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    April 05, 2007


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    And what does Annette Ziegler's victory tell us -- that the people of Wisconsin don't want to be bothered following any rules of ethical conduct?

    John McAdams

    Well, X-off, I think it tells us that Wisconsinites prefer a candidate who is tough on crime, but was guilty of some purely technical violations of the rules to a candidate who intentionally tried to mislead Wisconsin voters to believe that a judge who in fact was hard on sex offenders was lenient.

    In short, your gal Clifford ran sleazy ads. That matters way more than signing off on a default judgment involving West Bend Savings and Loan.


    Status quo almost always wins in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's not.
    (xoff, DOYLE WON, how much more must we endure?)


    Leave it to Xoff to not address the post. Typical Liberal crap. BTW, maybe if Clifford had stated what SHE believed, rather than constantly smear her opponent, she might have gotten more votes. Then again, she may have gotten her head AND neck handed to her.

    George Mitchell

    X-off, you are slipping in your golden years. James Harris nails the import of the McGee win and the best you can offer is to try and change the conversation to a race where your candidate got creamed. John McAdams explains why Judge Ziegler won and could have added that Linda Clifford shot herself in the foot with many in Milwaukee by casting a cloud over school choice.


    James, I admire your insight and "tell it like it is" attitude on this. I wasn't shocked at all by McGee's landslide victory; frankly, while I know for a fact that the original recall effort was truly a grass-roots movement, once it was exposed that forces from well beyond the central city were influencing or assisting that movement, I feared that this would only embolden McGee and his disciples. It pains me to say my suspicions were correct.

    I drive through the 6th district every couple of weeks, and like you, I am always left wondering what can be done to help these people take more pride in themselves and their neighborhood. Where did things go so wrong for this district specifically? While surrounding districts certainly face their challenges, none offers any situation as hopeless and unfortunate as that of the western 6th. Perhaps if we could better understand at what point this hopelessness became so pervasive, we could better understand what it is going to take to reverse it, and what the rest of us can do to encourage its residents to reject the "culture of failure" you describe.

    I hope in my lifetime we will be able to see this district, and its once proud people, empower itself by demanding a better quality of leadership than a guy like Mike McGee, Jr. could ever possibly afford them.

    Bay View Greg

    I am vever suprised at the crap that is allowed to happen in some parts of town. I worked at moody pool for a while back in the day. The things the adults said told me all I needed to know about the ghetto mentality.

    There is a difference between the ghetto/thug lifestyle and the hip hop lifestyle, but most people don't want to relize the difference. That goes for the people living it and the fear mongerers.


    I agree with everthing you said James. I would add in addtion to your points, that Mike Magee Junior has the albilty to convey to the inner city that he is fighting for them. He has given a culture of blame.
    A culture that blaims "whitey", gays, the police , the Firefighters ... I could go on and on. A culture that feels it is someone else fault for the way they act.
    Is there a way to get the message out that we all want people to have jobs and a city that is safe. That we should all respect those we disagree with. The message sent from Mike Victory unfornately is no. I find that very sad for the city of Milwaukee, a place I call home.
    By the way I love you on sundays and the times you filled in for Jessica. Thank you for your blog,you are very insightful and powerful in your writing. It is great to have a new sight to look at.


    I live in the district. I didn't think McGee would quite get to 50 percent, but did think he would prevail in the head-to-head. The strategy of blaming the "forces of darkness" played into how a lot of people in the district feel.
    Excerpt: "McGee has thrown down a challenge of his own. 'We’re at war with the city of Milwaukee,' McGee said at a city hall press conference. Can anyone who knows the 6th Aldermanic district really argue? A system of crack houses line the alleyways just west of Holton Street from North Ave. on up to Keefe. Dealers sling heroin within three blocks of the District 5 police station. The police? They set officer Dan Masarik loose in our neighborhoods with a taser, unleashing a flood of citizen complaints — in one Masarik screamed at Puerto Rican residents, 'This is OUR neighborhood now.' That was before Masarik joined the mauling of Frank Jude, Jr."

