Justifying the unjustifiable: the Cancer Killing Wisconsin Politics

Over the course of the past week, I received a communication from an individual—a person I will not name—who is associated with the Milwaukee County DA’s office.  Based on some terse, yet pointed comments that I have made, this individual wanted to know why I wasn’t standing with assistant district attorneys by supporting the recall of Gov. Scott Walker.  Apparently in possession of the Barrett campaign’s talking-points memo regarding the mayor’s failure to obtain the endorsement of the labor union representing his city’s rank-and-file police officers, this person said “residency” was the only reason that the Milwaukee Police Association has endorsed Gov. Walker in the recall election.

To set the record straight, neither I nor anyone else affiliated with SF have publicly endorsed any candidate in the recall election.  In the past, I have taken the Wisconsin Professional Police Officers Association (WPPA) to task when their members identified themselves as public officials, and then cited their agencies, while making partisan political statements. I have also criticized the WPPA’s executive director, Jim Palmer, for signing a letter threatening a Milwaukee business leader with a boycott unless this citizen renounced his First Amendment right to support Gov. Walker.


Moreover, anyone who has taken a few minutes to view the contents of this Web site would quickly realize that the Spingola Files has a noticeable libertarian bent when it comes to matters of government surveillance—hardly an issue championed by neo-cons and right-wingers.

Back to the comments of the person associated with the Milwaukee County DA’s office.

Since I retired from the Milwaukee Police Department and now reside outside Milwaukee County, residency is not an issue that affects me. 

I do throw an occasional dart, however, when hypocrisy raises its ugly head.

So why is it then that Darlene Wink, a former low-level aide to then Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, was charged and convicted for campaigning on government time while using a taxpayer funded computer network, while the anti-Walker folks (particularly this person associated with the Milwaukee County DA’s office) downplay e-mails sent by Kris Barrett, Mayor Barrett’s wife, advocating political action during her tenure as a teacher for the Milwaukee Public Schools?

This type of attitude—that the misconduct of a particular individual should be marginalized as long as this person is ‘on our side’ politically—is the cancer that is killing Wisconsin politics.

After all, there are a plethora of reasons why rank-and-file Milwaukee police officers would vote against Barrett and the Democrats. 

Just a few years ago, former Governor Jim Doyle and his Democrat Party cohorts in the state legislature—with the support of Mayor Barrett—changed state law, which now gives the chief-of-police in the city of Milwaukee the authority to subjectively and arbitrary fire an officer for a rule violation, while denying this officer his or her pay absent a due process hearing with the Fire and Police Commission.   In every other jurisdiction in the state of Wisconsin, a police chief can only recommend termination, at which time an officer continues to be paid until the charges against him or her are substantiated by an oversight board.  

Furthermore, Doyle and Democrats in the legislature, specifically those from the Milwaukee delegation that should know better, granted early release to thousands of felons from Wisconsin prisons.  Almost half of these felons reside in one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties—Milwaukee, which means, unlike the vast majority of the rank-and-file officers represented by the WPPA, Milwaukee police officers bore the brunt of the Democrats so-called criminal justice reforms.

And, of course, I related these points to the person associated with the Milwaukee County DA’s office, who basically, in not so many words, accused me of being a sellout for simply pointing out the hypocrisy of those poo-pooing Kris Barrett’s taxpayer funded use of a computer network for political action purposes, but have yet to receive a reply.



Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit


© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012

8 Responses

  1. Tony

    Should be an easy retort of “Kloppenberg” “Falk” “Barrett” “WPPA” don’t represent any of my values nor the interest of Justice, Serving and Protecting! “Sell Out”, not my flag to wave, nor SF’s.

    May 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm

  2. Glenn Frankovis

    Well Steve, we’ve worked around people like this throughout our careers. You’re a good guy until you disagree with their political position, and then you’re a “sellout” or a “racist” or some other kind of “ist”. I experienced it during my time on the job and even after, and especially since this RECALL mania began when these lefty fanatics (redundant, I know) became unhinged when Scott Walker was elected with the overwhelming support of the “silent majority” who sat idly by when the 60s/70s hippies tried to overthrow our government and way of life. Of course now we know that they infilitrated our schools and government offices to accomplish from within what they were unable to do back then. The “silent majority” isn’t silent anymore and that became very clear in the 2010 elections. We’ll finish the job in 2012 and send them the way of the dinosaur. Of course, I expect the true fanatics of the left to go underground and return to the violent ways of their heroes – Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, the Armstrong brothers, David Fine and Leo Burt (who I am convinced still walks freely in Madison – aka: OZ). We’ll see their terrorism just as we have experienced some of it over the course of the last year with their cowardly threats and vandalism of property to people displaying support for Walker. They had better be cognizant of that old saying though. You can only back a dog so far into a corner before he comes at you. They’d better beware of the beast they might unleash with their actions.

    May 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm

  3. Greg Baur


    I wish that I had the ability to state what you stated as succinctly, and accurately. I couldnt agree more with the analysis, and have often cringed at the hypocrital and dishonesty of the political elitists that seem the think that they have a moral right to their positions.

    Well said!!!!

