Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Winnebago County Board says NO to sales tax

During yesterday's budget hearing, Winnebago County Board supervisors soundly rejected the supervisors soundly rejected the idea of a half-percent county sales tax. After hearing much commentary from the public and deliberating among themselves, supervisors defeated the sales tax proposal 10-27. But those voting for the tax preserve the right to have the measure reconsidered later in the budget session going on throughout this week.

One of the arguments made against the sales tax came from Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce CEO John Casper, who told the board that "the problem is not that we tax too little, but that we spend too much." Casper also asked the board to make substantial cuts before giving the sales tax proposal further consideration.

I think our local governmental bodies are pretty frugal when it comes to holding the line on taxes and spending, but I agree with Mr. Casper that there are things they spend money on that they probably shouldn’t. In Oshkosh I still believe the Leach Amphitheater is one such example.

Taxpayers were put on the hook for millions of dollars for this project by the approving city council members with very little discussion and at a time when budgets were already getting tight and we all knew they would be getting tighter. And that project isn’t done yet, we’re told. How much more, for example, will Oshkosh taxpayers be expected to put into this project before it is finally completed? Or will there always be something else to add to it that, as a community, we just can’t live without?

But just as I find certain projects funded at such large taxpayer expense unnecessary, there are others who think they are vital to the community. John Casper was one of them when it came to the Leach project (mind you he does not live in Oshkosh and, therefore, has no responsibility to pay for it). Mr. Casper and the chamber group are also adamantly opposed to a $1.00 per ticket user fee/facility charge at the Leach. Sounds like Mr. Casper wants it all, unless it might come out of his pocket or those of his friends at Waterfest; then the elected officials need to spend less.

As for the sales tax issue itself, it may be dead for the moment. But as cuts become less available, a property tax freeze remains in place and shared revenue continues to get cut further, we can certainly expect it to come up again. And since it is possible to re-consider the issue during this very budget session, and nearly $800,000 in cuts won't be easy to find, it just might be sooner rather than later.

How much have the negative ads cost

I think it's safe to say we're all pretty sick of the political ads, especially since they've sunk to a new low and become nastier than ever. They're not having the effect on people that those spending the money had hoped for. In fact, quite the contrary. They're turning people off to many of those candidates. But how much have the negative ads actually cost? According to this report, millions and still counting. Is it time for advertising reform as a part of campaign finance reform? Maybe so.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Support Builds for the Vogeler Campaign!

This week, three Wisconsin newspapers endorsed the Vogeler campaign: the Lake Mills Leader, Cambridge News and Deerfield Independent. They wrote that Rae "is a thoughtful progressive in the same mold as three of the individuals who have occupied this particular seat in the United States Senate. We're specifically talking about Robert 'Fighting Bob' La Follette Sr., his son Robert M. La Follette Jr. and William Proxmire. Unlike Kohl, who is nobody's senator but his own, they were giants in the U.S. Senate who always put the public's interest first." Read the Lake Mills Leader editorial.

In addition, Herb Kohl’s democratic primary opponent Ben Masel officially endorsed Rae on WORT radio in Madison. Masel earned over 14% (51,000+) votes in the primary. Libertarian write-in candidate for U.S. Senate, David Redick, also announced his support of Vogeler's stance on key issues this week. Read the Press Release.

Vogeler has already received endorsements from the Wisconsin Green Party, Progressive Democrats of Wisconsin, Progressive Dane, Green Party National Women’s Caucus, as well as organizations and individuals across Wisconsin. Click to endorse.

Tell Newspapers and Voters Why You Support RaeLetters to the Editor are one of the best ways to generate publicity in the last weeks of the campaign! We've made writing a Letter to the Editor easy! Visit our website for sample letters, talking points and links to newspapers. Write a Letter to the Editor NOW to be sure it's published before the election!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Governor Green? Look out, Oshkosh!

[we have received the following press release...]

Join NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin on Monday morning for a press conference to demonstrate what Wisconsin would be like if Congressman Mark Green were governor and Julie Pung Leschke were in the assembly. Voice your concerns about Green's extreme record and Leschke's disturbing views when it comes to women's privacy, freedom and personal responsibility.

"Extreme Green" Press Conference
Monday, October 30th
11:00 am
UW-OshkoshReeve Union - Room 201

Over and over again, Congressman Green has sponsored and supported Bush's agenda to block women's access to reproductive health care, while Governor Doyle has stood up for women's rights and vetoed a number of anti-choice, anti-birth control bills.

Julie Pung Leschke, a right-wing conservative, has been outspoken about her opposition to safe and legal abortion care, and would allow health care providers to withhold information and treatment from women based on their personal beliefs.

Gordon Hintz, her opponent, would work for common-sense preventive solutions to reduce the need for abortion by increasing access to birth control and responsible sex education.
Oshkosh's future is on the line - learn about the crucial differences between the candidates for state assembly and governor on Monday!

Please join us for this exciting and informative event!

Feel free to bring friends or neighbors; this event is open to the public.

Speakers needed for Heart Health Presentation

[we have received the following request and are pleased to publish it here...]

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is looking for a few good speakers. We have received funding to speak at service organizations nationwide about the impact of nutrition on heart health. We have prepared a presentation that includes a speech and several handouts about cardiovascular health and diet.

In order to make this program a success, we are looking for presenters with a medical background, such as doctors, nurses, dietitians, and other health care professionals, who can speak about a vegan diet with confidence and motivate listeners to take action toward personal well-being.

We are offering $100 compensation for the time given toward preparation, travel, and speaking. We can help you find and schedule a date for a service club(s) in your area, including Rotary clubs or similar venues. If you know of any organizations, we certainly welcome your efforts.

If you or someone you know can help, please contact me at 202-686-2210, ext. 333, or slevin@pcrm.org. Thanks so much for your consideration.

Best regards,
Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.
Staff Dietitian

Can Wikipedia ever make the grade?

Two years ago, a professor hatched a plan designed to undermine the site's veracity — which, at that time, had gone largely unchallenged by scholars. Adopting a pseudonym, slipped 13 errors into various Wikipedia articles. The professor expected some of his fabrications to languish online for some time, but less than three hours after he posted them, all of his false facts had been deleted. As questions about the accuracy of Wikipedia, the anyone-can-edit encyclopedia persist, academics are split on whether to ignore it, or start contributing. Read more about it by going here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Diebold voting machines source code leaked again

With just three weeks to go before elections here in Winnebago County, Wisconsin and across the United States, the security of the Diebold electronic voting machines is again being called into question.

According to an online article at PC World.com, source code for the Diebold Election Systems voting machines has been leaked for a second time in three years.

In 2003 the source code was uncovered by Diebold critic Bev Harris while she was conducting research using Google’s search engine. Later that year researchers at both Johns Hopkins and Rice universities analyzed the machine’s software and published a highly negative critique of the machines.

Following those incidents, Diebold said it introduced security enhancements, but now a similar source code has been leaked again, this time given to former Maryland state legislator Cheryl C. Kagan, who is a well-known critic of electronic voting and currently the Executive Director of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in Olney, Maryland.

