There’s a healthy amount of irony in this…
Long a local government watchdog and critic, conservative activist Orville Seymer is now asking the federal government to help him sort out his money troubles.
Seymer — a top official with Citizens for Responsible Government — filed for bankruptcy last month, listing $147,126 in assets and more than $1 million in liabilities. He is seeking Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, which stops all legal actions and could allow him to write off many of his debts.
Seymer is pinning much of the blame for his financial woes on City Hall, saying he has been targeted by city building inspectors for speaking out against local officials.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s administration is dismissing his complaints.
“His allegation that we are political hacks, for lack of a better word, has no credibility in my mind,” said Art Dahlberg, head of the Department of Neighborhood Services.
In an interview, Seymer called the bankruptcy filing “embarrassing” but pointed the finger at “bad tenants and the city of Milwaukee” as the two primary causes for his current hardship.
Seymer, 61, owns seven rental properties in the Milwaukee area through his company ODS Properties. Dahlberg’s agency has cited his buildings over the years for numerous code violations, many of which ended up in court.
“With all due respect, DNS is a blatant political organization whose mission is to punish those people who make any attempt to stand up against it,” Seymer said via email. “Because I stuck my neck out a few years ago, I am still getting punished for speaking out against them. That punishment continues today.”
It’s worth noting Orville Seymer listed more than $1 million in liabilities in his bankruptcy petition but owes only about $10,000 in forfeitures or reinspection fees as a result of enforecement actions by the City of Milwaukee, so his assertion that the City of Milwaukee is responsible for his financial predicament seem utterly preposterous. Perhaps if Orville Seymer had exhibited a good deal more fiscal responsibility, he wouldn’t be asking for the federal government for help erasing debts Seymer chose to take on.
Curiously, I’ve found no mention of Orville Seymer’s current financial peccadillo among any of the innumerable conservative media outlets/bloggers here in Wisconsin.
Well this is something…
A Milwaukee businessman uttered a racial slur to describe President Barack Obama during a news conference Wednesday in Waukesha City Hall that was organized by Wisconsin business leaders as part of a national call for immigration reform.
“I’m not seeing anybody doing anything,” said Dagoberto Ibarra, who ran for alderman in Milwaukee’s 8th District in 2004. “This is the most useless Congress in the last eight years, because a (N-word) is in charge.”
The remark came at the end of an impassioned speech in which Ibarra criticized the failure of both political parties to produce comprehensive immigration reform, a failure he attributed to discrimination against Latinos.
“If you’re white you’re OK,” he said. “If you’re not white, you’re selling drugs, you’re smuggling, you’re no good.”
It’s worth noting Dagberto Ibarra was asked to help assist with the press conference by Orville Seymer of the conservative group Citizens for Responsible Government, and also in attendance was Vincent Synowicz, a Republican candidate for Assembly in the 8th district.
Let’s start with a very basic factoid that I’ve brought up a time or two this year: $15,080 is minimum wage ($7.25) times 40 hours per week per 52 weeks.
And just 60 days ago State Representative Joe Sanfelippo, before he finally introduced ‘his’ bill, was tossing around $15,000 as a reasonable salary for a part time Milwaukee County supervisor…until someone came up with the per capita income formulation.
Now today apparently Dan Bice and Orville Seymer of Citizens for Responsible Government have decided that $15,000 is an extravagance when it’s the annual board expenditure for travel. $1250 per month, $833.33 per supervisor, 0.22% of the board’s budget…too much money to spend on business related travel. HUH?
Now I am not going to defend every line item outlined by Mr. Bice…nor am I going to dissect who should and who shouldn’t travel.
But I do expect that my county supervisor is going to meet with his/her fellow supervisors from other counties…I certainly would expect that many supervisors if not all would attend the Wisconsin Counties Association conference. I do expect they have a lot to talk about with their peers around the state. There are a lot of advantages for all of the state if the various counties share ideas and discuss related issues.
But with all of the talk about county government reform…and there are a lot of places in county government to find meaningful cost savings or efficiencies…this seems like an incredibly picayune distraction.
Back in 2010, the right-wing conservative group Citizens for “Responsible” Government (CRG) filed a complaint with the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office accusing lefty blogger Chris “capper” Liebenthal of “operating three political internet blogs during work hours,” which the folks from CRG alleged to be felony Misconduct in Public Office.
