Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mark Borkowski's Tacky (And Possibly Illegal) Mailers

In May, Milwaukee Alderman Joe Dudzik died in a motorcycle accident.  A special election was called to fill his seat for the remainder of his term.  There were seven candidates that filed for the primary.

State Senator Tim Carpenter and Milwaukee County Supervisor Mark Borkowski won to go on the general election.

Being a resident of that district, I was planning on voting for Carpenter, as I did in the primary.  Carpenter has been a strong advocate for the citizens in his district and a strong supporter of working people. This is why Carpenter earned the endorsement of many labor groups, including AFSCME and the Milwaukee Area Labor Council.

But even if I was in doubt of whom to vote for, two recent mailers from Borkowski would have pushed me into Carpenter's camp.

In one mailer from Borkowski, he attacked Carpenter, Mayor Tom Barrett and the streetcar project.  Keep in mind that Borkowski has long held that the money for the streetcar should be used for something else, even though it would be illegal to do so.  One might think that a lawmaker like Borkowski should know the law, but he is Republican so he apparently thinks, like many of his fellow Republicans, laws don't apply to him.

But when one just looks at the mailer pictured below, one can see even more problems:

The first thing one notices about this mailer is the adolescent way Borkowski put the red circles around Carpenter and Barrett.

The next thing is that there are three other people in that picture.  Those three people are private citizens and happen to be friends of mine.  I know that none of them gave Borkowski permission to use their images in his campaign literature.

Now, I am not a lawyer and don't play one on the internet, but this could be an infringement of my friend's privacy.  And even if Borkowski didn't do anything illegal, per se, he showed great tackiness and tactlessness in using their images without even the common courtesy of asking their permission.

But there's more.  There's always more.

On the same day that the above mailer arrived, I also received this one:

The two women in this picture is Dudzik's mother and his wife.  The man hasn't been gone for three months and he is exploiting them for his political gain?! Talk about tacky and tasteless!

Then again, I had heard that Borkowski was already going to Dudzik's family the same week he died - before any special election was announced - badgering them for their support.  So tastelessness is nothing new for Borkowski.

Add to all of this the fact that Borkowski had announced that he was going to retire and not run in anymore elections.  When confronted on that, Borkowski readily admitted that he is only doing it for the money:
If he wins, it would be mean a significant pay increase for the veteran County Board member. Supervisors are paid nearly $51,000 a year, but that will drop to about $24,000 annually after the spring 2016 elections. A Milwaukee alderman bags an annual salary of $73,222.

Borkowski said that was only one factor in his decision. A conservative, he said he shares a number of the same values as Dudzik.

"I'd be lying if I said money wasn't an issue, but I couldn't pass up this opportunity," he said. "To pass up this opportunity doesn't make sense to me or others."
As I wrote earlier in this article, even if I didn't agree with Carpenter on many key issues, Borkowski eliminated himself from consideration.

I couldn't support someone who admits he's only in the race for the money and who is willing to stoop to such lows as exploiting private citizens and grieving families.


  1. I don't think there are privacy problems with that first mailer, but there may be copyright issues. Who took that photo, and does Borkowski have permission to use it? Is there any attribution on the mailer, or do your friends know who took it and owns the copyright?

    1. There is no attribution for the photo on the mailer. As for the rest, my friends are looking into the legal ramifications. (One of them does this sort of work as part of their job.)

  2. You expect this from a republican so it doesn't surprise me