Lubar Center Programs Put the Positives—and Some of the Needs—of Milwaukee in the Spotlight

Good and positive things about Milwaukee, making those things better, and, in some cases, keeping them from getting worse. That sums up three recent programs of the Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education at Marquette Law School. Let’s catch up by offering brief summaries of each of the programs, each of which was moderated by Derek Mosley, director of the Lubar Center. 

Get to Know: Cecelia Gore, executive director of the Brewers Community Foundation, February 13, 2024

Cecelia Gore is a well-known figure in Milwaukee’s philanthropic community. She was program director of the Jane Bradley Pettit Foundation from 2001 to 2009. Since 2009, she has been executive director of the Brewers Community Foundation, the charitable arm of Milwaukee’s major league baseball team. In that role, she has overseen the raising and distribution of millions of dollars to support efforts such as education programs, home construction for low-income people, and sports programs for youths.

Each baseball season, she talks to every player on the Brewers about donating part of his salary to the Brewers Foundation—and, she told Mosley during the program in Marquette Law School’s Lubar Center, 100% of the players take part (which is not true of all major league teams). She also instituted the “50-50 raffle” at Brewers home games, which allows fans to buy tickets. Half of the proceeds go to the holder of the winning ticket at each game and half go to the foundation. Since 2010, the raffles have raised more than $50 million—so more than $25 million has gone to Milwaukee nonprofit causes.

Gore has also been involved in many other local philanthropic efforts. She was co-chair of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s “Greater Together Initiative,” which recently announced it has raised $700 million to be used to increase opportunity and equity on multiple fronts for low-income people in the Milwaukee area.

Gore is an optimist about the future of Milwaukee. Solving problems will take a lot of hard work. But, she said, “The community is filled with people who want to make a difference. . . . We all have the opportunity to do as much as we can.”

In all her time working for the Brewers at American Family Field, Mosley asked, has Gore ever gone down the slide Bernie Brewer uses when a Brewers player hits a home run? “I’ve done it once, and I’ll probably never do it again,” she said.   

Watch the conversation with Gore by clicking here.


Get to Know: Peggy Williams-Smith, president/CEO of VISIT Milwaukee, January 30, 2024

Peggy Williams-Smith has had a lifelong education in what’s good about Milwaukee, and she’s a positive, eager saleswoman for telling as much of the world about Milwaukee as she and her organization can reach. A Milwaukee-area native whose path has included a lot of jobs, from Walgreen’s when she was young to 13 years working for Marcus Corporation hotels and resorts. She has headed VISIT Milwaukee, the tourism and economic development organization, since 2019.

Williams-Smith’s conversation with Mosley covered a literal and figurative waterfront of developments in Milwaukee tourism, almost all of them positive. The literal waterfront involves the rapid growth of Milwaukee in recent years as a stopping point for cruise ships on the Great Lakes. The figurative waterfront includes successful promotion campaigns, praise of Milwaukee as a tourist destination from several national publications, the coming Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, and the major expansion of the Baird Center, Milwaukee’s convention center. VISIT Milwaukee was involved in bringing more than 500 events to Milwaukee, involving more than $800 million in business.  

“There’s no better place to be in the world than the summer in Milwaukee,” Williams-Smith said. One thing that means is she and her staff of about 40 are doing more to promote Milwaukee tourism the rest of the year, including in the winter.

The conversation with Williams-Smith may be viewed by clicking here.


On the Issues: Museums and Arts Funding in Wisconsin, January 19, 2024

Wisconsin’s ranking in state funding of arts and culture programs? Fiftieth and last, said Rob Henken, president of the Wisconsin Policy Forum, a nonprofit research organization. Wisconsin’s support of arts and culture efforts from the private sector, including individuals and businesses? No exact ranking, but it’s been pretty strong, speakers at a forum on the subject at Marquette Law School’s Lubar Center said. Put the two together and you have an important part of life in Wisconsin that is doing OK, but facing many serious issues.

In addition to Henken, six leaders of museums and arts organizations spoke at the program. “Museums shape communities,” said Ellen Censky, president/CEO of the Milwaukee Public Museum. But the museum, with 550,000 visitors a year, is a big and vivid example of both the positives and negatives of the museum scene. The public museum is making progress with building a replacement building, on the north side of downtown, that will launch it into a new and, supporters believe, exciting future. But the process of getting there has faced numerous challenges. And Censky told Mosley that one thing that she worries about is whether a major crisis will occur involving the current deteriorating building before the new building is ready.

