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This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

THE TOP TEN FRANKLIN STORIES OF 2012: #3

THE TOP TEN FRANKLIN STORIES OF 2012


Franklin elections were important news stories in 2012.

Alderman Steve Taylor was elected to an open seat on the Milwaukee County Board and now represents parts of Franklin and Oak Creek. Taylor decided to also keep his aldermanic position, and he didn’t take long to make waves

 

When the Milwaukee County Board met to swear in members that won in the elections and select their leaders including Milwaukee County Board Chairman, the organizational meeting was incredibly important. Five Milwaukee supervisors were running for County Board Chairman to replace the ethically-challenged bully Lee Holloway. The new chairman would have great influence over Milwaukee proceedings and a major platform when it comes to media attention.

I’ll be diplomatic. Taylor claims to be a conservative. His voting record in Franklin as an alderman proves otherwise.

Taylor’s first vote on the County Board was to elect a County Board Chairman. Granted, all the contenders were liberals. But Taylor reportedly had pledged his support to Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic. She is the liberal’s liberal, the most liberal member running for the top leadership position on the Milwaukee County Board. She is also strongly anti-Scott Walker. Making matters worse, she has the reputation of being anti-suburb.

WISN’s Mark Belling would shish-kebob Taylor on the air, calling Taylor an “obnoxious sellout to conservatives” who didn’t even wait until he was sworn in before he started screwing the people he represents. Belling said “Steve Taylor may be setting the record for speed with which he sold out his constituents.”

The next day Belling reported that he was contacted by Taylor who adamantly denied that he had pledged his support to Dimitrijevic for Milwaukee County Board Chairman. Belling said others he’s talk to have denied Taylor’s denial. Taylor now said he was undecided. But in the end he may still vote for Dimitrijevic.  If that happens, Belling said he considers Taylor's “protestations a lot of BS.”

Yes, the vote for the County Board Chair is a big deal, and Taylor found himself after catching a ton of heat to be in a real political pickle.

Early in my broadcast career at WUWM, late 1970-s to 1980, I covered a Milwaukee County Board organizational meeting. The proceedings should have been a humdrum affair. Members have made their decisions. They vote for their leadership positions. End of story.

Not this time.

Prior to the big vote at the Milwaukee County Board room in the Courthouse, Supervisor Jim Krivitz was all smiles. Getting one pat on the back after another, Krivitz was just moments away from wrestling the Board Chairmanship away from Tom Ament. Yes, that Tom Ament. Everybody knew it because Krivitz had the votes. Well, not everybody.

As the vote was taken, there were some moans and groans and supervisors who had been wearing a smile earlier now looked like they were in a funeral parlor.

The votes were in. The votes were tallied. The vote was announced. Tom Ament was still the County Board Chair.

How could this happen? Krivitz had the votes. He did until the organizational meeting. Going in, Krivitz had the support of Supervisor Fred Tabak. But for some inexplicable reason, Tabak changed his vote (my memory is good but not that good). And this time everyone did know it was Tabak who upset the apple cart.

Somewhere in my basement in a carton filled with old cassettes from my radio news days is the tape of that meeting. I’m not sure who stood up to the microphone. It might have been Supervisor James Lynn. Whoever it was supplied at what should have been a routine meeting a sound bite for the ages, one that I recall 30-plus years later.

The supervisor bluntly told his colleagues, people in the audience and the assembled press that Tabak should be dipped in bronze and his statue should be placed in outside the Courthouse as a sign that “man is deceitful.”

My guess is that Belling’s sources are correct. You don’t contact Belling about a story and then lie. Taylor throwing his support to Dimitrijevic is highly plausible.

So what was Taylor to do?

He could vote for someone other than Dimitrijevic and pull a Tabak.

Or he could choose Dimitrijevic and stick a knife in the back of Governor Walker.

Either way, his Milwaukee County career was off to an ugly start.
County
County


It took 24 ballots but the Milwaukee County Board finally elected Dimitrijevic its chairman.
Supervisor Taylor cast the only vote for Patricia Jursik.