In addition to various news reports on the most recent leak, Avi Rubin, one of the researchers who published the 2003 Johns Hopkins and Rice universities’ report, has blogged about the most recent leak.

Here in Winnebago County, we have only used the Diebold machines in one election – the September primary – and there were a few minor glitches at that time, mostly related to the ballots approved by the State Election Board not being compatible with the Diebold machine. We were told those problems would be resolved by the November election, but it appears that the more serious issues of security still remain.

The Diebold touch screen machines were put in place to make in order to make Winnebago County compliant with the federal Help America Vote Act, a measure designed to make voting not only possible, but easier for persons with disabilities. There is one such touch-screen machine in each polling place throughout the county, but there is no requirement that anyone use them.

More information on the Diebold touch-screen machines can be found by doing an Internet search, but my co-host and UW-O communications professor, Dr. Tony Palmeri, has assembled a comprehensive list of articles on the various security flaws and concerns. That archive of articles can be found by going here.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Governor Doyle Asks Bush Administration to Extend SeniorCare to 2010

Governor Doyle today submitted the formal application to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to save the state's successful prescription drug program, SeniorCare. Unless the Bush Administration approves the request, SeniorCare is set to expire on June 30, 2007 - at which point nearly 110,000 Wisconsin seniors could lose their coverage or be forced into the complicated Medicare Part D prescription drug program.

"Wisconsin's SeniorCare program is a lifeline for nearly 110,000 seniors across our state and has helped to make their prescription drugs more affordable," Governor Doyle said. "I will continue to fight for this vital program and I sincerely hope the federal government will give it fair consideration - and not play politics with the health of our seniors."

The Governor submitted his formal request in a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt, along with an application that highlights the benefits of the SeniorCare program. SeniorCare provides comprehensive, affordable prescription drug coverage to nearly 110,000 seniors across the state. In the last year, as thousands of seniors chose SeniorCare over Medicare Part D, SeniorCare's enrollment surged by more than 26%.

According to an analysis by AARP Wisconsin, more than 94% of SeniorCare participants are better off under SeniorCare than they would be under Medicare Part D because the co-payments are lower and the coverage is more comprehensive. The state uses its bargaining power to negotiate the lowest prices for prescription drugs, while Congress made it illegal for the federal government to bargain for lower prices.

For that reason, SeniorCare saves taxpayers - and the federal government - money because it costs nearly half per person than Medicare Part D. The average annual cost for a SeniorCare participant is $617, while that price tag is $1,174 to subsidize a Part D participant.
Enrollment in the SeniorCare program costs just $30 per year and is available for seniors age 65 and older. The application is one-page and there are no asset tests for eligibility. Only income is counted.

Under Medicare, most seniors pay 100 percent of drug costs between $2,250 and $5,100 in total drug costs. This $2,850 gap in coverage is commonly referred to as the "donut hole."

In June 2006, the Governor wrote to Secretary Leavitt to notify him of his intention to seek an extension of SeniorCare. Governor Doyle's office contacted Senator Feingold, Senator Kohl, Congressman Obey and others in the Wisconsin congressional delegation and asked them to support his efforts to extend the waiver.

In October 2005, Governor Doyle personally negotiated an agreement with Secretary Leavitt to allow the SeniorCare program to continue through at least June 30, 2007. Absent that agreement, the SeniorCare program could have been terminated as of January 1, 2006. The Governor and the Secretary also agreed that SeniorCare participants will be exempt from any financial penalties if they decide to move into a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan at a later date.

For SeniorCare information, call the SeniorCare hotline at (800) 657-2038 or visit http://dhfs.wisconsin.gov/seniorcare/.

A copy of the letter to Secretary Leavitt is available at http://www.wisgov.state.wi.us//docview.asp?docid=9718.

A copy of the application is available at http://www.wisgov.state.wi.us//docview.asp?docid=9717.

St. Norbert College Peace and Justice Center to host a panel on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to Marriage on October 25, 2006

[we have received the following press release...]

On Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. the St. Norbert College Peace and Justice Center will be having a forum discussion on the upcoming Constitutional Amendment to Marriage and the Civil Union ban. The panel will be held in the Fort Howard Theater in the Bemis International Center on the St. Norbert College campus. This event is free and open to the public.

A multi-disciplinary panel will include: Bridget Burke Ravizza, professor of Religious Studies, Tom Faase, professor of Sociology, Mike DeGrand, president of Harbor Credit Union and of the Fort Howard Family Resource Center Board of Directors, and Greg Conway, a local attorney.

For more information, contact the St. Norbert College Peace and Justice Center at (920) 403-3881 or pjc@snc.edu.


FYI from Mike at Fair Wisconsin:

Mr Conway, has served as President of the Wisconsin State Bar Association; He is currently practicing in the area of corporate law and litigation.

Dr. Thomas Faase, presenting on the sociocultural aspects. He has taught Society, Sex and marriage at St. Norbert College.

Dr. Bridget Burke-Ravizza from the Religious Studies discipline who will present Catholic Social Teaching about marriage, etc.

Then, we will open the floor to questions and discussion with the audience. Katelyn Schmidt, Peace and Justice Center Intern, will moderate the panel.

The panel will be taking place at 7pm in the Ft Howard Theatre of the Bemis International Center. This is right across the street from the Kress Inn in De Pere.

Marriage Amendment On Trial - Wisconsin Public Television

[we have received the following press release...]

Marriage Amendment on Trial is a special Wisconsin Public Television production that examines a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall.

The amendment would define marriage as "between one man and one woman" and would prohibit any "substantially similar" status for unmarried couples. In the program, to air later this month, the amendment itself was put "on trial."

Lawyer Michele LaVigne, professor at UW-Madison, argued against the amendment and Rick Esenberg, professor at Marquette University, argued for it.

Esenberg and LaVigne will appear on "Here and Now" this week to offer a preview of that show. Marriage Amendment on Trial will air Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m.

Tune in to hear the "verdict" on this controversial amendment.


Don't cut my protection

Contributed by: wellillbe

While the City of Oshkosh has made public safety a priority, and has demonstrated this by not laying off police officers or firefighters, the same cannot be said for Winnebago County. I recently learned the county does not even fully staff the historical levels of protection if an officer calls in sick! What in the world is going on in this county? I think the citizens of Winnebago County deserve to have a fully staffed patrol division for the protection of us and our property. Additionally, according to the proposed 2007 executive budget, our county is going to lose another 2 patrol officers. The county is also going to lose 3 corrections officers and a community service officer. Public safety should be a priority.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


On Monday October 23, 2006 the Winnebago County Board Legislative Committee will hear and consider a resolution calling for the repeal of the recent amendment dealing with County Board redistricting.

Mainly the statue enabled the County Board to reduce its size once between censuses either by the public or by action taken by the board itself. County Board Supervisors Lohry,O'Brien, Farrey, and Hotynski are bringing the resolution to the committee to be considered. Farrey and O'Brien were two of the supervisors who sponsored the resolution to cut the County Board by 2 in 2008 and trying to put a halt to the citizen effort to put a referendum on the ballot to reduce the county board by half of current size.

