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Friday, March 16, 2018

"March For Our Lives" To Paul Ryan's Office Event

After reading this article, several readers asked me if I knew what the March for Our Lives spokesperson meant about taking it directly to Ryan's front door. Did they mean his home or office in Janesville?

UPI Excerpt:
The event is the same day as the national March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C. Eder said they will carry the call for improved gun control "directly to Paul Ryan's front door" in Janesville, Wis.

Not being affiliated with the event or its organizers, I could not answer their question.

Because, to some folks in Janesville who would like to participate in the event, taking it "directly to Paul Ryan's front door" assuming they mean his home, would be enough to stop them from joining the march. So I looked around the Web to get a clear authoritative answer including asking the event's Twitter account directly. Unfortunately, that was like talking to a brick wall.

Finally I linked to the local Rock Valley Fellowship of Reconciliation Webpage.

March For Our Lives Rally

Saturday, March 24

The Rock Valley Fellowship of Reconciliation is sponsoring a rally in support of the student “March for our Lives” project calling for common sense gun laws and an end to gun violence.

The rally is being held on Saturday, March 24 at 1:00 p.m. at the Roth Amphitheater in Janesville’s Lower Courthouse Park. We plan to March through downtown Janesville and end in front of Congressman Ryan's office on Main Street. We will have a petition to sign and will be taking a picture. The picture and petitions will be sent to Congressman Ryan.

Click HERE to download a poster concerning this event.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Wisconsin's "Park Place" Noticeably Absent From League Of Conservation Parks Letter To Paul Ryan

A letter from the Wisconsin League Of Conservation Voters asking House Speaker Paul Ryan to protect funding for public lands was signed by more than 300 local officials in Wisconsin.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has provided approximately $212 million to Wisconsin to protect places like the Ice Age Trail, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, St. Croix National Scenic River, and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The letter urges Speaker Paul Ryan to lead Congress in a pro-parks agenda by reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) before it expires this year.

Noticeably absent from the list of signers were officials from Paul Ryan's hometown of Janesville, once known as "Wisconsin's Park Place." The letter was hand delivered to Speaker Ryan’s office in Janesville and Washington.

Read the full story here.

See the letter and list of signers. (pdf)

Paul Ryan scores a miserable 11% with the League of Conservation Voters.

League of Conservation Voters tweet.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Pollutenbeck, State Republicans Requested Shutdown Of Air Monitoring Station Ahead of Foxconn "Evaporation"

According to a recent article from the Chicago Tribune...

Tribune Excerpt:
Of the 7 million gallons of water withdrawn daily for Foxconn, 4.3 million gallons would be treated and returned to the lake and the rest would be lost, mostly from evaporation in the company’s cooling system, according to the application sent to Wisconsin officials.

"Cooling system." Rrrright.

But first, priorities!!

Madison Excerpt:
The state Assembly has passed a bill that asks the federal Environmental Protection Agency to exclude a monitoring site in a Sheboygan County state park from a statewide air-monitoring plan.

The bill passed on a party-line vote Thursday. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Scott Walker, having passed the state Senate Tuesday.

Now you might be thinking that since the proposed government-greased Foxconn manufacturing facility will sit about 70 miles south of Sheboygan, that the plant would have little effect on the data collected by the station. Think again.

Republicans argued in support of the shutdown because most of the air pollutants it detects come from out of state, particularly south, from Chicago and Gary, Ind. That means the station has collected enough historical data AND is in the best possible location to compare with any future data it would collect in the soon-to-be foxconn era. That makes the shutdown an emergency. It's THAT data they want shut down and kept hidden from public viewing.

It was a party-line vote. Blame those rotten hyper-partisan democrats!


RNR - Pay To Pollutenbeck

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Democratic Primary Race In The First Heats Up

It's On!

For the past several months, the race to win the right to challenge Paul Ryan under the party label in the General Election seemed like a foregone conclusion as iron worker Randy Bryce, also known on social media as "Iron Stache," bolted out of the starting gate with a viral video and endorsements. His only apparent challenger, Cathy Myers, a School Board member and teacher from Janesville, continued to plod along producing a cache of short issue-point videos and social engagements until recently, when she found some needed traction with her own viral video.

