Quotations from the campaign trail
1/17/16 - 1/24/16
On the political climate in Milwaukee
“The Listening Session with the DOJ -Most thought this was meaningless theatrics, but the Feds will take note if we have a political revolution that rejects politics as usual. If you want real change then elect me, I am outside the political establishment, and nothing puts fear into politicians like change outside the two party duopoly. A loss by both Abele and Larson will be a 2×4 upside the head of the establishment.
“Democrats have run Milwaukee pretty much without interruption since Frank Zeidler left office in 1960. Are we better or worse off? – The one Republican who dominated local politics was Scott Walker – a disaster for Milwaukee and now a disaster for the state. Wisconsin had clean and open government because of Progressives and Socialists – third parties are the agents of real reform.”
“Any system that justifies human suffering for some future utopian idea is wrong. How we operate our government “in the now” is far more important than the end goal. Tossing out democratic institutions because they are complex, or slow, or dysfunctional is the path to authoritarianism and oligarchy, not some future utopia.”
“Milwaukee politics is a game of musical chairs, with the same set of players shifting around but not really changing anything.”
#jtk4mke “If Labor or any other group is uncertain about the Wisconsin Pirate Party, they should note it is organized as a cooperative with one member one vote. If every AFL/CIO member (or any other large membership group’s members) in the state bought a membership, they would effectively turn into their party. So we can be infiltrated and taken over like any other real form of democracy. Such is the risk of real democracy, but the reward is in the fact that it is real democracy.”
“I have said the Milwaukee Progressives are corrupted by Abele’s money. What I mean by that is that they have become risk adverse because so many endorsed Abele and had high hopes for Abele, and now are feeling the chill of his lack of inclusion. Abele runs government like a private foundation, and like an English Lord, he freely accepts the State Legislature’s attacks on democracy as more power is aggregated into his hands.
“This corrupting influence of money relates to fear, fear of Abele’s ability to carpet bomb Milwaukee County with glossy pamphlets, as well as TV and radio commercials. So without critical thought or open discussion, many have huddled around Senator Larson.
“I don’t like what Senator Larson is becoming. He has increasingly been swallowed up in the retail campaign full of costly symbolism rather than substance. The iconography is telling, he dresses now like the political priesthood in black suits with flag lapel pins, stopping into events with a detached and haughty disengagement – standing to the side talking to the powerful instead of rubbing shoulders with the hoi polloi.
“Turning the campaign into a two-way war where the battlefield is designed by two factions of Democratic Party strategists – where the demand is to create a cash machine to counter a silver spoon oligarch – is and of itself a corruption of democracy and the fundamental core of progressive governance. We should not want a priesthood, we should strive for an engaged government for and by the people.
“Is that not the fundamental argument against Abele, that he is a haughty oligarch disconnected from the people? Turning Larson into the anti-Abele is not the answer to the problem.”
On What I Will Do in Office
#jtk4mke “I promise to subject any proposed land sale to an up/down vote of the County Board. I will not subvert democracy by unilaterally utilizing the unitary powers granted the Milwaukee County Executive by the GOP-dominated state legislature” –JTK.
“I will go to as many neighborhood group meetings as I can rotate through during my term. These will not be town halls per se – as a neighborhood association president in the UWM area I attended UWM town halls that were carefully scripted and managed. I prefer an organic approach – you set the agenda and give a presentation on a pressing problem in your neighborhood, you proposed solutions, and we discuss it one on one.”
“I will use new tools of democracy, such as the LiquidFeedback software platform – online forums that help people contribute to the solution rather than just trolling about their problems.”
“When I am County Executive, I will have a staff reporter that provides the public, Internet accessible transcripts of all my meeting including video. I have stated this in the past when I ran for the state legislature. No Democrat or Republican has dared to open government as much as I have proposed. I will have an office open to the people, providing more one-on-one interaction than you can get in scripted town hall meetings.”
