Mayoral candidates debate at Marquette University Law School

March 17, 2016

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Incumbent Mayor Tom Barrett dominated Alderman Bob Donovan in a debate held March 11 at Marquette University Law School. The debate was broadcast live by WISN-TV and moderated by Mike Gousha.
Mayor Barrett began by noting that during the past year Alderman Donovan had proposed three pieces of what he described as minor legislation and 49 press releases. He noted that in the past Alderman Donovan had responded to a tragic shooting in Milwaukee by blaming the incident on “the deteriorating African American culture in the United States.”
Alderman Donovan denied that he was a racist and defended his statement as a necessary part of an honest conversation about the challenges facing many Milwaukee residents, but the accusations seemed to rattle him and Mayor Barrett did not let up.
Alderman Donovan faulted Mayor Barrett for creating a toxic relationship between the city and the Republican-dominated state government and for the alarming rise in shootings and crime in Milwaukee. One of Alderman Donovan’s top priorities is to hire an additional 250 police officers, but when Mayor Barrett challenged him where he would get the $15-million to pay for the additional police, Alderman Donovan responded by criticizing the street car project which he predicted the city would wind up having to subsidize. Mayor Barrett countered that land values along the proposed street car line have increased significantly based on the recent sales of the Grand Avenue Mall and the downtown Post Office Building.