Grin and Barrett
One week from tomorrow, February 21, the voters of Milwaukee will narrow the field of candidates for mayor from three to two. Here are your choices:
Tom Barrett, the incumbent Mayor, has held elective office for all but two years since 1984. He won his present post by beating Acting Mayor Marvin Pratt in 2004 and coasting to victory over Andrew Shaw in 2008. Barrett's second term has been characterized by two big failures: his attempt to take over Milwaukee Public Schools was rejected by the Legislature (in response to huge public opposition) and he lost his second race for Governor of Wisconsin. On the other hand, his police chief Edward Flynn has done well, and crime is down in the city. Of course the city lost jobs in the massive recession that began in 2008, but Barrett has done a creditable job in attracting and keeping businesses in the city.
Despite the lack of serious opposition in this election, Barrett has garnered a war chest of $371,600 (as of January 31, per his Election Commission filing). He has not ruled out running against Governor Walker in the imminent recall election, and will probably transfer any left-over campaign cash from his mayoralty run to that race. His speech to the Milwaukee Democratic Party meeting on January 23 barely mentioned city issues, concentrating on the recall election. Although well-liked, Barrett sometimes seems like a steam engine that has run out of steam. If he likes being Mayor of Milwaukee, why does he keep running for Governor? If not, why keep running for Mayor?
Edward McDonald, an assistant professor at the Milwaukee campus of UW-Extension, was born and raised in Milwaukee, and graduated Lincoln HS in 1975. He earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Minnesota at Duluth in 1980, and a master's at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2000. He lost the primary for Alderman of the Sixth District in 1988. McDonald moved to St Paul and got a job on the staff of the Mayor of that city, but got fired in 2003. (1)
McDonald has written an extensive platform that you can peruse at www.edwardmcdonaldformayor.com. He is a serious candidate, but has only $265 in his campaign kitty, which will not even pay for a defeat party.
Ieshuh Griffin,who won her 15 minutes of fame in 2010 by trying to run for state representative on the slogan "NOT the White Man's Bitch" (which the state would not allow on the ballot), is the third candidate in this alleged contest. She is also running for Alderman for the Sixth District. Griffin failed miserably in campaigns for County Executive and supervisor in 2011, and has no campaign fund. All I want to know is: if she is not the White Man's Bitch, then whose bitch is she?
Gerald S Glazer
(1) JSOnline, 12/22/11.