It's that time of year again where we get to rewrite Wednesday morning headlines. I know a lot of us have been waiting for this day, with Walker acting like a baby every day since he was elected. Now he decides he DOES want federal stimulus rail money. The Walker agenda is primed to fail, and now's our opportunity to send him a message. Remember to support the recall petitions against your local Republican partisan shlubs who marched like lemmings off the Walker cliff.
This April, we have tons of opportunities not just to send a message, but to show strong support for the values that we hold dear.
Let's start with local elections.
REFERENDA: VOTE YES FOR NICOLET AND GLENDALE RIVER HILLS
In the Glendale and North Shore vicinities, we have two school referenda. Vote yes on both of those. To be clear, I speak only as a concerned Glendale resident. In any event, I have been a lifelong resident of the North Shore. I grew up in Fox Point, and I moved to Glendale when I got married. One of the reasons that people choose to live in the North Shore is the great schools that we have. We have excellent feeder districts and a terrific, blue ribbon high school that is the gem of our community. That gem is being tarnished by two realities: the economy and Scott Walker. Glendale River HIlls is, likewise, a standout district, historically being the gateway for excellence at Nicolet. Make no mistake about it, public education is under attack. There comes a time when residents must pick up the torch, take the mantle, or just stand strong for their schools. Schools are not businesses. Nor should they be held to a "business" standard. However, they are factories: producing our leaders, thinkers, and doers for the next generation. The question is this: do you want an Apple or a Dell?
Schools, particularly our schools, should be rewarded, not punished. I've heard the argument that we need to cut costs a number of times, and it frustrates me. The more that we take away from our children, the more obstacles they have to overcome to achieve. Both districts have done all they could to reduce costs and consolidate or share services across the various north shoredistricts. There are those few vocal detractors, in the minority, who blame the teachers union and would send a message to schools by voting NO. Blaming a teachers union and punishing schools for that perception is counterintuitive, destructive, and just plain wrong. Neither referendum is costly, Both are necessary.
What could happen if one, or both, fail to pass? Our community reputation would suffer. Who would want to live in a community with sorely unfunded schools? Good schools increase property values, which is good for residents. I would also applaud the Nicolet Forward parents who have given so much to the Nicolet district (and, to some extent, the Glendale River Hills District) by getting the word out. Don't let "What if?" become a reality.
GLENDALE RIVER HILLS SCHOOL BOARD: VOTE KENNEDY
Bryan Kennedy is an astute, apt candidate with 3 years of experience. He's a smart guy, and has added to the board's functioning. Return him for another 3 years.
SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Klap for Kloppenburg!
Vote for Kloppenburg. I hate when conservatives attack DOJ attorneys as political hacks, particularly when the conservative candidate, in fact, IS a political hack. Prosser is a political appointee who lost his job for being a stadium crony. Yes, this "conservative" actually lost his job because he voted to INCREASE taxes. This should be enough reasons for conservatives to oppose his election.
Contrast that with Joanne Kloppenburg, a capable lifelong DOJ attorney, whose career has been dedicated to fighting for the public interest--the state interest--on complex litigation. She's been a workhorse for Republican and Democratic attorneys general and governors.
Let's talk about judicial temperament for just a second, cause this one is important: reportedly, Prosser called Shirley Abrahamson a bitch. What politician do you know has ever done that, much less a JUDGE? He also was quoted as saying that Abrahamson and Ann Walsh Bradley are "masters at deliberately goading people into perhaps incautious statements". Hello? Does anyone see this as NOT sexist? Sexist pig.
And...partisan sexist pig. He has, through his spokesman, avowed allegiance to Walker's agenda (arguably a violation of legal ethics, particularly as the union law debacle heads to the Wisconsin Supreme Court). His top aide, speaking for Prosser, promised Prosser would be a complement to Scott Walker and the Republican agenda; and that he wouldn't obstruct the Republican legislature. As to the union law heading to the court, Prosser has indicated he will not recuse himself, despite these statements. The math is simple: remove Prosser, and the union law will be tested on its merits, not on politics. Keep him in, and watch Wisconsin go down the Capitol drain. He was a Republican leader in the assembly. He was rewarded for his Thompson-backing vote by a political appointment to the highest court in the state. Has indeeds defines himself as a political conservative. For perhaps the greatest bang for your buck, vote this turkey out now. Don't wait another 10 years to vote him out a second time. Vote him out now.
CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE: Vote Lipscomb!
If you question political appointees for Judge, then be consistent. Vote Lipscomb. Lipscomb has prosecutorial experience in addition to his significant judicial experience as the Municipal Judge of Glendale. Pedro Colon? I guess he's had on the job experience since his appointment. But that doesn't do it for me. There were several better candidates for that position when Colon was appointed. To many, it appeared to be a political tit for tat. I'm not saying that Colon has done anything wrong on the bench; he is also clearly on the right side of many issues. However, if you want faith in the independence of Wisconsin's judiciary, a safer bet is Chris Lipscomb.
He's been doing his job longer than Colon, and has addressed a far more diverse caseload. Plus, he's a good guy. That's my vote. I do want to add one more thing, however. I hate judicial elections. I believe that judges require independence, which the electoral process does not provide. Requiring a politician to answer to the public every several years does not further society's goals. When you get caught up about a partisan appointment, remember that even a partisan appointment can become an independent thinker when removed from the electoral process.
COUNTY EXECUTIVE: Abele is able!
Here's some simple math:
Stone = Walker
Stone + Walker = 0.00
Stone voted for the "repair" bill. He wants to be Walker's 3rd term. Milwaukee can't stand another 4 years of this type of blockheaded leadership. Send a message that you want to restore integrity to county governance. That you support our parks and transit system. That you want people to move to Milwaukee, not away from it. Abele may not be the best of all possible candidates, but given how low Walker and Stone have set the bar...he's the better candidate by far.
As a side note, I'm concerned about a lot of the stuff that's come out about Abele in the last month or so. And attack ads are part of the picture. But Stone's attacks are particularly mean, degrading, and babyish. If you like your leaders to lead with reason, not name calling, make the right choice.