By Doug Hissom Special to Published Feb 13, 2009 at 5:15 AM

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The Combined Locks Police Department thought of a strange way to make money.

Perhaps they should have just charged people for taking a baton blow to the head.

In order to raise money for the Special Olympics, the cops in Combined Locks decided to take shots with tasers for $500 a pop.

The American Civil Liberties Union didn't appreciate the gesture.

"Tasers are not toys. They are potentially lethal, especially when used on the young, the elderly or people with medical conditions," ACLU Wisconsin's executive director Chris Ahmuty said.

"And, as Chief (Steve) Wulgaert's experience confirms, they invariably cause excruciating pain. They should only be used as a last resort in controlling a suspect who poses a genuine threat to the safety of police officers or the public."

Wulgaert admitted that being tasered was akin to getting "kicked by a mule."

The Sheriff Speaks About Superintendent: It's good to see that Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is lending his educational expertise to the state superintendent of schools race.

What it's worth is anybody's guess, but he Clarke has endorsed Rose Fernandez for the post of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

"Rose understands that there is a crisis in K-12 public education in Milwaukee. This crisis is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. She believes that it is her responsibility to be involved in the reform necessary to improving education state wide," said Clarke.

Fernandez is a former pediatric trauma nurse and former senior administrator at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and is former president of the Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families. She's the only candidate for the Feb. 17 primary that does not have an education background.

The two front-runners for the little-known position are deputy superintendent Tony Evers, who leads in fund-raising with $70,000 in the bank after raising $30,000 this year; and, Concordia University professor Van Mobley, who reports raising $29,000 this year with $57,000 cash on hand. The other candidates are National-Louis University professor Todd Price and Beloit Schools Superintendent Lowell Holtz.

Super Court Update: There is a primary on Monday. One race that's not there is the state Supreme Court race. It seems to be a smack-down for Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson come April 7 against her challenger, Jefferson County Judge Randy Koschnick.

Fundraising says as much and Koschnick didn't even inspire the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce to help him out. WMC was the major backer of the past two conservative justices to win election -- Annette Ziegler and Michael Gableman -- both of whom had ethical issues while waltzing into the supreme chambers.

Even conservative talk radio has abandoned Koschnick because he defended cop-killer Robert Oswald after a bank robbery gone astray. I'll put money on a 73 percent to 27 finish in favor of Abrahamson. (You can call my editor to bet on a bigger spread.)

Abrahamson's campaign reports it raised $1,068,070.84 as of Feb. 2 and has cash on hand of $904,618.55. Koschnick reports raising $38,959 last month.

Milquetoast Mayor: Milquetoast is hard to get in a headline unless it comes to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the voter-mandated paid sick leave ordinance.

I'm not fond of the idea, but can see a major argument for it. Then again, I'm not the mayor. As with most issues, Barrett takes the middle road on the lawsuit that created an injunction against mandating sick leave pay on Milwaukee companies. It was to take effect Feb. 10, but the Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce got the expected temporary injunction last Friday.

"The City of Milwaukee needs to have the legal issues surrounding this ordinance resolved," Barrett said. "As I have stated previously, we will continue to work toward developing rules and procedures for the sick leave ordinance. I have asked the City Attorney's office to move this process along as quickly as possible."

The city is required by law to enforce and enact the ordinance, but hasn't affected any public effort to do so.

Doug Hissom Special to
Doug Hissom has covered local and state politics for 20 years. Over the course of that time he was publisher, editor, news editor, managing editor and senior writer at the Shepherd Express weekly paper in Milwaukee. He also covered education and environmental issues extensively. He ran the UWM Post in the mid-1980s, winning a Society of Professional Journalists award as best non-daily college newspaper.

An avid outdoors person he regularly takes extended paddling trips in the wilderness, preferring the hinterlands of northern Canada and Alaska. After a bet with a bunch of sailors, he paddled across Lake Michigan in a canoe.

He lives in Bay View.