March 11, 2010

Little hope for KRM, regional transit this year, Lehman says; Racine Senator says 'votes aren't there' for train, bus proposal

A proposal to to consolidate southeastern Wisconsin's bus systems and to build a commuter rail train from Kenosha to Milwaukee are all but dead this year, according to Sen. John Lehman.

"It doesn't look like it's going to happen," Lehman said. "It's hard for people to accept. It's hard for me to accept."

In a long interview, Sen. John Lehman rejected a RacinePost story suggesting he was "terrified" to vote on legislation to create a regional transit authority in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties. Lehman is up for re-election in November. A Democratic insider said the RTA was dead because Senate leaders didn't want Lehman to have to either vote for a sales tax or vote against a plan needed to extend commuter rail to Racine.

"I'm almost 65," Lehman said. "I'm not terrified of anything any more."

Lehman said Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker may not allow a vote on the proposal in hopes of protecting Democrats who are up for re-election in November. It's a sensitive issue for Senate Democrats because seven out of the party's 18-member majority are affected by the RTA legislation, including two of the party's four most vulnerable members. Lehman and Sen. Jim Sullivan, D-Wauwatosa, both serve districts that are evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.

Further, even if it did come up for a vote in the Senate this spring, it probably wouldn't pass.

"The real story is the votes aren't there," Lehman said.

Lehman has opposed any plan for Racine County that involved a sales tax to pay for regional transit. That's put him at odds with Gov. Jim Doyle, who would like to see a three-county sales tax to pay for a consolidated bus system that would connect Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties. It would also strengthen the region's application for $250 million in federal money to extend commuter rail from Kenosha to Milwaukee. A unified transit system, or RTA, is needed to ensure people can use buses and the commuter train to travel throughout the region.

Instead of a sales tax, Lehman has looked at alternative taxes such as a wheel, hotel room or property tax to pay for the regional transit system. (Incidentally, shifting Racine's bus system to an RTA would remove the $9 million operation from the city's budget.) He also supported a public referendum on an RTA to determine if voters want to spend money on improving public transit.

But Lehman's plans have all fallen short. Republicans won't go along with his belief that regional transit is needed to connect people to jobs, retain major companies and to attract new companies to southeastern Wisconsin. They say commuter rail and bus systems are too expensive and redundant, given most people have cars.

Democrats oppose Lehman's ideas because they either want a regional sales tax (Doyle) or they're involved in some sort of confusing inter-Milwaukee squabble that made compromise difficult.

"I've busted my butt day and night on this trying to find a way to make this work," Lehman said.

He said he felt a deal was in place in the 2007 state budget, but Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed the plan as unworkable. The governor's veto was a shock, Lehman said.

"I thought we had it," Lehman said of a 2007 plan.

But a Democratic insider said it was Lehman who eliminated a workable RTA proposal from the 2007 state budget. Doyle had proposed a regional sales tax that would have given the RTA a consistent, dedicated funding source needed to land the federal money to build KRM and to combine the region's bus systems. Lehman objected to the plan because he was opposed to a sales tax for Racine County.

The attempted compromise was enough to win over the Senate and Assembly, but Doyle determined it wouldn't land the federal money. He vetoed the proposal with the intention of going back for his original plan, which was the three-county sales tax. But the economy took a downturn, Democrats' poll numbers are down and Doyle announced he wasn't running for re-election. All contributed to the RTA's demise, Lehman said.

Locally, voters are deeply divided on the issue, Lehman said. While his office received 498 contacts from people in favor of KRM and a RTA, local government officials are staunchly opposed.

"The Sturtevant board screamed at us over RTA," Lehman said, adding Mount Pleasant and Caledonia officials are also opposed. (See update below.)

"There's not many people in the middle on this," he added.

The Racine City Council and mayor are generally in favor, Lehman said, but when push comes to shove they're skittish about moving forward.

"I can't get the mayor and the Common Council to come out strong for this," Lehman said. "When you start pushing them, no one wants to talk anymore."

The irony, Lehman said, is even though he's fought a sales tax increase in Racine County for several years, he'll still get hit during the campaign for supporting a sales tax increase ... in Milwaukee County. Lehman has voted in favor of a plan that would increase Milwaukee County's sales tax 0.5 percent, but would exclude Racine and Kenosha counties.

That alone shows he' not afraid to vote for commuter rail and KRM, Lehman said.