    May 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm

  4. Steve Spingola

    Greg, Glenn, thanks for the comments. Gov. Walker’s Act 10 has divided law enforcement, even though the governor exempted first responders. Do those affiliated with the WPPA really believe that had a Democrat governor exempted teachers, but not first responders, that the teacher’s union would rally to support the police? Just like the assistant DA’s in Milwaukee County rallied to support Milwaukee police officers as Doyle and Democrats in the legislature stripped them of their opportunity to appeal a subjective decision of a Milwaukee police chief, right?

    May 21, 2012 at 3:40 am

  5. Glenn Frankovis

    Brotherhood???? No such thing. We even had, and still have to some extent, that problem on our Department, Steve. As for the D.A.’s Office, we might have a better D.A. than the previous guy, but the political agenda is still alive. That’s very disappointing to me.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm

  6. Mary Beth

    Mr. Spingola…. You are my hero! These people are elitists. They do not believe that the laws that apply to those of us apply to them

    May 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm

  7. Big Larry

    Outstanding article! It takes guts to standup and be counted. Funny thing, as I like to say “Abuses lead to restrictions.” Some people are so overtly partisan that they’ve ignored what Clinton did with an intern in the White House, something any CEO would be instantly fired for; turned a blind eye to the attorney general being less than truthful about Opeation Fast and Furioius; bitched about Gitmo while lacking the moral character to even mention drones being used to kill innocent civilians oversees (the we can’t waterboard them but we can kill them argument doesn’t really make much sense); then winking and nodding at teachers getting paid by the taxpayers on taxpayer funded computers and trying to advocate for their unions political positons. These people are corrupt and need to be tossed out of office.

    May 22, 2012 at 7:50 am

  8. Tony

    Interesting! I got some Propaganda Email today unwittingly from a colleague that didn’t do his home work on it and decided to email it to his email address list. The list included many that are still employed by the State of Wisconsin, sent directly to their work email.

    —– Forwarded message from —–
    Date: Fri, 01 Jun 2012 11:46:07 -0700
    From: Kathleen Marsh
    Reply-To: Kathleen Marsh
    Subject: It’s already starting!
    To: underwillows@centurytel.net
    The issue is here; the time is now. Only a precious few days left until the vote to recall Scott Walker/Rebecca Kleefisch. If you are still determined to vote for Walker/Kleefisch, or not vote at all, you need to read this. Please forward it to all your retired friends and to your family to let them know that your financial future is in great peril if Walker/Kleefisch prevail on June 5. AND, you need to do more than just vote. Get others to vote to recall the governor and the lieutenant governor. It’s not easy to approach our friends and neighbors for something like this, but it is essential to your future security.

    Sorry to be the bearer of such bad news on a lovely Wisconsin weekend, but assaults on the Wisconsin Retirement System by conservative groups are really heating up. Those of us who have been working hard to preserve the WRS have been curious as to what logic Governor Walker would use to attack our world class pension system. Now we know. In an op-ed piece printed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on May 31, the conservative Heritage Foundation makes Walker’s case using two principal reasons to justify dismantling WRS while conveniently omitting crucial facts which completely refute their arguments.
    Many thanks to WRS annuitant and online contact Patrick Murphy for sending me the following information he included in a rebuttal letter to the MJS (which may never be printed, we fear). Patrick writes:

    In their op-ed piece, the Heritage Foundation incorrectly claims:
    1. Taxpayers pay for the WRS.
    2. Investment projections are too high, leading to higher future liabilities than what plan administrators report.
    Their conclusion is that public employee pension expenses will fall back on taxpayers.
    What is correct:
    1. When public employees receive pay for their service, it ceases to be their employer’s (taxpayer’s) money. Public employees actually divert some of their pay to the WRS for, of all things, retirement.
    2. The “proper” financial methods which the Heritage Foundation claims should be used serve only theirs, and Walker’s, conservative ideology.
    Articles in the Government Financial Review, National Association of State Retirement Administrators as well as Governing all state that the assumption of a return of 8% is valid for pension plans, which are expected to be long-term investments. Furthermore, using a risk-free estimate (suggested by Heritage and other conservative groups) will result in OVER-FUNDING of pension plans.
    What the Heritage Foundation omitted:
    Wisconsin, historically, has built into the WRS self-correcting measures for when investment times are bad:
    1. Actual retirement payments TO RETIREES can be reduced, and currently are being reduced.
    2. Employee contributions can be increased, and currently are being increased, even beyond Act10 requirements.
    My conclusion is that it is very likely that NO pension expense in Wisconsin will fall back to the taxpayer unless there is a COMPLETE collapse of the US economy, in which case ALL bets are off for anything.
    The Heritage op-ed offers a self-serving and misleading report for Walker to dismantle our national model public employee retirement system. It uses misinformation and omits relevant data that refutes their desired result.

    Patrick Murphy, WRS Annuitant

    This message was sent to fusfeld by Kathleen Marsh from the SignOn.org system. MoveOn.org Civic Action sponsors SignOn.org, but does not endorse specific campaigns or the contents of this message.
    To unsubscribe or report this email as inappropriate, click here: http://www.signon.org/unsub.html?i=4357-352390-pdpjQ1

    —– End forwarded message —–

    Following Kathleen Marsh and Patrick Murphy led me to the following site!


    Check out the list of Officers and the Chairman that run this “Watchdog” Group! None other then James Palmer and WPPA People, subsidized by a consortium of Unions …Figures!

    June 3, 2012 at 1:26 am

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