Laurie Winters, executive director/CEO of the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, described how that museum went from 2,900 visitors in 2012 to 225,000 in 2023, thanks to a beautiful new facility and expanded programming. But everything that is improving the museum and arts picture for Milwaukee and Wisconsin “is happening in spite of” and not because of governmental help, she said.

Adam Braatz, executive director of the nonprofit Imagine MKE, said, “The reality is the entire sector is on the precipice of a cliff.” Things could get worse without more support, he said.

Also taking part in the discussion were Clayborn Benson, executive director of Wisconsin Black Historical Society; Polly Morris, executive director of the Lynden Sculpture Garden; and Marcela Garcia, executive director of the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts.

The discussion may be watched by clicking here.       

Continue ReadingLubar Center Programs Put the Positives—and Some of the Needs—of Milwaukee in the Spotlight

Disapproval, discontent, and uncertainty: Marquette expert observers describe 2024 election dynamics

On the one hand, “a year is forever in politics,” so don’t panic about where you think the party and candidates you favor are standing this far from the November 2024 national election.

On the other hand, there is a strong prospect of an unprecedented presidential election between Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican former President Donald Trump in a time of great discontent around politics, and standard understandings of political dynamics may not apply.

And some of the things going on politics – such as former Trump Cabinet members becoming opponents and critics of Trump – are not easy to explain.

So the outlook for the 2024 election for president is complex, fascinating, and uncertain, in the view of three nationally respected political observers, each with ties to Marquette University, who took part in an “On the Issues” program Nov. 29, 2023, in the Lubar Center of Marquette Law School.

The three statements at the start of this blog post summarize thoughts from, respectively, Professor Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll; Craig Gilbert, a fellow at the Marquette Law School Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education; and Marquette Professor Julia Azari, a political scientist who is quoted frequently in national discussions on politics.   

“A Trump-Biden matchup would be so unprecedented,” said Gilbert, formerly the Washington bureau chief of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. An incumbent president against a former president is not the only reason for saying that. The ages of the candidates, especially widely held perceptions of Biden being too old, and the large negative ratings of both candidates are also factors.

“We live in an era of chronic disapproval and discontent,” Gilbert said. “Everybody ‘s unpopular and everybody’s unhappy. Who’s happy?”

Franklin said a good reason to pay attention to poll results at this point – and the Marquette Law School Poll released both national and Wisconsin results recently – is not to predict how elections a year from now will turn out. It is to see how races are shaping up and, in the long run, to be able to understand more about the course that leads to final outcomes.

The race for the Republican nomination is dominated now by Trump, Franklin said, but Nikki Haley, the ambassador to the United Nations while Trump was president, does better than Trump in head-to-head match-ups against Biden. Franklin said Republican voters are split, with about 70% having favorable opinions of Trump and 30% having unfavorable opinions. Even if Haley looks strong against Biden, overcoming Trump within the Republican race will be a big challenge for her. “You’ve got to get the nomination to become the nominee,” Franklin said.

Azari said that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was positioning himself as “Trump-plus” and Haley as “Trump-light” in appealing to voters, while former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was running as the anti-Trump. Support for DeSantis has been slipping, Christie is not gaining momentum, and Haley has become the alternative to Trump getting the most attention among Republicans.

Gilbert said about 20% of voters are “double haters,” with negative opinions of both Trump and Biden. They could become important in shaping the race, as could voters who have a somewhat negative opinion of Biden but who might vote for him in a match against Trump.

Looking to Wisconsin, Gilbert said voting patterns in the state have changed significantly in the past couple decades. The “WOW counties” — Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington Counties, adjacent to Milwaukee County – were long-time Republican bastions, but Republican margins have grown smaller in recent elections. Some rural parts of Wisconsin used to be more “purple,” with Democrats sometimes doing well, but have become increasingly “red” and supportive of Trump. And Dane County, including Madison, has continued to gain population and increase in its power as a  Democratic bastion. “It’s a different map” than it was 20 or 20 years ago when it comes to analyzing Wisconsin voting, he said.

Azari said Trump continues to appeal to “low-propensity voters” who are less likely to vote usually but are more likely to turn out for Trump. Many of them are in more rural parts of Wisconsin.

Franklin said that how much Trump voters will mobilize in 2024 is likely to be an important part of determining the election outcome.

Derek Mosley, director of the Lubar Center and moderator of the program, asked the three what had made Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, such a strong candidate for re-election in Wisconsin in 2024. Azari said Baldwin “has avoided becoming a national lightening rod” for conservatives. Gilbert said that in her Senate victories in 2012 and 2018, Baldwin did better in Republican-oriented parts of the state than other Democrats. Losing some areas by smaller than expected margins should not be underestimated as a valuable part of winning Wisconsin as a whole, he said. And Franklin said that, even though no major Republican candidate for Senate has joined the race so far, it is not too late for that to happen and the Wisconsin race could still heat up.   