"I've voted for this stuff repeatedly," Lehman said. "If they want to attack me, they'll attack me."

Update: Chris Wright, Sturtevant Village Trustee, sent us the following response:
I would like to address the accusation of Sen. Lehman's, that the Sturtevant Village Board screamed at him. At best this is an exaggeration. If Sen. Lehman's definition of screaming is a board of seven elected officials unanimously voicing their opposition to the RTA and the KRM, as screaming I'm confused. The discussion was very civil, but we made our stance clear. This would not benefit Sturtevant. It would take virtually the same amount of time for a Sturtevant resident to drive to the proposed KRM station and then take the train ride, as it does to drive to downtown Milwaukee or the Kenosha Metra Station. We also did not see how taxing only half of Racine County was fair to the people of Sturtevant. Lastly we hold to the belief that the last thing Southeast Wisconsin needs is another unelected body with taxing authority.

I will give Sen. Lehman credit for actually listening to our concerns, as opposed to Rep. Mason who was also in attendance. Rep. Mason continues to ignore and thumb his nose at local leadership.


  1. Awww...little Johnny is not gonna get his choo-choo this year.

  2. concrete katie3/11/2010 9:08 AM

    There is a time for everything and John Lehman understands this. Racine cannot leap over its own joblessness and dispiritedness and extremes of poverty. Jobs, education, opportunities for all demand attention.
    Thank you John Lehman and Racinepost for your reporting.

  3. So Lehman was for RTA before he was against it? What a weird article.

  4. Say By By to KRM!!! When Walker gets in it will be dead dead dead. He will drive the stake in its heart!

  5. I won't be happy until the headlines read NO hope for KRM.

  6. The Translator3/11/2010 9:26 AM

    I find it funny that to John Lehman, a local leaders standing strong on an issue for the good of it's constituents is "screaming"

  7. Pack your bags Racine because John Lehman is about to take you on the largest CYA voyage in the history of the city.

    He said no to sales tax funding source partially offset with property tax decrease.

    He is the sole reason why this failed and we will not forget that John. You can blame this on city officials, santa, the easter bunny, or anyone else you want. The fact of the matter is you dropped the ball and chose your own political interests over doing what is right.

    This was the only opportunity for KRM in our lifetime. Democrats had control of both houses. That is about to change. This won't come up again, for possibly decades and it is all your fault.

  8. No KRM? HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!

  9. John "anything to get re-elected" Lehman flip-flops on KRM.

    "Little hope for KRM...this year." That is truly great news. And yes, let's hope Walker wins and kills it for good. We need county-wide buses, not straight-line trains!

  10. So, this means that after the elections this is going to be started up again ?

  11. It makes no sense to do KRM until the federal hihg speed train project is done and we see if anyone uses that. We also need to learn what long term unfunded costs from that project get dumped on us in the region as a fee, tax or other thing we need to pay. For some reason in this country trains are not sustainable. In Europe they seem to be able to fund themselves but not here. Somehow we will be stuck paying something. So let's wait and see how the high speed train goes before we spend even more money.

  12. Yeah, the same lefties that decry his action will vote for him in November anyway.


  13. 10:33

    "In Europe they seem to be able to fund themselves but not here."

    Read the news about the riots and wrecked economy in Greece. Thats what happens when you fund everything.

  14. What opponents of KRM miss/ignore is regional transit is Racine's best and fastest way to connect its residents to jobs. Anyone waiting for a major factory to move back into the city is delusional. Local unemployed residents need access to jobs throughout the county. KRM and RTA makes that possible.

    Also lost is the massive investment of federal money that would come with KRM, and the drop in local spending by shifting buses from local budgets to the RTA.

    Finally, simply building KRM would create jobs, which is why the local construction industry is strongly in favor of the proposal. It's not every day you talk about a $250 million project.

    Racine would be the No. 1 benefactor of KRM. I understand Mount Pleasant, Caledonia and Sturtevant opposing the idea - they're dependent on I-94 for future development. But anyone who cares about Racine would look closer at the benefits of KRM and realize the issue transcends knee-jerk opposition to additional government spending.

  15. John Lehman's comments are the most sensible thing I've heard from any politician in a long time. I'm glad he's being honest with his constituents, and unafraid.

  16. How is it that the great migration from the south to the north for jobs took place without the government providing rides to work? Maybe it was because the government wasn't also providing free money to stay home and make babies for a living.

