Nov 21, 2017

Wisconsin GOP-DoJ Gives Supreme Court Marching Orders on Factory Farm Case

Citizens are mobilized in central Wisconsin against Big Ag and
Republicans, led by Scott Walker and AG Brad Schimel.
Madison, Wisconsin—The Republican Wisconsin Department of Justice has given the putative non-partisan Supreme Court its marching orders in an important case involving a proposed, massive factory farm.

The case is Golden Sands Dairy LLC v. Town of Saratoga, (Appeal Number 2015AP001258).

In April an unanimous state appellate court ruling effectively killed the proposed operation of the CAFO by disallowing use of a 4,660-acre manure dumping field on which millions of gallons of liquid cow waste would be vectored every year.

The appellate ruling freezes construction plans of the Golden Sands CAFO, Confined Agricultural Feeding Operation, by honoring the current legal doctrine of the delineation of vested property rights on which the case centers.

But the Wisconsin Supreme Court quickly agreed to hear the case in September, (Madden, Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune), in an apparent effort to radically expand vested property rights under a new conception.

Central Wisconsin residents, local governments and the town of Saratoga want the April state appellate decision to stand because the ruling restricts the operations of the CAFO.

Under the new Republican theory of vested rights in Wisconsin, an owner of property becomes a extraordinary, super-interest for whom environmental, safety, zoning, and water-protection laws do not apply.

Don Ystad, a retired business consultant living in Adams county in central Wisconsin has been working with fellow citizens to stop the proposed Wysocki CAFO which would devastate parts of four counties.

Writes Ystad today:

If it's not occurred to you just how uneven the playing field is against citizens in this CAFO fight, consider that the State of Wisconsin has just weighed in with an Amicus Brief supporting the Supreme Court appeal of the Wysockis and their proposed Golden Sands Dairy CAFO in Saratoga.

It seems overtly political in the face of a brief from the Wisconsin Towns Association, Wisconsin Counties Association and the League of Municipalities which supports Saratoga in their fight against this proposed CAFO, much like Attorney General Schimel's opinion ignoring cumulative effect of high cap wells when the legislature was unable to pass an ag-friendly groundwater bill early this year. I am fed up with being trivialized by this Walker administration in this fight to preserve the health and well being of this area.

Here is the state's DoJ brief.

Fellow concerned citizens, if the number of Amicus Briefs is any indication, this is a watershed moment for us. Nothing to be done for now, but if a 'call to action' comes, please be there for all of us.
The corrupt Wisconsin Supreme Court will rule in favor of Big Ag sometime in 2018 in this case, fulfilling its new function to carry out the wishes of Republicans.

Wisconsin Supreme Court justices

Justice Shirley Abrahamson - rule-of-law judge
Justice Ann Walsh Bradley - rule-of-law judge
Justice Patience Roggensack - rightwinger will anything Wisconsin Republicans wish
Justice Annette Ziegler - rightwinger will anything Wisconsin Republicans wish
Justice Michael Gableman - rightwinger will anything Wisconsin Republicans wish
Justice Rebecca Bradley - rightwinger will anything Wisconsin Republicans wish
Justice Daniel Kelly - rightwinger will anything Wisconsin Republicans wish

Nov 19, 2017

Fitchburg, Wisc Mayor's Remarkable Public Apology Rings Hollow

Wanda Smith is a popular community activist and child-care
activist against whom Fithcburg Ald Dorothy Krause began
a character assassination project, attempting to enlist
the Fitchburg City Manager, the Fitchburg City Attorney's
office, and the Fitchburg Police Department. A subsequently
contrite Fitchburg Mayor issued an apology to Ms. Smith on
behalf of the City of Fitchburg on Nov. 17, throwing
Ald Krause under the bus, and opening the City to a
possible federal civil rights action by Smith. Smith is speaking
at the apology press conference above.

Fitchburg—the city's name is an imprecation, a curse against democratic norms and generations-long commitment of the progressive state, Wisconsin

Fitchburg, Wisconsin—The bullshit piles up so high here, you need wings to stay above it.

The Fitchburg, Wisconsin mayor issued a well-conceived PR apology for cutting off a commenting citizen in mid-sentence and then instructing the Fitchburg City Administrator to phone the police about this disturbance at a budget hearing last week, (Wisconisn State Journal, Fitchburg Star).

