Thursday, September 30, 2010

City Of Waukesha Pursuing Town Of Waukesha Well Sites

Out Waukesha way, when it comes to water, do we see regionalism?

No.

Cooperation?

Generally not, though to be fair, new Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima has taken an understanding approach when it comes to the future of the Town of Waukesha: more about that in a few paragraphs...

But for now, the city of Waukesha is using a legal challenge to help acquire new well sites and water supplies in the neighboring town through eminent domain.

Something the town is trying to stop.


The town knows this is just the beginning of a loss of local control, identity, integrity and resources to the city, as annexations are likely if the city wins approval for a Lake Michigan pipeline through the Great Lakes Compact diversion process - - all eight Great Lakes states must approve the application under a 2008 Compact - - because the city's diversion application plan includes moving much town acreage into the city's water service territory.

The city intends to grow to the south and west, so that means at the town's expense, and at some point you figure the town is going to challenge the inclusion of some of its land and residents into the city's application for Great Lakes water and future water supply service territory without the town's participation or approval.

Waukesha water utility manager Dan Duchniak has called the inclusion of town land in the diversion application's proposed water service territory map a planning tool, with annexations an uncertainty.

The estimated cost of the Lake Michigan diversion plan is $164 million, though the Waukesha Water Utility already is having problems keeping its current infrastructure repaired.

Questions about Waukesha's water service expansion plan and the amount of water it is seeking from Lake Michigan were raised in a recent story on WUWU-FM.

Here is part of that discussion:

"Duchniak says Waukesha’s future water needs must be included in its strategy. 

On a map, he points to the city’s current 22-square mile service area. Waukesha’s water application folds in 17 additional miles, primarily situated beyond the city’s southern and western perimeter. 

Duchniak says because there could be growth in that area, Waukesha is requesting in its Great Lakes application, more than twice as much water as the eight million gallons it currently uses each day.

“I’m not here to dictate whether someone can or cannot dev their property – that’s not my job. My job is to plan for the future and what could potentially happen and then we’ll let the leaders of the city determine how and what develops,” Duchniak says. 

Folding “growth” into the application worries Peter McAvoy. He says its not in keeping with the Great Lakes Compact..

“The compact says we’ll listen to your compelling case, but future growth, new growth outside your existing service area that doesn’t have the problem, you may have a more difficult set of arguments to make,” McAvoy says. 

McAvoy belongs to a coalition of environmental conservation organizations determined to see the Great Lakes Compact implemented “to the letter” in Wisconsin."



For sometime I have felt the city's expansion as laid out in its diversion application to three neighboring municipalities - - Genesee, Town of Waukesha and Pewaukee - - is the weakest part of the application, for two reasons:

1. It asks the other Great Lakes states to divert water from a shared resource, in part, for growth, thus increasing the amount of water sought and supporting an economic advantage for a municipality within one state.

What's in it for the other states to agree to that, or, for matter, why should the DNR bless the use of that water to help the City of Waukesha grow at the expense of other parts of the region?

2. It does not involve the people in the other communities in the decision-making to have brought them into the city's water service reach. Since it could ultimately cost residents in those municipalities water payments and taxes, it sounds a lot like taxation without representation, or due process, to me.

Mayor Jeff Scrima was elected in April and had raised some of these issues with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - - from whom he apparently will get some answers.

Scrima is skeptical of the wisdom of the Lake Michigan diversion, said in a Freeman interview that the city's planned incursion into the town is part of the reason the city is seeking water from Lake Michigan.

I had put that interview into a posting - - here - - and will pull out this quote:

"The whole push or argument for getting us on Great Lakes water is that the city is going to expand based on this projected water service (area),” Scrima said. “We are basically asking for Great Lakes water because the city is going to grow to the southwest. We are essentially going to swallow up the town. I believe this is presumptuous and unrealistic. These people that live in the town, they moved out there for a reason.”


Bush Tax Cuts Fuel The Deficit

Check out the chart. Thanks to Institute For Wisconsin's Future:


Bush tax cuts were a lose-lose policy


meeting 
The Republicans are running this year on an economic platform of tax cuts, especially making the tax cuts permanent for the richest among us. So how did the tax cuts work out?

Total income was $2.74 trillion less during the eight Bush years than if incomes had stayed at 2000 levels.That much additional income would have more than made up for the lack of demand that keeps us mired in the Great Recession.

