No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

Archive for the 'Politics – Oak Creek' Category

April 22, 2011

Sloth makes waste, electoral edition

(H/T – Lisa Sink)

Over at Shorewood Patch, Marie Rohde explains why those municipalities still using Optech Eagle opitical-scan machines and seeking to upgrade to the current version of the software are going to go through a hand recount of those ballots – the software update that would allow the storage of both the election-day run of ballots and a recount of that election on the same memory cartridge took close to three years to be approved by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (in fact, it was approved only earlier this year) and has yet to be approved by the Government Accountability Board, a process which will likely take another several months.

Thanks to that, the recount will cost just Miwlaukee County an additional $500,000 over the cost of doing the recount by-the-book (optical-scan ballots are run through the machines, the DRE/touch-screen ballots are hand-counted). That is expected to drive up the cost of the recount to close to $1,000,000.

I wonder how many modern optical-scan machines could be bought with that money. I know Oak Creek has a few of those, as not all the wards here will need a full hand recount, but unfortunately, none of them were at my polling place on April 5.

Revisions/extensions (5:57 pm 4/25/2011) – The story gets curiouser and curiouser. Even though the Government Accountability Board lists ES&S as the vendor of the majority of the Eagle systems in use in Wisconsin (the link lists all the voting systems by municipality), it’s actually a Sequoia Voting Systems (since acquired by Dominion Voting Systems) machine. Moreover, not only is no system from Dominion currently certified by the Election Assistance Commission, it appears that the version that includes the Optech line that is still under testing (WinEDS 4.0) does not include the Eagle as part of the test.

R&E part 2 (6:43 pm 4/28/2011) – Things are quite a bit clearer after representatives from Dominion contacted me. To wit, Dominion Voting Systems says that WinEDS 4.0 does work with the Optech Eagle optical-scan machine, and once the underlying system is approved by the EAC, the GAB will test the software with the Eagle.

February 16, 2011

Post-primary wrap, 2011 edition

Sorry about not covering the primaries. I just had so much on the plate, and so little time. Oh well; let’s take a quick look at the results of the four races that were on my ballot:

  • State Supreme Court – Justice David Prosser easily outpaced the field, who to a person wanted to refight the Mike Gableman knockout of Louis Butler, with 55% of the vote. Out of that field, JoAnne Kloppenburg, an assistant Attorney General who interned with Shirley Abrahamson and clerked for Barbara Crabb (thus proving her liberal credentials), moved on. Unless something drastic changes, the norm of Supreme Court Justices having the seats as long as they want them will continue, and in this case, it would be a good thing.
  • Milwuakee County Executive – As expected, Rep. Jeff Stone (R) finished first, with 43% of the vote. Somewhat-surprisingly, liberal activist Chris Abele beat out former Sen. Jim Sullivan (D) for second by a 25%-22% margin. Very-shockingly, Milwaukee County Board chair and former acting County Executive Lee Holloway finished a very-distant fourth with 8% of the vote, while Ieshuh “Not The Whiteman’s Bitch” Griffin finished last with 2% (she also failed to move on in a county board special election).

    Those results beg a pair of questions. The first is whether Stone can somehow find another 7 percentage points in the general election to beat Abele. The one thing that is in his favor is that this is a non-partisan election, and the southeast-suburban labor union Democrats have shown a willingness to vote for conservatives in non-partisan elections. However, the fact that the (IMHO, necessary) dismantling of the public-sector unions is happening now, as well as the millions Abele sure seems willing to throw into the race (he threw in over $700,000 in the primary), works against him picking up any significant number of votes from the Sullivan/union camp.

    The second question is what happens to Holloway now, especially if Stone wins. I have to wonder whether 10 of his fellow board members will be willing to risk more than the usual political capital to oust him from the chairmanship before 2012.

  • Milwaukee County Circuit Court Branch 18 – I honestly know almost nothing about this race. Incumbent Pedro Colon, who despite getting the seat via appointment on his way out of the Legislature by fellow Democrat Jim Doyle, managed to get the endorsement of the three members of the Supreme Court who are in the middle of the Court (Prosser, Pat Roggensack and Pat Crooks) and turned that into a narrow primary win of 36%. Glendale municipal judge Chris Lipscomb moved on with 33%, while assistant Attorney General Roy Korte, who works in the litigation department, fell a bit short with 31%.
  • Oak Creek-Franklin School Board – Former alderman Mark Verhalen took first with 49% of the vote. Incumbent Sheryl Cerniglia also moved on, while Mary Becker failed to move on.

June 26, 2009

The penultimate budget is in the pipeline

Revisions and extensions part 13 (7:09 pm 6/26/2009) – Since the DemoBudget has passed the Assembly 51-46, and we’re now at the final act of the biennial sign-and-hack from Gov. Jim Doyle, I’ll be updating a fresh post rather than this one.

Revisions and extensions part 4 (12:42 am 6/26/2009) – Moved up to the top (originally posted 6/25/2009 at 10:58 pm) with the 17-15 Senate passage (despite no bill text available). The most-vulnerable Dem Senator, Jim Sullivan, was again allowed to vote “no”. Start packing your bags.

R&E part 5 (12:59 am 6/26/2009) – Finally found the amendment text, which modifies the Senate version (as amended by a pair of amendments). Sorry I don’t have a clean-text version.

I have to thank Kevin Fischer, Sen. Mary Lazich’s (R-New Berlin) aide, for pointing me to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s comparison between the Assembly changes, Senate changes, and Conference Committee’s changes to the Joint Finance Committee Daughter-of-Necrobudget. This will be the version that Jim “Chainsaw” Doyle (WEAC/HoChunk-For Sale) will take his veto pen to because under state law, it cannot be amended by the full Legislature. Of course, as of 10:47 pm, WisPolitics’ budget blog doesn’t have the full text of the final substitute to AB75 (the budget bill), but apparently the 24-hour clock started ticking about 8:15 pm.