This mayoral apology directed at multiple citizens—Kaleem Caire, Amelia Royko Maurer, Nate Royko Maurer, and Wanda Smith for First Amendment-protected speech—fell flat last Friday, (Nov. 17).

No citizen reached was surprised the Fitchburg police were contacted as a complaint against a citizen attending a Common Council meeting, ejecting citizens from a public meeting, that a Fitchburg alder would engage in a character assassination scheme against another citizen, or that Mayor Jason Gonzalez' effort at damage control would be so transparently disingenuous.

"There was some … improper exercise of discretion by myself when I interrupted two speakers. When I ran, I ran on a platform of inclusion and bringing our city together. It appears I’ve gone astray, and I apologize for that," said Gonzalez, (Fitchburg Star, City of Fitchburg). Gone astray?

Voter obstruction will continue in Fitchburg, and as most young and minority voters in alder district one know, the polling place here is hostile to their presence on Election Day.

This is Fitchburg, and the norms prevailing in other municipalities do not apply here where retaliations by elected and appointed Fitchburg officials against whistle-blowers, black people, and assorted progressives (they're a perceived problem), are routine.

Some take-aways from the last few weeks of life in Fitchburg, Wisconsin:

  • Nicholas Garton deserves recognition for his investigative reporting at the journal, Madison.365.
  • Fitchburg Alder Dorothy Krause has been thrown under the bus after the mayor issued his remarkable public apology on behalf of the entire City of Fitchburg specifically citing Krause's character assassination project against citizen Wanda Smith. Krause is now an alder without a district, and resides in political no-woman's land.
  • Kaleem Caire, a commenting citizen at the budget hearing who was subjected to public abuse and an outrageous police call, has been revealed as an opportunistic pol who can be expected to use this outrage for his own political benefit, against the benefit of the community. Caire isn't fooling anyone and standing up for Caire is just, is the consensus among progressives here.
  • The Recall-the-bums campaign is still on, and the mayor's public dumping of Krause and his apology change nothing.
  • Former mayor Steve Arnold is a keeper of valuable voting lists. 
  • City officials still feel entitled to treat the Fitchburg Police Department as a political hit-squad for corrupt purposes such as defaming citizens.
  • Wanda Smith is a political force to be reckoned with.
  • Wisconsin State Journal columnist, Chris Rickert, who penned a racist, black parents-should-feed-their-kids piece in his coverage of Fitchburg earlier this month, is now working at a new position to improve local coverage at the daily, what used to be the life-blood of newspapers.
  • Fitchburg is racist to the bone, and any young and minority person locating here should be prepared to fight for your rights, perhaps more than folks have ever had to before.

Nov 16, 2017

Erin Brockovich Hails Wisconsin Groundwater-Contamination Scholars, Notes UW Is Fearful of Republicans

Erin Brockovich hits Wisconsin water researchers
for fear of Republicans
Updated - Madison, Wisconsin—What has Gov. Scott Walker done to Wisconsin?

Now, researchers at the University of Wisconsin System reportedly are so fearful, (and rightfully so), of retaliation for their work on the toxification of groundwater, that researchers here keep their heads down for fear of pursuing an "agenda" like empirical science which might lead to public policy to protect water.

Writes Erin Brockovich on Facebook today:

It's time to shake things up in the Wisconsin groundwater contamination debate.

Coal ash is the primary suspect because it’s gone into landfills in the area and into construction fill "under roads, buildings, parks and schools... yes schools.

Here's the thorn for me... the Duke team’s involvement also got around the issue that a lot of professors in Wisconsin are trying to keep their heads down and avoid "doing anything that would get them seen as having an agenda," (Jon Drewson, Clean Wisconsin’s chief spokesman), said, alluding to the fights between Walker’s administration and the University of Wisconsin system. 

There is a solution. Vote out Scott Walker in 2018.

Light Shines on Fitchburg, Wisconsin—Insular, Provincial, Without Adult Supervision

Fitchburg Mayor Jason Gonzalez walks out of the Common
Council meeting November 14.
Fiefdom of Fitchburg to citizen "human beings": 'You're done. Please leave'

Fitchburg, Wisconsin—A relative in rural Georgia reminded me this summer about the problem in Wisconsin few acknowledge.

'Mikey, Wisconsin is way more racist than rural Georgia, sweetheart."

