TCD’s week in review (1/13/12)
Recall petitions will be handed in on Tuesday, and Wisconsin Democrats and recall organizers expect to clear the amount of required signatures, though the verification process could take some time and money. Major events are planned for Tuesday, both in support of the recall (in Madison) and in support of Gov. Walker (in Wauwatosa). The coming storm could be growing larger, as indicated by a report from WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson, in which experts predict national focus once again descending on Wisconsin, since Mitt Romney appears to be on a path to secure the Republican nomination.
At President Obama’s recent forum on “insourcing” jobs, Master Lock president and CEO John Heppner was among the business leaders to gather at the White House. The Oak Creek-based company has created more than 100 jobs in the Milwaukee area since 2010 and was used as a positive example of “insourcing” at the White House forum. This forum coincides with Obama’s plan to give tax breaks to business who keep manufacturing jobs in the United States instead of moving them outside the country.
Assistant Police Chief Darryl Winston resigned after an internal investigation that stemmed from an incident in which a patrol officer stopped to investigate a suspiciously parked car in an alley, where Winston was sitting in a car in the alley with a convicted felon on house arrest and resisted getting out of the car. Police Chief Ed Flynn launched an internal investigation and although police say there was no evidence of any wrongdoing, Winston subsequently resigned. Since he resigned with 29 years of service, he will now collect a monthly pension check of $7,100 beginning February 1.
4. Purely symbolic efforts
Rep. Kelda Helen Roys, (D-Madison) has called for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman to be removed from office. Gableman has come under fire after sitting in on 11 cases involving a law firm that provided him with free legal services, but since the impeachment of Gableman, a conservative, would require a two-thirds majority vote from the Republican-led Assembly and Senate, this effort is doomed from the start.
The Milwaukee County Parks is looking into the possibility of partnering with local restaurants to bring back 19th century-style beer gardens to parks along the Milwaukee River. Parks director Sue Black is seeking proposals for beer gardens in Estabrook, Brown Deer, Kletzsch and Wilson parks. Cue German beer-drinking music and over-the-top cheers-ing to said music in cinematic fashion.
Joerns Healthcare, a Stevens Point-based medical equipment manufacturer, announced this week that it will be sending hundreds of in-state jobs to Arkansas, Texas and Mexico. This was announced to employees by CEO Mark Ludwig, who flew in on a private jet, and read a prepared statement telling up to 200 people they would be out of a job in six to 12 months. Former Joernes CEO Raymond Nass, who used to spend much of his time walking about the plant, talked about the reasons for the job relocations with the Stevens Point Journal. He said, “The company is still very profitable, then if that’s the case, and I believe it is, then what’s the reason? The reason is greed.”
2. Wind power
The implementation of wind turbines to the Wisconsin power grid became a staple of Gov. Doyle’s administration, but as recent reports indicate, further efforts to expand the use of windmills has stalled. This is in part, due to restrictions from Gov. Scott Walker’s administration, which has voiced concern over property values in places where wind farms are present. Senator Frank Lasee (R – DePere) has issued a plan that would leave the decision on whether or not to implement restrictions to the local governments, but has also argued for a moratorium to be placed on all wind turbine construction until the state could further study the health impacts of living near wind turbines.
3. Wisconsin government employees
According to the most updated figures available from the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin cut more state government jobs than any other state from April through June. Roughly 8,000 state jobs were cut during this time period.
4. Redistricting errors
Errors have surfaced in the state’s controversial redistricting process. Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nicklaus said that more than 14,000 people in her area were given inaccurate information, and that the problem is more widespread than in Waukesha County. State election officials are rushing to correct the problem.
5. President Obama, American citizens, civil rights, habeas corpus
On New Year’s Eve, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which “authorizes the military to detain even US citizens under the broad new anti-terrorism provisions provided in the bill.” Obama claims he did so “reluctantly,” but he did so nonetheless. Oh, and the Guantanomo Bay detention camp has now been open for ten years.