- Monday, March 23rd – For the Love of our Children: Count Black Kids Day-Encouraging Black families to count their children, especially those historically undercounted—children ages 0-5
- Tuesday, March 24th – My Brother’s Keeper: Count Black Men Day
- Wednesday, March 25th – Sister Power: Count Black Women and Families Day **(A Black Women’s Twitter Town Hall will take place starting at 1:00 p.m., EST)
- Thursday, March 26th – Country of Origin Matters: Count Black Immigrants Day
- Friday, March 27th – The Power Is in Your Hands and Celebrating Our Diversity: Count Black Youth & Count LGBTQ+ Day
- Saturday, March 28th -The Wisdom of Our Elders and Our Work Matters: Count Seniors and Count Black Workers Day
- Sunday, March 29th – Faith in Action: Black Census Count Sunday
Legislation introduced by Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs urges a state law change to establish a moratorium on assessing interest and penalties on property tax accounts, as well as a look at allowing certain city positions to qualify for hazardous duty pay.
Alderwoman Coggs, chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee, said the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a major negative financial impact on small businesses and individuals, with many Milwaukee businesses being required to close per official order and residents forced out of work because of stay-at-home and required closure orders across all sectors.
Currently, state statutes govern the billing and collection of property taxes, as well as delinquent tax interest and penalties (and currently recognize no exceptions for their assessment). Her legislation would authorize the city’s Intergovernmental Relations Division to urge the Wisconsin Legislature and Governor Evers to pass legislation that would establish a set time period moratorium on assessing interest and penalties on property tax accounts.
The Alderwoman’s effort would dovetail with that of City Treasurer Spencer Coggs, who on March 20 sent a letter to the Governor and state legislative leaders, urging the passage of legislation that would establish a set time period moratorium on assessing interest and penalties on property tax accounts.
“These are unprecedented times as workers find themselves furloughed and businesses and individuals being unable to meet their financial obligations, including paying their property taxes,” Alderwoman Coggs said.
“With the devastating and sudden loss of income being felt across the board, I believe individual property taxpayers and beleaguered small businesses impacted by the pandemic would benefit from the relief of not having to pay interest and penalties on property tax accounts,” she said.
A second legislative file introduced by Alderwoman Coggs would require the Department of Employee Relations to look at establishing hazardous duty pay for “essential” city workers. Currently, “essential” city employees across the city workforce are required to report to their work locations during the COVID-19 pandemic, while “non-essential” city workers are asked to stay and (in some cases) work from home.
“I believe this is an issue of fairness and one that we need to look at closely, especially with the likelihood that the ‘stay home’ orders could be in effect for many weeks if not months to come,” Alderwoman Coggs said.
The measure could come before the Finance and Personnel Committee when it meets on April 9 at City Hall.
Statement of Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II
March 26, 2020
The deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading fast among Milwaukee’s African American population, and it has already claimed the lives of several African American men here. But those deaths – and a strict citywide Stay-at-Home order – don’t seem to be getting the attention of enough people in the community.
The coronavirus pandemic is deadly serious, and all Milwaukee residents need to start getting the message IMMEDIATELY!
In fact, Milwaukee Police have indicated that they will begin enforcing the Stay-at-Home order where needed, especially when they see people congregating and conducting “business as usual” in violation of the order. MPD reports that problems with compliance have been especially bad on the north side, and even in 15th District.
To be clear, on Monday (March 23) Milwaukee’s Health Commissioner issued the Stay-at-Home order, imposing a city-wide requirement to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The order took effect early yesterday and will continue to be in effect until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing.
During the Stay-at-Home order, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for a few limited purposes. Nothing in the order prohibits the gathering of members of a household or living unit.
All travel, including, but not limited to, travel on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit (except Essential Travel and Essential Activities as defined in the order) is prohibited. People riding on public transit (especially MCTS buses) must comply with social distancing requirements to the greatest extent feasible.
People are allowed to leave their homes to engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as (by way of example only and without limitation) obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home.
Residents may also leave their home to obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of their home.
People are allowed to engage in outdoor activity, provided they practice social distancing, and this can include walking, running or hiking. Games of basketball (and soccer) should be avoided because of the physical contact involved, and ALL playgrounds are closed and must be avoided to combat the spread of the deadly virus.
People are allowed to leave home to perform work providing essential products and services (as defined in the order) and to care for a family member, friend, or pet in another household, and to transport family members, friends, or pets as allowed by the order.
Lastly, residents will be allowed to travel to the polls to vote in the spring election on April 7 (or to work at polling locations or to count ballots). To avoid the need to go to a polling location, residents may still request an absentee ballot online at myvote.wi.gov or by calling 414-286-VOTE.
COVID-19 is highly transmissible and is 10 times deadlier than the seasonal influenza! NO ONE is immune and there is no vaccine, and it can be especially deadly for those with underlying medical conditions and issues such as asthma, diabetes, heart and pulmonary disease, cancer patients and anyone 65 or older.
