Tony Talks Poverty... Again...

At the Oshkosh Common Council meeting tonight, Councilor Tony Palmeri went off on a rant about the problems of poverty in Oshkosh. He declared the money for the Grand repairs would be much better spent helping people in poverty rather than supporting the Grand... and then voted to deny this money to people in poverty by spending the money on the Grand.

Now, I am as dedicated to poverty reduction as any elected official (and if anyone would like to discuss my record, I am open). But Palmeri, in his 2.5 years as an elected Oshkosh Common Council Member has done little or nothing to reduce poverty in Oshkosh.

Because Mr. Palmeri is very good at self-promotion, let's look at his major tool for this to evaluate his record: www.talktotony.blogspot.com (the link takes you to a Google search of his blog for the word 'Poverty').

You will find that he has 10 results about poverty on his blog. Tony was first elected in 4/2007. Of these 10, 6 are from before he was elected. Including:

In this post, he calls for the creation of a blue-ribbon panel on poverty consisting of former mayors (mind you, he would not be part of this panel) as a campaign promise.

In this post, he calls for "a jobs summit and/or create an Economic Development Commission to come up with real strategies for maintaining, attracting, and creating family supporting jobs in the community" - another opportunity for talking (but not doing anything) about poverty.

In this post he calls for "a living wage ordinance for the city of Oshkosh" - an item he has had 2.5 ears as a council member to introduce, but has not.

In the posts since his election, he has recorded:

A move by then Mayor Frank Tower (not Palmeri) to create a commission.

A post featuring a Kennedy quote.

A post comparing the war on Drugs with the War on Poverty.

A post complaining how the new ambulance rates will hurt the poor (he voted for it):
We approved new ambulance rates (I was part of the 6-1 majority), but we completely dropped any discussion of how increased rates affect those least able to pay. We gave lip service to that topic at the August workshop, and it did turn out to be just that: lip service. The painful reality is that this council or city government in general does not have in place any coherent anti-poverty program, nor do we seem particularly interested in developing one. We are all responsible for that; I am not trying to blame anyone.
Once again, Mr. Palmeri complained about the neglect of the poor, while continuing to neglect them.

Here is the rub. As a member of the Oshkosh Common Council, he has the opportunity to introduce any resolution at any meeting. The way I see it, he has been in office 52 months, and at 2 meetings a month, that is 104 opportunities to do something on this issue squandered.

Tonight, Mr. Palmeri called once again for more than lip service for Oshkosh's residents in poverty. I hope this time he actually means it.

His record does not look promising.


Douglas McCloud said...

Atta Boy!

Anonymous said...

Excellent points, Jef. Time for Tony to stop talking the talk and walk the walk instead, like he challenges everyone else to do.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information. But let's give Tony the benefit of doubt. I don't believe Tony belongs to any serivce organizations in Oshkosh, does not volunteer at the food pantries, Habitat for Humanity or places where he would actually encounter people on hard times. He also doesn't see the many Oshkosh residents that do give of their time and monies to these organizations.

M. Bubba Blume said...

Brutal commentary Jef. Nice job.

RepSoccrMom said...

Jef, Tony Palmeri is the only council person with a record of consistency for being the voice of the people of Oshkosh. He's a stronger principled man than any Dem I've met. You took alot of cheap and petty shots, Jef. You complain about the do nothing council and then throw rocks at the only council person making a true difference in this city. I think you should spend more time looking at your own party, who can't even agree on something like a public option for health care. What a bunch of spineless people - so tied to corporate money that they can't stand up for what it right. I'm sure you are proud of your fellow Dems?

Anonymous said...

"...or places where he would actually encounter people on hard times."

Have you seen his neighborhood?!?!?

Jef Hall has, they are practically neighbors.

Anonymous said...


What exactly has he done? These were not cheap shots. It was nothming more than pointing out that TP is great at talking the talk but not walking the walk. How is pointing out his failure to make good on promises made during his campaign and post-election taking a cheap shot? You mentioned party politics, which is a very curious statement to make and shows you don't really understand local politics at all. The offices served by neither Palmeri or Hall are nonpartisan so your point is a moot one.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what 6:43AM is talking about. Jef Hall may be the chair of the local Dem party but his elected position is neither Demo or Rep, or anything else. Since 6:43 brought up party politics though, let's consider that Dems have historically been the voice for programs and services that benefit the very people s/he claims Tony Palmeri has made a difference for. I don't get this person's points. They apparently like TP for standing up for the little guy, but then slam the very party that has always worked to make a difference for the little guy. CONFUSION.

Anonymous said...

Everything all of you have said so far may or may not be true, but why did Tony attack Kathy Propp over and over, as well as Rotary clubs? That disrepect of people who try to be good citizens and who HAVE worked at food pantries and given tons of money to all kinds of causes is absolutely bizarre.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's because Tony doesn't have a good idea what these people or clubs really do. It's easy for people like he and Paul Esslinger to sit up their and chastise people or groups, but their own record is hardly worth calling home about.

Anonymous said...

Tony chastised Rotary for their support for the grand instead of supporting the community food pantry.This is puzzling since the downtown noon rotary gave $500.00 to the food pantry earlier that week. Their primary charitable focus has been on basic human needs here and abroad. Didn't he demand that the donor community show support for the grand before the council vote? Didn't the director of Oshkosh Foundation warn him that his demands were competing with basic human needs?

Habeib Khan said...
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