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Tis The Season – For Some Anyway

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on December 16, 2009

Christmas is a little more than a week away, with Kwanzaa also right around the corner as well. Our Jewish friends are celebrating Chanukah right now.

Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, this is the time most people think warm thoughts on these cold, wintry nights, and think happy thoughts about their fellow men and women. It is in this light that many people are bustling around the stores and the malls to give gifts for their loved ones and friends.

Unfortunately, there are some that will be thousands of miles away from their loved ones, for they heeded a higher calling and are currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, or some other faraway land.

Remembering these brave and selfless men and women, Mayor Tom Barrett recently announced a drive to collect gifts for those in the armed service:

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Monday announced a holiday care package drive for Wisconsin armed forces stationed in Iraq.

Barrett called for donations of food, candy and other items for members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard 732nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, based in Tomah. Among items also suggested for donation were cookies, coffee, microwave meals, magazines, DVDs and batteries.

Donations should be brought to collection boxes outside the mayor’s office at City Hall.

On the same day Barrett announced this holiday gift drive, there was also an announcement about Scott Walker. It was not nearly as much in the holiday spirit:

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is trimming back his giveback of four days’ pay this year to two, to match the reduction in the number of unpaid furlough days county workers must take.

Walker wrote a check to the county for one day’s pay — $497 — in late November and plans to write a second check in that amount this week, Walker said.

He did so to fulfill a pledge he’d share in any cuts other county employees were forced to take to help balance the county budget.

Well, he can’t be blamed too much, I suppose. After all, he has a big, new house to pay for, and large swimming pools don’t come cheap, you know. Just ask the people who have to fight each year to keep their public pools open.

Not only that, but while Walker and the County Board are calling for the unions to give up both their cost-of-living and their merit raises, County Ordinances say that elected officials get their raises no matter what.

Makes the decision on who to vote for next year all the easier: Barrett, who understands looking out for his fellow citizens (in more ways than one), or Walker, who looks out only for himself (in more ways than one).


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