John Doe Threatens Walker

Where are the attack dogs on the right? One way to measure the seriousness of the ongoing John Doe investigation nibbling away at Scott Walker is to consider how quiet Republicans and conservatives have gotten. The investigation headed up by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has already arrested three former aides to Walker. More are expected to be charged, and the investigation seems to be inexorably climbing up the chain of command toward Walker. But conservatives aren’t exactly rushing to condemn Chisholm.   Walker insists he did nothing wrong. But the indictments raise many questions about his judgment. For…

The High Cost of Sheriff Clarke

Last week the two top cops in town, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, appeared before the Milwaukee Common Council to address the issue of safety on the county buses.  The contrast was quite striking. Flynn is willing to use his officers in creative ways, adding the patrol of the most trouble-plagued bus routes to their list of duties. Clarke, by contrast, insists on the most expensive ways of policing the buses. Clarke told the Common Council that G4S, the private security firm that polices the buses, should deploy more personnel on the buses, which…

The Recall Stall

The Republicans have clearly decided it’s in their interest to stall the recall election of Gov. Scott Walker. That will add to the costs for taxpayers. It may also hurt Walker in the long run. Both parties agree that a recall is going to happen. Democrats need to collect 540,000 signatures but are predicting they’ll hit 720,000. Meanwhile, Republicans went judge shopping to find a sympathetic one and succeeded with Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis, a former GOP state senator. To him they presented their argument that the state Government Accountability Board should be required to screen all…

Are County Buses Unsafe?

David Umhoefer is a good reporter. Heck, he won a Pulitzer. For years, he covered county government for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and did a very good job. But his Politifact column last week on Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Sheriff David Clarke is a botched job that misleads readers. Worse, it seems to be part of a pattern of the paper going easy on the outspoken sheriff. By now, we all know how Politifact works: Under a photo of some politician, the “truth-o-meter” tells us if they are lying, telling the truth or some shade in between. This…

Gableman’s Favorite Free Lawyer

The sleazy saga of Justice Michael Gableman just continues to get worse. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has reported that Gableman received tens of thousands of dollars worth of free representation from the well-connected law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich, and then voted on nine cases before the supreme court involving the law firm . It was Michael Best attorney Eric McLeod who represented Gableman for two years during the investigation of him by the state Judicial Commission but charged him no fee.  But it turns out there was another investigation of Gableman that McLeod handled, by the state Office of…

Public TV Putsch

You wouldn’t know it from the bland story the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did Monday about a merger between Milwaukee Public Television (Channels 10 and 36) and its Friends group, but this is really a hostile takeover by Milwaukee Area Technical College, which runs the stations. The MATC board has been at odds with the Friends group for more than a decade and wants to crush it. A lawyer hired by MPTV has written a letter to the Friends spelling out the details of the takeover. The stations were chartered by MATC back in the 1950s, when public TV was a…

Has Walker Delivered More Jobs?

No campaign promise by Gov. Scott Walker was more bold than his assurance he would bring 250,000 new jobs to Wisconsin. Not part-time or temp jobs, but “permanent jobs…family supporting jobs,” as he put it in an interview with Fox 11 TV news in Green Bay, thereby upping the degree of difficulty. The reality is that Wisconsin’s economy doesn’t exist in a vacuum but is heavily dependent on the nation’s. Wisconsin, if anything, is even more likely than the average state to see its employment rise and fall in concert with the American economy, as a recent analysis found. “Over…

The Many Opinions of Supervisor Eyon Biddle

Another day, another email from County Supervisor Eyon Biddle, Sr. The first-term Milwaukee board member has opinions on everything from concealed carry to empowering local teens to the best way to celebrate Labor Day. No one on the county board offers more instruction or more plentiful press releases. You have to admire Biddle’s energy and passion for the job. But I suspect county veterans find this newcomer’s eagerness to share his every view a bit comical at times. Worse, he tends to ridicule or personally attack those who disagree with him. Thus, when Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele dared to…

Sheriff Clarke Media Darling

Does Sheriff David Clarke get kid gloves treatment from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel? So some readers have complained, and I’m beginning to think they have a point. Take last week’s story about a dispute between Clarke and District Attorney John Chisholm over whether to prosecute a jail nurse who made $20,000 in international phone calls. The first graph of the story refers to the nurse as a “county employee.” That’s true, but this particular employee is supervised by Clarke. Shouldn’t that have been made clear at the outset? The headline, subhead and first paragraph suggest Clarke wants tougher enforcement of this…

Why Walker Cut Medicaid

Is Gov. Scott Walker playing Scrooge for the coming holiday season? That was the reaction of Rep. Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) to last week’s report that 65,000 people – nearly half of them children – were likely to be dropped from the Medicaid rolls. “We’re giving them a heck of a Christmas gift,” she complained. Democrats argued the tax breaks for business and wealthy individuals that occurred under Walker had made these cuts worse. It was an echo of past complaints that cuts in school funding were due to the handouts to business and the wealthy. In fact, as an analysis…