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.
Arguments were made today before Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge John Franke in the city of Franklin’s lawsuit against convicted sex offender Steve Hanke. Hanke moved into Franklin several months after Franklin adopted a strict ordinance on where released sex offenders can live.
I was not in the courtroom but concerned sources who were inform me of what transpired.
Franke acknowledged there is no dispute that Franklin’s ordinance has been violated. However, he identified three constitutional issues he’s considering.
1) Ex Post Facto
An ex post facto law is one that changes the legal circumstances of acts made or the legal status of facts and relationships that were in existence before the enactment of the law. It can, among other things, criminalize actions that were legal before committed, or add new penalties or terms.
2) Validation of due process – does the strict scrutiny test apply.
The strict scrutiny application comes up in two situations: when a fundamental constitutional right is infringed, or when a government action uses a suspect classification such as race or national origin.
3) Unconstitutional taking of property
Franklin City Attorney Jesse Wesolowski argued Franklin’s ordinance compliments state policy with regard to sex offender monitoring and management. Hanke’s attorney Andrew Arena said the ordinance is fear-based, unreasonable, and emotionally charged and therefore Franke could strike it down.
A bill has been proposed in the state Legislature to define high-risk sex offenders and child safety zones. Another bill would prohibit local municipalities from enacting ordinances like Franklin’s.
Franke submitted it might make more sense for the state to address the issues in a uniform manner.
Arena argued Franklin’s ordinance amounts to banishment, pointing to signs posted throughout the community and the negative treatment Hanke gets from his neighbors.
Franke responded that sex offenders can still work, visit, and travel in and through Franklin. In his view, banishment would mean that no offenders would be allowed in Franklin at anytime.
Franke then challenged Wesolowski about what the threshold is for prohibiting sex offenders. If all sex offenders were prohibited from living in Franklin, would that be constitutional? If Franklin allows them to live in only 30% of the city, is that constitutional?
The argument of residency vs. occupancy came up. What is the definition of residency? How does that differ from occupancy? Technically, Hanke can still own the property but not “reside” there. He could visit there. Could that, in essence, blow holes in the argument of unconstitutional taking of property?
Wesolowski also argued that Hanke’s presence in the neighborhood may result in decreased property values for the other residents and that represents a public nuisance. He added that zoning laws are in place to ensure the protection of property and that presents a reasonable basis for the ordinance.
Franke raised the question as to the notion of actual public safety vs. the public “feeling” safe. Is it the responsibility of the government to make the public “feel” safe?
Wesolowski contended that yes, under the constitutional provision of home rule, local municipalities can decide what constitutes “comfortable enjoyment” and “freedom of fear” in determining a public nuisance so long as it is reasonable.
Franke will submit a written ruling within 3 weeks from today.
1) Franke has conceded the ordinance has been violated. That would seem to suggest Hanke has to move.
2) I’m not surprised Franke then raised several constitutional questions. The judge has a history of ruling in favor of offenders. His concern for Hanke is reason to worry.
3) Franke suggests it makes more sense for the Legislature to decide uniform sex offender laws. If that’s the case, Franke should not legislate from the bench. Wisconsin voters in the recent election sent a message they oppose judicial activism.
4) Kudos to Wesolowski for raising issues about the safety of children and the rights of homeowners who don’t want to see their property values plummet.
5) Remember, courts around the country have found these restrictive ordinances to be constitutional.
6) Hanke’s attorney says Hanke is getting negative treatment from neighbors and feels banished because concerned families have posted yard signs. Quite honestly, I could care less if Hanke feels bothered. He’s a convicted sex offender. I care about his next potential victim.
7) Franke says he’ll issue a written ruling. I’d rather have him issue the ruling in open court, in front of concerned families and the media.
As I predicted on WISN last week, the visit by the Pope to the United States will send the news media scurrying for Catholic-bashing stories. If they involve aggrieved, disgruntled Catholics, even better.
Well, they found them, as protesters begin to lash out.
My wife wore a sequined skirt, a silk blouse, and heels. I had on a suit and tie. No other gentleman had a tie. Most of the men had shirts with jeans.
I usually witness the same casual style of dress at Bacchus: women dressed to the nines escorted by guys with jeans and sneakers.
Go into any so-called “fancy” restaurant anywhere in Wisconsin and it looks like a Mr. Green Jeans convention just hit town.
Far from an elitist snob, I submit no one dresses up anymore to go out to multi-star establishments, and that’s wrong.
The men are far worse than the women.
