Thursday, January 29, 2015


By Dominique Paul Noth

I just wasted 10  minutes reading the Darling-Kooyenga New Opportunities for Milwaukee legislative proposal in its slick 25-page  brochure presentation I fear was paid for with taxpayer money, money that could probably have fed a few hundred people. 

You know, the plan dumped in surprise on city leaders about how to take over Milwaukee education and create corporate tax free zones. It was not shared with MPS leaders and teachers. It makes it seem as if these two legislators bled their feet in the snow dragging their tired dutiful suburban GOP bodies from black house to house to understand the inner city, never pausing on their rounds to talk to anyone who remembers them -- and never, as far as I can tell, with people who have children in public schools or families that really wanted to chat about the poverty destroying their neighborhoods.

It has the further audacity to drag in a failure as proof of success. That being New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina when water destruction of public buildings  and desperation to lure hundreds of fleeing families back led to private takeover of public education and two-year teachers to replace dedicated career teachers.  Even an Arkansas newspaper blogger who wants to chance a similar experiment in Little Rock has labeled the New Orleans takeover a spectacular failure and many other reports suggest that it has forced gentrification, bad test results and seems a major contributor to New Orleans’ turtle return to size, normalcy and family attracting  roots.

Wisconsin Jobs Now pokes needed fun at the bill's authors.
In sum, it was a lousy example and typical of the frequent Darling political ploy of warning about Armageddon -- citing a proven natural disaster as a suggestion that leftist disasters are heading Milwaukee’s way unless she is listened to, ignoring the proven progress all around from that – gasp! – more liberal and consulting-minded local government.

But it also typically tries to overwhelm readers with photo-rich packaging and tables of statistics misapplied. Get past all that and there ain’t much there there.

Then I wasted another minute reading a Journal Sentinel editorial pleading with me not to dismiss the Darling-Kooyenga ideas out of hand, arguing there are a few germs in there, though I found many germs.

The editorial implies that if a bill is written up in fancy brochure fashion by two nonresidents of the city from the power party that controls the Madison legislature and probably can push it through, I should just roll over and beg them to stroke my tail. I shouldn’t be suspicious that their bill is written for reasons as clearly partisan as the effort to shunt aside the most respected veteran justice on the state supreme court.

The editorial warns me openly.  I shouldn't respond with awareness and anger of the partisan motivations, since the editorial writers at JS have clearly risen high above contemplating the true intentions behind the bill to pretend to discuss ideas as if the authors did not have a hidden agenda  in proposing loss of local control of schools for the state’s only minority-majority city and giving a free ride to corporate businesses. 

Please, no partisan sniping, the editorial tells me, just dismiss the ideas that are bad.  I’ll give them one half of their wish.  I dismiss. But I intend to snipe.

About the author: Noth has been  a professional journalist since the 1960s, first as national, international and local news copy editor at The Milwaukee Journal, then as an editor for its famous entertainment Green Sheet, also  for almost two decades the paper’s film and drama critic. He also created its Friday Weekend section and ran Sunday TV Screen magazine and Lively Arts as he became the newspaper’s senior feature editor. He was tapped by the publishers of the combining Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for special projects and as first online news producer before voluntarily departing in the mid-1990s to run online news seminars and write on public affairs and Internet and consumer news. From 2002 to 2013 he ran the Milwaukee Labor Press as editor. It served as the Midwest’s largest home-delivered labor newspaper, with archives at  In that role he won top awards yearly until the paper stopped publishing in 2013. His investigative pieces and extensive commentaries are now published by several news outlets as well as his culture and politics outlets known as Dom's Domain.  He also reviews theater for and movies at domsdomain.

1 comment:

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