Posts Tagged ‘AB7’

May 14 Capitol Rally

Date: May 14, 2011 - 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Wisconsin State Capitol Madison, WI
See map: Google Maps

Walker and legislative allies plan to bypass courts, jam rights-stripping measures through with their budget proposal!

2:30 – Musical Guest: PurgAtory Hill – pat mAcdonald and MelanieJane.

3:00 – Speakers including:

Dave Cieslewicz
Grant Hendrickson
Phil Neunfeldt – AFL-CIO
Ben Manski, Liberty Tree Foundation
Sen. Jon Erpenbach
Christian P, Youth of Voices de la Fronterra
Kabzuag Vaj – Freedom, Inc
Sarah Lloyd, Family Farm Defenders
Leon Burzynski, President of WIARA
Alex Hanna, President of the TAA
Bob Jahn, AFSCME
Mahlon Mitchell, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin
Mary Bell, President, WEAC


We Are Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Wave will host a rally on the Capitol steps on Saturday, May 14, to send Scott Walker and his legislative allies a resounding message: stop your attacks on working people.


Wisconsinites have joined together and prevented Scott Walker’s radical plan to take away worker rights for three months, but he is not done.  As we learned from their illegal attempt to jam through the budget repair bill in the dark of night, Walker and his allies are so hell-bent on taking away the rights of Wisconsin workers that they are prepared to use any and all means necessary to achieve their goals.
Now, with their first cynical attempt at union-busting tied up in the courts, Walker’s allies now say they’re ready to add the rights-stripping measures to the state budget now flying through the legislature.
Reintroducing plans to take bargaining rights away from workers into Scott Walker’s fatally-flawed state budget would consolidate Walker’s attacks on Wisconsin’s middle class into a single, horrific piece of legislation.  Scott Walker’s budget:
  • Raises costs in health care and food assistance programs that are relied upon by 1.2 million workers, unemployed, retired and disabled people in Wisconsin
  • Breaks up and corporatizes the UW System, raising tuition and threatening closure of campuses
  • Guts the ability of Wisconsin Technical Colleges to prepare and retrain working people
  • Eliminates advanced placement and science and technology course in schools
  • Rolls back recycling and conservation programs throughout Wisconsin
Despite all of this, Scott Walker’s fatally-flawed budget still has plenty of room for gifts for his dearest friends.  Containing $200 million of tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in giveaways to his largest donors, Walker’s budget is a bonanza for the donors and corporate lobbyists who surely wrote it.
The legislature must reject this horrifying budget and start over.  The attacks on working families, seniors, students, the poor, and the environment and our rights must end.  Join We Are Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Wave at the State Capitol at 2:30pm on Saturday, May 14, because our fight continues and we will not be silenced. Join us.  The event on Facebook. 

Scott Walker and his Corporate Puppeteers.

It’s been a cold spring here in Madison.  Just about every rally I’ve been a part of, it seems to have been freezing, snowing and/or raining.  Surprisingly, the weather looked promising for the May Day, or International Workers Day, rally that would begin with speakers in Brittingham Park, involve a March to the State Capitol, and end with additional speakers on the Capitol steps.  Seemed like a great day to load my son Sal into the bike trailer and set out on a bit of an adventure.

Sal in his Chariot about to head out to the rally.

Before leaving the house, I decided to wear my Italian National Football team jacket in recognition of my own immigrant ancestry; My grandparents had come from Comune di Loreto Aprutino in Italy.  There is also an important Italian connection with Brittingham Park, as Italian immigrants used to have annual family picnics there, on the shore of Monona bay.  The park happens to be adjacent to the Greenbush neighborhood which was once the heart and soul of Madison’s Italian community. Sadly, under the guise of “Urban Renewal” in the 1960′s, the Greenbush neighborhood was bulldozed to make way for public housing and hospitals. All of the Italians and African Americans who adored the neighborhood were relocated elsewhere. One of the only remaining remnants of the old ‘Bush is the Italian Workmans Club building, or properly, “Club Lavoratori Italiani Siclilia”. I’m proud to be a member of the council and active in this organization that has continually served the community since 1912.  Anyway, I’m not that far removed from my own familial immigrant past so I feel a particular kinship with current immigrants and their desire for the same opportunities afforded to my family.

So Sal and I pack up and happily hit the road on this beautiful sunny day…and run smack into 30 mph headwinds!  Anyone who has a pulled a bike trailer with a 34 lb 3-year-old and all his “stuff” knows that this was not an easy ride.  We eventually arrive despite the best efforts of the wind to keep us away, and notice that the turnout is pretty impressive, but nowhere near the 100 thousand strong crowd that marched in Milwaukee with National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. There is a solid mix of folks associated with the Immigrant Workers Union, Professional and Labor Unions, families with small children, police, teachers and activists. The main message of the rally is:

A Just Taxation System where corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share!
Living Wage Jobs!
The Right to Collectively Organize and Bargain!
Quality, Affordable Public Education!
Instate Tuition for Undocumented Students!
Quality and Affordable Healthcare for All!
Protection of our Environment!
Access to Healthy Food and Quality Housing!
A Secure Retirement!
No Arizona-style Anti-Immigrant Laws!

