Kathryn Ripp flags down cars on Madison's east side Wednesday night.
The wind chill factor -- 30, for the record -- is relevant for the first time this season Wednesday night as a group of eight volunteers waves signs and clipboards at eastbound drivers along East Washington Ave. at Union Corners.
"I can kind of empathize with those guys who wave the pizza and oil change signs!" shouts Kathryn Ripp, a psychotherapist who lives nearby. "But I'm a performer, so what the heck?"
Ripp has been gathering signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker in her neighborhood and at work, but when she heard that her neighbors were hoping to make a bigger impact with a drive-through petition station, she decided to bundle up and hit the street with people like Kathy Zurlo, an out-of-work social worker.
"I have a down coat with a BTU rating," says Zurlo, who points to her XXXL "Recall Walker" t-shirt, sized to wear over winter clothing. "I'll wear two down coats if I have to!"
Zurlo was on East Wash for a two-hour shift Tuesday night as well and reports turning in around 200 signatures. Another volunteer, Jeff Burkhart, stands nearby looking at the addresses listed next to signatures from Wednesday's shift.
"Eagle, Edgerton, Village of Buffalo, Lodi," he says. "After two days of doing this, I'd say I'm extraordinarily optimistic. I bet we have over 500 signatures just from this neighborhood so far."
As commuters roll by honking out the rhythm of the "This is what democracy looks like" chant, Burkhart estimates that for every ten cars that stop to sign, one will register displeasure with the recall drive in some way.
"We've had a few birds flown," says Zurlo. "One guy gave us the finger last night then drove around the block and came back to yell at us to get out of the street. And then he called the cops. They showed up and told us we should be careful to stay out of traffic, and of course we have been."
Zurlo says the group picked the site -- between Sixth and Milwaukee Streets near a bus stop -- specifically because the two-hour parking stalls are rarely used. But during a 20-minute stretch at around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, at least two cars are pulled over at all times, some with multiple signers aboard.
"We've had a few three-clipboard cars," Zurlo says. "One woman told us she rode by on the bus, went home and came back in her car!"
The group plans to be out on East Wash every morning on the westbound side and every evening on the eastbound side for the rest of the week and then decide if they want to continue. Burkhart wasn't aware of any other drive-through stations in Madison.