I haven’t done a hard analysis yet, but it just keeps on getting worse. From Sen. Lazich:

  • Total spending is up $4,000,000,000, or 6%.
  • The state-level/RTA-level increases in taxes are $2,100,000,000.
  • Total property taxes will go up $1,500,000,000, with the median home property taxes going up $90 at the end of this year and $130 at the end of 2010.
  • Borrowing increases by $2,900,000,000.
  • The structural deficit (how far in the hole the FY2012-2013 budget will start) is $2,300,000,000.

In case you missed the math, the total 2-year tax increase will be $3,600,000,000. There’s also a few kickers (straight to the nuts delivered with steel-toed boots) I want to get out there tonight:

  • The statutory general fund reserve will be halved to $65,000,000 for the duration of the budget. That is necessary because the FY2011 “net balance”, with that change, would be $149,100. No, that is not a misprint – that is less than the salary of the average full-tenured UW professor.
  • Drop the current 60% exemption on long-term capital gains to 30%, except for certain farm property/equipment. That represents a 2-year $242,500,000 tax increase from current law and a $72,300,000 tax increase from the Joint Finance Committee/governor version of the budget.
  • The KRM/SERTA Assembly provisions pretty much are final, except that it wouldn’t be the sole clearinghouse for federal grant money for the transit companies/authorities in southeast Wisconsin. To resummarize:
    • The car-rental tax in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha Counties would go up from the current $2 collected by the soon-to-be-replaced Regional Transit Taxing Authority (the one that used $450,000 of its $500,000 tax take to lobby for higher taxes) to $18, $2 higher than the JFC/Senate version.
    • The Racine bus system and Kenosha bus system would each get $1/car rental from that only if the host city matched the funds. Rep. Robin Vos (R-Racine) told me earlier this evening that the only acceptable method would be a $10/car wheel tax.
    • Any other community in either Racine County or Kenosha County that wants a stop on the KRM would need to dedicate a “sustainable funding mechanism” to their respective county seat’s bus system. I failed to ask Rep. Vos what that definition was, but I suspect that it would also be a $10/car wheel tax.
  • The “prevailing wage” provisions would apply to both SERTA and the Milwaukee Transit Taxing Authority (the former was added by the Senate, the latter by the conference committee).
  • Speaking of the Milwaukee Transit Taxing Authority, the Assembly 0.65% sales tax plan is adopted, with Lee Holloway getting a third person on the board.
  • The Chippewa Valley and Chequamegon Bay (Bayfield/Ashland Counties, which I somehow missed in the Senate version) RTAs live on, but the Fox Valley RTA is dead.
  • Sen. Jeff Plale’s last-ditch attempt to get the state to pay for 75% of a I-94/Drexel Interchange instead of the usual 50% (since Franklin and Northwestern Mutual reneged on verbal agreements to pay for 25% and Oak Creek will not pay the full 50% local cost) is out, which means no I-94/Drexel Interchange.

There’s a lot more, but I’m too tired to keep going.

Revisions/extensions (11:15 pm 6/25/2009) – I decided to add the major points of the KRM tax to this post.

R&E parts 2 and 3 (12:36 am 6/26/2009 and 12:37 am 6/26/2009) – Good news/bad news on the illegal alien front – the illegal-alien drivers’ licenses are out, but the illegal-alien in-state tuition is still in.

Also, despite the continued lack of the actual bill over at WisPolitics, the Senate has taken this up, mostly because Alan Lassee (R-De Pere) is absent attending to his ill wife, and thus two Dems can safely vote “no” lost track of the math.

R&E parts 6 (8:26 am 6/26/2009) and 7 (8:31 am 6/26/2009) – Jo Egelhoff (who gave me entirely too much credit) found that card-check union organizing for UW research assistants is in the budget. AFSCME and SEIU bought this government, and the Dems, specifically Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan and Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, who snuck it in in conference, are bound and determined to give them their moneys’ worth.

Meanwhile, Christian Schneider found that the chiropractors got another leg up on regular doctors. Any bets on the donation splits from them in the 2010 election cycle?

R&E part 8 (9:03 am 6/26/2009)As noted above, the mandate for a UW-Stevens Point school of nursing and the requirement to spend just over $3 million for advance planning for a new UW-Madison school of nursing building, slated for construction in the FY2012-2013 budget, is in there. Paging East Side Plale.

R&E part 9 (2:34 pm 6/26/2009) – Brett Healy over at the MacIver Institute lists the dirty dozen items in this version of the budget. Items I haven’t listed yet:

  • Use $3,333,400 in general revenues to provide “engineering services” in Milwaukee, made out of whole cloth by Decker and Sheridan.
  • Rob $1,800,000 from five Milwaukee-area school districts, Oconomowoc, Mequon-Thiensville, Fox Point-Bayside and Nicolet, and give that to the Madison school district, again created out of whole cloth by Decker and Sheridan.
  • Full-speed death of the Qualified Economic Offer, same as Doyle’s, the Senate’s, and WEAC’s wishes (once again, the purchaser of this government gets what it bought).
  • Again out of whole cloth by Decker and Sheridan, extend in-state tuition benefits in the UW system to all foreign nationals, not just the illegal aliens I noted earlier. Supposedly said foreign nationals will need to swear that they either applied to become permanent residents or that they will once and if they become eligible to do so.
  • Make sure the portions of state government that get shut down as the result of either the hiring freeze or a furlough stays shut down, just as the Senate and AFSCME ordered (again, the purchaser of this government gets what it bought).
  • Again out of whole cloth by Decker and Sheridan, move up the start date of the new $0.75/line/month 911 fee from the later of 10/1 or 3 months after the budget is signed to 9/1, for an additional $5,000,000.
  • Again out of whole cloth by Decker and Sheridan, redirect $9,200,000 of a $37,000,000 raid from the Petroleum Inspection Fund (funded by a $0.02/gallon tax on gas and diesel) from the transportation fund to the general fund.

