Broad Support for Regional Economic Cooperation Found in New Law School Poll

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Category: Marquette Law School, Marquette Law School Poll, Milwaukee, Public, Speakers at Marquette
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A substantial majority of people in the Chicago “megacity” – the region stretching from the Milwaukee area, across metropolitan Chicago, and into northwest Indiana – want to see their political leaders make a priority of action that benefits the region as a whole, and not just actions focused on the needs of their own area.

But what does that mean when you get into details? How does that translate into reality?

That main finding of broad support for regional cooperation and those two questions shaped a groundbreaking conference at Marquette Law School on Tuesday. “Public Attitudes in the Chicago Megacity: Who are we and what are the possibilities?” focused on the results of what is believed to be the first extensive poll of residents of the sections of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana that are part of the “megacity.”  The conference was sponsored by the Law School and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Describing the broad conclusions, Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll and the Law School’s professor of law and public policy, said, “What we see is a substantial majority, over 70% in Illinois and Indiana, and 61% in Wisconsin, who say they would rather see cooperation among the governors and the elected officials,” than for political leaders to focus only on their own states’ concerns. Read more »

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Julia Taylor on Megacity Cooperation: In Need of “the Big Opportunity”

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Megacity CoverJulia Taylor, president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, is a leader of the effort to improve our economy through regional cooperation. One way to accomplish this is to understand we live in the Chicago Megacity, which is defined as the 21-county region stretching from the Milwaukee area down through Chicago into northwest Indiana.  In 2012 at a conference titled, “Milwaukee’s Future in the Chicago Megacity” at Marquette Law School, she was on a panel of business leaders.

Ahead of the July 28 conference, “Public Attitudes in the Chicago Megacity: Who are we, and what are the possibilities?” once again sponsored by the Marquette Law School and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Taylor talked about what has been accomplished in the last three years and opportunities for regional cooperation in the future.

Taylor has been president of the GMC since 2002. She is on the boards of the Milwaukee Water Council, the Governor’s Council of Workforce Investment, and VISIT Milwaukee.

She talked with former Journal Sentinel editor Marty Kaiser earlier this month.

Q. In 2012 the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a global economic think tank based in Paris, issued a 332-page report that advocated closer ties within the Chicago-Milwaukee economy, and declared that the region “is at a tipping point.” The report was not optimistic about the future of the region, but said that if leaders worked together, the region could become more competitive in the global economy.  Have you seen signs that the area has begun to work together in the last three years? Read more »

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Richard Longworth on Megacity Cooperation: “I Wish I Could Be More Optimistic”

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People in the Chicago Megacity, defined as the 21-county region stretching from the Milwaukee area down through Chicago into Northwest Indiana, need to work together with great urgency so the region can compete in the global economy.  That was the opinion of Richard C. Longworth at the 2012 “Milwaukee’s Future in the Chicago Megacity” conference and in an essay he wrote for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel before the conference.

Three years later, ahead of the July 28 “Public Attitudes in the Chicago Megacity: Who are we, and what are the possibilities?” conference, once again sponsored by the Marquette Law School and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Longworth is still just as concerned about the future of our region.  One of the world’s foremost experts on global cities, he follows the issue closely from Chicago despite having recently retired from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs where in 2012 he was a Senior Fellow on Global Cities. Before joining the council, he was a long-time reporter and foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and United Press International. He is the author of three books on globalization, including “Caught in the Middle,” on the impact of globalization on the American Midwest, and of the new eBook, “On Global Cities.”

He talked with former Journal Sentinel editor Marty Kaiser earlier this month.

Q. In 2012 the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a global economic think tank based in Paris, issued a 332-page report that advocated closer ties within the Chicago-Milwaukee economy, and declared the region “is at a tipping point.” The report was not optimistic about the future of the region, but said that if the region worked together it could become more competitive in the global economy.  You supported this view when you wrote about the issue and spoke at the “Milwaukee’s Future in the Chicago Megacity” conference at the Marquette Law School in 2012. Is your concern as strong as it was three years ago?