The meeting takes place Monday October 23, 2006 at 9 :00 AM at the James Coughlin Building located at 625 E. County Road Y in Oshkosh, WI.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

City Department Vacations

Saturday, October 21 2006 @ 08:03 AM MDT
Contributed by: Anonymous
Views: 10
Please investigate the following:

It appears that some specific budget related questions have been posed to one of our Council Members.

When this Councilor approached our City Manager with the question, he was told that getting the answer would difficult, as the Financial Director was out of the Country on vacation.

The question is quite obvious. How can we rely on only one man (the financial director) for some fairly basic information, and why is he on vacation, out of the country for what appears two weeks, right in the middle of a very tough budget and union contract negotiation period?

Again, this seems to fit the profile of lack of leadership and accountability on our City Administration and leadership.

Can someone please investigate this and connect the dots.

[the following response is reposted here exactly as posted on the original Eye on Oshkosh posting]

Authored by: Zoff B. on Saturday, October 21 2006 @ 01:45 PM MDT
This reminds me of another "vactation timing' issue which I posted on another site.....

Tom Stephany was defending his current budget when he mentioned that his department had many long serving employees who had a lot of vactaion time. He stated he HAD to have a lot of seasonal workers during the summer in order to cover all the vaction time taken by his full time employees. I used to work contruction in my youth, and construction is much like work at the parks department, the bulk of the work is during the warm months of the year. IF we had vacation time we weren't asked to take during the winter, we were TOLD to. We certainly could take a day or two during the summer but more than that and you better start looking for a new job during your time off. I've had relatives who have worked retail and they are not allowed to take vacation during November and December because that is their busy time of the year. I say limit parks workers vactaion time during their peak season to a minimum, run a skelton crew in January/February and let them take the bulk of their vactation then. If they want their summers off they should have become teachers instead of parks workers.

If Dick Wollangk was the coach of the Green Bay Packers, apparently all the players would get Sundays OFF. If he was Santa Claus, the elves would all get December off.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The "Council-Manager" vs. "Mayor-Council" debate

Contributed by: Zoff B.

I know as far as Oshkosh politics go, this issue is like like beating a dead horse. The last time (as I recall) this was a hot issue was when Richard Wollangk was hired as City Manager, despite the fact that his qualifications did not meet the standards set by the City Council (which include Mr. Wollangk as a member) The grass roots campaign to place a referendum on the ballot to change the form of government had a strong following and only weeks before the election, polls showed that the measure would pass. It was only a last minute barrage of counter campaigning from the pro-manager people that changed the outcome. They contributed large amounts of money for a big media "scare tactic" campaign which threatened legal chaos if the referendum passed.

Well a decade later, with Mr. Wollangk's approval rating (unofficaially) in a spiral, I once again here the rumbings of debate on "why do we have a Manager-Council form of government and why is it better that having Mayor-Council form"

One of my biggest peeves is the argument that having 7 at large council members is so much better than having one local alderman. They say that you have 7 people that will work for you because they all need your vote vs having just one. I say that you now have 7 that can dismiss you, because you are but one lone voice. If this "group representation" is so great, why doesn't the United States vote as a whole for the 100 best Senators, no matter where they live. Or why doesn't Wisconsin just elect 9 representatives as a whole to make up our House of Representatives contingent. Why is it that AT EVERY OTHER LEVEL, representative goverment is a good thing, but at the city level it's a bad thing.

I could go on and on, but lets hear your thoughts on the issue.

Academic Freedom, Ideas and 9/11

The Oshkosh Campus Greens have invited controversial UW Madison instructor Dr. Kevin Barrett to discuss Academic Freedom and 9/11. The event is scheduled for Thursday, October 26, beginning at 6pm and will take place in the Reeve Memorial Union Theater, room 307, 748 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh.

Tickets will be available at no cost to students at Titan Central beginning Oct. 17 and to the general public on Oct 23, also at no cost. Titan Central is located in Reeve Memorial Union, and can be contacted at 920.424.1234

Members of the Wisconsin State Legislature called for Barrett’s job to be terminated because he spoke his views on the causes of 9/11. According to Oshkosh Campus Greens Chair Andrew Sabai, “We have invited Barrett because we believe the legislature overstepped its boundaries and violated his academic freedom.”

Barrett will discuss the concept of academic freedom as it has pertained to his own situation. He will also discuss his views on 9/11, something that few have actually heard much about.

Prior to his presentation will be a showing of the movie Loose Change 2, which describes several alternative theories to the causes of the tragic events on 9/11.

The Oshkosh Campus Greens do not support or condemn the views of Dr. Barrett or Loose Change 2, but a growing segment of the population does support them. Sabai stated, “By bringing these ideas into the open and discussing them, students and the community will be able to decide for themselves if they have any merit, and if the legislators have acted inappropriately.”

Space will be available if members of the press wish to attend. Space will be limited and prior arrangements with the University need to be made. If you are a member of the media and wish to attend please contact Frank Church from University Relations at church@uwosh.edu or 920-424-1398 to make arrangements.

In addition, due to limited time, the Oshkosh Campus Greens ask that the media arrange interviews prior to the event. If you are interested in completing an interview, please contact the Oshkosh Campus Greens.

October 26th University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
6:00 – 7:30 pm Loose Change 2
7:45 – 8:30 pm talk by Kevin Barrett
8:30 – 8:45 pm Question and Answer session
Both events will be held in Reeve Union Theater room 307, 160 seats are available

“Academic Freedom, Ideas and 9/11” is part of the Oshkosh Campus Green’s Movie/Speaker series this year. The series features engaging and educational themes intended to incite discussion and challenge the status quo. The next event scheduled is “The reality of AIDS today”, featuring a discussion by local journalist Colin Crowley and a revealing video clip from the Frontline documentary “Age of AIDS”. Colin recently completed documentary work at an AIDS hospital in Kenya. The event is tentatively scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, December 5.

For additional information, please contact the Oshkosh Campus Greens at oshkoshgreens@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Organizer of Angel of Hope drive passes away, dream of statue not realized

For about the past 9 or 10 months there has been a movement in Oshkosh to erect a Christmas Box Angel of Hope statue in Oshkosh, giving people – parents, in particular who have lost a child – a place to go to mourn the loss of their loved one but also rejoice in their having lived. The angel statue concept is based on the early 1990s best-selling novel “The Christmas Box,” where the female character in the book mourns the loss of her child at an angel statue or monument. The reason for not putting such a statue in a cemetery or at a hospital is because those places far too often elicit sad, unhappy memories for survivors. They desire some place more peaceful.

Sharon Fisher and her husband, Jesse – who lost their daughter Alyssa a few years ago in a car accident – belong to a non-profit group known as The Compassionate Friends of Oshkosh, which was given Common Council approval to erect an angel statue in Menominee Park. That set off a firestorm of a debate this past spring when the Madison-based group Freedom from Religion threatened to sue the city if such a statute was placed in the park. They maintained that an angel is a religious icon and, therefore, to put up such a statue in city-owner park would violate the separation of church and state.

