They say in politics that timing is everything. Wednesday's Wisconsin State Journal, on top of the fold of the front page, asks "Could 911 issue alone sink Falk?"
Unreported, until this post, is The Kathleen's - and Dane County's - continuing nightmare: continued fall-out from the failures of the county's emergency communications center. Brittany Zimmermann's parents and fiancé have brought legal action after her death last April. Now the parents of another victim of the center's malfeasance are doing the same.
A "notice of injury and claim" -- the precursor necessary before bringing a full-blown lawsuit -- was filed against Dane County and, of course, it names The Kathleen by name.
You can hear the parents' anguish in its wording. The claim begins with these words:
On November 3, 2008, my only son, Mark Gregory Johnson, was beaten to death at Lake Edge Park on Madison's East Side because the Dane County 911 emergency center mishandled at least two calls which could have prevented my son's death if Madison police officers would have been dispatched to Lake Edge Park after either of the first two calls to 911.
...I am seeking damages from the 911 system, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, and the Dane County 911 dispatcher who are named in a Wrongful Death Suit, which will be commenced in the Circuit Court for Dane County.
The claimants are Anita Johnson of Evansville, Indiana, and Gregory Johnson, who is confined in the minimum security lockup at the Thompson Correctional Farm, located between Cambridge and Deerfield. The claim is filed by well known attorney Lester Pines of Madison. [Read the Notice of Injury and Claim]
My friend Denny
I owe Denny O'Loughlin a debt I can never repay. Never will I forget his kindness to me in the winter of 2002-3 when I was absolutely convinced that I was terminal. Turned out I had an undiagnosed case of Norwalk flu AND three hernias! But Denny called me every day at work to buck me up and I'll never forget his kindness. That truly means more to me than any political battle, left or right.
Denny was a leader in getting the current courthouse built - over the objections of the likes of Mark Pocan.
Still - I can't help it, Denny - your quote in Wednesday's Wisconsin State Journal sounds too much like pure toadyism:
"It's going to be difficult to win on one issue," said Dennis O'Loughlin, a DeForest County Board conservative who is staying neutral in the race. "(Falk has) developed a very, very loyal base."
Neutral? You're not casting a vote on April 7? You're voting for "neutral?" You think Mistele has only one issue? Perhaps my old colleague is a member of the "incumbent party."
Trains of thought
My friend Dave Keller says he was at Tex Tubb's Taco Palace at the 2700 block of University Avenue this past weekend when he counted eight vehicles pulled over with flat tires. "I thought someone had dropped some nails in the road or something," Dave told me.
No, turns out they all hit potholes big enough for a Texas-sized … well, they were big potholes. Few know it but University Avenue is a county road. Have you driven that road lately? The moguls on the black diamond, expert ski runs at Vail or Aspen are easier to navigate.
Don Severson has the idea that Nancy Mistele should put up a series of Burma Shave signs and strike against what I think is The Kathleen's greater Achilles heel - her fervid support for commuter rail. At the same time, the much-need North Mendota Parkway languishes in bureaucratic limbo because The Kathleen refuses to lead.
Think about it, friends. The Kathleen is backing a $250 million commuter rail boondoggle to be financed with an increase in the local sales tax administered by an unelected board. But hey, The Kathleen is showing real leadership on that urgent priority for a better Dane County. You know it - a manure digester! A project better left to the farm co-ops. Nancy Mistele is talking about better roads - including a North Mendota Beltway.
Dane County is one of the most expensive counties in the nation to live in, but you'd never know it by driving on the roads. Twice a day, the beltline is backed up in both directions, Verona Road is at a standstill and University Avenue is like driving on a washboard. [Mistele campaign: Safer Roads]
You want more issues? Here is Nancy Mistele on another one Falk dropped the ball on. Mistele...
... pledged her support for the life-saving radios as she was joined by area firefighters at the Middleton Firehouse. As she has throughout the campaign, Mistele has declared that public safety will be the top priority of her administration if elected.
"Right now, Kathleen Falk sees a manure digester and an expensive train that few will use as higher priorities than vital emergency response equipment. This is simply wrong," Mistele said, "I promise you that your safety will be my top priority and no corner of Dane County will be left without this life saving service." [Mistele Campaign: Life Saving Radios]