    But the parallel to Clifford is apt. As with Clifford, it's clear that the candidates running against McGee never really got going, except for Vianna Jordan early on.


    Obviously you that "claim" to have driven in the 6th district didn't go far enough. I happen to live in the 6th district, south of Capitol Drive, and we have a nice "clean" neighborhood. Please don't insult the fact that we don't clean up our front porches and are all poor or on drugs. One of the problems is that everyone wants to label a community or certain area with negativity. The 6th District does consist of good citizens who care about ourselves, love our people, and don't have "thug" mentalities. Let's stop all of the stereotypes. All neighborhoods consist of good and bad citizens. Even in the suburbs.


    I do more than "claim to have driven" through the 6th district, I traverse through various parts of it on a regular basis, and I recognize there are portions of the area in various states of rebirth. It is factual, however, to state that the majority of the 6th district is a troubled, crime-challenged area filled with residents whose poor quality of life is either the cause or effect of the lack of pride they take in their neighborhoods and surroundings. This is not a stereotype, on the streets of the majority of your district it is the harsh reality of daily life. And, yes, there are good and bad people, and crime, out in the suburbs, but most Milwaukee suburbs don't have crime figures that are as "off the charts" as they are in your district.

    I am happy that you, and your block, or surrounding blocks, are an oasis from the pervasive thug ("stop snitchin'!") mentality beholden by the likes of McJr and his posse, but the staunch reality here is that it's precisely that mentality that rules the streets in MOST of your district and got YOUR alderman re-elected in a landslide that probably even he never would have predicted.

    While Milwaukee has been historically challenged with entrenched, status-quo leadership that lives on for decades, this is one clear opportunity where the residents of an area were given a choice between a new way of thinking and the "familiar name" (in this case, the "familiar name" who, were this any other major city, would most likely be in jail) and they chose the latter.

    By emboldening McJr with a mandate for the status-quo last Tuesday, the residents in your district have all but guaranteed that his quality leadership will rule the streets of MOST of your district for many years to come. And while other alders are busy trying to attract new businesses and commerce to their districts, assure quality city services to their constituents, etc. YOUR DISTRICTS alderman is busy standing at a podium staring at unfurled posters of foreign leaders in complete silence.

    Perhaps this is why people to simply "drive through" your neighborhood every now and then struggle to explain why most of its residents like this guy so much.

    V. Bryan

    There are a LOT of good blocks and neighborhoods within the 6th District. The major crime is always to the west in the next district over, in the Metcalfe Park area. the W/NW end of District 6 is the edge rather than the epicenter of this.

    In the November 2006 state and national elections, there was a high turnout in the district 6 wards, with 50-60% of the voting being done in the safest, most cared for and economically viable areas--Halyard Park, MLK drive area, Brewers Hill, Riverwest. This was also the area with the highest # of votes for republican candidates.

    Look at the ward totals when they come out for the recall race--what almost certainly happened with the primary is that the middle class areas sat it out. Weak turnout, divided vote, and most of all McGee mobilizing the NW chunk of the district by using the same pay-for-play canvassers and bus-you-to-the-polls people that Barrett and Walker have pumped tens of thousands into. Yes, those same people spread Walker literature and Walker+Pratt literature all over the district...they're not believers in any race rhetoric, it's about getting paid.

    But how do the McGees get away with it--backed, aided, and owned by a multi-business, multi-property owner and media magnate who is a Nixon Republican living in Glendale? With McGee owning a house in Riverwest and a former (maybe current) condo or apartment on Commerce St., he is a "man of the people?"

