By Doug Hissom Special to Published Apr 10, 2009 at 5:28 AM

The opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, its advertisers or editorial staff.

When it comes to what's important, never underestimate the value of fast food coupons.

Patty Eggers is trying to sue the City of Milwaukee for damaging her car while towing it.

Eggers claimed $2,053.80 in damage to her sunroof and the rest of her car. She also claims the city lost her coupons from Wendy's Restaurant.

Eggers didn't show up to back her claim in person and a Common Council committee denied her complaint.

Policy Wonked: State Rep. Don Pridemore (R-Hartford) likes to pontificate on occasion, but his latest missive might have a point -- putting policy into the state budget.

Gov. Jim Doyle's budget contains a plethora of policy. Pridemore proffers a few proposals that historically have been outside the budget purview:

  • Imposing a state-wide smoking ban. "Another slap in the face to independent businesses," says Pridemore. "Why if it is a state-wide ban, are casinos not included?"
  • Repealing Project Kid Safe. Removes active GPS tracking of sex offenders and only passively tracks them. "Until something happens, no one really knows if a convicted sex offender has left their home and went searching for their next victim," he says.

Pridemore, however does not pontificate on Doyle's plan to allow police to pull people over to see if passengers are wearing seatbelts.

Taylor bashing: State lawmakers want to reduce what land owners have to pay for not shoveling snow. A bill in front of the Legislature would standardize what cities can charge for shoveling scofflaws.

The measure sets the fee at $25 for the first offense, $35 for the second and $50 for the third. Milwaukee aldermen voted earlier this week to oppose the change, since Milwaukee charges substantially more to those who do not shovel: $45 for the first offense and $80 for the second.

Ald. Terry Witkowski noted that the city's charge reflects what it costs for city workers to do the shoveling if the property owner doesn't.

Ald. Jim Bohl took the opportunity to rip on state Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), who happens to support the bill. He said he was "perplexed" and "surprised" by Taylor getting on board with Republicans in supporting this and other bills of late.

"Ultimately you either stand up for the people you represent or you don't," he said.

Bohl was less vociferous when state Sen. Spencer Coggs (D-Milwaukee) came to pitch a bill that would prevent liquor stores and taverns from being 300 feet from a day care center or a child care center. Current rules already ban liquor outlets from being within 300 feet from schools, churches and hospitals.

Paint it White: Inmates have taken to the streets of the near South Side. Ald. Bob Donovan organized the effort, which armed inmates from the House of Correction with buckets of white paint to clean up graffiti and pick up trash.

According to Jan Brylow, the sheriff's office manager of inmate programs, the inmates are transitioning into searching for employment.

"The community service curriculum is structured to orientate participants to civic responsibility and accountability for harm done, and it allows the participating inmates to ‘give back' to communities affected by crime to help repair the harm done by crime," she said.

Donovan said he is working with Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke to explore the possibility of expanding the program during the summer of 2009.

Takeover Talk: Donovan continues to push city government to take over the Milwaukee Public Schools system. He's using a recent report that accuses MPS of wasting millions of dollars.

"For years I have pointed out the many symptoms the ill patient (MPS) has exhibited; now a high-priced doctor has confirmed that yes, the patient is quite ill and in dire need of strong medicine," Donovan said.

"The revelation that there are 65 central office MPS bureaucrats making more than $100,000 per year is appalling, not to mention the Pentagon-esque shocker that the district was buying $100 pencil sharpeners," he says.

"I wouldn't be surprised if some budding entrepreneurs aren't now contemplating going into business so they can sell MPS $800 pencil boxes."

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.