The final results: Borkowski received 2,277 votes, or 50.68%, and Sen. Tim Carpenter received 2,198 votes, 48.92%.
The seat was left vacant in May, when Joe Dudzik was killed in a motorcycle crash. Borkowski will serve out the remainder of his term, which expires April 2016.
If you have any lingering questions as to whether Milwaukee is a socialist paradise, you may now put that question to rest.
Original article on Ballot Access News: http://ballot-access.org/2015/08/07/socialist-party-sets-national-convention-2/
The Socialist Party will hold a national convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 16-18, 2015. The party’s national web page has a form, asking individuals who wish to seek the party’s presidential nomination to apply on-line.
The Socialist Party is recognized by the Federal Election Commission as a national committee. However, it is not currently ballot-qualified in any state.
Newaukee was founded in 2009 by Ian Abston, who also worked at OnMilwaukee.com in the sales and marketing department. The group started with biweekly meet ups called Socials and later expanded to include arts (specifically public art), culture, sports, festivals, networking opportunities and public policy.
Today, Newaukee has more than 200,000 members which keeps Damiani and the rest of the Newaukee staff challenged and inspired.
OnMilwaukee.com recently chatted with Damiani about her role in the organization, her vision for the future and got a peak at her life beyond Newaukee which recently included a wedding.
OnMilwaukee.com: Where were you born and raised and go to college? Where have you lived as an adult other than Milwaukee?
Angela Damiani: I was born in Cambridge, Mass., raised in San Francisco and attended university in the Twin Cities (Minnesota). Following college, I worked in Florence, Italy, and Athens, Greece, before settling in good, old Milwaukee. My family is originally from here and, after bouncing around for several years, I wanted to be near them.
OMC: What were you doing in Italy and Greece?
AD: I taught English in Italy and worked for the International Press Service as a journalist in Greece.
OMC: How / when did you get involved with NEWaukee? When did you become president?
AD: Shortly after my arrival in Milwaukee, someone suggested I attend a Newaukee event to get to know the city and some new people. At that time, Newaukee was a passion project of my business partner Ian Abston, but it was something I was instantly drawn to.
I began to volunteer with the troop of folks organizing the events. The energy around the programs and the increasing number of engaged subscribers consumed all of us. Before long, it was evident that we needed to either quit working on Newaukee from underneath our desks at work – or quit our jobs and do Newaukee full-time. We chose the latter.
I became president in early 2014 as we closed the brand ART Milwaukee and launched Newaukee’s new look and mission: to provide a collision of all Milwaukee has to offer.
OMC: What duties do you have as president? Is this a full time job for you?
AD: We’re still a small team with seven employees, so everyone wears multiple hats. I am in charge of our finances, business operations and our communications.
Yes, this is more than a full-time job for all of our employees. Even as we enter our sixth year there remains a start-up mentality of working all hours of the day, every day of the week. But we love what we do, so there is little distinction between where the work ends and the fun begins.
OMC: How many members does Newaukee have and what is the member demographic?
AD: We have just crossed over the 201K subscriber base! We host 187 programs annually, so people are meeting almost every other day! (The Newaukee membership demographic is broken down below the interview.)
OMC: How would you describe Newaukee?
AD: Newaukee is a social architecture firm that specializes in organizing Milwaukee’s young professional community around high-profile issues of importance to this key demographic audience. Newaukee also provides talent attraction, engagement and retention services to major Milwaukee employers looking to attract and retain young professional talent necessary to grow their businesses.
The Newaukee Method for developing community-based projects centers in the realm of what is known as creative placemaking. Through unexpected, fun experiences, this framework speaks directly to the psyche of young professionals and helps to differentiate economic development initiatives through active civic engagement.
Newaukee is recognized as the leading civic-based organization in metropolitan Milwaukee to engage the area’s young professional demographic and actively engage this significant component of our urban population in key issues of interest within the community.
OMC: What are your goals for the group in the next year?
AD: 2015 is the year of expansion for Newaukee. We have expanded our program offering to include a new speaker series called The Spotlight, a work-out series called Rise & Grind and in-depth neighborhood tours called Detours.
Additionally, we’re expanding some of our signature events like YPWeek, Milwaukee Music Tour (formerly Eastside Music Tour, which will now be in three distinct neighborhoods) and Urban Island Beach Party.
OMC: Will the night market return in 2015?
