Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

Chris Larson’s War Against Abele

State senator running for county executive blasts Abele with personal attacks, will divide Democrats.

By - Oct 15th, 2015 11:43 am
Chris Larson vs Chris Abele

Chris Larson vs Chris Abele

Is Chris Abele a Democrat?

When the longtime philanthropist announced he would run for Milwaukee County Executive in 2011, he portrayed himself not as a Democrat, but a bipartisan pragmatist who had “worked with Republicans, Democrats and anyone who has good ideas to find solutions,” as he put it.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter David Umhoefer did a Politifact column examining the truth of his claim and found that Abele, in fact, gave political donations only to Democrats, from presidential candidates like John Kerry and Barack Obama, to Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle to legislators like Lena Taylor or Pedro Colon to congressional candidates like Tammy Baldwin and Russ Feingold. “We couldn’t find one dime in donations over a decade to a Republican candidate out of about $175,000” in political contributions, Umhoefer wrote.

But once Abele became County Executive, he went over the heads of county board members to convince the Republican-led legislature to pass a law creating a county comptroller, an independently-elected office similar to the city comptroller. The idea (a sound one) was to make sure a disaster like the outrageously lucrative pension plan of 2000-2001 never happens again, but it made enemies of some board members, who soon began to deride Abele’s budgets as “Walker-lite,” referring to Abele’s Republican predecessor as county exec, Scott Walker.

Once Abele went over the heads of board members again, soliciting the support of Republican legislators to turn the county supervisor job into a part-time position, with far lower pay and staff support, it left the county exec in an unrelenting, bitter war with the board. State Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) opposed this law and is a former county supervisor who tends to agree with board members in their opposition to Abele on a wide range of policies.

Still, it’s unlikely Larson would have run against Abele — whose personal wealth and ability to spend freely on a campaign makes him a formidable opponent — if not for Abele’s more recent move agreeing to become a kind of education czar who will oversee a special district in Milwaukee for the city’s most troubled public schools. Opponents see this as a Republican plan to undermine Milwaukee Public Schools and replace them with choice and charter schools.

This was the issue that finally pushed Larson to run, he concedes. “That was the big one. As soon as that came out, I remember picking up the phone to talk to him.” But Abele didn’t answer, and never called him back, Larson says.

Larson calls the county exec “King Abele” and repeatedly derides him for using his “dad’s money” to get his way. (Abele has inherited millions from his wealthy father, Boston Scientific founder John Abele.)

Larson says his opposition to Abele boils down to three major issues:

1. “Abele is not the person we elected,” Larson charges. The man most Democrats supported — and Republicans opposed — when Abele was first elected in 2011 has changed, and recently held a fundraiser for Republican Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, “who is leading the charge on defunding Planned Parenthood,” Larson complains. But the county exec’s spokesperson, Melissa Baldauff, says Abele has “never” held a fundraiser for Sanfelippo.

Milwaukee’s Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore, in announcing her support of Larson, echoed the idea that Abele has changed and the MPS takeover was the deal breaker. “It’s really sad to have to withdraw your support for someone,” Moore told Fox 6. “It feels so, so disappointing to come back to my own hometown and really find someone who’s trying to obliterate democracy right here in my own community.”

2. “Abele has become increasingly out of touch,” Larson charges. “He lives in the largest house in Milwaukee and drives around in a huge SUV with two armed guards.” And he won’t answer phone calls from Democrats with concerns about his policies, Larson adds. “He doesn’t think he needs to explain any of his actions.”

Aides to Abele have said he added the armed guards after receiving threats. And Abele is now divorced and no longer lives in the Lake Drive mansion, but in a pricey condo in the high-rise Moderne. Abele’s campaign spokesperson Tia Torhorst say Abele “regularly meets with elected officials, even ones who disagree with him. In the past week he’s met with Reps. Barnes, Goyke, Riemer, and Sinicki and Sen. Harris.” But Larson counters that Abele has suddenly begun meeting with Democrats since Larson announced his campaign.

3.“Abele has become power hungry, grabbing power for himself and taking it away from elected members of the county board and school board,” Larson charges. (Torhorst counters that “Chris isn’t interested in more power, he’s interested in more accountability.”)

“I have no doubt that Chris Abele will throw tons of his dad’s money at us to try to distort the message, distort the facts,” Larson told Fox 6. “What he can’t do is what we’re going to do — build a grassroots movement.”

