Dimitrijevic, Buresh duke it out in 4th Supervisory District
Political temperatures will be greater than their seasonal average this year in Bay View, where the incumbent county supervisor faces a challenge from a political unknown.
The most pressing topic, it seems, is a ripparian one, as in “water under the bridge,” — the board’s decision to eliminate member Joe Rice in last year’s redistricting. Although Rice is not running (and it isn’t his district anyway), his presence is felt and the battle between incumbent Marina Dimitrijevic and challenger Bill Buresh could produce some fireworks well in advance of the South Shore Frolics.
Marina Dimitrijevic was the youngest woman ever chosen as a Milwaukee County Supervisor when she was elected to represent the 4th District at 22, in 2004.
She quickly established herself as an active legislator and promoter, issuing scores of press releases and attending more than 140 listening sessions since taking office. The daughter of Serbian immigrants also fashioned herself into something of a power broker, urging a number of people to join her on the board, including supervisors Biddle and Haas and was an early supporter of former supervisor and now-senator Chris Larson in his run for State Senate.
She has also admitted to having designs on the Chairmanship of the board, and was seen by some as an architect of the board’s downsizing from 19 to 18 members, effective this year.
That downsizing led to some tensions on the board, as conservative Joe Rice of Whitefish Bay found himself in the same district as the liberal Gerry Broderick of Milwaukee. Rice had sought a much larger downsizing of the board, which he also thought ought to be a part-time position. Rice’s allies felt it to be the reason his colleagues voted to eliminate his seat. Rice decided not to run and will return to private life after the election season. Broderick is unopposed.
Dimitrijevic, however, does have an opponent, as she has had in her previous elections. Her challenger is a political newcomer, Bill Buresh.
According to his campaign website, Bill Buresh, 38, is a force to be reckoned with, a go-getter who parlayed his youthful savings into a real estate and car wash mini-empire, starting at age 18 when he bought his first home, a single family dwelling that he converted into a duplex. Buresh became a licensed real estate agent in 1998; that license is current.
The Hispanic Conservative website ran an article promoting Buresh as a lifelong Bay View resident and Democrat. It speaks admiringly about his self-reliant nature and frugality, noting:
“To keep the costs down, he mows all the lawns, plows all the lots, and does all the repairs himself. … So thoroughgoing is Buresh about saving money, he bought toilets for his rental property estimating the cost by the flush. This is no joke. … New toilet installations reduced his water bill from $1200 per quarter to $690. He recovered the purchasing cost of those toilets in just five years, although the toilets will last much longer.”
In an e-mail to TCD, Buresh gives his reasons for running for the seat, focusing, interestingly, on the redistricting that eliminated Rice, and other causes dear to the soon-to-be departing supervisor, who has about $7,000 remaining in his campaign account. [Editor's note: Spelling and punctuation is original to the document.]
“I decided to run for the County Supervisor position after watching the County Board go thru the redistricting process, as well as the most recent budget. I feel that the County Board did not consider thoroughly reducing the size of the board. In the end the board reduced the seat of the one of the loudest voices for board reduction. I supported the County placing a ballot referendum on this springs ballot to ask the public’s view on board reduction. In the December Board meeting this issue did not receive Board approval and my opponent voted twice against allowing the voters to have a say in the boards size. The County has reduced its employees , no longer has the county hospital, privatized the Milwaukee Public Museum, seen the state take over significant county services and yet we still have a large County Board.”
Dimitrijevic says, “I also view this job as very full-time and always have. … I have heard and seen his literature where he advocates for a part-time, smaller Board. The people of my district deserve better and count on my accessibility. I represent a very diverse district and I believe that my ability to speak Spanish and work in our Latino community helps me to do a better job.”
Buresh says it is time for “bold change in County Transit policy,” saying “each day we lose fares to fraudulent sales of transfers, bus drivers risk injury over the theft of the same paper transfers.” These are issues, incidentally, that have lately been of interest to AM talk radio participants, who are not known for their pro-transit stance.
The unknown’s candidacy and the positions he articulates are derided by Dimitrijevic, who says, “He is a fake Democrat, running on downsizing the Board to 6 and is anti-union. The voters are too smart to fall for this.”
Her statement is echoed by Sen. Chris Larson, who said he also does not find Buresh to be a credible candidate motivated by the usual interests of those who seek a supervisory job. “Somebody is putting him up to this,” he says.
Buresh counters by saying, “I am here to represent the people who call district four home, not some organization that is outside of the district trying to influence local politics.
“Career politicians seem to be in the pockets of some interest groups who then control the voice of the people, which is wrong.”
“If my opponent feels I have insufficient experience then I would ask her how she decided to run at the age of twenty-two. Some people might note that if the only experience one had was the last eight years on the County board, that might not be the best resume to have.”
Dimitrijevic, for her part, faults Buresh for what she sees as his lack of community involvement:
“He is not a member nor has attended any of our neighborhood organizations’ meetings or events, ever.”
Buresh says in response:
“I have given and will continue to financially support community groups. I have donated to the Bay View Community center for 15 years, have given to the Historical Society and the Beulah Brinton Center, and helped support Bay View Bash to be the success it is.
“I have no need to see my name in lights, or be on the podium talking about myself. I like to contribute in the background, work hard and see action. I have never looked for recognition, nor will I start when I become Supervisor.”
George W. Buresh and his traffic court problems
The candidate’s given name is George W. Buresh, although he goes by “Bill.” An analysis of court records shows he has a history of traffic-related stops, bad luck with speedometers and a casual policy regarding paying his fines.
There is a 2011 Kenosha County court case for operating a vehicle without insurance, and a related open case for speeding 20-24 miles per hour over the limit in a 55 mph zone. Buresh paid a $100 fine for non-registration of vehicle in Walworth County in 2008, and an operating while suspended citation in 2007 in Ozaukee County. That suspension was for failure to pay a previous $186 fine for speeding.
In 2007, the City of Milwaukee found him guilty of a speedometer violation, leading to a $130 fine. That darned speedometer also cost him $129 in 2010, while his most recent activity in municipal court was a no-contest plea to a contested $40 parking ticket from 2010 that was settled nearly a year after the fact in August, 2011.
An identical search of Dimitrijevic’s court records came up empty; she has no violations.
Candidates to debate
Fourth District Supervisory candidates George W. “Bill” Buresh and Marina Dimitrijevic will square off in a debate Tuesday, Feb. 7 at a forum sponsored by the Bay View Compass, the Bay View Neighborhood Association, and the League of Women Voters from 7 to 9:45 p.m. at Humboldt Park School auditorium, 3230 S. Adams Avenue.
The first event that evening will be between incumbent 14th District Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski and his challenger Jan Pierce, who will square off for the first hour. Then it’s time for the Buresh / Dimitrijevic debate.
Candidate forum scheduled Feb. 7 2012.
[UPDATED: A previous version of this story said Sup. Dimitrijevic recruited Sup. Lipscomb and now-senator Larsen for the Board. This has been corrected to reflect accurate information.]