Monthly Archives: June 2015

Bernie in Madison on Wednesday!

Here’s the link with the info. See you there!
BernieRally

Celebrate marriage equality!

MapShowingStates

Climate calls to Congress needed – Monday, June 22

On Monday, 900 citizen lobbyists organized by the Citizens Climate Lobby will descend on Capitol Hill in Washington. Among other things, they are lobbying for a carbon fee and dividend bill, a market-based strategy to reduce and eventually eliminate CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

To give ooomph to their lobbying, they are asking sympathetic citizens who cannot join them in DC to take 10 minutes out of our day on Monday to make three phone call or tweets.

CongressionalClimateDay

Details are here. It seems pretty literally to be the least we can do this week to help save our planet!

BIG DAY: Juneteenth’s 150th Anniversary!

On June 19, 1865, 150 years ago this week, Americans who had been held in slavery for generations heard the good news: They were legally free men and women. Can you imagine the joy? The nation’s repentance and healing from the vicious sin of slavery is not finished yet, but it started that day.

Celebrate this moving 150th Anniversary in Madison at some of the several festivities: details are here. Friday night, The Fountain of Life Church at 633 W Badger Road, will host a praise celebration at 7:00 pm, featuring Marquis Hunt, renowned saxophonist and psalmist. On Saturday, a parade will start at 11 AM (Expo Way–at Willow Park–to John Nolen – Olin Turville Pkwy), with festivities will follow at Olin Turville Park, starting at noon. Let’s celebrate!!!

Juneteenth

Budget strategy chat with Dianne Hesselbein – Sunday evening in Waunakee

Join the Grassroots Organization of Waunakee (GROW) on Sunday evening, June 14, at 6:00 PM at Lucky’s in Waunakee to chat with Rep. Dianne Hesselbein and with Tryg Knutson, Sen. Erpenbach’s aide, about prospects and strategy for, well, whatever we can do to limit the damage that will be done to Wisconsin by the extreme measures in the proposed biennial state budget.  Hesselbein and Erpenbach have to work every day in that toxic state capitol  environment, so let’s give them a boost and let them know we’re behind them. Dianne Hesselbein

Progressive Partners – Sunday in Fitchburg

Progressive Partners will have their quarterly gathering on Sunday, June 14, at Swan Creek Park in Fitchburg, from 1:00-4:00. Always a good time, come to gather with grassroots activists from all over Dane County and surrounding counties for camaraderie, networking and good food. Bring some tasty snacks to share. Hope to see  you there!

SwanCreekPark2

Strategy for getting to Joint Finance with powerful public-education support

While waiting for the start of the “Another Budget is Possible” march this evening, Sheila Plotkin, Charles Uphoff and I took shelter from the rain near the entry to the GEF 3 building, while Julie Crego went in search of an umbrella.

Uphoff

Charles Uphoff (on a sunnier day than today!)

Charles, an active member of Oregon Area Progressives, shared with us a great idea for lobbying Joint Finance on public education issues. Frustrated with how much time we spend “talking to ourselves,” he put some thought into how to reach people who should be our active allies in saving Wisconsin’s public schools, but who might need a tug to be drawn into the fight.

Attacks on public education, Charles explained, are particularly dangerous for rural communities. “Declining public schools can be their death knell,” he said. “When rural schools decline, it starts a downward spiral. People want to leave; they don’t want to move in. Property values decline, the tax base shrinks. Those who are left have to pay a larger share for deteriorating public services, making the community even less attractive. Downward spiral.”

Rural realtors and bankers, Charles realized, probably know in their gut the truth of Garrison Keillor’s observation: “When you wage war on the public schools, you’re attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You’re not a conservative, you’re a vandal.”

So, Charles developed and is working on this strategy:

He visited the website of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and from there found the websites of the state’s local Chambers of Commerce, each of which contains contact information for local realtors and bankers. Sitting at his keyboard with a map, he started work compiling a spreadsheet of the realtors and bankers who live in the Joint Finance Committee members’ districts.

“I started contacting them—just calling them up to find out whether they are paying attention, find out their concerns, and see if they can be engaged.”

Charles starts the conversations by introducing himself…retired, with grandkids in the public schools, school board member, concerned about future of public education. He shares his observations: it’s becoming increasing difficult to maintain quality of education in the public schools, and this budget isn’t helping one bit. The downward spiral of investment in public education is a question of survival for rural communities, and something’s got to be done by the people who live in the Joint Finance Committee members’ districts.

He asks if they are interested in more information, or maybe scheduling an informational meeting with other people in their area. Might they be interested in taking action—maybe just a phone call to the Joint Finance member, who needs to hear from real people, not just the lobbyists? If not, do they know anyone else in their town who might?

He’s had only a few conversations so far. One realtor said he had his kids in private parochial school and supports vouchers but still understands that strong public schools are important to strong communities. A banker in Fennimore gave Charles contact information for someone with the Chamber of Commerce who she thought might be interested in organizing a group.

