Observations from the political winds
It's been a somewhat lackluster spring election in the City of Milwaukee -- except maybe for an open aldermanic seat on the East Side and the Ald. Michael McGee vote -- as incumbents are facing relatively weak opponents who got late starts.
But there have been some interesting developments. Some loose observations as we head towards the April 1 vote:
• Residents in Milwaukee's South Side 12th aldermanic district might be confused as to who exactly they are "re-electing." Ald. Jim Witkowiak uses the phrase "re-elect" on his signs, since, after all, he is the incumbent. Challenger Angel Sanchez has "re-elect Sanchez" on his gaudy green and orange signs. In essence, Sanchez is also correct, sort of.
Sanchez was bounced from the Common Council four years ago by Witkowiak after Sanchez narrowly beat Witkowiak four years before that. Sanchez was viewed as being largely ineffective, as was Witkowiak after his first term eight years ago. So it is correct to say that Sanchez is seeking re-election, just not while holding office. More accurately it could be said that Witkowiak is seeking to be re-re-elected.
• When there's a gay candidate on the ballot expect a visit from some hate-filled literature courtesy of Ralph Ovadahl, the state's high-profile prejudiced preacher. Anti-gay literature is popping up on the city's East Side and in Riverwest, where Pat Flaherty is running for alderman against Nic Kovac.
While not mentioning Flaherty directly the literature is quite derogatory.
"It is because of the no-special-rights approach that we now have open homosexuals involved in many activities from which they should have been banned, and principled property owners and businessmen are required by law in many states to rent to and employ persons of low moral character engaged in immoral conduct which flies in the face of the deepest beliefs of the landlords and employers," reads the flyer, in part.
Ovadahl and his Pilgrim's Covenant Church used the same tactics when state Sen. Tim Carpenter, who is gay, ran for Congress and for his state senate seat.
Flaherty won the primary and has the most broad-based support since his issues are also the most broad-based. Kovac is known mainly opposition to the new Downer Avenue development, of which his dad has been a prominent opponent.
Flaherty served as the director of community relations for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Milwaukee and helped organize Milwaukee's efforts to defeat the anti-gay marriage amendment. He has been endorsed by the Milwaukee Labor Council, AFSCME, and the LGBT Center Advocates PAC, Wisconsin's only LGBT political action committee.
• When it comes to local elections "retail politics" is the key -- knocking on doors, glad-handing in the local pubs, hitting the church festivals and continued smiling. Milwaukee County Executive candidate Lena Taylor and judicial candidate Rebecca Dallet took the retail end of the campaigns to new highs last week, paying visits to local taverns to join the revelry of St. Patrick's Day. Taylor and Dallet made separate appearances at the packed Franky's Newport bar, 939 E. Conway St., in Bay View (where this writer works on a part-time basis). They received hearty receptions from the capacity crowd and drawing accolades from the patrons.
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T15: I don't know how to break it to you but the grass is not greener (politically speaking) anywhere else. Since our politicians are human they are prone to mistakes, lying, etc. IT's human nature. Not making excuses but the backwards Wisconsin politics you speak of might just look pretty darn appealing if you decide to head out for greener pastures. There are problems but these days they truly are everywhere. Peace
Good side-info, unfortunately none of this matters; since the city, county, and state are going to continue to fall apart after elections. I feel so disenfranchised because first, most of the people to vote for (democrat or republican) do not follow any of my values, and second, my vote probably wont count at all because of the lack of required photo ID for voting. Thats right people; I am disenfranchised for lack of required photo ID for voting because of voter fraud. Thanks Jim special interest, do little. I cant wait to leave this terribly backwards, lack of common sense state of Wisconsin politics.
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