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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Milton Officials Reshaping School Referendum Into a Taxpayer Maintenance Program?

I thought I heard it all about tax hikes when leaders of the area business chamber, Forward Janesville, said local residents must except higher tax obligations or else face an economic death spiral. But Milton officials (Pop: 5,564) now seem to be not only embracing that logic, but are taking it to the next plateau.

At least that's my first impression after reading this article, titled "We're asking for help," by the Janesville Gazette. Apparently, the Milton School District is seeing public opposition to a substantial tax hike referendum and appears to be asking the newspaper for help.

The newspaper you might recall, did a slam-bang knock-up job campaigning articles and editorials for Janesville's $71 million school expansion referendum way back in 2006. Since then, the conservative newspaper has become the go-to expert on the art of the cover-up and misinformation when local officials need to reverse-spin public opposition into their favor. So much that even Elmbrook School officials paid a visit to Janesville in 2007 to review strategy surrounding the school district's approved referendum to help them sell their own $99 million referendum. The newspaper wins awards for that stuff, so who could blame the Milton school district for turning to the Gazette for help.

So in my view, the only way to accurately read the Gazette's Sunday story about the Milton school district seeking help is to preface it with that history.

It begins with a narrative that Milton taxpayers shouldn't look at the new spending proposal as a tax hike, but instead as a favor to maintain current tax speed.

JG Excerpt:
School districts often take on new debt as old debt rolls off, he said. As old debt is retired, districts sometimes take on new debt to level the debt load and keep even the impact to taxpayers, Schigur said.

The above statement wasn't just an accidental burp by the official. The Gazette's story is built around it with pie charts showing Milton taxpayers have a lower tax burden than peer school districts.

It doesn't matter whether you're a conservative or a progressive, a Democrat or a Republican, I think THAT is the last thing taxpayers want to hear. Milton officials are saying they want to keep the debt up so the taxes locals are used to paying ...stay on cruise control. To them it's not a spike in taxes IF they never shut it off.

In a nutshell, they're also saying that the tax hike referendum is necessary, not for the product or services it will pay for, but that it will act as a maintenance program for taxpayers.

You see, their logic must be something like this: When taxes fall too low or when public debt is finally paid off, the extra money local taxpayers find in their pockets cause them to suffer from a variety of maladies including the dreaded Forward Janesville economic "death spiral." So to alleviate taxpayer pain, local governments institute spending requests to keep those "impacts" down. To sort of, cushion future shock.

In other words, you're ripe and ready for a tax hike referendum! That's your reward. See?

Keep in mind folks, this is only the beginning of their campaign and it's already entertaining.


RNR - School Referendum How-To

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Today! Forum In Janesville: What Does The Bernie Revolution Mean To Progressives

The Rock County Progressives present...

The Bernie Revolution and Progressives

What does the Bernie revolution mean for the progressive movement?

Charles Uphoff, active in the Sanders campaigns in Iowa and Wisconsin.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
6 PM-6:30 PM cheese & cracker reception (nonalcoholic potluck)
6:30 PM- 7:45 PM, speakers & discussion

*Basics Food Cooperative
1711 Lodge Dr.
Janesville, Wisconsin

(* This is an independent event not affiliated with Basics)

From Madison route 90 until 1st Janesville exit, south on Route 26 past route 14, look for Toys R Us on the right, right on Lodge Drive, on right across from Toys R Us.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Anonymous Column - "Pass It On" #8

On Janesville Gazette Endorsements:
✦ Kloppenburg easily deserved everyone's endorsement and vote on Tuesday, but the Janesville Gazette's endorsement for her was a complete farce. If the Wisconsin Supreme Court was tied at 3 liberals and 3 conservatives, I guarantee you they would have endorsed Rebecca Bradley without a blink. You can take that to the bank.

✦ Make no mistake, the GOP-heavy Janesville Gazette endorsed JoAnne Kloppenburg to appease their Democratic and Progressive customer base. It's a calculated shift, win or lose, to appear less partisan to their critics. Plus, they can afford that now with conservatives holding a majority stranglehold on every branch of state government.

✦ In the recent past, the Janesville Gazette endorsed pro-WMC conservatives Ann Ziegler, Michael Gableman over Butler, the unhinged David Prosser over Kloppenburg and Rock County Judge James Daley over incumbent Ann Walsh Bradley, with the newspaper calling opponents either partisans, special interests or too liberal. Now they endorse Kloppenburg the second time around?? I would like to think their endorsement was sincere for her honesty and Constitutional acumen, but they only do what's best for business.

✦ The Gazette's endorsements for the Janesville city council should surprise nobody if you're paying attention to the local Forward Janesville Gazette agenda. Liberals, pragmatists and progressive oriented candidates are being used by the same people who installed the single-party ruled conservative-run central state control. Local progressives and the progressive platform in particular are being co-opted. Wake up!