Guys, it’s not difficult knowing you’re going to one of the best restaurants to take the time to put on a nice shirt, a decent pair of slacks and some nice shoes. If you’re going to make the effort to wear a sports jacket, go the extra one-eighth of a mile and throw on a tie.
It’s amazing more guys don’t feel utterly embarrassed to walk into a Bartolotta restaurant looking like a homeless bum, especially if their significant others or dates have taken the time to dress to the nines.
One could argue that it doesn’t matter how one is dressed, that the guy’s money who’s outfitted in Wrangler’s is just as good as the guy with the Gucci suit and Rolex watch. To that end, restaurants facing stiff competition will seat just about anyone these days. I recall the old Columns restaurant on Milwaukee’s south side. A sign on the receptionist’s podium clearly read, “Dress code enforced.” The only place you’d find a sign like that today is in the Smithsonian.
I believe you should dress up a bit more for nicer places out of respect for yourself, your dining partner, those around you, and the restaurant itself. But if people won’t even do that for weddings or funerals, why would they do it for places that have extra silverware on the table?
Certainly the cost of dressing up isn’t an issue. The guys that come in grubby jeans to some of Milwaukee’s top shelf restaurants are actually paying more for that denim than they would for a decent pair of dress slacks.
And it’s not just restaurants. As I mentioned, it's weddings and funerals and let’s not forget the Symphony, the Ballet, Broadway shows, the theater, concerts. Wisconsin has turned into a bunch of bums.
As for women, they usually outshine their male counterparts, but Wisconsin females overwhelmingly dress Goth-style. Must they always wear basic black? Can’t they toss on something with a little splash of color once in awhile?
One more thing guys……….whether it’s Sanford’s or Solly’s, once inside, lose the hat.
Didn’t your mothers teach you anything?
PREVIOUS CULINARY NO-NO’S
1) Ketchup on a brat
2) Green peppers on pizza
3) The dirty martini
4) Fruity brats
5) A Bloody Mary after dinner
6) Women “manning” the grill
7) Eating pizza at Festa Italiana, brats at German Fest, or tacos at Fiesta Mexicana. (Be adventurous. You can have those items anytime).
8) Eating a cream puff as though it was a hamburger.
9) Taking your own bottle of sauce when invited to a barbecue.
10) Touching the grill if you’re a guest at an outdoor barbecue.
11) Coaching the host on how to grill.
12) Some regional flavored ice cream…..like black licorice.
13) Taking the husks off before you grill corn on the cob
14) Being afraid to chill red wine
15) Pizza on the grill
16) When serving exotic or strange dishes to guests, do not tell them exactly what it is. Instead, use a more inviting term (caviar) rather than being blunt (fish eggs).
17) In late summer and early fall, this time of year, don’t buy zucchini. Somehow, someway, you will find zucchini or zucchini will find you.
18) Showing disrespect to your restaurant server
19) Eating out on a Monday night
20) Pumpkin beer
21) Mail-order turkey
22) Grilled cheese is just for kids.
23) Dining in the dark.
24) Ketchup on spaghetti
25) Sneaking healthy foods into treats to get your kids to eat it.
26) Do not throw away culinary gifts received in the mail because you don’t like them.
27) Do not feel guilty about eating Oreos. (Oreos are not to blame for out of control obesity).
28) Doing something so totally ridiculous that you are desperately forced to call the Butterball Turkey Hot-Line for assistance.
29) Don’t forget the sweet potato January-October.
30) Using resource guides from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s on gracious living to plan holiday parties
31) Eating cranberries, the best of the super-foods, only during the holidays.
32) Egg nog that isn’t spiked.
33) Putting hot spices and other weird stuff in chocolate bars and hot cocoa.
34) Don’t disregard fruitcake.
35) Sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve ain’t champagne.
36) Ordering a Coors Light or any facsimile when at an outdoor open-air bar on a tropical beach.
37) Smoking bans in restaurants and bars in Wisconsin.
38) Goat burgers and healthy items at tailgate parties.
39) The restaurant of the future, with all kinds of cameras trained on you for....research.
40) The Budweiser Chelada
42) Sour cream on potato pancakes, as opposed to applesauce
43) Meatless Monday's
44) Digital dining
45) Tips on what not to do to your waiter
46) If you want a traditional St. Patty’s dinner, as good as it is, corned beef and cabbage ain’t it
47) Doing everything to PEEPS except eating them
48) Foodie bloggers and writers eating dangerously
49) The $81 Kobe beef burger