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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.

takingsidesRecently, it was announced that Mike Grebe – the head of the Bradley Foundation – is not only poised to leave the Bradley Foundation, he also decided to give up his delegate position at the upcoming RNC convention.

To be clear, Mike Grebe is one of the most influential individuals in the Republican Party leading the conservative charge across the United States of America. Grebe, together with big donors like the Koch Brothers, are ultimately responsible for placing mediocre, incompetent, easily controllable people in offices and legislators, financing and supporting ultra right organizations; such as ALEC, and finally imposing their own vision of reality on the American people while retaining and accumulating wealth for themselves and in the hands of the few regardless of the negative impact on the many.

Using the resources made available by the Bradley Foundation, Mike Grebe became the lifeline of financial support to innumerable conservative organizations who agreed to impose their vision of America, and directly or indirectly supported organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council – which develops extreme conservative legislation that puppet Legislators across the nation then seek to implement.

Also, directly or indirectly, Grebe has advanced the control of the Republican Party across governors, legislators, at all levels of government.

It was Mike Grebe who propelled to office individuals such as Scott Walker, Reince Priebus, Paul Ryan, Ron Johnson, and many others whose job is to advance the extreme conservative initiatives and corpoarte welfare practices that they are being told to advance.

To sum it up, Mike Grebe, together with other big donors like the Koch Brothers, are the shadowy culprits of the extreme conservative agenda and vision of reality being imposed by the Republican Party and its minions across the entire United States.

This same agenda has been causing the Republican Party to move away from its Lincoln roots. The emergence of Donald Trump as an anti-establishment candidate from within the Republican Party has upset all of Grebe’s plans.

No matter whether Trump wins or losses the general elections, the Republican Party’s mask has come off and the Republican Party as an organization as been exposed as the party of ineptness.

Average Republicans are angry. Change will not come easy for the Republican Party because their masters do not want to let go the practices that have allowed them to accumulate immense wealth at the expense of the rest of the population.

Moderate Republicans across the United States are angry at the establishments rigging of the economy, protecting the rich with unrestricted Tax Credits and corporate welfare without relation to job creation. At the same time radical Republican Trump supporters criticize those receiving public assistance, promote small government while maintaining a permanent state of fear and war that benefits specific special interest groups. The extreme elements of the Republican Party advance policies that prevent upward social mobility and which accumulate capital in the hands of the affluent few at the expense of the majority of the people.

Mike Grebe did well in giving up his delegate seat. Moderate and Independent Republicans across the nation have deeply rejected the policies and candidates Mike Grebe and his power elite have advocated for and placed in power. Mike Grebe knows perfectly well that if he went to the RNC convention he would have likely been called out and he would have had to face the public scorn of the Trump delegates and moderate Republicans as the quintessential representative of the Republican establishment.

Mike Grebe was probably advised that he would be confronted at the RNC convention. He did well to leave the Bradley Foundation as in the future this organization will likely face the wrath of Republicans across the nation for what they have done to average Republicans and the rest of the US population.

It is individuals such as Grebe, the Koch Brothers, Susan Hendricks and others who have placed incompetent yet easily controllable people such as Scott walker in office in order to have their agenda advanced and imposed on the rest of the populations.

One GOP official told me that “Republicans across the nation are revolting against the corruption, elitism, and racism advanced by Mike Grebe, the Koch Brothers, and the people they placed in power”.

When the Republican Party losses the presidency and the general elections, it does not have to look any further than Mike Grebe to blame. Donald Trump is but the representation of angry and disenfranchised white Republicans. Of course, Mike Grebe and the big donors are crying all the way to the offshore bank accounts about this.

The US separated from England because of the elite power England was imposing on the colonies. Grebe’s people seek to do the same as England had done and they have been doing it for a long time. Mike Grebe is no fool; he knows very well that the deterioration of the Republican Party away from its true Lincoln roots has been caused greatly by his actions and money through others. So rather than face the music for what he has done all these years, he has decided to run.

takingsidesOn Friday, July 8, 2016, I was notified by Wilbert Ramirez, currently occupying the property Miranda owns on the 5200 block of south 24th street, of an encounter with an inspector from the Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services (DNS) wearing a bullet proof vest and two armed Milwaukee Police Officers sent by city officials to look into an “anonymous” complaint about the property.

Ramirez notified me that the DNS and the two police officers were sent to the property because the south side 13th District Alderman Terry Witkowski asked that they look into a complaint filed by an “anonymous” individual charging that the property was in disrepair.

