Blaska's Blog is extra special good today, so let's get right to it!
If our political culture has a theme these days it is this: that the people will take back their government from the elites.
That is what has given rise to the tea party movement. That is what has defeated well entrenched incumbents like Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania and Jon Corzine in New Jersey. That is what is fueling the outrage over massive federal spending that "will destroy the country from within," according to the bipartisan co-chairs of the national commission on debt.
One of the most arrogant government decisions was to impose, here in Dane County, an unelected regional transit authority with the power to raise our sales taxes without recourse to the voter in order to fund commuter rail. Now, honestly, on a list of the most pressing needs for Dane County, where would you put commuter rail? Maybe somewhere down the list with a manure digester? That's another of The Kathleen's pet projects.
Sign the petition
Well, there's something you can do about it. You can force a referendum through the initiative process. A group has formed called Dane Advocates for Transportation Efficiency in the 21st Century -- Date 21.
If successful, a referendum would be included on the November 2 general election ballot. The referendum would ask this straightforward question:
Shall commuter rail from Middleton to the Town of Burke be funded by a half-cent (0.5%) increase in the sales tax?
The group needs 32,100 signatures by August 15. Folks, that's one month from now and a lot of signatures.
I am including a copy of the petition here. You can circulate and sign the petition if you are a Dane County resident.
Really, why do proponents of commuter rail like County Board Chairman Scott McDonell not want us to vote on the transit authority funding?
Who asked for commuter rail?
Did your county board supervisor campaign on the platform that s/he would give us commuter rail? How about your alderman? Did s/he picture a choo choo on his/her campaign brochure?
- The train goes from only Middleton to the Town of Burke. Doesn't quite make it to Sun Prairie, darn!
- The at-surface tracks will cross 64 streets and bike paths between 80 and 160 times a day.
- Only 11,000 riders will use the system -- some of whom are already riding buses.
- Its passengers will pay $2 a ride, while the taxpayers kick in an extra $43 per ride in subsidies.
- Laying the tracks and buying the trains will cost $255 million -- $125 million of that coming out of Dane County's pockets.
- The proposed half-cent increase in the sales tax needed to pay for the train's operating subsidy would give Dane County the highest sales tax in Wisconsin!
Blogging with intent to annoy
I'm struck with one of the rules in the anti-vagrant code of conduct being set down for the reconstructed Lisa Link Peace Park on State Street.
No staring with intent to annoy!
Yes, even anti-baggy pants Blaska concedes that is a stupid rule but stupid rules is what you get when you remove all discretion from police and from law-abiding citizens to remove pests and troublemakers. The photo above, BTW, depicts stick-on eyeballs for those interminable meetings where you need to catch your beauty rest.
Who else but The Capital Times and its tribune of the oppressed, Pat Schneider, could write an entire article about illegal aliens without using the term "illegal alien."
Even undocumented immigrants is too pejorative. So Saint Pat calls the illegals "noncitizens." The word is entirely non-journalistic. "Non-citizens" is purposefully misleading and in any case inaccurate. Many non-citizens are here legally. Those people are legal aliens, not illegal aliens.
Happily, the first 60 responses to "Jail policy rocks Latino community" mock the CT and support the sheriff. As one on-line poster noted:
"They came here illegally. Plates on the car were expired. She did not have a drivers license. Yeah, sounds like it's all the sheriff's fault, all right. What happened to people being accountable for their actions?"
BTW, the Gallup organization's daily tracking poll for July 7 finds that Americans disagree with the federal government's lawsuit against Arizona's new illegal immigration law by a 50% to 33% margin.
Klauser beats up on Neumann
Many of us were greatly surprised that veteran Republican major domo Jim Klauser bit on Mark Neumann for governor. Now Herr Klauser has reversed course and backs my choice, Scott Walker.
In yet another letter asking for the return of his campaign contribution, Klauser demolishes Neumann's assertion that Walker grew government more than Jim Doyle. [Thanks to Brother Charlie Sykes]
By the way you should know, but apparently choose to ignore, that the county executive vetoed increased spending every year; these vetoes were overridden by the county board with the result of increasing spending. Neumann made the mistake of including Walker's capital bonding but not Doyle's, among other mistakes.
You have used these misrepresented figures to claim that the county budget has increased 26% since 2006 while the state budget has increased 19%. In reality, Milwaukee County's budget has increased 9% below the rate of inflation of 9.6% which gives Milwaukee County residents a spending reduction in adjusted dollars.