Thursday, June 13, 2024
Thursday, June 13, 2024

Milwaukee Press Club 'Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism' 2020 & 2021 Award Winners

West Allis Aldermen Called ‘Tone Deaf’ for Condemning All Hate


“Why does it have to be specifically hate crimes against Asian American Pacific Islanders? Why can’t it just be condemning all hate crimes?” West Allis alderman Tracy Stefanski

Somehow condemning all hate in West Allis, Wisconsin, has been twisted into hate in some corners – at least if you read stories on local television websites.

The West Allis License and Health Committee passed an amended resolution to condemn all hate crimes against people of any background this week, but the anti-hate vote is being trashed in the media by a fellow alderman.

The controversy started when West Allis Ald. Angelito Tenorio put forth a resolution to condemn hate crimes against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities. Ald. Tracy Stefanski then offered a counter resolution that included Tenorio’s concerns but expanded it to also condemn hatred against all ethnic groups.

“We have for too long in this country divided people by groups,” Tracy Stefanski said at the meeting where the resolutions were debated. “We are not groups. We are human beings. We need to stand up and say all hate crimes are bad.”

Tracy stefanski

You can see Tenorio’s resolution here. See the text of Tracy Stefanski’s resolution here; it’s titled, “RESOLUTION CONDEMNING VIOLENCE AGAINST MINORITIES OF ALL FACTIONS OF SOCIETY AND SOCIETY AS A WHOLE.”

In part, it reads, “WHEREAS, for far too long, minority Americans have been the target of xenophobic, anti-Semitic and disenfranchising policies, labor exploitation, hate crimes, and systemic racism in the United States 3; and WHEREAS, the use of racist rhetoric, especially as it intensified these past two years, has resulted in unprecedented destruction by domestic terrorist groups. The violence against minority and minority business owners is at a record high, at times with complete unrecoverable loss.”

This was turned into a point of controversy.

Tracy Stefanski’s Resolution

Tracy Stefanski’s resolution passed with Tenorio opposing it and Mayor Dan Devine speaking out against it; Tenorio then accused one of the aldermen of racism in interviews with the news media.

“I think its really important to name specifically what is happening to the Asian-American Pacific Islander community, to condemn what is happening,” Tenorio said in the meeting of the West Allis License and Health Committee on April 7, 2021. He mentioned the shootings in the Atlanta area of massage workers and others, most of whom were Asian.

Authorities said in a news conference that they don’t have evidence that the killer was motivated by the race of the victims but rather was motivated by a sex addiction. Stefanski pointed out that there was another mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, a short time later, and he condemned all hate crimes. The Boulder victims were white.

“This country is a better place. Better than many other countries in this world,” said Ald. Vincent Vitale, who supported Stefanski’s amended resolution. “We need to unify. I don’t care where you came from.”

You can watch the debate here; it starts at about 50 minutes in.

Ald. Suzzette Grisham told Tenorio that she did not think Tracy Stefanski’s measure was “insensitive” but rather was a “point of discussion… I think we need to denounce hate across the board.” She said aldermen shouldn’t look at this “as a tug of war” in which one person is valued over another. She added to Tenorio, “I support you and I also support and denounce any other hate that’s taking place in our community.”

Mayor Devine said that Anti-Asian hate crimes are increasing. “It’s the thing that needs our attention,” he said. He suggested that aldermen pass Tenorio’s resolution and then take on the “broader issue” later, but they chose to pass Stefanski’s resolution instead.

Tenorio told his fellow aldermen that they were being “reactionary.” He said that their action was “tone deaf and hurtful. We’re hurting right now.”

Ald. Dan Roadt brought up the sheriff’s comments in Atlanta that “these were sex crimes, not hate crimes. If they would have been a bunch of horses there, there would have been six horses killed. These are not hate crimes, they are crimes toward people who were working there.”

Tenorio responded that the victims “happened to be of Asian descent; you don’t think race has anything to do with that?” To Fox 6, he said later, “To me that language is so dangerous, and quite frankly racist and misogynistic to compare Asian-American women’s lives to horses’ lives.”

According to NBC News, six of the eight Atlanta-area victims were of Asian descent and “federal and local law enforcement investigators have yet to find concrete evidence that would be enough to build a federal hate crime case against the man accused.”

In an email to Stefanski before the vote, Tenorio wrote, “It’s really important to name racism against the AAPI community because recent hate crimes were targeted and specific towards the AAPI community. This violence isn’t happening to all humans. I encourage you to do your own research on this topic because there are a number of resources out there on why it’s important to name racism.”

He provided this article describing anti-Asian-American hate crimes and violence.

Stefanski responded, “Why does it have to be specifically hate crimes against Asian American Pacific Islanders? Why can’t it just be condemning all hate crimes? I don’t understand why it has to be one group, it should be all humans.”

In a lengthy response to Tenorio, Stefanski began, “Before I get into my response, I want you to know that I am deeply saddened and disgusted by what happened in Atlanta, GA and my heart goes out to all of the victims and their family and friends. We also had a mass shooting in Boulder, CO a week later. I totally understand and sympathize with you and the purpose for your resolution, and I do think it is good to do. Hate crimes are terrible and totally unacceptable and they need to be condemned. I am very educated on hate crimes, as in case you did not know my wife is half African American, and I have family members that are also part of the LGBTQ community, so I am well aware and well-versed regarding hate crimes.”

He then added: “As you are well aware hate crimes have gone on for decades in this country and continue to go on in this country and the world today. It is not just against one group of people. It is against every human being no matter what so-called group they belong to according to the stats or even when the media reports it. This is a huge problem in our country as it is constantly keeping people placed in groups and continues to divide us as a country. This needs to end as we are all human beings no matter the color of our skin, our nationality, our religious beliefs, our sexual orientation, and many more based on how we are categorized. We ALL bleed the same color blood, we ALL breathe air together, and we ALL have a heartbeat. Until we stop classifying people into groups, categories, or however else it is done the division will remain.”