DNS informed Ramirez that it was “anonymously” reported that the grass was uncut, vehicles were parking on the front lawn of the property, shingles on the roof of the home were being ripped off by the wind and littering the block, “building materials” were being stored in the backyard of the property and complaints of “excessive public parking” of vehicles on the block.

The dragnet also sought to enter the garage of the property but was told by Ramirez that without a warrant, they were not allowed to look inside the garage.

I have been organizing a lead free water campaign in Milwaukee, helping form the Freshwater for Life Action Coalition (FLAC).

Upon news of the visit by Milwaukee authorities I contacted the office of Terry Witkowski and spoke with a male who identified himself as Witkowski’s legislative aide.

Witkowski’s legislative aide informed me that one complaint was filed over a month ago regarding vehicles using public parking “excessively”.

I sent email communiqués to Alderman Bob Donovan, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee of the Milwaukee Common Council and Alderman Witkowski, a member of the Public Safety Committee, asking if sending armed Milwaukee Police to assist Neighborhood Services to investigate uncut grass, a roof allegedly in need of repair and a cluttered backyard is standard operating procedure and a wise use of police resources.

Ramirez stated that he was intimidated by the DNS and police officers coming onto the property, but held his ground when they started to ask about gaining access into the garage of the home. Ramirez stated that he denied them access until they produced a warrant.

The DNS and the armed police officers left the property without any citations or warnings being issued.

The incident comes hours after an open records request with the City of Milwaukee Department of Health Commissioner Bevan Baker asking for elevated lead blood data for children under 6 years of age living in the 70,000 homes identified as having toxic lead service laterals delivering drinking water to these homes.

The fact that two armed Milwaukee police officers were sent to do a neighborhood service inspection raises an eyebrow of concern. Is this proper use of police resources?


“We have known about the problem with disturbing lead pipes and how that may increase the leaching of lead into the water for decades.” Ald. Bob Bauman

During the Steering & Rules Committee meeting on January 28, 2016, Alderman Bob Bauman declared that Milwaukee city officials should not consider the matter of lead service laterals an emergency. His justification at the time was that the City of Milwaukee has known for decades that construction projects around the city have disturbed lead pipes causing materials in the pipe to go into the water.

Ald. Bauman’s testimony that the city has known about lead getting into drinking water from disturbing lead pipes can be viewed here. His statement begins at approximately 1 hour and 23 minutes into the meeting. The link will allow you to skip forward to that time.

Alderman Bauman’s testimony may provide a brief glimpse into why city bureaucrats and Mayor Barrett’s office are reluctant to send city engineers to the various street resurfacing and sidewalk replacement construction sites in order to formally determine if the road construction is indeed causing lead pipes to be disturbed and if the leaching of lead in the drinking water is happening because of the road construction. They do not want confirmation.

Road construction proven to elevate lead levels in drinking water when engineers conduct testing

In Antioch, located in Lake County, IL on the border between Illinois and Wisconsin, they tested the drinking water in the most high risk homes, older built homes with lead pipe laterals, and found alarming high levels of lead in the drinking water; in some cases lead levels 18 times higher than the federally mandated limit.

They “knew something was very wrong” and were unwilling to stick their heads in the sand like an ostrich and pretend that the problem did not exist.

The Director of Public Works of Antioch ordered the engineers to look into it and they discovered a pattern; they found that homes with higher lead readings were clustered near a massive street resurfacing project. The engineers deduced that the road construction was shaking loose phosphates that coat pipes to keep lead from leaching into the drinking water.

The City of Milwaukee also uses phosphates to coat pipes to keep lead from leaching into the drinking water.

Road construction often shakes homes, why believe lead service laterals aren’t shaking too?

Milwaukee bureaucrats and elected officials seem to ignore the urgency of removing lead service laterals from Milwaukee homes as evident by Alderman Bob Bauman’s comments that we don’t have an emergency issue in Milwaukee statement during the Steering and Rules Committee meeting in January of 2016.

It’s as if City Hall is the only place on earth that doesn’t understand that lead has been known to be poisonous for at least two thousand years.  Which could explain why bureaucrats seem to not quite appreciate how toxic it could be in the smallest of doses.

It was not until the Safe Drinking Water Act was passed in 1986 that significant reductions in lead content of plumbing was mandated by law. Further limits on lead were enacted in 2011.