Charles added: “We need to start these conversations. All of us have networks, contacts and connections. Some of us know people who know people who live in some of the rural communities in Wisconsin who will be hardest hit by the cuts to our public schools.

“We need to reach out to them and engage them in a thoughtful, respectful conversation about where we are headed and what kind of State we want to leave for our children and grandchildren. The proposed Budget gives a 5% increase to the Governor’s office, a double digit increase to the Department of Administration and millions to build a new stadium for the Bucks, while cutting the University of Wisconsin, the DNR and Wisconsin Public Radio. It gives zero increase to pubic schools while asking taxpayers to give an additional $48 million to private voucher schools, dollars that come from the funds that would otherwise be available to support struggling public schools. Its time to say ENOUGH.”

*  *  *

Charles could use some help with this strategy, and I told him I’d write this post to reach out to others. If you’re interested in helping Charles make calls or doing something else to move this strategy ahead, contact the Alliance using this form, and we’ll put you in touch with him.

“We can’t just act as if Dane County is the entire State of Wisconsin,” Charles said. “If we’re going to preserve what’s left of Wisconsin’s great progressive heritage and rebuild what’s been vandalized, we need to start reaching out to our natural allies elsewhere in the state.”

Part of the crowd inside the Capitol tonight for the "Another Budget is Possible" rally

Part of the crowd inside the Capitol tonight for the “Another Budget is Possible” rally

Another Budget is Possible: March for education, labor, and the Wisconsin we want!

Several labor and education groups (listed below) are leading numerous others in organizing a mass rally at the Capitol on Thursday, June 11, the first day the Legislature takes up the biennial state budget. This vicious austerity budget forces unnecessary cuts on those who can least afford it–students, the elderly, people reliant on food stamps, and more. It also targets scientists at the DNR who protect our land and water; extension agents who help farmers and other rural landowners; and educators at all levels.

AnotherBudgetPossible

ANOTHER BUDGET IS POSSIBLE and this event will launch a participatory process to create a budget that reflects the true priorities of the people of Wisconsin, rather than those of big business.

Gather at the GEF 2 Plaza at King & Webster Streets, on front of DNR headquarters, starting at 4:30 pm on Thursday, June 11, for a march to the Capitol at 5 PM.

This event is sponsored by the Another Budget Is Possible Coalition. The South Central Grassroots Alliance has endorsed this march. If you know of other groups that would like to sign on, have them visit http://tinyurl.com/budgetrallyendorsements.

Endorsed by: UW-Madison Teaching Assistants’ Association; AFSCME Local 171
United Faculty and Academic Staff (AFT Local 223); AFT-Wisconsin Higher Education Council; Student Labor Action Coalition; Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement, and more.

Organizers’ statement:
Wisconsin does not have a budget crisis. It has a political crisis. The proposed budget will make existing problems worse. It will further worsen the quality of K-12 education and make college education even less of a possibility for most Wisconsinites. It will further erode public services and diminish the quality of life for working peoples in Wisconsin, plunging those that are already excluded from access to important state resources into extreme deprivation.

Public services are already eroded and in disrepair for Wisconsin’s Black citizens. But this budget, which is a form of state sanctioned violence, will only create hostile living conditions and expand the drought of resources for our Black populations here. And we are already the worst state to live if you are Black.

We demand a budget that serves the interests of all the people of Wisconsin, not the interests of a wealthy elite.

We demand transparency and popular participation in the process of constructing the budget. Another Budget is Possible!

Fight back against billionaires in politics with a GARAGE SALE!

The South Central Wisconsin Move To Amend chapter is holding a big garage sale on Friday and Saturday, as part of a larger annual community sale in Brentwood Hills.  Proceeds from the sale will support SCWMTA’s’ annual activities – t-shirt printing, button supplies, outreach literature, and traveling around the state, helping municipalities and groups pass referenda and resolutions and helping to educate their members/citizens about our collective power to get big money out of our elections and our elected offices!

Check it out: 8-4:00 on June 5, and 8-Noon on June 6, at 1815 Sheridan Drive, Madison WI 53704. That’s on Madison’s north side–take N. Sherman to MacPherson (near Shabazz) and head toward the lake, then right onto Sheridan.scwmtaGarageSale
These goodies and more. When you get there, check out that man’s head and let us know what it is…looks kinda shady…

Pep Rally for Public Schools – Sun Prairie, June 8

Now THIS is how you do a pep rally!! Enjoy music, popcorn and free frozen custard donated by Culver’s as you join parents, students, educators, school board members, administrators and community members from area school districts in an Old-Fashioned Pep Rally for Public Schools! Hear speakers from all over our region share about why they love our public schools, and what we can do to support them. 

PepRallyPublicSchools

Hosted by the Wisconsin Public Education Network

Details:
Monday, June 8th 4-6 pm
Upper Ashley Field, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
(Turn south on Kroncke Drive – just off Main Street)
Rain location: Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School gymnasium

Free and open to the public!
Invite your friends & neighbors to join in this celebration of public schools, the glue that holds communities together and the heritage that made America and Wisconsin great!