AD: Yes! It will run from June to September this year along Wisconsin Avenue.
OMC: Is Milwaukee a good city for young professionals? What does it have to offer that other cities don’t have? What is the number one reason why young people move away?
AD: Milwaukee is a good city for a lot of people. The city offers a lot of things other places have, but I find the accessibility to leadership both public and private a key differentiator. Due to the size and culture of the people here, it’s not hard to make an impact, if you choose to participate.
There are many reasons people move away, but on a cold January day it’s hard not to notice the weather. This is an intolerable climate and not everyone can – or wants to – hack it.
OMC: Anything at this point about the Northwestern Mutual / O’Donnell Park decision?
AD: We think it’s a pity that the Milwaukee County Board was unable to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presented by Northwestern Mutual. We also hope that the newest resolution proposed by the county supervisors to rehab the community asset is realized.
OMC: A couple of more personal questions … What do you like to do in your free time?
AD: Despite the very public nature of my job, I’m an introvert. So I spend a lot of my downtime cooking, writing, reading and walking – and eating – my way through neighborhoods.
OMC: You recently got married. Did you change your name?
AD: I’m still Angela Damiani, although I’ll answer to Mrs. Shiparski.
OMC: How was the wedding?
AD: The wedding was utter perfection. We hosted a small family-only ceremony and dinner. Each guest was asked to bring a story to share about one of us or of what they have learned of life and love. Everyone sat around one table glowing with candles and told a unique tale: some funny, some sweet and some tender. We’re taking a “Year of Honeymoons”! A trip every couple of weeks to stretch out the celebration and to visit friends who were not able to join us for the wedding.
The general breakdown of Newaukee membership is as follows:
18-24: 27.5 %
98% Wisconsin Residents
78% Milwaukee County Residents
By Journal Sentinelof the
Eight Milwaukee aldermen — a Common Council majority — say they will support buying body cameras for all city police officers at an accelerated pace over the next few years, among other policing reforms announced Tuesday.
Ald. Willie Wade said equipping the entire force of 1,880 with body cameras would cost as much as $1 million and that funds were available through the Police Department’s asset forfeiture account. Wade spoke at a Tuesday news conference at City Hall.
Value of cash and assets taken in drug arrests and other crimes amounts to more than $1 million a year, said Ald. Nik Kovac, chairman of the council’s finance committee.
Funds cannot be used for city government operating expenses but could be used for equipment purchases, according to Kovac and Council President Michael Murphy.
Wade and four Milwaukee aldermen on Tuesday announced a series of Police Department reforms in response to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s decision not to charge a former police officer in the fatal shooting of Dontre Hamilton at Red Arrow Park.
The Hamilton family had called for former Milwaukee police officer Christopher Manney to face criminal charges. Manney shot Dontre Hamilton 14 times on April 30 during a confrontation at the park.
The five council members pledged to support the Hamilton family in its quest for justice while working to enact reforms “that will ensure every life is protected by the men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department,” they said in a statement.
“Sometimes through tragedy there is opportunity for triumph,” Ald. Milele Coggs said.
Coggs, Wade and aldermen Ashanti Hamilton, Russell Stamper II and Jose Perez called the news conference to discuss their proposed reforms. Kovac, Murphy and Ald. Robert Bauman stood with them in support of the measures.
“The Milwaukee Police Department welcomes the aldermen’s public interest in our continuing efforts to provide the city with police services of the highest ethical and professional standards,” Lt. Mark Stanmeyer, a department spokesman, said Tuesday in a statement.
The intent of the reforms is to prevent another tragedy like the fatal shooting of Hamilton by a police officer, Coggs said.
“The proposalsput forth today are good ones and I look forward to working with members of the Common Council as these reforms progress,” Mayor Tom Barrett said Tuesday.
Among the reforms the aldermen are seeking:
■Creation of a community advisory council to advise the Police Department on strategies for maintaining community-police relations. Coggs and Perez this month introduced a resolution to establish the council.
The Police Department participated in the creation of a Milwaukee Commission on Police Community Relations in 2005, Stanmeyer said.
■Review diversity training provided to officers and possibly seek a new contractor to provide the training.
Stanmeyer noted that the department has worked with national experts to implement a training curriculum related to “fair and impartial policing.”
■Expand the Fire and Police Commission that governs the department from seven to nine members so that it is more inclusive of the community.
