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By Urban Media News Staff On July 6 of this…

takingsideschangesIs the Republican Party filled with idiots? Idiots are usually not held accountable for their acts.

Far from being idiots, they are people who should be considered as functioning adults. Trump’s supporters are fanatics and and represent the rabid patriotic white conservative side of America.

Rather than characterizing them as losers who are easily fooled, Trump’s supporters—who amount to at least a plurality of the Republican primary electorate—deserve to be looked at in their own terms. Trump’s essential appeal is based on racism. He launched his campaign talking about Mexican “rapists,” and subsequently stirred up xenophobia against many other groups, especially Muslims. His racist pitch succeeded because the Republican Party is overwhelmingly white and has relied heavily on dog-whistle appeals to racism since the early 1960s.

Trump is appealing to the white privilege class of white Republicans who feel threatened by America’s changing demographics and challenges to the traditional racial hierarchy.

Racism is evil, but it is not idiotic from the point of view of racists. White racists see themselves as benefitting from Trump’s proposal to shore up the old racial status quo. Their value system deserves to be challenged, but they aren’t being fooled by Trump. They know what he’s selling and they like it.

The New York Times study of demographic gives variables that show who the supporters of Donald Trump are:

1. White, no high school diploma — Those who were surprised when Trump won a large share of college-educated voters in New Hampshire and Nevada may be less surprised that areas with the strongest support for the New York City billionaire also had a relatively high number of residents who didn’t finish high school, according to The Times.

2. Self-describe their background as “American” — The sense of American heritage has a strong correlation with Trump supporters, bolstered by statistics about those supporters’ views of President Barack Obama. In September, Public Policy Polling reported that 61 percent of Trump supporters believe Obama was not born in the United States.

3. Mobile homes — Mobile-home living ranked as having the third-strongest correlation to support for Donald Trump, according to The Times. 

4. “Old economy” jobs — The overwhelming majority of Trump supporters earn less than $50,000 and have not benefited from stock market improvements, according to MarketWatch. Trump has blamed their lack of success on bad trade policies and immigration policies that have taken old economy jobs, along with government policies on healthcare, taxes, and guns.

5. Segregationists — There is also a strong correlation between Trump supporters and support of past third-party candidates, The Times said, noting that “Trump territory showed stronger support for the segregationist George Wallace in the 1968 election than the rest of the country, and substantially weaker support for the liberal-leaning former Republican John B. Anderson in 1980.”

6. *Labor participation rate — This variable has a negative correlation to Trump support, but the Boston Globe reported that polls indicate 54 percent of Republican union households support Trump. Still, union leaders have expressed concern about the GOP front-runner, The New York Times reported in January.101916takingsidespix

7. Born in the U.S. — There are few immigrants in the places where Trump has the strongest support, The Times article suggests. Many Trump supporters think “too many immigrants are bending the rules and even have a leg up on American-born citizens,” CNN noted.

8. Evangelical Christians — Support for Trump among the evangelical community has surprised pundits, Talking Points Memo said, noting that Trump’s stances on abortion and gay issues — along with the fact that he is twice-divorced — seem to run counter to the values of evangelicals. But Trump won 34 percent of the evangelical vote in South Carolina, the website noted.

9. History of voting for liberal Republicans — This variable showed a negative correlation to Trump support, which may come as a surprise considering opponents’ efforts to position Trump as liberal. But their ads touting his backing of such things as Planned Parenthood, universal healthcare, and Obama’s economic stimulus package have done little to sway Trump’s loyal supporters, according to Vox.

10. White Anglo-Saxon Protestants — Another negative correlation was this traditional Republican base, which hasn’t showed strong support for Trump. In mid-January, only 5 percent of Republican pastors polled said they would vote for Trump, Religion News reported. Ted Cruz was the top choice in that survey.

takingsideschangesIn addition to filters the City of Milwaukee has been advising Milwaukee water consumers to flush their water in order to clear lead from it before use.

Milwaukee Water Works (MWW) authorities are instructing the public to flush their water before drinking or cooking with it.

MWW states that water which has been stagnant in lead pipes for 6 hours or more is more likely than not contaminated with leached lead from lead pipes, and that flushing it before use ought to clear the pipes of water that is highly contaminated with lead.

MWW suggest running the water until it is noticeably colder. MWW estimates that running your water for this amount of time would cost you about .16 cents.

Nonetheless, flushing the water as suggested by MWW may clear out the water that was contaminated by leaching lead during its stagnation period in the pipes, but it does not guarantee that the water will be lead particle free when you use it.

Particulate matter from the pipe can leach into the water at any moment. One minute your water is clear of lead, the next your water has lead particulates pushed through the faucet aerator.

Nothing is certain when lead pipes distribute water. No matter what best practices are suggested, the elephant in the room is still the lead pipe connecting to the city water main. This is the danger of lead pipes. The poison releases at any moment and is unpredictable.

Houses have different lengths of plumbing. Flushing could reduce or drive up lead depending on where it comes from and size of particle chunks caught in the faucet aerator able to get in your drinking water.  Studies show that small particles of lead in water are equal to a dime-sized lead paint chip.

Flushing, like water filters, does not completely rid homes of lead poisoning still leaving children at risk

You can flush all day and not have lead, then all of a sudden lead shows up in your water supply because of particulate matter being released into the water squeezed through the faucet aerator during flushing.

Also, what child is going to wake up in the middle of the night wanting a glass of water and flush before drinking? As EPA spokeswoman Monica Lee said in an email to the New York Times in a recent article “absorption of lead is highest on an empty stomach and that is most likely to apply to people consuming first-draw water in the morning or after getting home from work or school.” Drinking water from lead pipes is like Russian roulette. It’s only a matter of time the poison enters your body.