Average incomes fell. Average taxpayer income was down $3,512, or 5.7 percent in 2008, compared with 2000. Had incomes stayed at 2000 levels, the average taxpayer would have earned almost $21,000 more over those eight years.That's almost $50 per week."

Mark Belling Issues Non-Apology Apology To Feingold

Here's the text the drive time entertainer posted on his blog today about his failed accusation that US Senator Russ Feingold had faked an appearance in a campaign ad..

He also calls the ad "disingenuous," a word I accuse Belling of stealing from me off this blog headline of mine from Tuesday - -The Year Of The GOP's Campaigning Disingenuously - - .but it's just an accusation and I don't have any proof.

2010 Wisconsin Motorcyclist Deaths Still Running 30% More Than Last Year

I've been tracking this number for a couple of months and the trend is still ugly.

After Finger Pointing Fails, Walker Says He Was Misinterpreted

The evasion of responsibility by County Exec Scott Walker rises to a new level as County withholds an investigative report into its mental health complex mis-administration.

Mis-administration as in - - people have been raped there, and one patient starved to death.

Unmasking The Coverup Of The Coverup - - A Flagrant Act Of Journalism

This is what Keith Olbermann (see video) has done for voters assessing whether Ron Johnson (R) should be elected in November to the US Senate.

Olbermann has committed a flagrant act of journalism - - unraveling the coverup of a coverup.

Coverup #1 - - The Green Bay Catholic Diocese had moved around a pedophile priest, and maybe others whose names are not being released.

Coverup #2 - -Johnson, a member of the Diocesan finance board that handles claims against offending priests testified against a bill in the legislature in January that would have made it easier for some victims of childhood abuse to sue - - but Johnson did not disclose to the legislative committee before which he testified that he was on that church board.

Instead, he testified as a businessman.

Why not?

Because it would have exposed a conflict of interest and made Johnson look as if his values had flown away.

Which is precisely what he looks like right now.

Is he Senatorial timber?

Are you kidding?

The honorable course for him is to drop out..

A Day Of Audacity On WISN-AM Radio

On Wednesday morning, I listened as 1130 WISN-AM squawker Vikki McKenna said UW-Madison students were not smart enough to see through Barack Obama's claims during Tuesday's Library Mall speech because they were being taught by chemistry teachers who were socialists.

Then she went on to accuse Barack Obama of "lying" - - her word - - to an Albuquerque back-yard audience when she said he claimed to be a born again Christian.

Then, after a break, admitted that Barack Obama hadn't used the phrase "born again Christian" to describe his personal path to faith and belief.

So he lied about something he didn't say?

Then, during the afternoon drive time, Mark Belling wrestled with truthiness with regard to his allegations that Russ Feingold had put a fake television ad on the air.

An allegation he said he could not prove.

Which is about as absurd as claiming someone lied about something not said.

On talk radio, you can say anything and just keep right on going.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sexual Assault Victim Calls Out Ron Johnson Over Opposition To Victims' Rights - - And He had Been A Johnson Supporter

This is one of the most amazing news videos I have ever seen:

The background:

GOP Republican Senate candidate had embroiled himself in the ongoing debate over the rights of childhood sexual victims to sue - - such as victims of abuse by priests - - by testifying against a bill in the Wisconsin legislature that would have made it easier for those childhood victims to sue in civil court.

But in the testimony - - video here - - Johnson did not disclose that he was sat on a board within the Diocese of Green Bay that dealt with such lawsuits.

And that diocese has been deeply roiled by allegations of sexual assaults by priests.

Tonight on MSNBC's "Countdown" program with Keith Olbermann, one of those very Green Bay diocese abuse victims tells Olbermann he is disappointed by the superficiality and thoughtlessness of Johnson's testimony - - and here's the kicker: the victim had been a supporter of Johnson's campaign.

And only learned of Johnson's relationship with the Church litigation board yesterday.

Now he says Johnson needs a personal "come to Jesus moment."

.

Ron Johnson Called Out On MSNBC For Urging Barriers To Childhood Sexual Abuse Litigation

Family values party and GOP Senate candidate Ron Johnson's recent public stance against litigation rights for childhood sexual abuse victims earns the freshly-shaven candidate some stunning face time on Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" program tonight on MSNBC.

One of those victims - - a self-disclosed Johnson supporter (presumably now a former supporter now) - - tells Olbermann that Johnson had not been forthcoming about his membership on a key Church litigation review committee in Green Bay when Johnson testified in opposition to easing victims' rights to sue.