Yes, Wisconsin is, and the city of Fitchburg, the focus of increased local media attention is among the worst offenders against citizens voicing concern about public policy at public meetings, especially black citizens, (Pasque, The Capital Times,

In Fitchburg local bureaucrats routinely call the police on citizens expressing concern about the municipal budget, reporting voting obstruction, and caring for black children, (care-givers are the worst problem).

Common Council members contrive with the City Attorney's Office and City Administrator, Patrick Marsh, to phone police when a citizen, like me for example, point out unlawful public conduct.

Kaleem Caire, president and CEO of One City Learning Centers, found out the hard way that citizens can not count on Constitutional and democratic norms to publicly voice concerns at public Council meetings.

Reports Lisa Speckhard Pasque in The Capital Times:

During Tuesday's public hearing, Caire began his statement by saying that community services should be part of the city budget, as those who would benefit from the services 'are human beings' and taxpayers. He then criticized council members, saying 'I saw you all, members of this council, who refused to meet with people in this community, Mayor Gonzalez as much as I --'

At that point, Gonzalez interrupted him and called him out of order, saying 'We’re here to talk about budget amendments.' Caire kept trying to finish his statement, and said he wasn’t done and hadn’t said anything offensive.

Gonzalez continued to interrupt him, saying 'You’re done,' and 'Please leave, sir.'

City Administrator Patric Marsh then called the police. 

Notes Chris Aadland in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Caire said the message the [Fitchburg] budget sends is that the city isn’t welcoming and doesn’t value community input.

'I thought for the last several years they were trying to change that image, but these people are taking them backwards,' he said.

Mayor Jason Gonzalez claims that the performance of the Common Council on the municipal budget cannot be articulated by citizens commenting on the budget at a budgetary public hearing, or Gonzalez will rule the citizens "out of order," contact the Fitchburg Police Dept, who will escort the citizen out of the Council.

Jason Gonzalez, and Ald Julia Arata-Fratta and Ald Dorothy Krause cannot operate beyond the norms of democratic society without the explicit support of City Administrator Patrick Marsh, asst City Attorney Valerie Zisman, and ultimately the Fitchburg Municipal Court which will rubber-stamp any civil citation the police issue, any action of the Council and the cloistered racists who populate City Hall, no matter how absurd. Mal Contends advocates citizens voice their concerns with appropriate Fitchburg public official as listed in the public Fitchburg public directory.

On a personal note, as long-time Fitchburg resident, I sometimes wonder if I had veered into a Cassandra complex, after years of alerting election officials to unlawful practices of Fitchburg city officials.

One thing is clear: the urgency of the moment lives forever in the present.

Writes Dane County resident, Amelia Royko Maurer last night as rights, open meetings and democratic norms are dieing in Fitchburg. [Royko Maurer was also thrown out of the Common Council meeting, ( The Capital Times, Wisconsin State Journal)]:

I’m utterly stunned by the lack of response from Fitchburg citizens to the behavior of their elected representatives. Politeness and silence have never, ever brought about necessary change in fact, quite the contrary.

The question to ask yourself is, are you part of the firing squad or are you for equity and justice. *There is no middle ground.*

This column is from the 60s so it contains racial terms that may trigger some, as it has me, but the overarching point should hit home hard for Fitchburg residents.

Royko links a column, Millions in his firing squad, on the assassination of King penned by the late, great Mike Royko, reading in part:

FBI agents are looking for the man who pulled the trigger and surely they will find him.

But it doesn't matter if they do or they don't. They can't catch everybody, and Martin Luther King was executed by a firing squad that numbered in the millions.

They took part, from all over the country, pouring words of hate into the ear of the assassin.

The man with the gun did what he was told. Millions of bigots, subtle and obvious, put it in his hand and assured him he was doing the right thing.

It would be easy to point at the Southern redneck and say he did it. But what of the Northern disk-jockey-turned-commentator, with his slippery words of hate every morning?

What about the Northern mayor who steps all over every poverty program advancement, thinking only of political expediency, until riots fester, whites react with more hate and the gap between the races grows bigger?

Toss in the congressman with the stupid arguments against busing. And the pathetic women who turn out with eggs in their hands to throw at children.

Let us not forget the law-and-order type politicians who are in favor of arresting all Negro prostitutes in the vice districts. When you ask them to vote for laws that would eliminate some of the causes of prostitution, they babble like the boobs they are.

Throw in a Steve Telow or two: the Eastern and Southern European immigrant or his kid who seems to be convinced that in 40 or 50 years he built this country. There was nothing here until he arrived, you see, so that gives him the right to pitch rocks when Martin Luther King walks down the street in his neighborhood.

