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EXCLUSIVE: Conservative State Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack Not Running For Reelection in 2023; Her Daughter Will Seek To Replace Her
By Mark Belling, WISN-AM
Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack, a stalwart member of the Court’s conservative bloc, will not seek reelection to another ten year term on the Court in the spring of 2023. Her daughter, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Ellen Brostrom, intends to run for the position.
The election could decide ideological control of the Court. At present there are three clear conservatives on the court and three staunch liberals. The seventh justice, Brian Hagedorn, inevitably casts the deciding vote on virtually all controversial cases. Hagedorn ran as a conservative but has frequently voted with the liberal bloc.
Given the close ideological divide on the court, expect a remarkably contentious campaign. The biggest question is where Brostrom would fit in on the Court if she won.
Brostrom’s ideology is hard to pin down. She has a history of endorsing liberals in major judicial elections and supported Lisa Neiubauer, a liberal, in her successful run for reelection to the state Court of Appeals. Brostrom also endorsed Rebecca Dallet in her 2017 run for the Supreme Court but withdrew it after Dallet blasted the current Court which was then headed by Roggensack, Brostrom’s mother. But Brostrom has also donated money to the campaign of Justice Rebecca Bradley, the most conservative member of the court.
It’s probably fair to say that liberals would be wary of Brostrom because she is the daughter of Roggensack. And conservatives may be wary of Brostrom because of her past support for liberals and the fact that she serves on the bench in Milwaukee County.
It is not a secret that Roggensack would likely not seek reelection. She is 81 years old. She was elected to the Supreme Court in 2003 and served on the Court of Appeals for seven years prior to that. She is the Court’s former Chief Justice and with Rebecca Bradley and current Chief Justice Annette Ziegler, she has been part of a rock solid conservative bloc on the Court. The court’s three liberals, Dallet, Ann Walsh Bradley and Jill Karofsky are as solidly liberal as the other bloc is conservative.
Hagedorn has bitterly disappointed conservatives with his frequent siding with liberals. Hagedorn was strongly backed in his campaign for the Court by conservatives especially after Wisconsin liberals attacked him for his conservative Christian beliefs. Given what happened with Hagedorn, Brostrom will have a hard time convincing conservatives that she is one of them.
Legal observers have long praised Brostrom as one of the best judges in Milwaukee County and she is extremely well-liked.
There is no seat up for election on the Court in 2022. If any Justice retires in the next year, Democrat Governor Tony Evers gets to name the replacement. After next year, whichever candidate is elected Governor will fill all vacancies via appointment for the next four years. Ultimately, all justices have to win election. With the terms being ten years and with most incumbents winning reelection, battles for open seats like the one coming in 2023 are critical.
December 20, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: Summerfest To Offer Refunds To All Amphitheatre Shows Because Of New Covid Rules
By Mark Belling, WISN-AM
Summerfest President Don Smiley tells me the festival will offer refunds to all paid American Family Amphitheatre shows at next month’s festival for individuals who do not want to comply with the new requirement of either showing proof of vaccination or a positive Covid test. Smiley says Ticketmaster will handle the refunds and people will have a “window” to request them.
Smiley said he doesn’t know when the timetable for the window will be.
By Mark Belling, WISN-AM
A letter from the attorneys for the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese claims the investigation into decades-old allegations of abuse of children by priests lacks any legal basis. The letter, signed by attorney Francis LoCoco of Husch Blackwell, further states the investigation is the result of “anti-Catholic bigotry.”
The letter, sent today, (a copy of which was obtained by me), argues that 99% of cases of abuse by priests in the Milwaukee Archdiocese occurred before 1998 and the statute of limitations for prosecution has expired. The letter states that the basis for the probe by Attorney General Josh Kaul violates the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights by violating the “establishment clause” and targeting a specific religion.
Kaul’s investigation seems to be based on a probe in Pennsylvania that uncovered abuse by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and ongoing cover-ups of it. But the Milwaukee letter states there is no evidence of any ongoing criminal conduct. The letter specifically accuses Kaul of targeting only the Catholic Church. “While the Attorney General, when pressed, has offered platitudes that the investigation will address other groups, in every official statement the Attorney General makes clear that the Catholic Church is the target of the investigation.”
The Milwaukee Archdiocese filed for bankruptcy several years ago after settlements with a number of individuals who were abused by priests. A database of the abusers has been established.
Kaul’s investigation comes one year before he runs for reelection. Several years ago, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm indicated he may initiate an investigation but never moved forward. Chisholm’s predecessor, former DA E. Michael McCann, was aware of numerous allegations against priests and took no legal action. Former Archdiocesan leaders often consulted McCann about these cases of abuse.