And that Johnson's opposition was superficial, while victims had continuing mental anguish that a day in court could help relieve.

I'll post the segment soon - - update: here it is - - and you can access video of his controversial public appearance on the issue here.

Caught In a Mistake, Belling Spins, Ducks And Weaves

I heard 1130 WISN-AM radio squawker Mark Belling yesterday accuse Russ Feingold of faking a TV commercial by pretending to be filmed in front of his Middleton house.

Heavy accusation.

Today, after being ripped by the Journal Sentinel, Belling kinda backed down a bit, saying he had only made an accusation that he had said he could not prove - - a window into how talk radio operates - - and conceded that Feingold indeed had been at the ad shoot.

But having it both ways, Belling said he would not fully retract his statement because he felt the ad had been heavily edited, or perhaps re-shot, in a studio.

He said this even after putting the ad crew's sound man on the air, who told Belling he had watched the  filming and had put a microphone on the candidate to record the audio.

And he took Belling to task for changing his angle of attack against the ad from an outright fake setting to an allegation that the ad had been re-shot.

Belling knows that commercial footage can be taken into a studio for editing - - but no matter, because this is the essence of talk radio:

Say anything and just walk away.

More Scott Walker Finger-Pointing

The other day I posted an item about Scott Walker's pattern of evading responsibility.

It was titled "Scott Walker's Campaign Slogan: 'Don't Look At Me,' and catalogued a number of instances in his run for Governor and eight-year tenure in office when Walker made sure the buck didn't stop with himself.

Today the Journal Sentinel has a story about Walker, his mismanaged and dangerous mental health complex and an investigative report that is being withheld.

That story starts with these words:

"Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker sought to distance himself Tuesday from a decision..."

In the story, Walker says he supports the decision, hasn't read the report but blames the unusual withholding on attorneys and County Board Chairman Lee Holloway.

'Classic.

Evasion of responsibility is hardly a recipe for managing a large organization.

The Walker way - - walking away from leadership - - has failed at the county level when it comes to budgeting, social service provision, Park East development, land sales, mental health protective care, or physical inspection of county buildings.

Red faces...red ink...crumbling or wasted assets...policy inertia:  It would be reckless to put that mentality in the Governor's office.

Electric Car Charging Stations Coming To Madison

In another year or two, these will be everywhere.

OK...cue the right-wing comments, in three...two..one...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Credit Al Haug For The Art Below

The GOP's Year Of Campaigning Disingenuously

There's no stopping them:



Ron Johnson and his no-government subsidies claim - - true if you overlook a publicly-funded rail provided by loal government spur to his business, and a $4 million, low-interest industrial revenue bond loan also made available by local government.

Or his failure to disclose to a legislative committee his institutional interests in a church sex scandal.

Out in Delaware, Tea Partier/GOP Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell continues to promote faked academic credentials.

And now to this pattern we can add an even weirder example supplied by a local talk radio entertainer:

Mark Belling has trapped himself by making and then only partially withdrawing an allegation Belling admits he cannot prove - - a claim that Russ Feingold faked his appearance in a television commercial filmed in front of his Middleton home.

Truthiness is in short supply on the Right this election season.

I guess we are supposed to understand because they are so angry this year and motivated to take back the country.

More On The Voter Caging Plot - - From The Good Folks At OWN Who Discovered It

Voter caging is a notorious voter suppression technique used to challenge the registration status of eligible voters to prevent him or her from voting in an election
Usually, caging occurs when an official-looking, non-forwardable piece of mail is sent to a group of registered voters, often to minorities and students. The parties involved in caging then compile a list of voters whose mail was returned as undeliverable. On Election Day, these organizations will use the undeliverable mail to challenge voters at the polls, utilizing law enforcement and attorneys to support their challenges.
The goal of caging is two-fold. First, is to force as many voters as possible to cast provisional ballots, which require voters to follow-up the day after an election for the ballot to be counted. Historically, about 35% of all provisional ballots are never counted. Additionally, voters whose registration is challenged at the polling place are unlikely to have the required material to complete an Election Day registration, meaning the voter will be turned away at the polls.
The second goal is to create long lines at the polling place as the caging operation challenges voter after voter. Many people cannot afford to sit in line to vote for hours on end. Long lines discourage voters and many simply leave without casting a ballot.
Voter caging is a violation of the Help America Vote Act and is illegal.