I can only wonder just how much more will be found after the 24-hour circuit breaker the Assembly has gets reset. In fact, I’m surprised that in their rush to remake the entirety of state government into a secretive chamber of lawmakers lawgivers, the Democrats didn’t get rid of that circuit breaker.

R&E part 10 (3:22 pm 6/26/2009) – While mandatory auto insurance, first put in by the Senate, as well as the highest minimums in the country, first put in by Doyle, is part of this, Recess Supervisor found a pair of stinkers added in out of whole cloth by Decker and Sheridan at the insistence of Pedro Colon and the Legislative Black Caucus – new insurees can’t be put into a high-risk category because they never had insurance before, and insurance companies can’t assign risk based on where a vehicle is kept. That’s right, those of you upstate and in the burbs get to subsidize the accident- and theft-prone in the hearts of Milwaukee, Madison, and Racine. Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) has more on this, including the fact that the soon-to-be-law Wisconsin ban on area-based risk will be the the only one of its kind in the nation, and that other states (like Michigan) rejected it. Once again, Michigan beats us.

R&E part 11 (yes, we are that far, and there’s still time before the Assembly rubber-stamps this, 4:58 pm 6/26/2009) – Cathy Stepp found a stinker of an item from the Assembly version that popped back in – the allowance of the Department of Commerce to promulgate the initial rules for the new construction contractor registration program as “emergency rules without the finding of an emergency”, with the rule lasting . Using the emergency rules power under s. 227.24 of the state statues means no prior consideration for small business as provided by s. 227.114, no review regarding its effect on housing as provided by s. 227.115, no economic impact report as provided by s. 227.137, no advance copies provided to the Legislative Council staff as provided by s. 227.15, no prior hearings or notice thereof as provided by s. 227.16, 227.17 and 227.18, no prior legislative review as provided by s. 227.19, and no time to prepare for its implementation between its publication in the official state newspaper (or state website as provided by other provisions in the budget) and the first day of the following month as provided by s. 227.21.

There’s more agencies that get to implement “emergency rules” without the finding of an emergency, including the Department of Revenue’s new requirement to impose a 1% tax withholding on independent contractors (originally in the Assembly version).

R&E part 12 (5:03 pm 6/26/2009) – Greg Bump, who has been the on-the-scene man, reports that, after agreeing to waive the 24-hour rule, the Assembly will begin their rubber-stamping process at 5:30. He also posted the request from the little piggies known as the Wisconsin Alliance of Cities to Doyle to use his veto pen to eliminate the 7/1/2011 sunset of the $0.75/line police/fire protection tax (formerly known as the 911 tax) and eliminate the loosening of fireworks laws. I’m shocked, SHOCKED to see the spenders squealing for the continuation of a brand-new tax.

As an aside, I will be creating a fresh post when the Assembly does rubber-stamp what Kevin Binversie has freshly deemed the DemoBudget. Very apt name, don’t you think?

May 26, 2009

NML wants to soak you so it doesn’t have to pay

(H/T – Patrick McIlheran via Dad29)

Edward Zore, CEO of Northwestern Mutual Life, had perhaps the dumbest letter ever published in yesterday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Let’s start by fisking said letter:

I am writing to express my support for the creation of a three-county Regional Transit Authority and a viable, dedicated funding source for transit and Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail. As CEO of a major business in Milwaukee County, I know dedicated funding for transit is critical to the future success of my business.

The local business community in Milwaukee is solidly behind the current RTA’s recommendations to shift funding for transit to a dedicated sales tax. Many opponents of this transit proposal argue that shifting transit from the property tax to a sales tax is anti-business or will drive business away. That is categorically untrue.

As one of the commenters over at P-Mac’s place said, I wonder if Zore’s attitude would change if insurance premiums on NML policies were subject to that sales tax. Dad29 notes that businesses like NML pay a lot in property tax, but don’t exactly pay a lot in sales tax.

A quick point or two of order – while there is a 3-county transit authority in the state budget being worked ov…er, on now (and indeed, there is a nascient 3-county RTA now), its sole purpose will be the KRM, and its major funding source would be a massive increase in the car-rental tax (from $2/rental to $16/rental). There also is in that budget a Milwaukee County-only RTA, which would be funded by a 17+% increase in the sales tax (from 5.6%-5.85% to 6.6%-6.85%).

What that sales tax will kill is retail businesses, especially those near the county borders and those specializing in high-cost items. It doesn’t take all that much for someone living in, say, Wauwatosa to go to Brookfield for a fine four-star dinner or a camera and spend less money.

Let’s continue…

Northwestern Mutual has two major offices in Milwaukee County and employs a significant number of residents of Wauwatosa. Our current transit system is so inadequate and obsolete that my employees cannot get from our downtown office to our Franklin location on the Milwaukee County Transit System. The lack of available transit in this region has a much greater impact on my company than a shift in how we pay for transit.

P-Mac points out that the beautiful and recently-expanded Franklin campus is 1 1/2 miles away from the nearest bus stop (Route 27), and well past the point where the sidewalks on 27th St. ends (1 mile, to be exact).

I do have a point of order – there was, for a while, a limited-schedule extension of Route 27, Route 227, that went past the NML Franlkin campus to the Franklin Industrial Park south of Ryan Rd. between 46th St. and 60th St. However, that route was cancelled due to low ridership. Guess not many NML workers rode the bus out to Franklin.

