Archives for March 2012
Civil Rights leader Al Sharpton’s radio show is called “Keepin’ It Real!” Anyone who listens to his radio show, watches his television show and follows his controversial career knows he does just that…keep it real!
Well, in our endorsements for the April 3, 2012 elections, we had to do the same thing the Reverend Al does: Keep it real.
Simply put, these elections for mayor, alderman, county supervisor, and judge present some challenges for us as it relates to endorsing candidates we feel represent the interests of their constituents.
There are a plethora of new faces with fresh and innovative ideas they want to implement to solve the problems of joblessness, high taxes, dwindling city services, law and order.
Then there are the challenges posed by the state legislature in its recent budget that has negatively impacted—in some cases made worse—all the aforementioned.
While there seems to be a surge in younger candidates that are part of a new generation of individuals who want to do more than articulate the problems—they want to solve them—there is still a place for experience.
In determining our endorsements, we weighed, measured, proven experience against youth and untapped potential.
In some of the races, we’ve determined that experience trumps potential.
The reality is there are political offices that are too important to supplant proven leadership that are in positions of power and influence.
These individuals have done good things for our community and must be retained in their current positions in order to do more.
With that said, the Community Journal endorses…
For reasons of reality two races have us supporting established and tested incumbents over challengers who have energy and ideas, but not the experience necessary to be immediately effective servants of the people.
One of the two races is the mayoral race between incumbent Mayor Tom Barrett and challenger Edward McDonald.
During the campaign McDonald, a long-time community activist, presented fresh ideas on a number of city issues in the Community Journals series in which we asked candidates their position on several issues, especially job creation with his “Build Milwaukee” initiative.
But the current mayor has a record of job creation (albeit many of them summer jobs for teens) and has pushed a number of initiatives focusing on fatherhood, infant mortality, a get-tough posture on guns and violence, education and introduced a city budget that managed to stave off the onslaught of Gov. Scott Walkers draconian policies meant to severely cripple our city.
In this case experience matters more than innovative ideas. That is why we endorse Barrett for another term as this city’s chief executive.
Another race where experience is preferred over ideas and energy is in the 15th Aldermanic District race between incumbent Willie Hines and Milwaukee County Supervisor Eyon Biddle, Sr.
Biddle, still relatively fresh (in political terms) from his board victory several months ago, is sacrificing his 10th supervisory board seat to challenge Hines, who is also Common Council president and in line to become mayor if Barrett runs and wins a recall election against Walker.
Like McDonald, Biddle represents a new paradigm in politics of younger individuals with fresh visions and “can do” energy.
But again, it’s about experience, of having the knowledge honed from years of dealing with the subtle and not so subtle nuances of political give and take on the council.
Hines has used that experience to gain consensus among the other alderman to push initiatives that have held the reins tight on taxes, maintained city services, creates new housing and economic opportunities and jobs in the community.
If Biddle were to win, he would not have any immediate influence on policy and would have to “learn who the players are” on the council. Plus he would not automatically become council president.
That position would go to another alderman who may not have our community’s best interests at heart, nor be as willing to work with the mayor to make sure our issues are respected.
Yes, Biddle has good ideas, but Hines has that experience, savvy and ability to rally other alderman to push through needed legislation. We pick Hines to retain his aldermanic and council president seats.
In the aldermanic sixth district race between Milele Coggs—the incumbent—and Ieshuh Griffin, our choice is Coggs. Why? Well, it’s not the name that makes her the choice.
Her background as an attorney, running political campaigns other than her own, and her time on the council shepherding various initiatives related to business development and housing makes her an easy choice.
Our choice for the sixth district is Coggs.
If there is a place for change in this election it is in the northwest side of the city in district 9. That is where challenger Ray Harmon is running against incumbent Robert Puente.
Harmon has extensive public and private sector experience, serving as director of the Milwaukee Urban League’s economic development initiative.
Harmon was also director of former Gov. Jim Doyle’s Milwaukee office and worked for WHEDA.
It’s these experiences and more (which you can read about in his Election Watch 2012 profile on the front page) that makes him our choice for that aldermanic office over the incumbent.
Change is definitely needed in the ninth district given the downward spiral it is in.
We believe Harmon will be the catalyst for a revival of an area with loads of economic potential.
Aldermen Ashanti Hamilton, Joe Davis, Sr. and Willie Wade are running unchallenged.
This election is a toss-up because our choice would have been Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Johnny Thomas, who faces bribery charges.
There are numerous questions surrounding his case, which will have to be explored at a later date.
State Senator Spencer Coggs is our hands-down choice as treasurer. Aside from being a state legislator, Coggs has experience handling the finances of a large organization.
He has been the treasurer of the National Labor Caucus and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. During his time in the position with the latter organization, Coggs brought it from being in the red to solvent…in one year!
Coggs also wants to bring innovation to the office by expanding online and off-site tax payments, institute financial literacy programs and forestall foreclosures.