I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is for EVERYONE to immediately STAY HOME and comply with the Stay-at-Home order so we can stop the spread of the coronavirus and protect the health of the community.
PEWAUKEE, Wis. – To express its care for community needs as a result of the COVID-19 virus, American Transmission Co. is making corporate donations to the American Red Cross and several food pantries.
ATC will donate $10,000 to the American Red Cross – Wisconsin Region to support its mission for facilitating blood donations and providing relief services. ATC also will donate a total of $40,000 to six food pantries in communities in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan where ATC has offices and facilities. The food pantries include:
- Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin
- Hunger Task Force, Milwaukee
- Paul’s Pantry of Green Bay, Wisconsin
- Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin
- St. Ignace Area Hope Food Pantry, Michigan
- St. Vincent De Paul of Iron Mountain Food Pantry, Michigan
“We care, and we want to do what we can to help beyond our role of helping to keep the lights on,” said Mike Rowe, ATC CEO and President. “During this public health emergency, our support for the Red Cross can help them provide lifesaving blood to patients in need. And, funding local food pantries can help our neighbors and friends who are affected by slowing business or job loss because of the pandemic.”
Rowe said, “We also look to our employees to help identify organizations that provide support and have a direct impact in the communities where we live and work.” Along with the corporate donations, ATC continues to match employee donations of $25 or more to organizations in its service area that support health and wellness, education and the environment.
Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state transmission-only utility, American Transmission Co. is a Wisconsin-based company that owns and operates 9,860 miles of electric transmission lines and 568 substations in portions of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. Our transmission network enables the movement of electricity produced from all forms of generation resources to areas where it is needed – helping to keep the lights on, businesses running and communities strong. Visit our website at www.atcllc.com.
Compiled by MCJ Editorial Staff
“The Wisconsin Conference of Branches believes absentee and early voting is an effective alternative to in-person voting for the April 7, 2020 election,” wrote Wendell Harris, president of the NAACP Wisconsin Conference of Branches.
The conference’s letter suggested using proper procedures to mitigate health and safety issues related to early voting at selected early voting sites, such as social distancing, bans on large gatherings, the implementation of good hygiene and infection control practices such as hand washing and routine cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and requiring sick employees to stay home.
One of the voting methods the NAACP suggested—early voting (which would have called for the aforementioned safety measures)—was discontinued recently by the city election commission. The city no longer operates in-person absentee or “early” voting at the city’s three locations: Zablocki Library, the Zeidler Municipal Building, or the Midtown Center.
The closers came amid fears by election polling staff of increased risk of CoVid-19 exposure. The commission could no longer maintain sufficient staffing levels to operate the three sites in a manner that would ensure a safe or efficient public voting experience.
Mayor Tom Barrett mentioned the commissions concerns and actions in a letter to Gov. Tony Evers, and state Assembly and Senate leaders asking that the state-wide election be conducted through mail ballots only.
“The staffing situation has become even more challenging as a result of both the local and state ‘stay at home’ orders,” the mayor added. “…We are losing the commitment of dozens of election workers by the hour, including chief inspectors who run the sites,” Barrett said in his letter.
In lieu of the discontinuance of early voting, the only options left suggested by the civil rights organization are requests for a voter registration application by mail, and a request for a ballot by email or fax to the municipal clerk.
Residents who need to register are asked to call the city election commission at 414-286-6119. The application must be received by the clerk no later than 5 p.m. on the Thursday before the election in order for an absentee ballot to be mailed on time. Online voter registration was resumed as of Tuesday, March 24.
Registered voters can request an absentee ballot online. They should go to: “myvote.wi.gov” and click “Vote Absentee.” This request must be made no later than 5 p.m. on the Thursday before the election in order for an absentee ballot to be mailed to them.
Barrett suggested waiving the photo ID requirement since uploading an ID is confusing and cumbersome to voters and many don’t have cell phone or internet access to facilitate the process properly.
He added accommodations also need to be made for the witness requirement as a result of the limits on social mobility and interaction.
The city election commission is currently exploring various alternatives to in-person voting that will be safe to the public.
Barrett asked the governor and legislative leaders to respond and act quickly to his request, noting current state law doesn’t permit the counting of absentee ballots until election day.
The mayor predicted as many as 130,000 absentee ballots could be cast in Milwaukee, compared to the 62,000 in the 2016 presidential election. “We need a significantly longer processing period that begins prior to any election date.
“Timing is of the essence,” Barrett added. “Every day spent preparing for in-person voting is a lot opportunity for municipalities to retool their election systems and regain traction with meeting the already heavy demands for absentee ballots.”
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, The Hop will transition to a temporary reduced schedule of operations beginning this Thursday, March 26. While it’s important that the streetcar continue to serve those who rely on the service to reach essential jobs or destinations, the current statewide efforts to eliminate non-essential travel and prevent the spread of the disease by keeping people at home have resulted in decreased ridership that no longer warrants a full schedule of operations.