The growing opposition among Democrats to Abele is in some ways surprising. Abele’s philosophy is reminiscent of former Mayor John Norquist. Like Norquist, Abele is a fiscal conservative who supports both choice and public schools, but has been liberal on other issues. Abele who has kept a lid on overall spending and has reduced the county’s debt, but has been a liberal on many policies. After nearly a decade of cuts in county transit funding and routes, Abele stabilized funding and even got the state to provide more aid. Abele helped get the state to rescind cuts in the county’s child support program and has gotten federal support as well, he has reformed the mental health care system, created a plan to end chronic homelessness, has supported LGBT rights and was the first county exec with the guts to take on Sheriff David Clarke and his long-bloated budget.

But Norquist always remained a Democrat and never sought to amass the kind of power Abele has. In the last state budget, Abele sought a grant of wide-ranging power that would have given him “sole authority… without any review or approval of the county board” over many county decisions.  He had gone back to the legislature to ask for more power before Milwaukee’s citizenry had had any chance to weigh the impact of the downsizing of the board (which won’t go into effect until next spring). It had the feel of a bid for dictatorial power.

Some observers believe the Republicans supported the plan in return for Abele’s agreement to become the local official leading the MPS takeover plan. The fact that Abele didn’t offer much explanation of his new bid for power — and that Republican legislators, when asked to explain it, referred questions back to Abele — all added to the smelliness of the deal. Larson claims Republican legislators first approached Tom Barrett to head up the MPS plan and the mayor declined. (Barrett’s office didn’t get back to me to confirm or deny).

Larson questions why Abele wants to amass more power, in this case over MPS: “Why are you trying to take over on schools when you don’t have a background in education?”

While much of the language to further increase Abele’s power over county government was excised, he was given authority over county land sales, with no need for county board approval. “That’s frightening,” Larson says, “both for Abele and for the community. He as sole authority with or without a public bid process.” Not quite, Baldauff notes: under the new law, land sales must be a approved by least two of three members of panel that includes the county exec, comptroller and a a real estate expert appointed by elected members of the Milwaukee County Intergovernmental Cooperation Council.

Larson also condemns Abele for putting county taxpayers on the line to subsidize the Milwaukee Bucks new arena. “After he walked into that room (where negotiations for the arena took place) the county was on the hook for $80 million.”

Larson also condemns Abele for being willing to raise the $80 million by using more aggressive tactics to go after delinquent taxpayers and others who owe fees or other money to the county. Barrett flatly turned down the suggestion of state officials to use this tactic, his aides have said, as this could mean going after the indigent to create a new arena owned by billionaires. An outraged Larson got the legislation changed to prevent Abele from using this approach, but this left the county looking for other ways to raise the money he had pledged.

Larson is pretty much a pure liberal who disagrees with Abele and supports the county board on nearly any issue.  On many of those issues the average county voter might agree with Abele. They did, after all, elect Walker three times.

But Abele’s grab for power — when combined with his wealth — has opened the door to a populist campaign by Larson that could be potent. Larson will probably have the support of nearly the entire county board, Milwaukee School Board and a number of other Democrats. “I think we will have a lot of folks who will come out against his power grabs,” Larson predicts.

Larson, however, wants to roll back the downsizing of the board, which voters supported in referendums in both the city and various suburbs. Abele will doubtless attack Larson on that issue, and this could have been very effective, if not for the county exec’s more recent grab for further power. This has the feel of an election that could quickly get very personal, bloodying both candidates and badly dividing the county’s Democrats. All this in a race that looked like an easy reelection for Abele just a few months ago.

Short Take

Urban Milwaukee is having our annual party, next week Wednesday, October 21, at Screaming Tuna. Our guest of honor is the city’s original urbanist, former Mayor John Norquist. We look forward to seeing our loyal readers and fans and it should be a fun event. But be sure to RSVP. Details here.

Categories: Murphy's Law, Politics

30 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law: Chris Larson’s War Against Abele”

  1. Vincent Hanna says:

    I find the security detail to be really odd and hard to understand. Is he really receiving consistent and credible threats to do him physical harm? That is hard to believe. The Milwaukee County Exec needing expensive, round-the-clock bodyguards, I don’t know, I’m not buying it.

  2. stacy says:

    Larson is pretty much a pure liberal who disagrees with Abele and supports the county board on nearly any issue.

    I don’t understand how it is “liberal” to roll back the downsizing of the board.

  3. Pat Small says:

    Parsing labels, Abele is a “corporatist privatizer” fond of separating public asset from citizens, and of crony capitalism, especially no-bid & sole-bid contracts (i.e. backroom deals).