The Milwaukee flushing policy is not only a short term solution, it’s a wasteful practice as well and represents once again the lack of planning to remove these lead pipes from our homes thus putting at risk the health of the public.

takingsideschangesMayor Tom Barrett once again is attempting to force Milwaukee property owners into paying for removing their side of lead water pipes. We say NO!

In 1872 Milwaukee code required that lead be used for water distribution in older homes. That practice continued for years. Most older homes built before 1950 have these toxic ticking lead pipe bombs. This is a City of Milwaukee created problem. Mayor Barrett has been in office for over 12 years.

He’s been receiving revenue from water fees and placed those revenues in his general fund instead of investing that money towards removing these lead pipes while he’s been in office. In fact, he’s been recently receiving $12 million dollars from fees collected by Milwaukee Water Works. What did he do with this money?

We can only guess. But one thing is for sure. He didn’t use this money to remove lead pipes poisoning our families and damaging our children’s growth and mental development. He’s known of this danger to our city’s health for years.

We cannot allow the Mayor and his allies to put the cost of removing these toxic pipes on the backs of the poor and families on fixed income. He fights for billionaires and he fights for a needless streetcar. But when it comes to fighting for the health of our city he expects fixed income people to come up with the money to save themselves.

We say NO! Call your Alderpersons and tell them to support removing the pipes and that cost must be absorbed by our government–be it city, state and feds.

City of Milwaukee Mayor And His Bureaucrats Not Doing Enough

“What I can definitely say is the water is safe,” declared Milwaukee Department of Health Commissioner Bevan Baker. “There’s no lead in the water that comes out of your tap. There’s no lead in Lake Michigan. But, we do know we have old infrastructure, not only in Milwaukee, but throughout the state. So, it’s our responsibility to take those lead pipes out of the ground. But, we know Milwaukee is doing all it can to make the community safe. Our water is safe. I drink it every day. So does my family.”

Milwaukee Department of Health Commissioner, Bevan Baker’s statement is completely wrong and once again illustrates the cavalier attitude these bureaucrats have had over the years about the danger lead pipes present to our drinking water. The science proves his statement to be wrong. Just because he doesn’t take the matter seriously and isn’t concerned about the health of his family, doesn’t mean we all should just turn a blind eye to the hazard these pipes present to the health of our children. 

In addition, before the creation of the Freshwater for Life Action Coalition (FLAC), Mayor Tom Barrett also tried to dismiss the fact that our water is poisoning our children.

The water is poisonous to our children’s health. It contributes to elevated crime in our streets, incarceration rates and school under achievement and drop out rates. This is scientifically proven. Lead leaches in our water every day! It is not safe.

More has to be done to stop the health harm being done against our community by these people who fought hardest to get billionaires millions of tax dollars for a basketball arena and a worthless streetcar. The Mayor’s lead lateral budget solution is no solution.

Last week I was invited to speak to a group in the Southside about lead water pipes. The meeting was well attended and became lively when several individuals began to challenge me about the costs to remove the pipes and questioned the danger these lead pipes present to the health of our community.

Arguing that the city’s corrosion control measures were adequate, as one individual argued; he said that the city should continue its orthophosphate treatment because it was working. I argued that the phosphate could not guarantee safe water and that the city could not guarantee that the water is safe to drink or cook even with the phosphate treatment. That having 70,000 lead pipes in the system is like Russian roulette.

Lead leaching in the water can happen at any moment of the day in any of these pipes and can poison an entire family without them even knowing they’re being harmed. I pointed out that arguing against removing the pipes is akin to arguing that because the zika virus is not in all mosquitos, the entire population has nothing to worry about. That implying some families are expendable is inhuman.

Then the issue of costs came up. $1 billion dollars over the next 25 years it will cost to remove these pipes another individual stated. This is true. But this should not be seen as a burden, but as an investment in our city’s future. Lead contributes to increased crime and low achievement in our schools.

Removing these pipes helps to reduce the crime and incarceration rates and will help improve school graduation rates and student achievement. The science proves these facts. To deny this science is akin to arguing against the science that proves our climate is changing. Our investment removing these pipes will pay off in the future.

takingsideschangesWith the growing discussion regarding the question on what to do about the lead lateral pipes feeding contaminated water into over 70,000 Milwaukee homes, the idea of people buying filters to reduce the lead poisoning appears to be catching on with city bureaucrats, elected officials and some not well informed community talking heads.

The filters idea is being pushed because it’s the least expensive pseudo remedy for the city. Bureaucrats argue that Milwaukee’s water is generally lead free leaving the system’s treatment plant, but becomes contaminated as it approaches individual homes that have lead lateral pipes or internal plumbing made with lead.

Another political punt by the bean counting bureaucrats and the cash strapped politicians playing with band-aid solutions to a serious matter.

A couple of points need to addressed about using filters to eliminate lead from drinking water that Mayor Barrett and his cohorts are not willing to discuss.

1. There is no filter that removes all of the lead from drinking water in homes with lead lateral pipes; this is only good for removing some of the lead and is not a long term solution.

2. Children under the age of 6, and unborn children, are still at risk of lead poisoning.

3. The suggested water filters do not fit all faucet sizes.

4. The filters are supposed to be changed every six months, adding additional cost and burden to homeowners and renters.

5. Mayor Barrett is still passing the cost onto homeowners and renters and avoiding any city responsibility.

6. The only way to remove all of the lead from drinking water in the 70,000 homes with lead lateral pipes is to replace the lead lateral pipes, period. There is no getting around this fact!