    He does it by playing subcommandante McGee to his dad, openly standing up for 20th and Burleigh as the real heart and soul of the district, and telling everyone that voting against him means a vote for white oppression. He knows better but when he says it, he believes it. That moment of emotional bravado is enough instant gratification to galvanize enough voters to come out without ever asking, what's mcgee done for me--aside from pretending to be "with" the people he is not really with and who he is not going to help without being able to build bridges and get past the childish, disempowerd, self-disabling politics of screaming and whining for special treatment.

    The black middle class doesn't stand up to this confused phony--none of the candidates did so directly, and the fact is, a lot of people in that group let their racial anger get the better of them, or they are afraid of being dubbed the uncle tom or the honkey. Outdated politics rule, because people let it. Minds are not open to something new, but most of all the will does not exist to name and claim a different future.

    Read the community journal current issue, and you will see no real cheering over McGee's victory, but you will see many voices of the black middle class, including publisher and McGee supporter Mikel Holt, talking about how bad things have gotten, and how they need to get back to the way they were when the black community took care of its own self.

    Those people voted for McGee again, because doing so is "taking care of our own selves" when you have a recall engineered by someone with no experience or credibility in the community, who hasn't even been there for 20 years, who is backed by every screaming white talk-radio listening person outside the city.

    When was the last time inner city residents weighed in on Wauwatosa aldermanic elections?

    This election was lost by suburbanites who played right into the whacked out mindset, the insecurity, anger, paranoia and reaction of many district residents.


    V. Bryan, you have some great insight and make some great points. But you say none of the candidates "stood up to McGee directly", well one of them most certainly did - right from the very beginning - and was vilified for it by "the commander" and his WNOV disciples, who were more focused on maligning Ms. Jordan's physical appearance than dealing with the substance of her message. And what did she gain from this? She was harassed, made fun of, physically threatened, had to defend herself against the "usual suspect" political operatives (who are now threatening her with a defamation suit)... all to get roughly the same percentage of the vote as an entry-level civil servant, part time musician who didn't even enter the race until after all the heavy lifting had been done.

    Criticize her all you want for how she "wasn't even a part of the community", but perhaps it took somebody who had been off accomplishing something substantive for the past 20 years to return to her hometown and witness the true folly of having someone as reckless as McGee as an "elected leader".

    As for Ms. Jordan being "backed" by white talk radio, I do not recall one "screaming, white talk radio person" ever endorsing her as a candidate; in fact, most of the white media would never have even covered the recall effort had it not been for McGee's reaction to it. 15 minutes on Jessica McBride's late-night radio program hardly constitutes "backing" from the area's primary "white" talk radio station. As for any coverage Ms. Jordan received from the "forces of evil" McGee refers to, it hardly provided a counter-point to the bashing she received from WNOV and their ownership empire on a daily basis.


    The beauty, and trajedy, of democracy, is that more often than not, people get the leaders they deserve.

    V. Bryan

    Vianna Jordan never issued any press releases, never held any press conferences, never organized any events or debates I or anyone I know knew about, and we were looking for it. What I mean is, nobody called McGee out as a throwback or really even penetrated to a basic critique of the way McGee's race game defines all black people and "black solidarity" according to the lowest social element that has embraced criminality and permanent dysfunction as an identity. Nobody started to break down the problems with that, or even to note the hypocrisy of people like Mikel Holt--who represent a positive middle class view and interest--supporting McGee.

    You can praise Vianna Jordan as the "original coke" candidate all you want and explain all the technicalities for why she wasn't really supported by outsiders, but that's a perception that obviously few shared. She didn't anything noticeable to reach out to voters, and she reached out enough to outsiders to create a perception that was the kiss of death for her. 15 minutes on Jessica McBride is no big deal to you, but if you were typical of the district, McGee wouldn't be there.

    Note that Jordan also did not show up on 1290 despite repeat invitations. Leon Todd eventually came, after being shamed into showing up, and he did so not as her representative or in any clear capacity. He was on the defensive, explaining irrelevant details, and doing nothing to campaign for the woman. He sounded like a fool, and so he was treated as one.