  17. Dustin Block's comments summarize the ignorance of those in favor of the KRM. Yes, spending $250 million tax dollars will create construction jobs, for about a year or two. But so will building a $250 million house. The catch is now you have to find someone who can afford to pay the property taxes and upkeep on the house. Wisconsin is a LONG way off from ever needing commuter rail. It is far too easy to drive anywhere in this state. NOBODY will ride it. "Build it and they will not come."

  18. Lehman bowed to the right thinking that would get him re-elected. There is no way they will support him and now he has lost his base, those that wanted KRM. Hope he enjoys his retirement.

  19. Racine is an isolated city with poor freeway access, who would locate a major business here when it is 15 minutes from the freeway?

    Milwaukee County is proposing extending the Lake Parkway South with a potential link at 6 Mile Road to Hwy 31. Link:

    It would be alot cheaper to build this and run busses on it to Milw than build KRM. Amtrak provides grwat access to milw-Chi at 79 mph.

    Its time for local goverment to agree on something, this area is dying. Racine is a large metropolitan area, its time we act like it and open the gateway to our city.

  20. Roads are a taxpayer money pit. We don't need more roads and they will never pay for themselves. If theses businesses want their toy roads then they can pay for them because taxpayers have had enough. No more spending!

  21. Anon 1:27
    "We don't need more roads"

    Yes we do:
    2008 Traffic Counts

    2 lane Hwy 38 near Husher: 20,400
    4 lane Hwy 20 near I-94 : 23,100

  22. 1:34

    Then put a tollway in there and let them pay for it. I never use it and I shouldn't be charged for it. We are TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY!

  23. Here are two more eye opening traffic counts:

    2008 State Traffic Counts:

    2 lane Hwy 32 near Ryan Road 16,500
    4 lane Hwy 11 near I-94 12,900

    There is obviously a need for road upgrades in Northern Racine County.

  24. I have an easy solution. Put it up for referendum. WE THE PEOPLE will decide what gets spent.


  25. The Translator3/11/2010 2:03 PM

    Another issue is this would be taxation without representation, as this would be an appointed, not elected board with no one to answer to for their actions or inactions. IF the KRM'ers really want this, but it to a binding referendum. If it passes, great. Build it. You have a mandate from THE PEOPLE. If it doesn't, then the KRM goes away. I would rather have the Lake Parkway extension into Racine County, with a better train in Sturtevant. We do not need another appointed "political payback" board.

    Also, Dustin most industrial development is in Mt Pleasant and Sturtevant due to the heavy influence of HWY's 11, 20 and I-94 for the ease of semi traffic. The bus going to these businesses are nearly empty. Ridership to Renaissance and Grandview Industrial Park is almost zero. People are not riding the mass transit we have now. KRM will be the financial death of Racine.

  26. "Local unemployed residents need access to jobs throughout the county. KRM and RTA makes that possible."

    1. What are these jobs? Get on some of the job boards and do a little research THEN make this comment, if you can

    2. Is the train going to zig zag through Racine county so it can drop off/pick up people at these mystery jobs? Oh, you can throw out that nonsense about companies running shuttle buses to/from the train station - the only ones who will bea ble to do that are government jobs (our money propping them up)

  27. Racine Post...tool for KRM.

  28. To those concerned about spending:

    The point you miss is that the $250M will be spent here or somewhere else. It's not as though other cities will be as ignorant as we are. Someone will build it, the government will spend that money. Budgets/allocations always are spent.

    A $250M shot in the arm will help for a while. Better here than somewhere else.

    So while I applaud your fiscal conservatism, it is misplaced. You will still pay for the train somewhere! Why not here! Why not connect Chicago to Madison via rail? The rest of it will be in place.

  29. concrete katie3/11/2010 3:32 PM

    A bus system that works and connects the city with the trains that do exist would be helpful. A bus system to the airports, to Parkside and Carthage, the I, to Burlington, Kenosha, Hwy 50, Milwaukee, etc. would be helpful. Maybe we could fund it by having a referendum to require the public sector to buy its own health insurance and then that money could be used to create a transit system.

  30. A car wreck will take some place today, whether we want it or not, so why even steer our cars?

    Similarly, if a train (or government) were running out of control, the thing to do would be to increase its speed, not try to stop it.

