Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Time to Vote…and Some Thoughts on the Milwaukee Mayor’s Race

with 2 comments

Today, we vote primarily for school board members and judges in Wisconsin.

Yes, we vote for judges here, even though few of us — myself included — know much about any of them. While I do my research, I mostly try to see if the judge’s written responses in their decisions make sense and follow what I know of the law. If they do, they get my vote regardless of party. If they don’t — or if they behave in a markedly inflammatory manner (as a few of the past judges on the Wisconsin state Supreme Court have done) — they don’t.

Milwaukee’s mayoral race is probably the biggest thing up for grabs in the entire state of Wisconsin. I have no dog in this fight, and of course as I don’t live in Milwaukee I also don’t have a vote. But I do have a few things to say about it.

The race features acting mayor and alderman Cavalier Johnson against longtime retired alderman Bob Donovan. Donovan is a very “by the book” law-and-order candidate, while Johnson is more worried about how well (or poorly) Milwaukee is doing economically. This is not at all to say that Donovan doesn’t care about Milwaukee’s economy or that Johnson doesn’t care about how many crimes there are in Milwaukee. But their focus is different.

In the past few days, Johnson’s family has come into the spotlight, particularly one brother who’s had lifelong problems with the law. Johnson’s brother has been arrested again for allegedly shooting someone this past January. Johnson has said from the get-go (from when he ran for alderman several years ago) that he has one brother who works within the justice system, and one that is almost always in the justice system (meaning he’s behind bars more often than he’s out on the street). He has not tried in any way to hide anything.

Donovan, however, decided to go after Johnson because it took the police a while to arrest Johnson’s brother for this latest crime. Donovan says it shows that Johnson leaned on the police department heavily.

I, personally, do not believe this.


Well, here’s my logic. I know, going back to that horrible scene in Waukesha last year where that idiotic driver hit a whole bunch of people and killed six of them, that it took at least two weeks for this man (who I still won’t name) to be arraigned. (They did get him into custody within a day.) This is a guy who wouldn’t have even been out on the street except for a glitch in the system and an incredibly low bail amount, which mostly seemed to be blamed on the Covid pandemic causing hearings to be virtual and many things to be missed.

So, if it took a few weeks for the Waukesha police department and the justice system to get their ducks in a row with a heinous (alleged) crime like that one, and I know also how Milwaukee has had issues with their justice system in that more people than not seemed to fall straight through the cracks as I said above, it doesn’t surprise me whatsoever that it would take a couple of months for Johnson’s brother to be arrested for this latest alleged infraction.

Now, can the Mayor’s office lean on the police? As a practical matter, I’m guessing yes.

But would Johnson, who’s just the acting mayor (as the previous mayor, Tom Barrett, was named to be the Ambassador to Luxembourg), want to run the risk all of this would come out at the most inopportune time? Of course not.

I believe Donovan is grasping at straws. It won’t help him. The people who were going to vote for him probably will no matter what, but a late push for something like that when the polling shows you way down (as apparently the polling does with Donovan) usually does not help.

Yes, polling can be wrong. We saw that in 2016 in the Presidential election.

Still. Local polling tends to be more accurate than national races, as there are fewer factors to weigh and far fewer people to sample to get any sort of idea as to how people are leaning toward voting at any given time.

I will be keeping an eye on the Milwaukee mayor’s race, as I believe it will be interesting. But my own votes today will be for county supervisor, judges, and school board members.

One final thought: The Waukesha Republican Party has put out an entire slate of school board members. They are proud of this. They believe this will help them in statewide races later this year (as both Governor and one US Senator’s race will be up for grabs).

I don’t like this at all.

School board members should concentrate on one thing: how well does the school system educate their kids. They should not worry about whether their votes align with Donald Trump or any other candidate, Republican or Democrat.

Truth is truth, after all.

My view is very simple here. If these school board members the Republicans put up get in there, I will hope they use their common sense and vote for sane, sensible public policy. I hope they will worry about how well — or poorly — the kids in their district are educated.

That’s what matters in a school board race.

2 Responses

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  1. Not my circus (ie my state) but I have one thought.

    Democrats have been “labeled” rightly or wrong with Not Caring About Children Learning the Basics that Children need to learn.

    Democrats appear to be more interested in teaching Pre-Adolescence children about “being Gay” and/or “being Trans”.

    IE Teaching Pre-Adolescence children stuff they can’t understand and have no reason to learn.

    Maybe the “grooming label” some have given “Liberal” Teachers is unfair.

    But potential School Board members who are Republican is giving Parents the message that they aren’t interested in “Gay Issues” or “Trans Issues” but are more interested in Children learning the Real Basics.

    If Democrats In Power are actually interested in Children learning the Real Basics, then they have to work at convincing the voters that.

    • Paul, you may be on to something with regards to special interest groups. I think overall there needs to be inclusion for LGBTQIA individuals (the last two are intersex and asexual; my niece is the latter, and reminded me to put it in there), but there must be a balance. I think we’re all human beings, first, and we all want to learn whatever we can.

      I don’t like a lot of the books that have been used over the years in school, not even when I went to HS myself. Many were boring. Some made no sense. Some I absolutely detested with every fiber of my being.

      I think the only book most people liked was “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton. That, at least, had a plot, had teenagers, had teenagers who felt alienated (but not in the “Lord of the Flies” way, which is one of the ones I detested), and was relatable.

      I’m not sure “The Outsiders” would work now, but there are books out there that are interesting and relevant. Jason Reynolds has a number of good books that would be more relevant, including one about a young basketball player/athlete trying to come into his own. And I’ve read his “kids version” of Stamped from the Beginning; it is a good history about racism in this country, without being preachy.

      At any rate, while I still recommend Madeleine L’Engle and Judy Blume’s books, I think we need to find more modern authors like Reynolds who can speak to current issues without preachiness.

      Otherwise, it should be “we’re all here to learn” and “we do not tolerate bad behavior from anyone.” My hope is that this would be a good starting point for teachers.

      I also think the teachers need to be able to speak their minds about the curriculum they’re teaching. I knew a lot of teachers when I was in graduate school (or at least kids who were about to become teachers) who were very, very frustrated about the curriculum. These were music teachers, mostly. They still felt much of what they were told to teach in classes like music appreciation was not always relevant and they wanted to play some popular music in addition to classical, jazz (truly America’s music, jazz), and Broadway show tunes.

      Barb Caffrey

      April 5, 2022 at 6:09 pm

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