Since that time, the Fishers and their group have continued their fundraising effort to get enough funds to have the statue built, but they have also been trying to secure a site on private land somewhere. Such a fundraiser was held just two weeks ago. Sharon Fisher said when she appeared on Eye on Oshkosh that she never intended this issue to be a subject of controversy or to cause such upset for people. Like many parents who’ve suffered a loss, she only wanted a place to go to remember and mourn her daughter.

Now, sadly, Sharon passed away earlier this week at the age of 46 after a 10 year battle with cancer – and before being able to realize the dream of having the statue erected.

Whether you agreed with the angel in the park concept or believed it should have gone somewhere else, I think we can all agree it is tragic that this mother’s dream had not been realized before she too passed from this Earth. Sharon Fisher’s funeral will be this Friday and in lieu of flowers, the family is asking that memorials to the Angel of Hope Statue Fund in Sharon's name be made. Donations can be mailed to The Compassionate Friends of Oshkosh (PO Box 1204 Oshkosh WI 54903-1204) or the Fox Valley Savings Bank (1700 W 20th Ave Oshkosh WI 54902).

I think it would be a wonderful tribute to Sharon for all her work if a small tract of land in an appropriate place could be secured and her dream of a Christmas Box Angel of Hope statue in Oshkosh would finally be built. Thank you!

- Cheryl

Monday, October 16, 2006

OASD facilities report suggests closing some schools...

Monday, October 16 2006 @ 08:01 PM MDT
Contributed by: Zoff B.

On Wednesday, October 11th, the independant firm hired to do a facilities evaluation presented it's findings at the OASD School Board meeting. In the report they suggested some dramatic school closings and changes in exsting school boundaries. It appears that many parents are already rallying in the cause of "NOT MY SCHOOL."

One of the most interesting points of the report was the finding that the "make do" attitude of Oshkosh over the past several decades has now left us in such a financial mess that drastic changes are necessary.

The full report can be found at the OASD website @ www.oshkosh.k12.wi.us.

Renewed interest in riverfront, site of former Five Rivers project

Following a few months of relative quiet surrounding potential development along the riverfront after the sinking of the Five Rivers Resort plans, there is some renewed interest.

According to an online story on the Oshkosh Northwestern’s web site this evening, an investment group named Akcess Acquisition Group, whose president is none other than former Gov. Tommy Thompson, has – along with Cherokee Investment Partners, C.D. Smith Construction and Somerville Architects – submitted preliminary plans to the city to redevelop just over 13 acres in the Marion Road Redevelopment Area along the Fox River and Jackson Street.

The article says the group is proposing mixed-use commercial and residential developments for the area to be known as “The Waterfront.” Besides “new, attractive and affordable housing,” the plans call for the area to also be home to a full-service grocery store, shopping, eating and entertainment establishments, as well as green area for a park and plenty of parking.

The plans will be formally presented to the city’s Redevelopment Authority this Wednesday during its regularly schedule meeting at 4 p.m. at City Hall. No other details have yet been made public and it is certainly way too early to say much about this proposed project – good or bad. But it is nice to see a) more interest from other folks – though C.D. Smith had also hoped to successfully partner with Tom Doig in the Five Rivers project; (b) a concept that at first blush seems to have a little more viability and likelihood for success than Five Rivers did; and (c) a plan where the developers/partners don't seem to be asking for city-generated revenue bonds for a developer assistance grant like Doig did.

Again, it is much too soon to say for sure if this is a sound idea or not, but a grocery store and some new entertainment venues already seem to be a start in the right direction, as does affordable housing, so long as it truly is “affordable.”

Let’s hope the city and city council do plenty of due diligence on this project before we spend hundreds of man-hours and thousands of dollars on something where a developer wants to invest very little of us his own money in the project and share no information with the public.

A copy of the plan can be found by going here.

- Cheryl

We need coats at HARBOR HOUSE!

[we have received the following urgent press release...]


I am sure many of you have noticed a chill settling in the air lately. Perhaps you have experienced a few of the frosty mornings on the walk from your car into work - you can see your breath hang in the air, your body is quick to shiver. A cold and long Wisconsin winter is fast approaching.

Now imagine having to walk to school or wait at a bustop in this kind of weather, without the winter coat that most of us take for granted. This is what many of the children staying at Harbor House are facing, and this is why I am asking for your help.

We are in desperate need of winter coats of all sizes - from infant to adult, both boys and girls. We currently have 50 women and children in shelter (and remember, we are only a 44 bed facility), many of whom are in need of winter coats. I know The Salvation Army does a wonderful job on their drive, Coats for Kids (I should know, since I used to work there), but the coats will not be available until November 9th. The children I am working with will need something before then.

Please forward this email on to coworkers, family and friends. Coats can be dropped off at Harbor House anytime - even on weekends.

I greatly appreciate your help!!!

P.S. Please feel free to email or phone with any questions (832-1667)

In Peace,

Kathy Flores & Carla Hales
Community Education & Outreach Advocate
Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs
Phone: 920-832-1667
Fax: 920-832-1622
Email: hhkathy@athenet.net

Make a career of humanity...and you will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Make A Joyful Noise Rally on Thursday, October 19 6p.m. Houdini Plaza

[we have received the following press release...]


Thursday, October 19

6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Houdini Plaza-Downtown Appleton

Faith in Action Against the Amendment - an interfaith group of spiritual people presents:


To show our solidarity with those whose rights will be constitutionally eliminated by the Civil Unions and Marriage Ban members will spend the day being silent. You don't have to participate in being silent during the day to attend this rally. We need you to come and show your support! At 6:00 we'll gather to vocalize our support. This will be an interfaith service which will include sharing Day of Silence experiences as well as inspirational messages from faith leaders, songs, a candle lighting and a reading by Ellen Kort. (In the event of gad weather, we will move inside to the City Center Plaza). From there those interested in more fun and fellowship will journey the short distance over to Harmony Cafe (124 N. Oneida Street) at 7:00 p.m. for music, sharing and Open Mic.

If you are interested in sharing the day of silence - information packets are available at the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, United Church of Christ, Appleton and Harmony Cafe.

Information on Faith in Action Against the Amendment
On November 7, Wisconsin Voters will decide whether or not to amend the state constitution.

What is the proposed amendment on civil unions and marriage?

The proposed amendment to the Wisconsin constitution reads: "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state."

Faith in Action Against the Amendment consists of individuals and congregations of diverse faiths in the Fox Cities. We are committed to educating the public about the proposed amendment on civil unions and marriage and its consequences.

What does the proposed amendment mean for Wisconsin?

- It writes discrimination into the state constitution, going against Wisconsin's rich tradition of equality and fairness
- It endangers rights for households in domestic partnerships, gay and straight, young and old, including healthcare, employment, and retirement benefits, and access to medical and financial information.
- It bans the possibility of civil unions, even though a majority of Wisconsinites supports them.
- It duplicates a law that already denies marriage rights for same-sex couples, further hurting families in our state that have taken on the responsibilities of marriage.
- It limits Wisconsin's economic future, discouraging diversity and making it hard to attract creative, talented workers.