  31. The Translator3/11/2010 3:55 PM

    Anon 3:20 The train to Madison will be part of Amtrak and is different from KRM

    Concrete Katie there used to be to Parkside and Carthage, but there was not the ridership. There is the bus to the I, and there is no ridership. We already have a bus system with no ridership, now you want a train with no ridership.

  32. Glad to hear conservatives stepping up to the plate to call for higher property taxes to support a more robust bus system that provides mire hours of operations and stops.

  33. When gasoline hits $5 a gallon all those that oppose KRM will change their minds.. Oh wait, those people never leave Racine so that will not matter.

  34. Thanks again Dickert, for blowing this for all of Racine.

  35. "But anyone who cares about Racine would look closer at the benefits of KRM and realize the issue transcends knee-jerk opposition to additional government spending."

    Dustin, your quote makes me wonder whether you think all opposition to KRM is "knee-jerk."

    Anyway, I care a great deal about Racine. I have invested much of my time, effort, and money in Racine over the past decade. And as a downtown retailer, many suspect that I would personally profit from KRM.

    Nonetheless, I don't support KRM because not only do I consider benefits, I consider costs, as all thinking adults should. In my view, the costs are being downplayed if they are even considered at all, while the benefits are greatly exaggerated. Additionally, having an unelected body with taxing authority should be met with bipartisan opposition and condemnation.

    If you consider my objections "knee-jerk", well, so be it.

  36. 3:52,

    To your thinking, you will pay for the insurance, car payment, gas, maintenance for another city even of you don't own a car! Steer if you want to! Or don't! Any way it will be built somewhere!

  37. That led transit backers to rally a show of force before an Assembly Transportation Committee hearing on the issue. At separate news conferences in Milwaukee and Madison, they released letters of support signed by top executives of 40 businesses and 15 business groups; leaders of 23 unions and four labor organizations; outgoing Marquette University President Father Robert Wild; and representatives of numerous other community, environmental and transit groups. From Milw Journal today

  38. Dustin,

    I have a question geared towards you and all liberal thinkers out there. As children, did Santa Claus fail to bring you, Mr. Mason, and Mr. Lehman and all the liberal tea drinkers a "Choo Choo Train"? It seems that if you had been presented with toy trains, as children, you would not consider myself and many other opponets to RTA, KRM and a high speed rail as Santa and continue to try to justify an extremly costly venture. When, if, this pipe dream that the liberals have dreamed up actually happens how do you fund it? Because after "The Lord and Savior Barack" is gone and the stimulus funds follow him into history there is no money left for your "Choo Choo"!

  39. "Any way it will be built somewhere!"

    What will be built somewhere? KRM? Is some government entity offering to build KRM for us? What are you talking about?

  40. The plans for this train are a mess. We are not getting high speed. We will have to change trains in Kenosha. The train ride to Chicago is so long and unbearable already. I am not willing to pay for that. We need a real future forward thinking plan.

  41. The federal funds which would be used for KRM will be spent here or if we are too ignorant to build the "choo choo" that the CEOs of major organizations find value in, then those funds will go to some city with the forethought to plan beyond next week!

    Sure, we are in recession, but we won't always be and when this turns around, don't you want to be in a good position to attract businesses with the infrastructure to get workers to the jobs?

    If we don't build KRM, some other city will get those funds and use them to attract jobs to that city.

    Either way we will pay for KRM. Don't think for one minute that some politician somewhere won't spend the money. They will. The question is WHERE!

    A "CHOO CHOO" will be built somewhere! Why squander this opportunity to bring $250M here!

  42. I love the fact that "major CEOs" want a taxpayer-funded train. You do realize that, if given the chance, they would also unanimously request taxpayer-funded mansions for all of their execs. Big sailboats too.

  43. Dickert isn't able to handle the pressure of making a committed decision on anything. Get off your butt and support this project so thousands of people can go back to work and support their families.

  44. "If we don't build KRM, some other city will get those funds and use them to attract jobs to that city."

    You say that as if there was some set amount that the politicians are willing to spend, and no more. But the fact of the matter is that the politicians will spend money on other projects for other communities whether they spend it on KRM or not. And that runaway spending is exactly what we have to stop.

    Building something just because someone is spending someone else's money like a drunken sailor is dishonest.

