Larson Wins 2016 Milwaukee County Exec Primary Elec

Outspent 20:1, yet won by 708 votes. 

Outstanding.

On to April 5th!

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Walking workers back after the one-day strike

Today, I walked a dozen fast food workers back to their jobs the day after they had participated in the one-day strike for a living wage and the right to organize without retaliation. And certainly, I was not alone. We made dozens of trips in large vans over the course of the day, accompanying workers en masse as they returned to their workplace. These are the people that you might see, but don’t have to think very much about. They work at McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, all the fast food places that litter the modern American landscape. As this was happening, TV pundits were speculating on why we have such a slow recovery. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that millions of workers right now in low wage, low benefit jobs, forced to work harder than ever for less pay.

Some of the managers were accepting of the workers returning, other managers were confused, and a very few were hostile. Yes, these workers do have the right to perform this one-day strike. And according to federal labor laws, they have the right to return to work without retaliation.

The reactions of some to this—and have the power to widely express their views—were certainly quite predictable. For instance, just look at the way FOX News got skewered by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Naturally one predictable reaction is fear. What happen if all these people are suddenly making more than just enough to pay the rent and buy groceries? What if these people can actually start to save money for their families and plan their future? And what would
happen to the economy if all these people were suddenly able to participate in it?

That’s what would happen. The economy would improve as those invisible hands started to do some good for the people that do these jobs.

We can has KRM? Fer real?!

A LOL Cats-style headline seems quite appropriate, as my brain is still trying to wrap around some incredibly good news this morning.

KRM, a county RTA, and the 1% sales tax have passed the Joint Finance Committee. If it goes through, we’ll have dedicated property tax relief and funding for the parks, transit, and EMS.

It still hasn’t quite sunk in; the stuff I’ve been talking about for months and what I worked hard to get passed on the ballot back in November has passed a huge barrier and made it into the state budget!

Quoting Dan Cody:

“Overnight, the Legislature’s  voted to create a commuter rail authority in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties funded through a rental car fee.

“They also voted to allow Milwaukee County to impose a 1% sales tax that would allow the County to remove transit, parks, cultural programs and emergency medical services from the property tax levy.”

Now it goes before the state legislatur, and eventually the governor’s pen. We need to keep the pressure up to make sure what JFC passed goes through. As Chris Larson told me, we can celebrate for a moment, but “we can’t dance on the ten yard line.” And to use another tired sports saying, it ain’t over till it’s over.

Still, big thanks to everyone in the Quality of Life Alliance. We did it!

[Here’s Journal Sentinel’s story on it.]

Vote, darnit, vote!

Today’s the spring election in Wisconsin. There are three four several races I’ve got something to say about:

Zach Wisniewski for South Milwaukee School Board

Zach is a great guy. Given how he talks about the South Milwaukee School Board meetings convening and taking literally minutes to unanimously vote without real discussion or debate, it sounds like they could use a shot of new blood. And Zach is the man for the job. I’m looking at you, my three South Milwaukee readers!

Shirley Abrahamson for the Wisconsin Supreme Court

Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson is on the ballot. That’s the race I have the most to say about. The last two state Supreme Court races have been bought and sold by the manufacturing lobbyist group. They’ve sat this one out for some reason, but that doesn’t mean you can not vote in this. Her opponent is a right-wing hack who would tip the balance on the state supreme court for the at least the next ten years if he gets in. So let’s see that he doesn’t, and vote for Shirley Abrahamson.

Tony Evers for state Superintendent of Schools

My pick in the state schools superintendent race is Tony Evers, who is currently the deputy state superintendent. The teachers that I know want him in. His opponent has a well-connected corporate lobbying effort backing her, but has no actual hands-on experience. That’s why my vote is going to Tony Evers.

J.D. Watts for Judge – Milwaukee County, Branch 15

J.D. has come to Drinking Liberally twice under his own volition. That’s enough for me. And he’s got experience being a judge, and a good legal mind. Give J.D. your vote.

Christopher Lipscomb for Judge – Milwaukee County, Branch 6

Like Mr. Watts, Mr. Lipscomb has abundant experience as a judge. And I bet Sup. Theo Lipscomb’s brother makes for a fine public servant.

Please vote, especially today, when we need every vote we can get to make sure this one comes out right. Look no further than Minnesota, where Al Franken is still waiting to be seated thanks to complexities with vote counting. Your vote does matter.

And the numbers are in…

1) I’m sorry to say that Zach will not be serving on the South Milwaukee School Board. That’s disappointing, but, the voters know who he is now, if not how to spell his name. Seriously, bravo for being a candidate. Also, fellow traveler Michael Mathias narrowly lost his bid for MPS school board. Another well run, honest race; sorry it turned out this way for you both. We need more people like you – both of you.

2) As Chadwick said in the comments, the two statewide races did turn out quite nicely. Congratulations to Mr. Evers and Chief Justice Abrahamson, and my personal thanks to the voters of Wisconsin. Most of you, anyway. 😉

3) Congratulations to J. D. Watts, for beating a man who ran a dishonest, low-brow campaign.

I wonder, if WMC & Co. were buying this supreme court race, would their ethnic-fear-tinged ads have tipped the race to Gabler? We can only wonder. But, the good guys (mostly) won.

Sebelius nomination should go smoothly

Barring things that I don’t know about her, that is. But my family in Kansas likes her, and says she’s good.

CNN story.

I figured she’d be Obama’s pick for V.P. or Secretary of State if and only if Hillary Clinton did not go in one of the two posts. But I also figured a white guy would probably take the veep slot as to not present too much change on the ticket. Obama’s a very calm man, and he made that choice well. Now that he’s got a major electoral mandate, he can start to bring about great change in the country, although he is doing it in a very considered manner. Completely consistent, in other words, with everything we’ve seen so far.

Paul Soglin: Waxing America: “Ugly Details Emerge at Masel Civil Rights Trial”

My friend Ben Masel was very brutally assaulted by police while gathering signatures at a hip-hop concert on the UW-Madison Memorial Union Terrace. Ben runs against Sen. Kohl in the Democratic primary, as is his right. Officer Michael Mansavage, who was one of the two officers that forced Ben to the ground and assaulted him with pepper spray, was not at all in the right. Ben, on the other hand, is absolutely right to sue the UW-Madison police, which he did, and the trial has already begun. Professor of Telecommunications Barry Orton wrote about Ben’s testimony in today’s trial, and what we saw from that via the blog appears pretty damaging.

Now, I don’t know how every police/law enforcement officer doesn’t know this, but, he’s made a lot of money from suing the authorities for their infringements upon his civil rights (read: brutality). And rightfully so! How do they not know that they’re going to cost us, the taxpayers, a lot of money? Or maybe they do? It’s a puzzle.