January 23, 2016

In Milwaukee County, there is a classic battle going on for the seat of Milwaukee County Executive. On one side is the well-moneyed rich, spoiled brat who thinks he can just buy his reelection. On the other side is a wildly popular state senator who is actually progressive and has one helluva grassroots campaign going on.

The incumbent is Chris Abele, son of billionaire John Abele, who feels that because his daddy is rich, he's better than the rest of us. Abele's five years in office has led to the dismantling of civil service protections, repeated efforts to bust the unions (both public and private), the removal of checks and balances in county government by concentrating power in his hands and the takeover of Milwaukee Public Schools.

Abele was rather proud of his working with the Republicans in the state legislature to make sure that he would become the education privatization czar in Milwaukee. For years, Abele and fellow millionaire, Sheldon Lubar, openly said that they were targeting the Milwaukee Public School Board in an effort to privatize the school system. Now that the Republicans gave him what he wanted, he couldn't stop bragging about how great he would make things.

What Abele didn't count on was how unpopular his takeover plans would be. In the face of increasing criticism, Abele is trying to downplay his takeover agenda. Sadly for him, Abele and his allies keep committing gaffes that reveal that he has no intention of scaling back his plans.

His hand-picked Commissioner for Decommissioning Public Schools, Demond Means, scheduled his first "listening" session at a private charter school. After an immediate and large amount of blow back, Abele and his commissioner rescheduled the session for a Milwaukee Public Park. (In what I am sure is pure coincidence that about the same time, Abele's head of corporation counsel said it was OK to have political events at county parks.)

The real giveaway came from Abele's friend, Republican State Senator Alberta Darling, who coauthored the bill giving Abele the power to privatize the Milwaukee school system. In the video below, she came out and said that Abele is waiting until after the April election before fulfilling his role in the takeover of the Milwaukee Public Schools:

On the other side of this takeover his Abele's opponent, State Senator Chris Larson, (in the video at the top) who is not only standing with the Milwaukee teachers and parents, but is willing to lead the way to taking it to Abele, delivering petitions with over 800 signatures opposing Abele's takeover.

As the gentle reader can see, this race is much, much more than just an election about good government versus a corrupt plutocracy. It is also about the future of our children.

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