A pretty broad spectrum of people speak to the issues including Ben Manski from Liberty Tree, Jim Cavanaugh-President of the South Central Federation of Labor, Will Williams- Madison area Peace Coalition and Ibed Cisneros- Workers United.  I recognize many people in the crowd and chat with folks about some upcoming democracy-building activities we’re working on.  Some quotes from the speakers:

“The ‘divide and conquer’ mentality must not stand,” Andy Heidt, a union leader and candidate for State Assembly said. he then led a familiar chant –  “The people, united, will never be defeated!”

“Your issue is my issue,” Will Williams of the Madison Area Peace Coalition stated. “We’re fighting not just for immigrants or for the unions, we’re fighting for freedom.”

Marching up West Washington Avenue to the State Capitol.

The march begins and off we go accompanied by the sound of drums, chants and other instruments.  I connect with Ben and Sarah Manski and Andy Heidt who is running for the 48th District Assembly seat.  We march together, chatting about future plans and current events surrounding the Wisconsin Uprising while carrying the  Wisconsin Wave banner.  My son Sal is excited to be in the “parade” and is very curious about all the activity around him. Traffic is now backed up quite a bit as a couple thousand people have arrived to participate in the march. We reach the capitol and the wind is so strong that voices from the PA system  are carried away. We can’t get close enough because of our bike and trailer.  Sal says he wants a treat, so we walk over to State Street, buy some popcorn, sit on a bench and have a snack while enjoying the late afternoon sunshine and each others company.  I ask him if he had fun today.   He says “We had a very busy day daddy!  I had fun fighting the bad man in the capitol!” At first this seems funny.  Then the realization sets in that my three-year-old pretty much thinks all this stuff going on is the new state of normal. That to him, we always protest, we always fight.  When I was a kid I had no clue about the War In Vietnam and only a vague memory of Iran seizing US hostages.  Now I find myself growing angry that it has come to this; that Governor Walker and a radicalized right wing assembly/senate has given me no choice but to expend time and energy resisting the corporatization of the State that I truly love.  I wonder what memories my son will have of this time, and how participating in these events will shape his future. I am glad that we can participate together though, and share these experiences.

Father and Son on State Street after the rally.

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Voter ID

UPDATE: May 7,  The LaCrosse County DA has asked the Onalaska, WI Police Department to investigate. A detective has been assigned to the case. 

Madison, WI. During election season in Wisconsin it is common for legislative staffers to take a leave of absence and work on campaigns around the state.  For a couple of months they are assigned to a candidate who may not live in their home district, and in many cases, act as campaign managers.

In November of 2010 a republican legislative staffer, who in the past has worked for Rep. Mike Huebsch(Now DOA Secretary) and currently works for Rep. Warren Petryk, was assigned to the Dennis Clinard campaign in LaCrosse, WI.  This staffer owns a home in Madison where she has lived for several years.

On election day, Nov. 2nd, 2010, she posted on Facebook that she “just voted for Walker, Kapanke, Huebsch, Johnson and Van Hollen. Go Team!”.   Wait a minute…Kapanke? Onalaska Wisconsin?

Edited version of FB conversation to protect identity of participants. M is the subject.

But she lives in Madison, not Onalaska.  Her statement caught my attention because I wondered how someone who resides in Madison could vote in a district over 100 miles from their primary residence.   Good question, right? Especially since Governor Walker and our Republican State Legislature, her colleagues,  are making so much noise about fair elections and pushing a mean-spirited Voter ID bill that has the very real possibility of disenfranchising thousands of seniors, students and minorities in order to facilitate the creation of a permanent conservative majority.

The Wisconsin Voter ID Bill, or AB 7,  is set to become one of the most restrictive Voter ID bills in the nation for its special crackdown on students. If it passes, in 2012 voters will need to produce a drivers license, a state ID, a passport or naturalization papers, a military ID or Native American tribal ID in order to vote. A student ID would no longer be an acceptable form of identification.  It will make it difficult for out-of-state students to vote on their college campuses where they live nine months out of the year.

I happen to be a Facebook friend of the wandering Republican legislative staffer in question.  Back in November when she posted the information, I called her on it. She asserted that she “was living there”.  Not true.  She was temporarily residing in Onalaska knowing that she would be returning to Madison the day after the elections as evidenced by her additional facebook post; “Will finally be home in approx. 16 hours! Watch out Lake Point!”  Watch out indeed.

Here is a link to the Wisconsin State Elections Handbook. The following is excerpted from pages 37 and 38:

2. Temporary Absence.
a. Residency is not lost when a person leaves home and goes to another
country, state, county, town, village, or ward temporarily with intent
to return home. Residency cannot be established in any ward, town,
village or city in this state while living there temporarily.

This activity begs the question:  Is it common for GOP staffers to vote in districts where they are temporarily working on campaigns in order to give a little boost to their candidate?  This is what absentee ballots are designed for. In light of recent extremely close contests,  such as the 163 vote victory of  Rep. Randy Hopper over Democrat Jessica King, is it conceivable  that a “Mobile GOP Voting Strike Force” could potentially sway elections? What stops a large corporation, say, Koch Industries, from subsidizing apartments for a month or so where folks could claim residency in critical state elections.  That scenario might sound a bit far fetched, but is it possible? Sure.

Before the GOP endeavors to disenfranchise voters with this bill, perhaps they should police their own operatives to make sure they remember where they reside at election time.