By Doug Hissom Special to Published Jul 11, 2008 at 5:12 AM

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

Looks like we got an official response from Milwaukee aldermen after the RiverSplash! ruckus.

To control the sale of alcohol some aldermen propose that booze sales be limited to one per person at a time during street festivals. They also propose a ban on glass containers.

It's a similar deal as the one in place at Lambeau Field, and will no doubt cause much consternation at the beer tents. The matter -- sponsored by Alds. Jim Bohl, Willie Hines and Michael Murphy -- gets heard at the Licenses Committee next week.

Port Director Stays Afloat: Milwaukee Port Director Eric Reinelt had the distinction of being the only nominee for Mayor Tom Barrett's cabinet not to gain committee approval from at the Common Council.

Though later given the nod from the full council, Reinelt was near mute as he took tough comments from members of the Public Works Committee late last month.

Reinelt has been port director since 2005 but is still dogged for previously using a city vehicle for personal use and not reimbursing the city. There were also questions about whether or not he was even living in the city since he was often seen at a home he owns in Waterford.

Reinelt ended up turning over his city vehicle one day after two aldermen brought the issue to light. He said at the time that he didn't reimburse the city for personal use of the SUV since there wasn't a policy in place to do so. There was a policy in place, however, banning personal use of city vehicles.

As for the residency issue, Reinelt said at the time that he and his wife lived in a Bay View condo.

But those issues -- and Reinelt's running of the port -- still had some aldermen smarting.

Ald. Joe Dudzik said he found Reinelt's answers then "insulting to every city employee," adding that given Reinelt's view of the world, after Dudzik turned in a Water Works employee for using equipment for personal use, "the gentleman from the Water Works should be promoted," Dudzik said.

He also called Reinelt "little more than a shell."

It was a characterization agreed to by Ald. Robert Bauman, who called the port on "autopilot" and laid blame at the door of the mayor.

"I'm not sure they are being challenged from the top," he said, saying the port is just acting like a landlord.

Reinelt defended his management saying the port set a record for handling tonnage last year, but failed to note that it came mainly from the shutdown of a huge grain facility in Toledo due to a fire and that the grain was diverted to Milwaukee as a result.

"While the port is profitable ... my sense is that there's serious opportunity lost there," Bauman said.

Fall Ballot Report: Republicans have decided to bail on trying to even field a candidate to run against Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore, but apparently not the Greens. Listing himself as an "independent," Michael LaForest will run against Moore.

LaForest most recently appeared on a ballot as a candidate for secretary of state in 2006. He claimed then he was a card-carrying member of the Green Party.

According to previous campaign Web statements, some of what LaForest says he stands for includes:

  • Reintroducing hemp as and agricultural commodity
  • The complete regulation, legalization and taxation of marijuana
  • State grants for renewable energy production
  • Mass transit systems and year-round cycling roadways
  • Election reform to include Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)
  • Doing away with corporate personhood
  • Doing away with property taxes and restructuring the income tax

In December, LaForest listed himself on as "job hunting," but he has referred to himself as an organic farmer and licensed professional counselor.

On another Green Party front, Paul Lincoln Schueble, at one time considered one of New Berlin's more eccentric politicians, planned to register to run for state Senate under the Green Party banner, but later said he was going to run as a Democrat. Neither will happen, however, since he didn't get enough nomination signatures to get on the ballot.

One surprise on the South Side is that state Rep. Pedro Colon, fresh off a run for city attorney, has two opponents in the primary: Laura L. Manriquez and Jose Guzman.

On the North Side, state Rep. Leon Young, known more for collecting the most per diem pay of any state lawmaker while boasting the lowest productivity, faces three challengers in the Democratic primary: Richard M. Badger, David D. King and Andy Parker.

Badger has chosen to wrap himself in Barack Obama, literally, as his Web site features several photos and references to the Democrat standard bearer. He also lists Supreme S. Allah as a friend. Allah was busted as part of the 2004 election day hijinks when he slashed tires of Republican Party vans meant to take voters to the polls.

Some interesting names popping up on the ballot for Milwaukee County clerk include County Board member James "Luigi" Schmitt and political retread Joe Czarneski.

Bass Busting: It's got a catchy name at least. "Operation Bass Busters" hits the streets to keep boom cars quiet, according to Milwaukee Ald. Bob Donovan. A new ordinance allows residents to call the police and rat out noisy vehicles by providing a license plate number, date and time of the incident, a description of the noise and contact information.

After the complaint, police will send a warning letter to the vehicle's owner telling the owner the next complaint will cost some money. Police will also cruise in special squads with decibel-measuring equipment to measure noise.

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.