Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Huge Walker Flip-Flop On Trek

Our Wrong-Way Governor, so desperate to denigrate opponent Mary Burke to beat her in an election that's slipping away, now says he won't say whether he thinks that Trek - - the iconic major Wisconsin corporate employer and success story - - is good for the state.

Really? Throw Trek under the bus, for personal, partisan gain? Because Mary Burke worked there - - the company her father founded and which is beloved in Wisconsin, and worldwide for quality bikes and a liberating lifestyle they support.

The same Trek which Walker featured in a state promotional video posted last year by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation - - which Walker created and chairs. In which Walker urges prospective Wisconsin businesses to get to know a few Wisconsin winners - - like Trek?

This is one of the most bizarre flip-flops in state political history.


Tees-Printing Out, Target Shooting In At WI DNR/State Fair '14

What's out at the DNR center for kids this year at State Fair?

T-shirt making.

What's in?

Bows and arrows, says the DNR: 
There is an expanded area for archery enthusiasts or those who are just interested in giving it a try and a laser shot activity center. There is a technology area where Department of Natural Resources staff will help visitors download handy apps and assist with QR codes.
There are also big changes at the park this year. The non-profit group, Interfaith, which ran the t-shirt printing tent chose to not return this year so there will be no t-shirt printing available. Instead, visitors will find the largely expanded National Archery in the Schools Program tent and get an introduction to target archery from a trained warden.


WI DNR Asking For EPA Help On Waukesha Diversion Plan

Not only is the DNR looking for more information from Waukesha about the city's stalled siversion application for Great Lakes water - - the DNR is looking for guidance from the US EPA, too, this recent letter shows.

The involvement of multiple agencies and levels of government is just a hint of what is coming for Waukesha when the seven other Great Lakes states, two Canadian provinces, and perhaps tribal bodies in Canada have their own sets of questions and concerns.

Facing Bad Polling, Walker, Allies Will Slime Burke And Wisconsin

Wrong-Way Walker - - his wrongs catching up to him and to voters' perceptions, too - - will back up the attack ad slime trucks and dump their loads on to the Wisconsin airwaves.

Walker probably has 100% name recognition, unlike Burke, and the more people follow Walker's failing jobs' performance and extremist views, the more they realize Walker has to go.


DNR Says Waukesha Faces More Work On Stalled Water Diversion

Waukesha is way past it's drop-dead start date for beginning to build the infrastructure it will need to guarantee that its approximately $200 million Great Lakes water diversion system will meet a court-ordered deadline.

And while the application for the water has been stalled for years at the DNR - - no hearings, no environmental impact statement produced, and no reviews as required in seven other Great Lakes States states and anticipated from two Canadian provinces - -  because of inadequate data, the agency has just raised with the city a new set of issues and questions related to the return flow scheme envisioned for the Root River as it flows through the City of Racine - - where officials have strongly objected to the wastewater flow and dumping into its harbor.

You can access a very recent letter about all this from the DNR to Waukesha, here.

Journal Sentinel Jumps Gun, Endorses Lakeshore Golf Course

Very disappointing that the Journal Sentinel editorial board would endorse the building of yet another high-end golf course - - with fees that will be way beyond the reach of most Wisconsinites - - in a nature preserve that literally abuts Kohler Andrae State Park on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Sheboygan County.

The plan will require the transfer of some state park land to the golf course owner for a road, a maintenance building and perhaps other permanent structures.

Public land, mind you. Who gets to own state park land for private purposes?

The construction will result in the filling of wetlands - - how much is yet to be known - - the cutting of large amounts of timber, the additional of added phosphorous pollution and other runoff chemicals into the already-impaired Black River on the site, or on to the dunes or into Lake Michigan - - with other public and environmental impacts yet to be determined, and still the newspaper gets on board.

There isn't even yet a final plan to be run past the Town of Wilson and its approved master plan, let alone the DNR and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The editorial board should tell us what the acceptable thresholds are for selling off, filling in or otherwise degrading waterways and their related acreages, especially since the State Constitution in Article IX, the Public Trust Doctrine, says the people's access to and enjoyment of these resources is a citizen's right, not a privilege or commodity to acquired by the highest, most powerful or well-connected bidder.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

One Question On Walker's $1 Million+ Legal Fees

More, or less, than Chris Christie's tab?

I think Walker is still #1.

Why Does Righty Talk Radio Hammer Fast Food Workers?

If you listen to the righty morning talkers on AM 620 WTMJ, you'll catch their repetitive bashing of the McDonald's near the station on W. Capitol Dr.

