Ald. Bob Donovan
Press Release

Representative Zepnick’s comments about local business way off base

Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan January 21, 2015

By - Jan 21st, 2015 03:37 pm
Representative Zepnick’s comments

Representative Zepnick’s comments

I have worked closely with state Rep. Josh Zepnick on many different issues affecting the 8th District and the city over the years, but I am exceedingly disappointed by his comments regarding a well-respected, tax-paying business which has a location in my district.

In a social media posting shown to me today, Rep. Zepnick disparages Sobelman’s restaurant and its owner, Dave Sobelman, for Dave’s opposition to the proposed downtown streetcar. He goes on to suggest that the city reconsider granting his restaurant sidewalk seating permission this for the summer 2015 season!

Dave has been outspoken about his opposition to the streetcar, but he is obviously exercising his constitutional right to speak up for what he believes in. I support businesses across the board, and I respect everyone’s right to voice their opinion. But to suggest that the city retaliate by denying the restaurant’s outdoor sidewalk seating is absolutely ridiculous and not the way we do business.

For Rep. Zepnick to resort to this level is unacceptable, and I believe he owes Mr. Sobelman a public apology.

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4 thoughts on “Representative Zepnick’s comments about local business way off base”

  1. Jill says:

    It’s a very scary day when our elected officials publicly imply that a citizen, taxpayer, and business owner should be retaliated by the government for voicing an opinion. And for the record, Mr. Zepnick, Dave doesn’t profit off “your city” (and since when is it YOUR city??) He profits off of the customers that consistently fill his restaurant.

    A restaurant, I might add, that used to be a little known hole in the wall in the middle of the Valley and is now a beautiful establishment after years of considerable investment and commitment on the part of Sobelman and his team. I’d say that level of dedication to building up a Milwaukee establishment is far from what Zepnick calls “no civic pride.”

    Would someone PLEASE run against Josh Zepnick – someone that won’t give a “bwah ha ha” at the idea of a dedicated business owner being denied a permit just for exercising his First Amendment right to have an opinion??

  2. PMD says:

    That’s a whole lot of outrage over a Facebook post.

  3. Dave says:

    Dave Sobelman is the face behind the infamous STOP the streetcar facebook page. While he tries to keep it a secret, the author of this very piece gave that away over a month ago. Dave and his cohorts spend hours a day spreading lies and misinformation about the streetcar and personally attacking the supporters of this investment in our city. Mayor Barrett seems to be particularly in Dave’s cross hairs. I’m not sure if the Mayor gave him a bad Yelp review or perhaps Dave Sobelman is offended that Mayor Barrett saw fit to hold one of his buddies in blue responsible for the death of a citizen because he failed to do his job properly. While threatening a business because of it’s owners outspoken views isn’t right, I also wouldn’t feel bad at all if Dave Sobelman were to choke on an olive in one of his gimmick bloody marys.

  4. PMD says:

    Sobelman sounds like an absolute idiot in that Biz Journal story. Has someone actually said that Milwaukee needs a streetcar because “east side Millennials are struggling?” And of course we have no proof that it will bring young professionals to Milwaukee. It hasn’t been built yet. A new restaurant has no proof that it will have customers and be successful. Milwaukee does have a well-documented brain drain though, and vibrant public transit is important to young professionals.

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