As I've mentioned before, the one thing about these events is that it's never the same from week to week. This one was no different. Not only was there a lot of food to digest, there was a lot of food for thought that needs to be digested as well.
When I arrived, I noticed that the parking lot was pretty empty. I was disappointed, but not too surprised. Lots of people have holiday parties and are getting ready for Christmas.
Probably a bigger factor was the fact that the horrible events in Newton, Connecticut put a damper on everyone's mood. It's hard to make it through the day after something like this, much less go out once you get home.
But there were still a fair number of us there and once again, I came away amazed at the good in people, especially after the day's news.
Even before I made it into the Hall, I saw the dashing Randy "Ironstache" Bryce and his even more dashing son in the parking lot. We chatted excitedly about next week's Ultimate Solidarity Fish Fry as well as the other news of the day.
I had the pleasure of meeting Andy, the author of Wisconsin's Soap Box (now added to the Royal Blogroll). He's new to Milwaukee and decided to use that to his advantage by taking on a new angle to the fish fry. His observations from sitting in the non-union section are quite interesting:
After some reflection, it was easily detected who the professional and veteran staff was from the inexperienced more recent hires just working it as "a job." Maybe it was just my experience, and there's no denying that I'm viewing the situation through my own biased lens, but I could easily see the professional union staff working 10 times as hard as their non-union coworkers. I saw them working hard and being speedy with every request while maintaining a professional demeanor and personable smile. On the contrary, the non-union waiters were slow, cold, and apathetic to my dining experience. I was never once asked how my meal was, given a run-down of the dining options, or checked on to see if I needed anything additional.But do make sure you read the whole thing. It is rather well written and it is a rather accurate description of things.
I will be back to Serb Hall. The fish itself was quite good and the price for the meal is still very good. However, I will be specifically requesting one of the waitresses I saw across the room who made their guests feel right at home. Next time, I will be looking for the union label, and with good reason. My non-union experience seemed sub par to that of others.
I also had seen members of the Progressive Democrats of America and had the pleasure of meeting two of my 4.3 readers.
I had the honor of dining with State Representative Chris Sinicki, John Pokrandt and Kelley Albrecht. The conversation was lively and ranged from political gossip to the events of the day to adventures in campaigning and some of the weird things we've come across.
And through the various conversations I've had, I learned many things (all of which I will expand on in later posts), but just to give you a heads up:
- Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is still planning to go ahead with his ill-advised plan to further disrespect the voters by downsizing the board. He will do so with the aid of his buddy, Representative Elect Joe Sanfelippo, whose claim to fame is abdicating his duties and profiteering off the county through his taxi company. True to their nature though, they are doing it wrong and it will end up failing after costing taxpayers untold fortunes in legal fees as it's fought out in court.
- Besides the Right to Woe law, the selling out of our state to Gogebic Taconite, eliminating same day registration and other non-job focused laws, Assemblywoman Sinicki said that they are going after unemployment compensation again. If you thought what they did the first time was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet. For example, unemployment claimants would have to wait six weeks before receiving their first check. This bill is set to go on day one. I'll share more as soon as I get more information.
- I have also heard that it's increasingly unlikely that the Honorable Maryann Sumi will run for the Supreme Court, confirming what Brew City Brawler had already reported. While Sumi would have made a fine justice, I still prefer Ed Fallone.
Best of all, we were able to all help each other cope with the day's news by sharing our grief and our sadness and leaning on each other. It's amazing what miracles a hug can do for a soul.
Remember that next week we will be hosting some of the Palermo's workers, who stand in solidarity with the Serb Hall union workers. But to make this successful, we need your help. Please help out by donating generously to the Palermo's fund. It's a great way to show your support for both groups, especially if you're not able to make it to a fish fry.