Throw the bum out
Calumet County DA Kenneth Kratz has serious problems, and I have little sympathy for him. I wrote about this sad, infuriating saga a little bit in my last post, and since then the situation has only continued to escalate. The outcry that ensued with the release of Kratz's wildly inappropriate text messages to a woman he was then representing in a sexual assault case has, thankfully, gone straight to the top.
As of yesterday evening, Gov. Doyle has announced that he'll be taking action to see Kratz removed from office.
This follows the publication of a letter Doyle received from yet another woman who alleges having briefly dated Kratz shortly after he was pressured to step down from the Crime Victims Rights Board due to the sexting case. In the letter, which has yet to be fully substantiated but appears to be legitimate, the woman says that Kratz "shared confidential details of a murder investigation with another woman and invited her to wear high heels to the victim's autopsy."
Classy. Apparently Kratz understands that the only people less appealing than him are dead ones, so they're not likely to be competition.
But I'm not surprised. Once I'd read the initial text messages and Kratz's obstinate refusal to resign over the affair I was pretty sure this wouldn't prove to be an isolated incident. People who possess that particularly potent stew of deep insecurity mixed with raging egocentrism tend to spread it around as much as possible.
Sometimes they're just jerks, and sometimes they become predators as, I believe, is the case with Kratz. Combined with the fact that his conduct should have raised more than a few red "gross misconduct and abuse of office" flags when it was investigated by the Depart of Justice and the Office of Lawyer Regulation, I really can't understand how he's been allowed to stay on for as long as he has.
Sadly, it was only when - months after the slap on the wrist Kratz received for all of this - the public was made aware of the story that the people in a position to really discipline him took notice. That seems to be the case all too often, especially when it comes to cases of sexual assault and/or harassment.
I don't know if there's any one person to blame when it comes to how Kratz was dealt with after the initial victim went to the police. Some will point fingers at Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen because it's an election year, after all but I think the problem is more systemic than that.
As Van Hollen noted in an interview with Isthmus yesterday, after his office recommended that Kratz step down from the CVRB and report his actions to the OLR (which he did), the DoJ lost track of the whole thing. "We did not know that [the investigation] had been concluded or what the results were," he claimed.
That could be a bogus, pass-the-buck excuse, and frankly I don't understand why the DoJ was seemingly so content to just forget about the whole thing. It sounds more like a crack in the way the OLR works, since they were apparently the ones who could (and should) have taken action to see that Kratz stepped down entirely.
It makes me wonder how many similar cases have come up and been so easily dismissed that didn't then benefit from a public airing. We shouldn't have to rely on the press to see that justice is done (though thank goodness for them-and hey, this is why we need better funding for and organization of reporters and news!). We should be able to have confidence that the regulatory bodies that have been put in place to deal with these issues actually deal with these issues instead of trying to sweep them under the rug.
Kenneth Kratz took gross advantage of his position of power over a woman who was already dealing with the difficult aftermath of being assaulted by a boyfriend. The content of his messages to her, and the fact that he also apparently played a similar game with the woman he later dated briefly (while still married, I wonder?), tells me Kratz is probably a habitual offender someone in desperate need of serious repercussions.
No paid medical leave, no fat severance or retirement benefits for this bastard. Throw the bum out! It'll give him more time to focus on all that therapy he claims to want.
And P.S. Kudos to Stephanie Van Groll, the woman who received the inappropriate text messages, for reporting Kratz to the police and for getting through what I can only imagine has been a pretty terrible year. Wisconsin owes you more.
WELL THIS IS EMBARASSING
Walker campaign thinks we're all terribly far-sighted. At least, that's what the casual observer of the recently released "SCOTT WALKER's 68 PAGE JOBS PLAN!" pdf would be led to believe. Courtesy of Walker communications aide Michael Brickman, it's two pages worth of same-old, same-old nebulous GOP talking points in 58 point font and pretty pictures spread out over 68 pages!
I couldn't help but think that Scott Walker is actually a giant puppet inhabited by three precocious seventh graders trying to both weasel their way into the next grade and avoid having to actually write the essay that gets you there.
Turns out the whole, embiggened-font thing was a totally hilarious and not-at-all juvenile joke a way to poke fun at competing gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett's 67-page jobs creation plan.
You see, whereas the Barrett campaign took the time to write an actual plan with ideas and strategies in it, the Walker campaign believes such efforts to be nerdy and bookish are downright unnecessary. And, as one commenter on the Wonkette article making fun of this (rightly) pointed out, "nothing says 'I take the plight of the unemployed in my state seriously' like a childish, idiotic, PR stunt."
I'll let Zach over at Blogging Blue takes us on home, though:
You'll remember Michael Brickman as the same jokester who thought sending around a racially-tinged Soul Train video about President Obama was tremendously funny, and while Brickman was obviously trying to make a joke about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett's 67-page jobs plan, I'm not exactly sure how highlighting the fact that your candidate's jobs plan is woefully lacking any substantive ideas is funny, unless you really hate your candidate. At a little over one thousand words, Scott Walker's jobs plan lacks any real specifics on how Walker would create jobs as governor, but given Walker's woeful efforts when it comes to job creation in Milwaukee County, we shouldn't be surprised that Walker's plan doesn't consist of anything more than vague talking points about red tape and lower taxes.
Coming up before the Common Council meeting tonight is a long-debated and oft-squashed by the vested interest landlords who sit on the Madison Housing Committee proposal to move the rent-by date on downtown apartment leases from Nov. 15 to the far more reasonable third week in January. This is something worth getting off yer duff for, to attend the meeting and register to speak in favor of the proposal. Simply put, the fact that landlords and management companies have long been forcing tenants to re-up or shut-up after only a quarter of their lease has passed (basically asking the heavily student population to figure out their plans 12 months in advance) is ridiculous. There's no good reason for it.
6:30 p.m. - Room 201, City-County Building.