All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Friday, February 26, 2010

Still think Republicans are Party of NO or that there's no difference?

How many times have we heard from the Democrats that the Republicans are the Party of NO? How many times do we hear that there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans?

Well, if you watched any of yesterday's Obama summit, you now know differently. The Republicans utilized their 110 minutes of speaking time to their best advantage, compared to the President repeating the same old / same old for 119 minutes and the Democrats prattling on for 114 minutes.

My favorite Democrat prattle was the one where Rep. Louise Slaughter told the story of one constituent who was forced to wear her dead sister's false teeth as a reason to pass ObamaCare. Trouble is, ObamaCare has nothing to do with dental care!

Contrast Ms. Slaughter's moment in the limelight with Congressman Paul Ryan's 6 minute synopsis of the Republican's idea of health care reform vs. the Obama plan [YouTube]. Ryan skillfully reminded the President of his pledge to not sign a bill that adds one single dime to the deficit.

Ryan then gave some facts on how ObamaCare does not reduce the deficit, and how it double counts offsets. He stated that in the first 10 years ObamaCare really runs a $460 Billion deficit and in the next 10 years, a 1.4 Trillion deficit. Clearly the differences were pretty stark.

It is true that Republicans in the past often went along with irresponsible spending, but compared to the Democrats this past year, they now look like tightwads.

But on a far more serious front, consider the 2 parties positions on abortion. Here the difference is night and day with Democrats being pro death and Republicans being pro life. I would beg to differ with those saying there is no difference between the 2 parties, because it makes a HUGE difference to the unborn baby.

And that difference goes back to the differences in health care reform, with the Democrats allowing taxpayer money to fund abortion and the Republicans opposing.

More reading/viewing:
Louise Slaughter: dead Sister's Dentures

Heritage Foundation: The Four-Minute Guide to the Seven-Hour Summit

More Boor Than Cure, The summit persuaded nobody. It probably wasn't meant to: Lamar Alexander, "It's not appropriate" to rewrite the rules of 17% of the U.S. economy through what is called 'reconciliation.' [51 vote procedure] Don't go 'jamming it through.' 'Let's start over'."

Rebuttals To Ryan? We're Still Waiting
: "Rep. Paul Ryan's pointed questions went conspicuously unanswered at the big health care summit."

At summit, Obama mostly hears Obama

Speaking of LISTENING, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Representative Leah Vukmir and other State Legislators are holding a Town Hall Meeting this Saturday, February 27th, at 1 p.m. at the Brookfield Public Safety Building.

Links: Practically Speaking, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Will you see the Dead Sea Scrolls? Want to learn more?

Are you planning on seeing the special Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum? I have heard it is spectacular. It is the largest special exhibit our museum has ever produced. The Dead Sea Scrolls have been traveling the museum special exhibit circuit in the U.S., but this one, I have heard, incorporates even more artifacts into the exhibition. has an in depth account of the exhibit in Stunning "Dead Sea Scrolls" a trove of history Their posting states "faith is not a prerequisite for marveling at 'Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible: Ancient Artifacts, Timeless Treasures.'" In other words, it is an exhibit anyone can benefit from.

Usually I like to familiarize myself with the subject of a special exhibit before I attend. Knowing what to look for ahead of time makes my experience that much more meaningful. Sure, I have read one of the books and some info on the scroll discovery over the years, but knowing more of the background information enhances my exhibit experience.

Fortunately, my Sunday School teacher, Dr. Gary Gulan is presenting a special Dead Sea Scroll Seminar this weekend, with lots of slides. If you would like to attend, just contact me and I will give you the specifics.

I am going to see the exhibit mid March. (I'll try to do a follow up post.) You have until June 6th to see it. And speaking of seeing it, On Milwaukee suggests bringing your reading glasses. Good idea.

It sounds like the Milwuakee Public Museum outdid themselves on this one. It shouldn't be missed.

Links: Practically Speaking, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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Public Option BadgerCare Basic Plus Insurance up for Senate vote today, call before 11am!

If you have never called a State Senator about a bill before, call about this one!* Why?

BadgerCare Basic Plus, Wisconsin's own version of a public option health insurance plan
, has been called worse than ObamaCare for Wisconsin. So call before 11 am today, Feb. 25th to voice your opposition.

Now you would think at a time of raging billions of dollar deficits in Wisconsin that the Democrats in the legislature would hesitate to bring yet another expensive entitlement program to the floor. But then again, I said, you would think.

I heard Mark Belling say Wednesday, that the bill was on the Senate floor on Tuesday for a vote, but Decker pulled it back to committee after a few amendments failed to pass. He knew he didn't have the votes. (Lena Taylor was absent.)

But BadgerCare Core Plus will return to the State Senate floor, Thursday, Feb. 25th, at 11 am. That is why it is so important to call your State Senator before then--especially if he is Jim Sullivan or the other key Senators facing tough reelections.

In a nutshell, BadgerCare Plus Basic is a very inexpensive public option health insurance plan. It costs only $130 a month. It covers major medical, generic drugs, and a few other things. It is a no frills type policy. It also covers pre-existing conditions.

