Ald. Donovan “Damn shame” about lack of police response to Saturday’s big fight and gunshots in his district

April 29, 2013

Alderman Donovan is looking for answers after a large fight with shots fired received no response from MPD. Alderman Bob Donovan said he is concerned about the lack of police response and the handling of 911 calls related to a big street fight that broke out near S. 24th and W. Scott Streets late Saturday (April 27).

According to Alderman Donovan, frightened residents called 911 after hearing breaking glass and watching a crowd of people fighting in the street. Eventually shots were also fired, according to residents who spoke with Alderman Donovan. But when residents attempted to call 911, they were put on hold (some waited more than 10 minutes before they hung up in frustration), according to the alderman. Calls made directly to MPD District Two by witnesses were re-routed back to 911 as callers were told “there is nothing we can do – we need to route the call back to dispatch,” the alderman said.

“This happens far more frequently than people know, and it’s a damn shame that the system is letting residents down when very serious incidents occur,” Alderman Donovan said. “This is totally unacceptable.”

County Supervisor Taylor regrets vote to support county board reform bill, cites alleged negotiations of board with AFSCME

April 25, 2013

Supervisor Taylor reverses position on governance reform proposed by Milwaukee County Board

Following today’s approval of the Milwaukee County Board developed county governance reform, Supervisor Taylor issued the following statement:
        “On Monday at the Intergovernmental Relations Committee I supported a Milwaukee County Board reform package.  The very next day I read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story detailing what appears to most as negotiations with AFSCME, which is a clear violation of Act 10.  As I previously stated, Act 10 is the law of the land and if members of the Board are willingly and knowingly violating this law then how can I honestly trust that they will follow through with the proposed Board reforms.
        “This is the first time in my nine-year political career that I can recall where in less than 24 hours after voting on an issue I felt that I made a mistake.  Rarely in politics do you get a do-over and I decided to take full advantage of this opportunity, reverse my decision and vote against the Board’s reform proposal.  
        “Due to what appears to have gone on behind closed doors over the past few months, my confidence in this body and its leadership has greatly eroded.  That is why the only chance for real reform to take place in Milwaukee County is for it to occur in Madison.”  

Milwaukee County Board passes local reform package

April 25, 2013

15-3 vote cuts board budget, staff, supervisors’ salaries 

The Milwaukee County Board approved a dramatic local reform package by a 15-3 vote on Thursday, meaning Board Supervisors’ salaries will be cut by 20 percent, staff will be cut by 50 percent and the Board’s budget will be cut by 50 percent.

Under the reform package, Supervisors’ terms would be also cut from four years to two beginning with the new term in 2016 if the state Legislature approves.  The comprehensive package includes other measures such as the requirement of an efficiency audit for all levels of County government and use of a mediator to enforce those efficiencies.

“This is the kind of local reform our constituents have demanded,” said Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic. “We listened to everyone – residents, state legislators and community leaders. This bold reform reflects the tone of local input.

“It’s been said that we would never reform the Board, that we would never cut our salaries, and that we would never cut staff. But we’ve done it. This is indeed a new day on the County Board, and we have shown leadership in approving this reform package.

“While the state is attempting to mandate Board change without local support, without even a hearing in Milwaukee County, we have accomplished meaningful reform by listening to the residents of Milwaukee County. Reform without local buy-in cannot work. This is true local reform.”

Dimitrijevic said the overwhelming support for the reform package was a reflection of the Board’s desire to create locally generated reform.

“We made the hard decisions,” she said. “But with local support this is one of the most dramatic changes to Milwaukee County governance in history.”

Aviso de We Energies sobre estafas

April 25, 2013

Queremos que usted esté alerta sobre estafas que al parecer están dirigidas a nuestros clientes que hablan

español. Usando la amenaza de desconectar el servicio, los estafadores los convencen de comprar tarjetas de

crédito pre-pagadas y de que les den información.