Former Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who, along with predecessors, was alleged to have covered up abuse by re-assigning priests resigned in disgrace after revelations he paid hush money to an adult accuser. The names of Weakland the late former Archbishop William Cousins have been removed from diocesan buildings.
In recent years, there have been numerous instances of public school teachers have sexual relationships with students. There has been no coordinated legal effort to investigate whether there has been an epidemic of sex abuse among teachers or whether any such abuse has been covered up.
Publicly, the Milwaukee Archdiocese has said it intends to cooperate in Kaul’s investigation. But the language of the letter from the Archdiocese’s lawyers indicates church leaders believe they are being targeted without legal basis in a probe that stems from religious bigotry.
By Mark Belling, WISN-AM
A Menasha man charged today in connection with the death in Milwaukee Saturday night of a three year old boy is a habitual criminal that was let out of the Waukesha County Jail only two weeks earlier on a mere signature bond despite being charged with armed robbery.
A signature bond doesn’t require the accused criminal to put up any money. All you have to do is sign your name. The Waukesha County Court Commissioner is Linda Saafir, who I have commented on in the past for her proclivity to set small or no bail for dangerous felons.
Devons Armour, 34, of Menasha is facing charges in connection with the death Saturday night in Milwaukee of three-year old Cire Walker. The criminal complaint says Armour was in a home at 32nd and Michigan and the little boy got Armour’s gun and shot himself. Armour has an extensive criminal record and is not allowed to possess firearms. In the criminal complaint, he allegedly admitted buying the gun a few days earlier.
On April 29, Armours was released from the Waukesha County Jail on a $10,000 signature bond set by Saafir after he was charged with armed robbery with threat of force. His criminal record in Wisconsin dates back to 2013 when he was first convicted of the same crime—-robbery with the threat of force. As a felon he is not allowed to possess guns.
I have long criticized the practice of Waukesha County Court Commissioners who release people charged with dangerous felonies on minimal or no bail. These criminals are often free for up to two years as their cases proceed. In the case of Armours, it only took him two weeks to bring a gun into a home that resulted in the death of a three year old child.
Waukesha County Chief Judge Jennifer Dorow has consistently defended the lenient bail decisions made by the court commissioners. These commissioners often set extremely high bail in murder cases or others that attract notoriety. But armed robbers and the like are often given little or no bail. In the case of Armour and his long criminal record, he certainly knew the drill. Saafir’s “get out of jail card” gave him time to buy the gun that resulted in a child’s death.
Armour is now facing multiple felony charges in Milwaukee County in connection with the little boy’s death. One of the charges is “bail jumping,” for violating the conditions of Saafir’s signature bond. A lot of good those conditions did…….
For many years, the Kentucky Derby featured fields ranging from seven to eleven horses. Trainers and owners didn’t run unless they felt they had a horse that belonged. When Captain Bodgit, a horse I co-owned, ran second in 1997 he was in a field of 13. But over the past two decades, field sizes have swelled to the maximum of 20 and owners of three year old horses scrambled to qualify for the race. Being in the race became the goal; not winning it. People are into experiences and there are very few experiences that can match having a horse in the Derby. The “walkover” from the barn to the paddock on the track in front of 145,000 people has become an iconic moment. I sure won’t forget my walkover with Went the Day Well when he ran fourth in 2012.
But things are changing again. This year, many owners of horses that qualified for the Derby are skipping the race. In the end, only 20 even entered. My theory? With Covid eliminating many of the race activities and the number of participants in the walkover, the experience iust isn’t the same and owners of horses with little chance aren’t wasting their time. So what, you say? The end result this year is a field that includes about ten also-rans. Given that the overall field is weak from top to bottom, it creates a situation in which I believe you can safely eliminate more than half the horses. Picking the Derby winner is a matter of pride. But if you bet correctly, having the winner in a group of four or five can suffice.
Essential Quality, with five wins in five starts, will be favored. He’s trained by Brad Cox, a guy who wins everything in sight while raising suspicions about how he does it. His owners, the rulers of Dubai, are obsessed with winning the Derby and this is their best chance to finally get that first win. California-based Rock Your World is the wild card. He’s run only three times but crushed his fields in all three. His first two races were on grass before he crushed in the Santa Anita Derby. It used to be folly to think such a lightly raced horse could win. But then Justify won the Triple Crown in 2018 after only three prep races.
Bob Baffert? He appeared loaded with three year old a couple of months ago but all but one has fallen by the wayside. That horse, Medina Spirit, is a nice horse but doesn’t appear to be one of the best. On the other hand, Baffert can never be discounted in the Derby.