I will say this about Supervisor Taylor. I’ve been following his votes closely and posting his newsletters on my blog. You may have noticed I haven’t criticized anything he’s done…so far.

In a related story, on April 3, 2012, Franklin voters went to the polls to decide referenda concerning support for, or opposition to, reduction in the size and compensation of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. Here are the questions and the Franklin results.

Question 1:  Do you support compensating the position of Milwaukee County Supervisor at a level that reflects the position being considered part-time in nature?

Yes:     5,542
No:       1,089

Question 2: Shall the size of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors be reduced from the current number of eighteen (18) supervisors to nine (9) supervisors?

Yes:     5,830
No:         856

 

The biggest election news in Franklin in 2012 was the dramatic change in the Franklin School Board landscape that became more fiscally conservative.

In the primary voters ousted incumbent Judith Bialk, a puppet of the school district administration and school board leadership. Bialk contributed nothing of substance to the local education debate.

During the primary, Bialk distributed campaign literature that was missing the required disclaimer.

Generally, this isn’t a major bone of contention for the voters. This matter is pretty low on their priority list. However, this is important. An elected official and candidates for public office need to understand the most basic of requirements, including a simple financial disclaimer on a yard sign or brochure. Bialk’s illegal flier said she wanted to remain on the board, not because she wanted to improve the quality of education in our district, improve student performance, attendance, test scores, but because she wanted to give back to the community. Maybe a better spot would be volunteering at the library or for seniors or veterans.

Former board member David Works also failed to get enough votes to advance to the general election. Works was a major disappointment when he served, having run as a conservative, but then voting for all sorts of taxing and spending.

That left four candidates in the general election: Board member Janet Evans, Aimee Schlueter, Donald Petre, and John Thompson.

Turns out Petre is a WEAC union leader/activist for Oak Creek.  So it came as no surprise
that Petre had a Recall Walker sign on his property. Made we wonder if Petre was recruited by other Franklin School Board members or anyone involved in the Franklin Public Schools administration who share the view that Walker must go which is totally out of touch with the vast majority of Franklin property taxpayers who have supported Walker.

Candidate Petre had his own yard signs up, and in typical union fashion, i.e., we don't have to follow the rules, none of his signs had the appropriate disclaimer on them.

Only after he was exposed did Petre begin to post the disclaimers, and then on only some of the signs not all. Petre commented on the blogs that it was not true that the disclaimers were missing, that they were posted on his signs. But that was done only after he was caught in violation.

The disclaimers Petre had up were so miniscule Mr. Magoo couldn’t find them if you gave him a month to do so. The guy who’s incapable of following a basic campaign law and then lies about it would make a great representative of Franklin, wouldn’t he?

Petre signed the Walker recall petitions. So did candidate John Thompson.

Evans and Schlueter won election, and with Linda Witkowski and Tim Nielsen, the Franklin School Board is more conservative than it’s been in decades and would be even stronger if Witkowski and Nielsen could be counted on to be more consistent. Sorry, but honestly, they disappoint. I wish they could be as strongly consistent and steadfast as Evans. Sadly, they’re not. My thought is that they share the “Go along to get along” sentiment on the board that is flawed. This isn’t a kumbaya festival. You’re there to do a job. I’m not sure they totally get or understand that.

Sending more shockwaves through the Franklin education intelligentsia: the results of the school board’s re-organization in April that put Janet Evans as board president.

Some board members went bonkers (See Franklin story #8).

Three more big time tax and spenders are up for re-election next April. Ridding them of office would make it a much-needed clean sweep of the school board.


 

 THE TOP 10 FRANKLIN STORIES OF 2012

1) ?
2) ?
3) THE ALDERVISOR AND A SHAKEUP AT THE SCHOOL BOARD
4) MEIJER REALLY WANTS TO COME HERE, BUT...
5) WELCOME TO THE MMSD
6) PUTTING FRANKLIN ON THE MAP
7) A GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY
8) THE RISE OF THE CYBER BULLIES
9) FRANKLIN DEPARTURES
10) A BROCHURE? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

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