Who's Involved

Wisconsin GOP

Republican Party of WI

WISGOP will allegedly provide training for 'poll watchers' and an army of lawyers to support the caging efforts. WISGOP would also allegedly provide the voter database to create the caging list.
Americans For Prosperity

Americans for Prosperity

AFP of Wisconsin will allegedly provide the funding for the mailer to be sent to voters targeted for caging.
Tea Party Groups

WI Tea Party Groups

Various Tea Party groups would provide volunteers who will act as poll watchers on Election Day.

Take Action

demand an investigation

Stand up for voter rights and add your voice to the call for a full investigation into the alleged voter caging plot by the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity, and the Tea Party.
About Save Wisconsin's Vote

MMSD Closing In On Alternative Fuel Source

The MMSD is again taking the lead on green programming.

Energy Interests Just Spent $500+ Million Buying The Congress, Public Opinion

You think the battle over energy policy in the US is fought and bought on a level playing field.

Look at the numbers.

Federal Bike Trail Dollars, Thanks To Doyle, Go To County Under Walker: Can You Spell Hypocrisy?

Out on the campaign trail, Scott Walker has nothing good to say about federal funding and the Doyle administration, but just as Walker did with his flip on opposing and then accepting federal stimulus dollars, his county parks system applied for and got big federal bucks for bike trails.

Through a green program to reduce air pollution (a regional problem) and traffic congestion, which the state of Wisconsin DOT manages and which the State of Wisconsin DNR will assist - - agencies under Doyle's control.

Walker supporters recently ridiculed the City of Milwaukee for approving an upgrade to its bike trail system - - and I heard AM 620 WTMJ afternoon conservative radio squawker Jeff Wagner do the same - - but I doubt if the Walker supporters will be consistent and attack Scott Walker and the County for taking that filthy federal lucre that the Doyle administration provided to do the same thing - - improve a bike path system.

I'm glad to see the trail system get upgraded. When I worked for Mayor John Norquist in the late 1990's, he and I walked through the Menomonee Valley with a senior Canadian railroad official to urge the company to make an early donation of an easement and jump-start the not-then-yet-named Henry Aaron State Trail launched.

Expanding the trails has long been a cooperative local, state, regional and federal effort, as it should be - - especially in an area with air quality problems.

What I hate is the hypocrisy, the double-standard, the deliberate, partisan dumbing-down of the public conversation when the right and Republicans shred programs and administrations run by Democrats - - and then pose for holy pictures with the over-sized checks representing millions from those same programs when Democrats release the funds.

Climate Changed


And it was 113 degrees in LA yesterday, the all-time recorded high temperature.

I'd call an 11-year drought "climate changed."

Still don't think we need a national program to save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better manage the resources that remain?

Congestion In Traffic Adds To Congestion Of The Heart

A column by Dave Zweifel about the deleterious effects of sitting in traffic, stewing.

Some earlier information.

And for goodness sakes, turn off that right-wing drive-time talk radio, and lobby for trains.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Not A Story From "The Onion" Story: Ron Johnson Wanted To Prevent Filing Of Lawsuits by Childhood Sexual Abuse Victims

Making it harder for young sexual assault victims to sue their perpetrators' employers?

Oooh, too costly, said Johnson in what has been described as his first foray into politics.

Yipes, what a beginning. 

I guess there's a pro-business spin to anything, but who would get up in front of a state legislative panel and find a dollars-and-cents excuse to hurt these victims again?

Talk about an "ick-factor," and who wants that kind of compassionate conservatism in the US Senate?

Curiously, Dan Bice reported it months ago.

No doubt video of his testimony makes it newsier and certainly makes Johnson downright creepy - - and, there's a bonus: we get a look at the beard Johnson had until recently.

We're learning more and more about this guy every day, but let's wait until Tuesday so talk radio can straighten this all out.

Great NY Times Story About UW-Madison, Mindfulness And The Dalai Lama

The school hits the PR jackpot, deservedly.

WUWM Reports On Waukesha's Water Planning, Expansion

A group of people took a tour of Waukesha the other day and heard presentations about the water situation there from a wide variety of speakers.

WUWM tagged along, and the reporter's text and audio are here. 