VOTING NO ON NOVEMBER 7 -- Alliance of Baptists, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Jewish Committee, Milwaukee, Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, Christians for Equality, Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups, Dignity, USA (Catholic), First Presbyterian Church, Oshkosh, Former Wisconsin Governors, Fox Valley Unitarian Universalists Fellowship, Appleton, GeoToys LLC, Greater Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), Individual Rights & Responsibilities Section-Wisconsin Bar Association, Integrity, USA (Episcopal), John Knox Presbytery, La Crosse Area Synod of the ELCA, League of Women Voters of WI, Madison Jewish Community Council, Metropolitan Community Churches, Milwaukee Labor Counsel, Milwaukee Presbytery, Public Interest Law Section-WI Bar Association, DEIU Local 1199W, South Central WI Synod of ELCA, Tikkun Community of Spiritual Progressives, Urban League of Greater Madison, Winnebago Presbytery, Wisconsin Christian Alliance for Progress, Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, WI Conference United Church of Christ, Wisconsin Jewish Conference, Wisconsin Medical Society, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, Wisconsin United Methodist Conference.

Make a career of humanity...and you will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Two Upcoming Events re: Gay Marriage & Civil Union Amendment

[we have received the following promotional information...]

PRO active / CON versation: "What Would Jesus Do? Gay Marriage and Civil Unions”
Wednesday, Oct 18
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Harmony Café
124 N. Oneida Street
Appleton, Wisconsin 54911
(920) 734-2233

Rev. McFadden & Rev. Hartenberger will provide 2 perspectives as to what they believe Jesus would preach regarding the upcoming referendum based on the Bible and His teachings.


Faith in Action Against the Amendment - an interfaith group of
spiritual people presents: DAY OF SILENCE - NIGHT OF NOISE
Thursday, October 19
6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Houdini Plaza-Downtown Appleton
This will be an interfaith service which will include sharing Day of Silence experiences as well as inspirational messages from faith leaders, songs, a candle lighting and a reading by Ellen Kort. From there, those interested in more fun
and fellowship will journey the short distance over to Harmony Cafe at 7:00 p.m. for music, sharing and Open Mic.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Esslinger’s council member statement antics criticized

Anyone who saw last Tuesday night’s Common Council meeting – or at least the portion for council member statements – saw councilor Paul Esslinger on his high horse trying to find a legal way of taking a city staff member to task for something. It was embarrassing to watch and I bet equally embarrassing and uncomfortable for most of those sitting on the council dais. In this morning’s Oshkosh Northwestern, Stew Rieckman used his column to say what I’m sure many of us felt as we watched Esslinger’s performance.

As I watched it I wondered, as I’m sure many did, who Esslinger is trying to nail: Is it city manager Richard Wollangk himself since Esslinger was so quick to exclude him from his private meeting with city attorney Warren Kraft and Mayor Bill Castle? Is it Kraft himself who, in addition to his office not having the best track record lately, had a public difference of opinion with Esslinger at a recent council meeting over the wording of the property tax levy referendum question? Could it be community development director Jackson Kinney over the Five Rivers project debacle or parks director Tom Stephany over something happening in his department? Or is it someone completely different?

Given Esslinger’s timing, I have my own thoughts about who he is going after. But whoever it is, if there is such a serious problem with a staff member, then I can understand Esslinger’s wanting to do something about it. I also understand that the council’s hands seem to be tied, according to counsel from Kraft. Unfortunately, I think Esslinger went about this the wrong way and chose the route he did to score points with the voting public in some way, while at the same time making the staff at city hall ill at ease.

If he didn’t think he could trust certain people at city hall to discuss this with him or to handle it appropriately, then perhaps the most mature and professional approach for Esslinger would have been to explain to the district attorney’s office or attorney general’s office what his concern is and ask them the best way for him to approach the problem. But as Rieckman said in his piece ,that would have robbed Esslinger of his audience and face time on camera. So, we ended up with an embarrassing display of bully politics. What a pity!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Surcharge at Leach Amphitheater proposal coming to council again

The idea of a facility charge or surcharge for tickets to performances/events at the Leach Amphitheater has been discussed by the Oshkosh Common Council at least twice previously and formally proposed at least once that I can recall, but failed to get enough support from the council in order to pass. It also was opposed by concert organizers, promoters. Now, with even tighter budget constraints, a garbage fee in place for the last quarter of this year and cuts being proposed in emergency services as well as other areas, the idea is being proposed once again. And, like in the past, it is councilman Paul Esslinger leading the charge.

Esslinger stated at last Tuesday’s Common Council meeting he intends to bring the idea back at the next meeting (Oct. 24). The ordinance he’s sponsoring would, according to an article in this morning’s Oshkosh Northwestern, call for a $1 surcharge on any ticket costing more than $5, beginning with the 2007 season of performances. The money would be used to cover debt payments on the facility first – which costs about $20,000 per month, according to the article – then to help offset or pay for in their entirety non-routine improvements, upgrades and repairs to the amphitheater.

It is hard to know whether this proposal will get enough support from his fellow councilors to pass; but it certainly should. It’s no secret that many people who attend performances at the Leach are coming here from out of town. Why should they not help pay for a facility they’re using?

Mayor William Castle was quoted in the Northwestern article as saying he does not support a facility charge at this time. "It's something I don't want to take off the table permanently, but the thought of that kind of surcharge on top of the low price tickets down there is just too high of a percentage (increase),” he said.

While I appreciate what he is saying about the amount of $1 in comparison to the ticket prices themselves, I don’t think it should be the determining factor. First, the facility gets the same amount of use, regardless of the ticket prices. One could even argue that with lower ticket prices, more people might take advantage of certain performances, therefore causing the facility to sustain even greater wear and tear. Second, I think it defies common-sense to think that a $1 per ticket surcharge is going to cause anyone to not attend a performance. I think such an argument is absurd, but if a concert organizer is concerned with that possibility, they could always lower their own price by a buck to offset the facility surcharge. Third, a cursory glance on the Internet at different venues shows that facilities around the country charge anywhere from $1 to $4 per ticket, though some might even have higher prices. I found one facility that charged a $6 per series fee – like for the Waterfest concert series, for example – and many that charge not only a facility charge, but also for parking. On top of that, some even charge a handling fee on tickets ordered by phone, email, fax and U.S. mail.

There are also online ticket services that sell tickets to performances at the Leach and they, too, are going to charge a fee. After all, it’s a business for them.
It sounds from the article like PMI, the Green Bay-based promoters of the Leach, will be speaking at the Oct. 24 meeting to explain the ramifications of such a fee. I can’t imagine what they will say that could possibly deter a council member from voting in favor of the surcharge. Again, plenty of other venues charge such a fee and they are no worse for the wear. If they were, I suspect they would do away with it.