Suggesting that homeowners and renters go out and buy filters as the panacea to lead poisoning is reckless and irresponsible and is, at best, a piss-poor attempt to appear to be addressing this critical public health crisis.

To say that this is akin to putting a band-aid on a bullet wound is being nice.

The EPA does not test water filters for removing lead, this is not a viable solution

Government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), don’t test water filters for effectiveness in removing lead from water.

Water filters are certified by NSF International, a private organization founded as the National Sanitation Foundation in 1944 that tests and certifies water filters. The American National Standards Institute, a non-profit organization, has accredited the NSF.

What the NSF looks for in a filter is whether or not the filter is capable of reducing contaminants, does not add harmful substances to water, is structurally sound, and uses consistent production and manufacturing standards. The filter selected should be checked for misleading claims, labeling or advertising.

Water industry leaders say that filters meeting NSF certification must demonstrate it is able to reduce lead from 15 parts per billion (ppb) to 10 ppb or less.

These numbers may be good for adults, but it must be pointed out that for children under 6 years of age, no level of lead in the water is safe.

Putting filters in homes with lead laterals still leaves children and fetuses susceptible to lead poisoning

Children, especially fetuses and infants are the most vulnerable, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), because it takes very little lead exposure to damage a child compared with an adult. Low levels of lead exposure are linked to damage to a child’s blood cells and nervous system, as well as learning disabilities, poor hearing, impaired growth and more. In fact, the EPA calls lead poisoning the “number one environmental health threat in the U.S. for children ages six and younger.”

So removing the lead pipes then adding filters that effectively remove lead would be the ultimate way to free Milwaukee’s children from the hazard of lead.

So while the city floats the idea of filtering the water in those over 70,000 homes with lead laterals, extreme caution is in order, as not all filtering systems on the market block lead. The NSF lists ratings on three types: reverse osmosis, filter systems and distillation. It warns that many popular pitcher-type filters don’t meet today’s standards for lead reduction, although they may filter other contaminants.

Why are Mayor Barrett and his Bureaucrats reluctant to even develop a plan to remove lead laterals?


The bottom line is they prefer to spend city dollars and resources on a downtown streetcar, a downtown sports arena for New York billionaire sports franchise owners, downtown real estate developments and downtown’s tourism industry over ensuring that all children of Milwaukee are drinking clean, safe water free of harmful contaminants.

If they were to exert one-tenth of the energy they exhausted on getting the downtown streetcar or the Bucks arena financing deals done we would at least have a comprehensive strategic plan in place to help homeowners replace these toxic lead laterals. Instead we have nothing.

It says that Mayor Tom Barrett and his Bureaucrats could care less about the children of Milwaukee, especially poor children of color!


takingsideschangesDuring his keynote speech at Marquette University, Dr. Edwards called the dangers posed by lead pipes a “government-made problem,” noting that cities including Milwaukee for many years required builders to use lead plumbing. There is no question! Property owners should not bear the cost to remove lead water lateral pipes from their property. Mayor Barrett is wrong.

Mayor Tom Barrett says it was after he spoke with Virginia Tech professor scientist, Marc Edwards about filters, he then realized he needed to make his support for filters public.

I guess if I wasn’t a critical thinker I would look at what I’m about to say as just being an asshole, but considering the fact that Milwaukee has been poisoning our children for decades without so much as a precautionary letter before 2016 addressing lead (that I know of), I’m just going to say what needs to be said and to blazes with how it appears.

So now the Mayor sees the need for filters. Why didn’t he come to that conclusion years ago since everyone at City Hall has known of the hazards of these lead water pipes?

During his presentation at Marquette University this past week, Dr. Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech pointed out that Milwaukee has had a sordid history covering up facts and not being transparent regarding matters related to water lead problems.

Currently, we filed an open records request with the city health department trying to obtain data from the Department of Public Health regarding lead blood levels of children living in Milwaukee homes with lead water pipes. The Department of Health is fighting against us having that data, which we believe will show these people have been knowing for years that they’ve been poisoning Milwaukee children.

Why did he have to wait for someone like Dr. Marc Edwards to tell him he needs filters? It’s not as if the Mayor did not have someone on his staff with national credentials and experience and who understands the hazard lead presented to our children’s water supply all these years to turn to and ask: “Should we call on our citizens to use filters?”

Ms. Carrie Lewis, Milwaukee Water Works Superintendent “was the first woman in Wisconsin to receive the award for leadership and contributions to the advancement of the water works practice. She is also the recipient of the Wisconsin Water Association Research Award (2001) and the Milwaukee Business Journal’s “Woman of Influence” Award in the Public Policy category (2012).”

Lewis is a member of key and very influential national boards and is recognized as a leading voice regarding water utility issues and clean water.

Yet Mayor Barrett wants us to believe that Dr. Marc Edwards opened his eyes to the value of filters, something his water expert, Ms. Lewis, should have been telling him all these years. I’m supposed to believe filters wasn’t an idea to proceed with until only recently–and only after an outside expert said it is. Really! Is the Mayor inferring that he ignored his own inside expert to pursue the advice of an expert from outside of City Hall?

Not buying it buddy.

Lets be clear about something here. Mayor Barrett and his bureaucrats are trying to make it appear as if the dangers of lead pipes in Milwaukee is something new to them. The false sense of security they are pushing by calling for filters to be placed in the 70,000 homes with lead pipes is just that – false sense of security because it’s a short term band-aide effort. They should have done this years ago, had they planned to start removing those pipes.

The Mayor’s bureaucrats have witnessed a major lead pipe issue in 2003 when higher levels of lead were detected in the U.S. population, especially in children, in certain districts of Washington DC. Pipes at that time was an issue when it was found that when the city changed the disinfectant in the public water supply from chlorine to chloramine (chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia).