One note: I'd disagree with the segment's intro that describes the Waukesha water situation as "acute." If it were, regulators a couple of years ago wouldn't have given Waukesha until June, 2018 to fully resolve the situation.

For now, and for years to come, Waukesha has plenty of water and the means to clean it.

Manganese In Madison's Water; A Serious Contaminant

Nothing to mess around with, study says, so good for Madison making its removal a top priority.

Journal Sentinel Features Top-Shelf Architecture Writing

I do miss reading old pal Whitney Gould's work in the Journal Sentinel, but when she took the buyout she told me that Mary Louise Schumacher was going to do really good work on the architecture beat, and Whitney was right.

So enjoy another informative, literate story from Schumacher - - this one about an unusually green new house in Racine.

Brookings Challenges Great Lakes Region To Think Big

This is not the first time - - earlier examples, here and here - - that the Brookings Institution has reminded us that the Great Lakes define the real region that demands out collective attention.

A Special TARP For Waukesha School District - - Thank You, Madison!

Having borrowed and blown more than $15 million to buy $65 million worth of can't miss Wall Street funny money, the too-clever-by-half members of the Waukesha School Board are turning to the Devil itself for a fix- - State Government - - and a refinancing bailout.

It'll work like TARP - - the federal lending program that saved banks from bleeding red ink due to crazy lending practices and investments.

An obscure state agency can help the school board replace the original borrowing by lending it the money at a public, hence discounted, interest rate.

I'm expecting to see a joint release signed by all the small-government/free-market/take-responsibility crowd - - Jim Sensenbrenner, Dan Vrakas,  Ted Kanavas, various radio squawkers. et al - - hailing State Government for rescuung the the Waukesha School District.

There are four other districts in the state facing similar problems, so maybe the state's mini-TARP can grow bigger - - and it might have to, since Milwaukee County accepted Scott Walker's plan to borrow $400 million in order to fund its pension plan.

Who's to say that loan won't need propping up?

Of course, the intended pot-of-gold windfall that the initial Waukesha school board loan had anticipated is gone, pending the outcome of litigation, so perhaps out there in GOP-Land folks are counting on another bogeyman for help - - trial lawyers.

And that's not the end of the the public financing ironies west of 124th St.

The Waukesha Water Utility and Common Council are turning backflips to re-appoint one of the school board members to the utility as it anticipates a borrowing 11 times larger that the school's troubled loan to fund its water supply plan.

Look At The Hoops That Waukesha Will Jump Through To Get An Expert On Its Water Utility

Add three seats to basically appoint the expert and retain as utility commission chairman a long-term Waukesha County power broker.

A compromise?

Yes.

Is the old guard there still alive and kicking despite the April Mayoral election?

Indubitably.

George Meyer's Cautionary Words Well Worth Waukesha's Attention

If the subjects are water, conservation and public policy in Wisconsin, and George Meyer is speaking - - people listen.

Meyer was a veteran official at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and served as its Secretary- - the chief administrator's position - - for eight years before taking over the reins at the statewide Wisconsin Wildlife Federation in 2001.

He's a recognized conservationist with credibility and credentials, so in case you missed it I want to take and italicize for you a sentence or two from George that was included in a water conservation coalition's news release last week about how the DNR is handling Waukesha's still-incomplete Great Lakes water diversion application.

The application was approved by the Waukesha Common Council in April, submitted to the DNR in May, found incomplete, and deficient, and we learned last week still has problems.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Doing its Job,
DNR again finds Waukesha’s Application for Lake Michigan Water “Incomplete.”
WAUKESHA--... the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) again had to take the unusual step of having to inform the city that its application for Lake Michigan water is still incomplete.
In the letter to Council President Ybarra, the DNR noted that more information is required and “our experience with these types of complex, technical reviews has shown that it is more efficient to make sure we have a complete application before beginning a more detailed review.”  

The [Great Lakes] Compact Implementation Coalition applauds the DNR for taking this action...
"The second decision by DNR that the application is incomplete is very rare and clearly reflects substantial shortcomings in the Waukesha application,” stated George Meyer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and former DNR Secretary.

"The City of Waukesha should recognize that the DNR is deadly serious in requiring that any application for a diversion of Lake Michigan water fully meet the requirements of the Great Lakes Compact and water quality standards."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anyone doubt that the message being sent Waukesha's way by the DNR can be boiled down to - - 'get that application whipped into shape, now!'

