Mar 12, 2017

Progressives, Neighborhood Activists Want Jason Gonzales for Mayor in Bellwether Wisconsin City

Jason Gonzalez is running for mayor in Fitchburg Wisconsin.
Jason is pictured with James Kilgore who helps people
traumatized by the prison-industrial complex try
to reclaim their lives, (Gonzalez for Fitchburg mayor).
Gonzalez is the first Latino to sit on the Fitchburg Common
Council and would be the City's first Latino mayor.
Fitchburg, Wisconsin—Jason Gonzalez is running for mayor in this small, fast-growing city in south-central Wisconsin, in the most progressive county in the state.

Gonzalez has amassed a broad coalition—typical in Wisconsin municipal campaigns—that includes Bernie Sanders progressives and independents, Democrats, Republicans, Greens, neighborhood activists and labor unions, (Wisconsin AFL-CIO).

Fitchburg is a bellwether, part of Dane county's jobs-creating engine that powers the state, socially liberal, activist and in the middle of a hot real estate market.

Gonzalez preaches "inclusion" and "collaboration," and would become the first Latino elected as Fitchburg mayor.

He's running against incumbent Mayor Steve Arnold, who calls himself a populist.

The progressive label seems ironic for a mayor who wants $100s in property tax increases, (nine percent), for working-class homes, higher rents for tenants and who seeks to privatize City services for those living in cul-de-sacs.

As though living in a cul-de-sac, a small home, or on a rustic road were a bad thing. Arnold also apparently doesn't like the bucolic look of residents' front yards, so he has divined a grand vision to pave over people's front yards. Walkable urban neighborhoods and pedestrian approaches, he says, (Wisconsin State Journal), (Fitchburg Star).

Arnold is fighting a City and a grassroots-backed candidate in Gonzalez that does not react well to commissars working to decide what front yards and neighborhoods should look like.

Word from the campaign front is Gonzalez is the on-odds favorite to defeat Arnold.

In the February primary Gonzalez won 47 percent of the vote to Arnold’s 37 percent. Marc Jones finished with 13.8 percent of the vote. Jones has since endorsed Gonzalez. The election is April 4, early voting begins March 13.

The Pocan Problem

In a dynamic that has progressives shaking their heads, an increasingly corporatized U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, (D-Madison) decided to endorse Arnold in early March.

The move echoes perhaps the worst image of 2016 broadcast from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last July. It features Pocan reprimanding the Wisconsin Bernie Sanders delegation for wearing "silenced by the DNC" tape over their mouths. Hundreds of Sanders supporters walked off the floor as Pocan and DNC hacks preached "unity," a heavy-handed move that did not work out well in November.

Corporatized Democrats like Pocan have not seen the April 2016 Democratic Presidential Primary results from Fitchburg that saw Sanders win easily. If they knew and cared about the results, likely they would be backing Gonzalez.

"This is our community. I know there is no easy fit for which member of the political spectrum supports a candidate for mayor in Fitchburg. But this is a strength of our campaign. We need wide collaboration now," said Gonzalez last January after knocking on a door. "I'm proud of the wide support we have received. People need to know they are being listened to. That's the basis of my campaign."

It's a little rich to read give-me-more-money Mark Pocan endorse Steve Arnold for Fitchburg, Wisconsin mayor. What attracts Pocan: Nine-percent property tax increases, higher rents or privatizing cul-de-sacs? (WISC-TV).

What is clear is that residents of Fitchburg are looking pretty small now-a-days from the D.C.-based, money-infused world of Mark Pocan.

Come to think of it, that's the problem with Arnold as well: People just don't seem to matter so very much anymore.

Jason Gonzalez is working to change this.

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