Let’s continue…

Of the top 50 most populated U.S. cities or regions, only seven do not have or are not developing rail transit. Wisconsin is already behind other regions in this regard, and without a stable bus transit system – much less improved transit and commuter rail links connecting Milwaukee to other regions – southeastern Wisconsin will be left behind as the state’s talent pool is attracted to other developing regions. Those remaining in Wisconsin cannot get to their jobs.

STOP THE TAPE!!! Just how are enough NML employees making it out to Franklin for not one, but two good-sized office buildings if one can’t take a bus, train, or sidewalk there? I believe I forgot to mention that there are enough NML employees getting there by car that they built a parking ramp.

As for a commuter train, the closest point of approach for the westernmost rail line, which is used by AMTRAK, is just under 1 1/2 miles. The closest AMTRAK station is 4 1/2 miles away. The closest the KRM, which would be on the easternmost rail line, would get is 4 1/2 miles, with the station being roughly 5 miles away. Further, neither AMTRAK nor the proposed KRM serves (or would serve) Wauwatosa.

P-Mac also hacks away at the idea that light rail would work. Anybody care to guess how much it would take to run a light rail line between Wauwatosa, the downtown Milwaukee NML campus (because we can’t expect NML employees to be bothered by transferring to the streetcar) and the Franklin NML campus?

April 6, 2009

NRE recommendations, 2009 spring general election edition

I haven’t been paying nearly enough blog attention to this election. The robo-calls that have just started to come in like the snow that was supposed to be here yesterday have reminded me that the spring general election is tomorrow between 7 am and 8 pm. I may as well fire off my recommendations:

State SuperintendentRose Fernandez. Education in Wisconsin needs an outside-the-box perspective, and who better than someone heavily involved with “virtual” schools? Fernandez recognizes that no one schooling solution works for every student, and that, outside merit pay, money is not the answer. Her opponent, Tony Evers, does have a lifetime of experience in the publicc-school structure. Sometimes, that can be a good thing; however, it usually, and in this case, is not. Evers is wedded to the idea that more money, especially more money to WEAC, is the answer.

State Supreme CourtJudge Randy Koschnick. This one is quite simple. Judge Koschnick’s opponent, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, is so liberal that even Bill Clinton could not nominate her for the United States Supreme Court. Justice Abrahamson simply went even further to the left since then.

Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Branch 15Daniel Gabler. He and opponent J.D. Watts have engaged in a “spirited” campaign (identifiable by the local deciders’ focus on only one side of said “spirit”). Both have attempted to reach out to local conservatives; however, Watts’ attempt to justify oral sex as not harmful, especially without offering what the judge in the case deemed any real basis belies that effort.

Oak Creek Mayor – I’ve tossed this one around quite a bit. I was quite disappointed when Mark Verhalen didn’t make it out of the primary, and almost as disappointed with his decision to press on in a write-in campaign. I see the two candidates on the ballot, Dick Bolender and Dimity Grabowski, as unsuited for the office; Bolender for his “spend every dime we can get away with” attitude, Grabowski for her general anti-business one. I honestly cannot recommend anybody.

Oak Creek-Franklin School Board – Again, no recommendations. None of the three candidates for the two seats, Thomas Robe, Kathleen Borchardt, or Jim Gilmeister, offer more than empty words on the need to live within the means of those that live in the district.

February 11, 2009

Oak Creek Mayoral forum

by @ 18:18. Filed under Politics - Oak Creek.

The three candidates for Oak Creek Mayor, Dick Bolender, Dimity Grabowski and Mark Verhalen, will appear at a joint forum between 6:30 and 9 tonight at the Oak Creek Community Center. Julie Becker of Oak Creek Now is running a liveblog, and I will be there with my voice recorder in hand to capture the whole thing.

Revisions/extensions (10:48 pm 2/11/2009) – The Community Center was rather packed, which was always good to see. Several other local candidates were there handing out literature.

The audio is now up. I’m still using the old Sony digital voice recorder, so the quality isn’t exactly broadcast quality.

The websites of the three candates are:
Mark Verhalen
Dimity Grabowski
Dick Bolender

February 6, 2009

Post Office bails on Oak Creek for now

by @ 8:25. Filed under Politics - Oak Creek.

The Business Journal of Milwaukee has a rather distressing story for those of us in Oak Creek. The U.S. Postal Service has decided to delay building its planned $80 million mail processing and distribution center on the old Van Beck property at College and Pennsylvania at least a year because of their current financial condition.

Buried in that story is a real stinker of an item, especially for those that opposed the facility. The USPS bought the property from Cobalt Partners, the developer-of-record, last month for $8.1 million, after Cobalt spent $4.6 million assembling the property from the estate of the Van Becks, two other individuals, and the city. That’s right; it’s now exempt from taxes.

I sent an e-mail to Mayor Dick Bolender this morning asking for clarification on another item of interest; whether this change in ownership affects a previous agreement from Cobalt Partners to pay for part of the reconstruction of College and Pennsylvania that is scheduled to begin this year. When and if I hear back from the mayor, I’ll update this post with the answer.

December 19, 2008

Oak Creek plowing – 12/19/2008 – much better

by @ 8:14. Filed under Politics - Oak Creek, Weather.

I don’t know if was me that got results, but for this snow-bomb, Oak Creek got out there well before 5 am. In fact, they were working on my subdivision at 4 am.

See how much easier it is when the 4-hour prohibition on parking on the streets is taken advantage of, and 11 hours’ worth of packed snow isn’t being fought? It makes even a lot of snow (9 inches and counting) easier to handle.

Revisions/extensions (8:20 am 12/19/2008) – Don’t say I never give the Soviets any props. My blogfather used to have this propaganda piece up at Spotted Horse when the White Death threatened us…


Everyone to the fight with the Blizzard!