Seems that there's often something wrong with the talkers' orders, or the service.

I've noted here before - - here - - and more recently here - - that right-wing talk show hosts seem to have a problem with urban or immigrant workers who apparently have been put on this earth to bring the talkers their morning radio fuel, wirh absolute perfection, from a dollar menu.

A couple of observations about the talkers' deep, unattractive elitism:

*  I don't eat burgers at McDonald's or anywhere else anymore, but I've driven through or stopped at that McDonald's for coffee many times over the years, and I've never had an unpleasant experience. I will say that it can be a busy place to stop, but I never got the feeling that people were out to serve me the wrong item, or otherwise ruin my fast-food moment.

What I do see there are people working like demons, and for low wages.

*  I've been chatting up total strangers in line or behind the counter in businesses since I was a small kid, or so my parents and grandparents told me, and I think you get back the attitude you project or the outcome you anticipate. "How you doin," or "Thank you very much" are still returned in kind.

*  One more thing. If I were McDonald's, I'd yank every dollar from Journal Broadcasting until the talkers stopped scapegoating that store.

Daykin, On North Ave. Development; An Urban Primer

Great reporting by Tom Daykin about what makes cities tick. 

And about how cities like Milwaukee regenerate and prosper through innovation and hard work - - New Urbanism building on the best of the old.

This is why Milwaukee must be allowed a streetcar or light rail system to complement buses and bike lanes, especially as younger people eschew cars for urban living in walkable, transit-friendly neighborhoods.
Banned in Milwaukee
Light rail in the Twin Cities
It's absolutely crazy that there are no rail stops on North Avenue to serve the Riverwest dorms, or making a hub of the major intersection at North and Prospect and Farwell Avenues as people move to and from downtown through the densely-populated East side near Lake Michigan.

Suburban politicos who hog state transportation money to fuel subdivision-serving freeways are busting the budget while stifling transit-related job and economic growth in the Big City.

And as the city goes, so go the suburbs.

The natural and fiscal environments are better served by housing above retail and commercial space on or near North Ave. than by half-acre lots at the end of cul-de-sacs dug into former Waukesha or Ozaukee County farm fields.


Monday, July 21, 2014

On Putin, George Bush Should Take A Second Look

Remember when W saw Putin's soul?
Saturday, 16 June, 2001, 23:09 GMT 00:09 UK
Bush and Putin: Best of friends
This would be the right time to take another look, eh?

RoJo No Go

(Updated, 10:40 p.m.) Our Tea Party Senator sees his suit against Obamacare tossed for lack of standing.

Richly ironic: Nine out of ten citizens on any Milwaukee street corner could tell you Ron Johnson has no standing.

Further ironic:

Chalk one up foe Jim Sensenbrenner, who had correctly called it "a stunt," and as I'd noted, Sensenbrenner knows his stunts.

New Law Wipes Out One Nation's Environmental Protections

That 'streamlining' - - gutting really - - is taking place in Peru, host nation to the next major UN conference on climate change, regardless of the contradiction:
The law, aimed at increasing investment, strips Peru's six-year-old environment ministry of jurisdiction over air, soil and water quality standards, as well as its ability to set limits for harmful substances. It also eliminates the ministry's power to establish nature reserves exempt from mining and oil-drilling.
The nation pocked by more than 300 major mines already offers the industry incentives unmatched in the Americas, even by mining-friendly Chile and Mexico.
Enacted July 11 by President Ollanta Humala after limited debate in Congress, the new law also further streamlines environmental reviews for new projects, and, for the next three years, lowers by half the maximum fines for all but the most serious of environmental violations.
At the same time, it re-establishes tax breaks for big mining multinationals, which already enjoy such benefits as simultaneous, indefinite concessions for both exploration and exploitation as long as they make nominal payments. In some Peruvian states, more than half the territory is under concession.
"As far as Latin America goes, we are the country backpedaling the most," said Jose de Echave, a former deputy environment minister.
I'll bet there's some serious Peruvian dreamin' in the home and lobbying offices of a certain Wisconsin GTac mining firm which helped engineer a bit of 'streamlined' Wisconsin law under open-for-business Walker.

WI Wolf Hunt 'Advisory' Committee To Meet Tuesday

The Wisconsin Wolf Advisory Committee - - now heavily-weighted in favor of wolf hunting after an official DNR purge of opponents from an earlier, more broadlu-representative stakeholder's group - - will meet in Wausau tomorrow to discuss state wolf hunting policy which now allows the use of dogs.

