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In #RaiseMKE Commentary

The battle for control of MPS continues.

Zielinski, Barrett clash over the classroom

Milwaukee Ald. Tony Zielinski got the brush off from Mayor Tom Barrett after Zielinski's challenge to debate the mayor's plan to take over running the Milwaukee Public School system. The mayor wants the authority to appoint the currently elected school board and the superintendent, as well.

The mayor's office released a statement that essentially said Zielinski was more concerned with raising his name recognition while the mayor was more concerned about improving the quality of MPS.

Zielinski recently announced that he's going to run for lieutenant governor for the 2010 election.

He didn't take the mayor's return volley lightly.

"To me the fact that the mayor has refused to debate the primary council sponsor of legislation to oppose his move to control MPS just shows he's not real confident or strong in his position," Zielinski said in a statement.

The mayor's plan has the backing of Gov. Jim Doyle, but needs approval from the state Legislature. So far few details have emerged about the idea. But bigger cities such as Chicago and Detroit have tried a similar plan with questionable success. Detroit has gone back to an elected school board.

Lacking Lobbying Attention: Milwaukee County government hasn't exactly been a hotbed of lobbying activity, reports County Clerk Joe Czarnezki. Seven interest groups hired 16 lobbyists and spent a little over $10,000 in an attempt to influence county officials during the first six months of the year.

The Grandview Management company spent the most -- $4,000 -- on schmoozing county supervisors. It runs Ellen's Catering and Coast, its restaurant in O'Donnell Plaza near the shores of Lake Michigan. It recently received county approval to close the public restaurant space so it could lease it out for private parties.

Lobbyists and their bosses are required to file expense reports with the county clerk. These reports are available to the public in the clerk's office. A summary of these expenditures, as well as a listing of all registered lobbyists and the organizations that employ lobbyists, are posted on the county clerk's website at:

Last year, 16 interest groups hired 28 lobbyists and spent nearly $50,000 to influence county officials.

In contrast, lobbyists spent $119,785 in trying to influence city officials. The Mandel Group development company led the way in spending the most on influence peddling. The city report can be found here.

Voter Expansion: A bill working its way through the Assembly would remove the waiting period to vote once a felon is free from incarceration. The Democracy Restoration Act would allow 42,000 people to vote that now can't. Currently, a person has to wait until they're off probation and parole supervision before they can vote.

State Rep. Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) is a major sponsor of the bill, which received a public hearing this week.

"It is, as W.E.B. Du Bois argued over 100 years ago, the power of the ballot we need in sheer defense, else what can save us from a second slavery?" Grigsby said. "While this issue is so detrimental to Wisconsin's communities of color, we must remember that our current voting laws impact all Wisconsinites, black and white, urban and rural. Issues surrounding the right to vote impact every citizen, which is why every citizen must take action to improve and strengthen Wisconsin's democratic tradition."

Grigsby said similar laws have been passed in 18 states since 1997, including Illinois and Michigan.

According to the ACLU of Wisconsin, blacks comprise 39 percent of disenfranchised voters, but only constitute 5 percent of the state's voting population. One in nine black voters in Wisconsin has lost the right to vote, compared to one in 50 for the rest of the population.
She said Wisconsin has the 11th highest rate of black voter disenfranchisement in the United States.

Playground Politics: The fun never stops in the UW-Milwaukee student government. The student senate wants to impeach the student government president, who was elected in May.

The president, Jay Burseth, claims it's a conservative conspiracy led by student senate leader Kyle Duerstein. Burseth says the impeachment fun is over his efforts to stop various student government helpers from getting paid and because he's an activist with the Students for a Democratic Society (which these days is a far cry from the SDS chapters in the late 1960s and early '70s).

Duerstein, a former St. Francis school board member, basically calls Burseth names in his blogs and contends that the president was breaking the government rules.

Burseth sent out a press release in his defense.

"Duerstein has a history of working for past Student Association administrations which have been accused of embezzling money and kicking opposition parties off the ballot during the annual Student Association election process," he says.

Both students have long-winded blogs on the issue, which are sometimes humorous, sometimes mean, and all very public.

Student government at UWM has, at time, in the past had a circus-like atmosphere. Last year a different president was found guilty of stealing $10,000 from the government coffers.