#jtk4mke “If you have seen me at events, you may note from your memory that I do not just flit in and flit out. I listen and talk to people. I want to learn about your trials and tribulations. You – from the worker at the fast food joint, to the County mental heath nurse, to the union member driving my bus – I will stand with you, and standing in unity we can build a better Milwaukee County.” –JTK
#jtk4mke “When elected, I am committed to putting the best and brightest into County Government. I will immediately put together an advisory council shortly after taking office. My thoughts are to ask Angela Walker to serve as my advisor on African American Affairs, ask Anne Brummet to be my environmental and water advisor, and ask Christine Neumann-Ortiz to be my advisor on Hispanic and immigration issues. The other slots will be focused on economic justice, mental health, and transportation. With myself as chair, that will make a seven-member advisory council with seven being an optimal number for executive boards. I believe what is best for Milwaukee County is a strong cabinet-style executive system.”
#jtk4mke “On a day like today when people can easily die from exposure, the Mayor should open library entrances and lobbies as emergency warming areas. If I was in the chair of the County Executive, I would try to do the same for some of the building I control. Just a suggestion.”
#jtk4mke “As County Executive, I will review any instrument of debt that has an interest rate over 4% and look at refinancing at current rates. I would like to accelerate debt payback and move toward a pay as you go fiscal policy.
“We are now likely entering an era of low inflation (if not deflation), this means long-term debt at older, higher interests rates becomes more of a drag on immediate operational and maintenance cash flow, because you aren’t paying it back with an inflated currency. Debt should be limited to capital improvements that are amortized over decades and it should never be used to plug holes in operating and maintenance budgets.”
On the MPS Takeover
“I am the only candidate who believes the takeover is both unconstitutional and undemocratic. If elected I will refuse to implement as it would be a violation of the oath of office.”
#jtk4mke “I want to discuss with ATU 998 the idea of replacing the MCTC operating company with an employee-owned cooperative.
“Let’s fire the consultants and put the operations into the hand of people with experience.
The check on any naysayer conceived outlandishness with this approach is the operating contract with the Milwaukee County.”
On Poverty, Black Lives Matter, and Police Practices
#jtk4mke “When elected Milwaukee County Executive I will use my bully pulpit to call for a DOJ Patterns and Practices investigation of MPD.”
#jtk4mke “Unity – “The passage away from the islands of poverty defined by the intersects of race, class, gender, and ethnicity is metropolitan transportation that opens up suburban job centers to all people.
“The passage away from the islands of poverty is housing that has no red lines, that is affordable and life sustaining, that allows all people to climb the ladder of advancement toward home ownership.
“The passage away from the islands of poverty is in education that is not divided and segregated by one’s municipality, or class, or race, that is not separate, but united and equal.
“We seek unity in a time when the forces of the oligarchy and the demigods would take away our democracy, and divide our people, through fear of each other, and whip up the mob through racism and fear of economic decline.
“We desire unity in a system that respects the uniqueness of the individual, and does not normalize people but seeks the complimentary angles that when fitted together make us whole. Together we can build a better Milwaukee County.”—JTK
#jtk4mke “Not including today, it has been 52 years, 4 months, 21 days since the “I Have A Dream” speech. In Milwaukee since, we have had growing islands of poverty whose shores are defined along the divides between race and class.
“Martin Luther King, Jr.’s fight for social and economic justice is our fight. It is the fight for immigrants, for the homeless, for the working poor, for the recognition of the right to form and participate in unions, for equal pay for equal work, and for a living wage standard for all without regard for the color of their skin or their gender identification.
“This is my fight as well, and I will not passively stand by while injustices remain in our county. I will stand with you and march with you until we have transformed America into the place with liberty and justice for all.
“Elect me Milwaukee County Executive and my office will be the people’s office and the people’s fight will be my fight.” – JTK
#jtk4mke “I believe the number one issue in Milwaukee County is the large islands of poverty. I believe that transportation policy, zoning ordinances, educational opportunities, and union busting, have reinforced segregation by race and class. From my time at Jobs Now I think the items discussed are reasonable, and perhaps a bit timid. Unless the “Peoples Platform” is exclusionary I will most likely support it, sign on to it, and work for it. As an advocate of transparency and inclusion, I will put as much of government as possible on the Internet and make meetings accessible by anyone who can use YouTube. I will make Milwaukee County open, transparent, and auditable, so promises will have a testable reality.”
You can also listen the Joseph Thomas Klein’ “The Bosun Hour” on WXRW-LP 104.1 FM from 6 pm to 7 pm Sundays or on the web 24×7 on SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/riverwestradio
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We are engaged in a struggle for democracy against the oligarchs, influential capitalists who want to control the government in order to benefit personally, often at the expense of the common citizen.