Now how on earth can our state offer this insurance at such a low price? They got a $1million dollar Federal grant to pay for it. Even with the grant, how can this work? How can this pay for itself as the pro Democrats insist? Rep. Mike Huebsch writes, "Enrollment in the state’s healthcare programs exceeds 1 million for the first time in Wisconsin history – about 18 percent of the state’s population." We cannot afford adding more.

There are 18 Democrats and 15 Republicans in the State Senate. Since 1 Democrat already said she isn't voting for it, that leaves just 1 making or breaking this bill. That is why it is so important you call! (Find your State Senator)

If you haven't called the key State Senators, you still have a chance before this is voted on. Senator Jim Sullivan (866) 817-6061 Remind State Senator Sullivan that he is facing a tough reelection race this fall from Rep. Leah Vukmir.

Senator Jeff Plale Co-sponsor of the bill, (608) 266-7505 He campaigned on a tax freeze and as a moderate.

Senator John Lehman (608) 266-1832 Or (866) 615-7510 Like Sullivan, he is facing a tough reelection.

Private insurance companies will be put at a disadvantage since they are not allowed to offer such a stripped down policy. They also are not allowed to reimburse Doctors and Hospitals at Medicaid rates--that means private payer rates go up to compensate.

According to Doyle pushing BadgerCare Plus-worse than Obamacare for Wisconsin-Call your legislators,

"Sullivan, Vinehout and Sen. Pat Kreitlow (D–Chippewa Falls) have written an amendment that would require the state Department of Health Services to confirm monthly that those who sign up for the Basic plan are eligible for it and the Core plan; inform potential enrollees of other public and private health-care plans; and report quarterly to the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee on the solvency of the Basic plan."

"Sullivan said the amendment would ensure the program is self-funded, but Vinehout said even with the amendment she would not vote for the bill."

“'Now is not the time to expand this program,'

"...Vinehout told reporters, 'The program is not well capitalized, I don’t believe [existing funding] is enough to cover what is certainly to be a very sick population.' " (Emphasis mine)

Existing funding isn't enough to spare tax weary Wisconsinites either! Make that call!

*For more details listen to Mark Belling's podcast for Hour 3, Part 2 (the 5:30 - 6pm time slot) Wednesday, Feb. 24. He considers this vote as the most important of the year.

Rep. Mike Huebsch: Wisconsin's Public Option

Ongoing problems require audit of BadgerCare

Links: Practically Speaking, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Strange Political Bedfellows: Glad Doyle's veto held

It is often said that politics makes strange bedfellows. Or as I often say, if you wait long enough, you will eventually find an issue you agree on, even with someone at the other end of the political spectrum.

Well yesterday, Governor Doyle and I had our first common ground victory when his veto on the bill to take the right to appoint the Secretary of the DNR from the Governor held, with a 58-38 vote. (They needed 64 yes votes to override; the 38 no votes came from Rep. 34, Dems 3, Ind. 1)

That seems a bit strange, that Gov. Doyle and I would want the same thing, doesn't it? Well, this is even stranger. About 3/4 of the Assembly Republicans voted against the veto override.

Here are some reasons why: (my emphasis)

"The vote was a huge loss for environmental groups and most of the state's conservation organizations, which had long pushed for a change in the law. They felt this year was their best chance."

"Opponents, many of them Republicans , said the governor is an important check on the power of the DNR. They also objected to language from the Senate that would have given senators authority to ratify secretary appointments."

Rep. Scott Gunderson (R-Waterford) warned colleagues that DNR board members can be partisan, too.

Without specifically mentioning his name, Gunderson noted that the board last month named Jonathan Ela of Madison chairman of the Natural Resources Board. Ela once worked for the Sierra Club and has held non-staff posts with the group.

"Never, never in the history of this state has the board had an environmentalist as a chair," Gunderson said. "It is always been a conservationist - and there is a big difference."

Wisconsin is a huge draw for fishermen and hunters. We don't want an environmentalist at the helm of our DNR board that is already too restrictive, in my opinion. At least with the Governor keeping appointment powers, voters have a chance at changing the DNR Secretary.

Why did the override fail? I think it was because of the public pressure to uphold the veto. Local Talk Radio hosts have been urging listeners to call their legislators to vote NO. And call they did.

People, you have power. Use it!

(Mark Belling broke the news of the override failure yesterday on his radio show.)

Links: Practically Speaking, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rubio, oh Rubio, wherefore art thou? Our country & state need one like you

Have you been following the Florida Senate race between Republican Governor Charlie Christ and Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio? For some time now, I have. If your are a conservative, it is very exciting. I first heard about Marco Rubio from my favorite national talk show host, Mark Levin, who describes Rubio as a solid conservative. (When Levin is in his quiet, serious mode, he is superb.)

I finally got to watch all of Marco Rubio's speech at CPAC and I have to agree--he is a solid conservative. Rubio believes that in the United States you can become anything you are willing to work hard to be. If he remains true to his conservative Tea Party roots, I would love to see him as President some day.

