By Doug Hissom Special to Published Jun 18, 2008 at 5:20 AM
It seems inevitable when gas prices go up cab fares should, too. A proposal in Milwaukee being heard this week suggests cab fares rise 25 cents for every 1/10 of a mile. Current rates -- in effect since March 2007 -- were based on 1/8th of a mile increments.

The first 1/8th of a mile was $2.25 and under a proposal by Ald. Jim Bohl would increase to $2.75 for the first 1/10th of a mile and 25 cents for each 1/10th of a mile after that. Charges for waiting time would increase from 25 cents to 30 cents per minute. Minimum charge to get a ride from Mitchell Airport would increase from $6 to $8.

In other cab affairs, taxis would have to meet mileage requirements in order to keep their licenses. A plan by Alds. Tony Zielinski and Bob Bauman would require cabs more than 10 years old be replaced with vehicles that meet the minimum mileage standard of 25 miles to the gallon of combined fuel economy beginning December 2009. Beginning in December 2011 vehicles older than 10 years could only be replaced with vehicles that get 30 miles to the gallon.

The Cost of Success: More fans in the ballpark mean higher security costs for the Brewers. Under an amendment to the city's deal with the ball club, the team would see its costs for using Milwaukee Police as security go up. In the current deal the team pays the city $1.2 million for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. But police are spending more time at the park than anticipated and the city now wants $2 million for its services.

Union Busting Busted: The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is getting out of teaching union busting -- for the time being. After several labor representatives accosted university officials over its offering a School of Continuing Education class called "Staying Union-Free: Strategies for a Making a Union Unnecessary in Your Workplace," the university took the course off its summer schedule.

The course, which cost $450 per person was to be taught by a Chicago management attorney. UWM had to be pushed hard to cancel the course and initially offered only to change the course description.

UWM has always offered a union busting course and has, in the past, refused to cancel it. For years it was taught by Tom Krukowski, long known for the union busting attempts of his firm Krukowski and Costello.

According to the firm's Web site, "Tom has represented employers defending against union corporate campaigns in labor disputes, including Hormel Foods Corporation, American Airlines, Ryder Systems, Inc., International Paper Company, Smithfield Foods/Patrick Cudahy, Briggs & Stratton Corporation, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. His practice approach diffuses union efforts to run a campaign and/or organize workers."

Pre-emptive Strike: Milwaukee's Common Council President Willie Hines issued a cautionary note this year prior to Juneteenth Day celebrations. Juneteenth Day commemorates the day that the last slaves were freed in 1865. The event has been marred by violence in the past.

"At last year's Juneteenth celebration, solemn reverence and spirited revelry was replaced with this brand of ignorant violence. Instead of an atmosphere of thankfulness for our deliverance, the waning minutes of the day gave way to a physical beating," Hines writes.

"Instead of celebrating the history of Juneteenth with my own family, I found myself on CNN, defending the national reputation of the city I love. ... It is vital that we, as a community, take the time to tell young people about the history of Juneteenth. Our children will not realize why this celebratory day is so important if no one tells them. Police and elected officials cannot engage every child. Parents, teachers and neighbors must make the message clear, as well. We must all share the costly burden of passing on our legacy to the next generation." 

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.