For God and Country: Samantha Carter is doing some serious math in her campaign for Congress in Milwaukee. She notes in a recent release that if she wins she'll be 27 years and two months old at the time of inauguration, making her the youngest woman to be elected to Congress. She points out that the youngest woman in Congress was New York's Elizabeth Holtzman who was 31 years and seven months old when she was elected.

What does this have to do with the issues? Nothing. Carter is running for Milwaukee's Congressional seat under the Independent American Party banner. The Independent American Party is generally considered a religious right-based party and the remnants of the former American Independent Party that was founded by George Wallace. That party was pretty much a front for anti-segregationists and far-right politics. The Independent American Party is considered to have a good base in Nevada and Utah but has outreach to most states.

Some items from the Independent American Party platform:

  • The immediate termination of all programs of foreign aid, whether military or non-military, to all foreign governments.
  • Immediate withdrawal from the United Nations and NATO.
  • The repeal of all federal gun legislation and state firearm laws which are not in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.
  • Strong immigration reform including the repeal of amnesty laws and the prompt deportation of all illegal aliens and a clarification of the 14th Amendment that does not recognize the U.S. citizenship of children born to illegal immigrants on U.S. soil.
  • English as America's official language.
  • Outlawing cloning and the development of genetic mutations.
  • Parents have the right to choose how their children are educated.
  • Restoration of god to the public square.
  • Marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman only.


SamanthaCarter | Sept. 9, 2009 at 12:35 p.m. (report)

Greetings- My name is Samantha Carter and I am the candidate that is running the campaign for congress in WI district 4. I believe in the constitutional rights of all people and freedom of speech is a constitutional right. As a citizen you are constitutionally entitled to have beliefs that are not politically correct to say the least. When I am elected I will fight for those constitutional rights to be safe guarded no matter how politically incorrect the speech maybe. Unless you violate a law you have done no legal wrong, moral but not legal. I think the Sergeant wrote words of excellent content and character in regards to fact less journalism. However, I will state my belief that as a journalist I believe it is the duty of one to be accurate in reporting. Also it is very important to the American citizens when history is being made at any level. Specifically dealing with myself I believe it shows the monumental amount of progression for woman rights and encourages this generation of leaders to see a leader emerge from these circumstances. I suppose if none of that means anything to you than it wouldn't matter, but for someone who is looking for a mentor/some courage and the answers to the mess that our country is in...than they can find it in me.

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Sergeant | Sept. 7, 2009 at 8:41 p.m. (report)

This was the worst and most poorly written bit of journalism I have ever read in my life. Equating the Independent American Party with the party of the racist George Wallace the American Independent Party was poor journalism. As the owner of the copy right IAP, I resent this idiot's reference to all Independent Americans in the IAP as being referred to the racist George Wallaces's party in the 60's. This journalist has failed, repeated failed to do their proper research. I would recommend, that any and all African Americans this individual offended call this person and tell them the difference. We are not a bunch of whackos! We are not religious zealots! We are INDEPENDENT AMERICANS! We want the Constitution re-instated per our founding fathers! We want the rights guaranteed to all citizens, black, white, asian, any color back! We want the Federal Government to reinstate states rights and quit interfering with our rights by all this control. We want the economy and those fools in the Monarchy known as DC to quit spending money we don't have. We are common Americans, who live within our means, why can't the government? We want equality for all Americans and again, we are not the American Independent Party of which George Wallace ran, you must of have been reading Wikipedia to gather your facts, because you demeaned the IAP of which I own copy rights over and you demeaned an African American women, who is running against all odds to become a viable candidate and an excellent example for all others in her community to emulate. You own this African American female a sincere policy, if you can swallow your racist ego on your comments. I don't know where you got your data, but it was certainly not from our party's by-laws and agenda. And you call and portray yourself as a journalist? I am also a journalist and have been published in major magazines throughout the nation, and if I was to write a misleading article and slamming an African American female with highly developed credentials, my editors would have my rear end on the carpet. So you should go meet Samantha Carter and put your racial bias aside. Yes, she would be the youngest Congressman in history, and your state should be proud if this does occur! However, you did not discuss her views and even her values, but you wasted no time in trying to equate an African Women, educated, reservist in our military and an example of a true Patriotic American, you demean all the African Americans by attacking her with your racial comments implying the IAP is the AIP of which the racist George Wallace ran on, and in fact, you are mistaken there as well, as George Wallace had to run on the Constituional Ballot in the north east, because the AIP was not approved in those Northeastern states, so clearly you failed miserably in your comments. You need to retract this immediately and apologize to Samantha Carter and if you were smart instead of being a racist, meet her and personally interview her and go over the IAP's core beliefs. We have more than 350K plus Independents in California, more than 100K in both states of Nevada and Arizona, and if not for the Independent American Party, of which 70% voted for Obama, then Obama would not be President, so your references to being a party of racist is insane and I resent it, as the copy write owner of IAP! You need to retrack this racial attack on Samantha Carter and meet the person, before you use your racially biased attitude in your comments. She is exemplary and you demeaned her simply because of your inability to perform as a journalist and are definitely displaying your racism!