The rise of blood lead levels in the population then that used this water supply was caused by the leaching of lead from the interior of the lead pipes in Washington DC due to the change induced by chloramine that water utility decided to use.

So let’s stop playing games. The poisoning of Milwaukee families is on their hands. Because of their lack of concern for our health, thousands upon thousands of Milwaukee residents have been poisoned by lead water.

Mayor Barrett illustrates for us the perfect example of government gone corporate and politicians gone cheeky.

Barrett’s press conference was kabuki theater on steroids. First, stepping out of his office, he tells us instead of eating cake, we should buy filters to stop poisoning our families from the water the city is supplying us. No offer to help the poor.

Yet Mayor Barrett has plenty of help for billionaires wanting tax money to build an arena. Barrett on the other hand, is looking at every option possible not to spend money to remove these pipes, in order to protect Milwaukee families from lead water poisoning. SMDH

takingsideschangesThousands of Milwaukee’s residents may be drinking water that is contaminated with dangerous doses of lead. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) knows it; state and local governments know it; Milwaukee Water Works know it. The only people who usually don’t know it are those who are actually drinking the toxic water.

The problem stems from two common practices in which lead water pipes are disturbed because of street construction and a practice Milwaukee Water Works (MWW) does called “partial lead service line replacement”, in which MWW replaces sections of deteriorating lead service lines rather than the entire lines. It is a course of action that can do more harm than good.

It’s scary and the magnitude of this problem is huge.

Since the 1970s, lead has emerged as the most dangerous neurotoxin known to man, potentially damaging the developing brain and nervous system, causing life-long learning disabilities and other serious problems. It has been taken out of gasoline, removed from paint and banned from children’s toys. Yet practices developed to keep lead out of water, under an EPA rule, have backfired and can actually increase the hazard.

The Letter below is seeking from the city to stop partial lead service line replacements.
September 6, 2016

Honorable Tom Barrett
Mayor, City of Milwaukee
City Hall
200 East Wells
Milwaukee, WI 53201

Ref: Request for Moratorium of Partial Lead Service Line Removal – City of Milwaukee

Dear Honorable Mayor Barrett:

The Freshwater for Life Action Coalition (FLAC) is requesting that partial lead service line removal currently being conducted by the Milwaukee Department of Public Works and the Milwaukee Water Works cease immediately.

FLAC is requesting that your office enact a moratorium on all partial lead service line removals in the City of Milwaukee based on the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) view the practice of partial lead service line removal to be dangerous and linked to higher blood lead levels in children.

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study reporting direct evidence that partial lead service line replacements may cause elevated lead levels — not just in drinking water, but also in the bodies of children under 6 years of age.

According to the CDC study, “compared with children who had never had a lead service line, children having had a partial lead pipe replacement were at increased risk for increased (blood lead levels).”

The authors concluded that “the practice of partially replacing lead service lines as a method to comply (with the Lead and Copper Rule) should be reconsidered.”
To see study click link:

In 2011, the EPA asked the agency’s Scientific Advisory Board (“SAB”) to examine the available scientific data regarding the effectiveness of partial replacement, instructing the Board to center its inquiry around five issues: associations between partial replacement and blood lead levels in children; water sampling data at the tap before and after partial replacement; comparisons between partial and full LSL replacements; partial replacement techniques; and the impact of galvanic corrosion.

The SAB submitted its findings in a September 2011 report. Regarding those five issues, the SAB found:

1. As evidenced by blood lead levels in affected children, there was “no demonstrable benefit” in having a partial replacement compared to having an intact LSL, and there is “suggestive evidence of potential harm” from partial replacements.

2. Partial replacements often cause significant increases in water lead levels at the tap for “days to weeks, or even several months,” and there is substantial evidence that the physical disturbance partial replacement entails results in the release of lead particles.

3. While full replacement of LSLs is a generally effective means of reducing lead levels in drinking water, “[partial replacements] have not been shown to be reliably effective” in reducing water lead levels.

4. There is a lack of evidence as to which procedures and techniques might make partial replacement more effective.

5. There is strong evidence that galvanic corrosion (described below) associated with partial replacement poses a risk of increased lead levels in tap water.

Overall, the SAB concluded,

Partial pipe replacements can physically shake loose lead fragments that have built up and laid dormant inside the pipe, pushing them into the water, and spiking the lead levels, even where they previously were not high.
See link to review study:

FLAC calls upon your office to direct DPW/MWW to cease partial lead service line replacements immediately, unless the city is removing all lead service lines from the curb to the home, the work of partial lead service line replacement should stop immediately.

Thank you for your attention to the matter.


Freshwater for Life Action Coalition members:
Mr. Robert Miranda
Rev. Willie Brisco
Dr. Patricia McManus
Mr. Fred Royal
Ms. Laura Manriquez
Mr. Chris Johnson
Ms. Brenda Bell White
Min. William Muhammed
Mr. Bob Graf
Mr. Rodney Washington
Mr. Jesse Torres

Mr. Ashanti Hamilton, Milwaukee Common Council President

takingsideschangesWe have a problem not unique to Milwaukee, but a problem nevertheless. Milwaukee tap water is not entirely safe, especially for children and pregnant women.

We have a lead problem. Milwaukee’s older stock homes are affixed with a pipe known as lead service lines (LSL). These LSL bring water into Milwaukee homes that were built before 1951.

Anyone who lives in a home with lead pipes is at risk. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded in a study that higher levels of lead in the water of these homes have higher levels of lead in them than previously thought.  Since Milwaukee has over 70,000 lead service lines before they were banned, lead is potentially leaching into the drinking water of thousands of children.