But for the present, he is challenging Gov. Crist for Senate. In case you don't remember, Gov. Charlie Crist gave John McCain the blessing during the primary and we pretty much have him to thank for pushing McCain onto the ballot, so to speak. Crist also supported for Obama's Stimulus bill before it was passed. Marco Rubio's rise in popularity shows that the conservative message resonates with voters. Rubio's poll numbers have grown from just 8% back in April 2009, to neck and neck in December, to taking the lead this year.

Although Rubio didn't get the network CPAC media hype that Ron Paul* and Glen Beck received (neither of which are consistent enough in their message for my taste) even non-conservatives are paying attention to Rubio.

See if you agree. Here is a sample of his speech that I transcribed:

"...The...thing people want are leaders that will come to Washington D.C. to stand up to this big government agenda; not be co-opted by it. After all, the U.S. Senate already has one Arlen Specter too many!

Americans do want leaders to come to Washington D.C. to get things done, but that comes with an important caveat: It depends what they are trying to do! If they are working to lower tax rates, simplify the tax code, they want us to work together. If they are working to get control of runaway debt and deficits, if they are working to defeat radical Islam and the threat it imposes, they want us to work together.

However if the goal is to abandon America's free enterprise economy, convert America into a submissive member of the international community, is not to fix America but to change America, then they want leaders who will fight it every step of the way.

Finally, voters are looking for leaders that will offer a clear alternative. This severe economic downturn is a perfect time to embrace and reinvigorate the free enterprise economy, not to abandon it. Jobs aren't created by politicians, they are created by people who are willing to use their money to start a business or expand an existing one. They are looking for clear signs from Washington that they are serious about pro growth policies, about controlling spending and ending the practice of monitizing our budget shortfalls." (Then some tough talk about dealing with terrorists.)

"Like those Americans that came before us, we rose to face the challenges of our time. Like those Americans who came before us we made the right choice, and because we did at least for one generation, the American miracle lived on."

Do watch the complete speech, it is worth your 26 minutes.

Wisconsin needs someone with a conservative message like Marco Rubio too, to challenge Democrat Senator Russ Feingold. Currently we have 2 men who have stepped up: David Westlake and Terrence Wall. Terrence Wall has been putting out emails and running some good radio commercials.

Some say Wall cannot win, but in a February 18th Rasmussen poll, Wall polls at 39% to Feingold's 47%. That gap was better than I anticipated considering no one knew who Wall or Westlake even were just a few months ago. (Westlake polls at 37%) The article states, "Any incumbent who attracts less than 50% support at this point in a campaign is considered potentially vulnerable. "

Interestingly, Tommy Thompson polls at 48% to Feingold's 43%. But Thompson, in my opinion, isn't a solid conservative. Like newly elected Scott Brown, he would be better than a democrat, but not a consistent conservative vote. Republicans are still waiting for someone else to step up to the plate. Time is growing short.

Marco Rubio said, "2010 is a referendum on the very identy of our nation." I couldn't agree more. I would add, so is 2012.

Which is it Russ?

*Ron Paul won the CPAC poll but this does not reflect Tea Party support but rather that Paul's supporters flock to CPAC

Links: Practically Speaking, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Another day, another call: With ObamaCare, Repulicans should be Party of kNOw

We've been hearing about President Obama's desire to have Republicans take part in his February 25th televised bi-partisan summit to resurrect ObamaCare. The President says he wants the Republicans to come so he can listen to their ideas on health care. Really?

He and the Democrats in Congress haven't listened so far, why should they do it now? According to Rasmussen, 61% say Congress should start all over again on health care. Only 28% think we should work with the present ObamaCare bill. Why should we try to revive ObamaCare?

Yet the pressure for Republicans to come and make nice-nice is huge. Many of them fear being dubbed "The Party of NO" But it's OK to be the Party of NO when it's because you kNOw ObamaCare will be a disaster for the American people and economy. I don't want my representatives to compromise with tyranny.

Plus, if someone invites you so he can listen, and they already have their bill in hand, are they really wanting to listen? I think the invitation is more of a Come into my parlor said the spider to the fly invite.

From what I can glean, House Minority Leader John Boehner was firmly against any kind of meeting to compromise on the Democrat's ObamaCare bill. No matter how they try to wrap up that bill, be it adding the pretty paper of tort reform or a bow of shopping across state lines, the package still amounts to the government taking over our health care!

If you want Republicans to stand firm against attending the televised ObamaCare summit, you better let them know. Yes, that means calling.

Come on, it's not that bad. It only takes a minute to dial and say something like, I would like to encourage/ask Representative or Senator ------- to NOT attend the President's Health Care Summit on Feb. 25th and stand firmly against the present bill in any shape or form. Please start over from scratch.

Contact numbers: The House seems pretty firm on not attending but encourage them anyway:
Congressman John Boehner (202) 225-6205
Congressman Eric Cantor
Congressman Mike Pence
(202) 225-3021

The Senate leadership doesn't seem as resolute on not attending or starting over from scratch. They need to hear from you.