Because lead is such a toxic metal, it borders on negligence that our city officials and the bureaucrats that manage our water are unable to come to terms with the idea that if road construction projects can shake up houses, isn’t it logical that the same vibrations are disturbing these toxic lead water pipes?

Why did city leaders fail to inform homeowners and renters of the potential spiking of lead in drinking water that these road construction projects could manifest?

The Department of Public Works, the Milwaukee Water Works and Department of Health failed to ensure that families where many street construction projects took place were properly advised of ways they can reduce lead exposure in their homes. Instructions like cleaning faucet aerators, flushing pipes when water has been standing for a long time (e.g. overnight) and using a filter, weren’t provided to homeowners and renters before construction on Milwaukee streets began.

If the bureaucrats weren’t sure if vibrations would cause lead service laterals to leach lead in the drinking water, why didn’t they send city engineers to inspect and give their opinion on the matter?

Milwaukee has a public health crisis.

Emergency? We’re past that.

takingsidesEl corrupto Gobernador del Estado de Wisconsin, Scott Walker, se encuentra visitando México con objetivos de supuestamente avanzar lazos económicos entre México y el Estado de Wisconsin. De hecho, de acuerdo a las cifras estadísticas más recientes, México es el segundo mercado mas alto para la exportación de productos de Wisconsin.

Para el lector en México es bueno preguntarse si Walker es un amigo de Mexico o de los Mexicanos? La realidad es muy distinta a las imágenes y ruedas de prensa preparadas artificialmente a fin de transmitir un mensaje positivo en México acerca de Wisconsin y de su actual gobernador, Scott Walker.

De manera que los mexicanos deben recordar que este señor, Scott Walker, es el mismo que antes de de que fuera rechazado por los Republicanos en su intento de obtener la nominación del Partido Republicano para la Presidencia de Estados Unidos, ganada ya por Donald Trump- fue el primero que siguió a Donald Trump repitiendo su intención de si ser electo Presidente de Estados Unidos, no solamente montaría una pared con México para impedir la entrada de Mexicanos a Estados Unidos desde México, sino también montaría una pared con Canadá.

Este mismo Gobernador ha sido quien ha avanzado piezas de legislación que son claramente en contra de los trabajadores Mexicanos y de otros países en Wisconsin sin analizar el efecto que esto tendría en las compañías que contratan trabajadores indocumentados, en la economía de Wisconsin, ni en las familias en México que reciben dinero de sus familiares en Wisconsin. Ejemplos de estas maniobras legislativas incluyen el que la policía pueda parar autos para chequear si son legales o indocumentados, el rehusar que trabajadores puedan obtener una licencia de manejar, el no atender las causas fundamentales por la que ocurre la migración de personas de países hacia Estados Unidos.

Por ejemplo, en Wisconsin la industria lechera –y muchas otras mas- emplean trabajadores indocumentados; particularmente de México. Estos trabajadores son responsables y eficientes en su trabajo inclusive más que los trabajadores nacidos en EEUU. No fue sino hasta que companias le advirtieron a Walker lo que el ya sabia acerca delos trabajadores Mexicanos que se vio obligado a desistir de acciones contra ellos.

Esto sin mencionar que este Scott Walker permitió corrupción de $140,000 millones de dólares en la Corporación de Desarrollo Económico de Wisconsin, que debido a la falla de su política económica no ha podido colectar la cantidad suficiente de impuestos y ahora no tiene dinero para pagar por reparaciones de autopistas lo cual es necesario para el movimiento de productos en Wisconsin, y que es el cuarto Gobernador menos gustado en toda la nación. De hecho bajo su mandato de 5 años, Scott Walker solo ha producido 165,000 trabajos cuando su plataforma electoral era producir 250,000 y Wisconsin esta a número 36 en generación de trabajos en Estados Unidos

Todos esto el lector Mexicano lo puede constatar por su cuenta a través del Internet ya que esta información ha sido publicada. De manera que el lector Mexicano no se debe sentir alegre de que Scott Walker les visite ya que el no tiene ninguna sensibilidad hacia México ni sus habitantes. Sus acciones demuestran lo contrario.

After the Freshwater for Life Action Coalition (FLAC) raised concerns that construction on Milwaukee streets could be contributing to spiking lead level contamination of drinking water in neighborhoods with large number of lead lateral water pipes, the city of Milwaukee Water Works (MWW) issued notices to homes on south 13th street in Milwaukee’s near Southside cautioning residents to flush their home water system before cooking and drinking water on June 10, according to Sandra Rusch Walton, DPW director of public relations.