Here is the meeting information from a DNR website:
July 22
9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Wausau
Howard Johnson Hotel
2101 North Mountain Rd.
DNR Wolf Advisory CommitteeDavid MacFarlandCommittee will continue wolf management plan discussions.

Wolf activist Rachel Tilseth has some observations for a guest op-ed:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In my dozen or so years as a volunteer WI DNR Winter Wolf Tracker, I learned a great deal about wolves. Wolves are territorial predators, social animals living within family packs, that depend on each other for survival. Wolves have a beneficial effect on ecosystems as a keystone predator.  Wolves have been off the endangered species list now for over two years, and are being managed by the state of Wisconsin. 

Wisconsin is only managing wild wolves as a trophy game animal. Managing the wolf only as a trophy, especially using dogs to hunt them, is an outright waste of natural resources, money, and time previously spent on recovery. 

I cite the loss of 23 hound hunting dogs during 2013 bear-hunting training season with reimbursement up to $2,500 per dog. 

On July 10, 2014, a Judge ruled that dogs could be trained on wolves and this is concerning. Here is why.  Based on what I've learned about wolves during tracking:

Training dogs to chase wolves during breeding season in January and February will result in a blood bath. While tracking wolves during the winter breeding season I found wolf scent marking every tenth of a mile, for about a mile. There were multiple wolf tracks on the edge of the packs range. I found obvious signs of a female wolf in estrous near these scent markings. I'm certain if a wolf hound handler sends dogs to chase wolves during breeding season it will end in a blood bath because wolves are very protective of their mates at that time. 

These fringe hunters put both wild wolves and hunting dogs in known situations that cause conflict. Should citizens be paying money for this reckless behavior?

Over the next several months the Wolf Advisory Committee, which Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp admitted is stacked with pro-hunter interests) will be writing training rules for dogs to chase wolves. 

Stepp has limited citizen input by selecting a committee stacked with pro hunting lobbyists that cater to a minority of extremist fringe hunters.

All citizens have the right to weigh in on this issue, including ethical hunters, hikers, eco-tourists, cyclists, photographers and bird watchers. I ask that Wisconsinites speak out against this practice of chasing wolves with dogs and stop this before it ends in a north woods blood bath.


-- Rachel Tilseth

"Wolf hounding is barbaric, in-humane and archaic and has no place in a civilized society." Rachel Tilseth 

Big Government Haters Grasp For Big Government Paychecks

Crying for small government and ending entitlement payments and cutting the fat is red meat for right-wing Wisconsin political audiences come election time.

But $174,000-a-year with a great pension and additional benefits for convening here and there between recesses - - plus Members-Only travel, tax breaks, postage, gym perks and more means service in the US House of Representatives is as sweet a government gig as there is these days.

So political allowances must be made if one is to get one's hands on the rest of those generous allowances.

And speaking of allowances - - the Congressional pension charge against salary of only 1.3% is a mere fraction of the increased pension contribution costs that Walker and GOP legislators pushed through in Act 10 and that now heavily fall on state employees - - so if you can move, say, from the state legislature to the Congress your pay nearly quadruples and you save big bucks on the pension contribution, too.

So I loved the seeing the four conservative, Tea Partyish, oh-so-principled legislative conservatives pictured here battling in a GOP congressional primary, which, as the Journal Sentinel notes, will buy them at least a decade of gerrymandered and guaranteed service (and big taxpayer checks), too:
There's a reason the GOP primary for Wisconsin's 6th Congressional District is shaping up as the state's most competitive federal race this election year: the winner has a good chance of representing east-central Wisconsin for at least a decade to come...
In the Republican-leaning district, each of the three leading candidates — state Sens. Joe Leibham (R-Town of Sheboygan) and Glenn Grothman (R-Campbellsport) and state Rep. Duey Stroebel (R-Town of Cedarburg) — is focused on sweeping aside their fairly similar voting records in the Legislature and proving to voters that he is the real conservative in the race. Each has pledged to serve no more than 10 or 12 years.

Waukesha Official: 'Waukesha Needs Diverted Water To Be 'Open For Business'

Kathleen Cummings, a Waukesha City Alderwoman who voted to approve the city's pending application for a Lake Michigan diversion, said at a Friday legislative candidates' forum that the water being sought will ensure that Waukesha, and the county surrounding it, are "open for business."

Her remarks begin at the 16:03 mark on this video.

Cummings is also a Waukesha County Supervisor and a candidate for the Legislature, where, if elected she said she will continue to push the application's approval.