Senator Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader (202) 224-2541
Senator Jon Kyl
Minority Whip (202) 224-4521

The President wants the public to see that Republicans are there with him on ObamaCare reform. Let's face it, many Americans do not bother to follow the issues. If they see everyone playing nice/nice on TV in this photo-op, they might think Republicans approve of the government's takeover of our health care system.

True healthcare reform is too big an issue to tackle in one bill. In my opinion, it should be worked on issue by issue, not passed in some 2,000 page monster. For example: Start with just tort reform. Then allow shopping across state lines for health insurance. Make reducing Medicare fraud and waste a separate measure. These changes have all been suggested by Republicans.

The only reason we haven't passed ObamaCare thus far has been the opposition from the American people bothering to put the pressure on by attending rallies and making calls. So, make that call. What do you have to lose?

Sign the petition to Stand Firm

More reading:
Obama's Health Care Summit Sham
Tea Party Express/American Grassroots Coalition: Health Care

Past Posts: Being "stubborn as a mule" can be a good thing
The Party and power of kNOw prevent mortgage cramdown

Links: Practically Speaking, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Call today about AB 751: Elimination of Electoral College Bill - Correction

Have you heard about this new bill in Madison, AB 751, The National Popular Vote Bill? I doubt that you have unless you listen to Vicki McKenna or WVCY. The Public Hearing is today.

But don't feel like you have been asleep at the wheel, the bill was only just introduced 2 days ago on Monday, Feb. 15, 2010. Also on Monday, they announced the Public Hearing for today, Wednesday, Feb. 17th at 1pm.

Think they are trying to ram this one through below the radar? (I heard Vicki mention it yesterday. She also talked about it today in her first 45 minutes. Do listen to the first hour for Wed. Feb 17. I then Googled the bill number and found WVCY's Homefront blog page on it.)

The actual bill proposes "entering into an agreement among the states to elect the president of the United States by means of a national popular vote."

Now at first blush, that might not seem like a bad idea, to just count the popular vote. But think about it. If popular vote alone decided elections, the most population dense states would dictate who our president is. The top 3 states being California, New York and Texas. Urban areas would decide for us all. Even if you factor in the top 10 states, like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, etc. Wisconsin is still not a player. So what about the other 40 states in the Union?

If this change goes through, why would any presidential candidate bother coming to Wisconsin?

An even more insidious aspect of this bill is that it calls for a Constitutional Convention (CORRECTION: it doesn't, but it does sidestep the Constitution amendment process. See bottom of post.) to make the change from the Electoral College to Popular Vote. (More on that below the legislator info.)

Ask them how this would help Wisconsin residents have any voice in presidential politics?

Brookfield's Representatives: Rich Zipperer (608) 266-5120 and Leah Vukmir (608) 266-9180

List of Representatives on the Committee of Elections and Campaign Reform: (From Homefront)
Rep. Jeff Smith (Chair) 1-888-534-0093
Rep. James Soletski (Vice-Chair) 1-888-534-0088
Rep. Fred Kessler 1-888-534-0012
Rep. Annette Polly Williams 1-888-534-0010
Rep. Kelda Helen Roys (608) 266-5340
Rep. Jeff Stone 1-888-534-0082
Rep. Donald Pridemore 1-888-534-0099
Rep. Roger Roth 1-888-534-0056

Counting only the popular vote flies in the face of the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, who realized they had to balance the influence of densely populated states with those of less population. That is why we have a House of Representatives, whose membership is based on population, balanced by the Senate, that gives every state the same number of representatives. In a similar way, the Popular Vote is balanced by the Electoral College.

As I mentioned above, this bill would call for a Constitutional Convention (Correction: it doesn't but sidesteps the Constitutional amendment process) to make the change from the Electoral College to Popular Vote.

I still remember my high school American History teacher's warning about Constitutional Conventions. (My opinion on this goes way back!) She cautioned that once they are called, anything goes; it is all open to change, even the Bill of Rights!

This is what Eagle Forum says about Con Cons or Constitutional Conventions (Read the whole piece, it is worth your time. My emphasis is in red): "The trouble with a Con Con is that there are no rules in the Constitution or in any law to limit a Con Con's purpose, procedure, agenda, or election of delegates. Congress has repeatedly rejected bills to establish rules or procedures. There is no way to control a Con Con in advance or to require it to consider only one subject. The Article V provision that authorizes the calling of a Con Con refers to considering "amendments" (note the plural)."

I am trying to find the exact quote* about calling a Constitutional Convention, but it went something like this: Why would I exchange the wisdom of our Founding Fathers for those in the Congress today? Can you imagine Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in charge of a Constitutional Convention? They can't even stick to our written Constitution. Make those calls!

UPDATE: This afternoon, I spoke to Diana Cieslak of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation (she is DianaC in comments). She said that National Popular Vote doesn't call for ANY change to the Constitution, but it does sidestep the traditional Constitutional amendment process. The theory is that eventually the Constitution would need to be amended if enough states adopt this measure.

