Donald Trump torpedoed Scott Walker’s candidacy

Over at GQ, Jason Zengerle has an interesting take on how Donald Trump’s ascendance in the Republican presidential primary has doomed the campaign of Gov. Scott Walker.

Indeed, no GOP presidential candidate has been more negatively affected by Trump’s rise than Walker, who emerged early this year as the man most likely to beat Jeb Bush. And while Bush’s star has certainly faded since then, Walker’s has fallen even further. After leading the polls for six months in Iowa—a state he has to win—Walker now trails not only Trump there but Ben Carson as well. He’s suffered a similar slip in New Hampshire, where he’s now in fourth place—the same position he holds in the RCP average of national polls. Last week, according to The Washington Post, Walker took the drastic step of reassuring his donors that he was essentially rebooting his campaign. The reassurances were apparently insufficient for one of Walker’s biggest financial backers, Anthony Scaramucci, who, The Wall Street Journal reports, met with Trump on Monday. (Scaramucci told the Journal that he intends to stick with Walker; Trump told the Journal that Scaramucci wants to switch horses.)

That Trump’s rise has come at the same time as Walker’s fall is partly attributable to the fact that, to some extent, they’re running in the same lane—trying to win over the GOP’s conservative base; and also, as Chris Cillizza argues, that Walker is trying to appeal to both movement and establishment conservatives simultaneously. But Trump has done more than just steal like-minded potential voters (and donors) from Walker; he’s exposed just what a weak candidate Walker actually is.

Even before his birthright botch, Walker had executed what a former aide termed an “Olympics-quality flip-flop” on immigration—abandoning his past support for providing undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship and even endorsing new limits on legal immigration. But, in the same breath that he was making this very public reversal in the hope of winning over conservative voters, he was, according to The Wall Street Journal, privately reassuring immigration-friendly establishment Republicans that he hadn’t changed his views. What’s more, Walker didn’t limit his flip-flops to immigration: He staked out new, more conservative positions on everything from abortion to Common Core; as well as a more Iowa-friendly stance on the Renewable Fuel Standard.

These sorts of policy reversals underscore the small-time, chintzy nature of Walker’s campaign.

OUR Milwaukee County: Where Are The Next Listening Sessions?

Here is an excerpt for the February 8th Milwaukee County Board press release announcing the OUR Milwaukee County initiative:

“We are delivering on the promise of government reform discussion that is local and inclusive,” said Chairwoman Dimitrijevic. “We are eager to listen to our constituents – the people who live throughout Milwaukee County – to hear their ideas for efficiency and effectiveness.”

The initiative, which includes a consistent agenda designed to spark discussion and debate, is set to include a series of town hall meetings in all 18 Supervisory districts throughout the months of February and March as well as a nighttime public hearing in March.

I am only aware of four listening sessions so far and tomorrow is the last day of March 2013. There were rumors of one more and Supervisor Taylor has been heard to say he wasn’t going to hold one since he knows how his constituents feel…but I think we are owed 13 more listening sessions…or better yet a county convention!

OUR Milwaukee County: Supervisor Deanna Alexanders Listening Session

I would like to thank the friends of Blogging Blue, Cory Liebmann and Matthew Finnell for both forwarding the link to this video from Wisconsin Jobs Now from the OUR Milwaukee County listening session held recently by County Supervisor Deanna Alexander. Now the video is heavily edited reducing what was probably an hour or ninety minute meeting down to under six minutes.

And this meeting was far more vocal and more antagonistic than the two that I attended. This might partly be because both Supervisor Haas and Supervisor Schmitt used a facilitator to run their meetings and moderate the speakers. From the video it seems as if Supervisor Alexander wasn’t able to control the meeting quite as effectively.

Representative Joe Sanfelippo attended the two other sessions that I attended and although he talked with constituents afterward much like the conversations shown here, he didn’t actually address the sessions…and that may have brought out he worst in the audience here…he is after all, as the author of the bill AB 85, the target of most of the hostility.

The video does bear out what I found at the previous two sessions…the house looks nearly full…and county residents are upset and passionate about defending county government. I just wish I could have been there…and that we had more video…and the crowd could have been more civil.

