March 11, 2011

Park 6's window smashed early Friday morning

Someone threw several bricks at the Park 6 teen night club on Sixth Street Friday morning, shattering one of the building's front windows.

Keith Fair, owner of The Place on Sixth across the street, said he heard the damage at about 1:15 a.m. Jim Spodick, owner of the building, pointed out several scrape marks on the glass showing several bricks were thrown at the window before it cracked.

Police were taking pictures of the damage at about 10 a.m.

The incident comes at an interesting time for Park 6, which got its liquor license back last week. However, the club is still operating as a teen club.

JT's Christine Won honored for open records work

Journal Times' reporter Christine Won will be honored by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council on April 20 for her work uncovering payments made to a Caledonia police officer's family and friends for work on police cars. The announcement came out this week as Wisconsin celebrates "Sunshine Week," which focuses on open records and meetings in all levels of state government.

March 10, 2011

All over but the court appeals

It's all over but the court appeals.

Assembly  Republicans shut off debate shortly before 4 p.m., despite a list of legislators wanting to speak, and voted 53-42 to pass the new bill ending collective bargaining for state employees. The vote came after a number of demonstrators were forcibly carried out of the Assembly chamber. (Video here.)

No surprise from Racine lawmakers: Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, voted yes; Reps. Cory Mason and Bob Turner, both D-Racine, voted no. (Complete roll call here.) The Assembly session was immediately adjourned, amid crowd shouts of "Shame," which quickly morphed into chants of "Recall."

Gov. Scott Walker said:
"I applaud all members of the Assembly for showing up, debating the legislation and participating in democracy. Their action will save jobs, protect taxpayers, reform government, and help balance the budget. Moving forward we will continue to focus on ensuring Wisconsin has a business climate that allows the private sector to create 250,000 new jobs."
Vos was quoted by saying, shortly before the vote
Voters made a choice in November by supporting candidates who believe "government actually could shrink.  If this bill passes we show the people of Wisconsin and the people of our country we are not afraid to make tough decisions," he said. Vos said people on either side are entitled to their beliefs, but they "do not have the right to believe people on the other side are evil."
Mason said, in a speech before the vote:
"You may win this vote today.  I promise we will fight you ... Until these rights are restored, we will not surrender and we will not give up on restoring people's rights in the great state of Wisconsin."
After the vote, Assembly Minority Leader, Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said:
"Once again we have a flagrant violation of the rules." Republicans could have invoked an Assembly rule to end the debate, but did not. "They have such basic disregard for the people of this state that they don't follow the rules."
Complaints were filed by Barca with the Dane County District Attorney, alleging that Wednesday night's meeting of the Joint Conference Committee was in violation of the state's Open Meetings Law. Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk filed a similar complaint with the District Attorney, and with the State Attorney General's office. So did Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Jay Carney, in response to a question, said:

"The actions taken last night, which divorced the issue of the state's budget problems from the issue of the rights of public sector employees, pretty clearly showed that the actions were not following the principle that we need to all come together and work together and not denigrate or vilify public sector employees, but bring them into the process,"
Here's the Journal Sentinel's comprehensive coverage.

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Rep. Cory Mason let protestors in through his Capitol office window

Racine's State Rep. Cory Mason helped let protestors into the state Capitol, according to this blogger.

Senate vote brings protesters to Monument Square

Wednesday night's surprise Wisconsin Senate vote -- eliminating most collective bargaining rights held by state employees -- brought a quick response Thursday morning. More than 100 protesters marched for over an hour in Monument Square.

Former State Sen. John Lehman joined the march

Jay Warner offered a double entendre from the animal kingdom

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March 9, 2011


Unbelievable!  The Wisconsin State Senate, voting 18-1, has ended collective bargaining for state workers. Sen. Dale Shultz, R-Richland Center, cast the lone "no" vote.

Republicans stripped the collective bargaining rights from Gov. Scott Walker's "budget repair" bill, and -- in less than three minutes -- rammed the new non-fiscal measure through, and then adjourned. Only fiscal measures need 20 senators present. All 14 Democratic senators were still in Illinois, but are said to be heading back to Madison.

Let me say that again. The budget portions of the "budget repair" bill were ignored; only the union-busting portions were passed by the Senate.

If this is Walker's idea of a "compromise" ....

GOP Senators and staff were escorted out of the capitol, through crowds of protestors chanting, "Shame, shame, shame..."

The bill now goes to the State Assembly. Questions of the vote's legality were raised even before the Senate voted; the issue revolves around whether enough public notice for the session had been given in advance. Assembly Minority Leader Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said "what they did was illegal" and "they've won the battle but they won't win the war."

“It is a continuation of a pattern of a naked abuse of power," Barca said, promising to ask the Wisconsin State Attorney General to investigate.

Walker issued the following statement after the vote:
"The Senate Democrats have had three weeks to debate this bill and were offered repeated opportunities to come home, which they refused. In order to move the state forward, I applaud the Legislature's action today to stand up to the status quo and take a step in the right direction to balance the budget and reform government. The action today will help ensure Wisconsin has a business climate that allows the private sector to create 250,000 new jobs."
More later, but here's the initial Journal Sentinel story.

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