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Parking on both sides of the street is finally legal, thanks to some city common sense.
Parking on both sides of the street is finally legal, thanks to some city common sense.

Our long municipal nightmare is over! Parking regulations that make sense

This story originally ran Feb 15, 2016. No changes have been made other than updating applicable links. 

Grab your flags, your noisemakers, your flashing lights and your ticker tape. Our long municipal nightmare is over.

As difficult as it may be to believe, the City of Milwaukee, under continued pressure from Ald. Nik Kovac, has actually done something that reeks of common sense. It’s so logical that it’s a miracle it hasn’t happened before.

The virtually constant mystery of where people are permitted to park their cars in Milwaukee at night has been solved, and most can sleep safely at night, not wondering whether the parking checker gnomes are slapping a ticket on their windshield.

Here’s the background, or at least some of the background because the whole city parking thing is only slightly less complicated than the formula for a nuclear bomb and about as friendly.

Milwaukee has something called alternate street parking meaning  you can only park on one side of the street. On even dates, like Feb. 12, you have to park on the even side of the street. On odd dates, like Feb. 13, it’s the odd side of the street.

The change means that if  you live in one of the exception areas (call your alderperson to find out if that's you) you can park on both sides of the street unless the Department of Public Works calls an operation, which normally means a snow storm where they have to plow.

As Kovac said, "There’s aren’t any signs for this. It’s just something you have to know." You can check if your street allows parking on both sides here

This whole thing never seemed to make much sense and Kovac – with co-sponsors, Milele Coggs, Robert Bauman, Jose Perez, Tony Zielinski and Bob Donovan – finally, after years of work, came up with a solution.

They got it past the rest of the Common Council, and now, with streets almost barren of snow, you can actually park on both sides of the street at night. Not the entire city, of course, but the e…

Bronson Koenig (left) and Nigel Hayes are among college players not afraid to speak out about their beliefs.
Bronson Koenig (left) and Nigel Hayes are among college players not afraid to speak out about their beliefs. (Photo: Wisconsin Badgers Men's Basketball Facebook)

NY Times takes deep look at politics inside Badgers hoops locker room

The New York Times recently sent a reporter and photographer to Madison to talk with three members of Wisconsin's nationally ranked basketball team.

The three, Nigel Hayes, Jordan Hill and Bronson Koenig, all have crucial roles with the team and are also leading a fight for more athletes to get involved in social issues. Hayes was the preseason pick for Big Ten Player of the Year, Koenig is the playmaking guard and Hill is a redshirt-junior contributor off the bench.

All three are articulate and very frank in explaining what they do, how they feel, what they want and how it has an impact on others.

Hayes noted the fact that he was in Madison, a city known for its liberal attitudes, makes it easier for an athlete to take a stand and speak out. He's advocating for college players to be paid and, along with Hill, has taken public stances on racial issues and events. Koenig, who is Native American, recently traveled to support protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline. 

You can read the Times article here.

Sheriff David Clarke spoke to Donald Trump on the radio about the First and Second Amendment Thursday.
Sheriff David Clarke spoke to Donald Trump on the radio about the First and Second Amendment Thursday. (Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

Clarke's political pandering continues in Trump radio interview

Milwaukee is a proud city, but we are not without our warts – and our biggest wart, the one that we should all be ashamed of, hobnobbed with a presidential candidate Thursday.

I’m talking about Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, the darling of the ultra-right wingers on Fox News and the guy who continues, on an almost daily basis, to be an embarrassment to those people who voted for him.

Clarke was the guest host Thursday for Mark Belling on WISN radio. Listening to this guy prattle on without an original thought in his head made me wonder how he can sleep at night.

Let’s face it: Fox loves a right wing black guy, and if you can put a cowboy hat on his head, a badge on his chest and a gun on his hip, you have the perfect storm. Put him on his horse, it gets even better. No matter what the topic, Fox puts Clarke on the mic for law enforcement or black people or the armed forces or just about anything. Clarke will say anything at anytime to anybody.

He is the ultimate windup doll. Turn him on and sit back and watch him sing the tune of the racial bias of his white friends. He is building a career by being an unreasonably harsh critic of black people and the black experience. 

Thursday's broadcast was a fascinating example of Clarke in action.

As you may or may not know, Clarke spoke at the Republican National Convention last week. He has met Donald Trump. And Thursday, Trump called in to the show.

You can hear the entire segment here, and it’s really worth spending several minutes to listen to it.

Clarke is a master ranter. Give him a chance to take a shot at the black community, and he can’t resist the temptation. Off he goes, a wild horse without a bridle.

Thursday, he took off on a First Amendment rant.

"I know the Second Amendment is threatened," he said. "But they’re also after the First Amendment. It’s under attack for what we can say in the public square."

When you stop and ask yourself what in the world he’s talking about, you…

Tank took a Uber ride back to his truck at Miller Park, one of 30 carrying the Kenny Chesney show.
Tank took a Uber ride back to his truck at Miller Park, one of 30 carrying the Kenny Chesney show.

Meet "Tank," a Kenny Chesney roadie

Being an Uber driver in Milwaukee is a one-of-a-kind experience that lets Dave Begel meet some of the most interesting people, residents as well as visitors to the city. Everybody has a story and Tales of the Road will highlight some of those stories. The stories have been edited into quotes from riders. Some names have been omitted or changed to preserve the privacy of his passengers.

The Uber ping called to pick up a guy Downtown. The name was "Tank."

Once I set eyes on him, it was readily apparent why he had the nickname: tall, big and with tats all over the place. A wide smile and a little bitty wave of his hand, and I stopped.

He climbed into the backseat and told me that we were headed to the parking lot at Miller Park. We launched into our little version of Milwaukee Talks.

There’s no game at Miller Park tonight. Why are you going to the parking lot?

I drive a truck for Kenny Chesney’s show.

Cool. So you park in the lot?

We all do. There’s going to be a line of trucks there.

Cool. How many?

I think there’s 30.

Cool. Thirty? Thirty trucks?

Yep. When we do a stadium show, it’s about 30 trucks. Big trucks. All semis. When we do an amphitheater, it’s only about 20 or 25. He’s in some place called Cadott (Country Fest in Chippewa County, northwest Wisconsin) Friday and then we’ll all be here for the show Saturday night.

What are you carrying around?

Well, I drive a semi, and this one has sound gear. I’m not the only one with sound. Our trucks are packed with sound and video and everything else it takes to put on a show like this.

How long have you been doing this?

About four years. I’ve driven for Metallica and U2, all over the country. I work for a company that moves all these shows around. I put on maybe 300,000 miles a year. For example, after the show Saturday we’ll load up and head out. I’ll be on the road about 3 or 4 a.m. and on my way to Virginia Beach. We play there Thursday and then to Philly on Saturday night.…