Under the new schedule, which will remain in effect until further notice, the streetcar will operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily with cars arriving every 20 minutes. The new schedule can be viewed here.
The Hop continues to monitor the situation surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak carefully and is working closely with City, State and Federal officials to ensure we employ best practices regarding the cleaning of our vehicles and the safety of our staff and riders. We have increased the frequency of our cleanings, employing cleaning agents and disinfectants recommended by the CDC, and instituted new policies to maintain the cleanliness of the vehicles and stations throughout the day.
For those who continue to rely upon our service during this health emergency, we ask that you join the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by being extra vigilant in exercising recommended hygiene practices, including regular and thorough hand washing, avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and covering coughs and sneezes with either a tissue or your elbow. On board the streetcar, passengers should leave additional space between themselves and others, and utilize the seats whenever possible as opposed to holding the poles or hand straps. Most importantly, if you are exhibiting any symptoms or feel ill, please stay at home.
MILWAUKEE – The Board of Supervisors will hold its first ever online committee meeting Tuesday at 1:00pm, when the Committee of the Whole will convene via Microsoft Teams to hear an informational report from the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) regarding Covid-19.
Normally all committee and Board meetings are held physically at the Milwaukee County Courthouse, or another location, but Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb Sr., has called for an online video conference in light of the public health emergencies declared by President Trump, Governor Evers, and County Executive Abele.
In addition to the informational report from OEM Director Christine Westrich, Tuesday’s meeting of the Committee of the Whole will also serve as a practice run for the monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors, scheduled for later this week on Thursday, March 26 which will also be conducted remotely.
The Board of Supervisors, ahead of many County departments, transitioned to teleworking starting on March 16, when the offices closed to the public. Fully online Board and Committee meetings are the next logical step in that process but require the use of new technology and procedures.
Although the Milwaukee County Courthouse remains open to the public for certain essential services, the offices of the Board of Supervisors are closed to the public until the public health crisis is abated.
Members of the public who wish to contact their Supervisor are encouraged to visit theBoard’s web site for detailed phone and email contact information of each Supervisor and their office.
WHAT: Committee of the Whole meeting to hear Covid-19 update
WHEN: 1:00pm, Tuesday, March 24, 2020
WHO: Committee of the Whole Meeting (All Members of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors); Director of Office of Emergency Management, Christine Westrich
Effective immediately, the City of Milwaukee will no longer be operating in-person absentee or “early” voting at the city’s three locations: Zablocki Library, the Zeidler Municipal Building or the Midtown Center. Due to increased CoVid-19 exposure risk, the Election Commission can no longer maintain sufficient staffing levels to operate these sites in a manner that would ensure a safe or efficient public voting experience.
Given the city’s longstanding dedication to fair and equitable elections, the decision to end early voting in Milwaukee has been exceptionally difficult for all involved. However, given daily increases in CoVid-19 cases on the local level, a critical balance must be achieved between access to voting and the health of election workers and the public. Milwaukee residents may still request an absentee ballot online at myvote.wi.gov or by calling 414-286-VOTE. Online voter registration (previously suspended in Wisconsin) will resume on Tuesday, March 24.
Even during extraordinarily difficult times, the Election Commission encourages residents to exercise their constitutional right to vote in the upcoming election. By-mail absentee voting is accessible to the public and safe.
MILWAUKEE – Representative LaKeshia Myers (D-Milwaukee), issued the following statement regarding the City of Milwaukee’s closure of three early voting locations:
“Equitable access to the ballot box is the cornerstone of our democracy and ensuring that each Milwaukeean has the right to vote is of the utmost importance. The decision to close Milwaukee’s three early voting locations at the Midtown Center, Zablocki Library, and Zeidler Municipal Building leave me with more questions than answers. Mayor Barrett and other city officials have yet to issue any mandatory closures in our city; the closures that are currently in effect have been issued at the state level. If there has been no push by city leadership to mandate and enforce the closure of non-essential services such as retail outlets and package stores why is voting—which is an essential good to the community—being hampered? If keeping the three satellite locations open was not a viable option, is there not another way to allow individuals the opportunity to vote in person early? Perhaps Milwaukee could take a cue from the Village of Pleasant Prairie who is conducting in person absentee voting in a drive-thru format. Or consolidate the satellite locations from three to two, as a means to ensure adequate staffing.
As we all continue to deal with the effects of COVID-19, we have to find ways to be innovative and think outside of the box. Our state Election Commission has stated that elections will continue as scheduled for April 7th, Milwaukee residents deserve the opportunity to cast their ballots early and in-person; they also deserve leadership that is willing to think outside of the box when it comes to voting and accessing the ballot. Therefore, I am calling on Mayor Tom Barrett, Election Commission Executive Director Neil Albrecht, and City of Milwaukee Election Commission Chairperson Stephanie Findley to return to the drawing board and generate a plan to help the people of Milwaukee exercise their right to vote early.”