■Equip each police officer with a body camera to record interactions with the public. The police department’s 2015 budget approved by the council includes $100,000 to buy 50 body cameras and data storage.
The department has completed a field test of body-worn cameras and expects to purchase some of the cameras authorized for 2015 this winter, Stanmeyer said.
“We will evaluate the systems and increase the number available for use on a continual basis,” he said.
■Creation of an early warning system to monitor individual officers for indicators of violent or aggressive tendencies. This system would use complaints against officers and performance reviews “to identify officers who may pose a threat to the public and provide those officers with the retraining and counseling they need.”
The Police Department has been using such a system since 2008, according to Stanmeyer. Guidelines for intervention by supervisors have been revised several times since then, he said.
In a statement, the aldermen said: “These proposals are only a beginning.”
“Many members of our community will rightfully object to the D.A.’s conclusions, and we would urge them to continue to maintain the peaceful nature of the demonstrations,” the statement said. “We support the right to protest and express public disagreement. Peace is more easily obtained when justice is served.”
Before the encounter in Red Arrow Park, a pair of officers responding to a call that Hamilton was asleep there checked on him twice and found he was doing nothing wrong. When Manney arrived, he was not aware that other officers had preceded him.
As Manney began to pat down Hamilton, Hamilton fought him and a confrontation ensued. Manney tried to use his baton to subdue Hamilton, but Hamilton got control of it and swung at Manney, hitting him on the side of the neck, according to Milwaukee police internal affairs.
Chisholm on Tuesday announced he had decided not to charge the former officer, saying he fired his weapon in self-defense.
At Tuesday’s news conference, Bauman said Chisholm could have appointed a special prosecutor to decide on charges.
The participation of an outside special prosecutor would have given the final opinion “a greater air of impartiality in the court of public opinion,” Bauman said. The close, daily relationship between police and the district attorney can give the appearance of a conflict of interest in evaluating police shootings, he said.
By Journal Sentinelof the
The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday upheld Milwaukee County’s 2010 move to reduce pension benefits for nurses, which had been struck down by lower courts.
The high court’s ruling preserves millions of dollars in planned future savings by the county.
In a 5-2 decision, the court overturned a trial judge and the Court of Appeals, both of which had sided with Suzanne Stoker and her union, who claimed that enhanced pension benefits granted by the County Board in 2000 were vested property rights that even collective bargaining couldn’t undo.
“We conclude that the Legislature preserved Stoker’s rights and benefits already accrued but also gave Milwaukee County home rule authority with the flexibility to enact such prospective only changes,” Justice Annette Ziegler wrote for the majority.
In a dissent joined by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, Justice Ann Bradley wrote, “It is only by repeatedly ignoring the language of the governing session laws that the majority is able to conclude that the county may reduce the pension multiplier, thereby dealing a blow to the rights of the employees.”
At issue was the county’s move to cut the pension multiplier — a key factor in determining pension payments — from 2.0 to 1.6 for pension credit earned starting in 2012. That amounted to a gradual 20% reduction in pensions.
Milwaukee County Circuit Judge William Pocan ruled in 2012 that the county nurses had an unconditional property right to their pension benefits. He cited the 1945 state law establishing pension rights for Milwaukee County employees, which says each worker “shall have a vested right to such annuities and other benefits and they shall not be diminished or impaired by subsequent legislation or by any other means without consent.”
The county and its Pension Board argued that the multiplier reduction didn’t violate that law because it applied to future pension service credit only and because the nurses’ union had approved the change. Pocan said, however, the benefit reduction could be done only with consent of individual employees.
The Court of Appeals affirmed Pocan in November 2013.
Stoker began working for the county in 1982. For many years, the pension multiplier was 1.5, but was raised to 2.0 in the controversial pension changes approved by the County Board in 2000, which allowed lucrative “backdrop” pension payments.
The financial strain of the pension enhancements led the county to reduce the multiplier to 1.6% in 2010 in a new contract with Stoker’s union, the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, Local 5001, AFT, AFL-CIO. Union officials later said the union was forced to agree to the cut, but always intended to sue.
Candice Owley, president of the union, said though it felt confident that precedent was on its side when the suit began, it later became apparent that the Supreme Court was routinely deciding cases against workers, and for employers.
“We’re disappointed, but not terribly surprised,” Owley said. “This reaffirms we need politics and money out of court elections.”
