Home / News / Expresso / Issue of the Week: Voucher Backers Air Race-Baiting Ads

Issue of the Week: Voucher Backers Air Race-Baiting Ads

Plus Heroes and Jerks of the Week

Oct. 29, 2008
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Milwaukeeans are familiar with All Children Matter as a pro-voucher educational reform group. But the Michigan-based organization— with heavy financial backing from Milwaukeeans George and Susan Mitchell, the Wal-Mart heirs and Dick DeVos, of the Amway- Blackwater dynasty—is airing race-baiting ads in northern and western Wisconsin that have nothing to do with educational reform.

The group is airing ads and sending out mailings targeting Democratic candidates who allegedly support free health care for “illegal aliens.” The problem, though, is that many of these candidates don’t. Rather, some of these candidates support some form of health care reform, which All Children Matter then claims would cover illegal immigrants at taxpayers’ expense.

Another pro-voucher group, Coalition for America’s Families, is making the same type of claims about Democratic challengers. The group is headed by Steve King, former head of the state GOP. Ditto for a new issue advocacy group called Wisconsin Institute for Leadership, which is led by blogger and GOP strategist Brian Fraley.

What’s so distasteful about these ads—besides their lies and race-baiting—is that some sons and daughters of illegal immigrants likely attend voucher schools. So the voucher backers are willing to accept taxpayer money in their privately run schools as they accept immigrants’ children in Milwaukee, but they’re demonizing the same immigrants to win campaigns in other parts of the state.

Jerk of the Week: Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker

On Tuesday, the Milwaukee County Board unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic to exempt the hiring of a sustainability and environmental engineer from the “hiring freeze” implemented by Scott Walker. The county executive has dawdled for more than a year on filling the post, the responsibilities of which would be to find ways to reduce the county’s energy consumption and increase renewable energy sources. “The county executive’s inaction on this over the past year is embarrassing,” Dimitrijevic said.

Hero of the Week: Judge Maryann Sumi

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi made the right call last week when she tossed out Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s frivolous lawsuit against the state Government Accountability Board. Van Hollen’s partisan attack—which would have required additional database checks for new voters—would have made Election Day more confusing and burdensome for voters and poll workers. Sumi, a Tommy Thompson appointee, rightly decided that Van Hollen couldn’t bring the suit and, what’s more, Van Hollen’s request is not necessary for a clean and fair election. Sumi’s decision is the right one for Wisconsin voters.

Blog of the Week: Watchdog Milwaukee (www.watchdogmilwaukee.com)

“Darling Robocall Uses Liar / Adulterer to Smear Wasserman”

I just received a robocall (recorded message call) from state Sen. Alberta Darling blasting away at state Rep. Sheldon Wasserman.

The crazy part is who she chose to do the talking: It was the discredited Republican mouthpiece that infects our local radio airwaves, Charlie Sykes. As I listened, I found myself asking, “Why in the world would Darling choose a man who decided that an adulterous affair was more important than his wife and his own children? Why, oh why, would I give any credence to this same man who has been blasting away at Barack Obama for this William Ayers thing that we all know is untrue?”

Judging from the lawn-sign pairings out there, Darling is already in trouble. She can’t get anyone to put up a sign [who] doesn’t already have a McCain/Palin sign up. Now she is actually spending money so that she can make these automated calls using the words of a known adulterer and liar to attack Wasserman.

I’m sorry, but as a man, I think it’s deplorable that Sykes would put his own physical urges ahead of his wife and his children. To me, family is important and, clearly, it is to Wasserman, a father of three, also. Why Darling would cast aside family values to throw her lot with an adulterous liar is beyond me.


“The senator and I are working closely together… It is so encouraging to hear again that Sen. Stevens and I are singing from the same sheet of music.”

—Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, in past statements about her admiration for Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who was convicted Monday on seven felony counts relating to corruption


Perspective, by Peter Gnas


"This lovely truss bridge is one of many built in the early 1900s.  It is located on the south side of I-94 near Highway 100.  The photo was taken as the sun was setting one evening in October."

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