R&E part 2 (4:05 pm 12/19/2008) – I can see pavement! MUCH better than last time.

December 17, 2008

Snow plowing in Oak Creek – FAIL

by @ 9:41. Filed under Politics - Oak Creek, Weather.

Let’s run through the timeline on this past storm:

– Snow starts falling at Mitchell International (just north of Oak Creek) – sometime between 12:52 pm and 1:52 pm.
– Accumulation in my driveway at 5 pm when I left to pick up my younger sister from the airport – approximately 1 inch
– County plows spotted – several times between 5 pm and 8:30 pm
– Majority of snow ends at Mitchell – prior to 8:52 pm
– Last of the snow ends at Mitchell – prior to 12:52 am
– Total amount of snow at Mitchell – 2.4 inches
– Major thoroughfares in the city of Milwaukee plowed – prior to 4 am
– First city of Oak Creek plow sighted – 5 am
– Time my subdivision got “plowed” (the term is used loosely because there is a layer of snow and ice still on the streets) – 7 am (there is a school in the subdivision that opens at 8 am)

This, in a city that last year, found enough additional spending to raise the property tax levy increase from a 3.80% increase to a 3.86% increase, in a city that just spent over $8 million on a new garag…er, Taj Mahal for the Street Department, in a city where the mayor wants to build a $20 million monument to himself under the guise of a new oversized city hall/library combo complete with underground parking, and in a city that, in addition to taxing to the max, is raiding just about every last fund that has a positive balance to mask the true increase in spending, is fucking unacceptable.

November 5, 2008

Very painful night

Welcome to the Wisconsin Socialist Collective of the United Socialist States of America. Yes, the people have spoken, and by a margin that, at least in Wisconsin, is beyond the margin of fraud, we’re about to head down the path of Eastern Europe circa 1985.

The Democrats have handily taken over the Assembly. Even without the still-close races in the 43rd (the Dem is leading by 304 votes with a precinct still to report), 47th (the 28-vote margin the Republican has will in all likelyhood be challenged), and the 67th (where ex-“Republican” Jeff Wood, whose future caucusing preferences are unknown, won by 175 votes), they have a 6-seat margin. Here comes the tripling of the sales tax the voters of Milwaukee County demanded. Here comes the socialization of health care the voters of Oak Creek and South Milwaukee demanded. The school referenda that are a mixed bag will be no more; those spending and tax increases, forced in large part to the suddenly-disappearing QEO, will simply fly through without the voters’ say.

The voters have also proven that Wisconsin is as reliably ‘Rat Red (I refuse to call the Dems’ color “blue”; just be thankful I don’t call it the Communist Red that it should be) as Illinois in a statewide election. I can’t argue with the numbers and history. Outside of Tommy Thompson, who had the incumbent factor working for him since 1990, and the fluke of J.B. Van Hollen in 2006, the Republicans have not won a meaningful statewide election since 1986 (no, state treasurer is not meaningful and besides, we now have a part-time Boston Store clerk Dem as state treasurer). Moreover, Barack Obama’s 376,000-vote margin was well beyond the 55,000 fraudulent vote estimate from John Fund.

On to the national scene – the Dems proved that popularity is extremely overrated. They were rewarded for being at the helm of the “least-popular” Congress ever with an absolute, no-Joe-Lieberman-needed majority in the Senate, and an increased majority in the House. When combined with two of the most-liberal of their number in the executive branch, that means every liberal pipe dream will be enacted, from the overturning of every previously-allowed limitation on abortion (which Obama promised will be the first thing he signs), to a forced increase in union rolls, to the elimination of the private retirement system. While the damage to the Supreme Court, at least in Obama’s first term, will likely be limited to granting the liberal seats a 30-year extension (barring something happening to either Justice Kennedy or the 4 conservatives), the lower courts will become far more liberal as the Dem-caused vacancy crisis is suddenly filled with Lawgivers-In-Black.

Still, the night’s biggest losers weren’t conservatives, Republicans, or even the people of this country. They were Jeff Wood and Joe Lieberman. First, I’ll take the case of Wood. He burned his bridges with the Republican Assembly caucus when he decided to bolt. Because the Democrats won’t need his vote to get anything they want done in the Assembly done, he’s a man without a caucus.

Similarily, Joe Lieberman is no longer necessary to keep the Dems in power in the US Senate. While, at the moment, the filibuster survives because the Dems didn’t get to 60 in their caucus, and won’t regardless of where Lieberman caucuses, I don’t expect the filibuster to survive the next Congress. The Democrats will be under enormous pressure to get their one-party socialism agenda done before 2011, partly because that is what the nutroots demand, and partly because without a quick-cementing of power, the pendulum will swing back and smack them upside the head.

I can’t be all negative, however. Paul Ryan handily won re-election, Michelle Bachmann in Minnesota hung on, Mark Honadel made a miraculous comeback to hang onto his seat (I thought it lost when he was down 10 points with 16 of 24 precincts reporting), Bill Kramer and Leah Vukmir will be back in the Assembly, and there is one last day of sunny Indian summer left in the land of cheese and beer. If we are going to truly repeat American history, which has twice rejected permanent one-Democratic Party rule, we have to build on those few successes.

November 4, 2008

Election Night Drunkblog

I’ll be starting at the Sam Adams forward observation post, and moving to Papa’s for Drinking Right somewhere around 7. Since the first polls close at 6, that’s when the fun starts.

I’ll be taking requests for races to follow (or at least try to follow between drinks).

Election Day plans

I will be working with the Sam Adams Alliance and several other bloggers to report on voter/election fraud in and around Milwaukee until about 7 pm. Please stay tuned to this place, Vote Fraud Squad, and the #voterfraud hashtag on Twitter.

