Posts Tagged ‘madison’

Since beginning this blog, I haven’t strayed very much-if at all-from the subject of politics. Today is a politics free kind of day. After all, everyone needs a break from time to time.

Our friends invited us to sit on the capitol lawn, drink wine, eat snacks and enjoy the experience that is Concerts on the Square . How strange it was to attend an event at the capitol that didn’t involve demonstrating or protesting.

patrons of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra's Concerts on the Square.

I have to admit, I enjoyed the evening.  My son played with his friend Giavanna, while my wife and I enjoyed chatting with our friends, each other, and generally drinking in the atmosphere that is Madison in the summer.  Concerts on the Square is great for people watching.  And sometimes listening.  At one point I found myself overhearing the chatter of a young woman sitting near us who was vividly describing all the “action” her blanket has seen. TMI, but amusing.

My son Sal, having a great time.

Beautiful evening for this, really. Temperature was nearly perfect, deep blue sky, happy chatter could be heard from our blanket neighbors. It was good to se people relaxing on the  capitol square for a change.  What a good day.

Majestic Theater

Later that night, after my wife and son went to sleep, I went back downtown to meet a good friend for a drink and much needed conversation. Later, instead of going right home I just rambled around taking various night shots of the city that I love so much.

The Great Dane

Natt Spil- great bar with outstanding and inexpensive food.

The space that used to be Restaurant Magnus, one of my favorites. Soon Tempest, an Oyster Bar, will open here.

view toward the capitol

View toward the capitol

And that’s about it.  Just a nice summer night to be a Madisonian.  What’s your favorite summer activity in the Madison area?

District 48 Assembly Candidate Andy Heidt

Madison, WI.  Today, Assembly candidate Andy Heidt sent a letter to the Governor asking him to schedule a special election in order to fill the seat vacated by Rep Joe Parisi after Parisi was elected as Dane County Executive.   Heidt wrote to the Governor, “Representation is a fundamental right. It is wrong to delay giving the people of the 48th District the opportunity to choose their representative. As James Otis stated almost 260 years ago, ‘Taxation without representation is tyranny.”

District resident Melanie Herzog agrees, “Like everyone else in Wisconsin, we deserve to have our
representative working for us in the Assembly. I’m glad Andy’s putting pressure on the Governor to
make that happen.”

It is the responsibility of Governor Walker to call for a special election to fill the empty seat. Joe Parisi was elected as the Dane County Executive on April 2nd, and resigned from the assembly on April 14th.  Governor Walker has yet to address the vacancy.

Heidt noted that this is a crucial time and the people of the 48th District have effectively been silenced by Governor Walker’s apparent lack of interest in filling the seat vacated by the new Dane County Executive. “While Governor Walker can find the time for prank callers posing as billionaires, and to travel around the country raising money for recall campaigns from other states, he is sending a clear message that he’s just not concerned about the people of the 48th,” said Heidt.

This special election will come at a time where Wisconsin is experiencing a spate of historical recall elections in the state senate.  6 republicans and what appears to be 2 democrats will most likely face contests set for July 12.

Heidt is the President of AFSCME 1871, Dane County Professionals Union and the Ombudsman for
the Dane County Department of Human Services. He volunteers as Co-Chair of Covering Kids and
Families-Wisconsin, an organization dedicated to health care coverage of children and families in the
state. Heidt is also a former member of the Madison Common Council.

“In 30 minutes, 18 state senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin,” Democratic Sen. Mark Miller said in a statement. “Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten.” 

Police Mustering on Second Floor

MADISON, WI. Thousands of angry citizens stormed the Wisconsin State Capitol this evening when the Republican Senate, after removing fiscal items from the original bill, passed legislation that will strip public unions of most of their collective bargaining rights and require employees to pay 8% more toward their health insurance and and a greater share of their pensions.    Earlier today State Senator  and majority leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), appeared on Fox news admitting that the end game had always been to marginalize labor unions in order to defeat Obama in 2012.  Hey Scott, since when is it the job of the state senate to help a presidential candidate win?  And just last week Scott Walker was adamantly explaining that collective bargaining was a fiscal issue. But suddenly it isn’t, or it was…

Protestors Inside the Capitol

Hundreds of cars circled the capitol honking their horns in support while the crowd grew seemingly by the minute.  Teamsters in their trucks were handing out American Flags, and obviously had some sort of train whistle installed in one of their vehicles.  Gone was the relatively easy going attitude of the crowd that had become a hallmark over the last several weeks. It had been replaced by anger, outrage and utter disbelief.While walking around the Capitol, I ran into an old friend who told me that GOP senators were now holed up in the Inn on the Park across the square.  So we walked over there, and sure enough the camera around my neck caught their attention when we walked into the bar.  We tweeted and facebooked the info and within minutes, protesting firefighters showed up who were quite angry. Ultimately, the republicans fled from the bar to their rooms.

Inside the Rotunda- Mass Protest Rally.

Heading back to the capitol we noticed the doors were wide open allowing easy entry to the building.  As we are making our way to the rotunda it becomes obvious that there are no police in sight. We reach the press office where I’m able to obtain today’s pass. It is clear that this is one of the biggest crowds to occupy the building yet.  There are constant reminders over  the PA system that “the capitol is closed, please leave”. No one is paying the messages any mind.  It is now clear that all the police have retreated to the second and third floors.  One semi-official estimate is that there is 8,000 people gathered under the dome, while thousands more march outside.  The crowd is a mix of teachers, union members, college students, and every day folks who have finally had it.

At about 10:30 pm, I enter the press office and find Tim Donovan, spokesperson for the Department of Administration and Capitol Police giving an impromptu press conference. Mr. Donovan states that “there will be a large number, a significantly larger amount, of law enforcement at the capitol.”  Another reporter asks if he was informed ahead of time about the surprise vote. He answers “yes, I was told at about 5-ish and we tried to have more law enforcement on hand, obviously not enough”. Finally, I ask “Have you been in touch with the National Guard today?” Mr. Donovan responds with “Yes, the National Guard provides emergency law enforcement assistance, and in that capacity, yes, we have had discussions with them, but as far as being on alert goes, that’s a question for the governor”.   He then exits.

Back in the rotunda, things are getting louder, drums are beating, and the police are trying to deny access to the second floor.  Lound chants of “Let us up” reverberate through the building, and people start handling supplies up to the folks on the stairs behind the police officers.  At one point the crows learns that stairs on the other side of the building are unguarded, and there is a rush up them, to the second floor.  It appears as if some of the occupiers are now digging in for the night.

Folks, that’s what happened this evening.  The crowd peacefully took control of the Wisconsin State Capitol by overwhelming the police.  This seems to be without recent precedent in American politics.  The vote will now go to the assembly tomorrow(today) at 11:00 am.  There’s much talk about a general strike and plenty of rumors taking on lives of their own.  I’ll have more updates tomorrow, but for now, good night.

Patrick DePula
Originally posted to