“There is no way you can consider water to be safe if you have a lead pipe and you have pregnant women or children under age 6 living in your home,” says Marc Edwards, a professor of environmental and civil engineering at Virginia Tech.

Edwards is the 2008 MacArthur genius grant winner who spent a decade uncovering massive spike lead levels in tap water in Washington, D.C., which was linked to possibly thousands of children being poisoned and the miscarriage rate rising substantially and exposed the tragic lead contamination that caused thousands of residents in Flint, MI to become sick.

What does lead do?

Lead is a potent neurotoxin that can cause permanent brain damage in children, leading to learning difficulties, aggression and high blood pressure. Lead poisoning often goes unnoticed because there are no symptoms, and problems often don’t appear until years after a child was exposed.

“Lead poisoning is one of those silent epidemics,” says Dr. Jeffrey Griffiths, professor of public health at Tufts University in Boston, who has advised the EPA on water quality for some time. “If you’re a young child, there’s no particular reason that you would know you’re being poisoned.”

A problem known for decades

Homes built before 1951 have lead service lines–lead pipes leading from the water main to the home, supplying the tap water. These pipes can rust and degrade, leaching lead into the water supply.

Milwaukee bureaucrats and the Mayor insist that  the water is safe. In fact, Carrie Lewis, Superintendent of Milwaukee Water Works (MWW) and the Mayor state that MWW puts chemical compounds and additives in the water in order to reduce the corrosive effects of water on lead pipes.

However, one of those chemicals is proving to be a detriment to the fail safe treatment the city adds to the water to prevent leaching of lead from the lead pipes.

Chloramines is a combination of chlorine and ammonia and is used to provide increased protection from bacterial contamination.  It is a cheap chemical and the easiest of the options available to water utilities around the nation to do the job. MWW uses it because chloramine is stable and will last longer in the water system. Yet even though the use of chloramine is convenient, it is proving to be a chemical that contributes to unsafe water.

Studies indicate chloramine causes more rapid deterioration of the municipal infrastructure and degradation of valves and fittings. In Milwaukee water the use of chloramine is detrimental to lead pipes or components, causing lead and other metals to leach into drinking water. So because this chemical may not cost much, effective and stable, we can’t afford the consequences it produces.

Milwaukee Water Works Can’t Guarantee Safe Water

Dr. Yanna Lambrinidou, a civil engineer at Virginia Tech and founder of Parents for Nontoxic Alternatives, a group that’s been working to reduce lead levels in D.C. and a colleague of Dr. Marc Edwards states, “The assurances that you have been receiving from your water utility that say that your water meets or exceeds all federal safety standards–these assurances in no way should be interpreted as your water is safe to drink.”

That’s because in a July 2012 study from U.S. EPA showed that the way the water is being tested may be missing the high levels of lead that are actually there.

Up until February 2016, MWW followed EPA standards to the letter when testing water in the home. However, the testing MWW employed before the EPA updated testing standards in February of this year, ignored the fact that in homes with a lead service lines lead can be leaching into the water fairly consistently.

Dr. Marc Edwards notes that testing water in one instance may result in low levels of lead, but can in another instance suddenly spike because a small piece of lead rust falls off the pipe, causing lead level to rise in a blink of an eye without any warning.

Study author Miguel Del Toral, regulations manager for EPA region 5 based in Chicago states, “the public might be exposed to some very high lead levels and they don’t know it because [the way we’re sampling] is masking that.”

So even if your home’s water supply consistently tests low for lead, that can change in an instant, according to experts.

“You can collect 10, 20 samples of your water that show pretty low levels of lead–6 or 7 parts per billion, but then you might collect another sample where you’ve got 3,000 parts per billion lead,” said Dr. Edwards.

MWW states that flushing until your water is very cold will reduce the problem, but the EPA and Dr. Edwards say it will not eliminate lead from leaving. That’s because the infiltration of lead particles can be random and sudden, according to Dr. Edwards who also says flushing is neither practical nor safe.

“If I had a lead pipe, I would never trust the water in terms of lead just because of these particles that fall off,” Dr. Edwards says. “Drinking the water is like a game of Russian roulette.”

takingsidesContrary to public assertions, impoverished, politically enfeebled communities are hardly in a position to refuse water from private water companies’ monopoly because of poor service or bad water.

There can be no talk of privatization during this time of crisis. The focus of conversation by our elected officials and bureaucrats at City Hall must be on the complete and total removal of 70,000 lead water pipes supplying drinking water to Milwaukee homes.

takingsidesThe non-profit group, Public Citizen spearheading the Water for All Campaign, outlines the following arguments why privatizing water is not the direction governments entrusted with protecting public resources should turn to privatizing as a solution.

The removal of lead water pipes has provided reason for private water companies to stand poised to capitalize on the issue. Many of these companies are multinational corporations whose tentacles are probing the planet for opportunities to capitalize on issues such as lead service line removal as a way to profit.

Instead of protecting existing supplies, enhancing conservation efforts, helping vulnerable populations, curbing pollution and raising public awareness, more and more government officials throughout the country are turning to privatization; transferring the control of this precious resource from the public sector to the private sector.

To relinquish public control of our water utility is no underestimation to say that the very survival of our community could rest on decisions being made – largely behind closed doors – in corporate boardrooms and government offices loaded with profiteers concerned about keeping their investors happy instead of serving the public. With each drop of water that falls into the hands of private interests, any sustainable solution moves further and further from the public’s grasp.

