In this review of a few select email exchanges from the 300+ page O'Donnell release, I couldn't help (many others did as well) notice how Walker's foot soldiers routinely suggested manipulating a willing establishment media all the way down to changing terms and phrases of headlines and even complete story lines.
A fair portion of the email exchanges revolve around a blog posting by MKE County Supervisor John Weishan Jr. on the impact of $112 million in cuts over eight years by then County Executive Scott Walker had on deferred maintenance of the O'Donnell parking facility. Weishan does not accuse Walker of being directly responsible for the O'Donnell tragedy, but he does make the case that Scott Walker's budgeting priorities fosters an environment of public facility and structural decline.
Also, the massive amount of media manipulation and spin to pre-empt the truth, including right-wing talk radio attacks, and attacks on liberal bloggers from Walker and his staff are far more than I had ever imagined. These idiots give public service a really bad name.
Excerpts from Weishan blog posting titled, "Why Tragedies Happen."
In 2002, shortly after being elected County Excecutive, Scott Walker was successful in changing that county ordinance enabling him to divert millions in sales tax revenue from the capital budget to the operating budget. Over the last eight years, more than $112 million in sales tax revenue has been diverted from capital fund to the operating budget. [...]Scott Walker's diversion of capital dollars is a major reason for the distressed conditions of many Milwaukee County assets, including county trunk highways and park way roads. [...]
Page 134 - July 12th 1:59 PM Steve Jagler of BizTimes asked Scott Walker's people to respond to Wieshan's blog posting.
Page 136 - July 12th 3:12 PM from SKW (Scott Walker) to Nardelli; RJ Johnson; Fran McLaughlin:
From 2003 (actually my first budget presented in fall of 2002) we spent and budgeted more than $780 million on infrastructure maintenance and improvements. We should tell that story.
Still our debt is down nearly 30% by 2012 and our government workforce is down by 20%.
The above statement from Scott Walker shows how he continued to elevate himself politically through the tragedy. In the wake of a 15 year old boy having the life crushed out of him, Walker's thinking how his previous decisions dropped the debt and cut the county workforce by 20% which by the way, supports Weishan's claim that Walker's austere budgeting style has resulted in inadequate coverage of the county's physical assets.
Had Walker instead maintained or INCREASED the county workforce by 20% for maintenance/inspections OR restored an additional $112 million to the capital fund, none of Weishan's narrative would have been possible. They knew they were in trouble so Nardelli eventually gives Walker advice (Page 136) to disregard Weishan and not respond to the request.
Page 155 - July 12th 4:50 PM from Fran McLaughlin to Scott Walker:
Should I change annex "disrepair" to "signs of irreparable deterioration?"
Again, say and do whatever it takes to cover for the kingpin of the operation. The above statement from McLaughlin should be the current Walker's Administration's official motto.
Page 169 July 14th 11:54 AM from Fran McLaughlin:
Press release: County Supervisors question contract awarded to engineering firm. Excerpt:
Milwaukee County Supervisors Marina Dimitrijevic and John Weishan Jr. are calling for County Executive Scott Walker to explain why an engineering company that has donated to Walker's political campaign was awarded a no-bid contract to inspect county facilities. [...} the fact remains that County dollars are being funneled through Graef, which was one of the contractors involved in building the O’Donnell Parking garage in the first place.
In a response to the supervisors allegations, Fran McLaughlin, director of communications for Walker’s office, said, "...The lead firm on the inspections was NOT involved with the construction of the parking structure at O'Donnell Park. This is one of the many inaccurate statements in the release.”
Hours later same day, McLaughlin finds out otherwise ...
Page 172 - July 14th 4:48 PM from Fran McLaughlin:
I emailed Jack in regards to Aaron Rodriguez question about Graef's work at O'D:
Can you tell me what part Graef played at O'D? I was told the supervisor's release is incorrect in stating Graef took part in the construction of the parking garage. Did they provide engineering consulting after the problems in construction became known?
Simply yes. They were brought in to review structural documents when the project was approximately 90% complete. Furthermore, they are the engineer of record for that facility.
In short, Graef, a donor to Scott Walker's political campaign was hired through a no-bid contract by Walker to inspect their own finished work. What is THAT? Patronage graft kickback cronyism? Is there even a single descriptive term to describe all that?
More media inquiries regarding Weishan's blog posting continue to trickle into Walker's office. Walker gave this response to his staff about Weishan.
Page 203 - July 20th 3:51 PM from Scott Walker:
I called him and beat down Weishan. We spent $730 million on capital, did all of the work identified on O'Donnell Park and took down the annex parking structure (which Weishan fought). He is a back bencher who the board doesn't listen to.
Lucky for Scott Walker the board didn't listen to Weishan. But what kind of personality talks about "beating down" someone, whether verbally or otherwise?
RECOMMENDED "Doe" reads:
Blogging Blue - My 6 Favorite Walker (Recent) John Doe Emails, Annotated by G. Zielinski
Shep Ex - Walker Was Part of the O’Donnell Park Coverup
Js Online - New emails show Scott Walker played role in O'Donnell Park news flow
Rock Netroots - Email Dump Offers Glimpse Into Scott Walker's Underworld