Walker's Teflon Thickly Applied By Apologists - - Who Also Get Things Wrong

Scott Walker's persona in County government and on the gubernatorial campaign trail has been marked by trademark finger-pointing and a political shoulder-shrug.

Any problems here? 'Not my doing...somebody else's fault.'

So it's not surprising that this theme has been picked up by one of Walker's leading media excuse-makers, who argues in a piece of sheer partisan propaganda in the Sunday paper that Walker's inaction on developing County-owned land in the downtown Park East Corridor is partially the fault of the former Milwaukee Mayor, John Norquist - who left office in January, 2004.

Though Walker has been slow or absent on following through with the nitty-gritty detailed work managing an urban county, he found time Sunday to wash the other hand through a timely Tweet for the Sunday column:

"As usual, another great column on the economy by Patrick McIlheran: http://ow.ly/1qVP0s

Yes, Norquist pushed for the demolition of the Park East freeway spur, which released the land beneath to the County, but County officials at the time were insistent that the County be in charge of the land's management and development planning.

Norquist, however, opposed setting in place by the County the very community benefits agreement that the County did establish on its land, and which McIlheran also blames - - so, in fact, McIlheran, if he were accurate, would be praising Norquist, not condemning him.

But that doesn't fit the conservatives' bash-Norquist templace; inaccurate simply works better for the Right.

Walker has nothing effective since 2002 to change the County's Park East passivity, and even left the position of county economic development manager vacant for years.

In a bad economy, any property seller has to be creative and aggressive. Inert won't find you many buyers, which explains, in part, why the County has been unable also to unload a $3 million recreational parcel in Franklin for a long time.

And let's remember that it was Walker's mentor, then-Governor Tommy Thompson, who initiated the deal among the city, county and state that included tearing down the freeway spur - - also approved by the regional planning commission (SEWRPC) - - so that a frozen pot of $241 million in federal funds could be thawed and partially invested in the rebuilding of the Marquette Interchange.

The interchange was a top Walker and Thompson highway-project priority in a package that also got the Sixth Street Bridge built, and which will buy the County some new buses and the city a starter, downtown trolley system.

So it is not accurate to say, as does the pro-Walker writer, that Norquist "ordered" the spur be destroyed.

It came after many meetings and approvals by and among city, county and state officials, and as a Norquist aide, I was present at many of those discussions.

No one ordered anything be done, and if you want to complain about the deal then you also have to complain about the Interchange, and the Sixth Street Bridge, and all the development in its wake - - the Harley-Davidson Museum, Canal Street and west through the Valley along a cleaned river and on a new bike trail- - results which Walker has said he likes.

So let's leave it at this: Walker is free to say that he wasn't at the table when Tommy's deal with the city and the county began, but where's the leadership or vision in pouting?

What has he done since as the County Executive - - the top manger - - since 2002 to work with the realities of the Park East corridor?

He has got to stop evading responsibility for County situations, or problems, or their fixes.

His cheerleaders in the conservative echo-chamber should stop enabling their candidate for Governor by blaming people long-gone from the local scene, too.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ron Johnson Outed As Corporate Welfare Beneficiary

And thanks to readers who keep sending me these interesting Daily Kos posts:

WI-Sen: More federal spending hypocrisy from Johnson

Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 02:46:04 PM PDT

Ron Johnson is emerging as the biggest beneficiary of federal spending among the teabaggy candidates who regularly rail against federal spending. TPM summarizes:
Ron Johnson, who claims "government doesn't create jobs," and who's hoping to unseat Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), has perhaps the longest record of benefiting from government largesse.
In 1979 a company called Wisconsin Industrial Shipping Supplies, owned by Johnson's brother-in-law, received a $75,000 development grant from the city of Oshkosh to build a rail spur to a plant it was building. One of the conditions of the grant required WISS to hire 11 people in exchange for the funds. Just a few months later, WISS became Pacur -- the company Johnson owns today -- and the factory was opened. The factory itself was also built with the help of a $1 million government-issued development bond.
Years later, as president of the board of the Grand Opera House in Oshkosh, Johnson would investigate the possibility of obtaining stimulus money to help pay for theater renovations.
Here's more on that factory-building story.
The Oshkosh plastics factory owned by Republican senate candidate Ron Johnson was built, in part, with the assistance of a $1 million government-issued industrial development revenue bond.....
According to records provided by the city, the money was loaned to Wisconsin Industrial Shipping Supplies - Pacur's previous name - a company owned by Johnson's brother-in-law.
The funds were used to buy land, construct the building and buy equipment at the new factory, which Johnson said he co-owned on day one.
Gary Green, a UW professor and economic development expert, says bonds like the ones issued by the city of Oshkosh are widely used.
"The issue seems to be does government create jobs?" he said. "Most economic development professionals across the state see industrial development revenue bonds as the primary tool in which local government can actively try to create jobs in their communities."
So that would fairly objectively rebut Johnson claims that government doesn't create jobs. Government not only creates jobs, but created the very company Johnson owns today.

