Our progressive/liberal friends have made careers out of telling the people what is good for us. When they want our opinions, they'll ask.
That's the message we got with ObamaCare. "We have to pass it to find out what's in it," Speaker Pelosi famously spoke.
No, we're just not thinking clearly, says the current President. Probably clinging to our guns and our religion.
That is the message from the prog/lib majority on the Dane County Board when it created a Regional Transit Authority with the authority to raise $41 million in new taxes a year without a referendum.
That is the message of Board Chairman Scott McDonell, the man who would be county executive.
So when 46 communities in Dane County decided to hold, at their own expense, referenda on the RTA commuter rail program, the leader of the Downtown Madison (un)intelligentsia has decided that we are all hicks from the sticks.
"Let's let them have their little fake referendum," says the prog/lib from the Isthmus.
Oh, but his Dane County Board has allowed county residents to vote on that burning (sorry) issue: legalizing "medical" marijuana. We're so grateful. Thanks for asking, Scottie McD.
I'll reprint his tirade in full. I'll follow that up with a piquant response from Mike Mikalsen, president of the village of Cottage Grove, county board Supv. Don Imhoff, and Mike Thomsen, chairman of No Tax for Tracks.
Chairman Scott McDonell:
There's a lot at stake next Tuesday. We'll go to the polls to choose our next governor, a U.S. Senator and Congressional Representative. These are serious times, and our elections should be taken seriously.
That's why I'm disappointed that conservatives and Tea Party types are playing games on your ballot.
Many communities in Dane County will have a question on the ballot asking whether a half-percent sales tax should fund commuter rail from Middleton to the Town of Burke.
Let me be perfectly clear: you should vote no. Or yes. Or skip the question entirely. It doesn't matter, because this referendum is a fake.
It has nothing to do with Regional Transit Authority. A "Yes" vote does not mean rail will be built, and a "No" vote doesn't mean it won't be built. They're playing games with your vote.
In the future, voters will face a real choice on whether and how to support a full suite of real transit solutions that could include regional buses, express buses, commuter rail, special transit for the elderly and people with disabilities, and other options.
But they don't want you to know that. They want to pass this fake referendum and then point at it and say, "See, told ya so, people don't want commuter rail."
The fact is, no one has proposed using a half-percent sales tax to fund commuter rail by itself. And no one really wants that to happen.
So let's let them have their little fake referendum. I urge you to join me in voting for responsible, serious progressive candidates like Tom Barrett, Russ Feingold, Tammy Baldwin and Trish O'Neill. Go ahead and join Nancy Mistele and the rest of the Tea Party crowd and vote "no" on the phony commuter rail referendum. Or vote yes. Or skip that one. It really doesn't matter.
And in the future, when they're playing the "told ya so" game, those of us who take public policy seriously can move forward with real transit solutions.
Village President Mike Mikalsen:
Scott McDonell needs to apologize to citizens ... for calling the advisory commuter rail referendum "phony." McDonell has insulted the voters in the 45 communities in Dane County that will seek citizen input on the special 0.5% sales tax for commuter rail in Dane County.
It is unfortunate that the Dane County Board Chair would insult about 95,000 households in this county that will have the opportunity to weigh in on this critical issue. He needs to apologize for questioning the legitimacy of the public's input.
As a member of the County Board since 1996, Scott McDonell has been an outspoken commuter rail advocate, proponent of higher county spending and supporter of constant property tax increases. McDonell represents the isthmus of Madison on the county board.
If Board Chair McDonell wants to call something phony, he should start with the county's financial strategies during his tenure on the county board. Mr. McDonell's elitist isthmus attitude can no longer be tolerated by citizens living in other parts of Dane County, especially since he serves all residents of this county as the board chair.
County Supv. Don Imhoff:
Kathleen Falk's letter of February 2010 to Rep. Tammy Baldwin totally validated our efforts to have a referendum question on the November ballot. It's not "phony" when 45 communities are willing to spend in excess of $30,000 to hear from their citizens. This cost could have been avoided with a county wide referendum which Chairman McDonell and others held up. This is the same County Board Chairman who is asking for $279,000 in the 2011 budget for a special election of which he will be a candidate. Scott McDonell just doesn't get it!"
No Tax for Tracks chairman Mike Thomsen:
Two points: The RTA's referendum if it is ever held is not binding and therefore no more important than ours. It's not clear that the RTA is authorized to call a referendum. Referendum authority was specifically vetoed from the legislation.
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