And I am surprised that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel didn’t have a front page article about how disrespectfully Rep Sanfelippo was treated…or maybe not! LOL!

OUR Milwaukee County: Rep Sanfelippo’s Bill Attacking County Government Scheduled for Committee

Representative Joe Sanfelippo’s bill (AB 85) to destroy county government is set for the Committee on Government Operations and State Licensing on Thursday April 11, 2013 at 9:30 AM, room 225 Northwest.

The committee members are Representatives Tyler August (R – 32 and chair), David Craig (R -83 and vice chair), Daniel Knodl (R – 24), Dale Kooyenga (R -14), Rob Hutton (R – 13), Brett Hulsey (D – 78), Christine Sinicki (D – 20), Janis Ringhand (D – 45) and Stephen Nass (R – 33).

Feel free to contact them and let them know how you feel…and include missives to your own representatives and senators as well.

There is a public hearing scheduled for April 10th…but I haven’t found the time and location information yet..I will publish it when I get it.

OUR Milwaukee County: MKE County Board To Seek Permission to Downsize

At yesterday’s board meeting, the Milwaukee County Board decided to seek permission from the state legislature to downsize. The final vote was 9 – 7 in favor of the motion which was introduced by Supervisor Steve Taylor. The board needs permission to voluntarily downsize because current law only permits the board to redistrict every ten years and they just recently downsized from 19 to 18 board members.

As reported by WUWM, the board would shrink from 18 to 13 supervisors and would take effect following the 2016 elections.

I am rather surprised that the board would make this move before the completion of the government wide county audit they fought so hard to secure, particularly since the public response at their first district listening sessions seem to be in support of the current board structure. And a number of people I have spoken with had expected a full bore proposal from the board on streamlining all of county government. But apparently the board is feeling the pressure from Representative Joe Sanfelippo’s proposal, which is now on the schedule in Madison, to restrict the board’s budget, reduce their salaries to $24,000 and take away their benefits. It should be noted that Supervisor Taylor is considered to be an ally of Rep. Sanfelippo.

But Supervisor Russell Stamper was pretty direct in his evaluation of the situation:

“This is like putting a gun to your head and saying you’re going to do this. It’s like a bully coming to you and saying you’re going to do this also. This is not about Milwaukee County. It’s about destroying Milwaukee County,” Stamper says.

Stamper believes the county board is already reduced to a bare minimum.

And Supervisor John Weishan Jr considers a downsized board an assault on democracy:

Supervisor John Weishan opposes the plan, saying the push is coming from the outside.

“It endorses the concept that somehow reducing democracy, reducing people’s representation is somehow a reform in the positive. What this is really about is how do you suppress the will of the people in Milwaukee County,” Weishan says.

I am not quite sure that downsizing the board somehow reduces democracy. But I am convinced that the imposition of changes to county governance from the state legislature certainly is an assault on local democracy…and the board is certainly far more representative of the areas, neighborhoods and municipalities of the county than the state legislature can ever be.

From he author Supervisor Taylor via the Milwaukee Business Journal:

Supervisor Steve Taylor, who authored the bill, issued a written statement saying a potential downsizing would ensure appropriate representation of minorities on the board.

“Its approval is a step in the right direction and should the state Legislature provide us with the tools to downsize, I hope that other members of the County Board who share my vision will not hesitate to proceed with appropriate steps towards meaningful reform,” Taylor’s statement said.

There are supposed to be additional listening sessions scheduled around the county and I thought that Supervisor Pat Jursik had one on the drawing board. One supervisor who won’t be holding one, is the aforementioned Supervisor Taylor who has been heard to say that he doesn’t need one…he knows how his constituents feel…after all they’ve voted for reforming the board before. He also implied this in his statements to WUWM as shown above!

So I guess next we see how the state legislature responds…if I was a representative or senator from out state I am not sure I’d want to get in the middle of this spat in MKE county…so they might be more disposed to allow the board to downsize than support Rep. Sanfelippo’s bill…we’ll just have to wait an see.