¿Cómo trabaja un estafador?

n El o la que llama dice que habla de parte del departamento legal o de cobros de We Energies y puede

incluso proporcionarle un número de identificación falso.

n Afirman que usted está retrasado en sus pagos o que tiene un medidor que no funciona correctamente

y que puede causar una explosión a su casa.

n Para robarle su dinero, le pide que vaya a una tienda cercana, usualmente recomiendan Walmart,

Walgreens, CVS, SuperAmerica, Speedway o Radio Shack, y que compre una tarjeta Visa pre-pagada

(a veces se refieren a ella como una tarjeta “Green Dot” o una tarjeta “Money Pack”)

n Además le dicen la cantidad exacta por la que debe comprar la tarjeta, usualmente cientos de dólares.

n El que llama le da un número para que usted lo llame de regreso con los números de la tarjeta. Una vez que

usted le da los números, su dinero ha sido robado por el estafador.

Los estafadores son sofisticados. Usando programas de computadoras, ellos sabrán su nombre y dirección y piden

tener más información acerca de su cuenta. Su identificador de llamadas puede incluso mostrar el nombre de

We Energies o un número telefónico relacionado con nosotros. No se deje engañar. Puede llamarnos a cualquier

hora al 800-242-9137 para:

n Averiguar si la llamada que recibió fue una estafa

n Revisar su estado de cuenta

n Verificar su historial de pagos

Los estafadores pueden intimidarlo. Si usted no coopera, ellos hacen más presión diciéndole que si usted no actúa en

las próximas horas, su servicio de electricidad puede ser desconectado por días. Ellos dirán cualquier cosa con tal de

asustarlo y convertirlo en una víctima.

¿Qué debe usted hacer?

Nosotros no solicitamos pagos de nuestros clientes a través del teléfono de esta manera. Si usted recibe una llamada

que parece sospechosa, es que lo es. Cuelgue inmediatamente.

Opciones de Pago

Tenemos muchas opciones convenientes y seguras para hacer sus pagos

Por correo: We Energies, P.O. Box 90001, Milwaukee, WI 53290-0001

A través de la internet:

Por teléfono con tarjeta de crédito o débito: 888-823-2943

En Persona: en locales autorizados para pagos a través de nuestra área de servicio. Visite para

localizar el lugar más cercano.


State lawmakers to host public hearing on changes to local control in Milwaukee County

April 25, 2013

Local residents are invited to share their opinions on the state-imposed changes to the Milwaukee County Board at a public hearing this Tuesday in Milwaukee.  The hearing starts at 5:00 p.m. and will be held at the Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vilet Street.

After Senate Republicans failed to hold a committee hearing in the community that they are forcing to change, local Legislative representatives of Milwaukee County are holding an opportunity for citizens in Milwaukee County who were unable to attend the midday Madison hearing to voice their opinion on the bill forcing state-imposed changes to the Milwaukee County Board.

WHAT: Milwaukee County hearing on the attack on local control

WHO: Sen. Chris Larson, Sen. Tim Carpenter, Sen. Nikiya Harris, Sen. Lena C. Taylor, Rep. Josh Zepnick, Rep. Sandy Pasch, Rep. Mandela Barnes, Rep. Evan Goyke, Rep. John Richards, Rep. Christine Sinicki, Rep. Daniel Riemer, Rep. LaTonya Johnson, Rep. Leon Young, Rep. Fred Kessler and Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa

WHERE: Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vilet Street

WHEN: Tuesday, April 30, 5:00 p.m.


Wisconsin DOJ obtains judgment in South Milwaukee environmental case

April 24, 2013

1012 Milwaukee Avenue, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has obtained a judgment in an environmental lawsuit in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.  The State of Wisconsin brought this case against Fadil Becirovski for violations of state environmental laws requiring him to test and restore the environment after petroleum was discharged during the removal of an underground gasoline storage tank on Becirovski’s property, 1012 Milwaukee Aveune, South Milwaukee, Wis.  The laws are designed to protect the waters of the state from harm due to contamination from such liquids.