As a result of the CRG complaint, Liebenthal’s work computer was seized and he was forced to hire an attorney to defend himself against the allegations of criminal wrongdoing. Ultimately, the DA’s office found absolutely no evidence Liebenthal had engaged in criminal behavior during the course of his work for Milwaukee County, but the DA’s decision did nothing to restore the damage done to Liebenthal’s reputation as a result of CRG’s initial complaint. At the time they filed the complaint, the folks from CRG (which is led by Chris Kliesmet and Orville Seymer) made a point to widely publicize their ultimately meritless complaint against Liebenthal, a complaint that was so farcical it alleged Liebenthal engaged in illegal behavior by blogging on days that County employees were either furloughed, on paid holidays, or on days that Liebenthal was actually not even at work.
Fast-forward to 2011, and felony criminal charges began to be filed by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office against former staffers and close aides to former Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker as part of a still-ongoing John Doe investigation. To date, three former staffers of Scott Walker have been charged with criminal behavior related to illegal activities done at the expense of Milwaukee County taxpayers, and curiously there’s been not a peep from the folks at Citizens for “Responsible” Government expressing their outrage over the allegations of gross misconduct in public office, which certainly doesn’t strike me as “responsible government.” A search of CRG’s website shows nary a mention of Tim Russell, Darlene Wink, or Kelly Rindfleisch, the three staffers who worked for Scott Walker during his time as County Executive, each of whom has been charged with criminal behavior related to their misconduct in their taxpayer-funded positions in Milwaukee County.
So here’s a suggestion: since the folks at CRG are really only concerned about “responsible” government when their targets are liberals or Democratic elected officials, how about a name change for the sake of accuracy?
How about….Citizens for Conservative Government?
Or how about…Citizens for Republican Government?
Or maybe…Citizens Sometimes for Responsible Government, Unless Republicans in Government are Engaging in Misconduct? Okay, that really doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as “CRG,” but at least it’s accurate.
On Sunday, customers who receive the Janesville Gazette found this in the newspaper tubes, along with their Sunday papers:
What you’re looking at is a flier (purporting to be an advertisement in the Janesville Gazette) that lists the names and salaries of public school teachers who signed the recall petition and includes a form so parents can request that their children aren’t assigned to “radical” teachers next year.
Because according to Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG) and the cowards in Janesville who worked together to put out the flier, teachers who exercise their Constitutionally-protected rights are now “radicals” who shouldn’t be teaching children. I’m willing to bet a million dollars from my exorbitant seven-figure public employee salary that if the shoe was on the other foot and the teachers in question had signed petitions to recall Democratic elected officials, CRG and the anonymous cowards who worked in tandem to put out this flier would call the teachers in question “heroes,” because CRG is nothing more than a right-wing group willing to do whatever it takes to help keep Gov. Scott Walker secure as a career politician.
According to a report in the Janesville Gazette, the flier was distributed in Gazette home-delivery tubes on Sunday without the permission of the Gazette, and representatives from the paper indicated the flier is not connected to the newspaper.
Gazette Circulation Manager Lon Haenel said Gazette tubes are for newspaper use only. The paper asks unauthorized people or groups to stop using The Gazette’s tubes, Haenel said, and will contact the police if they do not.
This whole situation is absolutely disgraceful.
“He was one of Walker’s most trusted confidants,” said Orville Seymer, a property manager active in recall politics through Citizens for Responsible Government.
No doubt if the tables were turned and the “he” we were referring to was one of Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle’s “most trusted confidants,” conservatives wouldn’t be calling Doyle the victim, as is the case on some conservative blogs.
It’s far more likely that if one of Jim Doyle’s “most trusted confidants” had been arrested and charged with two felonies for embezzlement and it turned out that action taken by Doyle gave said “most trusted confidant” direct access to the monies that were embezzled, we’d be hearing conservatives calling for Gov. Doyle to resign.
What’s this?!? A conservative “good government” lawmaker ignoring his constituents?!?
That certainly seems to be the case with County Supervisor Paul Cesarz, as reported by Steve Schultze of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Though he shows up for full County Board meetings, his presence at committee meetings has been inconsistent. His attendance slid after the 2008 election, but has improved lately.
There are other signs of neglect. Cesarz’s County Board website has grown stale. His biography is outdated, and he’s posted only one new item since his 2008 re-election, a joint news release from last year stating his support for reducing pension credit for supervisors. Under a section titled, “What’s new,” Cesarz’s website has nothing. Most supervisors issue at least annual newsletters and often post online press releases.
“He angers me because there’s zero effort on his part,” said Supervisor Mark Borkowski, a fellow conservative whose district abuts Cesarz’s in the county’s southern suburbs.
It’s worth noting Paul Cesarz was first elected to the County Board as a “reform” candidate in the wake of the county’s pension scandal, and he was elected with the help of Orville Seymer and his Citizens for Responsible Government.
Ignoring the constituents who pay your salary? Sounds like the very definition of government waste to me, and I’m not alone.