Sunday, July 21, 2013

Chris Abele vs. Residency Requirements

On Friday, Politifact took a look at Chris Abele's ever-changing positions on the residency rule.  After laying out a timeline of all the different positions Abele has taken, they come to this conclusion:
With Abele’s apparent blessing, a County Board committee on June 14, 2013 approved the resolution opposing the state move to prohibit local units of government, including Milwaukee County, from requiring residency requirements.

Milwaukee County, as well as all other local units of government, "should retain the right to determine residency restrictions as deemed most effective for each particular community," the resolution stated.

Abele "has no issues with this resolution," his deputy chief of staff, John Zapfel, told the committee before its vote.

Asked by County Supervisor David Cullen if that meant Abele would sign it, Zapfel said: "That is my understanding, correct."

Cullen told us Abele "had a chance to lend his voice to those who were asking Scott Walker to veto it. He chose not to. It was disappointing."

Abele returned the resolution unsigned on July 9, 2013, catching Barrett by surprise, the mayor’s spokeswoman, Jodie Tabak, told us.

The county executive’s message to the County Board did not discuss the merits of Walker’s move; rather, it said he was returning it unsigned because the state budget was complete and the prohibition was taking effect.

We asked Abele why he didn’t sign the resolution after his aide assured supervisors he would.

Abele said Zapfel may not have been given a clear idea of his position.

Abele told us he spoke out in support of retaining residency only in the context of public safety workers in Milwaukee. He said he was responding to the passionate stance taken by political ally Barrett and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn.

We found no record of Abele parsing the issue that way during the five-month lobbying campaign by Barrett. Walker’s proposal was to eliminate the rules statewide, not just for Milwaukee.

Our rating

Abele’s statements and actions don’t constitute a full flip-flop, in our view. He clearly has some misgivings about residency rules for Milwaukee County government, so leaving the file unsigned is not a major reversal.

Still, his actions and words have been inconsistent, to the point where both his political friends and his frequent foes on the County Board were taken aback by his withdrawal from the fight as the legislative battle drew to a close in June.

Indeed, if Abele had the nuanced position he says he did, it was so closely held that even one of his top aides apparently was completely unaware of it.

The Flip-O-Meter defines a half Flip as a partial change of position or inconsistent statements. That’s what we rate this one.
As is the norm for the corporate media, they give the Emperor a light slap on the wrist, even though they show that Abele's been turning like a plane propeller on the issue.

The telling part of the cited section is not just that Abele is being his usual hypocritical self, but the alacrity he shows in throwing one of his top aides under the bus. Then again, I pointed Abele's tendency to do this months ago:
For those who support Abele's power grab:

Take a few minutes to think about how Abele has treated other people who also supported him and was much closer to him than you are. Think about the way he suddenly stabbed the backs of Sue Black, Frank Busalacchi, Paula Lucey and most recently, Jim Burton. And let's not forget that County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and Supervisor John Weishan both endorsed and supported Abele when he first ran for county executive.

Yet Abele has thrown all of these people under the proverbial bus.

So if he will stab his closes supporters in the back without hesitation, what makes you think he won't do the same to you?
Yet, after one betrayal after another, people still flock to him, not even looking for the knife. Then again, Abele's supporters can present as a real head scratcher.

1 comment:

  1. capper, thanks.

    Had forgotten that Dimitrijevik and Weishan had supported Mr. Abele.