She also said that if enough states, totaling 270 electoral votes adopt National Popular Vote, then the Interstate Compact clause in the Constitution would go into effect and they could agree to a National Popular Vote winner, usurping your state's popular vote regardless if your state passes this or not--italics are my words.

Diana directed me to a piece she wrote last year: Electoral College or NPV It answers a lot of questions about the Electoral College and National Popular Vote.

Save Our States Director, Trent England, was in Madison today talking to legislators about the dangers of NPV.

More reading: Save Our States: "Wisconsin would lose big time!" under National Popular Vote
Badger Blogger: Not just no...
Don't Knock the Electoral College
Beware of Attacks on the Constitution
Proposed Legislation Can Circumvent Vote of Wisconsin Residents

*Mark Levin, a Constitutional Lawyer, mentioned that quote some weeks ago.

NOTE OF INTEREST: I was curious about kohler's many l-o-n-g comments on my Practically Speaking blog, so I Googled kohler National Public Vote. I found many of the same comments with kohler's name on Badger Blogger's piece, Topix - Brattleboro Reformer, Vermont's piece: National Popular Vote is a bad idea that hurts Vermont (on that paper's site it states kohler, Mountain View, CA), and on many others. I guess he really wants this change? I don't know...I just found that interesting.

Links: Practically Speaking, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How about that? It's Speaker and Ponto!

The results are in for the mayoral primary: Speaker and Ponto advance to the April 6th election.

Here are the vote tallies:
  1. Speaker - 2,116
  2. Ponto - 1,556
  3. Marcello - 1,051
  4. Schellinger - 457
Total votes cast - 5,180

I was curious how this vote count compared to the last mayoral primary in 2006. So I looked back 4 years to Kilkenny and Speaker advance in a neck and neck race & Heinrich and Mellone advance in district 6. To my surprise, the turnout was less 4 years ago than it was today.
  1. Kilkenny - 1,706
  2. Speaker - 1,697
  3. Schellinger- 614
Total votes cast - 4,017

Results are not final for School Board yet, but it looks like Ziegler, Wilson, Horneffer and Schultz will advance.

Links: Practically Speaking, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Tuesday's Primary Ballot Picks

Well, I can't put this off any longer; people are asking who I am supporting for City of Brookfield Mayor and Elmbrook School Board. The primary election is tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 16th, 7am - 8pm.

For once the City of Brookfield and Elmbrook School District have a wider field of candidates. What disappoints me is that we don't have more choices as far as ideology. But choose we must--I don't advocate sitting an election out.

One of the mayoral candidates looks good on paper to me, but a candidacy is more than just words written in campaign literature or spoken during a forum. There is the man behind the words to consider too. So of the 4 candidates running for mayor, I am considering 2: Ponto and Speaker.

For Mayor of Brookfield, I am voting for Alderman Steve Ponto in the primary. Ponto was my first choice in that I felt he would be more professional in his approach to being mayor. But I was toying with voting for Mayor Jeff Speaker too, which is saying a lot, considering I fully supported Cindy Kilkenny's platform and worked on her campaign 4 years ago.

I did meet with Steve to discuss his campaign. One thing I could wholeheartedly agree with was his desire to protect the single family home's property values. He also echoed a concern of mine that multi family housing does not contribute enough in property taxes to support the school district. (There is the possibility for school age children to be living in larger apartments/condos.) Ponto also stated he does not support light rail--I don't know that any of the other candidates stated that. (They all support, to some extent, high speed rail.)

So much has changed in Brookfield since the 2006 election, and I don't believe it was for the better. We moved the fire stations and widened Calhboun Road south in preparation for VK's Percheron Square (which because of the economy didn't materialize) and I-94 interchange. The city would say we needed these changes; I would respectfully disagree. We also increased the density at Brookfield Square with the 3 out buildings.

During the last mayoral forum, we heard about the candidates' stance on low- to middle-income housing. Ponto said there were "many options" in Brookfield and that he didn't support any government-subsidized housing.

Mayor Speaker came out in favor of the Workforce Housing slated for the mixed use development next to Brookfield Square. This is housing that would be affordable for people who work in the area. He said this was not low-income housing. The workforce housing is already in the works as far as I know.

As for Elmbrook School Board, we are to choose 2 school board candidates out of the field of 6, then the top 4 advance. I am voting for Kathryn Wilson. I met with Kathryn to discuss her candidacy last month. Curriculum seems to be her strength. Kathryn is well acquainted with the needs of the struggling student as well as the gifted student.

Is she as conservative as I am? No. But I think she would look for ways to cut waste and keep valuable programs in place. I have not decided on a 2nd candidate.

School Board member Glen Allgaier will be on the April ballot for Area II. He will get my very enthusiastic vote at that time.

Am I making any predictions about Tuesday's results? No.

I do wonder if David Marcello will come out fairly strong though. His signs seem to be on more homeowner's property than what I have seen for Ponto or Speaker. This could just be because of the roads I travel in Brookfield.

