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Milwaukee hopes to shed ‘Rust Belt’ label as DNC’s host city

By Ivan Moreno

March 12, 2019

Associated Press

 

MILWAUKEE (AP) — When the Democratic National Convention comes to Milwaukee next summer, the city on the shores of Lake Michigan will have its long-awaited opportunity to show the world it’s shedding its Rust Belt image.

State and local officials who successfully lobbied to lure the convention see a city on the rise, with a flurry of construction reshaping a downtown that was dead in the 1970s.

But Milwaukee has encountered difficulty rebranding itself. It went from an industrial powerhouse at the turn of the 20th century to a city in decline as manufacturing jobs began to disappear in the late 1970s.

Health care systems are now the biggest employers in the city, but Wisconsin and Milwaukee — home of iconic motorcycle-maker Harley-Davidson — haven’t entirely abandoned manufacturing. It remains a key sector of the state’s economy, though not at the level it was before. About 16 percent of Wisconsin’s workforce is in manufacturing — second only to Indiana but far below the 57 percent of 1951.

The convention venue, the $500 million home of the NBA’s Bucks, is the latest addition to a rejuvenated downtown. An arena district with restaurants and a 90-unit apartment building is also in the works — development the city hopes will draw visitors day and night to what was once an undeveloped area of downtown.

But that’s just a portion of the construction underway. About $5 billion is being spent on projects in and around downtown, including luxury apartment buildings, hotels, and the 25-story BMO Tower office building. A new streetcar began running a 2.5-mile route in November, going south from the city’s lakeshore to downtown. The line starts a short walk from Milwaukee’s art museum, noted for Santiago Calatrava’s distinctive addition with its towering white wings.

Then there’s the weather, which city officials made part of their pitch to land the DNC. Convention delegates in the summer will see a city fully alive. After months of frigid weather, residents and visitors from across the country flock to festivals every week. Some of them, such as German Fest, are nods to the city’s immigrant ancestors. At one point in the 1880s, nearly a third of Milwaukee’s population had come from Germany

Those roots pervade the city, from the bratwursts that are must-haves at parties to the brews made by Frederick Miller and Frederick Pabst that are staples at bars. Turner Hall, built as a community center for Germans in 1882, still stands across the street from the Bucks’ arena.

Mandela Barnes, the state’s first black lieutenant governor and part of the committee that wooed the DNC, said the convention is a chance for people to discover a city they should know better. Barnes recalled being asked in Alabama, “Black people live in Milwaukee?”

That misconception is driven by segregation that’s been decades in the making. White flight and racist housing policies that made it difficult for blacks to move to the suburbs or to get loans have been major contributors to segregation. About 40 percent of the city’s 600,000 residents are black, and they live almost entirely in neighborhoods just north of downtown that are among the poorest in the state.

Much of the city’s crime is also concentrated in those neighborhoods — places that many of the delegates might never see during their four-day visit.

Gurda attributes the poverty in those neighborhoods largely to the decline in manufacturing in the early 1980s. At that time, black workers outnumbered white workers in manufacturing jobs, Gurda said. But when those jobs left, “nothing replaced them,” he said.

Despite the segregation, Barnes sees a diverse, culturally rich city. Nearly 15 percent of Milwaukee’s residents are Latino, and the city has a large Serbian population.

“Each neighborhood can experience different food, different culture, different music. I think that speaks to the beauty of it all,” Barnes said.

When Gurda guides visitors on bus tours of the city, he finds they’re frequently surprised.

“People come to Milwaukee with an expectation that it’s, as you say, Rust Belt and has kind of seen better days and kind of not dynamic, not as lively a place as a Chicago, New York or L.A.,” he said. “And when they come here, they are surprised by the beauty of the city.”

Milwaukee Steps Up to Fight Climate Change

By Mary Sussman

February 12, 2019

Shepherd Express

 

The United States Global Change Research Program released its Fourth National Climate Change Assessment in late 2018 with more than 300 federal and non-federal experts collaborating on the report. The report notes that, in the Great Lakes region, lake surface temperatures are increasing, ice cover is declining, seasonal stratification of temperatures in the lakes is occurring earlier in the year and summer evaporation rates are increasing. In addition, storm impacts are increasing, while coastal water quality is declining, putting coastal communities at risk.

