This may be a city run by relatives.
Researchers know a lot about siblings. They have a deep bond that typically outlasts even the one they have with their parents, health willing. The second-born – the pampered baby of the family – is more likely to succeed, and siblings often select interests based on what an elder brother or sister isn’t good at. The most uncanny thing, however, may be when both succeed wildly, as some have in Milwaukee. There are cases here of siblings who teamed up and others who took starkly diverging paths while reshaping their corners of the city. Without these duos (and one trio), politics, religion and even how we eat here would all be a bit different.
Every Sunday morning, Bishop Darrell L. Hines rocks the pews at the Christian Faith Fellowship Church, a 2,000-seat institution he founded on Milwaukee’s Northwest Side. Brother Daven Hines attracts his own adherents at his new Dart Salon and Spa in the Third Ward. But it's another sibling, Common Council President Willie Hines, who can boast of the most constituents (by far). You win, Willie.
Almost 30 years ago, Mark Bucher founded Bay View’s Boulevard Ensemble Studio Theatre, which has since staged 200-plus shows on a shoestring budget. Growing up on Milwaukee's South Side, Mark and his brother, former Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher, worked their way through high school and college. “I believe the underdog deserves a place at the table,” says Mark, who was twice named “Waiter of the Year" by the Shepherd Express.
When they were young girls in the 1970s, Kristela Cervera and sister Kristina Cervera Garcia moved from longhorn-loving Texas to the Brew City. “Our parents instilled in us our inspiration to work hard and to be of service,” says Kristina, a lawyer with a practice in West Milwaukee. Kristela, also a legal eagle, was the first Latina to serve as a Municipal Court commissioner in the city. Now, she’s counsel at the county Department of Child Support Services.
Growing up Italian in Wauwatosa, it was pretty much assumed that Paul and Joe Bartolotta would chase culinary careers. Today, the co-owners of The Bartolotta Restaurant Group rule a measured yet imposing empire – including Ristorante Bartolotta, Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare (Paul’s venture inside Wynn Las Vegas) and Joey Gerard’s, the partners’ 21st-century supper club.
Mary Ellen Stanek, managing director at Robert W. Baird & Co., still values the opinions of her older brother, Tom Bolger, CEO of Johnson Bank. “I’ve always looked up to him for advice,” she says. “That’s kind of ageless.” The duo grew up working summers at their father’s bank in McHenry, Ill. “As the boss’ children, there was no special treatment,” she says. “In fact, it was the opposite.”
Brothers Tom and John Barrett have made long careers out of Milwaukee politics. Since 1998, John has won re-election to a job that serves his disarming style well – the dual post of Circuit Court clerk and director of court services. Mayor Tom, also low-key, isn’t always the nice guy, but it’s still hard to imagine the two squabbling over Lincoln Logs on Christmas morning.
As ruling editor of all things investigative at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Greg Borowski has the precarious task of overseeing the newspaper’s Watchdog and PolitiFact operations. A noble calling, most certainly, as is his brother’s – Judge David Borowski metes out justice at the Milwaukee County Courthouse, a mere three blocks to the east. Greg maintains, however, that he’s “far more accomplished, respected and distinguished, not to mention smarter and better-looking” than his brother. On that claim, the jury’s still out.