✦ Does anyone wonder why conservative incumbents and candidates for Janesville city council are NOT endorsed by the Gazette lately? If you're a fiscal conservative running for city government - the conservative newspaper doesn't want you in there. Would anyone like to guess why?

On Trump:
✦ I crack up when I hear somebody say, “I will vote for Trump because he speaks his mind. Since when does speaking your mind make you presidential material? My drunk uncle always speaks his mind. Maybe he should run since he makes as much sense as Trump.

✦ If Janesville officials really wanted to prevent residents from protesting the billionaire Trump, all they had to do was write up a TIF agreement giving Trump 10 acres of green fertile land and a million dollars for free. They never protest that in Janesville.

✦ Trump seemed genuinely surprised by his supporters negative reaction to Paul Ryan. But state party republicans say Ryan is very popular with them. Apparently, the House leader of the gerrymandered GOP-majority Congress with an 11% approval rating is a big hit with the establishment. The party also thinks conservatives who want to primary Ryan have been played.

✦ Americans For Prosperity, the Club For Growth and Scott Walker thank the folks protesting in Janesville against Trump and for helping Ted Cruz win the GOP primary and keep their red state wealth redistribution agenda on course.

On "What Is This?":
✦ OK. Menards vowed not to build a new store in Ohio until Obama is gone from the White House. Deficit spending local governments all around the country are giving away land and cash to wealthy developers and corporations. After North Carolina passed new anti-LGBT laws, Bruce Springsteen canceled his upcoming concert in Greensboro. Is there one name for all this?

On Why JoAnne Kloppenburg lost:
✦ Without union blue fist protesters to scapegoat and kick around, Wisconsin right-wing radio needed a backlash target to ignite enthusiasm among their kool-aid drinking base. They found that target in Donald Trump.

✦ If this was not a presidential primary but instead a regular state ballot with Kloppenburg and Bradley at the top of the ticket - Kloppenburg would have won.

✦ Hate prevails again when the only reason to vote for a candidate is not an endorsement for that candidate or about issues or positions, but a personalized tactical vote to make sure the other guy does not win. Sad state of affairs for many Wisconsin voters who have become not much more than pawns for a political cult.

✦ Once the republican party realized they could stop Donald Trump, they only needed their "non-partisan" media tools and interest groups to disseminate that message into a "grassroots" movement. The Right has extensive operations in Wisconsin just for that purpose. It gave their base a mission to turn out for and they proceeded to vote down ticket as well.

On The Pepper Spray Altercation At The Janesville Trump Protest:
✦ The 15 year old girl may have genuinely thought that she was inappropriately touched, but it would have to be more visible and certainly more deliberate than what the videos showed. Still, she was within her rights to lash out verbally, but stepped out of bounds the moment she threw a punch. In her favor was the natural defense of striking back at a perceived groper, but it was still wrong.

✦ They still haven't caught the creep who walked up to the girl and pepper sprayed her? Thank God he wasn't spraying gasoline or acid on her face. That young man has some serious issues. He should be charged with felony assault.

On Koch Brothers Story Planning Paul Ryan Nomination:
✦ Consider the possibility that the latest meme dropped by Koch Industry operatives publicly announcing Koch's private intentions to get Paul Ryan nominated is a ploy to cause public backlash. The Kochs know their endorsements and exposure to the process are radioactive. Consider that they want Paul Ryan to stay right where he is for now.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Sanders, Kloppenburg and Trump Carry Rock County

Some election results out from Rock County.

Democratic Party Primary

Bernie Sanders      60.43%    17,337
Hillary Clinton      39.21%     11,248
Total 28,585 (54.3%)

Republican Party Primary

Donald Trump  41.48%   10,264
Ted Cruz             36.52%     9,038
John Kasich       19.17%      4,743
Total 24,045 (45.6%)


With those numbers, Rock County is showing only a slight advantage for not-establishment populist candidates. Sanders and Trump, 27.5k to Clinton, Kasich and Cruz together at 25k votes.

Although JoAnne Kloppenburg also carried Rock County, she did not do as well against Walker's Bradley in the county as she did against Walker's Prosser back in 2011 when she captured 60% or 22,145 votes to Prosser's 39.7% (14,626).

On Tuesday, Kloppenburg won the county - 54.78% (26,538) from (28,585 Dem Prez) votes cast to Bradley's 44.90% (21,752) from (24,045 GOP Prez) votes cast.

Obviously, the enthusiasm factor played a major role again, but this time working against Kloppenburg as Donald Trump's front-running status helped bring out the rabid revenge-filled "Stand with Walker" supporters statewide. While Bernie Sanders supporters were enthusiastic on the Democratic side, they seemed detached from the down ticket ballot.

Also, the ubiquitous "money in politics" played a big role as Pro-Bradley Groups Had 4-to-1 Spending Edge.

Citizens United took a beating in Wisconsin. In Janesville, 84% voted YES to overturn the disastrous Supreme Court ruling.