They all took their place in King's firing squad.

And behind them were the subtle ones, those who never say anything bad but just nod when the bigot throws out his strong opinions.

He is actually the worst, the nodder is, because sometimes he believes differently but he says nothing. He doesn't want to cause trouble. For Pete's sake, don't cause trouble!

So when his brother-in-law or his card-playing buddy from across the alley spews out the racial filth, he nods.

Give some credit to the most subtle of the subtle. That distinction belongs to the FBI, now looking for King's killer.

That agency took part in a mudslinging campaign against him that to this day demands an investigation.

The bullet that hit King came from all directions. Every two-bit politician or incompetent editorial writer found in him, not themselves, the cause of our racial problems.

It was almost ludicrous. The man came on the American scene preaching nonviolence from the first day he sat at the wrong end of a bus. He preached it in the North and was hit with rocks. He talked it the day he was murdered.

Hypocrites all over this country would kneel every Sunday morning and mouth messages to Jesus Christ. ...

Nov 15, 2017

Fitchburg, Wisconsin Pols and City Officials Veer into Misconduct Against Citizens, Again

Kaleem Caire, president of One City Learning Centers,
in Madison, Wisconsin, attended the Ftichburg
Common Council hearing at which funding for non-
profits was addressed. The Mayor of Fitchburg instructed the
City Administrator to call the police on Mr. Caire,
while testifying at a public hearing on the budget last night.
The mayor, city administrator and several alders
walked out of the meeting and ordered the police
to remove Kaleem Caire from the building or they
would not return. This is Fitchburg, Wisconsin.
Via Facebook
'Never seen anything like this before'

Fitchburg, Wisconsin—There is no apparent bottom to how low the Fitchburg Common Council, City officials and Fitchburg Police can sink.

In Fitchburg, police harass and fine residents objecting to this municipal, seemingly socio-psychological experiment on how far city bureaucrats, racists, white poll workers, and cops will go to silence, (and this is in an American city in Dane County Wisconsin), citizens objecting to municipal public policy such as obstructing voters, harassing black residents, and cutting public funds for non-profits serving minorities.

The latest from Fitchburg.

At a public hearing on the proposed 2018 budget last night, Mayor Jason Gonzalez decided he did not like Kaleem Caire, CEO and founder at One City Early Learning Centers, asking a question of Gonzalez.

So, naturally Gonzalez called the police. [Note: This is Fitchburg, Wisconsin, so again this type of absurdity is SOP.]

Reports, Michael Johnson, CEO of Boys and Girls Club of Dane County and all-around scary black man on Facebook last night:

The Mayor of Fitchburg instructed the City Administrator to call the police on Kaleem Caire, President and CEO of One City Learning Centers while testifying at a public hearing on the budget tonight. The mayor, city administrator and several alders walked out of the meeting and ordered the police to remove Kaleem Caire from the building or they would not return. Kaleem was respectful, raised valid points and was the first person of color to speak to only be threatened to be arrested for speaking up for local kids.

Kudos to the Fitchburg Police Department for their professionalism and telling the city leaders they had no grounds to remove Kaleem for raising issues during the testimony session of the meeting. He then told a white community leader who spoke up for the kids to leave and to 'get out of here' or he would be arrested. I have never seen anything like this before from a city leader.
Putting aside Johnson's erroneous description of the Fitchburg Police Dept, no one contacted today is surprised by the Fitchburg Common Council which rejects democratic norms such as citizen input, unmolested attendance of public meetings, and promotes the use of the machinery of public government against citizens.

Writes Cindy Johnson, a Dane county resident in Facebook this morning "[This] is insane but not surprising. Years ago when I lived there the corrupt mayor yelled 'this is MY meeting' when a room full of us were trying to save the Green Prairie."

Another illustration: In August 2016, Mal Contends entered the voting place to cast a vote some four months after alerting state election authorities, the new, (a racist), white chief election inspector refused to place a polling place sign outside the polling place on Election Day, April 5, 2016 in voting district one, and short-staffed a polling station on the 2016 presidential primary election featuring the heaviest turn-out to date. In retaliation against me, after being obstructed at the poll on a false pretense in August 2016, the City Clerk's office phoned police and contrived with the City Attorney office in what became two bogus disorderly conduct citations, rubber-stamped by the Fitchburg Municipal Court.