I personally believe this fee should have been in place a long time ago already. But if ever there was a time that screamed for it, that time is now. Councilman Esslinger deserves credit for staying on top of this and bringing the idea up again, especially in light of the serious budget predicament the city is in; and his fellow councilors need to support this ordinance. It’s $1, folks; that’s far less than most things you’ve asked people to pay for.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Oshkosh Area LWV Presents Forum on Civil Union Amendment

Amending Wisconsin’s constitution on marriage and civil unions: Is it necessary? Is it desirable? Who would be helped? Who would be harmed? These are questions that the League’s forum hopes to answer on Monday, October 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the J. P. Coughlin Center, 625 E. County Rd Y. This forum addresses the referendum question which is on the November 7 election ballot.

Forum speakers are Gregg Underheim, State Representative; John Bermingham, Oshkosh attorney; Bob Pederson, CEO of Goodwill; Reverend Carol DiBiasio-Snyder, pastor; Susan Werblow, parent; and Aaron Scherer and Paul Smith, committed couple. These speakers represent business, faith and government. The forum is open to the public and free.

Following their presentations, there will be a 30-minute question and answer session. In the interest of time and because the forum is being taped, questions from the audience will be written and read by the forum moderator.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Oshkosh not the only city going to referendum on levy issue

According to this morning’s Green Bay Press Gazette, the city of De Pere is placing not one, but three questions on their November ballot about exceeding the levy limit, all for varying amounts and different purposes.

The referendum questions can be found below and the article can be found here.

The referendum questions:

Under state law, the increase in the levy of the city of De Pere for the tax to be imposed for the next fiscal year (2007) is limited to 2.29 percent, which results in a levy of $6,874,560.

QUESTION 1: Shall the city of De Pere be allowed to exceed this limit and increase the levy for the next fiscal year (2007) and on an ongoing basis, by $550,000, an additional 8 percent increase, for a total levy increase of 10.29 percent, which results in a levy of $7,424,560, for the purpose of maintaining general city services?
A yes vote allows the common council to exceed the state imposed levy limits to provide for city services.
A no vote does not allow the common council to exceed the state imposed levy limits to provide for city services.

QUESTION 2: Shall the city of De Pere be allowed to exceed this limit and increase the levy for the next fiscal year (2007) and on an ongoing basis, by $941,276, an additional 13.69 percent increase, for a total increase of 15.98 percent, which results in a levy of $7,815,836, for the purpose of non-assessment of street maintenance improvements such as street asphalt overlay, street reconstruction, and curb and gutter construction?
A yes vote means that the abutting property owners will not be assessed up to 40 percent of the costs of the street asphalt overlay, street reconstruction, and curb and gutter construction work.
A no vote means that the abutting property owners would continue to be assessed for up to 40 percent of the costs of street asphalt overlay, street reconstruction, and curb and gutter construction work.

QUESTION 3: Shall the city of De Pere be allowed to exceed this limit and increase the levy for the next fiscal year (2007) and on an ongoing basis, by $337,540, an additional 4.91 percent increase, for a total levy increase of 7.26 percent, which results in a levy of $7,212,100, for the purpose of hiring an additional four police officers?
A yes vote means four police officers will be added to the police department.
A no vote means four police officers will not be added to the police department.


[we have received the following press release]



"Slightly Haunted Hangar" for younger goblins on Oct. 28

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (Oct. 9, 2006) - The spirits of Halloween and aviation come together in a special way at the EAA AirVenture Museum on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20-21, and Saturday, Oct. 28, as the museum becomes home to the "Haunted Hangar" tours from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. each day.

Tour guides will lead museum visitors on special flashlight tours of the EAA AirVenture Museum, visiting the ghosts of aviation history. This special event features spooky surprises, chilling stories and special treats throughout the tour, which takes place throughout the displays of EAA's world-class facility.

The Haunted Hangar can be enjoyed by museum visitors of all ages, especially by families and youngsters ages 12 and under. Visitors in Halloween costumes are welcome to be a part of the fun.

Admission to the special Haunted Hangar activities is also a great value at just $5 per person, with EAA members and those five years of age and younger admitted free. Reservations are not required but suggested by calling 920-426-6880 or through the museum's web site at www.airventuremuseum.org.


On Saturday, Oct. 28, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., EAA will host the "Slightly Haunted Hangar" for younger visitors, primarily ages five and under. This fun and friendly way to celebrate Halloween includes trick-or-treat in the EAA AirVenture Museum, holiday-themed games, fun Halloween activities and a chance to dress up in a favorite costume.

Admission to the Slightly Haunted Hangar is included in regular Museum admission. Plus, don't forget that EAA members, and children ages five and under, are always admitted free to the EAA Museum.

The EAA AirVenture Museum is located just off Highway 41 at the Highway 44 exit in Oshkosh. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EAA members receive free museum admission year-round and family memberships are available. For more information, call the EAA AirVenture Museum at (920) 426-6108 or visit www.airventuremuseum.org.

Monday, October 09, 2006

You Tube being purchased by Google

You Tube, the popular web site founded in February 2005 and on which more than 100 million short videos are downloaded every day, has quickly become an Internet phenomenon. So much so that Google, the Internet's leading search engine, announced earlier today that it is buying You Tube for $1.65 billion - with a B - in stock.

Many people locally regularly check out You Tube and some, including Eye on Oshkosh co-host Tony Palmeri, regularly feature short videos downloaded from You Tube on their own web or blog sites. Tony's blog can be found at http://www.talktotony.blogspot.com.

You can read the entire story about You Tube's rapid growth and its impending sale in the latest online issue of CNNMoney.com.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

County executive thumbs nose at county board, alternative budget

In what some might consider an act of defiance, Winnebago County executive Mark Harris, still in his first term, has publicly said that he is submitting one budget, and one budget only, to the county board this year for the 2007 fiscal year. That budget, he says, will include a half percent sales tax and if the county board doesn’t like it, supervisors will have to find areas in which to cut.

The cuts are nothing to sneeze at either. The board would have to cut $700,000 from the budget to bring it below state-set tax levy limits, but more than $3 million in additional cuts if it wants to hold the equalized property tax rate steady at $5.59 per $1,000 of equalized property value.

Frankly this seems to be Mr. Harris saying “You’ll either pass a budget with my sales tax and like it or you’ll be forced to do the work yourselves because I’m just not going to do it.” Is that what he was elected to do: shove his job responsibilities off on the county board? The board supervisors may be elected like he is, and certainly they should be trying to find ways to pass a fiscally responsible budget, but these are part-time jobs for board supervisors. Harris is commanding a very respectable salary and benefits for running the county. Did he not put together two different budget scenarios last year – one with the additional sales tax and the other without it? Whether the necessary cuts can be found or not this seems like Harris flexing his muscle instead of thinking of his constituents. We have a right to expect more from him.

The Oshkosh Northwestern Editorial Board and executive editor Stew Rieckman think so too.

