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Testy, Testy…

January 17, 2009
Alderman Tony Zielinski

Alderman Tony Zielinski

Doug Hissom, the best thing about OnMilwaukee (IMHO), passes along this recent outburst from Alderman Zielinski:

Milwaukee Ald. Tony Zielinski continues to tag graffiti artists as public enemy No. 1. But at least one member of a city committee says his latest plan blurs the line between murals, graffiti and freedom of expression.

Zielinski is proposing an ordinance that would require any mural artist to apply for a permit and pay $75 in order to paint the side of a building. It would be “a mechanism to check these murals and make sure they’re properly maintained” he said last week at the city’s Zoning Code Technical Committee, which considers proposed ordinances concerning buildings and such.

But when committee member Stuart Mukamal — an assistant city attorney — pointed out that some of the language may step on First Amendment freedom of expression protections Zielinski slammed his brief case closed and stormed out of the meeting. He said he thought that the legal language issues had already been worked out in the city attorney’s office and thought it too much of a delay to hash them out at the meeting. “Why would I want to discuss this now?” he yelled while leaving the room.

The only time I met Tony was on his door-to-door visit through my neighborhood for the 2008 spring election.  I had just moved in, so initially it was sort of nice that he actually walked through his constituent’s neighborhoods.  He mentioned the Avalon Theater and something about how Cafe Hollander would open up in early spring.   I was impressed enough that I considered voting for him over the coach from the Philadelphia Eagles.    Let’s hope this isn’t a usual occurrence.

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