I’ll assess all 20 horses in post position order. Note: for logistical reasons I will not be able to update these picks should any scratches occur. If it happens, just eliminate the horse from wagers and move up the next contender.
#1 KNOWN AGENDA —The #1 post position is virtually death. It’s almost impossible not to get banged around and lose all position out of the starting gate from that post and Churchill’s unique configuration for 1 ¼ mile races. This horse won the Florida Derby, is trained by Todd Pletcher and has real ability. But until somebody wins from the one hole, I’m not picking anybody who starts from it.
#2 LIKE THE KING—I don’t Like the King.
#3— BROOKLYN STRONG—he made it in only because eight horses with more qualifying points were held out of the race.
#4 KEEPMEINMIND—This horse was better last year as a two year old but his trainer has a ridiculously high win percentage that has raised eyebrows.
#5 SAINTHOOD—Todd Pletcher trainee got in by winning a race on an artificial surface. That race was recently given top Derby qualifier status because the track is now owned by the company that owns Churchill Downs.
#6 O BESOS—There are a zillion reasons this horse can’t win. He’s never won a stakes race. He last ran in the Louisiana Derby, the prep race that never ever produces horses that do anything in the Kentucky Derby. His jockey is ordinary. BUT!!!!!! This horse’s speed figures have improved in all five of his races. He ran a 2 on the Thoro-Graph sheets and that’s faster than all but four horses in this race have ever run. He is one of the few who will relish the marathon Derby distance. He is a tremendous closer who will get a rapid pace up front to run at. His trainer, while low profile, is very good. His workouts over Churchill have been outstanding. He’ll need a crafty ride and some racing luck, but he’s a longshot with a huge chance to pull a shocker and win the Kentucky Derby. If I’m wrong, my apologies. But I’m backing this horse with my own money and think he represents compelling value.
#7 MANDALOUN—He was the heavy favorite in the above mentioned Louisiana Derby but faded badly. I think the Louisiana Derby was the strongest of all the prep races (which it never is until this year) and this horse could rebound.
#8 MEDINA SPIRIT—Bob Baffert trains him so he must be considered. Baffert has gotten away with more junk in his career that any 200 other trainers combined. Still, this horse has a tendency to lose ground in the stretch. On the other hand, he has faced strong competition and is ridden by the great John Velazquez.
#9 HOT ROD CHARLIE—What a great name. He won the Louisiana Derby which, as stated before, usually means nothing. But as I’ve been saying, I think that race was loaded this year. The Lou Derby is seven weeks before the Kentucky Derby and, in the past, that was too much of a layoff. But in today’s horse racing, good horses race less than ever. The trainer, Doug O’Neill, won the Derby in 2012.
#10 MIDNIGHT BOURBON—This is the other longshot that could win. He’s 20-1 in the program but he ran a strong second in the Louisiana Derby, the race I am apparently obsessed with this year. He’s never been worse than third in seven starts. The layoff probably helps him because he ran a lot of races early in his career. I am blown away by his workouts over Churchill Downs which I believe are the best of any of the 20 horses in the field. The horse’s regular rider was dumped so they could get aging Mike Smith. He barely rides anymore but still gets mounts in big races and is nicknamed “Big Money Mike.” I think Smith is a negative because he rides like he’s scared and keep his horses needlessly wide. But he’s a great judge of pace. This horse should get a perfect trip laying about four or five off the early lead and that’s usually the best way to win the Derby. If he does, you can celebrate at midnight with a bourbon.
#11 DYNAMIC ONE—Pletcher trainee who had run slowly in all of his starts but ran second in the Wood Memorial over a weird and tiring track at Aqueduct.
#12 HELIUM—Every year there’s a Derby horse I can’t figure out. Helium could win or he could run last. He won the Tampa Bay Derby the same day my Untreated ran lights out in a maiden race at the same Tampa track. Our horse ran faster in his race. Unfortunately, he’s on the shelf with an injury and Helium is here. Like I said, I don’t know what to do with him and can offer no insight on his chances.
#13 HIDDEN STASH—All of his races have been way too slow to win the Derby.
#14 ESSENTIAL QUALITY—-The unbeaten favorite. He has an ideal running style and will probably be about seventh or eighth in the early going. He’s sired by Tapit, the most dominant classic sire in America. Jockey Luis Saez is very aggressive and would have won the Derby two years ago had his horse not been disqualified. He has a major chance but he just doesn’t seem that much better than several others and he had a very hard race in his last start. He’s a legitimate, but vulnerable, favorite.