A. Yes. It definitely is. The need is still there. Nothing has changed since then to indicate that the region, as fragmented as it is, can prosper in a global economy unless it does work together and leverage its many strengths. The region is defined by the OECD as Milwaukee down through Chicago and northern Indiana.  Frankly, I would have taken it around Lake Michigan up to Grand Rapids.  I think it is very necessary for this region to work together because, as one cohesive economic region, it shares one huge natural resource, which is water, and a great deal of history.  It is based on the City of Chicago and expands out from there.   None of these areas exist separate from Chicago, so we are all interconnected anyway. But we don’t work together as a region.  We have this opportunity and we have the assets and we don’t make use of them. Read more »

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Law School and Public Policy Forum Offer Web Site on Future of Cultural Assets

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Set aside the hot subject of a new basketball arena for downtown Milwaukee – that’s a horse race that’s already far down the track – and we still face a lot of major policy questions about the future of the Milwaukee area’s cultural and recreational assets.

Museums, the zoo, parks, playgrounds, the convention center, cultural organizations– these are important assets to the community and keys to the overall quality of life of people living in and visiting the Milwaukee area.

What should do to keep them vibrant and how should we pay for what we do?

Marquette Law School and the Public Policy Forum, a non-partisan local research organization, are partnering in an effort to help educate people on the issues surrounding these important aspects of our community. The two institutions have created a Web-based tool for learning about the issues and developing your own thoughts on what should be done and how it might be financed. Read more »

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The School of Don Walker

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Several people have used the phrase “old school” when talking about Don Walker. I know what they mean and it is certainly intended as a compliment.

But I want to make sure no one thinks that what Don did as a news reporter and editor for 37 years in Milwaukee was in any way out of date.

The Don Walker approach to news was to get to know all you can about important subjects and to tell what you know to the public in as clear and straight-forward a way as you could. That’s something we need so much these days. That’s why whatever he wrote, whatever subject he was covering, his reporting was a must-read for anyone who wanted to know what was going on.

That’s one big reason – but only one – why Don will be missed. He collapsed and died Friday at home, apparently of a heart attack. He was 62.    Read more »

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Urban Poverty Conference Offers Insights and Some Bits of Hope

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“Urban Men in Poverty: Problems and Solutions” – that was the name of a morning-long conference at Eckstein Hall on Friday. Not surprisingly, the content of the gathering, which featured presentations from five professors from four universities, shed more light on the problems than the solutions. The problems are large and urgent, and good research illuminates them. The solutions are much more difficult to identify and implement.

That gave the conference a lot of content but a sobering tone. On the other hand, hope was present too.

For one thing, the fact that such a gathering occurred was a promising sign, Marquette University President Mike Lovell told the audience of more than 200. This was the first collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison La Follette School of Public Affairs and Marquette Law School. Lovell suggested this was an example of the kind of partnerships that are needed to create change.

“The only way we’re going to face and overcome the problems of urban men in poverty is by working together,” Lovell said. He said there are no easy answers. The problems related to urban men in poverty are rooted in events of decades. Solutions will not come quickly.  But, he said, he was excited so many people with serious interest gathered to show commitment to pursing solutions. Read more »

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NEWaukee and How to Create the Most Awesome City on the Planet

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Angela Damiani has a clear goal: “To make this the most awesome city on the planet.”

Note that we didn’t say “an easy goal,” we said “a clear goal.” But don’t tell Damiani that it can’t be pursued and there can’t be progress in getting there. In the six years since it began, NEWaukee, the organization she leads as president, has become a fast-growing  energizer and catalyst for community-building activities, particularly among young professionals.

At an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Eckstein Hall on Wednesday, Damiani said the jargon term for NEWaukee is that it is a social architecture firm. What does that mean? In short, NEWaukee is an organization aimed at consciously designing ways to shift a population toward a goal – and that goal is to make Milwaukee a place people think is attractive and appealing.  Which is where the ”awesome city” ambition comes in. Read more »

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Deadly Force in Philly (and Milwaukee)

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Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a voluminous report on uses of deadly force by the Philadelphia Police Department. In recent years, there has been a drop in both violent crime and assaults on police officers in the City of Brotherly Love, but officer-involved shootings (OISs) have remained stubbornly high. Amidst media coverage of rising OIS numbers in 2013, the Police Department requested assistance from the DOJ in order to assess the problem.

The new report, authored by George Fachner and Steven Carter, finds there were 394 OISs in Philadelphia between 2007 and 2014, for an average of 49 per year. The suspects were unarmed in 15% of the cases. Fachner and Carter provide a wealth of data regarding the 394 OISs and dozens of recommendations for the Department.

One recommendation is that the “PPD should publish a detailed report on use of force, including deadly force, on an annual basis. The report should be released to the public.”

I’m pleased to say that we are already doing such annual reports here in Milwaukee. How do the numbers compare?