OUR Milwaukee County: Groups Opposed to Corporate Take Over of MKE County

From the email:

Broad Cross-Section of Milwaukee Groups, Representing Thousands, Oppose Introduction of County Takeover Bill

MILWAUKEE –Local community groups representing thousands of Milwaukee county residents issued statements in response to the introduction of Assembly Bill 85 Rep. Joe Sanfelippo and Sen. Lena Taylor’s bill to eviscerate Milwaukee County government.

Michael Lauer, Executive Director of Wisconsin Jobs Now:

“This plan will drastically weaken the representation of communities of color and effectively remove the community voice at the county board level. Instead of attempting a power grab poorly disguised as reform, business leaders and politicians should be focused on creating good jobs and solving the real problems facing our city.”

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera:

“Shifting all of this power into the County Executive’s hands would tokenize representation at the board level – both in terms of elected representation, and racial diversity.”

Dana Schultz, State Director of 9to5:

“If current efforts to centralize county governance are implemented, this initiative would diminish representation of diverse communities and make low-income communities and communities of color even more removed from policymaking process, while concentrating power with county executive and the wealthy businesses backing the initiative. 9to5 is opposed to such efforts.”

Mike Wilder, African-American Civic Engagement Roundtable:

“The proposed legislation is nothing more than a power grab that aimed at silencing the voices of underrepresented communities, including communities of color while giving the corporate elite more power to control Milwaukee County Government.”

Jennifer Epps-Addison, Economic Justice Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin:

“Milwaukee County residents want state lawmakers to focus on creating jobs and opportunity for hard working Wisconsinites, not partisan power grabs.”

Mike Thomas, President of the SEIU Wisconsin State Council:

“This bill not only oversteps traditional lines between state and local governments, it strangles the potential for Milwaukee County to improve its education, economic development, and health and social services.”

Candice Owley, President of Wisconsin Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals:

“The proposal is in effect the dismantling of another Milwaukee democratic institution. It is the County Board that is the closest to the citizens, so by reducing the board’s effectiveness, the voice of the people is also diminished.”

Dian Palmer, President of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin:

“Milwaukee is the largest and most diverse county in Wisconsin and a vital part of Wisconsin’s economic growth. We have full-time problems that require full-time supervisors who seek proactive solutions to get our citizens back to work.”

Mary Laan, Chair of Move To Amend Southeastern Wisconsin:

“Rep. Sanfelippo’s bill is an anti-democratic act, a corporate takeover by the Greater Milwaukee Committee. The law actually would increase County Executive Abele’s power to more than that of a typical CEO.”

Help Wanted: Next OUR Milwaukee County Listening Sessions

The next two OUR Milwaukee County listening sessions are tonight…and I need you to go and voice your opinion…and I can’t make either one of them because I have a fund raiser for a certain Cudahy aldermanic candidate to attend…so if anyone can attend and wants to write about it…I’ll accommodate you here!

Here is tonight’s schedule:

Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m.
North Shore Library, 6800 N. Port Washington Rd., Glendale
Supervisor Theodore Lipscomb, Sr.

Tuesday March 19 at 6:30 p.m.
Evangel Assembly of God, Chapel area, 9920 W. Good Hope Rd., Milwaukee
Supervisor Deanna Alexander

OUR Milwaukee County: County Board’s Press Release on the First Listening Session:

Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors

MORE THAN 100 RESIDENTS SPEAK OUT ON MILWAUKEE COUNTY REFORM

Supervisors Pleased with Response to First “OUR” Milwaukee County Session

(MILWAUKEE, WI) – (March 13, 2013) – More than 100 residents turned out for an OUR Milwaukee County session Tuesday night, with a resounding majority saying that they did not want to see any change at all to the County Board, and if there is to be change, that it be implemented locally, not on the state level.

Milwaukee County Board Supervisors said that they were pleased with the level of public participation at the first “OUR” Milwaukee County session hosted by Supervisor Jason Haas and held at the Wilson Park Senior Center.

“Last night’s turnout showed that people are really concerned and, in many cases, passionate about County government,” said County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitijevic. “The message was clear: The overwhelming majority of those at the session want to see improvements in county government, but they want it generated on the local level, not imposed at the state level.