Private sector water companies use rate hikes to maximize profits, which, by definition, is impacts their bottom line. This bottom line often comes at the expense of water quality and customer service, but not at the expense of maintaining inflated executive salaries. For the profiteers, handling water as a marketable commodity, rather than a basic human right and a natural resource, harms the poor who are often negatively impacted by corporate profit seeking decision makers.

The corporate agenda is driven by profit rather than the public good. In addition, privatization usually results in the compromising of environmental standards. Lobbyists who represent organizations like the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC), which represents the U.S. private water industry, intensively and perennially lobbies Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to refrain from adopting higher water quality standards. The NAWC also persistently requests that all federal regulations be based on sound cost-benefit analysis, which once again means that public health is compromised for the sake of higher profits.

Corporations that run water utilities cut deals with governments guaranteeing exclusive water distribution rights for decades, effectively making them a monopoly. Once they have secured the contract companies are under little pressure to respond to customer concerns. A basic reality of how a monopoly works. Milwaukee already has a mammoth monopolistic company already, do we need more?

The very structures of privatization encourage corruption. Checks and balances that could prevent corruption, such as accountability and transparency, are missing at every step of the process, from bidding on a contract to delivering water. Contracts are usually worked out behind closed doors with the details often still kept secret after the contract is signed, even though it is the public that will be directly affected by the conditions of the contract. This situation opens itself up to bribery, which, if recent scandals throughout the world are any indication, is not an uncommon occurrence.

When water services are privatized, very little can be done to ensure that the company – be it domestic, foreign or transnational – will work in the best interest of the community. Furthermore, if a community is dissatisfied with the performance of the company, buying back the water rights is a very difficult and costly proposition. Again, the prime directive of the water companies is to maximize profits, not protect consumers.

There is a false perception that when water services are privatized, the financial burden will shift from the public to the private sector, which will save taxpayer money by assuming the costs of repairing, upgrading and maintaining infrastructure. In reality, taxpayers simply wind up paying for these projects through their monthly bills.

Massive layoffs often follow in the wake of privatization, as companies try to minimize costs and increase profits. At times, service and water quality are put at risk due to understaffing. As a result, layoffs can be devastating not only to the workers and their families, but to water consumers and local economies as well.

Once a government agency hands over its water system to a private company, withdrawing from the agreement borders on the impossible. Proving breach of contract is a difficult and costly ordeal. And multinational trade agreements provide corporations with powerful legal recourse.

takingsidesThe Milwaukee Water Works is a leader in the United States and recognized around the world as providing high quality and healthful drinking water. Our water works is a publicly owned utility of the City of Milwaukee; policy is set by the Mayor and Common Council. The utility is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for facilities, operations, and water quality; and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC), for rates and accounting.

The Milwaukee Water Works employs hundreds of individuals paying wages that adequately support families. It tests for unregulated pollutants and compounds required by law and while the testing results have always shown that Milwaukee meets or exceeds federal and local water quality regulations, it still must improve on its testing efforts by creating policy that makes the utility go beyond what the EPA recommends. The problem with our water is not Milwaukee Water Works; the problem with our water presents itself when clean water is delivered through lead water pipes, some of which are over one hundred years old.

Rather than reintroduce the idea of privatization our local government officials should resist such option and not fall prey to the false narratives of private water advocates. It is important that all levels of our government continue to provide funding for water infrastructure so that everyone in Milwaukee and Wisconsin can have access to locally-managed, affordable, safe and clean drinking water service.

Private ownership of our water does not necessarily translate into improved efficiency. Private sector managers will adopt profit-making strategies or corporate practices that enhance bottom line schemes that will make services and affordability to the struggling families of Milwaukee difficult.

takingsidesThere have been subtle whispers emitting from City Hall about raising the prospect of privatizing Milwaukee drinking water as an idea to addressing the removal of the 70,000 lead water pipes contaminating the drinking water of Milwaukee citizens. Such talk is counter-productive and will be opposed if any city bureaucrat or elected official introduces privatization of Milwaukee water as a solution for addressing the removal of lead service lines.

Milwaukee visited such an idea once before in 2009 when City Comptroller Wally Morics, with the support of the Milwaukee Common Council, considered whether a long-term lease of the Milwaukee Water Works is one of the answers to the city’s budget nightmare.

At the time Morics argued that revenue “raised by a long-term lease, if invested in an endowment fund, would generate an estimated $30 million annually, which could be used to partially close a looming $90-$100 million yearly budget shortfall caused in large part by a cut in state shared revenues.”

Note that Morics did not mention removing lead service lines, he was more concerned with finding money for the city instead of addressing the removal of tens of thousands of ticking toxic water pipe bombs poisoning the children of Milwaukee.

Privatization is not the answer.

Given the fact that Milwaukee city leaders have known for decades that Milwaukee has a lead water pipe issue, it is of grave concern that city leaders and bureaucrats are once again whispering about the idea of privatization.

Let me be clear, water is essential for life. But increasingly, this vital resource for human survival is being viewed as a source of windfall profits by privateers working in government. This is unacceptable; access to clean water should not be based on who can pay for it. Water is a human right.

Therefore, standing in opposition to the commoditization of water in all forms is and will be part of our efforts to have these 70,000 lead water pipes removed from our drinking water system.

Corporations like Veolia or Suez – and their subsidiaries around the world, including in the United States – are seeking to profit off of managing local water systems that provide our drinking water and sewerage services. This is a recipe for disaster. Profits should not be the priority when it comes to providing water services to people, but that’s exactly what happens when private companies take over local systems.

takingsidesThe young man shot and killed by Milwaukee police, sparking violence and property destruction, was born in 1993. MPD Chief Flynn stated that the young African-American male had an extensive criminal record. He’s was in his twenties.

