Attention burglars (and liberals): leniency could be fatal

The narrative that gets all the news media attention, the story that Madison alders subscribe to, the article of faith among our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances is this: the criminal justice system is more draconian than Les Miserables.

Prosecutors and judges are eager to fill our jails and prisons with the victims of economic injustice, or so goes the meme. Especially if they be of minority race.

That it just ain’t so bothers our pollyannas not at all. Take these recent cases:

Not two blocks from the Stately Manor, authorities extracted three neglected children from a drug house. The two “parents” were charged  with felonies for drug possession, misdemeanor child neglect, and resisting an officer. They were back in that house the next day on a signature bond.

The landlord, a good friend of mine, responded to a church appeal to help a homeless family. He cut the rent in half and didn’t get even that. As he told me Wednesday, as police surrounded the house on Hammersley Road, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Now it transpires that a 25-year-old man died of a drug overdose in the home, with all four children present, a month earlier. The children are being tested for evidence of drugs in their system. (According to an excellent report from Rob Schultz.) Were those innocent lives at risk? You tell me.

Then there is the fellow who has made a specialty of burglarizing homes here on the southwest side — 37 by one estimate. That and bail jumping. It didn’t make the news but this week he was given 90 days in jail — with credit for time served — and five years probation. He also has to complete his education, do 100 hours of Community Service, get a job, and set aside some of that pay for restitution.

We’d say Hooray for Hazel if we thought the fellow would turn his life around but he’s had his chances, as his extensive court record indicates.

We quoted Madison Police Lieutenant Lori Beth Chalecki before Monday’s sentencing:

Roderick Williams, the prolific burglar from the west side, has a sentencing hearing on April 10 at 1:30 pm. Roderick is the suspect that burglarized a number of Westside homes, was arrested, incarcerated, and released. Upon his release on bail, he immediately went back burglarizing homes, again in the west district.

Good luck, Mr. Williams, because if you burglarize one more home, it may be your last. Some of us are armed and dangerous.

We’re not happy. WISC-TV 3 has the story. Continue reading

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Psst! (Did you know that Hillary was female? Pass it on)

The curse of identity politics that has consumed and devoured the Democrat(ic) party is sanctioned by none other than its most recent standard bearer. Hillary Clinton’s rationale was always thin gruel — it was her turn as a woman. A compromised, ethically challenged, spinning weather vane of a candidate. An under-investigation by the FBI candidate. But her turn nonetheless. “I’m with her.” The woman is owed!

Now, in her first extensive post mortem, Hillary confirms it: she lost to Donald J. Trump because of her gender. The lady says so herself. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tees up this spongeball:

What does that say about the challenges that one faces in women’s empowerment, that in effect misogyny won with a lot of women voters?

Oh, sure, there were other factors. Maybe she could have done a better job reaching working class voters, Hillary avers. Her voters were struggling with “tumult in their lives” as Kristof words it (whatever that means), but “you layer on the first woman president over that and I think some people, women included, had real problems,” the first female major-party nominee for president cavils.

It was a contest between two of possibly the most flawed candidates in history, so perhaps it is natural to blame the defeat on voters choosing someone who “looks like somebody who’s been president before.” (It’s just a guess but I’m thinking Millard Fillmore.) Continue reading

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Getting Linda Cross-wise with the Super of Education

Memo to Linda Cross: A good conservative Republican, name of Scott Walker, has been governor of the State of Wisconsin since January 2011. Here we are, seven years in, and the statewide school chief is a liberal Democrat.

The state superintendent of public instruction is ALWAYS a liberal Democrat no matter who is governor. A liberal Democrat won no matter what the Republican challenger, whether it was Dr. Lowell Holtz in last week Tuesday’s election, whether it was State Rep. Don Pridemore four years earlier, whether it was Rose Fernandez in 2009, whether it was State Rep. Greg Underheim in 2005, or whether it was (cough) Linda Cross in 2001.

That the definition of madness, Linda — doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Which is why your Humble Scribe, posted to the Republican state convention as a delegate last year, introduced a measure to bring education into the big tent of the governor’s appointed cabinet. The only major governmental enterprise relegated to an off-year, little noted election.

We have no patience with the prattling of so-called good government goo-goos that education should be “above” politics. That’s prog-speak for “let the experts make the decisions.” We know who those experts are: the teachers unions. Nor are we fooled by the non-partisan label attached to these off-year elections. They are as partisan as a a Tammy Baldwin fund-raising letter. Continue reading

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A tough election night in Madison

A tough night at the Stately Manor. Our candidates lost all across the board.

Bob Dylan sang that the times, they are a’changing. But in Orchard Ridge’s case, it is the neighborhood that is a’changing. In driveways on my street and the next one over moving pods await, one of those residences took my candidate’s yard signs. We read the obituary of another neighbor, who also took a Fitzsimmons yard sign.

In three straight campaign visits of good supporters of mine, widows answered the door where, in my last campaign 11 years ago, there had been husband and wife. They are being replaced by younger families who, being younger, tend to vote liberal. No amount of redistricting can change the fact that liberals are self-selecting Madison and reinforcing its political monoculture.

Another teachers union clone, Kate Toews, joined the Madison school board. Don’t expect many charter school approvals from that bunch.