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Brittanicus | Sept. 5, 2009 at 4:16 p.m. (report)

Now that the Federal judge has refused any delay in implementation of mandatory E-Verification system for all government contractors. It is time to impose federal mandated standards on every state and local government as well, not to forget every business nationwide. But not on a voluntary basis anymore? For once the open border, globalists lawsuits have been finally apposed by the courts. But we cannot, must not allow them to gain the advantage again, as they have in the past. We must in addition fight against any path to citizenship. It will be a running battle against special interest groups contrary to unemployed citizens and legal residents. In 1986 the immigration control and reform act became law, but was undermined, mismanaged and severely under funded. What we had was an important piece of legislation that was disregarded and used fraudulently. GOOGLE--NUMBERSUSA & JUDICIAL WATCH FOR MORE DETAILS. Instead of moving towards another controversial new immigration reform law, the legislators can author amendments to the Simpson/Mazzoli bill? First and foremost it requires no more Amnesties? Next! Follow the example of Australia's and now the United Kingdom's strong opposition to mass immigration. Overwhelmed by slack laws, Britain and Australia have addressed the massive problem, by allowing only the well educated, tradesman and professional people into each nation. Unlike ourselves the US politicians have catered to big businessIN CORPORATE WELFARE--and covertly removed any serious enforcement at the borders or ports of entry. Years of intentional apathy and self indulgence has allowed the tolerant invasion of destitute foreign workers and families, costing taxpayers trillions of dollars in welfare benefits. The Border States specifically have succumbed to millions of illegal occupiers who have drained government treasuries A public option in health care can never be, while taxpayers are forever opening their wallets to supporting the poor of other lands? We cannot afford to subsidize foreign workers anymore? The bill has no restriction in the wording to authenticate a persons legal status. Personally, I want a single payer system to stop the profiteering by insurance companies, but I don't want to be taxed for underwriting illegal immigrants and their families? Even if they add an amendment declining illegal immigrants from the health care bill, they will still be included if the Democrats enact another path to citizenship? Then what about the others on the opposite side of our weak fence, they will hear the Amnesty bell chiming and rush for the border, or enter as tourists in an airport. Allowing people into America as guest workers to work in agriculture became a parody. Given amnesty in 1986 they moved away from the fields and moved to higher paying jobs bring in their immediate family members. In 1986 the 3.5 million legalized people fraudulently materialized to be 5 million. Today under labor laws the guest workers who enter under special visas, are supposed to return to their country of origin? This of course never happens and therefore hundreds of thousands disappear into America and then farmers must import more to pick fruits and vegetables. Mandatory E-Verify, to control illegal immigration on a nationwide grand scale would drive foreign aliens from the workplace, when they are identified. The career politicians who cheat taxpayers by prostituting their services to big business, must not stay in Washingtonto defy public voices ever again. A POSSIBLE REWARD FOR REPORTING SUSPECTED EMPLOYERS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS, CALL THE IRS HOTLINE 1-800-829-0433 GOOGLE their website! The IRS does not take kindly to employers that seek to evade taxes by paying cash for day labor as this is especially common practice at construction sites. Call up the politicians you voted for at 202-224-3121 and tell them NO MORE AMNESTIES!. YES TO A PERMANENT E-VERIFY! BUILD THE ORIGINAL TWO-TIER FENCE! ENFORCE THE 1986 (IRCA) IMMIGRATION LAW THAT'S ON THE BOOKS. DON'T OVERPOPULATE AMERICA! Copy, Paste and distribute freely

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