While several coastal communities have expressed a willingness to integrate climate action into planning efforts, access to useful climate information and limited human and financial resources have constrained municipal action.

The federal report found that human health and safety, quality of life and economic growth are increasingly susceptible to the impacts of climate change, and efforts to respond to climate change thus far have been insufficient to avoid these impacts. This was not helped by a climate-change denying president’s tweets and 78 reversals and proposed rollbacks on environmental regulations during Donald Trump’s presidency. The report also found that, without concerted and sustained global efforts to reduce climate change and buffer its impacts, climate change will result in increased losses to our infrastructure and property, as well as impede future economic growth.

Climate Change’s Effects on Southeastern Wisconsin

In Milwaukee, we will continue to see higher levels of humidity, changes to the kind of plants that grow here, more extreme storms, higher precipitation levels and more flooding, says Russell L. Cuhel, senior scientist at the Great Lakes WATER Institute at the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences. “It is our politicians and big money that are controlling our national approach to climate change,” he says. “It would be stupid not to mitigate the likely effects that we will see in the near future no matter what happens, but it would also be stupid not to make an effort to reduce the insult.”

Cuhel also says that our mid-latitude region will likely see more severe climate change because we are at the interface of climate zones. “The change that we will see here is likely to be more substantial or more erratic than the changes that are predicted for the [rest of the] United States,” he continues. “We are likely to see more extreme events than other places. But for us in Milwaukee, Lake Michigan will moderate a lot of that through its giant inertia.”

In Wisconsin, local municipalities are taking things into their own hands to reduce their carbon footprints, despite the fact that the U.S. withdrew from the Paris agreement, and the Environmental Protection Agency has actively dismantled Barack Obama-era regulations designed to mitigate climate change. Like 50 other cities across the country at the front lines of pushback against climate change, Madison, Middleton and Eau Claire recently adopted resolutions to work toward becoming 100% clean-energy cities that use carbon-free renewable energy.

Since 2008, the city’s Milwaukee Shines program has assisted with getting 3.8 megawatts(enough to power almost 4,000 homes) of solar energy installed on homes and businesses. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is one of more than 400 “Climate Mayors” across the country who committed to adopt, honor and uphold Paris Climate Agreement goals. The City of Milwaukee has also adopted a goal of utilizing 25% clean energy by 2025 in city buildings and facilities as outlined in its ReFresh MKE sustainability plan.

The Rocky Path to Clean Energy

Recently, however, Milwaukee encountered a roadblock in realizing its clean-energy goals. Milwaukee contracted with Eagle Point Solar, an Iowa-based company specializing in solar installation. Fully expecting to connect solar installations on six city buildings to the WE Energies electrical grid, WE Energies denied the city’s application to do so because the utility claimed that the project was illegal under state law. WE Energies contended that, because Eagle Point Solar will initially own a large share of the project, it would be considered a public utility that is “selling” power to the city. This argument was made previously in an Iowa lawsuit involving Eagle Point Solar. In 2014, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that Eagle Point Solar did not act as a public utility when it attempted to enter a third-party power-purchase agreement with the city of Dubuque.

After denying the City of Milwaukee’s application to connect to the power grid, WE Energies unveiled two pilot solar programs of its own. WE Energies claims its solar program would allow the city to get nearly 40% of its energy from renewable sources, reduce energy costs and generate $80,000 a year in lease payments, says Amy Jahns, senior communications specialist at WE Energies.

Solar developers say that such a program would stifle competition in the booming solar industry and create a monopoly for solar distribution by preventing third-party ownership, as reported in the Energy News Network. Alderman Nik Kovac says WE Energies is protecting its own interests in denying Milwaukee’s application. “How can you pretend you care about solar when you deliberately misinterpret the law and change your mind on an application when you know you will lose in court,” Kovac says.

“It’s obvious to see what is going on. WE Energies can’t even pretend to be for solar,” Kovac continues. “They are clearly protecting their monopoly on power, no matter how it’s generated. If anyone else tries to be innovative or efficient with money, they will throw their body in front of it. Not because it has anything to do with the world or their customers, but to protect their monopoly. WE Energies has more power than anyone else in our region and has used their power to expand their carbon footprint rather than reduce it.”

