the site of screenings of motion pictures produced locally.

The Vitrolum Republic played in the garage of the building, while hundreds of mostly twenty-somethings (and male, at that)  toured the buildings.

Encountered Saturday afternoon at the Milwaukee Public Market where he was shopping, Barry Mandel said that events like this are a good way to introduce his buildings to his target market. Would that mostly be men? he was asked. Mandel replied that while men may tend to predominate among first renters of his buildings, once the buildings are leased and there is turnover, it works out rather equally among the sexes.

See You At Shakers

Tonight, February 13th 2013, I will deliver a speech at Shakers on “Crimes of Passion,” since it is also the day before Valentine’s Day. My subject is Mary Ann Wheeler, a transplant from Ohio, who shot her lover dead on Wisconsin Avenue in October 1852. There was great consternation in town, and loyalties were divided. But Mary Ann got off due to a finding of temporary insanity. But there is so much more to the story, including abortion, drugs, and skulduggery. I hope to see you there at 422 S. 2nd Street. I plan to start hanging around 6 p.m., and will deliver my address at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Correction: An earlier version of this indicated the report “Wisconsin Election Protection,” had from participation the League of Women Voters, the Wisconsin Education Network and My Right, My Vote, this was incorrect.  The groups involved are the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network and My Right, My Vote.

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