If you have any tips, please e-mail me at

November 3, 2008

The not-so-awaited Egg endorsements

I’ll start down the ticket because I can with a quick revision/extension at 9:55 pm 11/3/2008 to add most no-challenger races

Various advisory referenda in Wisconsin asking for government-provided health care, including Oak CreekNo. This is a back-door attempt to try to bully the Legislature into adopting universal health care in Wisconsin. The one plan that meets the suggestion of the standard referendum, Healthy (and Depopulated) Wisconsin, comes with a price tag that would double the tax burden in Wisconsin.

The Milwaukee County sales tax advisory referendum asking for a tripling of the county sales tax to 1.5%No. Even the supporters admit that this is a $65 million-$80 million tax increase. That is assuming that, if that tripling is authorized by the state, half of the receipts would go to property tax “relief”. If not, and all indications including historical are that it won’t, it’s a $130 million-$160 million tax increase in a county where a $200 item would become cheaper to purchase outside the county.

The city of Milwaukee direct legislation asking for paid sick leave to be imposed on all businesses in the cityNo. Another 9 days of vacation will drive what’s left of business out of Milwaukee. How bad is it? Even the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel came out against it.

Various school building and tax-increase referendaNo. At the risk of being called Dr. No, a time when the economy is at best tightening is not the time to be building new Taj Mahals for the teachers and administrators. Kids won’t know the difference between a 40-year-old building and a shiny new one, at least if the school districts wanted to do maintenance instead of create a “crisis”.

21st Assembly DistrictMark Honadel The math is simple; Honadel wants a stable-to-lower tax burden. Brower wants an ever-higher tax and regulatory burden.

14th Assembly DistrictLeah Vukmir

57th Assembly DistrictJo Egelhoff

97th Assembly DistrictBill Kramer

Any other Assembly or state Senate race I missedThe Republican Folks, I’ll put this in simple terms. The Democrats, should they gain complete control of state government, will make this a regulatory and tax hell. From Healthy (and Depopulated) Wisconsin to Gorebal “Warming” to a complete lifting of whatever property tax limits are in place, they promise more-expensive government.

Any other race where only one party or the other is represented except the 5th Congressional (specifically the Waukesha County District Attorney race)Dave Casper (write-in) Asian Badger pointed out in the comments I missed the idiot DA in Waukesha County. That’s probably because I don’t live there, but I’ll correct that oversight and give Dave a second chance for a victory party.

1st Congressional DistrictPaul Ryan Yes, Ryan is my Congressman. He is also a visionary who isn’t afraid to touch the third rail of entitlements.

8th Congressional DistrictJohn Gard Gard frankly got screwed two years ago. Those of you in northeast Wisconsin have seen subpar representation out of Kagen, and this is your best and probably last chance to oust him.

Any other Congressional race out thereThe Republican (with the exceptions of Don Young and Ted Stevens, where I recommend a write-in) This will be much like my state Legislature endorsement. The current crop of Democrats are chomping at the bit to turn us into Cuba; don’t reward the leaders of the worst Congress ever with more seats.

President/Vice PresidentJohn McCain/Sarah Palin I know I’ll probably be fighting a McCain administration more than I’ll support it. The alternative, a socialization of this country, is too frightening.

August 1, 2008

Where’s that property tax “freeze”?

I could’ve swore that local governments were supposed to be capped to a 3.86% increase in property-tax levies last year. Imagine my surprise when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that property tax levies actually increased by 6.1% in southeast Wisconsin last year, with municipalities increasing their levies by 5.2%. I don’t know what’s worse; the fact that they busted the cap by 33%, or the terming of that 33% busting as a “hold” by the presstitute who wrote the story, Mike Johnson. Hell, I wouldn’t even term the average county increase of 3.4% a “hold”.

May 5, 2008

Revisiting Boomgaard

by @ 16:37. Filed under Politics - Oak Creek.

A commenter over on Greg Kowalski’s post on the alternatives to Boomgaard went and did some research on “Boomgaard”. Somehow, I doubt that this name would have flown had either the steering committee or either Common Council had known what Unfettered Candor found out:

It’s too bad I did not get an email reply from my Dutch friend from

Amsterdam before the public comment site for the Boomgaard District expired.

Several days ago I mentioned the crazy Boomgaard controversy and how there was such a public outcry in opposition to this title.

Today I learned that there is a district in Amsterdam that has been dubbed the "Boomgaard District" as well. It is a homosexual red light district. He said the title "Boomgaard" [fruit orchard] was a lampoon of that area….

Given that the stretch is pretty much bracketed by a sex toy shop and a strip club with a few not-exactly-4-star motels in between (necessitating special attention from both the Oak Creek and Franlkin police departments), I guess that puts another spin on the name.

Do go read Fred Keller’s further comments.

May 1, 2008

We paid the Zizzo Group how much? UPDATE – $329,633?

by @ 17:53. Filed under Politics - Oak Creek.

Greg Kowalski not only recaps the list of other finalists for what’s now the Boomgaard District (DUCK!), but the other names the Zizzo Group came up with.

Citygate – Yeah, that worked real well in DC </sarcasm>
Twin Corridor – There is no trace of the old 41 Twin drive-in anymore. Other than that, and an otherwise-complete lack of originality, it actually isn’t too bad.
Metro South – Yeah, that’s going to go over real well with those that think the metro area ends at the Menomomee River valley or Oklahoma Ave.
27 South – Welcome to the jungle, fellow gangbangers.
Root River Junction – Honestly, I like it. However, do you really want a harsh focus on what most of those on either side of the Root River consider an impenetrable barrier?
Orchard Station – Station? STATION?
Orchard Six – Juuuuust a bit too cute by half (literally).
SouthCorr – Real attractive name…NOT!
SoCol – See Root River Junction and Metro South, and add in a dash of Orchard Six.
27 Stretch – I’m sure the On the Border guys love it. I’m not so sure about anything else.
Lower Six – There’s exactly one “Lower” that’s been successful, and we’re not in Manhattan.

