VIDEO: Superdelegate David Bowen explains his support for Bernie Sanders

Watch as Democratic State Rep. David Bowen explains why he’s chosen to give his superdelegate vote to Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination.

I appreciate David Bowen’s stated intention to support the will of the Democratic voters of the state of Wisconsin, who gave Sen. Sanders a convincing win here in Wisconsin’s Democratic presidential primary, and I just wish DPW Chair Martha Laning, who ran on a ticket with Bowen, would have followed his lead instead of flip-flopping on who she’d give her superdelegate vote to.

One of Largest Employment Events of the Year

From our exploding email inbox:

America Works and Representative David Bowen Host One of the Largest Employment Events of the Year

Event to Draw More than 100 Transportation Industry Employers and Thousands of Job Seekers

America Works, a national workforce development company, and Representative David Bowen along with more than one hundred local employers will come together to host one of the largest transportation employment events within the city.

The event is free and open to all job seekers who are interested in employment in the transportation industry. Local employers include Enterprise Holdings, Pepsico, United States Postal Service, Roehl Transport Inc. and UPS among many others, which will offer hundreds of open positions.

Who: State Representative Bowen, who is a member of the Transportation Committee, Earl Bufford of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, Dr. Vicki Martin, the President of Milwaukee Area Technical College, America Works Director Carlyle Outten, local employers and community leaders

What: Employment event and press conference with opportunities for interviews with employers, job seekers, elected officials and community leaders

When: March 30, 2016; Event will begin at 10:00AM with a panel discussion; Press Conference at 12:00PM

Where: North Division High School located at 1011 W. Center Street

A number of service providers will also be present to help individuals during the job-hunting process. For example, insurance companies will be on hand to speak to the requirements to be successfully insured before obtaining a job, along with other vendors which assist with paying fines and cleaning driving records among other services. Professional attire specialists will offer free consultations, licensing specialists, child-care providers and many others will offer information intended to help individuals return to the workforce.

America Works of Wisconsin, Inc.

Since 1984, America Works has moved more than 500,000 hard-to-place individuals into the workforce, including military veterans, long-term welfare and food stamp recipients, former criminal offenders, people who are homeless and living in shelters, youths aging out of foster care, non-custodial parents, people living with HIV/AIDS, and people receiving Social Security Insurance/Social Security Disability Insurance.

Whither MKE County: Time For A Dedicated Park District

By now all of you have read at least one article about the perceived risk of having the county executive sell Milwaukee County park land without input from the county board or the general public. The recent changes in state law that allow the county executive to sell non-park land without notice and without competitive bids begs the question of what is and what is not park land. The current interpretation of the law leans toward: it ain’t park land if it’s not zoned park land by each and every municipality that hosts a county park(s).

But in cased you missed it here’s something from the Shepherd Express, UrbanMilwaukee, and the good old Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

And even more recently we have the closing of the Mitchell Park Domes for reasons of safety for both patrons and employees as the deferred maintenance from both the Scott Walker and Chris Abele administrations has come home to roost so to speak. The Domes have gone from a weekend of closure to an unknown length of time or maybe permanently depending on who is doing the talking…and repairs have been guesstimated at up to $75 million.

And if you haven’t heard about that try these: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel or Senator Chris Larson.

So maybe it’s time to take the county park system out of the hands of Milwaukee County and create an independent park district with its own dedicated funding…basically with the half percent sales tax that Milwaukee County voters approved years ago…I don’t know exactly what form that would take but if they have tax levy authority it should include an elected board…not an appointed one.

The value of the park system as a whole can not be overstated. Beyond the pure beauty the green areas bring to the county…add the recreation value…the tourism value…the business/employee recruitment value…the environmental impact…etc etc…the park system is a resource that we can not afford to squander.

Some thoughts on DPW Chair Martha Laning’s recent “controversy”

Earlier this week, Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
wrote about a secretly recorded video that showed Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning attempting to imitate the speech patterns of Democratic State Rep. David Bowen (who is also the First Vice Chair of the party) during remarks to the Door County Democratic Party in July.

Predictably, the right-wing outrage machine (along with a smattering of folks from the left) sprang into action attacking Laning, but to some (including David Bowen) the “controversy” was much ado about nothing. Asked to comment on Laning’s remarks and her attempt to imitate his speech patterns, David Bowen said, “There is nothing wrong about our Democratic Party embracing diversity,” adding, “It’s what separates us from our Republican counterparts, who at many times oppose it.”

Over at Cognitive Dissidence, DFL has a writeup with his/her thoughts on the situation which is worth reading (here’s a snippet).

We are giddy!! For the first time ever, we at Data, Facts and Logic are seeing white DPW members– especially past consultants, staff, and their closest friends– up in arms about what they saw as a racist video. The video was taken at an event where DPW Chair Martha Laning spoke. She detailed how exciting it had been to be at a speech by President Obama, watching it with a largely African-American audience, imitating what she had heard David say and how he said it.