After soil testing revealed contamination, the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) investigated Becirovski, who refused to cooperate with DSPS and remedy the violations.  The violations then were referred to the DOJ, and Becirovski again refused to cooperate.  After litigation commenced, Becirovski agreed to hire an environmental consultant, test the site and remedy any residual contamination.  Becirovski agreed to pay forfeitures, costs and surcharges totaling $5,000.00.

According to DSPS, because the degree and extent of contamination is unknown, it is important to have the site tested and any contamination removed.  Soil contaminated with petroleum products contaminates groundwater flowing through it, and can emit petroleum vapors that seep into nearby basements.

Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Mary Batt represented the state.  Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Richard J. Sankovitz approved the settlement.

Judgment and Stipulation and Order for Judgment

New DPI report: MPS outperforms voucher schools in math and reading

April 23, 2013

Source: Office of State Senator Chris Larson

Today, Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction released a report confirming what has been a familiar notion: voucher schools do not provide a superior education to our neighborhood public schools.

Senate Democratic Leader Chris Larson commented on the Department of Public Instruction report that Milwaukee voucher schools continue to underperform compared to Milwaukee Public Schools saying, “This unaccountable experiment on our children has failed. Scoring lower in math and reading than their public counterparts, voucher schools in Wisconsin have done a disservice to future Wisconsin workers.”

“After 20 years of report after report showing underperformance, the logical reaction would be to institute accountability measures to private schools receiving taxpayer funded vouchers, not expand them without reforms. As property taxes continue to rise while reading and math scores remain low, Wisconsin’s middle-class families are the unlucky sponsors of a gamble with the education of our children.”

A link to the Department of Public Instruction report can be found here.

MPS-led robotics team to compete in world championship

April 19, 2013

MPS-led robotics team heading to world championship after competing against 52 others, winning chairman’s award

Team includes students from MPS’ Bradley Tech, Rufus King, School of Languages, Washington High School of IT as well as Wisconsin Lutheran

A robotics team led by Milwaukee Public Schools students is headed to the FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis starting Wednesday after competing against 52 other teams to win the prestigious Chairman’s Award at the Midwest Regional in Chicago.

Team 1675, dubbed “The Ultimate Protection Squad,” includes students from MPS’ Lynde and Harry Bradley Technology and Trade School, Rufus King International School, Milwaukee School of Languages and Washington High School of Information Technology as well as Wisconsin Lutheran High School.

The team won after building and operating a robot called Upollo’s Chariot, capable of shooting round plastic discs into the opposing teams’ targets. Robots able to hit the target without a human operator or climb a steep pyramid won extra points. (A video explaining this year’s competition is available at ; more about FIRST Robotics is available at

The award Team 1675 won – the Chairman’s Award – honors the team that, in the judges’ estimation, best represents a model for other teams to emulate and embodies the goals and purpose of FIRST, which aims to encourage education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

“I am so proud to be a part of Team 1675. Winning the Chairman’s Award is an affirmation of our team’s diversity and what we’re doing in STEM Education,” said the team’s lead mentor, Rufus King International School science teacher Paul Jutrzonka. “Watching students, mentors from area businesses, teachers and parents working together as equals is a very rewarding and satisfying experience.”

The team is sponsored by several Wisconsin companies and organizations: including Aluma-Tec, GE Volunteers, Isthmus Engineering, Milwaukee School of Engineering, PDQ Tooling, Quad Tech, Rockwell Automation and Stratasys.

MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton congratulated the students, parents, instructors and sponsors, which he said proudly represent the district’s commitment to STEM education. The district is home to one of the nation’s largest concentrations of students participating in Project Lead the Way, a rigorous and nationally-recognized hands-on STEM education curriculum.

Team members include: Lynde and Harry Bradley Technology and Trade School – Malachi Benitez Trevon Hall, Quangdao Nguyen, Noah Patrick and Isaiah Padgett; Rufus King International School – Sarah Borzon, Cesar Chavez, Andrew Christensen, Quinn Eviston-Jahnke, Tomas Fernandez, Khalil Keeter, Andrew Kurth, Julia Lopez, Alexander Lulewicz, Eric Miller, Elise Penn, Sean Salters, Pauline Scharping, Anthony Stano, Kidd Starck Thanhduy Tran, Darius Wilson and Hemi Wong; Milwaukee School of Languages – Erik Sandberg; and Wisconsin Lutheran High School – Robert McInnes.