#15 ROCK YOUR WORLD—His first two races were on turf and he won them both. He was training so well on dirt they ran him in the Santa Anita Derby. He cruised to victory. He might be a freakish superstar and lightly raced horses have fared well in recent years. Rider Joel Rosario, who is one of the best two jockeys in the country, chose to get off of Hot Rod Charlie to ride this horse. Joel’s agent is very sharp. This horse had all of his timed workouts in California so it’s been harder to gauge him at Churchill Downs this week but he is an obvious win contender.
#16 KING FURY—Ran fast to win a lesser Derby prep three weeks ago. His trainer has pulled off lots of shockers in his day and the jockey is very competent and underrated. He’s a borderline contender with some positives and a few more negatives.
#17 HIGHLY MOTIVATED—Lost by a nostril to Essential Quality in the Blue Grass Stakes last out and has three excellent races in a row. Trainer Chad Brown is overdue to win the Derby. This is clearly one of the best horses in the race but I didn’t like his appearance on the track this week at Churchill. He needs to be considered in wagers but I have him in the second of four or five tiers of horses here.
#18 SUPER STOCK—He won the Arkansas Derby in dominant fashion four weeks ago and trainer Steve Asmussen is one of the best. Amazingly, he has improved in every one of his eight starts. The trainer here is important. When Asmussen’s horses get good, he has a knack of having them stay good. The wide post position doesn’t help but toss this horse out at your peril.
#19 SOUP AND SANDWICH—Identical story to #12 Helium. Same trainer. Again, only three races and all were good. But he’s a horse who needs to run close to, or on, the lead and the wide post position really hurts those kinds of horses as they have to be pushed hard to avoid being hung out wide in the first turn. I’m leaning against.
#20 BOURBONIC—Two horses with Bourbon in their names this year. This one, trained by Pletcher, won an unimpressive Wood Memorial and had to run in a claiming race just to break his maiden. On the other hand, he’s improving and is bred to get the distance and will be running late.
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
|#6 O Besos||20-1|
|#10 Midnight Bourbon||20-1|
|#15 Rock Your World||5-1|
|#9 Hot Rod Charlie||8-1|
|#14 Essential Quality||2-1|
|#18 Super Stock||30-1|
If I’m wrong it’s because I’m overrating this year’s Louisiana Derby. Historically, it is the Derby prep race that produces nothing but also-rans. But the game is changing and rest is more important than ever. The speed figures from all the services that track these things came back very strong. So the top three from that race are in my top five. Rock Your World is a possible freak but we won’t know for sure until late afternoon Saturday. Essential Quality, the favorite, has to be included.
There is a fair amount of early speed in the race and that should give the stalkers and closers a shot. I wish O Besos had a better jockey because working out a trip from the very back of the pack in a 20-horse rodeo is very hard. Midnight Bourbon will get a better trip but I lack confidence in his rider also. In a weak field, none of these horses is close to perfect. But two of them are likelier to go off at prices way higher than they ought to. That’s where I’m landing. If I’m wrong, I’ll never pay attention to the Louisiana Derby again.
First of all, I encourage you to consider everything on your own and craft your own bets. If you want to blindly follow me, I’m listing several wagers here appropriate for various budgets. They are listed in order of how much I like them. On some bets, bet size can be moved up or down according to your budget.
$20 to win win place and show on #6 and #10 ($120)
$1 trifecta 6-10 over 6-9-10-14-15-18 over all ($180)
50-cent trifecta 6-9-10-14-15-18 over 6-10 over all ($90)
$2 exacta box 6-9-10-14-15 ($40)
$2 exacta 6-10 over all ($76)
$1 exacta All over 6-10 ($38)
On Churchill Downs’ Saturday card, I also like:
#5 Tap It to Win (8-1) in Race 10, The Churchill Downs Stakes
#9 Ride a Comet (5-1) in Race 11, the Turf Classic
In Friday’s race for three year old fillies, I like #1 Pauline’s Pearl (20-1). In terms of value, she is compelling.
Suggested $1 Oaks Derby Double: 1-6-10-12-14 with 6-9-10-14-15-18 ($30)
Most of the OTBs are still closed or restricted. You can bet legally online. I strongly encourage you to only use legal US-based sites. While I won’t endorse any, all of the following are fine and easy to use: Xpressbet, Twin Spires, TVG, NYRA Bets, DRF Bets.
By Mark Belling, WISN-AM
Paratech Ambulance, in direct violation of its contract, is refusing to respond to the majority of calls it is receiving in Milwaukee for paramedic service under the 911 system.