Right-Wing Money Flow Into Wisconsin Exposed At Daily Kos

Here it is, in toto:

Groups tied to Koch Industries trying to undermine democracy in Wisconsin

Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 03:48:04 PM PDT

Voters of Wisconsin be warned: organizations affiliated with a pair of out-of-state oil billionaires are attempting to undermine the functioning of your state's democracy. Writing at Think Progress, Josh Dorner of Progressive Media exposes the network of organizations that helped kill a Wisconsin law intended to prevent voter suppression-- a network which not coincidentally overlaps with the people and groups now alleged to have plotted to suppress the Wisconsin vote. And following the money trail points in the direction of the Koch brothers. The entire post is essential reading, but it all boils down to this:
To recap, it appears that a network of Koch-backed groups killed a proposed Wisconsin law to protect voters, which then cleared the way for an overlapping set of Koch-backed groups to move with an alleged voter suppression plan.  What’s more, Koch-funded AFP is currently attempting to further influence the outcome of the election by airing millions of dollars in attack ads targeting Democratic U.S. House and Senate members in Wisconsin and other states.
If you're not yet aware of the Koch brothers, read the chilling exposé by Jane Mayer, in The New Yorker:
The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.” The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.
And Frank Rich:
When David Koch ran to the right of Reagan as vice president on the 1980 Libertarian ticket (it polled 1 percent), his campaign called for the abolition not just of Social Security, federal regulatory agencies and welfare but also of the F.B.I., the C.I.A., and public schools — in other words, any government enterprise that would either inhibit his business profits or increase his taxes. He hasn’t changed.
The Koch machine also is a leading financier of climate denialism, which must make sense to oil industry billionaires who clearly don't care about the science of climate change. Of course, ending regulation, taxes, and campaign finance laws would make the brothers effective royalty, with no possible means for those interested in the public good to check their dangerous and rapacious greed. And as Mayer points out, the 1980 Libertarian platform on which David Koch ran for vice president called for the abolition of Social Security and the minimum wage. After all, who cares about the tens of millions of people that rely on one or both when you're a billionaire who doesn't have such a need and apparently doesn't care about the needs of others?
Koch Industries has essentially declared war on the Obama administration. In Wisconsin, Koch-affiliated groups have essentially declared war on democracy. And all Wisconsin voters should know about it. And they should consider why a couple of oil billionaires who are not from Wisconsin seem to want to use any possible means to control Wisconsin's election. And Wisconsin voters should consider why organizations affiliated with these brothers are so determined to defeat Wisconsin Democrats, this November. After all, there is no evidence that these oil billionaires care about the general well-being of the general public, and there is particularly no evidence that they care about the well-being of the people of Wisconsin. But this isn't only about Wisconsin. As Dorner concludes:
If the vast network of Koch-backed groups nationwide is nearly as active as those in Wisconsin appear to be, it appears that the ‘Kochtopus’ may be an even greater threat to the integrity of our democratic process than previously imagined.
And all who care about Social Security, the minimum wage, the environment, the public good, and the very survival of democracy and freedom as we know them are duly warned.

Saving Land, Open Space In New Berlin

Tip of the hat to these conservationists.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Steve Hiniker, Smart Growth Advocate, Proves Rail Is A Bargain

Nice op-ed by the executive director of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin.

He proves that the high-speed train is a good investment.

By the way, you should join that organization, as I have.

It's a good investment.

Site and forms, here.

Stimulus Jobs Disappearing - - Also Giving Lie To Right-Wing Claims

It's a talk radio mantra..."the stimulus didn't create any jobs..." so how come all these stimulus-funded jobs are set to disappear?

Walker Mocked Regional Job Effort - - But Now He Wants Credit

was surprised to hear Scott Walker in Friday's debate claim credit for job creation, when he stood in front of the Downtown Rotary in 2005 and mocked the new seven-county business and government collaborative designed to bring and keep jobs in the region.