The conversation may be viewed by clicking below.

Continue ReadingDisapproval, discontent, and uncertainty: Marquette expert observers describe 2024 election dynamics

New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Focuses on Attorneys at the Heart of Policing and Prosecution, Eviction Proceedings, Courts, and Medical Malpractice

Fall 2023 CoverTrust. It’s an important word to Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman, L’02. He wants the city’s police department to have the trust of residents because of what he believes is a new culture in the department. And he wants to work with the community as a whole in a trusting relationship to help Milwaukee deal with some of its big issues.

“Jeffrey Norman Wants Your Trust,” the cover story in the Fall 2023 issue of Marquette Lawyer, Marquette Law School’s magazine, offers an engaging and insightful conversation with Norman. He discusses his goals as police chief, how he came to hold the position, and his thoughts on some of major issues that Milwaukee, its police force, and Norman personally are dealing with. A Milwaukeean through and through—a graduate of North Division High School and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and a long-time member of the police department—Norman loves the city and thinks that building a different and constructive relationship between police and residents can make it better. The interview with Norman may be read by clicking here.

Speaking of trust, we trust that other articles in the new magazine will provide a wide range of valuable insights and information. Consider these pieces in the issue:

“Complexity and Contradiction in American Law” is a lightly edited text of the E. Harold Hallows Lecture delivered at Marquette Law School in March 2023 by Judge Gerard E. Lynch, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Columbia Law School. Lynch maintains, contra Dworkin, “that that there isn’t and can’t be a single overall vision that fits together all of American law.” He also makes practical observations about the work of the federal courts. Lynch concludes that an American system where judges have differing philosophies and sometimes reach conclusions different from what other judges would decide is, in fact, a good thing. The article may be read by clicking here.

“Democracy in the Criminal Justice System” offers the insights of Carissa Byrne Hessick, Ransdell Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Prosecutors and Politics Project at the University of North Carolina. Hessick assesses the American criminal justice system, which she characterizes as “uniquely democratic.” Hessick last fall delivered Marquette Law School’s annual Barrock Lecture, which serves as the basis for the article. To read her perspective, click here.

“Eviction—So Simple, So Complex, So Human” describes the growing role of attorneys in eviction proceedings in Milwaukee Country, starting from 2016 when a Pulitzer Prize-wining book focused on the impact of evictions in the city of Milwaukee. The article canvasses both support and criticism of trends that have seen more attorneys becoming involved, particularly in representing tenants facing evictions. The article may be read by clicking here.

 “A Glimpse into a Challenging Area of Practice” profiles J. Michael End, L’73, and describes the uphill battle for a plaintiff’s lawyer in medical malpractice cases in Wisconsin. End, whose practice is based in Milwaukee, has represented medical malpractice plaintiffs for decades. Plaintiff’s-side attorneys lose 90 percent of the time at trial in medical malpractice cases, for reasons that include the state of the law, and there are now only 10 or so lawyers in Wisconsin who take these cases for plaintiffs, End says. The article may be read by clicking here.

In the Law School News section of the magazine, we introduce two new members of the Marquette Law School faculty: Christine Chabot, an associate professor of law, and Jason Reinecke, an assistant professor of law. Chabot’s research focuses on federal administrative law, and Reinecke’s on patent law, while they also teach more generally in the curriculum. The Law School News section also reports on remarks by Maha Jweied, CEO of the Responsible Business Initiative for Justice, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., at the Posner Pro Bono Exchange program at Eckstein Hall this past April. The program recognized the pro bono work of dozens of Marquette Law students. And the news section features four current Marquette Law School students who took part in the Law School’s now-decade-old Summer Youth Institute. The Law School News section may be read by clicking here.

In his column titled “Drawing On—Even Dwelling in—the Past,” Dean Joseph D. Kearney muses about Sensenbrenner Hall, the home of Marquette Law School for many decades. He offers thoughts about what has changed and what has not in the transition to Eckstein Hall, the school’s home since 2010, and how the Law School community continues to benefit from the work of its forebears. The column may be read by clicking here.

Finally: the Class Notes describe recent accomplishments of more than two dozen Marquette lawyers and may be read by clicking here, and the back cover (here) spotlights the success of lawyers who were part of the Law School’s sports law program in meeting career goals.

The full magazine may be read by clicking here


Continue ReadingNew Marquette Lawyer Magazine Focuses on Attorneys at the Heart of Policing and Prosecution, Eviction Proceedings, Courts, and Medical Malpractice