The MWW notices were issued several days after FLAC members started voicing concerns about the construction on south 13th street.

The notice indicated to residents that “currently there is no definitive scientific research indicating that specific types of public works construction activities around lead water service lines would result in increased lead concentrations in drinking water.”

That is true. However, there is good reason to believe that lead leaching may be occurring in Milwaukee neighborhoods where street construction is taking place because similar public works construction that took place in Antioch, Illinois, where city engineers were directed to find out why lead levels were mysteriously rising in homes in that city. What the Antioch engineers found is that public works construction similar to the kind of construction Milwaukee is undertaking caused lead levels in water to rise.

The notices sent to residents of south 13th street were sent by MWW as a “precaution”. Department of Public Works spokesperson, Sandra Rusch Walton made it a point to mention that the notices were hand delivered to the residents on South 13th street where construction is taking place between Historic Mitchell street south to Windlake Ave.

The notices sent to this neighborhood are insufficient. More needs to be done to get to answers raised by FLAC regarding construction work possibly causing lead in the water to spike, because of vibrations the heavy equipment on the street is making as sidewalk concrete is busted up into manageable chunks of concrete to be chopped up and used as aggregate in cement mixing. 

It’s unfortunate that MWW does not take a more proactive effort to determine if in fact the construction on south 13th street, and other neighborhoods of the city, might be causing the loosening of prosperous compounds protecting the inner lining of these lead lateral pipes from leaching increased amounts of lead into this neighborhood’s drinking water.

MWW Superintendent Carrie Lewis acted to test the water where city water mains were being replaced for fear of spiking lead levels. In fact a pilot test program was established in order to collect the data which was used to justify the suspension of water mains removal in neighborhood’s with higher numbers of lead laterals.

Before she did this there was no “definitive scientific research” indicating water mains construction “activities around lead water service lines would result in increased lead levels in drinking water” before Milwaukee suspended water main replacement project.

The city should do the same kind of water testing to check for spiking lead levels at these construction areas as it did with the mains removal for neighborhood projects currently removing sidewalks and repaving streets.

If Milwaukee is truly seeking to become the Freshwater Capitol of the World, it must become a leader and set the example by going the extra effort and test the water in these neighborhoods where lead pipes are vibrating from street construction.

Testing the truth about the City of Milwaukee’s comment that the city “does a lot of testing”

Mayor Tom Barrett and his administration released a statement they’ve repeated in the past to the media after local TV news networks covered the FLAC press conference. The city response to the FLAC request for more lead water testing to see if spiking lead levels in homes with lead lateral service pipes along road construction sites is happening in the City of Milwaukee is consistent with past remarks by the Mayor. Here is WISN’s Channel 12 coverage.

That response was, “the city does a lot of testing”. Really?

In a memo from MWW Superintendent Carrie Lewis dated June 8th to Mayor Barrett she stated that, “50 samples are collected every three years for lead. The last testing cycle was the summer of 2014. That cycle did include the pre-stagnation flushing instruction.” You can read that memo here.

Is testing 50 homes for lead every three years in a city where you have over 70,000 homes with lead lateral service pipes “a lot of testing”? This is utterly absurd!

MWW Superintendent Carrie Lewis did state in that previously mentioned Steering & Rules Committee that her department conducted lead water testing on six homes that were along a street construction site; five of which tested showed increased lead levels in drinking water.

So that brings the total homes tested for lead in the drinking water to 56 over the last three years. Once again, this is absurd at best.

If removing lead pipes to reduce poisoning of children is a priority, why no plan from Mayor Barrett?

Mayor Barrett, the City of Milwaukee and the Department of Public Works stated in response to the FLAC press conference and questioning by local TV News reporters that, “The mayor continues to make this issue a priority, that is, fixing the infrastructure in this city…”.

If that is true, why has Mayor Barrett, the City of Milwaukee and the Department of Public Works not developed a comprehensive plan, either operationally or financially, to test the water in the 70,000 homes that have been identified as having lead lateral service pipes; let alone why have they not started removing the lead lateral service pipes?

takingsidesAlderman Jose Perez responded to my inquiry asking him if older homes with lead service connection lines, or lead lateral pipes, to the city’s water mains presented a risk to families where heavy machinery is now pounding and busting up concrete for road repaving and sidewalk replacement. The massive construction project is being done in Milwaukee’s near Southside, in a neighborhood where many homes have lead water pipes.