It is insane, and it's Fitchburg.

Meanwhile, the Council cut funding for non-profits serving black and brown-type humans, and installed a new City funding mechanism to assist the corrupt Ald Julia Arata-Fratta's professional career in a seedy move that is the new Fitchburg Idea.

Still, as seedy as municipal policy is, the idea that Council members and City Hall bureaucrats feel it's standard and acceptable, much less Constitutional, to phone police whenever they encounter objecting citizens raises a host of public integrity, Constitutional and concerns involving ongoing public misconduct under Wisconsin statutes.

In a related story, a Ftichburg alder, Dorothy Krause, continued an outrageous smear campaign and character assassination of a black woman, Wanda Smith, whom Krause said, in ludicrous public statements, should not be allowed around children.

Writes Nicholas Garton in Madison365:

A Fitchburg alder released more than 70 pages of unredacted police reports that Fitchburg police had clearly marked as not to be re-released Monday, posting the documents in a Facebook group and emailing them to a reporter in an ongoing feud with community volunteer Wanda Smith. The documents were removed from the Facebook group by an administrator.

Smith said she has consulted a civil rights attorney but has not decided on whether to pursue any legal action. ...

Smith, who runs the Peace Network, meets three times a week to help at-risk youth with homework, meals and a safe environment. Krause told Madison365 in an interview two weeks ago that she wasn’t sure if Wanda Smith had the right temperament or educational credentials to run such a club.  Krause said she would seek police reports on Wanda Smith and hoped to draw a conclusion about Smith’s abilities from those reports. ...

In addition to several pages listing police contacts, Krause obtained more than 56 pages of officer written synopsis of police contact at Wanda Smith’s address covering 176 calls between 2015 and 2017 to the building Smith’s apartment is in.

None of those incidents involved Wanda Smith as a target of police action or intervention. At no time was she arrested or questioned by police concerning her conduct. Smith was never detained, investigated or reported as having been the target of a police response to that area. 
Ftichburg being Fitchburg, accusation, innuendo and character assassination of citizens are the norm from police, from the Common Council and from City Hall bureaucrats.

Meanwhile, the political party, Progressive Dane, has issued a press release supporting Wanda Smith against attacks on her from the city of Fitchburg.

Reads the Progressive Dane release:

In Spring 2017, Progressive Dane endorsed Wanda Smith’s candidacy for Fitchburg City Alder based on her commitment to public service and strong record of leadership within the Fitchburg community. As Founder and President of the Peace Network, a local mental health service provider, Smith serves area youth and adults through one-on-one group workshops and seminars to equip them with the skills necessary to fulfill their potential as individuals in the community. At the Peace Network, Smith runs a homework club, which meets three times per week to provide students with academic supports, meals, and a safe environment. She also works with youth in the Middleton, Cross Plains, and Monona Grove school districts as a substitute teacher, and has mentored hundreds of youth throughout her career. As a locality that harbors some of the worst racial disparities in the country, Dane County needs to support more service providers led by people of color such as the Peace Network, and support progressive leaders like Smith, to begin counteracting the systemic racism that plagues our Greater Madison community.

Progressive Dane appreciates Smith’s work in the Fitchburg community, especially her compassion for youth and ongoing commitment to their success. We also support her advocacy for the restoration of 2018 budget funds to support local non-profit organizations that provide local services to many children of color in the King James Way area and Fitchburg at large.  Progressive Dane has been working with our members in Fitchburg, including Smith, to draft a City of Fitchburg platform.  Similar to our other policy platforms, we are drafting a Fitchburg platform that strongly supports civil rights, including the rights to assemble and protest, making decisions with an equity analysis, funding safety net programs, affordable housing, and neighborhood organizations, and economic development planning that prioritizes neighborhoods most in need of investment.

Progressive Dane is committed to racial justice, equity, and inclusion throughout Madison and Dane County. Any elected official endorsed by Progressive Dane is expected to support and demonstrate these values and implement policies laid out in our platforms. Progressive Dane electeds who fail to do so should expect to be held accountable by the elections committee and membership.

Progressive Dane is an independent, progressive political party in Dane County, Wisconsin. Progressive Dane believes that ordinary citizens should control public policies at the community and national levels. We support tax justice, better social services, equality in public education, affordable housing, and public transportation. Progressive Dane helps community members organize around issues that are important to them and also works on the grassroots level to elect progressive political candidates.