Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Loneliest Man In The Courthouse

"That guy is a no good bum. You can't trust a guy like him."
Those were the words of my late grandfather, in a conversation we had about Milwaukee politics. He was referring to then city Alderman Tom Nardelli. My grandfather was born in Upper Michigan, but his family moved back to Italy when he was still a baby. He came back to the United States when he was a strapping young eighteen-year-old man, looking for the American Dream. Although he was proud to be an American, he was equally proud of his Italian heritage.

He would often boast of fellow Italian-Americans who had done well, or were successful. He would be equally unforgiving to those that he felt betrayed their heritage.

It appears that his words have more than a ring of truth to them. Nardelli was having a bad day today. First, it was told that he further alienated the County Board, who he smeared in an email to Supervisor Sanfelippo:

Nardelli, praised Supervisor Joe Sanfelippo, a conservative-leaning backer of Walker, in a Dec. 22 e-mail.

"The county is very fortunate to have someone of your caliber serving in office," Nardelli gushed.

"God knows you are an island in a sea of stupidity," Nardelli wrote.

And when he tried to weasel his way out of it, he got no support from Sanfelippo:

"I was just referring to things in general," Nardelli said. "That wasn't meant to be specific to anybody. Just that (Sanfelippo) is a sharp guy."

When asked, Sanfeliippo agreed he took Nardelli to mean the rest of the board was stupid.

"Well, yes, to be honest with you," Sanfelippo said. He noted Nardelli's reputation for speaking his mind.
Well, he always has his boss and crony, Scott Walker, right? He could always count on his support, right? Well, maybe not so much now. In the same email that he praised Sanfelippo, Nardelli sort of betrayed Walker's stance regarding the federal stimulus:

As criticism mounted Tuesday of Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker for refusing to seek federal economic stimulus aid, evidence emerged showing Walker's own top aide taking an opposing view.

Chief of staff Tom Nardelli said that forwarding a list of backlogged county parks projects to Gov. Jim Doyle was an "excellent" suggestion, in a Dec. 22 e-mail exchange with County Supervisor Joe Sanfelippo. The Journal Sentinel obtained the correspondence under a public records request.

Sanfelippo urged assembling a list of projects because "it would be nice to hit the ground running" in case the stimulus package wins approval in Congress.

"Anything we can get would be a great help, considering our financial situation these days," Sanfelippo wrote.

Nardelli praised the idea in his reply, agreeing that deferred parks maintenance started before Walker became county executive but has "gotten worse over time." Nardelli says he wasn't sure "who we would send such a list to, but surely the governor's office and possibly the White House."

Ouch. Walker, while flip-flopping more than a fish out of water, has generally come down against the stimulus plan. He has stated he would prefer more of the same type of economic plan that led us to the economic straits that we find ourselves in today.

There's been no word from Walker yet on Nardelli's failure to follow company policy. He's still too busy schmoozing with his hero and fellow failure, George Bush.

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