    Abele hatched a deal to sell O’Donnell Park to NML for redevelopment (for a fraction of its value) and kept referring to it as a “parking garage,” not a park.

    He made a deal to sell the Transit Center to a developer friend for $500,000. It’s appraised for $9 million.

    He arranged to give the Bucks owners over 9 acres appraised for $9 million for $1, with a 15-year development timeline, and taxpayers will pay much (all?) of site-prep costs.

    He’s become a tool of right-wingers promoting the agenda of the American Legislative Education Council (ALEC). Privatizing public schools through “takeovers” is just one of their sinister goals.

    It seems a stretch to compare him to Norquist, who was guided by a vision of how to transform a city for the greater good & economic vitality.

    Abele is known for supporting LGBT rights but in today’s world, that should be a given. Undermining democratic principles to amass personal power & curry favor is not a plank of any party, much less of Democrats.

  4. I am also running for the office – Urban Milwaukee has put up my press releases and I even advertise on your website.
    Thank you again, Bruce, for treating me with the backhanded “not worthy of printing his name as a candidate”.
    Real political reform requires a level of openness that no democrat – Liberal or Conservative – will bring to the office.
    I am not a Democrat or Republican and I am running for the same office. I am a Pirate, because I believe in Pirate Party principles. Perhaps someplace in the city we have reporter who can look beyond Argg jokes and answer the question as to why the Pirate Party is so popular in Iceland. I am the only candidate who has made real promises to make the system more open, transparent, and democratic … and not just a disputed throne between two Democratic Party elites. As for your story, do some more investigation, because Abele is isolated – in his nice ivory colored condo tower – and does not rub shoulders with the people.

  5. John Casper says:

    stacy, it’s because you’re not a conservative.

    1. Look up “local control,” in the dictionary.

    2. “Welfare for billionaires,” is not a conservative value.

  6. BT says:

    You forgot REASON #3!!!!

    “Abele has no clue how tough it is living under President Obama’s never ending dead economy, unlike me he’s never been busted for literally being a thief, he hasn’t had to steal anything since his daddy pays for it all!

    Real Milwaukee thieves like me know what its like to shove a few ribeyes into your pants on a regular basis until your finally caught and know how tough it can be to get a bike with some of these new, high tech bike locks they make. So, I call today on all of the county residents who are straight up thieves to make sure after the shove their soon to be T-Bone steak for dinner into their pants at Pick N Save on election day, to stop and vote for me and if your polling place is a church, community center, school, etc if you keep a keen eye, you’ll probably find more unprotected valuables there to steal!

    Thanks from your future Chief Theif!!!

  7. John Casper says:

    Why isn’t either candidate demanding that Gov. Walker and WIGOP end the job-killing-state-regulations against marijuana? I would never encourage anyone to use it, other than for medicinal purposes, but the prohibition against alcohol didn’t work either.

    Sen. Ted Cruz has joined Sen. Rand Paul on the right, because their base is demanding legalization.

    “Ted Cruz’s Cannabis Conversion Reflects The Political Prudence Of Marijuana Federalism”

    Hemp would bring additional economic benefits, “Mitch McConnell’s Love Affair with Hemp: How the Kentucky senator picked a fight with the DEA and became one of Washington’s top drug policy reformers.”

    Big Pharma lines both party’s pockets with plenty of cash to keep it illegal. Their net income is the biggest loser if it’s legalized. “The Smoke and Mirrors of the Legalization Debate”

    AFAIK, 60% of gang revenue comes from marijuana. In addition to de-funding them, done right, legalization would create lots of new jobs in urban agriculture and badly needed tax revenue for local governments and the state.

  8. Will says:

    So basically Larson is running because abele has a big house, something about planned parenthood, and abele doesn’t bend over for every teacher Union demand. In other words Larson just wants another feather in his cap. Go away

  9. Allison says:

    Neither of these Caucasian males know much about life out in the real world, but I do respect Abele for at least working across party lines to attempt to address some of Milwaukee’s many, many problems. 5th worst city for poverty and worst for African Americans in the whole country to name a few.

    Also, trying in a small way to improve a failing, broken public school system and taking on a wacko, nutty liberal County board takes a lot of courage. You have to give him credit for that.

    Larson, a shoplifter, is just the public employee unions flavor of the day and will simply do what they tell him to do.