As a veteran official who said she studied the issues over a long period of time, Cummings should know that Scott Walker's meme is not among the exceptions in the Great Lakes Compact guiding what are intended to be rare, last-resort diversions of water.

Under the Compact's 2008 protocols and law, Waukesha's is the first application seeking a water diversion outside of the boundaries of the Great Lakes, thus represents a key precedent being closely watched in the US and Canada.

Waukesha's application is already raising questions because it seeks more water than Waukesha is currently using as the city's overall demand within its borders is falling: validating that the diversion application is really an economic tool to help Waukesha and the area's development further undermines its credibility.

Right now, the application is in the hands of the Wisconsin DNR; no hearings have been held or fundamental environmental impact statement written, the project's price tag has more than doubled from its initial $78 million, and a court-imposed 2017 deadline for the city to produce a new water supply is in jeopardy of being violated.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Desperate Walker Now Attacking Iconic WI Business

Imagine being John Burke, President of Trek, the iconic Waterloo, WI bicycle company.

Just a few months ago, Walker was citing you as one of Wisconsin's "industry leaders," and showcasing your business in a promotional, bring-your-business-to-Wisconsin video (beginning at the 2:02 mark) posted online by the state economic development agency, (WEDC) that Walker created and chairs.

Fast forward to the weekend, and Walker trashes you. And Trek. 

And uses Trek, where gubernatorial rival Mary Burke used to work, to camouflage and distract attention from an embarrassing fact - - that WEDC, under Walker's 'leadership,' has given state subsidies to businesses that moved Wisconsin jobs overseas.

That's what Madison TV station WKOW 27 found out.

Wrong-Way Walker has been busy this weekend throwing out chaff and trying to change the conversation, as seen on his own Twitter feed.

Funny, isn't it, that he likes to claim that Wisconsin is open for business, despite his failing job-creation performance, but it's also open season here on business executives who don't bow to Walker and cater to his imperial whims.


Walker's Tweet Spin Of The Week, Month, Year. So Far...

Only if you had job losses in four of the first six months of the year, and were stuck in 37th place nationally for job growth - - while the country and Midwest were rebounding faster - - would you try and sneak, as legitimate, this survey finding from business supporters in Walker's base past an unsuspecting audience:
“State CEOs more apt to hire, more optimistic about growth in second half of year”:

PolitiFact Exposes Item I'd Labeled Toxic

Nice to see that PolitiFact today finds little truth in a recent right-wing meme alleging Big Government favoritism towards non-English speaking workers in Green Bay.

This is the credit I gave AM 620 WTMJ righty talk radio a couple of weeks ago for inflaming local listeners when it spread the item on its air:

Thank you, 620 WTMJ talk radio, for the Sykes fill-in host from Maryland complaining on Wisconsin's biggest AM station about the immigrant who screwed up his coffee order today
Oh - - I see. It's a segue to a 24-day old story about a Green Bay company sued by the EEOC over the firing of Hispanic and Hmong workers for not being proficient in English... 
Just another day in the toxic right-wing ether sitting over Milwaukee like the chilly, foggy weather.
More about this later. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

What Did Scott Walker Get Wrong Last Week?

Wherein the news reveals more reasons to call him "Wrong Way Walker."

*  There was that bone he threw to his fellow Tea Partiers (his label, not ours) - - repealing Common Core education standards - - that turned into a boomerang, as leading Republicans explained:

Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), chairman of the Senate Education Committee and a vocal supporter of the standards, said there's actually nothing to "repeal" with Common Core. That's because the standards are not codified in state law; they are voluntary for districts.
You'd think Walker would know the difference, having been a long-time state legislator and, as Governor, had also supported Common Core before abruptly switching sides in mid-campaign.

Suggesting, as does Marquette University Law School law and public policy fellow Alan Borsuk, that politics, not principled educational reform, is behind Walker's move:

Nationwide, the once-sleepy subject of the standards is now hot and controversial. It's become the new battleground in the fight against Big Government, federal heavy-handedness and the Obama administration. Fight Big Government by fighting Big Ed. Fight Obamacare and fight "the Obamacore," as some label it.
States are bailing or considering bailing. One fascinating aspect of this: Republican governors with presidential ambitions, such as Louisiana's Bobby Jindal and our own Walker, have reversed positions in favor of Common Core now that there's so much opposition among groups they count for core support...
The one-sentence news release issued by Walker symbolized how little this controversy has to do with serious work on specific aims for children's education and how much this is about politics and appealing to blocks of voters as the November election approaches.
Signature Walker Insincerity from our Poseur Governor, auditioning undeservedly for national office.

*  Then there was the announcement that Wisconsin, in June, had lost an estimated 1,200 private sector jobs, moving Walker away from the "right direction" [Sic] he claims in ads, and removing him even further from keeping that oft-repeated self-inflicted wounding promise to create 250,000 new jobs in one term:
The state also had seasonally adjusted monthly job losses in January (200), February (5,300) and May (900). It posted gains of 7,300 jobs in March and 8,800 in April.
*  Though to be fair, Walker has paid attention to some job creation, including some in the recent news.

* And speaking of job losses on his watch, Madison television station WKOW-27 reported that two Wisconsin businesses which received state money from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, (WEDC), - - which created and Walker chairs - -  had shipped Wisconsin jobs overseas after receiving the state funds:
MADISON (WKOW) -- At least two companies that received financial awards from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) later outsourced jobs to foreign countries, with one of those companies receiving a second WEDC award after the fact...

"What's troubling to me about this is that these companies were given tax dollars explicitly to keep jobs here in Wisconsin," said Lori Compas, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Business Alliance. "To take taxpayers' money and then turn around and fire hundreds of Wisconsin workers is a real slap in the face."
* Plus: did we see Wisconsin on the list publicized last week of the 13 states which had the fastest job growth - - and had raised the minimum wage, which Walker has strongly resisted?

Nope

On Jobs, Give Walker His Due

[updated, 1:00 p.m.] Yes, Wisconsin lost another 1,200 jobs in June, and yes, the state persistently lags the national recovery - - and, yes - - Wisconsin is not on the list of job-gaining states where the minimum wage has been raised (Wrong-Way Walker has refused to OK even a token increase) - - but he has paid close attention to employment matters, with job successes worth noting:

*  In the early days of Walker's administration, the father of Walker's top GOP legislative allies was appointed head of the Wisconsin State Patrol.

*  An officer was moved from Walker's security detail to Chief of the State Capitol police and got added benefits by first being promoted into the job from a phantom position to move further up the state pay scale.

*  Long-time aide Cindy Archer got a promotion - - a senior civil service position for which she hadn't formally applied,

*  Former chief of staff to Walker during his Milwaukee County Executive days - - and close associate - - Jim Villa got a better new job than did Archer - - at $178,000 a year.

*  Former immunized John Doe witness and Walker campaign then-gubernatorial spokesman Cullen Werwie got moved with a nice raise to the Department of Administration.

*  Even Tim Russell is landing on his feet.

*  While former State Sen. Jeff Plale is on his second, $90,000 appointment in the Walker administration since early 2011.

*  Former conservative GOP State Rep. and Walker loyalist Scott Gunderson got his ticket punched as the #3 administrator at the DNR - - somehow the job has been retitled from Executive Assistant to Assistant Deputy Secretary.

In his DNR position, Gunderson played a role in watering down possible penalties for a polluter who had earlier donated to Gunderson's legislative campaign committee.

* And speaking of former legislators, GOP State Rep. Jeff Stone walked into a water and consumer affairs and pension-boosting position at the Public Service Commission.  Previously, Stone had been best known for pushing Voter ID and losing a bid to replace Walker as Milwaukee County Executive.

The $94,000-a-year appointment Stone landed had been abruptly withdrawn from Scott Suder, another former GOP legislator and Walker ally deemed too wrapped up in a questionable state grant.

Suder was quickly pulled out for a lobbying position with the Wisconsin Paper Council - - that's a big plus one for Walker in his sagging private-sector jobs tally - - while just-resigned GOP State Sen. Neal Kedzie was hired a couple of weeks ago to fill the top spot at the state trucking association.

*  Former Charlie Sykes talk radio show producer Joe Scialfa landed a job as spokesman for Walker's Department of Children and Families.

*  Ditto for conservative blogger, radio and TV commentator - - and former spokesman for right-wing GOP State Sen. Mary Lazich - -  Kevin Fischer, now spokesman for WHEDA, the state housing and development lender.

So - - the employment picture under Walker in Wisconsin is stalled and stunted, but some people are working.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Wrong-Way Walker, By The Numbers

Raise your hand if you agree and think Wisconsin's headed in the right direction:
Wisconsin experienced a second straight month of private-sector job losses in June, meaning the state has seen negative job growth in four of the first six months of the year.
Walker's Plan B. Change the subject

Walker's Plan C. Change the subject.

Walker's Plan D. Make stuff up.