It turns out that the release of Myers video premier couldn't have been timed better as it coincided with a Bryce campaign rally in Madison with Sen. Bernie Sanders. Soon after, Myers reported a substantial uptick in donations.

With a noticeable change in momentum for the Myers' campaign, the notion that Bryce was the anointed democratic candidate appears beginning to fade. The focus between supporters of the two camps now returns to holding debates.

As a political observer and critic, I'd like to see one or two more candidates in this race. But even without, the shift in momentum while closing the gap between these two electable candidates is welcome news for democracy and good news for our district.

Contrary to some, I believe it is a necessary positive tension that will ultimately produce a stronger campaign and unified support for the winner to take on the entrenched congressman. This is now a primary to watch!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Local Governments, Not The State, Are At War With Local Control

Yeah, I know the title sounds contrary to the convention, but here's why I believe it's truth.

Have you ever asked yourself, "where is all of the anti-local-control legislation coming from?" It seems never ending in Wisconsin. Do you ever find yourself on the winning side of local wage, LGBT, working conditions and civil rights battles in your city only to find later that the state has just nullified everything you fought for and won?

So, here we go again with news about the Wisconsin state assembly passing new laws that will prohibit municipalities from creating their own local labor laws.

Wispolitics Excerpt:
The Assembly early this morning voted 58-32 along party lines on bill that would prohibit municipalities from creating their own local labor laws with a new amendment that would make it clear the bill wouldn’t apply to Foxconn.

You read that right. They granted a giant foreign corporation total immunity from laws they believe are necessary to help give Wisconsin employers across the state certainty when conducting business. Go figure.

If you read between the lines however, you should also pick up the notion that Wisconsin's municipalities supported the original restrictive blanket law with only one "local" jurisdiction, Racine, asking for an exemption. Not for themselves ...but for Foxconn. It's true.

In Janesville for instance, recent city councils have passed local resolutions to reaffirm collective bargaining and strengthen language within ordinances to protect workers rights, wages and the LGBT community from discrimination.

However, the hired-hand city administration opposed those new laws. They said existing laws cover everything and that changes were unnecessary. As the council membership changed, the next council president, Doug Marklein, immediately laid out a regressive agenda intended to overturn those "unnecessary" city resolutions. He received enough push back from the seven member council that he later suggested changing the city charter to expand the council to nine members or more, assuming he could gain the majority to force his will. Are you still with me?

That's how much seething hatred these folks have for workers and civil rights. This is not your Koch brothers at work here. This is local. These are the men behind the curtain, and not just in Janesville.

So these folks, with the help of your local chamber, lobby under the table to get state legislators pass laws that are designed to put the state boot on the neck of those local decisions.

Sure, the knee-jerk response is to blame the majority party in Madison for passing those restrictions. I blame them too, but only in part.

And, as much as I would like to blame ALEC, the Koch brothers, the WMC or the Bradley Foundation simply because it's the politically correct thing to do OR because everyone on my side is doing it, I strongly believe the real enemy of local control is your city administrator, county executive, city administration personnel, municipal organizations AND your local chamber of commerce. THEY are calling the shots on all of those ANTI-local control laws. THEIR SILENCE IS SUPPORT. They don't get everything they want, and sometimes they oppose some overreaching, but they're getting anything that fits the majority party's red state agenda.

They realized only the state has the power to do what they desperately want but can't or couldn't do because the local citizenry would rebel. So they're going to the state, at night, through the back door, when everyone else is sleeping.

Plus, local town and city officials in the executive capacity, many running under the guise of progressivism and "local" defenders, know they would be criticized and possibly fired for their discriminatory policies.

They're playing us over and over again.

And then there is this.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Just Another Day At The Races In Janesville

Wait. Janesville has an "African American Liaison Advisory Committee?" For the Police Department? A department that hired its first black officer in 2016?

I didn't think it was that big of a deal at first when the Janesville city council instructed the Freitag administration to seek out a temporary polling place other than the police station for residents of the city's west side neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods have the highest concentration of the city's black population. I figured they would do the right thing.

In Janesville however, the problem is much deeper than the stark historical realities between black and white. You see, Janesville's type of city government is an "at-large" system of representation that by design guarantees special interest domination. Its defenders claim the system provides that only the city's "best," (an inherently racist statement) regardless of where they live in the city, are elected to the council. That logic in turn feeds the fallacy that these "best" citizens are then charged and do only what's "best" for the city and not just your neck of Janesville's woods.