Kovac says he’s happy WE Energies is getting into the solar business, but he’s unhappy they are doing it by blocking the existing solar deal. “We may turn out to take their deal on every other city building,” he says, “but we have a deal for six city buildings ready to go, with the panels in a warehouse, and they’re blocking it. It would have been ready to go in November.”

The matter has yet to be resolved. In December, the Public Service Commission unanimously approved both of WE Energies’ pilot solar programs.

Elizabeth Ward, conservation programs coordinator for the Sierra Club’s John Muir Chapter, says the local movement for clean energy is a response to back pedaling at both the federal and state levels. “Four or five years ago, the state legislature was putting up barriers to clean energy, and so were the utilities,” she says. “The Legislature was trying to change the legislation around wind farms, making it more difficult to get wind farms in Wisconsin, and the utilities proposed mandatory fees or fixed charges for solar, making it less economical for a person to go toward clean energy. “Voters want to see 100% clean energy,” Ward continues. “They are demanding it from their utilities, and they’re demanding it from their governments as well.”

Politico: Milwaukee is the odds-on favorite to host 2020 Democratic National Convention

By Bill Glauber and Annysa Johnson

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

February 2, 2019

 

In the next few weeks, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez is expected to select the city that will host the party's 2020 national convention.

And, according to Washington, D.C.-based Politico, Milwaukee appears to be the odds on favorite to snag the event over rivals Houston and Miami Beach. Florida.

But Milwaukee officials aren't about to celebrate prematurely.

In fact, there was official silence Saturday, as Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett declined to comment on the report.

And it's not hard to figure out why.

The competition is far from over with the three cities all in play to host the Democratic Convention July 13-16, 2020.

And Houston, especially, remains a formidable competitor, with ample hotel and convention space, plenty of local donors to help in fundraising and a track record of hosting big events.

Representatives from the three cities met with DNC officials in recent weeks for a key round of negotiations.

In its report, Politico cited a host of factors weighing in Milwaukee's favor, from Perez's personal connections to the city to the new Fiserv Forum arena and the Democrats' need to win Wisconsin in the 2020 presidential election.

Politico listed as negatives for Milwaukee: "There’s always concern about fundraising and having enough hotels when party committees look to second-tier cities."

It said Houston and Miami Beach are also "still in the hunt, and all three cities have been asked to move forward with a master contract."

Perez's personal connections to Milwaukee have always been part of the backdrop to the competition. His wife is from Wauwatosa, they were married in Milwaukee and one of their daughters attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"We look at the whole package when we're evaluating each city," Perez told the Journal Sentinel last fall. "The arena is one part of the package and obviously opening a brand new arena enables the city to have a very important asset where you can hold the convention.

"Obviously, given their ownership of the land around it and their ability to be flexible with that, that's obviously an important part of the bid moving forward," 

Milwaukee's bid committee has expressed confidence that the city has enough hotel rooms to accommodate tens of thousands of visitors who will converge on a convention city.

The local committee has also said it can raise the funds necessary to stage the event — around $70 million.

Milwaukee overcame a significant hurdle late last month when Barrett announced the city secured a third-party line of credit for the event.

The line of credit would serve as a backstop for the bid and wouldn't come into play until after the convention, and only then if the host committee falls short of fundraising and runs a deficit.

Barrett has said the line of credit does not include any city taxpayer money. But he has not publicly provided the total amount of the guarantee, as well as the names of individuals or groups providing it.

There should be more convention rumblings in the next few weeks as the race to host the Democrats in 2020 goes down to the wire.

The decision is expected to be announced sometime before or after the Democratic National Committee's Winter Meeting, scheduled Feb. 14-16.

SHERIFF-ELECT EARNELL LUCAS MEETS WITH MAYOR TOM BARRETT ABOUT NEW ERA OF COOPERATION

Milwaukee Independent

by Staff

 

In his office at City Hall on November 7, Mayor Tom Barrett expressed his excitement to sit down and talk with the newly elected Sheriff of Milwaukee County about their new partnership, and moving forward together to address community challenges.