As I reported exclusively last week, Paratech, which was sold recently, has given Milwaukee notice that it intends to terminate its contract in six months. But I have now been able to confirm that Paratech is already bailing out of Milwaukee by simply refusing to honor the majority of requests it receives for service.
According to records provided by Acting Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski, Paratech refused to respond to 1495 of the 2097 calls it has been assigned since March 14. Lipski says Paratech’s refusal puts it in violation of its contract with the city. That’s roughly 70 percent.
Three private ambulance companies, Bell, Curtis and Paratech, contract with the city for ambulance service. When a 911 call is received, the Milwaukee Fire Department responds. When the medical call is considered to be non-emergency, one of the three private companies is then dispatched to transport the individual to a hospital. Patients in more severe situations are transferred by the Fire Department paramedics. Milwaukee is broken up into three regions and each of the private companies handles calls for its region. When one of the companies says it can’t respond, one of the other companies takes the call.
The other two companies also refuse calls but nowhere near the rate at which Paratech is refusing service. Curtis delined 310 of its 1605 calls in the same time period. Bell has responded to virtually all of its calls, rejecting only 11 of 2222 calls. The usual reason for declining a call is that all units are responding to other calls but that doesn’t seem to be the problem with Paratech. City sources tell me that Paratech is having financial woes and has been unwilling to accept Milwaukee calls because most residents of the city are covered by Medicaid. Medicaid reimbursement for ambulance calls is much lower than the rate paid by private insurance or Medicare. All of the ambulance companies have been complaining about the problem. Paratech is the only one seeking to get out of its contract and, according to the numbers, is right now simply refusing to respond to most calls.
Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy, the longest serving member of the Common Council, tells me the situation is getting perilous. Individuals calling Milwaukee Police for 911 service have often waited hours. The same situation may be developing with ambulance calls. To be clear, individuals with life threatening conditions are not at risk here as those calls are all handled by the Fire Department itself.
Paratech official have consistently refused to respond to my questions. Paratech, which has been in business since 1973 and serves many cities, was sold to a company called Midwest Medical. The problems seem to have started after that sale.
By: Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki
March 23, 2021
As I begin the final three years of my tenure as the Archbishop of Milwaukee, I envision that the major struggles will be in the area of religious freedom. Never did I think that religious freedom would be fundamentally questioned and challenged for the citizens of the United States of America. The Founding Fathers were prophetic in establishing the Bill of Rights because the very first freedom ensured by the constitution was religious freedom. This freedom establishes that there is a higher authority – higher even than the state – and that all citizens should acknowledge that. The understanding was clear: from this higher authority, all people derived their rights.
The Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Not all of the Founding Fathers were theists (believed in a personal God), but they probably were all deists (believed in a creator who was not personally involved in the lives of its beings). They understood it was this Creator who bestowed dignity upon all the citizens of this country.
We are a people who pride ourselves on the freedoms established by the Constitution. Today, many of the rights that our fathers and forefathers fought and died to defend are under attack. Some even wish to shift the democratic origins into a more socialistic governing model, removing decision-making from individuals and vesting them in the increasing power of the government. Look how the freedom of speech is limited and restricted to some voices. Of course, standing in the way of this massive governmental take-over is the Church and religion. The voice of religion and the teachings of the Church can never support governmental laws that disagree with our teaching that innocent lives may never be taken. Therefore, abortion has and will always be wrong.
Traditional families are the domestic church, so even though quasi-families might be established, they are not abiding by the Scriptures. “So God created mankind in his image, in the image of God He created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Families are the bedrock of society’s future. Gender identification is not a matter of choice but is rooted in the physiology of a person. Take a few moments and read Cardinal Dolan’s critique of the Equality Act, which is neither equal nor equitable. Gender identification is not a personal choice motivated by one’s decision to one day be a male and the next a female. Certain serious questions must be answered before one exercises physiological change. But the Church, in her infinite wisdom, maintains the dignity and respect of all human beings, which is rooted in the fact that God created all in His image.
All Catholics should understand the importance of the ability to present the Church’s teachings and live them out without the interference or manipulation of the government. I have long maintained that the government, which is under a constitutional mandate not to establish a religion (the establishment clause), has de facto established a religion, and that religion is secularism. Secularism upholds the dependency on man alone, certification of popular mores of any social movement, and a skepticism of any religious teachings, which is diminished by belief in a Supreme Being.
In the history of Christianity, this is not the first time the Church has been under attack because of what it represents, and this will not be the last time. But, in these United States of America, we should enjoy the freedom to profess and teach our faith and live Christ’s command to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Many Hands. One Vision,
Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee