PEOPLE-Local 645

  • Quality of Life Alliance

Question The Outrage

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on January 28, 2009

On Friday, Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, told the story of two County Board Supervisors, Elizabeth Coggs and Toni Clark, who went to Washington, D.C., during the time of President Obama’s inauguration. This comes, of course, on the heels of the story of Charlene Hardin, the Milwaukee Public School Board member who was busted taking a trip to Philly for a seminar which she didn’t attend. Coggs and Clark said that their trip was business-related and that they went to meet US Representative Gwen Moore, county lobbyists and other such people.

As was to be expected, the radio squawkers had a field day with it, as did their Posse Comatose, aka the right wing echo chamber. I heard and/or read comments on how these two women should be run out of office, they were morally reprehensible, that this was criminal, and other similar comments.

Today, Bice offers another piece beating the dead horse by showing that they booked their trips two days after the election. However, this story included another traveler – Republican Gerard Randall, who was one of Walker’s favorite’s until Walker lost Randall’s job along with the jobs training program to the city.

The squawks of indignation were still there, albeit not as loud or as shrill as they were on Friday.

Also today, the two Supervisors issued a press release, admitting that this was poorly thought through and a mistake, and that they would be paying the County back for all the expenditures, even though they actually did do work on behalf of the County.

Now, while I agree with the general consensus that what these two Supervisors did showed, at the very least, poor judgment and questionable decision making, I was slightly taken aback by the level of vehemence and outrage that was spewing forth. After all, the trip was only seeming to add up to about $4,000. And on top of that, they did do work on behalf of the County, bringing in new potential funding sources to help prevent kids from entering the child welfare system, or giving kids aging out of the system the skills needed to succeed in life.

So, while Walker is calling the Supervisors’ trip to Washington as “mind-boggling,” what is even more mind boggling is that he is the one that, in 2005, using county tax dollars, on county time, using county staff, started that year’s phase of his perpetual run for governor, which cost tens of thousands of dollars of tax payers money.

I don’t recall any of the right wing squawkers or the Posse Comatose raising an eyebrow at that. In fact, if I recall correctly, they defended it.

And there is always the millions of dollars Walker has either squandered or is trying to squander with things like the ill-advised move of BHD to the dilapidated St. Michael’s Hospital, the increased tax levies that the cities are forced to impose to pay for the cops’ overtime, as they are sitting with mentally ill people due to the shortage of beds at BHD from all of Walker’s budget cuts, or sabotaging County services just to pander to potential campaign donors but not saving any taxpayer dollars.

And who can forget that, while people are getting laid off in droves, Walker decided that he was willing to sacrifice their livelihoods and their families of his political posturing. That alone could cost the County $4oo million or more. That alone is 100,000 times the money squandered by the two Supervisors, with nothing to show for it.

The other thing that I find bemusing about this story is the timing of it. The Charlene Hardin story took months to come out. The government, on any level, is notorious for dragging their feet in releasing any type of information, but somehow Bice got his hands on it in less than a week.

Now, it is perfectly plausible that Bice and/or one of the editors at the paper, on the heels of the Hardin story, felt that there was a chance someone would do exactly what Clark and Coggs did do, so they were waiting to see if there was a gotcha moment.

However, I do not think that might be the most likely scenario. I think it to me much more plausible that Bice was tipped off by someone, either in Walker’s administration, or one of Walker’s allies on the County Board that tipped Bice off and made the documents available to him in such an expedient manner. Walker has done things like that in the past, such as when he held on to the infamous tape of the sleeping worker at the Courthouse, or the way he scapegoated officers at the HOC when they were having all of those problems down there.

And Walker would definitely have the motivation to do something like this. He is already past the time he was expected to be announcing his next phase in his perpetual run for governor, but there apparently a growing movement to start a recall against Walker (even though that couldn’t happen until April) including yet another website to which I was alerted this weekend. (I’ll still have to vet it before I’ll link to it.) You can find the link here.

I think people are getting upset with the state of the County, and that the refusal to even ask for the stimulus money from the feds was just another abdication of his duties. And as we have seen on how the electorate turned their backs on the Republican Party due to being snubbed by them in times of disaster, like Hurricane Katrina, I think people are starting to see that Walker holds the same values as the Bush Republicans do. And if it comes to their livelihoods and their families’ well being, or Walker’s political aspirations, I think we know which one the voters are more likely to go with.

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