Mark Harris will be appearing on an upcoming episode of Eye on Oshkosh. If you have questions for him – whether about the budget, the sales tax, or any other county issues - please send them to us in the next few weeks by clicking here.

Courts asked to crack down on bloggers, websites

Courts all over the U.S. are being asked to crack down on bloggers and web sites, as those who are being attacked online are arming themselves with attorneys and filing libel lawsuits. We even saw it in Winnebago County earlier this year as Diane Fremgen, our county clerk of courts, struck out against the Full of Bologna web site after one of its regular posters made a series of what Fremgen believed were libelous and defamatory comments. Though quickly settled, the operator of the FOB web site was temporarily shut down and ordered to take certain precautionary measures before being allowed to go back online.

A story this week in Folio Magazine entitled Bloggers: Lawsuits Won’t Stop Publishers From Blogging explores what, if any, this new rash of lawsuits might have on the blog-publishing industry.

One thing those lawsuits are doing, an article in USA Today says, is changing the mindset of those bloggers who think they are “judgment proof” and can basically say anything they want about someone else because they’re not a big-name publisher or because they don’t have a lot of money.

Both articles are interesting reading and should be food for thought for anyone who thinks they can just maliciously say things about others that aren’t true, especially if it taints or damages someone’s career or reputation, and that they are somehow protected because they’re “just blogging.”

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Update on U.S. Senate Candidate Rae Vogeler's Exclusion from the Debate

Rae responds that Wisconsin Public Television's "Separate, but Equal" Policy is a Farce:

I want to thank you all for your emails and phone calls to Wisconsin Public Television protesting my exclusion from the debate yesterday

"You stood up and defended Wisconsin’s traditions of openness and democracy. Because of you, Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) will be much more careful about how it schedules its candidate coverage in the future.

"Wisconsin Public Television yesterday tried to 'spin' the debate in several different ways. They started out by claiming 'we are not producing a formal debate among any of the candidates for U.S. Senate this year'. Later, facing a barrage of protests, they became more aggressive, 'Thank you for writing regarding the inclusion of Rae Vogeler on "Here and Now." I noticed, however, that you left out another candidate, Ben Glatzel.'

"WPT’s response to emails stated 'By providing all four candidates with more time and comparable opportunities to discuss their views and positions, even if that means splitting them between shows on consecutive weeks, we believe we are better serving the viewers, and voters, of Wisconsin.' Their spin on the debate left a number of you a bit puzzled over what was and wasn't happening at WPT.

"We now know that Herb Kohl and Robert Lorge appeared together last night at the same time on 'Here and Now'. They sat around a table, were asked questions by a moderator, each laid out their responses in turn, and then argued with one another over what each other’s positions were. In short, while it may not have been 'formal', (in the sense that both candidates were sitting as opposed to standing), it was a debate.

"Wisconsin Public Television argues that it has a 'separate, but equal' policy. That policy didn't cut it in education, it didn't cut it in race relations, and it doesn't cut it here. Excluding me allowed Kohl to waltz through an easy debate with someone he agrees with on a lot of key issues. He didn’t get confronted on his support for the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, tax cuts for the wealthy and a host of other issues that harm working Wisconsinites.

"In the debate last night, Kohl stated he does not support setting a date for troop withdrawal from Iraq, saying it would be a 'disaster'. Yet most Wisconsinites support troop withdrawal. He defended his support for the No Child Left Behind Act, despite objections from Wisconsin educators that the testing interfered with teaching. Throughout the debate, Lorge and Kohl agreed on most of the issues, with few exceptions. Lorge even suggested that Kohl might as well switch parties and become a Republican. I concur: as much as Kohl agrees with the Bush agenda, it would be an honest move for him to make.

"So thank you all for being there for me. I've included below an editorial on the debate that appeared in this morning's Capital Times newspaper.

"And I'd like to make a personal pitch for donations. Please help me out. Buying television time is now more important than ever."

- Rae Vogeler

Editorial: Bad decision by public TV
by the Editorial Board of the Capital Times newspaper

The decision of Wisconsin Public Television to exclude Rae Vogeler, the Green Party's serious contender in this fall's U.S. Senate race, from what some billed as a Senate debate last night was reprehensible.

We expect the fundamentally flawed "We the People" project, with its corporate sponsorship and arcane rules, to go out of its way to narrow the discourse and undermine the democratic traditions of Wisconsin, as it has with its decision to exclude the Green candidate from the gubernatorial debates. And we were not surprised when last night's similarly flawed Wisconsin Broadcasters Association gubernatorial debate featured only the Democratic and Republican candidates.

But, somehow, it is worse when Wisconsin Public Television, which should set higher standards, mimics the worst patterns in our political process.

Part of the problem has to do with U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., who has avoided serious debates. Because of Kohl's reluctance to face his challengers, Friday night's face-off on the program "Here and Now" between Kohl and Republican challenger Robert Lorge was billed as "the only scheduled joint appearance between the two in this election season."

If that turns out to be the case, then the voters of Wisconsin have been cheated. The only debate, er, "joint appearance" featuring Kohl should also have featured Vogeler. She is running as serious a campaign as Lorge. And with her opposition to the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act and economic policies promoted by the Bush administration - all stances that are close to those of U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold - Vogeler is more in tune with the sentiments of Wisconsin voters than Kohl or Lorge.

By excluding Vogeler from Friday night's program, WPT made it harder for the Green candidate to let voters know there is a contender who shares their views and values. More significantly, the decision to exclude Vogeler denied voters a chance to witness the clash of ideas that all Wisconsinites have a right to expect in a race for so important a position as a U.S. Senate seat.

Published: October 7, 2006


This email was sent by
Rae Vogeler for U.S. Senate
P.O. Box 260223, Madison, WI 53726-0223
To contact us: mail@voterae.org. (608) 204-7336.

Authorized and paid for by:
Wisconsinites for Rae Vogeler, U.S. Senate
Treasurer: Laurie Frank

Friday, October 06, 2006

Rae Vogeler Excluded from Debate on Public Television

The Rae Vogeler U.S. Senate campaign has just found out that incumbent Senator Herb Kohl and his Republican challenger Robert Lorge will be debating on Wisconsin Public Television's Here and Now" program on Friday, October 6th at 7 pm.

Rae has repeatedly and publicly challenged Kohl to a debate and has met with silence from his campaign.

When Herb Kohl was recently interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio, Rae called in to personally invite him to debate. Wisconsin Public Radio refused to let her on the air.

Now we find out that a debate has been organized, and that Rae is being excluded from the only debate that will occur prior to the election. Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio are doing the Republican's and Democrat's bidding by marginalizing other political parties in Wisconsin. But they have offered Rae a bone! She can be on "Here and Now" on Friday, October 13th at 7pm after the "real men" have gone home! This is an outrage!

PLEASE REGISTER YOUR PROTEST! Wisconsin Public Television's News & Public Affairs office can be reached by phone at: (800) 422-9707 or by email at npa@wpt.org.