“My experience with the team has led me to constantly look for new ways to make a lasting impact on the people around me,” says Elise Penn, a Rufus King junior who is in her second year on the team. More information about Team 1675 and how you can help them succeed is available at .

This news is available online at

Milwaukee County Board announces 20% supervisors’ salary cut and other cuts in “reform overhaul”

April 19, 2013

Source: Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors

$2.75 Million Cut to Board Budget

The Milwaukee County Board’s budget will be cut by 50 percent under a bold new set of initiatives proposed before an “Our Milwaukee County” listening session Thursday night.

The major initiative includes but is not limited to government streamlining, mandatory training for County Supervisors to clarify roles and responsibilities in County governance.

 “This comprehensive package is the kind of bold reform our constituents asked for during the ‘OUR Milwaukee County’ sessions and various town hall meetings across the County,” said Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic. “We’ve had listening sessions in more than half of the County, and Milwaukee County residents want to see reform done locally, not imposed on the County by the state Legislature. This is the one of the most significant and dramatic overhauls of Milwaukee County government in history, and this is what our constituents have demanded.

“We listened to everyone – county residents, state legislators and local officials – to create realistic Board reform. This package reflects that. It’s been said that we would never reform ourselves, that we would never cut our own salaries, and that we would never cut our budget. But this package demonstrates clearly that not only have we listened, we’ve acted with a commitment to true, realistic, locally generated reform.”

Dimitrijevic said that with seven new Board members “it is a new day for County government.”

“These reforms are proof that this is a new Board with a new outlook on reform,” she said. “We have a new chair, and seven of the 18 members of the Board are new. Everyone on the Board – new members and long-time Supervisors – is committed to locally generated change.”

Supervisors’ pay will be cut by 20 percent under the proposal, and the board budget would be cut $2.75 million, which could be used for transit, parks, mental health and other County services. 

The reforms mean that beginning in 2016 supervisors pay would be reduced to about $40,000, and that the Chairperson’s salary would be less than that of the Waukesha County Board chairperson.

A majority of people who spoke at the “OUR Milwaukee County” sessions said they favored reform, but not reform imposed on the County Board by the state Legislature, she said. Assembly Bill 85 would reduce the Board’s budget to .4 percent of the County tax levy while cutting Board staff by about 70 percent. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, would strip the Board’s ability to govern effectively, Dimitrijevic said.

“The fact is, the County Board matters, and our constituents care deeply about it,” she said.  “They want to be part of the reform process that is taking place on County governance.

“This reform package is real reform generated locally, and we believe our constituents will agree that this package is far preferable to one imposed by the state. There is more than one way to reform, and the most successful way is locally.”

Among other reforms announced were:

·        Definition and clarification of roles and responsibilities of both the Board and the County Executive, which agree the Board is a policy-making body and the County Executive is manager of day-to-day operations, with mandatory training for supervisors.
·        Creation of an independent Office of Intergovernmental Relations, which will report to both the County Executive and the County Board Chair.
·        Changes to contracting policy. 
·        Requirement of an efficiency audit for all levels of County government and use of a mediator to enforce those efficiencies. Recommendations for additional efficiency measures in governance and operations. Follow-through on the efficiency audit for additional governance measures and County-wide operational efficiency measures.
·        Transfer of the Community Development Business Partners department from the Board to the independent office of the County Comptroller.
·        There would be no future pension benefit provided to Supervisors unless they choose to pay the full-cost beginning with the 2016 term

“Everything is on the table,” Dimitrijevic said. “We have said that this new board is committed to reform, and we have presented a bold new look for the County Board. We believe this is what the people of Milwaukee County want – change on a local, not state, level.

“This is the beginning of a new chapter in County governance. The people of Milwaukee County spoke, and we listened.”

