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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast



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I know a lot of you enter this space to escape the heavy news of the day, so you'd rather I stick to the funny.

I promise you a funny next entry, but there are a few serious items that demand attention today. I'll put them all in this one rant, and then move on, so you can skip it if you want.

MILWAUKEE IS THE WILD WEST: There are a series of stories that shake my faith this week in our City's ability to get a handle on crime. Seriously... this town is like the old west, with shootouts breaking out. Last night's South Side Shootout left bodies laying in the street, bullet holes in homes and cars, two cops and three teenagers shot. The teens were allegedly found to be packing semi-automatic weapons.

Yesterday morning we had this 1,2,3 punch... UWM student shot on the sidewalk, Grandma carjacked after church, and a Bay View High freshman beaten into a concussion during gym class!

UWM kid looks like a mixed up drug deal, so not random crime, but anytime somebody is shooting a gun, the intended target is not the only one in danger. I used to live in that neighborhood. You want to lose everybody who's not a slumlord... keep letting things deteriorate.

Grandma carjacked by gun wielding teens... excellent news. I think one of the attackers was only 13 years old. On top of it, friend of grannies pulls out his gun and starts shooting at the car. He's arrested too. Are you kidding me? This is the wild west.

Finally, kid beaten during school. MPS is losing middle class families not only because they're taxing them out of their homes, but also because they don't want their kids around that level of violence. Is that worth paying 9% more for this year?

Globe Trotting Alderman: The people whom we employ, and pay 70 grand per year, to solve problems like these are doing a great job. If you live in the City of Milwaukee, one of your aldermen is in jail. At least he's offering amendments to the budget process. Alderman Joe Davis was off the continent.

Let me state this first. I like Joe Davis. I've worked with him on a lot of stories, and found him to be honest and credible. He's been good to his constituents, and they've rewarded him with their trust as a county supervisor and now an alderman.

All that said, if he doesn't get why his travel budget has people enraged, he shouldn't be in control of our tax dollars. Over the last few years, while always charging me as a taxpayer more to live in my house, the city is debated cuts to boulevard maintenance, library hours, even staffing on fire trucks. I paid more. I got less. Every year. Meanwhile we've got aldermen who believe they're justified spending thousands of taxpayer dollars attending conferences out of state.

Here's Joe Davis on why he's attended conferences on the taxpayer dime in Washington, Reno, Vegas, and St. Louis:

"What I'm trying to do is I'm trying to be an educated elected official by learning from other municipalities that are similar to the city of Milwaukee."

Two words for that... inter-net. Use your wireless computer... isn't the whole city supposed to be an internet hot spot? 

County Board Members "Sacrificing" for us: An equally outrageous quote comes from the Chairman of the Milwaukee County Board, Lee Holloway. Asked about why he thinks supervisors are entitled to thousands of dollars in raises, he said:

"As chairman of the board, I want my colleagues to be enthusiastic about doing their job. I think they have sacrificed enough. And I think It's fair for them to receive a pay raise."

Mr. Chairman, I'd argue if they ran for and won the position of County Board Supervisor, they ought to be "enthusiastic" about doing their jobs anyway. But really, I want to pick on the word "sacrifice."

Sacrifice? Sacrifice? Exactly what have the Supervisors on the Milwaukee County Board sacrificed? I'm not going to rip the Board. I'm not even going to get into the pension scandal or anything else... there's just not enough room.

In fairness, I know a number of supervisors fairly well. I find some of them to be hard working, intelligent, well meaning people who care about the County and their constituents. That's not an easy job to do well. Really. You've got a different meeting to be at every night, and most of them suck. I know. I covered them, but at least I got to leave to do the 10:00 news.

You're always on. You gotta answer your phone 24-7. You have to go to work every day knowing there's more to do and less money to do it with. It's probably not a lot of fun, and supervisors haven't gotten a raise for years.

But sacrifice? 

The people who sacrifice are the taxpayers... every time. They're sacrificing safety in Milwaukee neighborhoods, and in Milwaukee Schools.

They're sacrificing tax dollars to send aldermen on trips.

They're sacrificing more tax dollars to pay for lavish and possibly illegal pension benefits.

They're sacrificing more of their paychecks to pay the City taxes. They're sacrificing more of their paychecks to pay the County taxes. They're sacrificing more of their paychecks to pay MPS taxes. They're sacrificing more of their paychecks to pay the State taxes. Wow, and we haven't even heard from MATC yet.

Okay... that's it. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I'll be funny tomorrow.






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