Winners & Losers: TCD’s week in review (2/03/12)
This year’s mild winter has thus far resulted in the lowest cost for winter heating bills since 2002-2003. It was, of course, an unseasonably warm January, ending with a surreal 53-degree day. In the month of January, there were more days with temperatures in the 40s and 50s (12) than in the 10s and 20s (9).
2. The power of the post
The Internet erupted in protest to the decision by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, who ended a long standing relationship with Planned Parenthood, along with an outpouring of support to Planned Parenthood, once again, showing the awesome power of the web. According to an article in the New York Times, “The deluge of criticism Komen faced on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr came two weeks after online protests led Congress to suspend an effort to pass anti-piracy legislation that some in the Internet community saw as a threat to online freedoms. It demonstrated again how social media can change the national conversation with head-snapping speed.” In the first 24 hours after the announcement, Planned Parenthood announced raising $400,000 from 6,000 donors, and on top of that, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is giving a $250,000 matching gift to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
A revision to sick day policy was approved by the Milwaukee County Board, which could save an estimated $1 million a year. The change in the policy will put a cap on the amount of sick days that can be cashed in all at once, something that is often done prior to retirement. The Board approved the measure by a 15-3 vote.
4. Fans of the downtown streetcar
The city’s downtown streetcar project received federal approval last week. The $54.9 million plan, approved by the city last year, require engineering to be approved by the Federal Transit Administration, who signed off on the plan. Final engineering on the plan is set to be completed by August 2012, and construction for the downtown streetcar is set to begin in October 2013. In other transit news, 820,000 Milwaukee passengers made the Hiawatha Line the busiest Amtrak service line in the Midwest in 2011.
Felix Ramsey, a 17-year-old a student at Milwaukee High School of the Arts, has been selected as one of eight students from across to attend and perform at next week’s Grammy awards. Along with the seven other singers, Ramsey will participate in the week long “Grammy Camp — Jazz Session,” featuring a recording session along with 30 other student musicians at Capitol Records.
The recall process marches on, and controversy is never far behind. On Monday, the Government Accountability Board delayed posting the recall petitions after domestic violence victims requested their names be withheld. Debate over privacy concerns versus the public’s right to know ensued. On Tuesday evening, some 1 million signatures were posted online, and GAB director Kevin Kennedy addressed the privacy concerns in his statement, saying “These are serious issues which must be given thorough consideration and addressed in light of the Statutes and the responsibilities of the Board.”
Susan G. Komen for the Cure ended a long standing relationship with Planned Parenthood, deciding to no longer provide breast cancer examinations at Planned Parenthood centers. This has created a public relations disaster for the world’s largest breast cancer charity, but has also galvanized support for Planned Parenthood.
3. 550 and counting
The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee filed for bankruptcy in January, after more than a dozen civil fraud lawsuits were filed over its handling of sexual abuse cases. Before a Wednesday deadline required by bankruptcy law, at least 550 people filed sexual abuse claims against the Archdiocese. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Milwaukee victim-survivors and their attorneys called the number “staggering,” although they contend it still fails to reflect the magnitude of the Catholic sex-abuse crisis in southeastern Wisconsin.”
County Supervisor and frontrunner for city comptroller Johnny Thomas was charged with two felonies, one for accepting a $500 bribe in exchange for promoting a company for a county contract, and the other for misconduct in office. Charges come as a part of the ongoing John Doe investigation. Former county staffers Kelly Rindfleish and Tim Russell, who worked under Gov. Scott Walker, have also been charged in the investigation.
An aide to Democratic state senator Spencer Coggs was accused of campaigning while working a taxpayer-funded job. Coggs ran in the Democratic primary lieutenant governor in the 2010 campaign, but bowed out of the race and is now seeking the position of City of Milwaukee Treasurer.