The police bashers were returned to the Madison Common Council in fine fashion. The white lab coats here at the Policy Werkes thought it ironic that voting was extended to 9:30 from the standard 8 p.m. closing at the polling place in Allied Drive — “due to [an] extended police presence.” Police were investigating a shooting. Of course.

It was thought that the presence of police would be “intimidating.” Tell me when law-abiding, voting citizens (natural-born or naturalized) are intimidated by the police.

But hey, Ald. Maurice Cheeks got low-cost, high-speed internet for Allied Drive. For that, the Wisconsin State Journal decreed, the incumbent deserved re-election. Apparently, the voters agreed. So as ye sow …  Continue reading

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Forget about crime, the issue in SW Madison is low-cost internet!

It was said that if you crossed Lyndon Baines Johnson you lay awake nights fearing your barn would burn down.

Back in August, the Wisconsin State Journal (my favorite local morning read) published a strong editorial supporting the mayor’s “effort to stop young drifters from distracting drivers who should be watching the road.” The ban on median strip panhandlers …

… deserves strong support from the public and city council.

So what happens if you vote the opposite? What fate awaits the office holder who strongly opposes the mayor’s ban on median strip scammers? Double cross the morning newspaper with impunity — as District 10 alder Maurice Cheeks did — and you are rewarded with an endorsement.

Up Yers CheeksNo thanks to Cheeks, the ban passed by a 12-8 vote at the February 7 Common Council meeting. Regrettably, Mo Cheeks is the only one of those eight with an opponent in  Tuesday’s (4-4-17) election. One would think an election-eve reprimand might be an opportunity to reinforce one’s editorial clout. A denial of the coveted endorsement as the stick instead of the carrot. One would be wrong.

In fairness, one could make the case that a Madison alder confronts a smorgasbord of issues, possibly off-setting the apostasy of the median strip panhandler issue. In that vein, incumbent Cheeks, the State Journal tells us, “wants to encourage smart development and upward mobility for all residents, including the homeless.”

One way to encourage “upward mobility” would be to get the scammers off the median strips and into jobs, it would seem. But this is Madison. Claim you’re a victim and good-hearted but gullible Madison falls to its knees.

But on to those other issues. Cheeks, the morning newspaper praises, “helped bring low-cost internet to Allied [Drive] and is working with the city to lure a much-needed grocery store.” Continue reading

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Catch and Release, Madison edition

You return home and your house has been burglarized. The place has been ransacked, destroyed. Your valuables are gone. Worse, you wake up and there’s a burglar in the house. In Your Home!

We can imagine but only those who have experienced it know the feeling of being violated.

So there’s a fellow who has committed at least 29 break-ins, burglaries, thefts on the West Side of Madison last year alone. Add bail jumping. (More here.) Much of what he stole has been fenced, so the owners will never recover their possessions. And it will be a long while before they can shed the feeling of vulnerability.

“This guy was a prolific repeat offender in terms of break-in’s several in my neighborhood!” says Meadowood neighborhood police liaison Dave Glomp. “Neighbors were terrified and in some cases they never got over it, some moved away and many didn’t get any of what was stolen back!”

The mope is up for sentencing 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 10, before judge Ellen K. Berz. You’re Judge Ellen, much time do you give him?

If you guessed “90 days,” you’re a winner. Well, actually, we’re all the losers. Because 90 days is what the district attorney has recommended. Right in line with the perp’s defense attorney. UPDATE: Lt. Chalecki said the pre-sentence report “is completed by the DA’s office and is a background investigation, of sorts, into the suspect’s life and history.  They use the results of that investigation to make a sentencing recommendation.” But now authorities are clarifying that the 90 days recommendation comes from the probation and parole agent responsible for doing the pre-sentencing investigation.  “The DA’s office is not pleased with the recommendation and will be asking for significantly more time,” according to Detective Justine Harris.

Here is Madison Police Lieutenant Lori Beth Chalecki:

Roderick Williams, the prolific burglar from the west side, has a sentencing hearing on April 10 at 1:30 pm. Roderick is the suspect that burglarized a number of Westside homes, was arrested, incarcerated, and released. Upon his release on bail, he immediately went back burglarizing homes, again in the west district.

Here is what the probation and parole people recommend:

  • For bail jumping, the maximum penalty is nine months in jail. The recommendation: two years probation.
  • For Class F felony burglary, the maximum penalty is 12½ years in prison. The recommendation: 90 days in jail, probation for 3 to 4 years. BTW: the two penalties will run concurrent, so there will be no more than four years probation. As a condition, he has to work, go to school, or get treatment (for what, is not specified).

“Yes, he is off the street for now,” says Meadowood’s other police liaison, Merle Bengston. “But, if given another break in sentencing, the question is how long before he terrorizes once again?”

Lt. Chalecki advises:

[If] you have an opinion or voice you would like the judge to hear prior to her imposing a sentence, the DA would be willing to read letters, or excerpts of letters, received from citizens regarding the impact of his behavior on their neighborhood. It is also felt that having citizens attend (even if they can’t speak) shows the community cares about this outcome.

Hint! Hint! BTW: The DA’s office phone number to get comments read into the record is 266-4211.

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