Marcello's campaign contributions were higher than I expected. According to the article in BrookfieldNOW, Marcello raised $5,270 from outside sources. This is 3rd to Speaker's $6,120 and Ponto's $6,176 outside sources.

I would think Marcello's and Ponto's supporters would be more enthusiastic than Speakers? (Incumbent's supporters usually don't turn out in the same numbers as the opposition.)

Remember this? Four years ago our Kinsey Park Neighborhood Association* hosted a mayoral candidate forum before the primary. Mayor Speaker, however, declined our invitation to participate. Reason? The mayor said, "I've been advised not to by my campaign committee, after the primary, I'll do debates."

This election cycle, Mayor Speaker has participated in 3 pre-primary debates. Why the change? Last time, Speaker didn't really have to worry about not making through the primary. This time, I think he has had to take his challengers a bit more seriously. The outcome will be interesting.

If you cannot decide between the 4 mayoral candidates on the ballot, you might consider a write-in--alderman Lisa Mellone comes to mind. If she had run, I wouldn't have voter's dilemma! Next time?

BrookfieldNOW Mayoral Info Page

Elmbrook School Board Candidates Forum live blog

City of Brookfield Voter Information

*KPNA, Kinsey Park Neighborhood Association is no longer a group

Past Posts: Can't say I came away from mayoral forum with, That's the one!
Pre-primary Mayoral Forums: 1 down, 1 today, 1 Feb. 4th

Links: Practically Speaking, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Follow the money: Why are Potawatomis pushing Clean Energy Jobs Act?

While driving home yesterday, I heard the Potawatomi's latest ad supporting the Clean Energy Jobs Act. I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but it came to me, why are they pushing this so? In other words, if we follow the money--what is in it for them? Would they maybe be leasing land for windmills?

I emailed radio talk show hosts Vicki McKenna and Jay Weber when I came home to see if they knew. (Didn't hear back.) Later on, I Googled for some info and found this surprise:

"DOE [Department of Energy] Awards $20.5 Million in Recovery Funds for Five Community Renewable Energy Projects: U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu on January 21st announced the selection of five projects to receive more than $20.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support deployment of community-based renewable energy projects, such as biomass, wind and solar installations." ...

..."Forest County Potawatomi Tribe (Forest County, WI)
The Forest County Potawatomi Tribe proposes to implement an integrated renewable energy deployment plan that will provide heating, cooling and electricity for the Tribe’s governmental buildings, displacing natural gas and propane. The renewable energy installations will include: a 1.25 MW biomass combined heat and power facility that will provide heating, cooling and electricity; a biogas digester and 150 kW generation facility; three 100 kW wind turbines (788,400 kWh/year); and three dual-axis 2.88 kW solar PV panels (14,000 kWh/yr) located at the Tribe’s Governmental Center. DOE share: $2,500,000"

I sent that link to Vicki and Jay* last night along with more questions. "What I don't get is that if they have this [money] coming, why do they need the state to pass the clean energy jobs act?...Or do they need the state to do it to get their money?"

Vicki McKenna confirmed my suspicions, in fact, she opened her radio show today with this very subject regarding The Forest County Potawatami's push for clean energy! (Vicki said she got a lot of email on this subject yesterday.)

Listen for yourself on the podcasts for Vicki McKenna's Show Friday, Feb. 12 Hour 1 Part 1 and Part 2.

The Potawatomi's latest ad starts out with something about, Ever see an oil well in Wisconsin? Coal mine? Gas field?...a woman answers, no. Then it touts using wind, solar, and biomass to keep our money here.

Regarding expanding wind, solar and biomass would keep the money here... Vicki said came from a press release from the Department of Energy.

We now know they are getting $2.5 million in STIMULUS money to install these very things at the tribe governmental center. (The DOA piece stated there would be an additional $167 million from local government and private funding sources for the 5 selected projects, of which Potawatomi is one.)

Vicki had this to add, they [the tribe] will work with Focus on Energy to secure additional grants so they can be a bigger player in Wisconsin's energy future. They want to provide carbon free energy and self sufficiency for the tribe and potential green energy sales from Wisconsin and reservation based sources.

Ahhh, now I get it. They get freebie STIMULUS money from us, the taxpayers, to put in the green energy wind, solar, and biomass based electricity producers and then turn around and sell this expensive energy to us, the taxpayers in Wisconsin.

The Potawatomis will get money from what they are saying we should support in their clean energy ads. Seems a disclaimer is in order?

If you haven't called the key State Senators, you still have a chance before this is voted on. Senator Jim Sullivan (866) 817-6061 Remind State Senator Sullivan that he is facing a tough reelection race this fall from Rep. Leah Vukmir.

Senator Jeff Plale Co-sponsor of the bill, (608) 266-7505 Campaigned on a tax freeze and as a moderate to help blue collar workers.

Senator John Lehman (608) 266-1832 Or (866) 615-7510 Like Sullivan, he is facing a tough reelection.