His response was “… it is my understanding that department (Public Works) staff has prepared an informational outreach effort for that area and are taking other steps to act in the best interest of the public’s health, safety and welfare”.

It is unclear what that “informational outreach effort” was. I’m waiting for the Milwaukee Public Works Department to provide me an answer as I’m in communication with their public relations director. I’m hoping I’ll hear from them Monday.

Meanwhile, I’ve been talking to renters and home owners in the area who tell me that they did receive information that construction in the area (2100 – 1700 blocks of south 13th street) would be taking place. However, no one recalls any information regarding precautions they should take regarding drinking the water during this construction phase.

This could potentially be a major public health tragedy. The city suspended water main replacements when it was learned that construction replacing the mains loosened the lead in these lead pipes thus contaminating the water.

Long-term exposure to lead can cause serious health problems, particularly in children under the age of six and to the fetus of expecting mothers. Lead is toxic to everyone, but unborn babies and young children are at greatest risk for health problems from lead poisoning. Long-term symptoms include behavioral problems, adverse brain development, and anemia to name a few.

I got a sense that the alderman decided to punt this matter to the public works bureaucrats rather than realize the urgency of the issue and deal with this issue more aggressively, in order to get to the bottom of what is going on in this neighborhood he represents.

So did the city not go to these homes to inform and properly prepare residents that live in these homes about the potential health risk the construction on their block presented to the water they drink?

In Antioch, Illinois a similar issue was addressed in a more responsible way. An article about Antioch states:

“The properties with higher readings (Lead) were clustered near a massive road repaving and sewer replacement project. Engineers were able to deduce that vibrations caused by the construction were shaking loose phosphates that coat pipes and keep lead from leaching into the water”.

Since the City of Milwaukee busted up four near Southside city blocks, can someone explain why didn’t the Department of Public Works (and Alderman Perez) simply work out a plan to coordinate with home owners the removal of lead lateral water pipes?

This could have been a great opportunity to help fixed income and low income home owners reduce the out of pocket cost to them to finally get those hazardous toxic pipes out of their property.

In Antioch, located in Lake County, IL on the border between Illinois and Wisconsin, they tested the drinking water in the most high risk homes, older built homes with lead pipe laterals, and found alarming high levels of lead in the drinking water; in some cases lead levels 18 times higher than the federally mandated limit.

They “knew something was very wrong” and were unwilling to stick their heads in the sand like an ostrich and pretend that the problem did not exist.

The Antioch Director of Public Works ordered the engineers to look into it and they discovered a pattern; they found that homes with higher lead readings were clustered near a massive street repaving project. The engineers deduced that the street construction was shaking loose phosphates that coat pipes and keep lead from leaching into the water.

The City of Milwaukee uses phosphates to coat lead pipe laterals to keep lead from leaching into the water as well.

Who is to say that the massive street repaving is not shaking loose phosphates that coat pipes on South 13th Street? The city has not indicated they have done any water testing in those homes, yet any other massive street repaving projects throughout the city where there are high volumes of homes with lead pipe laterals.

If levels of lead spike in drinking water during street construction projects we will not know

Unlike in Antioch, the City of Milwaukee does not concentrate their annual lead water testing in the most high risk homes, in Milwaukee that would be the 70,000 homes that have been identified as still having lead pipe laterals.

In fact the City of Milwaukee, through Milwaukee Water Works (MWW), only test 50 homes every three years under the Lead and Copper Rules set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The last testing was in 2014 in which they used the “pre-stagnation” or “pre-flush” or “end-of-line” testing method (they are all the same thing) which has now been proven to distort lead level testing results.

Additionally, MWW does not concentrate those 50 homes tested for lead on the over 70,000 homes with lead pipe laterals.

For the record, MWW tests daily for water quality parameters identified by the EPA; however that is at the water treatment plant and has absolutely nothing to do with the drinking water that comes out of the homes with lead pipe laterals.

What MWW does not do is test the drinking water in the homes with lead pipe laterals along streets that are undergoing massive street repaving and repair although they are clearly aware that the shaking of lead pipe laterals results in lead levels in drinking water to spike.

It appears the city has some explaining to do.

takingsidesGovernor Scott Walker faces long term consequences of mediocrity. His failing policies of the last five years, the destructive actions that he and the Republican Legislature engaged in, which have hurt Wisconsin keep putting our state in unflattering news.