Cap Times Column Covers Walker's Medicaid Damage

The Cap Times editor emeritus Dave Zweifel writes "State Debate," a must-read Monday-Friday column in which he weaves together seven or eight key newspaper editorials and independent blog commentaries in a breezy, accessible narrative; today's offering included a grouping of three pieces that documented and interpreted the damage that Gov. Wrong-Way Walker's refusal of federal Medicaid dollars is inflicting on low-income Wisconsinites:
The state has finally fessed up that few low-income Wisconsinites who were thrown off Medicare by Gov. Walker's decision not to accept federal funds to expand the program didn't sign up with the health exchanges, notes Bill Kaplan in a column on WisOpinion. This is yet another reason the race between the governor and Mary Burke has become a toss-up, he believes. 
Lisa Kaiser on ExpressMilwaukee's blog, agrees. Many poor families in Wisconsin are without insurance thanks to the governor playing politics with health care. His stand not to take federal funds to expand Medicare in the state was aimed solely at his presidential ambitions, she contends. 
And Bruce Thompson on the Urban Milwaukee blog notes that the states that accepted Obamacare's Medicaid expansion have greatly reduced the number of uninsured, the Affordable Care Act's number one goal, after all.
Definitely a keeper. 

Walker Attacks Burke Over Trek, But Last Year Walker Loved The Company

Gov. Wrong-Way is working hard through campaign video to shift attention from jobs he's helped move overseas - - but remember when a different video starring Walker also starred Trek?

Multi-Tasking Grothman Forgot His Best Talking Point

I know it's hard being an informed Wisconsin GOP State Senator veteran leader, Tea Party public face and a candidate for The US Congress at the same time, but shame on Glenn Grothman...
Picture of Sen Glenn Grothman 
...for missing a chance to take another opportunity to fully warn Wisconsinites about Kwanzaa. 

Grothman said there were "so many" reasons for impeaching Barack Obama, but did ne not include this outrage on the list. Senator - - do your job! December is just around the corner:

Obama Sends Wishes To Those Celebrating Kwanzaa


From Local Talk Radio To National Scene, One GOP Plane Shoot-down Mantra

Design Principles Obscured In Kohler Golf Course Planning Process

You might want to read through the guiding principles published by the establishment, authoritative  United States of Golf Association, (USGA), for the planning and establishment of golf courses when thinking about whether a 247-acre nature preserve, a piece of existing State park land and an already-impaired river close to the Lake Michigan coastline is the best place to build a golf course.

Given the whopping turnout last night against the proposal, it seems as if this crucial element is among the missing:
Cooperative planning and informational sessions with community representatives, environmental groups and environmental groups and regulatory agencies should be part of the initial design phase. Early input from these groups is very important to the development and approval process. This dialogue and exchange of information should continue even after the course is completed. 
Here are some highlights, in full:

Planning And Siting

1. Developers, designers and others involved in golf course development are encouraged to work closely with local community groups and regulatory/permitting bodies during planning and siting and throughout the development process. For every site, there will be local environmental issues and conditions that need to be addressed. 

2. Site selection is a critical determinant of the environmental impact of golf courses. A thorough analysis of the site or sites under consideration should be completed to evaluate environmental suitability. It is very important to involve both the designer and a team of qualified golf and environmental professionals in this process. 

3. Based on the site analysis and/or regulatory review process, it may be determined that some sites are of such environmental value or sensitivity that they should be avoided. Other less environmentally sensitive or valuable sites may be more suitable or even improved by the development of a golf course if careful design and construction are used to avoid or mitigate environmental impacts. 

4. The presence and extent of some types of sensitive environments may render a site unsuitable or, in some cases, less suitable for golf course development. Examples include, but are not limited to: 
  • Wetlands 
  • Habitat for threatened or endangered plant or animal species 
  • Sensitive aquatic habitats 

5. There may be opportunities to restore or enhance environmentally sensitive areas through golf course development by establishing buffer zones or by setting unmaintained or low-maintenance areas aside within the site. 

6. Golf course development can be an excellent means of restoring or rehabilitating previously degraded sites (e.g., landfills, quarries and mines). Golf courses are also excellent treatment systems for effluent water and use of effluent irrigation is encouraged when it is available, economically feasible, and agronomically and environmentally acceptable. 


Design

1. When designing a golf course, it is important to identify existing ecosystems. Utilizing what nature has provided is both environmentally and economically wise. Emphasizing the existing characteristics of the site can help retain natural resources, allow for efficient maintenance of the course and will likely reduce permitting and site development costs. 