Do you see the problem with that? I certainly do.

Secondly, there are council members who believe that because of the Police Chief's well-intentioned community outreach efforts, it would be a slap to his face to reject a polling place in the station. That's just divisive and plain wrong.

I agree that Chief Moore has done an outstanding job in that regard, but only given the circumstances. But to the contrary, I think it's a slap in the face of any community to place the concerns for any group, police included, above the concerns of even a single voter on Election Day. Election Day is simply not the day to test your police outreach program.

Given the circumstances and acknowledgment assuming the concern for Janesville's black and minority population in those two voting wards is indeed genuine, the decision to put a polling place in the police station MUST come from that community. Not from the police or the "best" officials who don't live there.

But because there are no elected alderman representing those wards, they don't have a voice in city government. They'll have to resort to protest or petition to send a message and that's very unfortunate on every level.

But I also now wonder, if they really want to test their outreach efforts, why the police officers living in those wards don't step up to take a leadership role in this decision. Are there any? That wasn't meant to be a trick question.

The bottom line is; nearly half of Janesville, geographically, does not have representation in our city government. It is a race thing if you believe district representation is "forced diversity." But it's also a community thing and in Janesville, it's broken.

In Janesville, we have a long way to go on both fronts.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Scott Walker Offers State Assistance For Those Suffering With Too Much Money

JS Online Excerpt:
Walker has repeatedly rejected federal money to expand Medicaid health programs for the poor. But with Assembly Bill 885, the governor seeks to accept federal money to help hold down rising costs within the Obamacare individual insurance exchanges for those who make too much to qualify for federal subsidies.

Although it appears like the health care insurance industry operating outside of Obamacare subsidies is collapsing from Trump/Ryan tax cut inflationary pressures, Walker spin twists his healthcare for the wealthy by blaming Obamacare yet again.

"Obamacare is collapsing. Washington has failed to fix it. Wisconsin will lead!" Walker tweeted. When it turns out that Obamacare is his only refuge.


RNR - Gov. Scott Walker. Is He Evil Or What? (2013)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Real Janesville Embodies Red State Values

As predicted, the Janesville city council unanimously endorsed a council policy "update" (Council Policy #77) underwritten by Gov. Scott Walker's local booster club, Forward Janesville, the "Divide and Conquer" red-state cash-cow group, Rock County 5.0, and their public sector liaison, Rock County Alliance.

To be fair, at least one of their representatives in attendance spoke up to promote the red state group's update agenda. Council Member Richard Gruber, who also happens to be a ranking member of Forward Janesville, said everything the city of Janesville has done over the past several years embodies the new directives of their recommended update and the council's unanimous approval will essentially memorialize its acceptance. I have to admit, watching Gruber and the city's corporate welfare director, Gale Price, put words in each other's mouth without choking or coughing provided some comical entertainment.

But Gruber is right. I couldn't have said it better myself. Welcome to Red State Janesville! We're conquered and united!!

On another red state front, council members grappled over a resolution meant to force the city’s two most diverse neighborhoods to vote in a police station. That's right.

The polling location change is temporary due to remodeling at the city’s municipal building. But moving the voting location to a police station has had a chilling effect on minority communities in the cities.

Three council members, Gruber and Janesville's council "odd couple," Doug Marklein and Jens Jorgensen, were united in their belief that ethnically diverse and woefully underrepresented voters in the city should be able to easily set aside generations of indifference they have experienced from law enforcement. Marklein and Jorgensen in particular seemed to think that Election Day presents itself as a unique opportunity for police outreach and that disenfranchised voters should be willing to accept those circumstances without reservation. They implied anyone thinking different insults the Janesville Police Department.

During the discussion, City Manager Mark Freitag offered another option. He suggested that with the addition of some light and portable heaters, the City Hall parking garage could be converted into a polling place for 3rd and 4th Ward voters.

Of note, Jorgensen was the only council member to vote "no" to two questions on seeking an alternate polling location, leaving bewildered viewers with the impression that he strongly believes it was wrong for the council to even consider options to the police station polling place venue.


Urban Milwaukee - Congressional Candidate Calls On Janesville City Council To Reject Police Station Polling Place