When first elected, instead of making the right decisions when he and his GOP cohort had the opportunity to grow Wisconsin’s economy, his past failed decisions are now amplified for the whole world to see how he is negatively affecting all of Wisconsin residents; including private sector businesses and his own donors.

In 2011, Scott Walker and the Republican legislature received the trust of the voters on the grandiose promise of generating 250,000 jobs. It was reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Wisconsin placed 31,670 in one year. In four months as Secretary of workforce development Manny Perez placed 24,000 jobs. It seems incompetence is the true measure Walker now relies upon when appointing new secretaries to the position of workforce development since Perez left.

250,000 jobs would have generated a solid level of tax revenue for the State of Wisconsin via payrroll taxes and business taxes; not mention increased consumption. According to Walker in 2010, nothing was more important than the creation of 250,000 jobs! All the promises of jobs to Wisconsin equate to nothing more than betraying the public trust.

Scott Walker immediately after taking office reduced the technical school system budget, without even any analysis nor regard as to how such reduction would affect the technical school system’s ability to generate the qualified workers that would be needed by the private sector from 2011 to 2016. In doing so, Scott Walker and the Republican legislators not only damaged workers but also have impaired the private sector’s ability to compete by not having top quality workforce for jobs supposedly created.  Now Wisconsin supposedly has many positions listed in the job center (100,000 Scott Walker touts) that go unfilled. Who caused this? Scott Walker and his Republican legislatures. The cuts he made to the technical school system budget now show 5 years later a skills gap employers need to fill. Thanks Scott!

Those jobs that have gone unfilled have NOT generated the tax revenue for the State of Wisconsin that could have occurred from the employees and business side. This is basically unrealized tax revenue and it contributes to the fact that Wisconsin tax collections have missed expectations. Now Walker does not have money to pay for roads to support transportation which is needed by the private sector to compete, to transport Wisconsin products and to attract new private sector businesses. Less workers, no new jobs, skilled positions unfilled leaves Governor Walker postponing payments on Wisconsin debt. And he has reservations about the Obama economy…Who will end up paying for the interest on the debt? The people of Wisconsin!

Scott Walker and the Republican legislators gave the private sector, particularly, the manufacturing sector a 7.5% escalated tax deduction without conditions on business expansion, job generation, or wage increases. In return, businesses have not expanded and if they have, they have not increased hiring as Walker is still at a dismal 165,000 jobs generated. Even if businesses were able to increase openings for skilled employment today, the skilled technicians/workers needed to fill those positions have have not been generated since the tech school budget was reduced in 2011, and no coordinated workforce strategy has been planned.

So, where is the money? What did the private sector do with the generous tax deductions? Do not be surprised if they have moved the money to overseas bank accounts like the Kock Brothers have done as shown in the Panama papers! Because surely the money generated from Walker’s generous tax deductions have not resulted in additional investments in Wisconsin by these companies or additional hiring.

Frankly, The tax cuts were nothing more than a payout to business owners for the campaign donations they made to Scott Walker and Republican legislators. Basically, they bought the Governorship, the legislature, and the Supreme Court. The corporate robber barons selected the most mediocre candidate they could find and someone who would easily be controlled and Walker was very eager to be their faithful servant. This is why Republicans across the nation rejected Scott Walker and and are rejecting the entire GOP establishment. The GOP establishment is feeling the backlash they have created themselves by selecting billionaire servants, puppets of the elite donor class who have no regard for the people who voted them in.

Scott Walker has allowed corruption at WEDC ($140,000 million), has allowed the politization of WEDC, Financial Institutions, DNR, DWD and blatantly did not take action regarding the juvenile corrections scandal at Lincoln Hills and now there will be delays to repair roads, a blow to the Wisconsin economy.

The people in Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, and Pewaukee need to wake up. Scott Walker has already lost the support of Republican moderates and independents in rural areas. It’s understood that the business owners in these areas can exert strong influence on their employees to keep voting Republican, maybe giving raises to motivate their employees to vote in the Walker cartel has worked, but rest assured, Walker does  not have your back because you are nothing more than a pawn to him.

Maybe one day the people of Wisconsin will elect a governor who works to advance a great healthcare policy, restores the middle class, and the workers simultaneously, and believes in education. Wouldn’t that be great? A governor  who is a servant to the people of Wisconsin, not a puppet of big donors.

takingsidesA few weeks ago, a letter was issued by the Obama administration directing public schools to provide transgender students access to bathrooms and locker rooms  in which a student sexually identifies him or herself with.