Tracy Stefanski then provided links to news stories about hate crimes against Jews, white men, Latinos, the LGBTQ community, and others, being targeted.

On March 23, Tenorio had written the Common Council, “With the recent rise of anti-AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) hate crimes and the murders last week in Atlanta, my heart is very heavy, and I am feeling raw. Moving forward, I would like to introduce a resolution condemning anti-AAPI racism at the April 7th Common Council Meeting. I’ve been speaking with Mayor Devine, and he’ll be putting out a statement soon in support of the AAPI community.”

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kamala harris most liberal

Voters Lack Confidence Kamala Harris Can Become President

Vice President Kamala Harris has a fight on her hands if she wants to inherit the Democratic presidential mantle after President Joe Biden’s time is over, according to a new poll.

The Politico/Morning Consult poll shows that voters have serious doubts about Harris’ electability.

The poll found only 14% of voters said it was “very likely” Harris would win a general election for president if she became the Democratic nominee. Another 20% said it was “somewhat likely.”

The poll is especially noteworthy given Biden's age. The incumbent president is 81 years old and appears increasingly in decline.

A moment of confusion for Biden at a June 6 D-Day ceremony went viral last week, the latest in a string of similar incidents. At the same time, Biden remains competitive with former President Donald Trump, though several polls suggest Trump has a lead over the president.

Biden's incidents have led some to speculate that Democrats could or should try to replace Biden at the Democratic convention in Chicago in August. That would be a highly unusual, though not impossible, move. Removing Biden would naturally raise the question about who could replace him, but for now voters seem to lack confidence that Harris could win.

The poll also looked ahead to 2028: “If President Joe Biden were not in the running for president in 2028, which of the following Democrats, if any, would you want to be the Democratic candidate for president?”

While Harris was top of the list among Democrats, she only received 21% support. California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg both received 10% support each, while 41% said they were unsure or didn't know.

Only 42% of those polled described Harris as trustworthy, and 44% described her as honest, according to the poll.

Notably, only 36% of those surveyed said Biden should replace Harris as his VP on the ticket.

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Evers recently called for an operational and an instructional audit of MPS.

“I’m proposing today to go two steps further with two important goals: the first, to audit MPS’ programs and operations in their entirety, and the second, to audit the effectiveness of teaching and instruction of our kids in classrooms across the district,” Evers said.

The governor, however, wants to keep the audit within his administration and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said that’d be a mistake.

“I’m glad that Gov. Evers has called for an audit of the Milwaukee Public School System. Gov. Evers and DPI should work with Joint Legislative Audit Committee Co-Chairs [Eric] Wimberger and [Robert] Wittke to discuss authorizing the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau to audit MPS, DPI and any other involved stakeholders,” LeMahieu said. “The LAB is more than capable of handling this important undertaking independently and transparently without the use of outside contractors.”

The worry is an audit controlled by the governor’s office will not fully look into MPS’s shortcomings.

The calls for audits in Milwaukee Public Schools come after the state withheld nearly $17 million last week because of incomplete and late financial reports. One of those reports was due to the Department of Public Instruction in September 2023.

Evers has asked MPS leaders to be a part of any audit process but warned that not everyone will be invited.

“I also have to say – I’m exceedingly disappointed by the politicking and jockeying I’ve seen since this situation came to light by opportunists who’re seizing this moment to serve their own selfish goals instead of worrying about what matters most: our kids,” Evers added.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos took to social media to accuse the governor of being the one who is playing politics.

“And who do you think [Evers] will suggest conducts the audits?” Vos asked. “The same failed DPI bureaucrats who allowed this to happen or his administration who wanted to dismantle the school choice system so all kids were forced into this MPS mess? We need real reforms to the current mentality where MPS has been protecting the bureaucracy and Gov. Evers has been advocating for shoveling hundreds of millions of dollars into this broken system.”

Report Clearing Biden Biden Approval Rating Americore Biden Acknowledge Hamas Biden Tells Israel Not to Occupy Gaza Biden impeachment Supreme Court Strikes Down Biden’s Student Loan Cancellation

Biden’s New Staffing Requirements Put Most Illinois Nursing Homes in Peril

An industry group says the Biden administration’s new staffing regulations for long-term care facilities are unrealistic.

The mandate requires that all nursing homes that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding provide a total of at least 3.48 hours of nursing care per resident per day. Plus, nursing homes must have a registered nurse onsite at all times.

Research by shows 82%, or nearly 12,000 facilities in the U.S., will need to hire staff or face being shut down.

Spokesperson Corie Wagner said Illinois is home to the fifth highest number of understaffed nursing homes in the country.

“If we were to apply the new policies and new standards to nursing homes in Illinois today, 84% of facilities would need more staff, and that is really significant,” said Wagner.

The mandate will be phased in over three years, with rural communities having up to five years.

Nursing home operators strongly objected to the minimum staffing proposal in September, saying they already struggle to fill open positions.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in September announced a $75 million campaign to increase the number of nurses in nursing homes.

Nearly 1.2 million residents live in Medicare- and Medicaid-certified, long-term care facilities, but Wagner said that number is expected to increase.

“It’s called the Silver Tsunami, so more Americans are aged 65 or older than ever,” said Wagner. “It's one of the largest segments of our population but the infrastructure we have is not keeping up with our population shift.”

A resolution aimed at overturning Biden’s nursing home staffing mandate has a legitimate chance to pass the U.S. Senate.

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