On April 3 put your money on Spencer Coggs for treasurer.
County Board Supervisor—
The race to replace retiring Supervisor Lee Holloway is a close one if you go by the results in the February Primary.
In that race, two first time candidates with little political experience and from well-known families, Priscilla Coggs-Jones and Russell Stamper II were the top two finishers with only 50 votes separating them.
That might be impressive if it weren’t for the fact only 1100 people reportedly went to the polls in that district.
This race is too close for us to call. Which is why we are going to leave it up to you, the voters to decide it.
Another toss-up is the 10th county board seat being vacated by Biddle. Both Radolph “Ray” Matthews, Jr. and David Bowen are new to the political scene and had turnout numbers similar to Coggs-Jones and Stamper.
Thus it is a race that is too close for us to call. Again, we’re leaving it to the voters to decide this one.
In the 13th supervisory district, our choice is Willie Johnson, Jr. over Bria Grant.
In the Branch 17 race, our choice is Carolina Stark over incumbent Judge Nelson Phillips III.
For Branch 23 judicial seat, our choice is Lindsey Grady, who has the endorsement of several prominent African American judges and lawmakers, as well as several labor organizations.
La’Nethia Howard, age 13 (pictured at right, fourth from the left wearing yellow dress standing behind seated children) recently held a fundraising celebration to pay for her upcoming trip to Beijing, China.
The event was held at St. Martin dePorres Church. Howard attends the Chinese Language School. She is pictured with members of her family, relatives, friends. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp)
Ninth Aldermanic District
Candidate Ray Harmon wants to make his vision for area a reality
Since college, Ray has worked as a legislative assistant for city and county governments, as well as non-profit organizations before becoming the Economic Development Director for the Milwaukee Urban League.
In 2003, Ray was appointed by Governor Jim Doyle to become New Products and Economic Development Director for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority where he led projects to increase loan guarantees for contractors, small and medium sized businesses.
Later Governor Doyle asked Ray to lead the Milwaukee Governor’s office.
In early 2007, Ray received a heart transplant. That gift of life has profoundly shaped the way he approaches how he lives his own life. Each day Ray wants to find ways to give back to his community.
Now, Ray is running for Alderperson to continue that effort to give back. He wants to boost our local economy by helping to create jobs, keep Milwaukee fiscally responsible and improve our quality of life.
A core element of Ray Harmon’s campaign is his extensive “Vision for Change.” Northwest Milwaukee has the potential to become an economically vibrant region again and the main catalyst for this revitalization is the redevelopment of Northridge Mall.
Ray spoke with over 1000 residents regarding the redevelopment, interviewed Milwaukee County Officials, faith leaders, business owners, business organizations, investors, financial institutions, developers and economic development practitioners, and we all want a more dramatic change to Northridge Mall that will be a destination center with a sense of place and renewed identity.
It is in this spirit, Ray hopes to stimulate discussion, bring together stakeholders and create a sense of urgency by offering my vision for the revitalization of Northridge Mall.
Ray offers this vision to provoke thought, stimulate dialogue and to serve as a catalyst in the formation of new partnerships throughout the northwest region.
Ray’s end goal is to advance the interest of 9th district residents and help promote the district by redeveloping Northridge Mall, creating jobs and improve the quality of life for taxpayers.
Along with Ray’s plan for Northridge Mall, Jobs and Economic Development are core aspects of his “Vision for Change.” Foremost, we need to Re-brand Northwest Milwaukee to create a sense of place and a renewed sense of identity.
The revitalization effort of Northwest Milwaukee has to be supported with a well-planned and strong marketing campaign.
Also, we need to create a strong revitalization management organization that develops public private partnerships and identifies financing for redevelopment projects to spur business growth in Northwest Milwaukee and carries out the well-planned and strong marketing plan to re-brand Northwest Milwaukee.
Overall, the goal of the “Vision for Change” is to improve the quality of life in District 9. We can develop a public private fund to help rehabilitate and clean up foreclosed properties. We can decrease burglaries with increased police foot and bicycle patrols.
Also, Northwest Milwaukee has the worst road conditions in the City of Milwaukee, and we can easily implement a surface evaluation rating system to better manage and assess road conditions.
Foremost in Ray’s plan to improve quality of life is the implementation of a Neighborhood Indicators Project.
Neighborhood Indicators is a tool, a demonstration of key characteristics and various indicators that relate to the quality of life in Milwaukee at the neighborhood level.
The goal will be to better understand neighborhood trends, help tailor solutions to a neighborhoods particular needs, help see emerging trends, and offer early warning signs of stress so that problems can be addressed quickly.
This “Vision for Change” is a central element of Ray’s campaign for alderperson in District 9, and he feels it is his primary tool in his effort to give back to Milwaukee’s communities.
Ray has a succinct plan to make District 9 a better place to live, as he looks to boost the local economy by helping to create jobs, keep Milwaukee fiscally responsible, and improve the quality of life for all citizens of District 9.