This young black male fits a profile, according to studies, of individuals who come from neighborhoods where high level of lead is in the blood of children. Lead is a neurotoxin that causes individuals to do poorly in school and increases violent and abnormal behavior in individuals poisoned.

Milwaukee city leaders have ignored lead toxic service lines passing on toxic water to our children for far to long.

Not soon after the violence broke out in Milwaukee, Johnny on the spot on FOXNews is Gov’na Scott Walker bellowing his plan to work with State Senator Lena Taylor, so that an economics growth initiative can begin to happen in Milwaukee’s Black community. Walker’s plan calls for DWD to coordinate with the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment board.

What a bunch of Malarkey! First of all, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has no authority to get Earl Buford, president of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB) to do anything. MAWIB takes its orders from Mayor Tom Barrett.

Does anyone seriously believe Mayor Barrett is going to just allow Walker to come into Milwaukee to infuse cash to ignite economic stimulus in the Black community? Why would the Democratic Party give the Republican Party a crack at fighting poverty in an area the Democrats control? 

This is just another Gov’na Walker bamboozle to make believe he’s doing something so that he can increase ratings among moderate and independent Republican voters. His game will be to blame Mayor Barrett because he’s (Walker) not getting any support from Mayor Barrett. In reality, Mayor Barrett isn’t about to let the GOP ride into a Democratic Party strong hold and build an economic power base in the Black community threatening Democratic Party influence.

Unfortunately, caught in the middle of this game called politricks, Black families struggling with poverty everyday.


As the City of Milwaukee and State of Wisconsin, have committed 151 million dollars of taxpayer money to the downtown streetcar and $250 million taxpayer dollars for a new Buck’s arena, the call for more police to secure our streets is being bellowed by the usual crowd of xenophobics. Billions of dollars spent on neoliberal development for down town over the past four decades, yet the black community unemployment rate rose during this development.

This is all taxpayer money that could go to city services that could have been spent on replacing lead lateral water pipes leaching lead in drinking water or dealing aggressively with drug addiction and job creation programs/projects. 

The philosophy that poor people are the problem and therefor should be dealt with by adding more police on the streets, is a bankrupt philosophy Democratic leaders of Milwaukee and Republican hardliners have pressed upon the community for years. Do elected officials deserve blame? Partly.

Calling for more police on the streets and enacting policies that remove resources from anti-drug addiction programs and shifting money away from infrastructure improvements, like removing 70,000 lead service lines, are policies of leaders who are inept and lack courage to pursue what Milwaukee needs to create stability in our neighborhoods.  We see the problem and the problem is us! We continue to vote for inept people because they dress well and reflect the skin color we relate too.

We celebrate Aldermen and Alderwomen because they dress sharp, ride big cars and have accomplished for themselves personal achievements that do nothing for the community they represent. Instead of voting for people with real comprehensive plans and vision for improving the quality of life for all of Milwaukee. We vote for them because someone likes them, instead of voting for them for what they present as solid and well thought out achievable public policy measures.

What is the plan? Mayor? Alderpersons? What is the plan to end unemployment? What is the plan to improve the city’s infrastructure? There are none. Why? Because our city elected leaders know that all they have to do to put everyone back to submission is to support feel good measures that put people back to sleep.


8th Assembly District. Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee) is reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to cite “the passage of a bill she co-authored allowing local distilleries to distribute small samples of their products to consumers as an important win allowing small businesses to compete with national brands”.

The argument that giving free samples in order to compete against national brands so that jobs can be created is completely unfounded. Zamarripa’s bill may contribute to increase sales and competition with distilleries, but that by no means implies more jobs will be created.

This is because the store would continue to ring the cash register without adding new workers until such time the volume of people or sales were to be so large that it requires more workers, which has not been estimated.

Second, more sales could mean using up current inventories without having to increase production of liquor. So current staffing levels at producing facilities are not shown to increase. More sales could actually be associated with more alcoholism which Zamarripa has not even considered.

Currently, there is no evidence this has created significant job growth in her district, let alone Wisconsin.

Zamarripa most likely supported this under pressure from the store liquor owners of the south side under guidance from the Tavern Association.

takingsidesWell, it’s the political season and once again and the Blue Dogs are out spreading misinformation about long time dues paying democrat Laura Manriquez – running for the 8th Assembly District – being supported by a right wing private voucher schools group called the American Foundation for Children (AFC). This action was once tried back in 2012 and proven false when Manriquez financial records at the GAB were released and showed no ties to AFC.

Several articles repeated this lie. They were proven false when Manriquez 2012 and 2014 campaign reports revealed no financial or direct in-kind links to AFC; or Manriquez receiving Teapublican money could be found.

But the truth as to who is parading around with AFC can be seen in this video. 10207191411404166 /

Yes, the pictures and confirmation showing Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa is much more cozy with operatives of Walker/Trump’s Republican Party than Manriquez ever was will be brushed off by the Blue Dogs. The lies the rats are spreading and the rumors and smears the Blue Dogs are dishing out against Manriquez, to deflect from Zamarripa’s coziness to American Foundation for Children and her Republican friend, who sits on the executive committee of Walker/Trump’s Republican Party in Wisconsin, will be ignored by these hypocrites.  Note: the 8th Assembly District is exploding with new openings of private voucher schools. I wonder way.

takingsidesSo it was learned yesterday that the city was notified that it would not be receiving a $20 million grant to provide an extension (of the not-yet-built streetcar line) north to the site of the future new Bucks arena.

Nothing to see here!

It hasn’t even been determined who will operate the streetcar.

How is it that somehow the City of Milwaukee can find $20 million here, or $30 million there for various projects, but when it comes to removing 70,000 lead lateral water pipes the Mayor’s people bellow it’s the property owners responsibility. Hmmm…we’ll see about that. I’m looking into whether or not the City of Milwaukee mandated that those lead pipes be laid to connect to the City water mains.