    All the whining about how poorly she (or Leon) was treated is just so much more I'm-a-victimism. Politics is a bloodsport; what did you expect. Cue the crickets for Ms. Jordan, martyr.

    Do you want to be right, or do you want to win? The fact is, in an area with a little crony machine that thinks offices are held and passed on by a seniority system it controls, starting a recall as late as Jordan started it was just imprudent. Why make things harder for yourself? Now McGee may well run unopposed, or as good as, in 2008.


    Kathy wrote above:
    "Perhaps this is why people simply "drive through" your neighborhood every now and then struggle to explain why most of its residents like this guy so much."
    Thank you Kathy. Everybody's got an opinion about this race, it seems, not to mention opinions about Mike. We who live in the 6th are getting very tired of hearing it.

    I live on the easternmost end of the district, where no candidate set foot during this "recall" to ask for our votes.

    Earlier today, my wife and I dropped off on the westernmost end of the district one of my daughter's teenaged friends who had slumbered over at our place the night before. Anybody looking to "drive through" and learn something about the district ought to check out the block where my daughter's friend lives. Just drive two or three blocks south of Capitol on 25th and Nash and check it out. It's a dangerous block - but probably not so dangerous if you're looking to do some business there - and the trash blowing up and down the street immediately made me think of the blogosphere for some reason or other. As we drove down from Capitol toward Nash, I saw something that never materialized in our part of the district - evidence of an aldermanic election. Right there, in the middle of Milwaukee's urban nightmare, a yard sign war between Jordan and McGee was still being fought, nearly two weeks after the election. I counted five Jordan signs and three or four McGee signs. It reminded me of the Bush-Kerry yard sign war in Oak Creek in 2004, where Republicans plant signs so big that you'd think their property values had something to do with their political affiliation and only Russ Feingold had signs big enough to make a counter-statement. I wondered why nobody fought for votes like that on our end of the district, but I also took the yard signs as evidence of pride, and of people living on 25th who, no matter how rough the neighborhood was, care something about making it safer for teenagers like my daughter and her friend.

    Yet we go to the blogoshphere and we see that people want to talk about Charlie Sykes and Jessica McBride, about the CRG and white suburbanites, even on my own website. Do y'all not realize that we don't pay attention at all to any of it? It's like the trash blowing up and down 25th Street. How many listeners of WTMJ talk radio do y'all think live in the district? Conservative, liberal - those words are losing their meaning around here.

    25th and Nash - check it out. And don't write those of us who live here off just because our alderman sees the same madness we all do when we look around our neighborhoods and doesn't always have the right words to describe it or figure it all out. I get that way too sometimes.

    Today just might be one of those times.


    Watchdogmilwaukee: The words you quote in your post are actually mine, I wrote them. I am a Milwaukee native, I did community service in, taught in, and went to school in the central city. Now, I am just far enough removed from our good city (I live outside of Madison) to see the true folly for the 6th district (or any district, for that matter) of having Mike McGee, Jr. as an elected leader.

    I respect your opinions about "outsiders" who criticize Mike, and how his words don't always express what he's truly feeling, but in order for me to truly understand this... being an "outsider" and all...
    How does quietly staring at a picture of Hugo Chavez help him "figure out the madness"? What great things has McGee's penpal relationship with a foreign dictator brought back to the 6th? When McGee aligns Chavez and himself as "oppressed bretheren of the same corrupt system", which system is he describing exactly? The system that has allowed his family and himself to inhale social spending dollars from now defunct city agencies with no accountability, and with almost reckless detest for those being robbed of such funding, who were supposed to be helped by the agencies they and their cronies were looting?

    Sounds like a pretty corrupt system alright, but I think the McGee's have gotten the better draw.

    The rest of us "outsiders" recognize that "y'all don't care what we think"... We are painfully aware of this. Perhaps that's the one thing we'll be able to agree on.

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