The game is underway now in the wake of County Executive Kathleen Falk announcing that she'll be stepping down from the position just two years into a four year term.
Falk did a good job of explaining which factors are not why she's resigning, but only dropped a few tiny hints as to what her next move might be. "I am healthy, happily married, and, of course, I am replaceable. I am not angling for another political job and there is no ulterior motive," she explained.
So every wonk, junkie and amateur enthusiast in a 50-mile radius is formulating their own take on what's really up, and what will happen with the now wide-open election in April. (The Capital Times, for its part, is just really glad she'll be sticking around long enough to see through the planning of the budget.)
- Falk just wants to retire from public life and do some good ol' fashioned advocacy.
- She's stepping aside so Zach Brandon can waltz into the spot, use it as a launch-pad to run for governor in the next election.
- It leaves an open slot for Mayor Dave to move into so he can focus more on land use and transportation issues.
- Challenge Herb Kohl!
- Some federal opportunity or another after the November elections.
- The always nebulous "personal reasons."
Personally, I confess that I haven't been paying very close attention to the scuttlebutt regarding this position recently, so I have no real idea of why Falk stepped down, where she'll go next, and what's likely to happen in an election for her vacated spot. Though Zach Brandon does sound like an entirely feasible candidate. He's a fiscally conservative moderate Democrat -- who has, in the words of one commenter in the above linked forum post, been "attacked by both sides" during his time on the Common Council, "which means he's doing something right."
We'll see, of course, and now I'll pretty much have to keep a closer eye on all of this. In the meantime, though, anyone with theories -- rational or totally out there! -- feel free to leave them in the comments section. Let's make this fun!
Ding dong, the creep is gone
Ken Kratz has finally decided to resign his position as Calumet County District Attorney. Apparently he is now able to see the writing on the wall that's been written there since revelations about his sexual predation of a woman he was supposed to be representing in a domestic abuse case came to light back in mid-September.
By doing this, of course, Kratz avoids being forcibly removed by Gov. Doyle, who began proceedings to see that happen about a week after the allegations first became public.
I'm more than glad to see this guy leave, though mildly disturbed that he apparently wants to eventually return to the legal profession. Barring extensive psychotherapy and rehabilitation, followed by permission from his doctors, I don't think that's a terribly good idea.
In the meantime, though, I'd hate to see all attention paid to this case dropped -- that is, the Department of Justice and Office of Lawyer Regulation shouldn't be let off the hook for what still looks like gross negligence at the best, criminal cover-up at worst, in their initial handling of the case.
And I don't see why the OLR shouldn't, in their reopened investigation of the four allegations of misconduct made against Kratz, seriously consider getting the man disbarred entirely.
As the saying goes, what did Attorney General JB Van Hollen know, and when did he know it? Just because Kratz is finally out of office doesn't mean the investigation into the bigger picture should cease. We need to make sure that something like this isn't allowed to happen ever again.
Following the Kratz trail leads to another possible cover-up
This is interesting: Wood County DA John Henkelmann was caught (on tape!) watching porn and masturbating in a publicly accessible business lounge at a resort hotel in Elkhart Lake last year. But the case was pretty well swept under the rug by the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Department and the hotel employee who reported Henkelmann's behavior to the DOJ was fired.
So far there hasn't been much movement on this issue, and a statement released by Gov. Doyle's spokeswoman Carla Vigue simply said that, "The governor, like everyone else, just learned of this incident and will look into it… If there warrants any further action in the case, we'll definitely pursue it."
The guy was warned several times to stop abusing himself in the public room and continually came back to do it anyway. I think some sort of disciplinary action is warranted here. Any regular citizen caught doing this would have at least faced fines and a mark on their record. Why do our district attorneys apparently get so many free passes to be wankers?
Wrestling with political demons
Apologies for the non-Wisconsin content, but this article about candidate for Connecticut Senator Linda McMahon is too interesting to pass up. The column's author, Dave Zirin, argues that McMahon's touting of her "family business" (that would be multi-million dollar enterprise World Wrestling Entertainment, or the WWE) as a reason she deserves to be elected is positively horrifying, considering the WWE's "body count."
Take a read. Honestly, you could apply this argument to many of the businesses run by the wealthier candidates and incumbents for state and national office. Too many either directly run or have large investments in (or received campaign contributions from) companies with less than scrupulous practices and poor worker safety records. Yet we all-too often turn a blind eye to the issue when it comes time to cast our ballots. Perhaps it's time the people bothered to take a closer look at where the big money of these elections is really coming from.
Let me be clear, too: I have nothing against professional wrestling as a sport/form of entertainment -- there are a lot of impressive performers involved in it. I just firmly believe that these employees deserve the same rights and safety regulations as anyone working in a factory, etc. as well as the right to unionize.