But first, amazed that Mayor Dave would give what amounts to a wink wink to city employees to protest and testify against Gov. Walker's budget repair bill and its dimunition of collective bargaining rights. Madame Brenda has the story.
And it transpires that the Dane County Board may have blown it - that the county did not preserve a contract through 2014 because it enacted two contracts, the first of which expires at the end of this year. The instant that contract expires, state statute kicks in, goes the theory. I'll get more on that, soon.
Union meeting: standing room only
I still know a lot of people around state government. I have received several reports but am using this one as the most vivid. My correspondent made certain to use his home computer because, he said, "I'm about as paranoid as I can ever remember being in my life, in fact, may be the first time ever for paranoia."
This is his report of Monday in a Madison state government office:
It was business as usual at work today. No additional security or pigs, no armed National Guard. Of course, the talk involved Dictator Walker's attack on us, instead of happier things such as the Packers, or the Badgers.
The union held a meeting over lunch today, and there will be another one tomorrow for those that couldn't make it today. I do not know what was discussed as I was unable to attend, but I did hear that it was standing room only in the events room. My sense is that for the time being there will be no work actions. Let's face it, currently it's still illegal to strike (although that may change) and I don't think there's a big demand to do anything illegal.
Management was forced to take roll call this morning, and will continue to do so, which seems a little grade schoolist to me, but that's the type of guy we are dealing with. I think it enforces his utter disdain for state employees, particularly when one considers the threat of bringing in the Guard to what, shoot first, ask questions later?
Make no mistake, there's a lot of anger. People I've talked to for the most part, do not have a problem with sharing in the pain. What really gets people is that instead of sharing, we are the targets. The additional health and pension contributions, OK. It's the attack on collective bargaining in which he's clubbed us like baby seals that riles people up. This is not short term sharing, this is long term dominance and submission.
I myself have sent what could be considered an angry e-mail response to the dictator, for which I'll probably pay dearly for. I'm not aware of any others. Note that I did this over the weekend from home. I pledged to him that I will find out his campaign contributors, what businesses they work for or operate, and that I will withhold spending any money at those businesses. I will request friends, family and co-workers to do the same. This was the tame part.
I have not seen any graffiti other than what's been posted within my own cube.
Today's committee vote is pivotal
Today's hearing of the Joint Finance Committee could be pivotal. Three of the six Senate republican members are considered wobbly: those being: Vice-Chair Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, and Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac.
However, Senate Co-Chair: Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, whom I once thought a RINO, is solid. So is Joe Leibham, R-Sheboygan; and (are you kidding?) Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend. Of course, the committee could delay the vote until Wednesday, given that the hearing could last all day.
So, how do you vote? Your choice is this:
- Require government employees to pay half their pension contributions and 12.6% of their health insurance costs (when the average worker across the nation pays 29%) OR
- Massive layoffs?
The governor does NOT need approval for Choice #2.
There are those who say that Gov. Walker could have enacted the cuts without eviscerating collective bargaining rights. Perhaps, except for the teachers unions. I am convinced that they are the real target here for two reasons:
- Their intransigence toward educational reform. It's gotten so bad that the guy who did Al Gore's global warming movie has turned on them (David Guggenheim with Waiting for Superman.)
- The State of Wisconsin is broke. It has no revenue to share with localities. Walker IS on record numerous times saying he would give local governments "the tools" to hold back their costs. Indeed, local governments would be given carte blanche to require any employee contribution level toward health insurance -- even 100 percent.
Chris Rickert on a winning streak
Union membership does not make public employees working class heroes if they're making middle class salaries and paying next to nothing for their pensions and little for health care.
That's more bite than the morning paper has had in several years.
Will the NFL players go on strike? Depriving Packer fans of a season defending their Super Bowl championship will not do the union cause much good.
Election day predictions
The Sperry Rand Univac computer took a while to warm up but this morning spit out these Tuesday primary election predictions (Two highest survive to April 5 general election):
County Executive: Parisi 29%, Bruskewitz 22%, McDonell 20%, Wineke 17%, Brandon 10%, Zimmerman 2%.
Madison Mayor: Soglin 48%, Cieslewicz 46%, everybody else 6%.
State Supreme Court: Prosser 46%, Kloppenberg 34%, Stephens 12%, Winnig 8%.