Brendan Conway, spokesman for Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, said the decision “protects employee pensions while also saving Milwaukee County taxpayers millions of dollars.”
He also said county officials believe the ruling suggests Abele’s reform of the pension backdrop provisions will also be upheld.
Remember back in October 2012 when I said the Milwaukee County Board would extract more money from the taxpayers and we would roll over and take it? Well, the Milwaukee County Board now needs more of YOUR money! Click HERE to see the four predictions I made, which sadly came true. Then read the current article. It’s Deja Vu all over again! – Jerry B
Milwaukee County Board boosts spending 1.3%, adopts $1.3 billion budget
After a daylong meeting, the board voted to increase the final tax levy by $3.66 million, to $282.9 million, more than the levy of $279 million that County Executive Chris Abele had proposed, which was at the 2014 level.
The budget now goes to Abele, who has until Nov. 19 to present his vetoes to the board.
While the final budget was approved, the vote was 11-6. Supervisors Deanna Alexander, Mark Borkowski, James “Luigi” Schmitt, Anthony Staskunas, Steve Taylor and John Weishan voted no.
Staskunas said he voted against the budget because of the increased spending on transit, which he thought was done without study and more public input.
But Weishan said he voted against the budget because “the board no longer has control over the budget process with the Behavioral Health Division budget, which is a political farce.”
The $59 million tax levy for behavioral health caused the most discussion Monday. It has been the source of frustration and anger on the board because, for the first time, the County Board has no say over that budget, programs or anything dealing with the Behavioral Health Division.
A state law passed last year stripped the County Board of oversight of behavioral health. Control is now in the hands of a new, appointed Mental Health Board consisting of members from the medical and advocacy communities.
The state passed the new law after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s “Chronic Crisis” investigation that found patients died of abuse and neglect as politicians ignored calls for reform.
Under the new law, the County Board can only “incorporate” the division’s budget into the overall county tax levy. Some supervisors have called it “taxation without representation” because they — as elected officials — have no say over the behavioral health budget.
To protest the behavioral health levy, supervisors asked for a separate vote on that levy of $59 million, which is an increase of $1.6 million.
Supervisor David Cullen said that while Abele said he had proposed no new taxes in his budget, he increased the behavioral health budget by $1.6 million, although it was folded into that budget.
As a symbolic gesture on the behavioral health tax levy, seven supervisors abstained from voting, seven voted no and only three voted yes.
The behavioral health budget eventually was incorporated into the final tax levy.
Two new initiatives led by Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic — on transit, parks and cultural assets — were adopted.
The $1.5 million transit amendment provides for free bus rides for seniors and the disabled, extends Route 80 service to Oak Creek and creates Route 276 to provide additional service to Brown Deer, areas where jobs are growing.
The board also agreed to authorize $10 million in new capital funding to address deferred maintenance in county parks.
It also agreed to restore a proposed 5% cut to the operating budgets of the Charles Allis Art Museum, Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, the County Fund for Performing Arts and the Milwaukee County Historical Society.
The sheriff’s office received the biggest tax levy increase — $2.6 million more than Abele’s recommendation — which brought the sheriff’s budget to $69 million.
The sheriff retains park patrols and gets some positions funded. The sheriff also will take over supervision of courthouse security from the facilities division to help cut down on overtime.
Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. has stationed deputies at the courthouse near security guards, and that has helped add to his projected $5 million increase in overtime this year.
Abele is likely to veto the sheriff’s budget increase, the transit increase and the parks amendments.
He issued a statement Friday urging the board to reject the three budget amendments because of the cost.
Dimitrijevic said she was excited that the board approved the transit and park measures.
“We have to move forward with transit and we have to reverse the trend of not maintaining the parks,” she said. “It’s easy to say no, but we can do more and we need to do more.”
The board also approved the following changes to the budget:
■ Kept four wading pools — Hales Corners, Wedgewood, Vogel and Cannon — open. The Parks Department will study and evaluate the safety and costs associated with the pools and report back by April.
■ Restored $310,000 to continue to operate the indigent burial program to help bury those whose bodies are unclaimed, or whose families need some help paying burial expenses.
■ Continued to contract with the University of Wisconsin Extension to operate the Nature in the Parks program at the Wehr Nature Center.
■ Asked that the county continue its lease agreement with the Cudahy Sportsmen’s Club in Warnimont Park for one year while exploring environmental issues surrounding the gun club, which has been operating in the park since 1932.