In last week’s election in the City of Milwaukee six Milwaukee aldermen were allowed to appear on the ballot unchallenged and therefore cruise to easy victories. The six alderman were Ashanti Hamilton (1st district), Joe Davis Sr. (District 2), Nic Kovac (District 3), Bob Bauman (District 4), Jim Bohl (District 5) and Willie Wade (District 7). This is Joe Davis Sr.’s second consecutive election without a challenger in the general election.
In a year when so much attention is being placed on the Scott Walker recall election and the national presidential election these aldermen were given a free pass to four more years on the city council and the committees that they serve.
The main avenue the citizens of Milwaukee have to hold their aldermen accountable is through the elections that are held every four years. Without a challenger, despite a citizens displeasure with their aldermen, they have little recourse other than to abstain from voting. It is easy to see how complecency could creep in on the aldermen, who starting their career as servants of the city had the best of intentions.
Ashanti Hamilton, Nic Kovac and Jim Bohl all serve on the Licensing Committee, with Jim Bohl serving as the committee’s chairman. This committee plays in important role in shaping our communities by deciding what businesses are able to operate in neighborhoods throughout the City of Milwaukee. The board serves as judge and jury when it comes to deciding if problem establishments get leeway to correct problem behavior or have their license to operate their business revoked.
The licensing committee is the committee the former alderman Michael Mcgee Jr. made famous when he levered his vote on the committee to demand bribes from Milwaukee business owners.
Elections between two qualified candidates give the communities a chance to reflect on the previous four years and debate issues that will shape the communities in the next four years. Unchallenged elections present a scenario where that once every four year opportunity is squandered.
Filed Under: Local Politics
About the Author: Shaun Booth is editor of MilwaukeeStory.com.