Lucas won a decisive victory in August’s Democratic primary with 57% of the vote. For the general election he faced no opposition on the ballot. In his campaign, Lucas promised voters a break from the past administration of former Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. and a fresh start for the Sheriff’s Office.

“It is such a breath of fresh air to have a professional in this position who understands the concerns of this community, and most importantly, who wants to make positive and substantial changes in order to improve public safety and improve chances for young people and their lives,” said Mayor Barrett, who has known Lucas for years. “I think you’re going to be inspirational for a lot of people in this community.”

Since he won the primary, Lucas been traveling around Milwaukee and speaking with community members as he prepares to take office. By state statutes, he becomes Sheriff on the first Monday in January, so he will assume the office on January 7, 2019.

A proud product of the Milwaukee Public Schools system, Lucas has very deep roots in Milwaukee. Lucas was born at the Hillside Housing Projects and grew up there until his family moved after the disturbances of 1967, to the what is now known as the Harambee neighborhood. Shortly thereafter, his mother passed away.

“My grandmother was domestic help all of her life in a small town outside of Birmingham, Alabama. She raised four children of her own, and gave up everything she had worked for to moved to Milwaukee and raise for young boys,” said Lucas. “Being the youngest, I took her lessons of hard work and dedication, and went on to graduate from Rufus King High School.”

At a young age, Lucas joined the Milwaukee Police Department and almost made the ultimate sacrifice in 1982, when he was shot in the line of duty. But he went on to serve as a police captain before accepting a job in professional sports.

“I walked into an opportunity that a young boy from the central city of Milwaukee never gets – an opportunity to join Major League Baseball,” added Lucas. “In that position now for the past 16 years, I’ve been able to watch young man play a game and ensure that 75 million fans enjoy that game. But the opportunity to come home and serve this community, to change the course of the dialogue, to inspire young men and women to be their best, that is my highest honor.”

The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for administering the county’s jail, maintaining safety at the courthouse and Mitchell International Airport, as well as patrolling freeways and County parks. Lucas will conclude his position with Major League Baseball in December.

This audio was recorded live during the short meeting and press conference afterwards, and the images document the historic event.

Mayor Tom Barrett to Jeff Bezos: Bring stable employment to Milwaukee's central city

By Tom Barrett

July 13, 2018

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Amazon is a remarkably innovative company that has transformed consumer purchasing. By making the most of technological advances and managing colossal growth, it has added efficiency and value to customer purchases. Amazon has creatively disrupted a large portion of the economy. While that has consequences for companies and employees in traditional retail settings, Amazon has thrived in competitive capitalism. With recent new stories reporting Amazon is planning a new distribution center in southeastern Wisconsin, Amazon can and should seize the moment and provide transformational leadership in another way: it can lead corporate America by bringing stable employment to Milwaukee’s central city and other high unemployment urban areas. Now that’s a game changer of generational significance.

Amazon’s growth and its market capitalization in excess of $800 billion make it a powerful economic force. The choices Amazon makes can sway the economic fortunes of entire regions.
 
What makes the timing of Amazon’s planning so significant is the national, state and local employment picture. Now in the ninth year of economic recovery, under both President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump, unemployment in many parts of our nation and state is near or at historic lows.
 
A noticeable exception to the low unemployment rate, unfortunately, is the still high unemployment rate in communities of color. Since housing patterns are so segregated in southeastern Wisconsin, unemployment is highly concentrated in the city of Milwaukee.
 
That’s why we have an employment “geography gap” as well as a skills gap. It’s also why now, more than at any other time in our recent history, it is imperative that corporate America, our local business community, state and local government focus on addressing racial disparities and the geography gap.
 
If we don’t address unemployment in communities of color when unemployment is low, when will we do it? Or, have leaders just given up on locating jobs in central cities?
 
The employment needs of Amazon are very compatible with the large labor pool located in the city. What better way to address the social challenges, here and in other high unemployment urban areas, than providing hundreds or even thousands of jobs close to where people live?
 
Amazon could be a game changer. Unfortunately, like many other companies, Amazon’s distributions centers nationally are rarely located in areas with high proportions of African Americans. Milwaukee could be an exception to that regrettable practice.
 