Please CONTACT THEM NOW, and let them know that you are upset you've lost your opportunity to hear from all of the candidates in a debate. Remind them that you pay for their programming with your tax dollars and that you want your candidate and your point of view to be heard! And the next time Wisconsin Public Television or Wisconsin Public Radio holds a fund drive and asks you for money, please call in and remind them that you expect better of them!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Earth Charter Community Summit begins Oct. 5

OSHKOSH – Noted author Jim Mason will speak about making better food choices and other things individuals can do to reduce environmental damage at the kickoff of the sixth annual UW-Oshkosh Earth Charter Community Summit on Thursday, Oct. 5.

The summit, the largest in the world, also will include a free showing of Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” and talks by longtime civil rights leader Minnijean Brown Trickey and author and economist David Korten.

The Oct. 5-14 summit also will include the formal launch of a major new campus sustainability initiative on Thursday, Oct. 12.

The summit also will include a “Sustainability Expo,” community breakfast and the UW-Oshkosh Powwow.

All events are free and open to the public.

For details on all the events, click http://www.uwosh.edu/earthcharter/summit2006.php.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Human Rights Campaign Condemns Republican Leadership's Response to Page Scandal

[we have received the following press release and are happy to publish it here...]

WASHINGTON - Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign(HRC), the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender political organization, released the following statement today in response to the Republican leadership's response to the scandal involving Mark Foley. Several high-level conservatives in recent days have gone on the offensive trying to make this story about a gay issue.

"The language from high-level conservatives in the last couple of days has been deeply troubling. They continue to try and dodge responsibility for their cover up, instead opting to do what they do best by blaming gays," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "It is completely unacceptable, regardless of party or sexual orientation, for an adult to engage in this kind of behavior with a minor. The American people deserve leaders who confront problems and take responsibility, not leaders who excuse their corruption by trying to pin it on others."

"If the Republican leadership cared about the well-being of our country they would level with the American people and call this what it is, inexcusable behavior that has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation."

During an interview with FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich defended the Republican cover-up by stating, "I think, had they overly aggressively reacted to the initial round, they would have also been accused of gay bashing."

Yesterday, in an email alert to members, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins wrote, "[The House GOP leadership] discounted or downplayed earlier reports concerning Foley's behavior - probably because they did not want to appear 'homophobic'. The Foley scandal shows what happens when political correctness is put ahead of protecting children."

Yesterday, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese released a previous statement directly in response to ex-Rep. Mark Foley's actions. The statement is as follows:

"Gay or straight, Democrat or Republican, it is completely inexcusable for an adult to have this kind of communication with a minor. Congressman Foley brought shame on himself and this Congress by his horrible behavior and complete lack of judgment. We strongly condemn his behavior."

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

Governor Doyle Column: Making Sure Higher Education Remains Affordable

On Tuesday, October 3, Wisconsin celebrates "Higher Education Day" - a day to focus on the importance of college, and on working together to make sure that it remains affordable.

Making sure that the doors of higher education remain open to all is a basic Wisconsin value, and we've made it a priority in this state.

For parents in Wisconsin, one of the proudest moments of their lives is the day their child goes off to college. It's something that every parent dreams of, and often has spent much of their life working toward.

Unfortunately, for many families, the pride of seeing their child go off to college also comes with concern about paying the bills. Middle class families are feeling the squeeze as the federal government - the primary source of student financial aid -- has reduced its commitment to that aid.

That's why state efforts to make college affordable are so important.

Wisconsin families can take advantage of EdVest, Wisconsin's college savings program that offers a wide variety of investment opportunities. It offers easy options for Wisconsin families to save for future college expenses. Investments can qualify for special state and federal tax benefits. Savings can be used for qualified higher education expenses at institutions across the nation. Information is available online at http://www.edvest.com/, or by calling 1-888-338-3789.

Three years ago, my administration was able to negotiate expanded investment options under EdVest, so that Wisconsin families had more choices and could benefit from lower fees. It's a substantial improvement to the program.

I have also signed into law a significant expansion of the college tuition tax deduction, so that you can deduct up to the average cost of tuition at the UW-system. The deduction also applies to students at our technical colleges and private universities.

Most importantly, over the last four years, we have doubled the state's investment in financial aid for UW students, and increased financial aid funding for technical colleges and students at private colleges as well.

The next step in this effort is the Wisconsin Covenant, which will ensure that eight graders in our state know that if they do their part, college will be an affordable option for them.

Last month, I signed a historic agreement with leaders of the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Technical College System, the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the state Department of Public Instruction to implement the Wisconsin Covenant.

Together, we are asking every eighth grader in our state to sign a pledge committing them to stay in school, maintain a B average, apply for financial aid, stay out of trouble, and be a good citizen. If a student holds up to his or her end of the bargain, we'll do our part, and make sure they have a spot in higher education and a financial package to meet their family's needs.

Specifically, a student who completes the Covenant agreement and lives up to it would be guaranteed a spot at one of our UW campuses, a technical college, or one of Wisconsin's many great private higher education institutions. In addition, we'll work with each family individually to make sure they have a package of state, federal and private financial aid that meets their family's needs.

I'm also asking business leaders to support the Wisconsin Covenant, by offering scholarships and mentoring opportunities. I believe we need to continue to build strong, statewide support for higher education - not only on Higher Education Day, but every day.

Let's work together to make sure that in Wisconsin, higher education will open to anyone who is willing to work hard.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Team Leschke Goes Negative; Interest groups attack Hintz in effort to preserve legislative rubber stamp

[We have received the following press release and are pleased to publish it here]

OSHKOSH- With more than five weeks until the November 7 election, two of the largest special interest groups in the state are running television and radio advertisements attacking Democratic candidate Gordon Hintz and supporting establishment choice Julie Pung Leschke.

“I must be doing something right if my opponent has two of the biggest corporate interest groups in Wisconsin attacking me five weeks before the election,” said Hintz. When you challenge the status quo and offer real leadership for a change to people in Oshkosh, the special interest groups in Madison start running scared. And when they run scared, they run negative ads.”

Because the ads run by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and Wisconsin Homeowners Alliance are “issue ads” they are unregulated under existing campaign finance laws and can be purchased directly with unlimited corporate money.

“If anyone wants to know what’s wrong with the system, they should just take a look at how special interest groups are trying to buy this election,” said Hintz.

The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) is one the major or organizations that backed the attack on local control that has led to the City of Oshkosh’s garbage fee and the proposed county sales tax. Their legislative agenda is matched almost word for word by Republican Candidate Julie Pung Leschke’s literature. WMC is also on record opposing campaign reform. Voters in the 54th Assembly District have been waiting more than 57 days for Julie Pung Leschke to answer an independent survey on reform.

Hintz, who has been outspent by Pung Leschke 4-to-1, said voters can expect more of the same corporate involvement in the remainder of the race. The Wisconsin Homeowners Alliance purchased more than $20,000 worth of television ads in the 54th District.

“Special interest groups are backing the status quo and are looking for a rubber stamp in the Assembly. Oshkosh needs an independent leader who will listen to residents and fight for Oshkosh instead of selling out to corporate interest groups,” said Hintz.