Never mind that the offense taken was mostly by white people. Never mind that most of these people have had years– raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars of working people’s money over that time– without doing a thing to improve the lives of people of color who mostly vote a straight DPW ticket. Never mind that these people crying crocodile tears were some of the same who tried to sabotage the Laning/Bowen campaign and even the delegate nomination process in some counties so that their preferred candidate would win. Never mind that when Jason Rae stood up in front of a group of mostly African-American Milwaukeeans and said he knows exactly how they feel because he’s gay and experiences what they experience, none of these born-again crusaders for racial justice corrected him. (The comment did not go unnoticed by attendees. It definitely cost Rae votes.)

[. . .]

The Martha Laning video will hurt her in these early days. We at DFL can’t excuse or explain Laning’s ignorance about why this imitation shouldn’t have been done. It’s still the first time we’ve seen a Wisconsin DPW leader get publicly enthusiastic about working with the African-American community in Wisconsin. So far, she seems to mean it. Most of us will take a sincere but stilted attempt at working together over no attempt at all. It’s not tactics, it’s not strategy, it’s action. We’ve got work to do. Get out from behind your keyboards and do it, if you mean it, or at least get out of the way.

I’m going to be honest – I cringed a when I heard the video of Laning attempting to imitate David Bowen, and while I doubt she had any malicious intent in her heart when she did her impression, it still seems to me she could have made her point without the need for an awkward attempt at imitating David Bowen.

While I appreciate that there’s going to bit of a learning curve for Martha Laning when it comes to her new role as DPW Chair, she’s going to have to do better if she wants to be effective as the Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Whither MKE County: Pat Jursik Calls Out The Suburbs on Housing Discrimination

This is a surprisingly harsh assessment of the suburbs blatant disregard for equal housing…on top of the fact that they oppose regional public transportation at every turn…but County Supervisor Pat Jursik simply lays it on the line:

Supervisor Patricia Jursik today issued the following statement regarding the SEWRPC Regional Housing Plan:

“Ferguson, MO is the blueprint for the next phase of civil rights struggle: The Integration of the Outer Suburbs. This year, Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, (SEWRPC) created a Regional Housing Plan with recommendations for affordable, workforce housing and attention to patterns of housing discrimination. The Milwaukee County Board adopted this plan, which is supported by good fact-finding and fully noticed public hearings.

“The subtle signs of racism are already being planted here in Southeastern Wisconsin as displayed by the actions of the Ozaukee County Board and Waukesha County Board, with the Ozaukee County Board outright rejecting the Housing Plan and Waukesha amending the plan to point of gutting it.

“Will the State of Wisconsin be pro-active in encouraging affordable housing in the outer suburbs now they have chosen to run Milwaukee County? My guess is probably not, since it is the local Milwaukee County Board that had been proactive on affordable housing and workforce alternatives.

“The one sign of hope is the recent trend of both singles and recently retired people in moving to the metropolitan area where there is diversity, creative cultural offerings, open-mindedness and youthful vigor.

“Violence is never an alternative, but blandness is not a good choice either and that seems to come with this display of prejudice. It comes with discriminatory housing where the “haves” wall-off the very workers needed in their local community businesses while failing to provide the transportation needed to get around these “walls””.

Whither MKE County: Downsizing Physical Plant!

County Supervisor Pat Jursik is preparing a resolution to reduce the number of buildings that Milwaukee County holds at their City Campus facility and start the move to dispose of other underutilized properties in the coming years. She would like plans set into to motion as part of the 2015 County Budget:

Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik said today that she has proposed a resolution to reduce the number of properties held by the County, including the City Campus facility.

Almost five years ago the Milwaukee County Board engaged in Strategic Planning, which resulted in several initiatives: Foremost among them was the decision to move forward with downsizing the number County holdings with regard to facilities. Jursik said that at the turn of the 21st century, the County’s workforce was more than 7,500 employees, but it has been since been reduced below 5,000 employees. Yet the County occupies the same space as it did in the last century. The Courthouse fire last summer again reminded the administration of the folly in delaying maintenance and failure to downsize aging buildings.

“As the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and the author of the resolution to bring in CBRE to help the county obtain the information needed to make good decisions around downsizing our real estate holdings, I am pleased to also author the first formal resolution to initiate the scope and schedule of this work,” Jursik said.

Jursik said that as the County plans for the budget for 2015, the resolution will set the policy for closing City Campus and requires the second phase of decision be given a time line. This next phase will require policy makers to strategically examine the utilization of the Marcia Coggs Center by year’s end. Next, she said, we must address planning for the Behavioral Health Complex and the Vel Phillips Juvenile Justice Center. The Courthouse Complex strategies must be determined by next year regarding the utilization or vacation of the Safety Building, the Medical Examiner’s Space and the Community Correction Center.

“After the fire, all of us learned that the Courthouse is the heart of all the satellite spaces owned by the County,” Jursik said. “It is imperative that we address which of the complex buildings we will keep and which will be deemed outdated and vacated.