So without the $20 million for the extension, I wonder if Mayor Barrett will just go ahead and create another TIF (district) for the streetcar or move to remove poisonous pipes from our water system.

takingsidesI am not a supporter of State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa. So what I have to say is biased and should be taken as opposition to her being reelected.

Zamarripa has surrounded herself with a die-hard network of corporate democrats hell-bent on achieving one thing and one thing only–doing nothing.

To continue on with her nothing agenda Zamarripa, has resorted in past elections to label her opponent, Laura Manriquez as a Republican operative tied to pro-private voucher group American Federation for Children (AFC); a leading advocate organization for the expansion of private voucher schools.

And expansion of private voucher schools is what the AFC is getting in Zamarripa’s district. In the past few years the 8th Assembly District has witnessed an explosion of new openings of private voucher schools in Milwaukee’s near Southside. In fact, one of Wisconsin’s, if not the nation’s, largest private voucher schools is being built in her district at this time.

Zamarripa will say she has stood in opposition to the expansion of private voucher schools, but a video circulating in social media exposes Zamarripa for having accepted campaign money from leading Republican Hispanics and entertaining visits at her fundraisers by AFC representatives, namely Brian Pleva, a leading figure in the AFC movement. Imagine that, a Democrat taking money from leaders of the Trump Republican Party.

What Zamarripa has not stated about the private voucher schools expansion in her district is how it is contributing to the segregation of minorities in Milwaukee.

The Zamarripa campaign hoodwinked many naive democrats into thinking Manriquez, her opponent a couple of years ago, was part of the AFC anti-public education movement. However, That is a bold face lie. No one can find links between AFC and Manriquez, but they can be found between Zamarripa, AFC and pro-voucher Hispanic Republicans.

Zamarripa’s lack of public outcry against private school voucher expansion in her district betray the teacher’s union? How many Town Hall meetings has Zamarripa put together informing the 8th Assembly District of the devastating effects Governor Walker’s private voucher school program has on public education?

Clearly, the ties between Zamarripa and the pro-private voucher school networks in Milwaukee’s near Southside need to be reanalyzed by sources not tied to the current Hispanic leadership networks tied to Zamarripa; which are compromised and polluted with some racists Hispanics and some Caucasian Spanish speaking allies acting as progressives, working together to continue to segregate Blacks from attending public schools where majority of Hispanic and Caucasian children attend.   

Private voucher schools in the 8th Assembly District are more about separation of the races, than they are about education of the children. Zamarripa has never condemned or publicly discussed this as representative of the district. Curious that Zamarripa sounded off against racism when Leon’s Custard got called out for refusing to serve Spanish speakers, yet sits idle and silent while schools in her district become more privatized and segregated.

Zamarripa not only accepts money from Republicans, she accepts money from corporate democrats who have funded right-wing groups that worked to defeat the Scott Walker recall campaign.

Thad Nation of Nation Consulting and other Corporate Democrats are big financial backer of Zamarripa

Thad Nation was exposed last year by bloggers around the country for establishing astroturf type non-profit groups, and then under the cover of the group’s name, gave tens of thousands of dollars to anti-worker, anti-public education and pro-Scott Walker groups operating in Wisconsin; a very common practice by corporate democrats within the Democratic Party.

A corporate democrat is described as a person, or organization, affiliated with the Democratic Party that is heavily influenced, sometimes to the point of corruption, by big corporations and industry. Corporations and industry that include telecommunications companies, oil companies, real estate developers, insurance companies, big pharma, etc…There also are pejorative terms like DINO, Democrat In Name Only, too describe this kind of political posturing. There are slang terms that also describe this kind of political posturing but we will not bother you with those details today. Let’s just say it rhymes with “chores”.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is one of the groups Nation gave money to. AFP was at the epicenter of the anti-Scott Walker recall battle fighting to get Walker reelected. Nation is a big supporter of Zamarripa.

What Happened to LGBTQ Work

Zamarripa has championed LGBTQ issues since arriving on the Assembly floor after winning her first election. On many occasions she has made clear that LGBTQ issues are her foremost and top priority.

However, literature Zamarripa is passing around in the 8th Assembly District does not reflect her hard work advocating for same-sex restrooms and LGBTQ rights. Why is she trying to hide her role as a champion of the LBGTQ same-sex bathroom cause?

Her attempt to hide her LGBTQ work from voting constituents in the 8th Assembly District is cowardly. Zamarripa should highlight her LGBTQ work on her literature and show the community that she stands for same-sex bathrooms and LGBTQ rights.

Hiding this from the voters in her community, who rarely follow her politricks anyway, betrays a cause she has made her top priority to fight for. In short, not promoting same-sex bathrooms as one of her top priority issues in her literature shows her to be disingenuous and keeps the public uninformed.

Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, at the Republican National Committee (RNC) proclaimed: ‘I’m Proud to be Gay’. So why is Zamarripa hiding her LGBTQ work from voters in the 8th Assembly community?

In sum, establishment Democrats and their allies, along with nonprofit groups that receive contracts through these corporate democratic networks, will support Zamarripa because she has shown that on the education front she is willing to stay in the shadows on the matter of private voucher choice schools segregation, rather than come forward to condemn and say it is unacceptable creating private schools so that brown and white students in Milwaukee’s 8th Assembly District can attend schools without Black children. And it is wrong for Zamarripa to hide from her literature her advocacy work to establish same-sex restrooms and protect LGBTQ rights. The public has the right to be informed about every aspect of the work she is representing us in.