Guest opinion: The state outside Milwaukee County

August 14 must have been a slow news day for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. In an article titled, “Neumann stops blasting Walker,” their reporter used 30 column inches to infer that the primary election to be held September 14 had already been decided in Walker’s favor.

The Journal-Sentinel bolsters its opinion by credible sources such as Joe Heim, a political scientist at UW-Lacrosse; Jennifer Duffy, an editor of the Cook Political Report; Keith Gilkes, Walker’s campaign manager; and Republican strategist, Mark Graul. (Graul ran the unsuccessful campaign of Mark Green against Jim Doyle.)

The problem with all of this speculation is that it leads voters to stay away from the polls. Why bother if the campaign is already over? I am sure that it will be followed by the obligatory editorial shortly before the election urging people to vote.

Having served 12 years as the first Fond du Lac County Executive, 9 years as a county supervisor, and 1 year on the City Council, I am fairly familiar with the political arena. That arena would be significantly improved if the media would concentrate on the records of each candidate, their experience in the public and private sector, their education, and their plans for governing the state if they are elected, not in in the words of their campaign managers , but in their own words – direct quotations which tell us how they think, and whether or not we might agree with their priorities.

(August 29, Journal-Sentinel) This time it’s 75 column inches of rehash.

Instead of concentrating on the similarities of the candidates’ promises, reporters would do the public a real service if they concentrated on what the record indicates on how well they have managed their jobs in the past. Records don’t lie. Gimmicks don’t serve any purpose except to muddy the water. Who cares what the governor eats for lunch?

Ninety percent of the people in Wisconsin live outside Milwaukee County so they probably are not aware of the series of events in Milwaukee County government which testify to its mismanagement by Scott Walker, the County Executive. Even the Journal-Sentinel in an editorial (August 27) said, “Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker needs to clean house at the county’s Mental Health Complex to protect patients. His actions so far have been inadequate.” “Inadequate” is a charitable description considering that the problem goes back at least three years. Now the county is paying a high-priced attorney to try to limit the lawsuits. Add the $300,000 backlog in maintenance and the cost of the engineering firm which has been hired to inspect the buildings for safety and you have a pretty good illustration of how Scott Walker has managed Milwaukee County.

On the campaign trail, Walker has boasted about how he has “reformed” Milwaukee County. If he were our county executive, I’d be circulating a petition for his recall.

As an independent fiscal conservative who votes for the person, not the party, I plan to vote for Mark Neumann, whom I consider the best qualified candidate for governor because of his management skills in both the public and private sectors. It is my opinion that professional politicians got us into this mess.

Whichever candidate you prefer, remember to vote in this very important primary election September 14. The people’s choice is what democracy is all about. If we don’t vote, we deserve what we get.

M. Anita Anderegg

(From Cindy) Obviously, the experts might be mistaken.