Read more »

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MULS Conference to Consider Human Trafficking and Restorative Justice

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Category: Criminal Law & Process, Human Rights, Immigration Law, International Law & Diplomacy, Labor & Employment Law, Marquette Law School, Milwaukee, Poverty & Law, Public
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MartinaVImage_0On Thursday and Friday, Marquette Law School will host an important conference, “Restorative Justice and Human Trafficking — From Wisconsin to the World.”  As the title suggests, human trafficking — for sex or labor — is a both a global human rights problem and a significant issue locally.  Hundreds of cases have been reported in Wisconsin, mostly in the Milwaukee area.  The conference is designed to raise awareness about trafficking and to help concerned citizens get involved in efforts to address the problem.

The Conference kicks off at 4:30 on Thursday with a keynote address by Martina Vandenberg (pictured above), who leads the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center in Washington, D.C.  Vandenberg has worked on cases involving trafficking and other humans rights violations around the world.

On Friday, the Conference will continue with a full schedule of speakers and panels.  A panel of victim-survivors will share their experiences.  Local leaders and activists will discuss the impact of trafficking and current efforts to help victims.  Other speakers will cover the existing legal framework, potential legal reforms, and the international context of trafficking.

The Conference is sold out, but there will be a live feed that can be viewed by clicking on the “Watch Now” tabs in the pages linked to above.

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Mercenary Justice?

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Earlier this week, the United States Department of Justice released a scathing report on police and court practices in Ferguson, Missouri. Figuring prominently in the DOJ’s criticisms, Ferguson criminal-justice officials were said to be overly concerned with extracting money from defendants. For instance, the DOJ charges:

Ferguson has allowed its focus on revenue generation to fundamentally compromise the role of Ferguson’s municipal court. The municipal court does not act as a neutral arbiter of the law or a check on unlawful police conduct. Instead, the court primarily uses its judicial authority as the means to compel the payment of fines and fees that advance the City’s financial interests. This has led to court practices that violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process and equal protection requirements. The court’s practices also impose unnecessary harm, overwhelmingly on African-American individuals, and run counter to public safety. (3)

I don’t know how fair these particular criticisms are, but they echo numerous other criticisms made in recent years about the increasing tendency of the American criminal-justice system to rely financially on a burgeoning array of surcharges, fees, forfeitures, and the like.

Professors Wayne Logan and Ron Wright have a fine recent article on this subject, appropriately entitled “Mercenary Criminal Justice” (2014 Ill. L. Rev. 1175).   Read more »

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Milwaukee Arrests Rarely Involve Force, But Numbers Vary by District

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Last week, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission released its annual report on police uses of force for 2013. The report counts 895 incidents in 2013, employing a very broad definition of “use of force” that does not require either an injury or the use of a weapon. To put that number into perspective, the Milwaukee Police Department made more than 30,000 arrests in 2013. For each arrest in which force was used, there were about thirty-six arrests in which force was not used.

In nearly three-quarters of the use-of-force-incidents, no weapon was used by the police officer. In the remaining incidents, the most commonly used weapons were Tasers and pepper spray. Firearms were used on forty occasions, most commonly on dogs. Firearms were used against human subjects in fourteen incidents; eleven of the subjects were hit.   Read more »

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Milwaukee Residents Give Solid Marks to Police

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Last week, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission (of which I am a member) released the results of its first-ever survey of citizen attitudes toward the police.  Although the survey identified a few areas of concern, the overall tenor of citizen attitudes seems positive.

Conducted for the FPC by UWM’s Center for Urban Initiatives & Research last summer, the survey involved telephone interviews of 1,452 Milwaukee residents.  As detailed in the CUIR’s report, the survey respondents were reflective of the city’s diversity in racial composition and in other respects.

The report’s lead finding is that about three-quarters of Milwaukee residents report that they are at least somewhat satisfied with the Milwaukee Police Department, while only about nine percent said they were “not at all satisfied.”  These findings are notable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that fully one-quarter of the respondents reported being stopped by the police in the past year.  One might suppose that this group would be predisposed to negative evaluations of the police.  However, the vast majority (71%) of those stopped felt that they were treated fairly.  The MPD has significantly increased its number of stops in recent years, but it does not appear that involuntary contact with the police normally leads to hard feelings by the person stopped.

Given recent racial tensions in Milwaukee and nationally regarding policing practices, it is especially important to note the racial patterns in survey responses.   Read more »

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