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Have cooler heads prevailed after exchange between Milwaukee aldermen?

MILWAUKEE — It was a news conference that turned into a shouting match between two Milwaukee aldermen. A couple days later, it appears the atmosphere has not cooled between Aldermen Bob Bauman and Bob Donovan.

On Tuesday, May 15th, Alderman Donovan held a news conference (see below) to urge Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to use his influence and put the city’s streetcar project on hold. Alderman Bauman stepped forward during that news conference to refute much of what Donovan had to say. And Donovan fired back yet again.

How do the Milwaukee Common Council members feel about the confrontation after they’ve had a couple of days to think about it?

“Oh, I think it was very useful. It elevated this issue. I think it pointed out some of the lies and distortions that have been spread about this streetcar project,” Alderman Bauman said Thursday, May 17th.

“Well, it’s unfortunate that the confrontation took place as it did. Yet, I’m very adamant about what I believe in,” Alderman Donovan said.

On Thursday, Donovan repeated most of his constituents don’t want the streetcar.

Bauman said the project, initially funded by $54 million federal dollars, could create jobs, promote economic development and improve mobility and connectivity in downtown Milwaukee. He said Donovan’s thinking is behind the times.

“He believes in the Milwaukee that was once homogeneous. All white. That had all kinds of blue collar employment. That didn’t require a lot of education to succeed and obtain a middle class job. The Laverne and Shirley Milwaukee. The Laverne and Shirley Milwaukee is gone,” Bauman said.

Donovan fired back saying, “I won’t deny. There are a lot of, I think, good things from the past that we should try and bring back. I remember growing up in neighborhoods where people knew each other.”

The two aldermen have talked since Tuesday’s confrontation. Donovan said he told Bauman that he hoped there would be no hard feelings, even though they disagree. He says Bauman said that was fine with him.

The city is working to get the final design prepared for the streetcar project.

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