Daily Archives: December 2, 2011

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Republicans withdraw redistricting lawsuit with state Supreme Court

-By Patrick Marley

December 2, 2011- Madison – A group of Republicans asked to withdraw one of its two lawsuits over recalls on Friday, two days after the state Supreme Court asked detailed questions about of its efforts.

The group of Republican citizens asked the high court last month to appoint a panel of three circuit court judges to hear its arguments that any recalls of state lawmakers be held in newly drawn districts that favor their party. If the court declined to form the panel, they asked for the high court to take the case itself.

In orders issued Wednesday and Thursday, the court ordered the Republican group, as well as Democratic ones, to file memorandums on the case by Tuesday. They asked pointed questions, including whether it should defer the case because of a six-month-old federal case over the new election maps filed by one of the Democratic groups.

On Friday, the Republican group's attorney, Eric McLeod, filed a one-sentence voluntary withdrawal of its petition with the high court.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Nonstop campaigning has begun in Walker recall

-By Daniel Bice

December 2, 2011- Welcome to the era of nonstop campaigning.

Gov. Scott Walker and his allies have already spent about $3 million in six media markets so they can air TV ads touting Walker's budget proposals and dissing the recall efforts.

"Oh, boy, they've been flooding the airwaves out here," said University of Wisconsin-Green Bay political science professor Michael Kraft. "On the channels we watch, there are four to six for Walker every evening. I've seen just a couple of the anti-Walker ones."

Rest assured, more is on the way.

The Greater Wisconsin Committee – a liberal nonprofit based in Madison – has begun airing a series of TV spots highlighting what it says is the negative impact of Walker's budget plan.

Numbers weren't immediately available on the size of Greater Wisconsin's media buy, but Republicans said they thought it would be big enough that a typical viewer would see its ads three or four times per week.

Michelle McGrorty, executive director of Greater Wisconsin, said the commercials are not yet available online.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Walker administration would charge Capitol protesters for police, cleanup

-By Jason Stein

December 1, 2011- Madison – Gov. Scott Walker's administration could hold demonstrators at the Capitol liable for the cost of extra police or cleanup and repairs after protests, under a new policy unveiled Thursday.

The rules, which several legal experts said raised serious free speech concerns, seemed likely to add to the controversy that has simmered all year over demonstrations in the state's seat of government.

The policy, which also requires permits for events at the statehouse and other state buildings, took effect Thursday and will be phased in by Dec. 16. Walker administration officials contend the policy simply clarifies existing rules.

State law already says public officials may issue permits for the use of state facilities, and applicants "shall be liable to the state . . . for any expense arising out of any such use and for such sum as the managing authority may charge for such use."

Chicago Tribune: Capitol protesters on the hook for security costs

-By Scott Bauer, Associated Press

December 1, 2011- MADISON, Wis.— The state can bill organizers of protests at the Capitol for the cost of police protection and any damage to the building, according to a new policy released Thursday in the wake of massive labor demonstrations that erupted over anti-union legislation earlier this year.

The new policy affecting the Capitol and state buildings released by Gov. Scott Walker's administration is effective immediately. It also restricts what protesters can bring inside buildings, barring such items as helium-filled balloons.

The change comes after protests opposing legislation effectively ending collective bargaining rights for public workers resulted in about $8 million in costs for police protection. The rallies grew as large as 100,000 people and smaller rallies, including a daily noontime sing-a-long of protest songs, have continued.

NPR: Wisconsin Gov. Wants Protesters To Pay For Security

-by Eyder Peralta

December 2, 2011- The Wisconsin State Capitol building has been the scene of protests since February, when Gov. Scott Walker started the process of passing a law that severely limits collective bargaining for public employees in the state.

Yesterday, the Walker administration took a step that is likely to antagonize protesters further. His administration enacted new regulations that would require permits to protest at the Capitol and other state buildings.

The controversial part is that the bill allows officials to charge groups for the security and clean-up costs of such events.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the policy went into effect Thursday:

"State law already says public officials may issue permits for the use of state facilities, and applicants "shall be liable to the state . . . for any expense arising out of any such use and for such sum as the managing authority may charge for such use."

Cap Times: Biz Beat: Wisconsin & Southern buyer calls Koch its largest customer

-By Mike Ivey

December 2, 2011- The Kansas-based new owners of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. want to make one thing perfectly clear: Their purchase is a railroad deal, pure and simple.

"We're poised to help the economy of Wisconsin take off," says Ed McKechnie, spokesman for Watco Transportation Services.

Watco announced earlier this week it had acquired controlling ownership of Wisconsin & Southern (WSOR). It said the private deal — no dollar figures were released — will allow WSOR to expand throughout the Midwest, find new markets and provide cost-effective connections for Wisconsin businesses.

But given the political activity of WSOR founder Bill Gardner — who has admitted to $70,000 in illegal and excessive campaign contributions to Gov. Scott Walker and others and was sentenced to two years' probation — some wondered if there was more to the story.

"There's certainly been a lot of speculation," says Frank Huntington of the Wisconsin DOT's railroad division.

Channel 3000: Police: Man Who Ripped Up Recall Petition Could Face Felony Charge

Police Release Guidelines For Collecting Signatures Along Roadways

November 18, 2011- Madison police said a man suspected of ripping up a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker could face a felony charge.

Citizens soliciting recall signatures contacted Madison police about 10:30 a.m. Thursday after a man ripped up one of their petitions, according to the Madison Police Department.

Police said the citizens were holding signs and having vehicles pull over into a parking lane in the 800 block of Midvale Boulevard about 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Ray Blum was among those seeking signatures on Midvale Boulevard on Thursday.

"I've taken it upon myself to organize what I call drive-throughs," Blum said. "We choose our sites so that we don't block any businesses. We've collected over a thousand signatures, just our small group."

A driver in a red pickup truck was one of those who stopped. When the driver was given a petition to sign, he instead ripped up the document, police said.

Think Progress: Forbes: Koch Brothers Now Worth $50 Billion

September 21, 2011- Forbes estimates that Tea Party petrochemical scions Charles and David Koch have a fortune of $25 billion each, making them the fourth richest Americans, behind only Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Larry Ellison. Their combined wealth of $50 billion is exceeded only by the Microsoft founder’s $59 billion fortune. Buoyed by aggressive speculative trading on volatile energy markets, the Koch brothers accumulated $15 billion in wealth since March 2010, a 43 percent increase.

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