2. A site analysis and feasibility study should be conducted by experienced professionals. The identification of environmentally sensitive areas and other natural resources is important so that a design can be achieved that carefully balances environmental factors, playability, and aesthetics. 

3. Cooperative planning and informational sessions with community representatives, environmental groups and environmental groups and regulatory agencies should be part of the initial design phase. Early input from these groups is very important to the development and approval process. This dialogue and exchange of information should continue even after the course is completed. 

4. Native and/or naturalized vegetation should be retained or replanted when appropriate in areas that are not in play. In playing areas, designers should select grasses that are best adapted to the local environmental conditions to provide the necessary characteristics of playability yet permit the use of environmentally sustainable maintenance techniques. 

5. Emphasis should be placed upon the design of irrigation, drainage and retention systems that provide for efficient use of water and the protection of water quality. Drainage and stormwater retention systems should, when possible, be incorporated in the design as features of the course to help provide for both the short- and long-term irrigation needs of the maintained turf and the unmaintained areas of the course. 

6. Water reuse strategies for irrigation should be utilized when economically feasible and environmentally and agronomically acceptable. It is important that recycled water meets applicable health and environmental standards and that special consideration be given to water quality issues and adequate buffer zones. Water reuse may not be feasible on some sites that drain into high quality wetlands or sensitive surface waters. Suitable soils, climatic conditions, groundwater hydrology, vegetative cover, adequate storage for treated effluent and other factors will all influence the feasibility of water reuse. 

7. Buffer zones or other protective measures should be maintained and/or created, if appropriate, to protect high quality surface water resources or environmentally sensitive areas. The design and placement of buffer zones will vary based on the water quality classifications of the surface waters being incorporated into the course. Regulatory agencies and environmental groups can assist in the planning of buffer zones. 

8. Design the course with sustainable maintenance in mind. The design should incorporate Integrated Plant Management and resource consideration strategies that are environmentally responsible, efficient, and cost effective. Integrated Plant Management includes integrated pest management and emphasizes plant nutrition and overall plant health. 

9. The design of the course should enhance and protect special environmental resource areas and when present, improve or revive previously degraded areas within the site through the use of plants that are well adapted to the region. Seek opportunities to create and/or preserve habitat areas that enhance the area's ecosystem. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

College Quitter 'Wrong-Way' Walker Now An Education Expert

He wants to throw out years of planning with broad input on so-called "Common Core" curriculum.

So who do you want helping set education policy in Wisconsin:

The guy who quit at Marquette University with a 2.59 GPA and at least 34 credits short of graduation, or Mary Burke, who has a Bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and an MBA from Harvard University.

Maybe the problem isn't with Common Core. It's that Walker didn't stick with the one he was supposed to embrace.

Journal Sentinel Posts Detailed Story On Kohler Golf Course Plan

Glad to see mainstream media devoting major resources to the controversial Kohler golf course proposal.

This piece by Lee Bergquist builds on last night's reporting by Gary D'Amato from the Town of Wilson plan commission meeting.

I call your attention to three important threads in the story that advance and expand it.

*  One is the unbelievably audacious power play by the Kohler Co. to wrest from the state (you and me, taxpayers) some acreage for the golf course in the adjoining Kohler Andrae State Park.

The DNR appears sympathetic, playing down the precedent-setting possibilities of the proposed taking by a private, profit-making business (and for wealthy, elite folders, to boot) and conceding that a top DNR official has already discussed the matter with Kohler officials, instead of saying "no."

*  The second is disclosure reporting that undermines Kohler's claim to some sort of green blessing from something called Audubon International.

Before you say, "Wow, Audubon!," the reporters note the organization has no affiliation with traditional Audubon environmentalism, and a quick look at the organization's website shows that of seven board members, three are golf industry insiders, and two of them serve as organization officers.

You might as well say, 'Breaking News: Golf professionals endorse new golf course!'

*  And worst of all, Herbert Kohler, Jr., the prime mover behind the proposal, has already spoken to 'Wrong-Way' Walker about getting DNR land. 

Earlier disclosure reporting shows Kohler, Jr., owner of the private land on which most of the golf course would be built, has donated $40,000 to Walker since 2012.


Questions Galore For The David Clarke Campaign

Milwaukee right-wing talkers on AM 620 WTMJ are pushing crossover Republican voting in the Aug. 12 Democratic Party to re-elect David Clarke, the ultra-rightist conservative incumbent who pretends to be a Democrat come election time.

They also see a fantastical scenario wherein significantly more crossover GOP votes are attracted to Clarke by the Democratic challenge to incumbent  Cong. Gwen Moore by former State Sen. Gary George, but that pipe dream doesn't justify any more bytes here.

