In The News
A road sign? Or more puffery from sheriff?
By Dominique Paul Noth
Editor, Labor Press
Posted September 8, 2010
You won’t see the sheriff hanging around in the posh neighborhoods of the East Side, unless there are media cameras there for a press conference about lakefront rowdies.
But at taxpayer expense, Big Brother is there with a flashing sign of the sort usually reserved for road disasters and lane blockages.
Up on Lafayette St., at the exit from Lake Memorial Drive on the hill above Alterra coffeshop – a route dominated by suburban commuters on the way to work or employed people speeding to Downtown activities – the sheriff has placed a flashing traffic sign of quite personalized phrasing.
It doesn’t end with from Sheriff’s Dept. as might be normal bureaucratese. It doesn’t provide anything more than a generic, perhaps even campaignish slogan.
But flashing away on official signage, it says
THE SHERIFF REMINDS YOU
RESPECT THE NEIGHBORS
Such a sign might not exist were the sheriff not fighting for his political life Sept. 14 in a straight ticket primary against Chris Moews, an experienced Milwaukee police lieutenant, on the Democratic side of the ballot.
But it is typical of the puffery and personal promotion that Milwaukee County residents have come to expect from a sheriff, whose ads claim he balanced a budget when he’s overrun his own department’s finances again and again, from a sheriff who pretends to be protecting bus riders but wants private companies to transport dangerous prisoners.
All this does raise the question of who really respects the neighbors. David Clarke hopes the committed voters don’t notice. And they might not.
Since no busses take this particular Lafayette route to the lakefront, he’s spared the sound of their laughter at the sign. It is cleverly outside the range of lakefront traffic by the masses, where it might draw both derision and serious questions about the misuse of county road property and taxpayer money.