    Pick your poison Milwaukee county dems

  10. John Casper says:

    Allison, please explain Mr. Abele’s, “Deal signed: Land in Milwaukee’s Park East Corridor sold to Bucks for $1.”

    Did any of the “nutty liberals,” on the County Board support that?

  11. M says:

    Why does Abele, a guy who could dropped out of college after attending numerous colleges for 9 years, want to be play MPS takeover czar?

    Why does he want to dump the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts onto the state, which already is abnadoning its state parks? It would not surprise me if the Abele-condoned backroom-deal plan is to have whatever conglomerate the Bucks hire to run the new arena (AEG or similar) to also milk the Marcus Center and turn MKE into an “entertainment monopoly town.”

    “Creating efficiencies,” an Abele buzz phrase, is a term vulture capitalists use when they take over companies, chop them up and sell them off. Abele appears to view citizens and public assets as commodities to exploit or dispose of. I’ve never heard him speak a word that even attempts to mimic civic-minded rhetoric. “Out of touch” is putting it mildly.

    Abele might have a scintilla of cred if he did not constantly reward other rich guys while speaking of fiscal conservatism.

  12. Ryan says:

    Hope Larsen figuratively gets his skull cracked open and is embarrassed. Likely the reason Larsen is running so he can have and use all that power much more than Abele ever will. Larsen is a firebrand who thirsts for power, much like his equal on the other side, Bathroom Bob Donovan. Demagogues.

    Abele will get support from the Right, Center and also many from the left just for having a (D) next to his name. Also doesn’t help he’s supported by Moore, who is basically thought of as brain dead by most.

  13. M says:

    Allison, Abele has not offered any ideas for improving MPS. The best that can be said is that Supt. Driver is meeting with him to help “school” him and keep him from completely going rogue. MPS has been building several models for change including “community schools” and some charter approaches. Abele will just waste tax dollars by creating a second bureaucracy.

    Also, it’s the city, not the county, deals more directly with the many problems you ref. (Even sheriff’s dept. mostly just patrols highways.). Parks are one exception and Abele has never shown that he values parks or has any idea about what to do with that legacy–other than privatize it.

    Someone who knows Abele says the exec never held a non-family-foundation job before he got elected. No summer jobs, no flipping burgers. Larson made a stupid youthful mistake, but at least he has not been silver-spoon-fed.

  14. Kathleen says:

    I have attended a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood at the Abele residence–so the claim that he’s anti Planned Parenthood is nuts.
    I have found Chris Abele to be very results-oriented. If something is not working, his mission is to find a solution. He’s not driven by ideology so much as by a focus on finding solutions. When as County Board chair, Dmitriejevic carried on a war against any idea that came from Abele’s office, Abele continued to try creatively to find solutions to major problems confronting this community. Do the Dems really believe that party loyalty should be the overriding principle in public policy? Should we stand up and salute any policy advocated by the leadership rather that on a pragmatic, case by case basis? I disagree with the characterization of Abele’s new role in education as a power grab. Without endorsing all of the detail in the law relating to transfer of authority of certain schools from MPS to the County Exec,or how that came to be adopted, I believe someone needs to take responsibility for schools that have failed for long periods of time. The MPS Board is so enraged that some schools using public money are not under their control that they refused to adopt recommendations of their own superintendent. How many generations of kids should be underserved while the adults continue to argue? Abele is also dedicated to protecting taxpayer funds, which is badly needed given the history of financial mismanagement in Milwaukee County government.

  15. Jeremy says:

    Despite the accusations that Abele hasn’t graduated college, he’d actually run businesses and non-profits prior to his tenure as County Executive. Other than the minority leader position Mr. Larson was effectively fired from, I’m unaware of any previous managerial experience he has. Being able to manage and lead is important. Abele has kept the tax burden in check and “managed” the County Board which for example created the “GO pass” which no one wanted or needed. Why is Larson even running for Exec when in the Arena deal he gutted the ability of the County to pay for the $4 million dollar contribution. Nothing says I love Milwaukee County like sticking it with a $4 million dollar hole in the budget.

  16. Marie says:

    Abele and Sanfelippo have been thick as thieves for years–with or without a fundraiser. Sanfelippo paved the way in the Legislature for all Abele’s restructuring. And Abele has given lots of money to very right-wing tea-party state pols. Of course, he’ll still give his family money to Planned Parenthood and LGBT causes. That’s not the issue for taxpayers.

    If Abele really had wanted to “protect taxpayer funds” he (& Barrett & Walker) would have hired professional negotiators familiar with sports deals to help them from letting taxpayers get completely fleeced by the Bucks. Maybe he simply did not care, since he’s such a die-hard Bucks fan and wanted to make team owners happy by giving them whatever they wanted. Scott Neitzel, the DOA Secy. who has control over the Bucks’s lease, did hire pro negotiators–for what it’s worth now that the “store’s” been given away. It seems that all the pols had too much hubris–“I got this” mentality. So they were all played for chumps and against each other–at taxpayers expense, esp. at city and county level.

    Abele seems more about gimmickry than real “solutions.” Maybe he is results-oriented in some cases, as Kathleen asserts. But what is his mission–“to shrink government till it’s small enough to drown in a bathtub”?

    A MKE mag profile on Abele before he became exec quoted many who called him more of a meddler and tinkerer than a real problem solver. He has so little regard for the Milwaukee Art Museum that he will do his best to keep them from achieving a long-term practical solution that protects both the museum and O’Donnell Park as a public plaza/gateway to the museum. Incredibly, Abele even serves on MAM’s Board. That’s either mean-spirited, idiotic or psychopathic–and certainly unseemly for either a civic official or nonprofit board member. How do you trust a guy like that?

    His best, and favorite, role seems as a funder for his start-up incubator.

  17. BT says:

    If shoplifting on a stolen bike Larson wins, expect to hear joyous screams and beaming smiles of happiness and excitement for the near future from conservatives!!!

    What the hell is this guy talking about was probably the main reaction there and its because I forgot to add a few details, the jubilation would no doubt be the county exec’s, developers of office parks, anyone owning large tracts of farmland, unused land, etc plus every single biz owner around those areas-IN OZAUKEE, WASHINGTON AND MOST OF ALL, WAUKESHA COUNTY!! Yes, NML is very unlikely to move, way too much invested here, along with Rockwell and and handful of the other largest companies that own large facilities and moving would be cost prohibitive. Yet, you never know, with the straight up mentally defective and totally clueless on anything related to the real world and common sense county board, which has already done so many STUPID, STUPID things that far beyond a landslide of voters voted to neuter them, plus this goof, going straight from a successful theft career (until he got busted) into gov’t, don’t count anyone out.

    Who will DEFINITELY be packing up and leaving one by one, it will be all of those smaller companies, any one or even many of which can easily become the next Rockwell, NML, Johnson Controls, etc since unless its a biz just riding some fad which are very rare, ANY successful and growing company is going to have intelligent people in key positions (I’d put good money on it that any random exec from any well run and growing one could take on at least half of the board at jeopardy, 1 person vs 8 or 10 and we’ll forget the usual 3rd contestant and unless the questions are about some social justice nonsense or things like that, he/she would CRUSH the 8 clueless clowns!)

    Even the lefty-est of you libs must of course know that property tax will skyrocket from now, where we already pay about DOUBLE the tax for equal value homes, depending on which side of 124th they’re on. Think about that, its already that insane where the one guy/gal on the Tosa side in their home can look directly across 124th at their neighbor in Brookfield or Elm grove and assuming they’re close to equal value, Tosa owner pays DOUBLE in taxes AND THE SHOPLIFTER IS GOING TO USE CURRENT RATES AS HIS “LOW STARTING POINT”!!!

    Funny too that some obviously clueless soul named Casper goes after that Bucks $1 deal, which in a small way I’ll agree is certainly “corporate welfare”, yet just like how SOMETIMES paying welfare to people is a good idea and helps keep someone who maybe has a very bad luck streak stay off of the streets and then eventually finds work again and gets back to normal life, other times like when you’ve got the 3rd generation now on cradle to grave gov’t bennies for EVERYTHING and just clueless as to what a job is or how to try to get one, its bad.

    Well Mr Casper the hopefully friendly ghost/lib, have you by chance noticed at all over the last 15 years or so since they tore down the little useless freeway spur how there might be just a teeny tiny difference between what happened to the city land vs county land?? Anything you see there Casper?? OK, here’s a clue: Notice how the city land got snapped up and developed, I think all of it or close to it, while on the couty land, other than the Aloft Hotel (which one of the owners has given on the record interviews and speeches just totally excoriating the county board, how out of touch with how business works they are, possessing a total lack of understanding of even basic numbers behind running a business, let alone being able to read even a simple balance sheet-the overall point from him is that WE HAVE A BUNCH OF IDIOTS ON THE BOARD WHO KILL GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY and don’t do a damn thing to make him ever want to touch another county property! Hey Casper, MAYBE THAT’S WHY THE REST OF THE COUNTY PORTION OF WHAT SHOULD’VE BEEN LAND PEOPLE FOUGHT TO GET IS STILL EMPTY, TOTALLY EMPTY 15 YEARS LATER!!

    Oh, but we the county board put in all sorts of strings to hep out the “working man”, since we’re libs and we look out for them, not the fat cats. YOU DUMBASSES DIDN’T HELP A SINGLE DAMN WORKER, SINCE NOTHING EVER GOT BUILT! STUPID, STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!!!!

    Since this has been longer than a bumper sticker (point at which 99.4% of libs lose ability to comprehend a thing being said) I’ll frame it in this easy question-If you’re unemployed, flat broke, yet truly willing to work and show up on time every single day, yet cannot get hired (lots of them out there) which do you prefer, the brain dead county board’s “living wage” yet nonexistent job (so “living wage then=ZERO!!!) Or 10 bucks an hour to start as plain old laborer, but with many valuable skills you will certainly learn, likely to have you making $18, $20, $25 an hour or more in maybe 5 years??? So Casper the ghost with the invisible as well as non functioning brain, that $1 Bucks sale IS GOING TO PRODUCE GOOD JOBS, STEPPING STONES!!! You’d rather wait another 15 years though, maybe then someone will finally build a single 7/11 or something instead of this awful corporate welfare! INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. tim haering says:

    Larson hasn;t got a chance. Look at that face! WOuld anyone vote for that? Barring some scandal, Abele wins on An Incumbency of Good Enough. Reading Walker post mortems this morning, I keep hearing Floyd — “By the way, which one’s PInk?” Have a great weekend, Bruce.

  19. beer baron says:

    I Like both Chris’s and will support both, but I’m Abele for Co Exec. He did get things done and who he’s associating with at the political level is not really effecting county business. This appears to be Marina’s big power move to try and unseat Abele for all her personal ill will towards him and to try and show her new employer she can make a splash. However, it will fail. Abele will carry the burbs without a problem and all moderates. He has done a good job and he has stabilized and fixed the mess Walker created. Heck, even the transit system looks like it’s going to make a comeback with Abele, which is nice.

    Which is a shame because Larson is a good senator and had a bright political future (gov I always hoped), but when he loses this, it’s going to really be a shame because he’s losing that future to the sad echo chamber of Marina and some county unions she has all ginned up. Larson, please, please, please find a way to back out of this race before it’s too late. You could be a contender some day. Don’t waste it on Marina’s personal vendettas. You don’t need her anymore.

  20. The comment section looks like the usual suspects lined up like two firing lines, ready to blast each other to bits. If you don’t want to play out this Democratic Party civil war scenario look at the alternative
    I am a registered candidate running for Milwaukee County Executive.

    I am an OIF veteran.
    I served at the Wisconsin Military Academy and at the State JTOC.
    I have been a President a California venture capital funded tech business.
    I served as City of Miwaukee 3rd Aldermanic District Intern.
    I have known homlessness and depression both first and second hand.
    I have been on the patient side of the VA syatem.
    I know my political history, including the labor and civil rights history of our community and the world.
    I have a long history of supporting mas transit.
    I actully have environmental training including hazardous material and refrigirent certification.
    I have worked for and with Internet startups in my capacity as a network engineer.

    I have real world experience and a dedication to maintaining open and democratic government.

  21. BT says:

    I’ll admit it, I’m a fan of Abele and how he’s been able to manage relations with a county board that has a vast majority of members you’d think are literally from a different planet where Marxism DOES work, a few flip floppers and one supervisor who in not clinically insane and reports back to the real world on the insanity happening daily there, which will likely end up leaving her insane as well, but she won’t carry a copy of “the manifesto” with her everywhere at the asylum!

    I have to say though, IF I had some BIG $$$$ to throw in to save our county from death once the supposedly reformed career thief (and former member of the insane part of board) takes over, I’d go meet with Mr Joseph Thomas Klein (only after vetting him of course, since simply typing it here means nothing) but if it proves true, Mr Klein I’d say you sound like someone with a wealth of experience on “both sides of the tracks” and for a county as diverse as this, where we have everything from the very poor and many homeless people, all the way up to the north shore and the multi-million dollar condos downtown, who’d have the life experience to deal with it all. Problem is, I’m still working on having that kind of cash so you’ll have to keep looking, but I commend you on overcoming adversity, which we all face on one way or another in life! (and if that commie thief takes over my current home county, I’ll be doing it from Waukesha County where much of the success in this area now happens, since he’ll run MKE County straight into the toilet guaranteed!)

    Sure, maybe Abele can be truthfully slammed as “little lord fauntleroy” who’s idea of getting money together for a new swanky condo after his marriage ended is to put in a call to daddy’s accountant and request a $3 MIL bank wire ASAP, but guess what-John Abele is a self made man and I’d urge all the Abele haters to read even just the Wiki on him and what he overcame to become so rich, that man is an incredible story of achieving over extreme adversity, so I take issue with now slamming his son for choosing not to use daddy’s connections to get in and on the fast track at Goldman Sachs for instance, but to come here to Milwaukee of all places and truly try to improve our community. So sick of this demonization of anyone who works their ass off and becomes rich, creating thousands or tens of thousands of jobs along the way, not everyone can work for government, the USSR is long gone!

    Anyone who dares to slam Abele for using the money his father worked his ass off for, while overcoming many obstacles at the same time-TO INSTEAD VOTE FOR THEIR HERO, WHO WHEN TIMES ARE TOUGH GOES AND SHOVES SOME T-BONES DOWN HIS PANTS AND RIDES HOME ON WHAT USED TO BE SOME OTHER GUY’S BIKE IS A MORON, A COMPLETE AND TOTAL MORON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Vincent Hanna says:

    If we’re going to mention Larson’s criminal history and suggest that’s a disqualifier, doesn’t Abele have a DUI?

  23. M says:

    Yes, a DUI and failure to appear for 7 years…and an incident of throwing a loaded firecracker in his neighbor’s yard, just 4 years ago…

    Both candidates clearly have “baggage.”

  24. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    The Left is outraged that Able might team with Alberta and Dale Kooyenga to try to teach black kids to rd, knowing that if they can read they might not vote for them. Only 15% of inner city kids in fourth grade can read. The teachers, white, male, liberal, racists that run the teachers union and the city do not want educated inner city kids, just like the whites in South Africa forbad kids to learn English.

  25. Marie says:

    WCD: Exactly how many black people do you know who started voting GOP after they learned how to read? People who cannot read tend not to vote–for either party.

    Jeremy: Abele stuck the county with a $4-million budget hole, and the county comptroller said Abele’s debt collection scheme would actually lose money the county now collects from debtors. A smart manager consults finance experts about fiscal issues.

  26. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Startign with Clarence thomas, Tim Scott, Sowell, millions.

  27. Vincent Hanna says:

    That doesn’t make any sense. Elementary school children can’t vote, so how could someone change their vote from Democrat to Republican after learning how to read in school? That is literally impossible.

    Your hateful and ignorant comments are insulting to not only every teacher in Milwaukee, but to every human being with half a brain. I am so grateful that people with your mindset are dying out slowly but surely. To suggest that people teach in order to keep black kids uneducated and from realizing their full potential is just mind-numbingly stupid. And don’t give me this “my wife used to be a teacher” crap. You don’t know the first thing about teaching or the people who do it. You are a disgraceful excuse for a human being WCD. You are deplorable and repugnant.

  28. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Well maybe you can tell all of us why MPS is the worst system in the country and why only 15% of the third grade kids can read when taught by people like you? Why has Milwaukee 57% youth unemployment? Either it is done on purpose or you all are completely incompetent. Probably both.

  29. BT says:

    Well, a DUI (which I’ve never had) isn’t good and to even mention throwing the firecracker over the fence into the neighbor’s yard (who was one of our high profile ambulance chasers, so good thing that firecracker didn’t hit anyone and maybe cause what the ER would likely call a “half degree burn” with a smiley face following it, since that would then be the impetus for a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Abele, for not just the awful physical injuries (no sir, you DO NOT need to spend any time in our burn unit, that’s really not even a burn but yes I will note it on your chart as well as the emotional distress of your entire family and dog) but how that one firecracker devastated them, no more feeling of safety at home, etc, etc.

    Larson was a thief, which of course made him PERFECTLY SUITED FOR THE COUNTY BOARD, who’s history of thievery goes back a long way, long before even the pension scandal that helped propel everyone’s favorite governor into that seat, they’ve been practicing ridiculous cronyism, nepotism, etc for decades and just like either Ament or maybe it was another one of the disgraced thieves who passed that pension/theft from county residents bill “We’re like a big family here” so apparently they justified it in the same way a mother/father justifies giving handouts to their adult aged, unemployed by choice and drug addicted child, its OK since we’re all family here! Only thing is, the board and Ament weren’t throwing away money they’d earned and thus could choose to do what they wanted to with it, they were giving away taxpayer money!

    So, since Walker left for the gov’s job and Abele became cty exec, he’s been the ONLY check and balance on what is otherwise a totally out of control and often simply insane board, willing to blow millions on every possible whim they have and have often had the votes to override Abele’s common sense vetoes of their insanity.

    Right now, the property taxes on a $250,000 home (based on city assessments) in Wauwatosa are around $5700, simply crossing 124th St into Brookfield slashes them to around $3800 annually and Brookfield taxes are much higher than some points further west in Waukesha County. The city of Milwaukee itself has been the recipient of a windfall over the last 10 or 15 years as an amazing amount of nearly all high and very high priced residential property has been built, both condos and rentals and as much as the city officials LOVE to take every last ounce of credit for that, in reality that’s been a nationwide trend with people moving back to urban areas from suburban areas. If you look at the roster of owners in the most expensive condo development downtown (actually in the entire metro area) the University Club Tower, you’ll see its nearly all people above 65, or getting there fast. That one tower pays in total an amazing amount of property taxes, with one particular unit paying nearly $400,000 a year in property tax! The rental boom may be going the same way as 3rd Ward condos in the mid 2000’s, a bubble ready to burst, but of course when you pay rent, you’re still paying property taxes, just indirectly. If taxes continue to go up, so do rents and they’re already astronomical in many cases.

    So, when the sanity provided by Abele gets replaced by the insanity undoubtedly on the way from Mr. T-Bones in My Pants and they just approve everything, not only will there be no more worries about having to override any vetoes, they won’t even have to worry about Abele using his position to point out that yes, once again the board is nuts and instead they’ll have Mr. Self Check Out Line there to cheer on the insanity and taxes will be fully and totally out of control!

    Now, will that mean that east siders will decide to move to Brookfield or Germantown since they’re such similar places? Of course not! Yet, for instance on the north shore, another area with lots of high priced properties paying massive taxes already, crossing County Line Rd into Mequon and getting a similar MASSIVE reduction in taxes is no big difference at all, in fact part of Bayside is in Ozaukee County. If it wasn’t named “County Line Rd” and there wasn’t a welcome to Mequon sign, you’d have no clue you just went into another city and county! Same thing with Tosa and I wouldn’t be too surprised if the Larson lovers don’t even realize there’s been a bunch of very expensive homes paying huge tax bills built in Franklin, mainly towards the western end, where New Berlin, also a new or fairly new place to put up expensive new homes is just a stone’s throw and a huge tax reduction away.

    That all brings me to my final point, which is the north side of the city of MKE and what I see as holding that area together, especially where the JS’s “murder map” (which they are more than happy to promote to get you to come to their website and get more ad $$$, yet in the same breath will call racist anyone who looks at their map and says “wow, that looks like a war zone!”) On the north side, whenever I read yet another lib blathering away about how we need to make life so wonderful for violent criminals who get out of prison, need to do everything for them and of course blow LOTS of tax $$$ on them, I always like to point out that the majority, or vast majority of residents on the near north side are NOT criminals, NOT crack smokers, etc they’re law abiding, good people who often can easily afford to live elsewhere, but stay because the near north side is home to them. THEY are the people I want to help and they’re usually not looking for handouts, not scrambling to get some charity to pay the $3000 gas bill they ran up all winter by leaving the heat at 80 and the front door wide open, they’re just looking to be safe in their homes and when they go out and trying to hep their community. THEY are the ones who shocked the Milwaukee Cty Dems (and even my buddy Abele) when they turned out in droves to support Sheriff Clarke last time around, when the Dems were so darn sure their straw man Meows (you know the cat lover!) had that one in the bag! I’m sure Cty Exec Damn These Frozen Lobster Tails Are Freezing My B@lls will be fully on board with the next effort to oust Clarke as well, who ironically while the JS has kept its pledge to completely ignore him, has risen to national prominence!

  30. Vincent Hanna says:

    Hold the phone. You need to explain to liberals that most people living on the north side are not criminals? That’s like saying conservatives believe taxes are way too low. It does not square with reality. I’ve encountered plenty of conservatives who believe most people living on the north side are criminals.

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