Find your State Legislator

The last public hearing is Monday, Feb. 15th at 10am.

Sign the petition: Save Jobs! Stop the Global Warming Bill!

UPDATE: Feb. 16th WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? report by Rep. Jim Ott: "Monday [Feb 15th] was the last scheduled public hearing on Governor Doyle’s global warming bill. There are two identical versions of the bill, AB 649 in the Assembly and SB 450 in the Senate. What comes next? The committee chairs will bring the bills into an executive session, where the bills will be voted on and possibly amended. If the bills pass in committee, they may be brought before the full Legislature for a vote.
I would expect the bills to pass if committee votes were held today, given the comments made by committee members throughout the public hearings. Most likely, each Democrat would vote yes."

*Jay Weber might have talked about this before I tuned in this morning.

Links: Practically Speaking, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Call NOW: We can't afford Doyle's AB 649 Global Warming/Clean Energy Jobs Act

How ironic. The State Senate Public Hearings for Governor Doyle's Global Warming Clean Energy Jobs Act are scheduled for today and tomorrow, Feb. 10th and 11th, just after one of our biggest blizzards of the year. There is one more Assembly hearing on Feb 15th. (By the way, if you can go to Madison, you don't have to stay to state your opposition. You can just fill out and submit a form, and it will be counted as testimony. Hearings are held at 10am in room 412 or 411 south.)

And all of this job killing, expensive nonsense is based on what? "...a glut of ongoing recent discoveries of systematic [global warming data]fraud has rocked the foundation, and the entire man-made global warming house of cards is not teetering on the verge of complete collapse."

Yet Governor Doyle and most of the State Democrats are still pushing full steam ahead on the Clean Energy Jobs Act AB 649.

In reality, AB 649 is just a reheated leftover of Governor Doyle's Global Warming Bill. It came about from his Global Warming Task Force that did not take into account the cost of their drastic measures, nor did it factor in jobs lost in Wisconsin due to its implementation.

The Governor just can't let go of the idea that Global Warming is man made or that his Don Quixote attempt to single handily tilt at windmills, or should I say mandate windmills, is not going to change the temperature of the planet by one degree. So like so many other unwanted ideas, we rename them as a jobs bill. Trouble is, this is a jobs killer bill.

You may have heard the 2 radio ads running regarding Governor Doyle's Global Warming Clean Energy Jobs Act, AB 649 / S 450. The ad against AB 649 from the WMC is straight forward, stating how it will raise energy prices for the average family by $1,000/year and kill jobs in Wisconsin.

The pro version by the Potawatomi sounds more like a fairy tale, talking about a factory in Wisconsin Rapids building wind propellers and biomass plant in Wausau. It ends with "protect Mother Earth so she can provide for all of us." Nauseating.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act calls for reducing CO2 emissions by 75% by 2050. (Is that even possible?) Plus a 25% renewable fuel mandate by 2025. (For Wisconsin, primarily it's wind.) That means increasing the amount of renewable energy by more than 20% in just 15 years. Is there even enough land available for all those windmills to meet the standards? They require such a huge landmass, and most people don't want to live near wind farms.

Windmills also require lots of wind--not too much and not too little, for they cannot generate at either extreme. Last week, Senator Glenn Grothman mentioned on Vicki McKenna's radio show that Wisconsin doesn't have enough wind to meet Doyle's requirements. Our windmills would be outsourced to North Dakota and Iowa!

If we were really interested in reducing CO2 and increasing jobs, we would repeal the moratorium on nuclear power plants. The bill does mention nuclear, but only after the renewable criteria is met.

Representative Jim Ott testified last week about the fallacies of clean, green energy helping Wisconsinites. It is worth reading. What makes Rep. Ott's testimony even more compelling is that he is a Meteorologist. He certainly knows about weather and the atmosphere!

Does Wisconsin even need additional electricity generating capacity? NO.

The Oak Creek coal fired power plant just came online. It is "a $2.3 billion colossus capable of generating enough electricity to power 1 million homes - power that even state regulators concede isn't needed now." (Oak Creek could power almost half the homes in Wisconsin alone. One third of its $2.3 B cost was for environmental controls.)

We need to stop this. I know we all hate doing it, but call, Call, CALL our State Senators and Representatives and call key Senate members who support this atrocious bill. Rep. Ott said we just need 2 Democrats to vote NO to stop this expensive job killer. You can also sign a petition: Save Jobs! Stop the Global Warming Bill!

Remind legislators that Wisconsin is home to the world's 2 largest coal mining equipment manufacturers: Joy Global and Bucyrus. How is taxing coal and promoting wind going to help them and their employees?

Senator Jim Sullivan (866) 817-6061 Remind State Senator Sullivan that he is facing a tough reelection race this fall from Rep. Leah Vukmir. When I called Sullivan's office, the young man taking calls didn't know much at all about the bill, the public hearings or that Oak Creek came online, giving us excess electricity production.

Senator Jeff Plale Co-sponsor of the bill, (608) 266-7505 Campaigned on a tax freeze and as a moderate to help blue collar workers.