I may not be creative, but I know butt-ugly names when I see them. The ad hoc committee and ultimately the Common Councils should’ve gone back to the drawing board.

Revisions/extensions (6:30 pm 5/1/2008) – $329,633 for this load?

April 3, 2008

Oak Creek voting breakdown

by @ 7:42. Filed under Politics - Oak Creek.

Kevin Fischer’s posting of Franklin’s votes in key multi-municipality races info got me to digging for Oak Creek’s breakdown in those races. While the PDF file the city put up is marked unofficial, the link says it is official:

Turnout – 27.49%

Supreme Court: Gableman 3109 (59.93%), Butler 2079 (40.07%)
Eliminate the Frankenveto: Yes 3735 (72.84%), No 1393 (17.16%)
County Executive: Walker 4243 (77.44%), Taylor 1236 (22.56%)
County Supervisor District 9: Cesarz 2238 (52.82%), Balistreri 1999 (47.18%)
Circuit Court District 40: Dallet 2890 (66.85%), Norman 1433 (33.15%)

April 2, 2008

Spring election instant react

I know a few of you were keeping an eye on the live thread, and I have to thank Pete, Coop and Dad29 for helping me out with the results. I really should be sleeping, but there’s a couple of random thoughts I still need to do:

– Be afraid, Doyle. Be very afraid. An 18-point win for Scott Walker does not bode well for your chances in 2010, stacked Government Accountability Board or not.
– That having been said, other than Walker, Paul Cesarz, Mark Borowski, and Joe Rice (who did not have an opponent), the tax revolt is dead in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Racine Counties. $400,000 for a shed? Why not? $9 million in borrowing for maintenance? Go right ahead. $12 million for a Taj Mahal fire station? You betcha. $66 million for a makeover? Hey, at least it’s not $110 million. You wasted the breathing room we gave you last time? Go ahead, here’s some more.
– Fortunately, it spread further out. Attempts to jack taxes in Germantown, Hartford and Jefferson got shot down.
– Sanity will soon return to the state Supreme Court. Dickie Scruggs’ friends had best find a new state to try to pillage. The bad news; Doyle gets to choose the next judge of Burnett County.
– On the other hand, the same voters who delivered the margin of victory for Justice-elect Gableman decided that in the battle of stinky and extra-smelly, they would take extra-smelly.
– Bold prediction of 2008: there will be a lot of 3-3 ties broken by Hizzoner here in Oak Creek.
– Finally, a blogger makes good on an election. Congratulations, Kathy.
– I hope the guards at the jail Michael McGee-Jackson Jr is at took away his shoelaces; his world is crashing in on him.

April 1, 2008

Wisconsin spring general election live thread

Welcome to the NRE Wisconsin spring general election live thread, covering the non-partisan portion of the 2008 elections. The elections I’m keeping an eye on:

– Wisconsin State Supreme Court – Louis Butler (inc.) vs Michael Gableman
– State constitutional amendment limiting the governor’s use of the line-item veto
– Milwaukee County Executive – Scott Walker (inc.) vs Lena Taylor
– Milwaukee County Board – various races including the 9th
– Jailbird Milwaukee Alderman Michael McGee’s re-election bid
– Kenosha’s 5th Aldermanic race with Kathy Carpenter
– Racine County’s 3rd Supervisory race with Lou D’Abbraccio

March 25, 2008

If I were as smart as Kevin Fischer…

by @ 19:17. Filed under Politics - Oak Creek.

…I would have offered this place up to the various candidates in Oak Creek like he did for Franklin’s candidates.

I guess that’s the difference between Oak Creek and Franklin; the latter has a very vibrant local blogosphere, while the concept never really took off in Oak Creek. I probably deserve a heap of blame for that; I declined an early offer to be one of the “Community Bloggers”, and I don’t do a lot of local focus here (I think that’s related).

March 21, 2008

Bloated government

by @ 14:42. Filed under Business, Politics - Oak Creek.

(H/T – Clint)

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has a sortable list of various “top 25” employers. One can specify either private enterprise, government, or both, various industry groups, and even narrow a search down to either a county or municipality level. While Clint took a look at the larger picture, I’ll go local. With the caveat that some of the information does not appear to be accurate as to locale, I’ll roll through some selected highlights (or should that be “lowlights”):

– In Milwaukee County, no Oak Creek entity, on its own, is among the top 25 employers among both public and private employers.
– Again in Milwaukee County, among school districts, the Oak Creek-Frankin School District only trails Milwaukee Public Schools, West Allis-West Milwaukee and Wauwatosa, and is larger than any municipal government other than the city of Milwaukee.
– Among Milwaukee County municipalities, the city of Oak Creek trails only the cities of Milwaukee, West Allis and Wauwatosa. That’s right; there are more city of Oak Creek employees than city of Franklin employees or city of Greenfield employees despite a smaller population.
– In the city of Oak Creek itself, the school district trails only Midwest Airlines, Bechtel Construction (which should drop to nothing when the power plant is done), UPS and Delphi (which, the last I heard, is on the chopping block). I do have to note that the DWD numbers for Oak Creek-based employees of We Energies appears to be off.
– Meanwhile, the city also trails PPG, Reinhart/County Market, and the Postal Service. I do have to note that, if all three Pick ‘N Save locations were combined (the Ryan Rd. one is owned by Ultra Foods, the other two by Mega Foods), Pick ‘N Save should jump ahead of the city.

Is it any wonder why taxes are out of control?

February 18, 2008

Repeating, new polling places in Oak Creek

by @ 22:15. Filed under Politics - Oak Creek.