The letter issued by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education directs schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity–meaning a person who looks male but identifies as female would be able to use female bathrooms at public schools.

“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch in a statement. “This guidance gives administrators, teachers, and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies.”

There is no federal law which mandates that bathrooms must be accessible to students of different genders, the Obama notice is purely administrative. While it is not required by law to allow for mixed use bathrooms, the letter does threaten removing federal support for those public schools that fail to make accommodations for transgender students.

However, the federal directive isn’t deterring Republican Rep. Jesse Kremer from introducing a bill aimed at regulating a students’ use of bathroom and changing facilities.

Kewaskum Rep. Jesse Kremer said he “absolutely” plans to introduce a bill addressing the matter of bathroom and locker room use for passage in Wisconsin.

Rep. Jesse Kremer is not satisfied with the federal guidelines the Obama administration laid out in its letter. In the letter, it is directed that when students or their parents inform a school that the student is transgender, the school must treat the student in a way that matches with his or her gender identity.

According to federal guidance, any student — transgender or not — can ask for additional privacy options, and schools are free to put increased privacy measures in place within shared facilities.

The federal letter doesn’t carry the force of law, but implies that schools that do not follow the administration’s guidelines will risk losing federal funding.

Kremer said the administration’s letter doesn’t change anything in his eyes. He said he’s most concerned not with bathrooms, but with locker rooms and changing facilities.

A conservative Christian group Wisconsin Family Action, which worked with Kremer on his bill, said that the federal guidance puts students in danger.

WFA executive director Julaine Appling said the letter “puts a price tag” on the privacy and safety of students, particularly female students.

“This puts the privacy rights, safety and well-being of all students at risk. And what about girls who have been sexually assaulted? This decree says their fears are meaningless and should not be considered,” Appling said in a statement. “At a time when our society is decrying campus and date rape and rails against a so-called ‘war on women,’ you would think the government wouldn’t be interested in putting these women in situations that could easily re-traumatize them.”

State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, will be standing against the Kremer bill.

Zamarripa said Kremer’s transgender “bathroom bill” is more about ensuring that non-transgender students are not made to feel uncomfortable.

“Many of these same opponents have equated transgender citizens with pedophiles and other sex offenders with absolutely no evidence,” Zamarripa said in a statement. “Their sweeping generalizations and attempts to write their bigotry into law only further demonstrate the need for the government to protect transgender students’ rights”.

I’m sure that there are plenty of efforts being made to ensure transgender students are having their issues addressed, and the concerns of those supporting Rep. Jesse Kremer’s bathroom bill not get Medieval.

On the flip side, you have to give it to those Republicans. They sure know how to stir the pot with issues like this bathroom bill. To bad the democrats haven’t a clue on what needs to be done to stir up excitement.

takingsidesBy Andrew J Petto, PhD

Guest Columnist

Lead exposure is a serious problem, but the attention that the situation in Flint, Michigan, has had one good result: more people are thinking and concerned about exposure to lead, and more people are organizing to find solutions for their own communities. Though we have succeeded in stopping new lead from entering the environment, there are many ways that we can be exposed to lead was in use before changes that removed lead from gasoline, paints, pipes and plumbing fixtures, the solder used in electronics and plumbing, and so on.

What is lead and where do we find it?

Lead is a naturally occurring metal. Because it is relatively soft and because it combines easily with other metals and often lowers their melting points, it has been in use by humans for thousands of years. In fact, the word “plumbing” comes from the Latin word for lead: plumbum. In Wisconsin, the original Wisconsin “badgers” were lead miners in the southeastern part of the state, where lead ore deposits are quite extensive, giving us place names like Mineral Point (and Galena, Illinois).

In its natural state, lead is rarely much of a threat to human health, and most of the danger to human health is from lead products in the environment that are the result of human use of lead in various products and chemical processes The World Health organization coordinates international efforts to control and reduce lead exposure, and provides this summary:

More than three quarters of global lead consumption is for the manufacture of lead-acid batteries for motor vehicles. Lead is, however, also used in many other products, for example pigments, paints, solder, stained glass, crystal vessels, ammunition, ceramic glazes, jewelry, toys and in some cosmetics and traditional medicines. Drinking water delivered through lead pipes or pipes joined with lead solder may contain lead. Much of the lead in global commerce is now obtained from recycling.

