Friday, September 15, 2006

Sensenbrenner steps in it

-- Stuart Carlson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

All around, a bad press day for F. Jim. Two bad editorials and now this:
Civic leaders rebuke Sensenbrenner
They criticize 'murder capital' comment

Three civic leaders slapped back at U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner on Thursday, calling his statement that Milwaukee "is rapidly becoming the murder capital of the U.S." untrue and harmful.

"To digress into this kind of name-calling is distressing," said Dean Amhaus, president of Spirit of Milwaukee, a group that seeks to promote the city. "Especially for a congressman who represents this area."

Julia Taylor, president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, a business-led civic organization, said: "Certainly the congressman's comments could have a very chilling effect on what we're trying to do to build our region. I also don't think they're accurate."

The city has crime problems, Taylor said, "but to say that we're becoming the murder capital of the U.S. is damaging. It's inflammatory."

Doug Neilson, president and chief executive officer of VISIT Milwaukee, the city's convention and tourism bureau, said: "The comment is not true. In fact, our homicide rate has gone down to date compared to last year. . . . It doesn't help our economic development efforts to bring tourists and businesses to the region when we have negative and untrue statements being made by public officials."

Sensenbrenner, for his part, didn't give an inch. He said in Washington that his remark was accurate - although FBI figures show that two dozen cities with populations of 10,000 or more had higher murder rates than Milwaukee in 2005, and that homicides this year are running 14% behind the pace of last year.
Read the rest.

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