Woe is to Milwaukee County.
Milwaukee County is in ground zero for a three way power struggle.
In one corner is Milwaukee County
Executive Emperor Chris Abele. Abele is a plutocrat's plutocrat who feels that because he got hundreds of millions of dollars from his daddy, he is everyone's superior. He wants things done his way, right or wrong, and he will go after anyone who dares to tell him "no." A prime example is when the Milwaukee County Board changed one of his budgets, he stomped his silk-stockinged feet and paid off some Republican state legislatures to change the law allowing him to consolidate an unprecedented amount of power into his hands.
In another corner is Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, the darling of Faux Newz who has yet to find anything too bizarre for him to utter. His latest and greatest egregious statement was saying that the Black Lives Matter movement would join forces with ISIS in order to destroy the United States. No, really, he said that.
It should be noted that Abele and Clarke are more alike than either would care to admit. Both are right wing nut jobs that pretend to be Democrats. And like the right wingers that they are, they both are austerity enthusiasts, unless it pertains to themselves, of course.
Despite their similarities, or maybe because of them, Abele and Clarke have been feuding for years. For years now, Abele would endanger public safety by cutting Clarke's budget, forcing Clarke to lay off deputies. Clarke would endanger public safety by, well, by being himself and shooting off his mouth.
In the third corner is the Milwaukee County Board, who are simply trying to do their best with their weakened positions to keep the county moving forward and maintaining as much as good government policies as they can.
Which all leads up to the current situation.
The county board was forced to file a lawsuit against Abele because he refused to attend meetings to discuss his proposed 2016 budget, as is required by law. They are also suing Abele to clarify who has the authority to set limits on how much Abele can pay his aides. This stems from Abele giving one of his hatchet men a $50,000 a year raise.
And that is where the inanity really sets in.
Clarke decided he wanted to be as petty as ever and personally serve Abele with the papers.
When the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's political gossip columnist, Dan Bice, probed into the incident, Clarke responded like the pompous ass that he is:
Process servers or law enforcement officers provide defendants with all the relevant papers letting them know that they have been sued.
Since when did the sheriff add this to his list of duties? And, more important, who asked him to do this with Abele?
"The chairman did not ask the sheriff to serve the county executive," said Bill Zaferos, spokesman for the County Board.
Zaferos said Lipscomb's staffers let the sheriff's office know that the board chairman was filing a lawsuit and that it needed to be officially served to Abele. Clarke's No. 2, Inspector Richard Schmidt, then came and picked up a copy.
Clarke then confirmed — in his distinctive style — that he decided on his own to play process server to Abele.
"Danny boy," Clarke wrote in an email, "you are mistaken. NOBODY directs Sheriff Clarke to do ANYTHING. I think you know that."
The sheriff didn't stop there.
"Sheriff alone decides what he does or doesn't do," Clarke wrote. "By state constitution, he doesn't take direction from other county officials and that includes Abele. He is accountable to the voters, the people of Milwaukee Co and they spoke last November by a 79-21 margin.
"Hope this answers your question."
Abele's spokeswoman's response was even more bizarre. In an effort to deflect attention away from Abele's misdeeds, she instead brings up Clarke's bizarre statement about BLM and ISIS:
Asked to respond, Abele spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff confirmed that Clarke made a visit to the county exec's office, though she was intentionally fuzzy on the details.
"I'm not sure whether the sheriff attempted to serve papers on the county executive before or after he called Black Lives Matter activists 'subhuman creeps' on Fox News, or how often he personally serves people," Baldauff said via email.
"But it's probably just a coincidence that he attempted service the very same day the County Board gave him $4 million to spend however he wants with no accountability."
By the way, that $4 million that she was whining about was restoring half of the cuts Abele gave the Sheriff's Office's budget, showing that he puts his own pettiness before public safety.
And does Abele really want to bring up anti-Black comments when he recently said he is "helping" the African American community by improving the jail, boosting child welfare and adding more mental health services?
While all of these theatrics might make a great soap opera, trust me when I say it's not much fun to live through.
Sadly, the next election for Clarke isn't for two more years. We can always hope that he quits to become a full time Faux Newz puppet, er, pundit, but why would he give up a six-figure job that he doesn't even have to show up for?
The good news is that Milwaukeeans can do something about Abele next year when we elect State Senator Chris Larson as the next county executive, a true progressive rather than a plutocratic putz.