Kathleen Falk remains the most powerful politician in Dane County. In her inner circle, Brett Hulsey orbits about where Mercury does in relation to the sun goddess. Both are professional enviros who covet higher office. Both are John L. Sullivan kinds of pols.
The Kathleen had no compunctions about taking out the Far Left's wounded heroine, Peg Lautenschlager, when she smelled blood in the AG's office. It was not out of character for The Kathleen to trot off to the Iowa caucuses to work on behalf of that most smash-mouth of candidates, Hillary Clinton. And Brett, who first came to the board in 1996 representing the powerful Sierra Club, is biding his time until Spencer Black leaves the Assembly, who in turn is waiting for Fred Risser to be carried out of the Senate on a gurney.
Then along comes a fresh little punk named Greg Hull. A nobody, really, who had ideas above his station. He had the temerity to run for Dane County Board. In Brett Hulsey's district. His turf.
Hull says Hulsey called him on December 30 or 31, two days before the filing deadline for county board candidates.
"He was trying to scare me out of running. He said the sheriff and the mayor would be against me and he could have Kathleen Falk talk to me and say the same thing."
As promised, Falk did leave a voice mail on Hull's machine to return her call.
'Half bribe, half scare tactic'
"He was certainly trying to intimidate me. It was a half bribe, half scare tactic.
"He said this isn't how I should get started in politics. I should work on his campaign or he might have some committee opening for me."
Greg Hull is 20 years old and single. He says he was recruited to the UW for the crew team. He is currently a part-time student majoring in political science. He sells real estate to support himself. He resides in the Spring Harbor neighborhood, just south of Lake Mendota in a County Board district that comprises the portion of Madison's west side that lies between Gammon Road and Whitney Way, north of Mineral Point Road. He is a member of the UW Dems.
Hull seems a genial sort who has a good understanding of basic county issues. He faults Hulsey for voting to raise the pay of county board members and for cramming the Regional Transportation Authority issue through without any involvement of the communities surrounding Madison.
"How can we charge the whole county a sales tax for trains that will only go from Middleton to Madison?" Hull asks.
Your papers, please
Despite the blowback from the party's nabobs, Hull filed his nomination papers at noon on the day of the filing deadline, January 2. Compounding matters, Hull inadvertently wrote the wrong year, 2007, for the date of the April 1 spring election. An hour and a half later, the clerk's office called to tell him all 106 of his signatures were being tossed. Unless he could come up with at least 50 new signatures from valid voters living in his district by 5 p.m. that very day, Hull would be off the ballot.
"I ran out and got 56 signatures with 15 minutes to spare. I was literally running from door to door. I must have looked really funny."
Hull stops short of laying the imbroglio on Falk/Hulsey's doorstep. But he notes that another candidate also wrote the wrong date (that would be Richard Brown), this time April 8, and was not penalized.
Oh, Greg, did you ever return Kathleen Falk's call?
"I called her back after I filed my nomination papers. I left a message. She never called back."
"This is my first race, my first campaign," Hull told me. "A depressing way to get into democracy."
Brett Hulsey responds
I asked Brett to respond. It is reproduced herewith:
Subject: Something for you, Dave
Date: January 21, 2008 12:14:01 PM CST
Here is the story,
I heard that my opponent was telling people that he was a Dem so I called him to ask him about that and to meet with him.
He said he could not meet.
Guess the fact that you are supporting him means he is not a real Democrat.
That's the story.
Hope you got the duct tape off after the Packer game.
I use biodiesel to get that sticky stuff off.
Actually, when I was on County Board, at least two card-carrying Dems caucused with the Conservative/Moderates. We have a big tent, abjuring only PD's Kool Aid. And we tend to attract people who get mau maued by the establishment.
- I worship Brett Favre. But I thought he looked stiff and cold out there Sunday. In contrast to Eli Manning who looked like another day at the office. Maybe Manning still has his baby fat. When you get older, you get colder.
- Television at its best: Talk about reality programming, the thrilla in Myrtle Beach (O.K., it does not rhyme) for at least the first hour featured two heavyweights duking it out. The New York Times account said Obama "appeared close to losing his temper." I don't think that is fair. You either lose it or you don't. I'm backing Hillary on this one. Why let Obama get away with singing the kumbaya song? Still, the man held up well and got off the best line about assessing Bill's dancing ability before deciding if he is a "brother."
- What a beautiful snowfall Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Powder, like you get in Vail or Breckinridge in the Colorado Rockies. Thought the city of Madison crews did an excellent job and that I should mention it since everyone dumped on them a couple snowfalls ago. Even the street in front of Stately Blaska Manor was plowed in time to start out for work. Had to clear the driveway myself, however, as Ruben Mamoulian claimed a sudden recurrence of his sciatica. He's worse than Ben Sheets that way.