A demographic analysis of locations Amazon has previously selected for its distribution centers shows a pattern that is typical of many large companies. Site decisions are often made with an approach that discounts social impacts. And, with that, economic benefits end up going disproportionally to locations far removed from those neighborhoods that most need jobs.
 
This is the perfect time for Amazon to demonstrate leadership by meeting its growing labor needs without requiring long commutes for those who want to work closer to home and want to spend more time with their families. That’s good for America, good for Amazon and good for our workers and families.
 
I recognize that the responsibility for addressing the current geographic job mismatch belongs to a number of parties, not just large corporations. Many state and local governments have exacerbated the situation with taxpayer subsidies handed out without considering broader impacts.
 
I invite Amazon to look into building a distribution center on Milwaukee’s north side in proximity to people looking for work, in a neighborhood with high unemployment. I encourage Amazon to consider the low-wage workers who spend hours navigating inefficient transportation alternatives. Amazon has an opportunity to alter the way site location decisions are made so that many more people can share the economic benefits of an amazing company.
 
I understand that, in a fast-growing company, expedient decisions can be made at a pace that limits consideration of broader impacts. That is something you can change. I invite you to reexamine your company’s approach. We would love to work with you.
 
Sincerely,
 
Mayor Tom Barrett
 
Milwaukee

Mayor Barrett takes 2,500 kids to the Brewers’ game, helps throw out 1st pitch

By Katie DeLong

Fox 6

June 27, 2018

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Wednesday, June 27 took 2,500 kids to a Milwaukee Brewers’ game.

Mayor Barrett also got to throw out the first pitch with Jessica Morales, a student at La Causa charter school.

Tickets were donated by the Brewers Community Foundation, with Johnsonville and Pepsi providing the food and drinks.

All of the kids attending participated in summer programs at one of 300 nonprofit youth organizations in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee submitting bid Monday to host 2020 Democratic National Convention

By Bill Glauber

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

June 18, 2018

Milwaukee's organizing committee will submit its bid Monday to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention

The convention will be held July 13-16, 2020, and Milwaukee is among eight finalist cities.

The list includes Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., Denver, Houston, Miami Beach, New York and San Francisco.

The DNC site selection committee is expected to visit the finalists this summer, with the selection of the host city announced later this year or early in 2019.

"Milwaukee is prepared to provide a first-class delegate experience and turn the national spotlight on America’s 'fresh coast,' " Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said in the cover letter to the 149-page submission.

"Milwaukee is an affordable and easily accessible city, known for our hospitality and our actively engaged corporate community. We have what it takes to make the DNC shine," Barrett said.

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore added a letter of support in trying to bring the convention to the city's new arena.

"Milwaukee is the perfect place to host a Convention in July and August," Moore said. "With our temperate weather and great sunshine, there is no other place in America that will be more welcoming and more enjoyable for convention attendees. Our hospitality is unmatched, as is our ability to put on large events. Milwaukee knows how to put on a party and how to make sure every guest is welcomed and well cared for in a safe, yet engaging environment.”

Alex Lasry, a senior vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks, is the chair of the local committee.

Organizers have said the convention would bring an estimated 50,000 visitors and have a $200 million economic impact in Milwaukee.

The local committee is raising up to $1 million to go through the bid process. Based on the experience of recent convention cities, if Milwaukee wins the bid, the local committee would have to raise $50 million to $80 million to stage the event.

Milwaukee Mayor Barrett presenting at global climate summit in Chicago

The Wisconsin Gazette

Dec 4, 2017

 

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett joined with mayors from across the United States, Canada and Mexico to pledge support for climate action in their respective cities.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is hosting the North American Climate Summit in concert with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.

Municipal leaders are discussing opportunities, barriers and avenues to collaborate as they move forward with aggressive climate action plans over the next two years.

Barrett said he would be discussing Milwaukee’s action on climate change.

He also would be discussing how the city’s Better Buildings Challenge program works constructively with Milwaukee’s building owners to help them operate more profitably while addressing climate change at the community level.

“Climate change presents direct risks to Milwaukee. It increases public health risks like catastrophic floods and a host of other challenges,” Barrett said in a news release.

