Last night after work I went to the meeting of Drinking Liberally, a group of ne’er do wells who meet at the Transfer Pizza to socialize. and kick back a few drinks in a comfortable atmosphere.Getting there represented a logistical challenge since I worked at 27th and Loomis and needed two buses to reach 1st and Mitchell St. I walked several blocks down Mitchell because I expected the bus to arrive at 8:45.
I wanted to meet the featured speaker Mahlon Mitchell, a confident young African-American man who is running for Lieutenant Governor. He was sought out as a candidate three months ago, far before the recall election was certified by the Government Accountability Board. Mitchell is president of the Wisconsin Firefighters Association and lives with his wife, April and their two children in Fitchburg which is just outside of Madison. He was born in 1977 around the time I was graduating from the University of Buffalo as a non-traditional student. He’s even younger than all of my nephews.
To say that Mahlon faces an uphill battle would be understating the case. This is a very white state and only one African-American Vel Phillips has ever been elected to state wide office. In the state’s largest city, Milwaukee, fewer than half of the black men are in the labor force, according to a report published by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The state is still reeling from the unjust killing of Bo Morrison a bi-racial young man who was shot while standing on a porch by a man who claimed he was defending his castle.
Moreover, we are more likely to find African-Americans behind bars or in bars than working at the construction sites around town. In some ways, as bleak as things may be, this is the right time for new leadership to emerge from the community. Recently Eyon Biddle a first term county supervisor with a union background, ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Willie Hines. At the same time G. Spencer Coggs became the first African-American elected to city-wide office in his victory to become Milwaukee City Treasurer. His niece Milele Coggs continues to impress as a young leader on the Common Council.
Things are changing, though far too slowly. I encouraged Mahlon to press for change in the way Wisconsin uses its federal mental health block grant. In the weeks ahead I will be contacting him about my concerns. It seemed fitting that I met him the day that the Walker administration trashed the state’s contract with Talgo, the Spanish train manufacturer. Despite the fact Wisconsin had invested millions of dollars under previous governor Jim Doyle on upgrading our rail infrastructure, soon to be recalled Scott Walker made killing this deal a priority once he took office.
If all goes well, we will have an opportunity to reverse those job killing policies in Madison and set an example for the rest of the country to follow.
Occasionally I find new information and add this to my original blog entry. For instance weiner friends will be happy to find that a an account of the unfortunately named congressman has surfaced on the internet. This time it seems his Facebook account (which was later closed) was sending nasty messages to a woman. Was this account hacked, too? If so, why did the messages go on for some time? I know that if I was a professional politician, a federal employee in Washington, no less, I would hire an expert like one of my nephews to protect it my account. And yes, a couple of my nephews are computer protection experts. It seems that weiner is now in hot water.
On a somewhere more serious (God, I hope not) note I have seen that the power of Walkerville has grown. If you have songs from the protests, post them on the Internet and I will link to them. From weiners to walker, the blog must go on!
Indeed, in just a few short days, weiner was roasted and walker is being recalled. How will I ever keep up with all these events?
Barrett in 1993 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Greater Milwaukee Committee is apparently waiting to release some recommendations regarding Milwaukee County government. These recommendations include abolishing the county executive’s position, and spinning off most of the functions of county government such as the parks into commissions. The report which was discussed in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is being withheld to prevent it from influencing the election. The bottom line is that the county is not taxing enough to meet its obligations. The services will be spun off to allow for new leadership that will raise the revenue (taxes) to pay for them. It sounds like quite an indictment of Scott Walker. Imagine if something like this was said about Milwaukee city government and Tom Barrett.
Well, here we are, Walker was elected governor and faces a recall election. His opponent for governor Tom Barrett is still the Mayor and collecting splinters on the question of running against Walker again. We need someone in office at all levels who is ethical, trustworthy, unites people on the basic of equality and believes in equal justice under law. So I’m going to look for candidates who are endorsed by groups of gays and lesbians, for example. I want to find someone who goes beyond simplistic rhetorical on law and disorder, meaning we need to stop imprisoning more and more people.
Scott Walker on February 18, 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Image via Wikipedia
- Image via Wikipedia
I just read an article about the debate between Scott Walker and Mark Neumann Republican candidates for governor of Wisconsin. The OnWisconsin.com article said that Walker was running based on his record as Milwaukee County Executive. The guy who just shifted John Chianelli from his position as Administrator of the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex. The guy whose leadership was questioned by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel when it called for him to fire Chianelli and more in light of the ongoing scandal involving the staffing shortages, assaults on patients and falsification of records. This is the same Walker who continues to degrade our service on the Milwaukee County Transit System while continuing to raise fares. The same Walker on whose watch we’ve seen our parks and our county buildings deteriorate, causing one death.
And don’t get me started on the mess involving the administration iof the food stamp program that led the State of Wisconsin to take over that program. as if all this was not enough, there was a report from Sheriff Clarke about the lack of security at the Mental Health Complex. Does this sound like an able executive? I vote no confidence in Walker and I urge everyone to sign the petition from Tom Barrett for governor about stopping the abuse.
Today the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called for firing John Chianelli the Administrator of the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division. The article will undoubted play a major role in the governor’s race to be decided in November. I had told Democratic candidate Tom Barrett that the best thing he had going for him was the dismal record of his major opponent Scott Walker as Milwaukee County Executive.
Under Walker’s mis-leadership we have faced cuts in the services that Milwaukee County residents count on and deserve. I know because I have paid the bus fares on the Milwaukee County Transit System. I was deeply disappointed when Walker was re-elected a few years ago pretty much by default. He beat African American Lena Taylor an ambitious young woman and a State Senator. I was not active in the campaign although I heard a couple of months ago from mental health advocates that she ran a poor campaign. I voted for her knowing that as an African American she faced an uphill battle from the start.
It seems that there has simply been a decline in the quality of political candidates in Milwaukee and the state overall. I became involved in political campaigns during my teens as a result of the Vietnam War and other peace and social justice issues. I bought buttons, worked in campaign head quarters and met my first girl friend. It was a heady, inspiring experience. The Democratic Party convention in 1968 asawful as it was made me want to get involved and shake up the system. A few years later, as a socialist, I realized that the system was thoroughly rotten and the odds were stacked against African Americans like me.
Now 30 years later I would not call myself a socialist although I still believe that the system is corrupt. It’s just that socialism which I believed was a better system failed so miserably. There are no models that are truly serving the needs of the people. Which leads me back to where I began with how poorly we are being served in 2010 by a system that shuffles dangerous mental patients back and forth between hospitals. A system that rewards dangerous doctors who violate the most basic ethical standards and then rewards them with comfortable positions. And the closing of locked wards that should have been in place to keep women safe in the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex.
Yes, it’s time for John Chianelli to go, but the head incompetent, Scott Walker should follow. It’s time to start dropping these shoes and start building a system that works.