“Realization of this initiative will take decades to carry out, but the failure of policy makers to adopt these time frames would mean many more years of deferred maintenance, high utility bills, and poor space planning. It is imperative that we set these plans in motion now so that doing nothing becomes untenable.”

A funny fact about the 10th Assembly District candidates

Interesting fact about the candidates running for the State Assembly in the 10th district:

Only one of the five candidates actually lives in the district.

Democrats David Bowen, Bria Grant, and Sara Johann and Republican Artis Landon all live outside the district, while Democrat Tia Torhorst is the only candidate running to represent the 10th Assembly district who actually lives in the district.

That Didn’t Take Long: Supervisor Bowen to Run for Rep. Pasch’s Seat.

Just a day after Representative Sandy Pasch’s announcement that she will not seek re-election from the Wisconsin 10th Assembly District, County Supervisor David Bowen throws his hat squarely into the ring.

I don’t think he’ll be the only candidate…seats without incumbents are magnets for political figures wanting to move up and there is no reason to believe the 10th district race will be any different. Stay tuned for more excitement! The 2014 assembly races may prove to be the races to watch and get involved in.

Dissimulation on County Board Referendum Right Down To The Wire

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is taking the lies and obfuscations about the Act 14 required referendum on Milwaukee County Board pay and benefits right down to the wire. In a front page article in their March 31, 2014 print edition, they continue the nonsense about cutting supervisor’s pay by half will result in a part time board. If Act 14 wanted a part time board it should have defined and required a part time board…but that probably isn’t practically feasible.

But once again they trotted out the $24,051 annual salary as part time money when it’s actually $11.56 per hour for a 40 hour week. I would think I’d win my bet easily if I wagered that it would be hard to find thousands of hard working county residents who are working full time for a lot less that $11.56.

And they repeated Rep Joe Sanfelippo’s canard that, well, there just isn’t that much to do in the courthouse to fill an 8 hour day…I can’t help it if Rep Sanfelippo couldn’t fill his day when he was county supervisor…and no maybe there isn’t 8 hours to do in the courthouse…but if he wasn’t working 40+ hours a week in the courthouse, civic events, town halls, or with neighborhood groups…he owes his former constituents some ‘splainin’

And of course the bill is also said to prevent supervisors from meddling in day to day county operations. I suggest that if it starts to attract retired individuals or wealthy individuals who look at it as an ego boost…it might in fact get much worse.

Yes, I have written about all of this before…several times in fact…and I am not saying that there isn’t support for looking at the board and all of county government and consider some make overs. BUT, this bill and resulting referendum is exactly the ‘formally crafted punishment’ that it’s author and supporters deny.


Whither MKE County: The April Fool’s Referendum

It’s amazing that the last nail in the coffin of the Milwaukee County Board as we know it is a bogus referendum that is just a week away. Except for two very minor articles in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, this referendum has gone pretty much unnoticed. The left and the supporters of the board realize that 90% of the damage was all ready inflicted by Act 14 so this is just the epilog. County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic hit it right on the head when she declared the referendum a sham:

County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic has called the referendum a sham because last year’s law on the board already eliminated supervisors’ benefits, starting after the 2016 supervisors’ elections. The same law also will reduce the board’s budget so greatly that it would force a major salary cut, regardless of the outcome of the referendum, Dimitrijevic has said.

What is truly amazing is no one has started any kind of campaign to solicit a no vote on the referendum…it has been a forgone conclusion that it will pass.

But I was totally dumbfounded to read that Sheldon Lubar is supporting an eleventh hour effort to convince people to vote yes. He waited until two weeks before the election to start to campaign? And he needs other people’s money? WTF? Lubar can set up a $100,000 fund from his pocket change.

Well anyway, it will be interesting how many votes yea or nay this thing will pull in. After all there is nothing on most of the ballots in Milwaukee County…the only other county wide election is for MILWAUKEE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, BRANCH 32 – contested by LAURA GRAMLING PEREZ and CEDRIC CORNWALL.

But I’ll urge everyone of you who votes on April 1st to vote NO on the referendum initiative. Here is the referendum for your consideration:

County Supervisor’s Pay – 2013 Wisconsin Act 14: “Shall that portion of 2013 Wisconsin Act 14 which limits the compensation of members of the board of supervisors of Milwaukee County other than the chairperson of the board and chairperson of the finance committee to receipt of an annual salary of not more than the annual per capita income of this county, which in 2012 was $24,051, and which limits the compensation of the chairperson of the board to not more than 150 percent of that amount and the chairperson of the finance committee to not more than 125 percent of that amount, subject to limitations and adjustments specified by law; and which prohibits supervisors from receiving any compensation or benefits not specifically authorized or required by law become effective in this county on April 18, 2016?” YES NO

By the way, this comes out to $11.53 per hour for a forty hour week…and the Republican’s claim this is part time money…yet they resist raising the actual minimum wage (and those making between minimum and proposals for a higher minimum) for people who work full time at the minimum. They are so totally full of it!