The European water-treatment company Lenntech tells us that various lead compounds can enter the environment and can enter the body from air, water, and food (Read more In the case of drinking water, lead compounds are more likely to enter the water supply from pipes, solder, and fixtures is the water is acidic—and this seems to be one of the big problems in the water crisis in Flint. We also know that lead compounds in the soil and in dust can continue to be a problem, even long after lead in paints and fixtures has been eliminated.

Although paint has been removed from some of the more common sources, such as paints and gasoline, the possible lead exposure from public water supplies was received less attention. The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reports that the US Environment Protection Agency has identified over 70,000 lead service lines in Milwaukee’s public water system (Read more, where they also report that 60% of Wisconsin’s children known to have lead poisoning live.. Although a lot of the effort in preventing and controlling lead poisoning—particularly in children—has focused on lead in household sources, there is much less attention on lead in the public water supply.

What does lead do in the body?

The same thing that makes lead useful in making a wide variety of products is what is responsible for its effects on the body: it combines readily with many other chemicals. In the body, it can bind to the hemoglobin in the blood, it can replace calcium in important compounds throughout the body, with specific effects on the heart and blood vessels, bone, and the brain and nerves (details can be found here:

For most people, lead is absorbed and stored in the bone. This is one way that the body tries to protect itself from the adverse effects of lead. The problem is that lead can be released from the bone for many years after the initial exposure.

Because calcium is necessary for the proper function of muscles, nerves, and many other essential biochemical reactions in the body, lead can interfere with these functions in people of all ages. We are most concerned, of course, with the effects of lead on the nervous system in children. The World Health Organization (see below) emphasizes that children can absorb 4‒5 times as much lead as adults, even when they are exposed to the same levels in the environment. Many of the lead prevention and control programs are concerned with limiting children’s exposure because of the effects on the brain and nervous systems, as well as on the bones, but adults can also suffer effects from continued exposure.

How much lead is safe?

The World Health Organization reports that there is no known safe level of lead concentrations in the body (see below). However, many research and clinical studies show that blood levels above 10μg/dL (or about the same as 1/1000 of an ounce in an 8-ounce glass of water) cause serious problems in the function of nerves, the formation of blood cells, energy production in the cells, kidney function, and both and female male reproductive function. Higher concentrations, of course, lead to more and more serious problems.

Programs aimed at reducing lead exposure have been successful, but there is a lot of residual lead in some unexpected places. For example, much of the research literature points to lead consumption from fish and wild game. This may occur directly from the use of lead in bullets and bird shot, or indirectly in accumulations from wastewater discharge. Lead dust can also settle in waterways or on plants, and then be absorbed and accumulated in wild or domestic animals that we consume.

Getting the lead out

A comprehensive lead control and reduction program will need to consider all these sources of lead exposure. The importance of particular sources may be different for different populations. In an urban setting, paints, industrial by-products, and water mains could be the the most critical areas to focus attention. In rural or suburban areas, other sources could present more of a threat.

Because we know that lead poisoning is a life-long effect of exposure, even if we were able to remove all the lead in the environment in the next six months, we would still be dealing with the effects for a whole generation. But by focusing carefully on the sources of lead that pose the greatest risk to a community and reducing or removing those sources in order of the size of their effects, it is possible to reduce this risk to health significantly. We did this in removing lead from house paints and gasoline, and the effects were dramatic. The next logical step is obviously in water service lines, plumbing, and fixtures. But even that is just the beginning. The greater threat is from the lead that remains in the environment in our soil, food, and water.

Want more information?

Try these sources:

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Lead-Safe Wisconsin site:

2014 Report on Childhood Lead Poisoning in Wisconsin:

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Lead information:

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Effects of Lead:

World Health Organization, Health Effects of Lead:

US Consumer Product Safety Commission, sources of lead in your home: furnishings decorations/426protectyourfamilyfromleadinyourhome.pdf

Mayo Clinic Lead Exposure page:

Mayo Clinic Lead Poisoning page:

WebMD Lead Exposure Page:

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, lead in drinking water reports:

Report of WUWM’s Lake Effect Program:

Andrew Petto is a bioanthropologist and a senior lecturer in Anatomy and Physiology at the Department of  Biological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He is currently coordinator of Wisconsin Citizens for Science and the state liaison for the National Center for Science Education.