Veteran Milwaukee journalist Dom Noth gets into the politics behind the campaign, and explains why the NRA wants David Clarke re-elected.

And just as I was finishing this posting, the letter carrier delivered an odd Clarke mailer.

The mailer asks for votes in the August 12 primary without saying on which ballot Clarke is running - - and again, that's more of Clarke's running away from his purported Democratic identity.

But wait, there's more to the mailer, and along with it, more questions:

"PROTECTION NOT POLITICS," it proclaims in great big all-caps.

Really, from the local official who most regularly speaks through righty GOP radio talker Charlie Sykes, on the air and by email?

Clarke also lists "Dignitary training" at the top of his list of "advanced training" areas. This from the sheriff who trimmed that very unit's participation in a presidential visit before President Obama's motorcade drove into Milwaukee - - and was accused of 'politics, not protection' for doing so:
Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. came under fire Wednesday for scaling back his department's contribution to security for President Barack Obama's visit to Milwaukee. 
Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines Jr. and Milwaukee County Board Chairman Lee Holloway accused Clarke of playing politics on the issue. Clarke has blamed his department's reduced role in presidential security on county budget cuts. His spokeswoman said presidential security wasn't diminished because the State Patrol added officers...
Holloway said he was "really disappointed that the sheriff is playing heavy politics with security for dignitaries." Supervisor Eyon Biddle Sr. urged Clarke to "man up" and constructively deal with his budget cuts.
Fran McLaughlin, the spokeswoman for Clarke, said the State Patrol agreed to fill in for controlling traffic at all freeway ramps along the route Obama's motorcade took in Milwaukee. 
That task normally accounts for the largest portion of the manpower assigned to dignitary protection by the sheriff's office - deputies assigned to cover freeway ramps - and was not done for Wednesday's presidential visit, she said.
Finally, what's with the little tornado flying out of Clarke's shirt pocket in a photo on the campaign flyer? 
Printing error or a subliminal claim to weather disaster leadership? What am I missing here, or not?


Still Achin' To Talk About Rape

GOP's Todd Akin weird fascination.

Crazy Cross-Currents At The WI DNR

Left hand/right hand alert:

At the same time the Wisconsin DNR is continuing to allow road cuts and core sample drilling in the Bad River watershed close to Lake Superior in advance of proposed open-pit iron ore mining, and is considering privately-owned golf course construction in Kohler Andrae State park close to Lake Michigan, further along the dunes and also along the already-impaired Black River - - the DNR is also promoting grant funding applications under the Great Lakes Restoration program.

Among the three priority funding areas:

  • Watershed Management Implementation
  • Sediment Reduction Projects in Priority Watersheds

Wisconsin Principle For Water, Wildlife, Land, Air, Mines, Golf Courses...

I've a few sentences reprinted below on this blog's home page. Note that it highlights what state law and the Wisconsin Constitution obligate the DNR to do to ensure our rights.

Feel free to steal it.
IF THIS BLOG HAD A MOTTO... 
You would find it in the wisdom of a 1960's Wisconsin State Supreme Court case, known as Hixon v. PSC, and I'd apply it widely beyond water. As the Wisconsin DNR put it: 
The court has ruled that DNR staff, when they review projects that could impact Wisconsin lakes and rivers, must consider the cumulative impacts of individual projects in their decisions. "A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist. Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage, once gone, they disappear forever," wrote the Wisconsin State Supreme Court justices in their opinion resolving Hixon v. PSC.

Hearing On Kohler Golf Course Produces Lopsided Opposition

[Updated 8:08 a.m.] Early reports from citizen activists at the Town of Wilson Wednesday night hearing on the Kohler golf course proposal:

*  More than 300 attendees.

*  100 registrations against, three in favor.

*  Heavy criticism of the proposed golf course's incompatibilities with the current Town development plan.

*  Calls for an independent environmental impact statement, as a 247-acre nature preserve would be converted to an 18-hole golf course. Concerns expressed about impacts on wildlife, native plants, The Black River on the site, etc. (Note the river is already listed as impaired due to phosphorus runoff.)

*  Hearing was adjourned with no decisions taken. Additional information expected form the developer.

This is the Journal Sentinel account.

More, later.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sign Of The Times, II

Water protest sign hung at great personal risk - - apparently by jumping from the top of a parking ramp to a foothold - - during All-Star Game. Twitter noticed:

Only in Minnesota will a hipster hooligan extremist hang a 'love water not oil' sign at the all star game