  45. Our Mayor and city council are pitiful. At least Lehman will tell you why he can't support it.

  46. Union and Pissed3/12/2010 7:08 AM

    John Lehman,

    You are a pittiful excuse for a representative in the State Senate! I am a member of Local 599, I have been laid off for 9 months and see no hope in the near future of returning to work. KRM would put me and many of my Union brothers to work for months maybe even years. We, as Union members got your sorry self elected and in a time of need you turn and run from us ? Shame on you sir, and shame on us for supporting you! I will make this very clear regardless of what organizers and BA's are telling you the majority of the Trade Labor members will help to remove you from office if KRM does not pass or you vote against it! Think I am bluffing John vote "NO" on KRM and see!

  47. Lehman is a tool. He has his head so far up the unions butt that he doesn't even try to make sense when he talks. Just watch the hearing on internet schooling if you doubt what I am saying. I saw it on Wisconsin eye website.

  48. The federal money is already approved and in the budget. Ever hear of a politician / admininstration not spending their budget? It is going to happen.

    So if it is going to be spent, wouldn't you prefer every taxpayer from Yonkers to Yakima to pay for it for us? Or do you prefer to pay for projects for them?

    I prefer the jobs and infrastructure to be here. Radical, huh?

  49. "The federal money is already approved and in the budget."

    Really? Where?

    The feds want to build KRM but the Democrats in Wisconsin are blocking it?

    Really? Want more kool-aid?

  50. Please site any source to prove that the US government has approved and budgeted funds for KRM. Any source...

  51. I think the 800M stimulus money that was granted to the state was for the rail from Milwaukee to Madison. This would run from downtown Milwaukee make a couple stops west of Milwaukee and let you off at the Dane county airport - then you would be required to take a bus, cab or have a bike locked up to get downtown. The price of the train would be more than twice the amount of the Badger bus which takes you to two different spots downtown. By the time someone takes the train, gets the additional transportation to downtown, the train will be faster than the bus. Therefore if we take this $800M we'll build a rail that no one will ever use - simply assinine.

  52. This should have said - the bus will be faster than the train getting to Madison - sorry for the mistake.

  53. That is why I am not a democrat. The logic is messed up. "The money is there, do you want someone from Yonkers to get it?"

    The money doesn't belong to us or those from Yonkers. It is not okay to collect people's hard earned money and blow it on ill thought out plans.

    The democrats get so they see a pile of money and it turns into glut fest. Slow down, get a real well thought out and necessary plan. Those work every time.

  54. If the republicans were in control they would just put the .5% sales tax. The dems and Lehman just do have the nerve to do it.

    We need mass transportation. Racine will never be a manufacturing town again, it has to realize we are part of the metro area and employees will need transportation to get to the jobs. With gas at $5/per gal the KRM will pay for itself. Its that simple unfortunately the vocal minority don't get it. They are still living in the 60's, t

  55. Anon 7:17 "They are still living in the 60's"

    You are right about part of this, all you have to do is look at Hwy 32 and 38, neither one is a modern highway. This is our link to Milwaukee? When will someone step up and do something about this?

  56. Why is everyone forgetting the previous admissions from the RTA to begin with? In the last go-around it was clearly stated by the KRM proponents, and appearing in the JT,:

    The KRM will cost in excess of $350M to build, and as much as 20% or more if the Union Pacific does not allow the KRM to use existing track (which it has since then said it won’t, and new track will have to be built, thus raising the cost to at least $420M, and more probably closer to $500M before it’s all over. Twice the $250M from the Fed).

    The estimated deficit that the KRM will cost the taxpayers is 85% of its operating costs for up to the first 25 years of service. That runs hundreds of millions of dollars in the red for a quarter of a century, with the bill footed by the taxpayers who don’t even use it.

    The trains will contain cars that can carry up to 188 passengers, with an expected ridership of only 14 – 18 passengers per car.

    The KRM trains will not be high speed. They will travel at the state law restricted rate of 29 mph because they will be traveling through highly populated areas.

    There will be no stop at the Milwaukee airport.

    The trains will terminate in downtown Milwaukee and at the Metra station in Kenosha. There will be no access to the north or west sides of Milwaukee and the KRM will not take you to Chicago, as so many people think it will.

    And now, there are no jobs for Kenosha or Racine residents to build the train cars. Thanks to the idiot in charge in Madison (Doyle), the money to build them is going to a company from Spain and the assembly plant will be in Milwaukee, not Racine or Kenosha.

