Crystal Ball for 2014
25 predictions that are certain (well, maybe) to come true this year.
Looking into my crystal ball for 2014, in the 168th year of this city’s history, I can see the stars aligning in unexpected ways. Let us take the year as it reveals itself, month by month, and consider the portents and events to come.
January: Tom Barrett declares he is tired of the West Side where he has lived his entire life and just plain sick of his West Side friends and his West Side thoughts. “I want to be a hipster,” the mayor declares. He moves to Bay View and begins drinking Belgian beer, wolfing sweet potato fries and hanging out with Tony Zielinski. The latter move in particular has City Hall insiders grumbling that the mayor has “lost his mind.”
In what is interpreted as a direct reaction. Common Council President Willie Hines announces the formation of an Exploratory Committee to consider running for mayor. “I am really truly seriously considering throwing my hat in the ring,” a hatless Hines announced.
In a completely unrelated announcement, Greater Milwaukee Committee leader Julia Taylor tells the city that the group has been renamed the Pretty Good Milwaukee Committee, or PGMC. “Why let great be the enemy of good — or even of fair to middling?” Taylor quips.
The naming contest for Colectivo settles on the Exotic Coffee Co. “We like its evocation of rare coffees from afar,” says Fowler, “and it might also make a nice name to sell to a chain of strip clubs… Just kidding,” he adds with a chuckle.
March: The Shepherd Express publishes a book-length collection of its many and unvaried anonymously written attacks on County Executive Chris Abele entitled “We Hate Chris, and We Especially Hate His Film Festival That We Used to Run.” County Supervisor John Weishan buys the first copy, make that 50 copies, and distributes them in the courthouse.
Abele announces that he will retire his endlessly-repeated phrase “this is not personal,” to describe some change intended to reduce county board power. “The truth is, I hate those SOBs,” he confesses.
April: Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke announces her very first stand on the issues. “I hereby declare I am in favor of good government,” she tells the press.
For the first time, Wisconsin Conservative Digest Publisher Bob Dohnal offers a factual basis for one of his assertions. The effort is so taxing he falls asleep for the rest of the year.
May: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel opens a new cafeteria for all the people who comment at jsonline, so that they can really have a food fight. Meanwhile the newspaper’s “No Quarter” columnist Dan Bice announces he is resigning and will become a beach bum in Hawaii. “‘I’m tired of being the one-man dirt patrol,” Bice confesses. “I’d like to get really clean, I mean like scalded-with-lava clean.”
Talk radio host Charlie Sykes takes a morning off, telling his shocked listeners, “really I have nothing to say.” It is later revealed his Republican talking points had not been delivered that day.
June: Sheriff David Clarke announces he is laying off every deputy and using the money saved to arm every citizen and flood the county with public service messages urging them to shoot intruders on sight. “Let’s face it, the officers never answer a distress call on time, whereas the homeowners are already there, so what could be more sensible?” Clarke explains.
July: Ald. Bob Donovan announces he will hold meetings across the length and breadth of the city on the topic of crime and safety. “I have a vision of lighted alleys on every block in Milwaukee,” he rhapsodizes. Ald. Bob Bauman creates a new city committee, the Bob Bauman Committee, that will mercilessly grill every developer in town.
August: Urban Milwaukee President Jeramey Jannene buys a Corvette, burns his county bus pass and starts bombing around town and looking for hot women. “Transit schmansit,” Jannene quips, “it’s time I discover my inner road hog.”
September: Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn proposes to create a series of rotating police headquarters in the surrounding suburbs, so the administration can be closer to all the police officers who have moved out of the city. “With the proper, computerized, real time data on officer movements, we can easily make this work,” Flynn notes.
October: The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance issues a report entitled “A Few Things It’s Okay for Government to Spend Money On.” Miffed board members fire WisTax President Todd Berry.
After years of providing reliable quotes to his journalistic brethren on the people’s right to know, Wisconsin Freedom of Information President Bill Lueders changes his mind. “Frankly, the press are not synonymous with the people,” he admits. “Sometimes the press are just a pain in the butt.”
November: Gov. Scott Walker defeats Mary Burke with 50.5 percent of the vote and declares this is “a mandate” from the voters to toughen the laws against union members, who will now be shot on sight.
County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic wins election to the state assembly and immediately announces she will undertake a four-county series of listening sessions with all the people outside her district. “I believe they would have voted for me if they had the chance,” she explains.
Willie Hines announces that his exploratory committee has finished its explorations: “I truly appreciate their input and have decided I will not make a decision at this time as to whether I will run for mayor.”
December: Just before Christmas, Milwaukee County War Memorial executive director David Drent informs the community that the War Memorial will henceforth begin to actually serve veterans. “Not that I don’t like being the headquarters for the Rotary Club,” he confesses, “but we are called the War Memorial.”
Gov. Walker announces he will run for the state supreme court, saying he’s the only candidate who can defeat hated liberal Ann Walsh Bradley. “I believe I can simultaneously handle the jobs of governor, U.S. President and supreme court justice,” a bullish Walker declares. “After all, I got a solid C in poli sci at Marquette.”