This is a repeat of last month’s post listing the Oak Creek polling places. They’ll be open from 7 am until 8 pm tomorrow.

Heads up, Oak Creek readers (if I have any, that is). Starting with the February 19 primaries, there are new polling places for those of us in the 1st, 2nd and 6th Aldermanic districts. Also, there is still a temporary relocation of the polling place for those in the 3rd Aldermanic district. You can either go to the city’s website to view, or move your eyes down just a bit…

1st Aldermanic District (Wards 1, 2, 3) – Oak Creek-Franklin School Administration Building, 7630 S. 10th St. (just south of the divided roadway portion between Rawson and Drexel)

2nd Aldermanic District (Wards 4, 5, 6) – Oak Creek West Middle School, 8401 S. 13th St. (between Drexel and Puetz)

3rd Aldermanic District (Wards 7, 8, 9) – Temporarily at the Oak Creek Community Center, 8580 S. Howell Ave. (between the library and the National Guard depot). Do note that beginning with the fall primary election on September 9, 2008, this polling place will be back at its regular place at Oak Creek East Middle School, 9330 S. Shepard Ave. (between Puetz and Ryan, though in the new building)

4th Aldermanic District (Wards 10, 11, 12) – Carollton Elementary School, 8965 S. Carollton Dr. (no change)

5th Aldermanic District (Wards 13, 14, 15) – Meadowview Elementary School, 10420 S. McGraw Dr. (no change)

6th Aldermanic District (Wards 16, 17, 18) – Oak Creek Community Center, 8580 S. Howell Ave. (just north of the previous polling place at City Hall)

January 30, 2008

New voting places in Oak Creek

by @ 20:51. Filed under Politics - Oak Creek.

Heads up, Oak Creek readers (if I have any, that is). Starting with the February 19 primaries, there are new polling places for those of us in the 1st, 2nd and 6th Aldermanic districts. Also, there is still a temporary relocation of the polling place for those in the 3rd Aldermanic district. You can either go to the city’s website to view, or move your eyes down just a bit…

1st Aldermanic District (Wards 1, 2, 3) – Oak Creek-Franklin School Administration Building, 7630 S. 10th St. (just south of the divided roadway portion between Rawson and Drexel)

2nd Aldermanic District (Wards 4, 5, 6) – Oak Creek West Middle School, 8401 S. 13th St. (between Drexel and Puetz)

3rd Aldermanic District (Wards 7, 8, 9) – Temporarily at the Oak Creek Community Center, 8580 S. Howell Ave. (between the library and the National Guard depot). Do note that beginning with the fall primary election on September 9, 2008, this polling place will be back at its regular place at Oak Creek East Middle School, 9330 S. Shepard Ave. (between Puetz and Ryan, though in the new building)

4th Aldermanic District (Wards 10, 11, 12) – Carollton Elementary School, 8965 S. Carollton Dr. (no change)

5th Aldermanic District (Wards 13, 14, 15) – Meadowview Elementary School, 10420 S. McGraw Dr. (no change)

6th Aldermanic District (Wards 16, 17, 18) – Oak Creek Community Center, 8580 S. Howell Ave. (just north of the previous polling place at City Hall)

December 6, 2007

Reason #16,329 taxes are out of control in Wisconsin

I missed the budget meeting and the subsequent Common Council meeting here in Oak Creek where they passed a tax-and-spend-to-the-max 3.86% levy increase/4.1% expenditure increase budget the other week. However, thanks to Mark Verhalen, I do have one of the reasons why they did that rather than the original 3.03% levy increase and 3.0% expenditure increase; they wanted to grab $250,000 in additional state shared revenue for the 2009 budget under a program supposedly for communities that practice fiscal restraint available only to those local governments that did tax and spend to the max.

Yes, you heard that right – the state is passing out state tax money to communities that screw the taxpayers the maximum amount allowed so that they can continue to spend out of control when the one-year semi-freeze limit hits.

Words, at least those not involving BS-bombs, H-bombs and F-bombs, fail me.

It’s local election season – Oak Creek’s 2nd Aldermanic seat is open

by @ 17:19. Filed under Politics - Oak Creek.

I probably should’ve had something up before now, but I’ve been a wee bit lax in getting local stuff up. Here’s what’s up for election in Oak Creek in the spring 2008 election cycle:

– 2nd Aldermanic District (incumbent Al Foeckler – not running)
– 4th Aldermanic District (incumbent Michael Toman)
– 6th Aldermanic District (incumbent Tom Michalski)
– City clerk (incumbent Beverly Buretta)
– City treasurer (incumbent Barbara Guckenberger)
– Municipal judge (incumbent Alice Rudebusch)
– One Oak Creek-Franklin School District seat (incumbent Sheryl Cerniglia)

Oak Creek Now points out that candidacy papers are due by 5 pm January 2, and notice of non-candidacy by the incumbents are due by 5 pm December 21.

The word is Al Foeckler announced Tuesday that he is not running for re-election. That leaves an opportunity for interested citizens. Even though I just moved back to the 2nd, I do not anticipate following in the footsteps of Fred Dooley and Kathy Carpenter, but I will offer the following bits of advice for potential candidates (culled from the still-in-business State Elections Board):

– Read the Campaign Finance and Bookkeeping Manual, even if you do not intend to raise or spend more than $1,000 or receive more than $100 from anybody other than yourself in a calendar year.
– File a completed Campaign Registration Statement with the city clerk the moment you decide to run, before you either start raising/spending funds or start circulating nomination papers, and before 5 pm January 2.
– Collect at least 20 signatures on the Nomination Paper for Nonpartisan Office form and have them into the city clerk’s office before 5 pm January 2.
– File a completed Declaration of Candidacy with the city clerk no later than 5 pm January 2.

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