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Monday, March 28, 2011

True Colors - Changing The Way We Do Business

This is the "unveiling" of a campaign I wrote about a couple weeks ago. It was inspired by and is my response to the Republican party's state and national legislative campaign to defund organizations and individuals who oppose their wealth redistributive corporate driven agenda. I've given it the name "True Colors" with a rainbow as it's symbol.

Although this campaign might have some characteristics of a boycott - it is not a true boycott and is not affiliated with labor unions, a political organization or party. With that said, I do support all boycott efforts against business contributors of Walker and legislative GOP candidates who voted for the Budget Repair Bill.

In addition, boycotts are usually temporary actions used to coerce a specific desired reaction from their targets. This campaign, with any luck, is permanent and asks for nothing in return. There are no ultimatums, redemptions or quid pro quos, but only a promise from those who see a personal value in the information to better our community by changing the way we do business. The promise however is to yourself, that you will make the best effort possible under your particular economic and social circumstances to use the information as the impetus or reminder to stop supporting businesses that hurt your family and friends. Wisconsin's working families and singles will be bringing home a smaller paycheck under Walker's regime so it is imperative to start making household cuts wisely. True Colors should help as a guide when making those decisions. I will however continue to remind you (and myself) of the urgency to change the way we do business and encourage people to use their good conscience and do no harm to yourself when making these tough choices.

In short, True Colors is simply my contribution to empower myself and the working poor and middle-class with publicly known information about business members in our community who have shown support for Scott Walker and the class war hostility being waged by the Republican Party on the State of Wisconsin and across our great land.

The main feature of True Colors I'm hoping that will keep your interest will be in the continuous daily and weekly posting of data collection for the project. The driver of that aspect of the campaign will be the local business(es) promoted or referenced in articles from our local establishment newspapers, the Janesville Gazette and Janesville Messenger. The idea of course is to blow the lid off of the business's true colors and contributions to politicians. The business name and contacts will be run through two different political campaign contribution Web sites for contribution information along with an acknowledgment of whether or not the business is a member of Forward Janesville. The results will then be posted here with a short summary of their true colors and rated with "at a glance" symbols of either tea bags, a rainbow or a pot 'o gold.

The other part of True Colors will be a more static compilation of local republican legislators and their major business contributors along with a top 10 contributors list of FJ's members to Scott Walker. That section still needs work but I expect have it up and running in about a week.

True Colors Mission Statement: “I (We) believe business exists to support society. When instead business undermines society’s basic principles, then we each must choose as consumers and citizens whether or not to tolerate it with continued financial support through our purchases or in B2B transactions.”

Again, this information is not meant to exert any pressure on legislators or businesses, it is strictly an aid for the local consumer or business partner to supplement their own judgment when making a purchase decision.

I've only laid down the basic foundation and parameters for this campaign, so more structuring and refinements are in order. Being a work in progress, I'll be happy to hear from any folks with suggestions and ideas on improving it or insider information pertaining to the political inner workings of our local businesses. Also watch for the "True Colors" link in the header bar to appear soon containing a dedicated page with the expanding list of FJ members and their ratings. I expect this to be a regular feature of my blog.

To give you an idea of what to expect, I will be kicking off the project with the business promoted in Friday's Janesville Gazette - Van Galder Bus Lines.

Van Galder Bus/Coach USA
Contact: Steve Van Galder. No known government aid or subsidies at the time of this inquiry. A steady supporter of Tommy Thompson, more recent campaign contributions to Joe Knilans $100, Rick Richard $400.

Total Political contributions:

Rated: FJ+ (3/25/11) Legend of Symbols



Anonymous said...

Lou, while I know the aim seems to be more to point out who has donated Republican, it might be nice to see the businesses who contribute to the Democrats. That way we can patronize them. (I'd hate to pull my money from one GOP-backing business only to give it to another.)

Lou Kaye said...

This is only the beginning so I need some time. Unbelievably, after running a random check on 40 businesses from FJ's pool of 600, none of the 40 weighed decisively democratic. Maybe I just chose poorly and time will tell. When folks say republicans are for business - they mean it. At the same time, I'm not sure yet whether to post businesses that only contribute to democrats is the right thing to do. The other aspect to consider is once the Janesville business contributors to Walker are identified, the shopping field should open up. Shop at any comparable business of your choice not on the list. For instance, there is only one main gas station/convenience store that contributed to Walker. Afterwards, more businesses will be added with businesses that have donated to Wynn, Knilans, etc. As the main list grows over time, I'm sure some will earn positive marks. I'd like to have at least 100 of the key businesses listed and identified as agri, commercial or retail, and rated in less than a month.

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