Abele Is Not Running For Re-election:

That turns the whole county government environment totally on its head. “In a reversal, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announces he will not seek re-election

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is not seeking re-election, he announced Wednesday, a reversal from May, when Abele told the Journal Sentinel he was running.

In a statement, Abele said it was a difficult decision not to run again in April.

“I have approached public service just as I have approached every venture I take on — giving it my all every day, all day, leaving everything on the field,” he said. “But I also believe public service is about passing the torch when we have done our best to do what you have elected us to do.”

The position required “significant sacrifice,” he wrote.

“Now — alongside my three incredibly dynamic daughters and a new marriage with a strong woman who brings life and love into every room she walks into — it is time to write our next chapter together,” he wrote.

Who will this pull out of the woodwork to run? Will other candidates change their minds on what office to pursue? Will one or more of the mayoral candidates in Milwaukee change their heading (and yes, I am sure Mayor Barrett is running for re-election)?

Who do you think is a good candidate for Milwaukee County Executive?

(who wants to be on my exploratory committee? [humor])

Lena Taylor to run for mayor of Milwaukee

Capper of Cognitive Dissidence reported this on Facebook yesterday. But Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor (D – Milwaukee) announced that she will run for City of Milwaukee mayor in 2020. Although a number of other candidates have announced a run for mayor, long time mayor, Tom Barrett hasn’t announced whether he intends to run for re-election…but everyone pretty much expects that he will.

State Sen. Lena Taylor announced Tuesday she will challenge Mayor Tom Barrett in 2020.

Her announcement follows years of speculation that she might be interested in the position.

Taylor, 53, has criticized Barrett on a variety of fronts, previously telling the Journal Sentinel that he is “disconnected” from voters on issues of race, job creation, concerns over police, income inequality and issues at the city’s health department.

Ald. Tony Zielinski announced his run for the position in late 2017. Late last year, Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton filed papers to run for the seat, but he hasn’t made a formal announcement. It’s unclear if he actually will run.

Barrett has yet to formally announce a re-election effort…

Looks like the 2020 spring elections will be more interesting than usual!

Oh…and Capper’s take? “Sellout Senator Lena Taylor will announce her already doomed mayoral bid tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.”

Journalism In Milwaukee Takes Another Hit

Gannett Co, the owner of USA Today and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (and 98 other papers) is being acquired by GateHouse Media (which if you trace the lineage is a division of Japanese company Softbank).

This is being touted as a great way to preserve for profit print journalism in America as the combined company saves money by reducing duplicative costs. Well considering how poorly that worked as Gannett built its USA Today network, excuse me for having some doubts here.

GateHouse Media owner and USA TODAY owner Gannett have agreed to merge in a deal aimed at cutting overlapping costs and enabling the combined company to pursue a digital transformation.

New Media Investment Group announced Monday that it reached a deal to acquire Gannett, which owns more than 100 other daily publications and digital marketing services such as ReachLocal.

The companies estimated they can save $275 million to $300 million in annual costs within 24 months. New Media shareholders will own 50.5% of the combined company, while Gannett shareholders will own 49.5%.

“We believe this transaction will create value for our shareholders, greater opportunities for our employees, and a stronger future for journalism,” Reed said in a statement.

Together, the two companies would operate more than 260 daily news operations – far more than any other U.S. news publisher – and boast potentially the largest online audience of any American news provider.

emphasis mine

greater opportunities for our employees = we’ll pretend to give them great buy out offers before we cut them lose.

stronger future for journalism = considering the stark atrophy exhibited by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in its post merger world…there’s no chance of that.

create value for our shareholders = BINGO go the investment bankers who hold most of the shares.

I originally thought that MJS would be helped by the Gannett organization; figuring out state and national news would be sourced from other USA Today network papers. But that leverage was used exceedingly sparingly and I think the paper did itself a big disservice by not using that model effectively.

It also appears that editors at the paper are in short supply as typos, mismatched nouns/verbs, misuse of an, and other errors continue to grow in the print version of the paper. I can’t imagine growing the number of papers and reducing costs at the same time will provide a remedy.

But digital is the certain savior, right? Well if they have a solid digital platform that might help. When I was pulling up the linked articles for this post, the web pages were balky, search slow and difficult to use, and ads kept reshaping the pages while I was reading the articles. That’s all annoying as hell! (and of course the video ads that pop up and run unbidden)

DelGrande { Chuck DelGrande, a Chicago-based managing director in the tech, media and telecommunications group of investment bank Alantra } said “the holy grail” for Gannett and GateHouse would be to get big enough to “live to fight another day,” giving them sufficient time to continue to invest in a digital transformation.

Both Gannett and GateHouse have been making progress attracting paid digital subscribers to make up for the loss of print subscribers in recent years.

Gannett’s digital-only subscriptions rose 39% year-over-year to 538,000 in the first quarter of 2019.

GateHouse’s digital-only subscriptions rose 44% to 174,000 over the same period.

“Subscription revenue is one of the biggest levers, and there is potential there. The challenge is with so many sources to get information these days, the bar for paying is higher than ever,” Magid’s Spencer said. “And the only way you’re going to substantively drive increases in those subscriptions is by delivering a level of value I can’t get anywhere else.”

I’ll be moving from a print subscriber to media only when I come up for renewal. After 35 years as a print subscriber, they’ve priced me out of that market. But I may be a short lived media subscriber if their digital presence doesn’t deliver as promised.

Last thought:

If they combine, Gannett and GateHouse must balance the need for cost cuts with the need to invest in journalism efforts, said Jim Friedlich, CEO of the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, a nonprofit that promotes local journalism innovation and owns the Philadelphia Inquirer.

emphasis mine

Their journalism efforts can certainly get worse…but I hope that they see the value in investing in it…and not milking this cash cow to death. Democracy and the First Amendment can’t take too many more hits.

Labor Secretary Acosta Resigns but Trump Is Still With Him

After myriad calls for his resignation resulting from his handling of earlier sex crimes charges against Jeffrey Epstein, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta announced that he is resigning:

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta said Friday he will resign amid controversy over the way he handled a sex crimes case against wealthy businessman Jeffrey Epstein a decade ago when he was U.S. attorney for southern Florida.

Acosta made the announcement to reporters while standing next to President Donald Trump outside the White House. Trump said Acosta had called him Friday morning and that it was Acosta’s decision to quit.

“This was him, not me, because I’m with him,” Trump said in a lengthy exchange with the press before departing the White House en route to events in Wisconsin and Ohio. “I said, ‘You don’t have to do this.’”

So the president just can’t seem to ever let go of the sycophants he appoints to his cabinet. In the meantime:

12 years and counting

Twelve years ago today Blogging Blue came to life with this post.

Since that time the blog has grown from just a collection of thoughts from yours truly to a community in which nineteen different individuals have shared their thoughts and perspectives on politics, news, and life. Blogging Blue has grown into a lively community of commenters here on the blog with over six thousand followers on Twitter and I couldn’t be prouder of the fact that we’re still here thirteen years later.

Blogs have come and gone and while I’m no longer the main voice here at Blogging Blue I still can’t help but marvel at what Blogging Blue has become over the past thirteen years – and I can’t help but wonder what the next thirteen years has in store.

Thank you all for reading, commenting, and contributing; you’ve all made this endeavor worth all the time and effort!