By Jeff Simpson
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
I remember hearing the story of how infrastructure in Milwaukee fell on a 15 year old boy and killed him in front of his family. I remember thinking what I always think when I hear stories of children dieing(especially as a father) of how horrible that would be and how I can not even imagine having to bury one of my children. Which, I would assume, is the first thought of most people. With some notable exceptions!
Scott Walker and his campaign team!
Their first thought was - what can we do to minimize the damage to our campaign and political future.
Walker's top aide and great friend Tim Russell was extremely worried as to Scott Walker's location when the tragedy happened:
[Former Walker aide Tim] Russell asked the email chain where Walker was following the incident, warning “Scott cannot be at a fundraiser or something like that. He’ll be eaten alive.”Fortunately, the Walker campaigned dodged a bullet and Scott Walker was surprisingly NOT at a fundraiser and was able to go start doing campaign damage control within the hour:
Walker's cellphone battery had died; within an hour, Gilkes assured Russell and others that Walker had arrived at the accident scene.At least Scott Walker was alive unlike Jared Kellner who was the victim of Walker's lack of interest in actually governing.
"He needs to lead and be on top of the entire situation," Gilkes reported. "ALL of us need to back him up and ensure he is on top of the entire situation — Scott needs to be front and center for the media.
Yesterday a 30 foot wide concrete wall fell from the County parking garage near Summerfest, fatally injuring a 15 year old boy and injuring two others. This was a case where a death could have been avoided had Walker paid more attention to governing, and less attention to politicking.Scott Walker made this a campaign issue before the body was cold, as he had his campaign staff take over the PR, so much so that the actual Milwaukee County Chief of Staff, that was paid by the taxpayers, to actually handle situations like this, had to re-introduce himself to the campaign staff(in a series of private email conversations).
The parking garage under O’Donnell park has had structural problems for years — almost since the day it was built. Past County Executives have dedicated sufficient funds to maintain the structure and assure safety for the public. Sadly, O’Donnell Park was named after former County Executive Bill O’Donnell who did pay attention to County infrastructure and yes, he did raise taxes to pay for County needs and ensure public safety. It has always struck me as being an unfitting memorial to name an ailing parking garage after a former giant in County politics.
Walker has chosen to neglect the garage infrastructure to save money so he can position himself as champion of the taxpayer for his run for Governor. Of course Walker had to use this tragedy as an opportunity to grab a little media attention for himself. In an interview near the O’Donnell parking garage Walker said, “For me, personally, obviously it rips my heart out”… For a man who has built his career on doing as little as possible to keep government providing services and infrastructure, his claim that it “rips my heart out” rings hollow. With chunks of concrete falling from other County buildings and with neglected maintenance needs, this tragedy was entirely predictable.
Tonight there are two parents who have lost a son because Walker has decided that politics is more important than safety.
Earlier this year, Walker's spokesman emphasized that most of the contact between Walker's top campaign and county aides dealt with "routine" matters.
In the new emails, Gilkes is often directing Walker's county staff on what to do.
Tom Nardelli, Walker's county chief of staff, became so frustrated that he wrote to Walker and his top county aides on July 8, 2010, and felt compelled to remind them that he was still chief of staff.
“Just in case anyone cares what I think as COS, let me assure you all that Open Records Requests will be handled as they have always been handled: Timely, courteously and with the detail Corporation Counsel requires both upon receipt and upon release.”
“Any questions?” Nardelli wrote. "Direct them to me in this office only!”
He signed the email: "Tom Nardelli, Chief of Staff (remember?)."
To late Keith Gilkes was running the show and readers of our blog know who Keith Gilkes is. Gilkes is the person who runs from the press and his one claim to fame, is that he ORDERED everyone on Walkers staff to delete anything that might make Scott Walker look bad in the wake of the death of a 15 year old child.
See these "special people" never ever asknowledged that a 15 year child died, They did not acknowledge that a human being was dead, crushed in front of his parents, and he did not have to be. It was Scott Walker that they wanted to make sure went unscathed, everyone else is collateral damage. What is the life of a 15 year old when we are talking an ascendency to the Presidency here.
Walker when asked softballs about the revelations that we actually have on paper says :
"In the midst of the campaign, I didn't want that very tragic situation to evolve into a political issue," Walker said.
That would be like an alcoholic drinking because he does not want to be tempted to drink. His campaign staff was leaping into action before the family could even be notified so that excuse is weak. We can however take Walker's word that his campaign staff does not run the state the way they ran the county.
In his press briefing, Walker said he does not let his current campaign team call the shots for his gubernatorial staff on state issues.I mean if Scott Walker says it, it has to be true...right?
Another interesting tidbit that came out of these emails, is that they knew that they had an ace in the hole. they knew that Journal Sentinel reporter Jesse Garza, would help Scott Walker get "good ink".
In another email, Russell wrote Journal Sentinel reporter Jesse Garza had gotten a message to him that he was willing to help Walker get “good ink” if the county exec wanted to speak with the reporter.
It takes a very special person to hear about the tragic death of a 15 year old, and your first thought is "how will this effect my campaign".
Scott Walker and his staff are very special.
His father must be so ashamed.
Read all of the emails here!