Variations develop between Milwaukee mayoral candidates Johnson and Donovan | WUWM 89.7 FM

Extra variations have gotten evident within the contest for Milwaukee mayor. Appearing Mayor Cavalier Johnson and former Ald. Bob Donovan disagreed Monday on police price range votes, political connections to Madison and the way forward for Milwaukee’s streetcar.

Johnson and Donovan had been in full debate mode three weeks earlier than the April 5 election. They appeared earlier than the group Widespread Floor on Sunday, and Monday earlier than a partnership of enterprise and civic teams.

Although Donovan calls himself the underdog within the race as a result of he completed effectively again in final month’s main, Johnson went on the assault over the problem of metropolis price range cash for the Milwaukee Police Division. Johnson stated throughout his 4 years on the frequent council, previous to changing into appearing mayor in late December, he voted to assist police budgets.

“My opponent, we will say your title as there’s solely the 2 of us — Bob, really both you fund departments or you do not. For the 4 years, we overlapped on the frequent council, he voted no on the police price range for 4 years. So, should you’re not funding the division, you are successfully defunding the division. So, Bob, you voted to defund the police,” Johnson stated to his rival.

Donovan, who served as an alderman for 20 years, took exception to that description of his votes. “Ald. Johnson, Cavalier, is making an attempt to color me as anti-cop. That is a very good one,” he stated, laughing. “I am unable to wait to see that business, OK? The unhappy actuality of us is I voted towards the general budgets as a result of they lower the police manpower. Our police at the moment can not sustain with requires assist coming from our constituents.”

Former Ald. Bob Donovan at a Milwaukee mayoral candidate discussion board in February.

Police funding is a part of a broader disagreement between Donovan and Johnson as to who would do the higher job of acquiring extra shared income and numerous grants from the state. Donovan stated there is a sturdy need from Republicans who management the state Legislature to assist with what he calls a public security disaster within the metropolis, together with funding extra law enforcement officials.

However Johnson questioned Donovan’s clout on the state Capitol over the past 20 years. “If there are relationships in Madison that might be used to assist repair the scenario, I might have hoped, earlier than we received to this dire level in our metropolis’s historical past, that these alternatives for a greater relationship would have been explored and used so we would not be right here,” Johnson charged.

Donovan fired again: “Anybody who compares the authority and clout of 1 single alderman towards the authority and clout of the mayor does not perceive native authorities.”

Former Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat within the formally non-partisan workplace of mayor, typically battled with legislative Republicans and GOP Governor Scott Walker. Donovan is taken into account extra conservative, with extra political allies within the Republican Occasion. However Johnson, who acknowledges being a Democrat, stated he is spoken with Meeting Speaker Robin Vos and different Republican leaders about extra assist for Milwaukee.


Appearing Mayor Cavalier Johnson at a Milwaukee mayoral candidate discussion board in February.

The 2 mayoral candidates weren’t simply sparring over connections in Madison. On a key native challenge, the downtown streetcar championed by Barrett, Donovan questioned the extent of ridership and stated any enlargement ought to go earlier than voters.

“I believe that is solely cheap. In spite of everything, the residents are those left holding the bag, paying for this big public works venture that in my view by no means loved the assist of a majority of our residents,” Donovan stated.

However appearing Mayor Johnson stated he is open to the concept of including streetcar routes. “And so sure, I wish to see it expanded. Not for it to only stay downtown, however as you go up north, up MLK to Bronzeville and to the south aspect as effectively. So you may see extra progress and improvement. And, as an amenity, like different cities are doing throughout the nation to draw and retain expertise.”

Johnson added that the mayor ought to search for methods to fund streetcar enlargement.

Johnson and Donovan can have extra probabilities to vary, and infrequently agree, at three extra joint appearances this week. One is Tuesday evening earlier than the Wisconsin Black Media Affiliation and different companion organizations.

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