By Doug Hissom Special to Published May 23, 2007 at 5:32 AM

Offices of the Milwaukee Women’s Center were packed up in two semi trailers over the weekend after the group was reportedly evicted from its posh offices in the former Lawyers Title Building, 611 N. Broadway.

Founded in 1980, the center's stated mission was to act as an emergency shelter for battered women, but apparently there is no shelter anymore in their offices. Indeed, the Women’s Center annual fundraiser was considered to be one of the marquee charity galas in the city both for its location and its ticket price.

The Center at one time had a staff of some 40 people and had won recognition for its work. For its 25th anniversary, the center claimed it helped more than 268,000 women through counseling, more than 10,000 women and children in shelters and counseled nearly 3,400 batterers.

A financial statement from 2000 posted on its Web site reported $3.3 million in revenue, 73 percent of it coming from government grants and 11 percent of that spent on “administration.” A report from 2002 said administrative expenses ballooned to 30 percent of revenue and the city comptroller’s office questioned whether the center could continue operating.

The Center’s Web site makes no mention of the move and has not been updated since last year, with only an event in December 2006 promised. The Spring Fling fund-raiser for 2007 was billed as “coming soon.” A person who answered the phone number for the center said the new mailing address was 4906 W. Fond du Lac Ave.

Tommy not tilting the polls in Iowa: Tommy Thompson isn’t exactly knocking them dead in Iowa -- his stated goal for his presidential aspirations to continue. A recent poll by the Des Moines Register has the ex-guv-turned-cabinet-secretary-turned-board-member-for-hire getting 7 percent of the vote among the 11 GOP hopefuls. He was a distant fourth behind Mitt Romney (30 percent), John McCain (18 percent), and Rudy Giuliani (17 percent). He just barely bested Sam Brownback who had 5 percent. About 12 percent of respondents were undecided.

Hillary endorsers rather lackluster: Hillary Clinton released a list of her state Democratic Party endorsements and the list is, well, full of a lot of low-level names. The biggest in the group is Kathleen Falk, Dane County exec and loser of two statewide campaigns. Then there’s Matt Flynn, loser of three prominent races for Congress; Nancy Nusbaum, the relatively unknown former Brown County exec, mayor of DePere and congressional campaign loser; Jackie Boynton, a Milwaukee attorney and someone who can put a few bodies into suburban fund-raising parties; and Bill Broydrick, one of the more prominent fixers lobbying in the state Legislature. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has endorsed Barack Obama. 

Note to taggers, smile: Milwaukee Ald. Tony Zielinski wants to put surveillance cameras in known areas for tagging, which is not just an issue in his Bay View district. Zielinski’s plan would spend $28,000 on 10 cameras that would be triggered by motion and heat detection, take a picture of what’s happening and send out an e-mail of the picture. Last year in Milwaukee, just 50 tickets were issued for graffiti related vandalism.

Keeping tabs: The Wisconsin Club for Growth has become one of the leading crusaders against any tax increase coming from the Legislature. In a radio spot, the Club takes a clip from Doyle’s state of the state address where he promises, “We should not, we must and I will not raise taxes.” It then goes on to note that Doyle’s budget has tax increases everywhere, some $1.75 billion worth to be exact. Touché for the Club. Then again, Doyle’s in the position to blame the Legislature when it approves some of those tax increases.

From the “Why hasn’t this happened sooner?” file: It appears that when it comes to those fancy red bricks and concrete pavers that serve as crosswalks, the city lets them go to waste every time they get in the way of a road project. In fact, the contractors get to keep them and use them for whatever they want, presumably to sell or cut costs on other projects. Ald. Bob Bauman wants to make sure that the value of those bricks and pavers stays with in the city. He proposes that the city keep all the parts in the future. The city’s fiscal analysis offered no estimate on how much money that would mean for the city. Of course no mention about what happens if the contractors take a casual approach to keeping the bricks intact for the city. One of the reasons the move was held in committee for further research.

Quote of the Week: “The Shepherd Express is probably the least credible newspaper in this city.” -Milwaukee Ald. Mike D’Amato, during a particularly heated debate over a parking structure project on Downer Avenue.

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.