By Doug Hissom Special to Published Apr 02, 2008 at 12:03 AM
Milwaukee Ald. Joe Davis, seeking to retain his title as the Common Council's most traveled alderman, asked the council to approve his dipping into city coffers to travel to meetings of the National League of Cities.

Davis already received some heat for traveling to South Africa and returning with nothing more than a sister city proclamation.

Davis was named chair of the NLC's Community and Economic Development and Advocacy Committee and wants his travel, lodging and other expenses to go to the meetings picked up by the city. The money would come from the Economic Development Committee Fund Special Purpose Account.

Attempting to bolster his case, Davis issued a press release touting the National League of Cities.

"Milwaukee is obviously moving in the right direction when our agenda matches the agenda and goals of the NLC. The issues we're addressing are those also being fielded on the national level," he says.

"I will continue to access funding and resources through the NLC to address these issues here in Milwaukee. Our city can be a leader for this national organization."

Bowling blues: Opening day at Wrigley Field was full of pomp, circumstance and politicians lining up to get pictures with Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks.

The receiving line before the Brewers-Cubs opener included Hank Aaron, Gov. Rod Blagojevich, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Jesse Jackson.

One noted absence?

The junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, whose campaign could have taken advantage of all the free press a Cubs opening day offers. He was bowling in Pennsylvania, scoring a 37. 

Low dough for hole fix: Anybody who uses city streets has noticed they've turned into an obstacle course of gravel-laden potholes, cracks and other debris.

City officials have been wringing their hands all winter. Given all that drama, it just doesn't seem a satisfactory response when the only proposal on the table is for spending an additional $120,000 this year to fix potholes. Those must be cheap repairs. According to an analysis of the idea, the $120,000 would pay for 10 pothole crews to work an additional four weeks -- $90,000 for salaries and $30,000 for supplies.

A Big Fan of the Chief: Milwaukee Ald. Bob Donovan risked offending a good portion of his constituency by defending actions by a Milwaukee Police officer in the case of Koua Moua, the Hmong man subdued by officers when he tried to drive away with an officer hanging onto his van.

Hundreds of Hmong took to the streets to protest the treatment of Moua.

"It has been my privilege over the past eight years to represent a large portion of the city's Hmong and East Asian communities, and I find them to be hard-working, family-oriented, industrious, and education-minded citizens," Donovan said.

But ,he added, "It's high time we as a community stand up for our Milwaukee police officers who daily place themselves in harm's way for our benefit and safety."

Donovan continues to be enamored with new Police Chief Ed Flynn.

"Everything I see coming out of his office I like. Quite frankly, Milwaukee has not had a police chief willing to tell it like it is in 20 years, and in my opinion it's high time and long overdue," Donovan said.

Flynn told the press after the incident and mini-uproar fueled by attorney Alan Eisenberg, "I won't be a punching bag for a group of people looking to develop a constituency at the cost of a police officer, especially when the life of an officer is at risk."

Eisenberg, who has a long list of controversy on his resume, is representing the Moua family and has filed a notice of claim to sue the city over the matter.

Phone tag: Recorded phone greetings on behalf of various campaigns made the rounds early this week. Lt. Gov. Barb Lawton's tape-recorded message pitched for Lena Taylor's bid for Milwaukee County executive. State Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler called on his own behalf, noting that he was the only justice on the court from Milwaukee and that he wanted special interest groups to "stop polluting our airwaves."

Hey, big spenders: Spending by outside special interest groups on the recent Supreme Court race likely set a new record, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign an independent watchdog group.

As of last week, the groups for and against Louis Butler and Mike Gableman have spent some $2.9 million on TV ads and the advertising just got thicker in the last week. The record for outside special interest spending is $3.1 million, set last year.

In the largest TV markets, interest groups have done 93 percent of the campaign advertising, dwarfing the candidates' own ad buys.

A Campaign View: As seen on the Web site "Gleisner Campaign: National Federation of the Blind endroses Gleisner."

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.