He added,  “In Milwaukee, we understand that investing in energy efficiency, green infrastructure, and renewable energy is important for long-term economic growth and a sustainable environment.  I’m calling on our businesses, utilities, Public Service Commission and state government to acknowledge the importance of climate change and work with us to plan and invest in solutions.”

Mayors were expected to sign the Chicago Climate Charter, marking the way forward for municipal leaders to take climate action into their own hands in the face of federal inaction.

“While the current administration buries its head in the sand on climate change, it is now up to local leaders to develop a sustainable 21st-century economy. Chicago, Milwaukee, and numerous cities across North America understand that protecting the environment and growing jobs go hand in hand,” stated Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I applaud Mayor Barrett for taking aggressive steps to bring down carbon emissions levels.”

The summit opened Dec. 4 and continues through Dec. 6.

Rep. Gwen Moore, Mayor Tom Barrett come together to oppose GOP tax plans

Katie DeLong

November 20, 2017

Fox 6

 

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett joined Congresswoman Gwen Moore Monday, November 20th to oppose the Republican tax plans moving through Congress.

They said plans to eliminate deductions for state income tax, mortgage payments and other expenses will hurt Wisconsinites.

Republicans say the plan includes a doubling of the standard deduction for individuals and married couples will lead to a broad cut at every income level.

"The personal exemptions are much more worthwhile or valuable than doubling the standard deduction for a lot of families. Depends on people's circumstances," Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wisconsin said.


Meanwhile, Barrett complained the GOP bills would lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. He noted Wisconsin lost manufacturing jobs in 2016 despite the elimination of the state's manufacturing and agricultural tax years ago.

Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin said he opposes the Senate tax reform plan, saying it doesn't treat small businesses as well as corporations.

Milwaukee to more than double early voting sites for 2018 elections

Mary Spicuzza

November 15, 2017

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

The City of Milwaukee is set to more than double its number of early voting sites.

Aldermen and voting rights advocates announced Wednesday that the city will have eight early voting locations when people head to the polls in 2018.

That would be up from just three early voting sites that were available to city voters in 2016.

The expansion was approved Friday by the Common Council when aldermen voted unanimously to support an amendment adding early voting sites in next year's budget plan.

Mayor Tom Barrett said he worked closely with aldermen to fund additional early voting locations.

"We are excited about expanding this program, because we think it really brings the democracy to the people," Barrett said.

"Voting is a fundamental component of American democracy," said Shauntay Nelson, program manager for Wisconsin Voices. "Democracy works best when eligible voters can participate in the voting process.

Nelson was joined Wednesday at a City Hall news conference by several aldermen as well as Scot Ross, the executive director of One Wisconsin Institute.

"We know that when voters are given the opportunity to vote, that voters vote," Ross said.

A lawsuit filed by One Wisconsin Institute led a federal judge to strike down limits to early voting last year. In that case, U.S. District Judge James Peterson invalidated parts of Wisconsin’s election laws, striking down limits on early voting and prohibitions on allowing people to vote early at multiple sites. He found those and other laws violated people’s voting rights, and that many of them were put in place by Republicans to help their party.

Republican leaders have previously called for restricting early voting, saying access should be more uniform throughout the state's rural and urban areas.

Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton said the budget amendment showed the importance of Milwaukee residents having access to "the voting booth."

"We wanted to have a united voice in saying expanding that access throughout the city is something that we are going to fight for, and it's something that the citizens of the City of Milwaukee can use to help leverage the needs that they have in this city," Hamilton said. "We want the voices of the City of Milwaukee to be heard throughout this state, as well as throughout this country."

Nearly 53,000 city residents participated in early voting in last year's presidential election, a 43% increase compared with 2012. But overall, the city saw a decline of some 41,000 voters in the 2016 election compared with 2012.

Neil Albrecht, executive director of the city's Election Commission, has said Wisconsin's voter ID law and changes to registration requirements caused problems at the polls in the city and likely contributed to lower voter turnout.

"We wanted to bring the polls, the voting sites, to our communities to increase the voter turnout," said Ald. José Pérez.

Locations for the city's early voting sites have not yet been decided.