    Then there is the common sense side to this dilemma:

    The initial round-trip cost of a ticket is $6.00 to Milwaukee and back. Once off the train in downtown Milwaukee you will have to take a bus (an additional $2.00 or more) or a taxi to get to, or near, your final destination. You now have a cost of roughly $8.00 or more (not including the cost of getting to the train station in Racine and the additional taxes we’ll have to pay to support the KRM system). This round-trip will take a minimum of 3 to 3.5 hours to make. At $3.50 per gallon of gas and a 1.5 hour round-trip drive, you can travel door-to-door from Racine to Milwaukee for a dollar less and in half the time. Show me the KRM benefit here.

    If you want to go to Chicago, the KRM will get you to Kenosha for the cost of $6.00 for a round trip ticket. But then, to take the Metra into Chicago you have to pay an additional $8.50 for a second round-trip ticket. You now have a cost of over $14.00 to ride the train, plus again, additional bus or taxi fares. There is no savings over driving, and again, driving is faster and gets you from door-to-door.

    The KRM proponents insist that area businesses will develop along the KRM train route. This is simply not being compared to the amount of development that sprang up along the Metra line between Kenosha and Chicago; which was almost nothing. No development and no jobs. People don’t want to live and work along noisy train tracks.

    Do you really want an appointed board, not responsible to the taxpayers, who will be given the authority to raise our taxes whenever the notion strikes them, and they are not responsible to the taxpayers for these decisions? That is purely taxation without representation!

    There is already a coach (bus) system available to ride, at less than half the cost of a KRM ticket, to both Kenosha and Milwaukee, and which so few people ride that it is having trouble paying for itself.

    And finally, why are the KRM proponents so opposed to putting this to referendum? I think it’s because they know they’ll be defeated.

  57. Anon 7:17 AM is a perfect example of someone making statements without the benefit of knowing what he’s talking about. He states, “…the KRM will pay for itself.” This is simply not true. There is not one mass transit system on the planet that is not supplemented by government funds (taxes), at least according to the Journal Times and other news outlets. Not one. Look at what’s happening in the newspapers right now concerning the Chicago Metra System: a city of millions of residents and it is cutting down on rail services, access points, laying people off and cutting back on salaries. If Chicago can’t support such a system, how can you expect Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee, with less than one fourth of Chicago’s population, to do it?

  58. Good post Graham. People need to study this cost and benefits analysis. 29 mph vs the 79 mph Amtrak service that already exists.

    Companies like SCJ can shuttle employees in from the Sturtevant Amtrak stop, this is done by large companies in Deerfield IL.

  59. Those who want shove KRM down our throats, how about this idea:
    Put a few passenger cars on the end of the coal trains heading to Oak Creek Power Plant. No extra line needed, it would only serve Racine and Oak Creek but what would be the cost to do this?

  60. Expanding on what I wrote at 1111, whats to say you couldnt have a staging area near the Oak Creek power plant and lease a Union pacific engine with a few more passenger cars and then continue north to milwaukee on another train? The tracks north of the power plant dont look like they get much use.

    Time to think outside the box.

  61. Back on March 11, Anonymous said "Say By By to KRM!!! When Walker gets in it will be dead dead dead. He will drive the stake in its heart!"

    Ah, thanks for mentioning the sainted Scott Walker, the Cardboard Messiah of the Tea Party people who are so desperate for a hero that they'll latch onto anyone who'll tell them what they want to hear. What Scott Walker hasn’t told them, though, is that in 2008, in the midst of the worst recession in generations, Scott Walker gave himself a nice, sweet $50,000-a-year raise, because he could. Scott Walker *still* continues to take this raise despite running up Milwaukee County’s deficit to $10 million. Scott Walker's not the kind of guy to practise what he preaches, is he? Oh, sure, Scott Walker talks a great game about "understanding what regular people are going through in these tough times" because hey, he says he "has seen a brown bag lunch". I'd like to peek in that "brown bag" just once.

    Most people, unlike Scott Walker, don’t get to give themselves a $50,000 raise AND pose for holy pictures about all the taxpayer money they return at the same time.

    (Speaking of phonies: we should also wonder if Saint Scott Walker would have risked tearing his shiny suit at the State Fair Grounds last summer to save a life and be hopspitalized as a result, like Tom Barrett did.)