“These OUR Milwaukee County sessions represent an inclusive process designed to get local input on County government reform, in contrast to the closed process on the legislative track in Madison. So far those in Madison pushing a bill to reform Milwaukee County government have yet to commit to public hearings in Milwaukee County.”

Haas said that the County Board is the branch of government closest to the people, and that the Board is committed to these public sessions to get residents’ input on improvements.

“I heard the residents loud and clear,” Haas said. “Many of them don’t want change. But they believe that they should be a part of creating any changes that take place. They don’t want Madison telling Milwaukee County how it should be governed. We on the board are committed to improvement, and I appreciate the input from the public on this issue.
“We encourage more citizen participation at the upcoming meetings”

Last night’s listening session was the first in the OUR (Outreach for United Reform) Milwaukee County series where Supervisors are seeking direct citizen input to discuss county governance, service consolidation, mental health, and funding for transit, parks and cultural assets.

The next meeting is at 6:30 Thursday at the Wauwatosa Public Library Firefly Room.

OUR Milwaukee County: The County Board Still Isn’t Proactive Enough

I brought this up a number of times in my Whither MKE County series and I am bringing it up again because two constituents brought it up at the 14th District OUR Milwaukee County listening session last night.

County Government has done an exceptionally poor job of selling itself. County residents don’t know the role of county government, are confused about the services the county provides, and they don’t know or understand what their county supervisors do. I have suggested that they spend time at town hall meetings explaining these issues. It has to be hard for someone who isn’t clear on what county government means to our area to make a good decision on any reforms in Milwaukee county.

TWO speakers at last night’s town hall made this painfully obvious once again. Questions voiced included: What do supervisors do? What are the responsibilities of a county supervisor? What is a supervisor’s typical day like?

If people interested and concerned enough to show up on a cold snowy evening in March have those questions on their mind, what about the general population of Milwaukee County???

If our county board actually wants to get a fair shake in the county reform game, they had better sell the value of Milwaukee County Government…or else they will find themselves on the losing end of another 82% to 28% Sanfelippo referendum!

OUR Milwaukee County: First Listening Session 14th Supervisory District

As I posted on Monday, the first listening session about county government reform (part of the county board’s OUR Milwaukee County initiative) was held last night at the Wilson Park Senior Center. The evening’s host was 14th District County Supervisor Jason Haas. I will have a few more things to post but here are a few quick hits from my observations:

I did a rough head count and believe there were about 120 – 125 people in attendance. This was 4 to 5 times the number of people that I had anticipated…and it was very refreshing to see how many people cared about their county government.

There were a surprising number of elected officials on hand…County Board Chair Marina Dimitrijevic introduced Supervisor Haas and met with constituents who lingered in the hall after the session. Other County Supervisors on hand included David Bowen (10th District), Steve Taylor (9th District) and John Weishan Jr (16th District). Plus one of the main reasons we were all there, State Representative (and former County Supervisor) Joe Sanfelippo.

Also from the county, Hector Colon (Health & Human Services Administration) and Kimberly Walker (Milwaukee County Corporation Counsel Staff). And State Senator Chris Larson (former County Supervisor from the 14th) had a representative from his office on hand.

I just took a quick poll of those who spoke at the session…nothing scientific and not quite complete as I was trying to keep up with my note taking…but here is the rough count: In support of a full time board (although not necessary at its current size): 18. In favor of a part time board: 3. And those whose choice was unknown because they addressed other subjects (transit, mental health, the sheriff) without mentioning board size or full/part time: 4. Plus one person who stated he was undecided!

I have a number of notable paraphrases (not quotes since I can’t take notes that well) that I will go through and publish over the next day or so. But I’d like to close this post with one very notable statement that I believe many people in MKE county share:

COUNTY GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO STOP INFIGHTING!

PS: After all of the noise that the Journal Company outlets have been making about Rep. Sanfelippo’s proposed legislation…why weren’t they represented last night…and as of this writing I have found no mention on jsonline (of course their search function pretty much sucks)!