Ald. Donovan defends Palermo’s, criticizes Mayor Barrett and Ald. Zielinski

April 16, 2013

Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan 

April 16, 2013 

While I respect that some of my colleagues think differently, I think the elected officials (including some members of the Common Council) who needlessly criticized and prodded Palermo’s yesterday (in a naïve letter to the company AND during a City Hall news conference) made a major mistake for two reasons. First of all, based on my review, both immigration and labor officials have ruled in favor of the company, which is located in my 8th Aldermanic District. Second, we send businesses a terrible message when we criticize and blame companies that are creating jobs in our community. My colleagues were right in praising Palermo’s for all it has done to benefit our community, but jumping on the company based on unproven allegations hurts the City of Milwaukee and the very people we are elected to represent. Protesters can scream, shout and pound the table, and that usually means that they don’t have the facts on their side. Well, both the law and the facts support Palermo’s, and what would truly be in the best interest of our community would be to let the process take its normal course rather than use the issue as a way to score political points.

To be clear, I find it ironic that despite the fact that Palermo’s is in my district, I was unaware of the joint letter (signed by six of my colleagues) sent to the company yesterday, asking that the company meet with the (non-existent) “union” so that a “settlement” can be reached. Needless to say, I also find it ironic that I was not told about the news conference held at City Hall yesterday.

Let’s face it, Palermo’s has been a pioneer in creating jobs in the Menomonee Valley, and it is unfortunate that simply making inflammatory claims and unsubstantiated allegations is how some choose to conduct their business. In addition, the primary organizing entity working against Palermo’s – Voces de la Frontera – has bizarrely canceled meetings that it has set up with me to discuss the issues!

Further, I wonder how many of my colleagues who are siding with a non-existent union (Palermo’s Workers Union) have actually taken the time to meet or talk with Giacomo Fallucca of Palermo’s, just to listen to his thoughts on the issues? My colleagues should be mature enough to know that there are always at least two sides to every story!

(I also must say that I am very disappointed in the mayor for his unwillingness to stand up for one of our best corporate citizens. Leaders are supposed to make tough decisions, but the mayor simply punted).

My colleagues who are speaking up on this issue seem to suddenly be stepping forward to exert some political leadership on an issue, and maybe we’re seeing the dawn of a new day here in Milwaukee. Sorry, but I am doubtful. In my opinion, I think this really is just a “flavor of the day” issue for most of them, and when I’m out front as usual on pressing issues facing the city, I will continue to look behind me and see no one there joining me.

Lastly, instead of jumping into the fray in my district, on an issue that affects the future of a solid, job creating Milwaukee company, I strongly suggest Alderman Zielinski stick to his district and to things he knows well, such as dog parks.


Make public comment re the Keystone Pipeline endorsed by Governor Walker

April 15, 2013

Secretary John Kerry Opens the Discussion for Public Comment

 Today, Governor Scott Walker submitted the following statement in support of the expansion for the Keystone XL Pipeline:

I urge Secretary Kerry to move swiftly on the expansion of the Keystone Pipeline.  The expansion of the pipeline is our chance to have a new North American energy source.  Expanding the pipeline will produce 830,000 barrels of oil per day, which will have an enormously positive economic impact.

In addition, if the pipeline is approved in a timely manner, countless jobs in the United States stand to be created.  Wisconsin has an opportunity to benefit from this job growth, specifically for employers like the Michels Company.

Public comments to the State Department regarding the pipeline can be emailed to

Read Governor Walker’s letter to Secretary Kerry here.

Chill On The Hill wins statewide WAMI award

April 15, 2013

Bay View Summer Music Series named “People’s Choice Venue of the Year” 

Chill on the Hill was honored by The Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) during its 33rd annual awards ceremony. The popular summer music series won the “People’s Choice Award” for Music Venue of the Year in the southeast region.

The Bay View Neighborhood Association operates Chill on the Hill, which was also named Best Outdoor Concert Series by “Milwaukee Magazine” in 2010.

This year Chill on the Hill returns to Humboldt Park on June 4. There will be music every Tuesday night until August 27.

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