Remember "Lipstick on a pig?"


Glad Tom Barrett remembered.

Here's what I wrote about it back then.

Doesn't Walker know that the Internet has memory? Even if he doesn't?

You can read the Journal Sentinel's reaction at the time - - "exceedingly unhelpful" - - here.

For A "Rookie," Ron Johnson Spins Like A Veteran

Government aid that helped his business was a good thing.

Other government assistance, like stimulus, is bad.

Read more.

A double-standard, and double-talk?

Absolutely.

And for a self-proclaimed rookie, Johnson has his no-comment, no-details schtick polished like a pro.

Walker 'Budgets' Phantom Dollars To Repair Decaying Buildings

Even for Scott Walker- - whose campaign paper on jobs and finances was inflated with phantom pages - - this budgetary sleight-of-hand revealed today is going too far:


Walker is using in his proposed 2011 County budget millions of dollars from two real estate deals that haven't taken place to come up with money to help fix O'Donnell Park and other County buildings found needing repairs.


As described in the Journal Sentinel,. Walker proposes to use $3 million from the sale of a County property in Franklin that is inert in a lousy real estate market, and $5 million from a portion of the already-delayed land deal with UWM at the County Grounds - -  a deal that is contingent on UW system investment and millions more from as-yet unidentified private donors arriving - - perhaps - - after the County budget is approved.


Don't forget: there's been no deferred maintenance on Walker's watch.


And more millions for the repair fund are coming from the cancellation of two so-called aquatic centers, a move the County Board will probably resist, so Walker can, again, claim it is the Board that boosts the budget. 


Neato!



Budgets always use revenue projections, but sound and professional practice errs on the side of caution, and fiscally-conservative estimates - - not magic and Monopoly money.


Betting on complex land deals not consummated involving multiple buyers in a horrible market is truly reckless.


Is this honest governance?


No: more evasion.








Ideology, Fear Cost Brookfield Transit-Oriented Development:

Hoping for development on its eastern border, Brookfield could have used the light rail service killed in the planning stage in 1997 by so-called pro-business leaders like Scott Jensen, Tommy Thompson and Dan Finley.

The Gubernatorial Debate; Barrett Was In Charge

This was a televised exchange, so demeanor counted as much or more than words.


Barrett looked and sounded more organized, confident and informed.

In a word, reassuring, like the seasoned pilot whom you want to see sitting in the captain's seat in the cockpit when you board the plane.

Walker looked more like the junior, second officer.




Friday, September 24, 2010

Very Nice Tribute To Cal DeWitt

Well-done and well-deserved.

Walker Campaign Slogan: "Don't Look At Me"

County Exec Scott Walker's laughable effort to disown his own campaign website's trickery - - it's someone else's fault - - inflating the import of a jobs plan by expanding the type for appearance sake to headline-sized lettering - - speaks volumes about Walker's terms in office as well as his run for Governor.

Walker skims the surface, and when the going gets tough, finds a scapegoat and takes a walk.

His campaign Tweeted racialized video when Barack Obama came to town on Labor Day?

That was someone else's fault.

The County's finances are in a mess eight years after Walker took office?

That's still Tom Ament's fault, say Walker's apologists, but remember that continuing and scandalous insider deals within the pension system that occurred on Walker's watch, when explained by the Journal Sentinel, won reporter Dave Umhoefer a Pulitzer Prize.

County's budgets go up every year?

That's the Board's fault - - though Walker each year uses the increase he says the Board has created as his base for another "no-increase" budget.

67 sexual assaults and a patient starving to death at the Mental Health Complex - - on Walker's watch?

Transfer a senior administrator to a $91,000-a-year-job, but stonewall and withhold a consultant's report on the facility.

The O'Donnell parking ramp fatal collapse?

Walker quickly laid that at the feet of the contractor who installed the panel that fell, then backed off because the investigation had just begun and is yet to be completed.

The ramp, however had been allowed to deteriorate to the point at which it needs $2 million in repairs unrelated to the fatal panel falling?

Let's change the subject: Walker deflects that by endorsing selling the entire site for a new development.

With Walker, the finger is always pointed elsewhere.

That's not leadership.

Trying to contain damaging information until after the election?

It's evasion - - and Walker's sycophants are ready and willing to enable it.