Senator John Lehman (608) 266-1832 Or (866) 615-7510 Like Sullivan, he is facing a tough reelection.

Find your State Legislator

More reading:Hot Air Reports Rep. Jim Ott's Senate testimony and Assembly
Randy Melchert: Jim Ott on Global Warming, includes great interview by Jim Ott on In Focus
ABC News: New Wind Farms in the U.S. Do NOT Bring Jobs

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce on AB 649 / S 450 expectations:
  • Result in 43,000 lost jobs in Wisconsin.
  • Cost each Wisconsin citizen $1,012 every year as a result of higher energy bills.
  • Increase the cost of gasoline in Wisconsin by $3.2 billion over the next 10 years.
  • Harm Wisconsin jobs with higher energy prices, making it harder for Wisconsin to emerge from the recession.

  • Senate Bill S 450

    Links: Practically Speaking, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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    Friday, February 05, 2010

    Can't say I came away from mayoral forum with, That's the one

    Last night I attended the 3rd City of Brookfield Mayoral Forum. I am pleased to report the event was well attended by an audience of about 120 AND all 4 mayoral candidates!

    There really weren't any surprises for me except a little tension between David Marcello and Steve Ponto with the what would your top priority as mayor be question. This was a forum format, not a debate, but even so, there was a little attempt at back and forth between Marcello and Ponto.

    Candidate Marcello stated taxes were a key issue--we needed to return to a 1.5% of assessed value rate, that all of our taxing entities have to work together [to achieve this]. We need someone focused on it [low taxes] who won't buy into raising just a little each year. The reality is we can't support high taxes anymore.

    Candidate Steve Ponto said his priority would be to maintain our level of services without raising taxes and do it through shared services. Regarding the 1.5 rate, he said he discussed it with Robert Scott, then added that the city couldn't function at that rate, it would reduce city revenue by $12 million and [the city] might lose its AAA bond rating.

    Voters always like to hear about candidates who are interested in lowering taxes, but with our mayoral candidate selection, they all have been in local government and haven't exactly bucked the system to knock out spending. For example, although I am not sure about Schellinger's position, the other 3 candidates all supported the $62.2 million high school referendum--certainly a tax raising, not a tax cutting decision.

    So I have to ask, how sincere are they about lowering taxes? I can't help but think if they had a finite dollar amount to work with, rather than waving the magic tax levy rate wand, they would be able to find programs or services to cut?

    I'm afraid I still did not come away with any strong sense of who to vote for on Feb. 16th.

    How about you?

    Afterward, there was time for a little political schmoozing. There were a number of aldermen in the audience as well as candidates for aldermen. I happened to sit behind Sheila Buechel during the mayor Q&A. I noticed Sheila because she was taking notes during the forum, and I wondered if she might be a reporter. When we got up to leave, I noted she was wearing a button that stated her name and candidacy for District 5, so I introduced myself. I found out she is running against Gary Mahkorn.

    State Assembly District 14 Candidates David Coon and Dale Kooyenga, both Brookfield residents, were also there. I've met with both David and Dale and like their platforms, so their faces were familiar. Chris Slinker, another 14th Assembly District candidate, (Tosa resident) introduced himself to me. Like I said, it was schmooze time.

    I caught school board members Tom Gehl and Glen Allgiaer on my way out. As I mentioned before, Glen Allgaier has my enthusiastic support for the Area II school board race. (All of Elmbrook votes for all of the school board candidates, regardless of which area they are from.)

    Enough of schmoozing; it was time for snoozing!

    BrookfieldNOW Live Blog of Feb. 4th Forum

    Links: Practically Speaking, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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    Monday, February 01, 2010

    Elmbrook School Board At-Large Candidate Forum: Tuesday, Feb. 2

    Just a reminder that tomorrow, Tuesday, February 2nd, is the only chance to compare all 6 candidates running for the 2 At-Large positions on the School Board.

    The At-Large Candidate Forum will be held in the Elmbrook Administrative Office Board Room at the Central Offices from 7 - 9 pm, 13780 Hope Street, in Brookfield. (Hope Street is a few blocks north of Capitol Drive.)

    Funding and increasing the school budget will be an important topic at the forum. Keep in mind that increasing funding often goes hand in hand with raising taxes. Example: adding 4K does increase the money coming into Elmbrook but as an additional expense to the taxpayers of Elmbrook and Wisconsin.

    The top 4 candidates that make it through the primary on Feb. 16th will advance to the April 6th ballot.

    After the primary, there will be another School Board Candidate Forum that will include the top 4 At-Large candidates and the Area II candidates: Board member Glen Allgaier and challenger Ilse Frayer. This one will also be at Elmbrook's Administrative Offices on March 16th, 7-9pm.
    Both forums are sponsored by the Elmbrook Parent Leadership Council.

    All Elmbrook residents vote for ALL of the school board candidates.

    Hope you can make it to both events. If not, if you have cable TV, they will be broadcast on the district's channel after the 2nd and 16th.

    Links: Practically Speaking, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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