Gov. Walker ‘Pays It Forward’ to Police Union Again

Pay It Forward was a popular movie about receiving a favor but instead of paying it back, you ‘pay it forward’ to others. The catch is that you have to do a favor that the recipient cannot do themselves.

Governor Walker appears to have embraced that concept. First, two years ago in 2011 Governor Walker signed Wisconsin’s Act 10 which crushed public sector collective bargaining except for the police and first responder unions. He carved out that exception as a favor to them.

Now in 2013, Gov. Walker once again Pays it Forward to police and fire unions.

Page 57 of Walker’s budget contains this element:

“Finally, the Governor recommends prohibiting local units of government from passing ordinances or other policies which require residency within the jurisdiction of the local unit, unless as required by state law.”
This is a favor to police and fire unions. For years, the Milwaukee police and fire departments have been trying to remove residency requirements from its contracts but the City of Milwaukee has always fought them. If you don’t know, residency requirements means that First Responders must live within the city limits.  It only makes sense that the first responders for natural disasters, civil unrest, and mass attacks live in the city they are sworn to protect and live in the area they serve. I want you to note that Gov. Walker did not simply go after Milwaukee, he went after every city, village, and town in Wisconsin.
You may know that towns are very capable of deciding where first responders live without any state interference. The town I live in shares the fire department with other towns and cities. The requirement for a first responder is to be within 20 minutes of the fire department. Though it is likely a surprise to Gov. Walker, that decision was made without his opinion or involvement.
Our town would like to continue making its own wise decisions but Big Autocrat Scott Walker intends to prevent that in the future. He’s going tell us for our own good.  Not just in towns; but also in villages and cities.
Isn’t it common sense that first responders should have a vested loyalty to provide first responder service in the town, village, city where they live? Of course it is.
But when police and fire unions want something in Wisconsin, they get Walker to do it for them…regardless what any other local town, village, or city wants.
Here’s my question for Governor Walker, “Sir, why should state troopers live in Wisconsin?” And a second question “Why should any Wisconsin first responder  live in Wisconsin?” The Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan borders allow plenty of opportunity for Wisconsin police and fire and ambulance providers to live out-of-state.
Perhaps we should have the same flexibility for our Governor and our legislature?
Breaking down the connection between where we live and who we serve and  doing it to benefit unions at the expense of a municipality’s authority is outrageous. To usurp the authority of a local municipality is a high crime.
There’s something wrong with Walker.

The ‘Inner City Archipelago’ in America

Almost every day we read about violence in the inner city and we lament that it exists. We try to control it by outlawing guns and those who possess them with the eternal hope that the violence will abate if we only reduce the accessibility or the possession of firearms. Sadly, we cling to that thought because no one has given us any hope that there are other means to reducing violence rather than gun control and gun abatement policies.

“It’s the culture” some cry. “Why doesn’t somebody do something” is the question on the lips of many. The simple facts are that no one cares enough to solve violence in a comprehensive way.

So let’s begin by saying that we all know that 80+% of personal violence is committed in a few square miles of the largest of cities. There are maps that show crimes by zip code and clearly demonstrate where violence congregates. Look here for a few cities and you will see what I mean. Use the Advanced feature to remove all crimes against property and  leave crimes against people and you will see islands of crime in every major city. Try Chicago and look at crimes in the University area for the past year compared to other areas.

This establishes that violence islands do exist but politicians and city officials have not figured out how to deal with it. Well, in truth,  they deal with it by keeping ‘it’ confined to a certain island in the city.

In a second fashion, we know that Nature and Nurture influence how we behave. There are hardwired behaviors in people that cause them to act in certain ways. Those actions are enhanced or reduced by the environment that surrounds the individual and by the “rules” we learned as children. The nurture part of the equation needs consistent  reinforcement to maintain control over the hardwired behaviors. In a ‘good’ neighborhood, the consistent good nurturing is repeated and in the ‘bad’ neighborhood, the consistent bad nurturing is repeated.

Third, we know that society and the government has never attempted to change bad neighborhoods into good ones. What they do is reactive and not corrective or preventive. They incarcerate the individual and fail to change the neighborhood. This has gone on for centuries.

Our first question is ‘Should society care about the islands of  violence in every city?’

Our second question is ‘What authority over people should our government have to reduce or eliminate the islands of violence?”

Our third question is “What methods and approaches would have the greatest impact in reducing a single island of violence significantly?

Frederic Taylor demonstrated that any change in an environment will provide a temporary improvement in a measured behavior. He studied people’s productivity, made changes in the environment, and then measured the results. The Principles of Scientific Management is his contribution to the study of how people act and react to their environment.

If we apply Taylor’s concepts to island’s of violence then we should see temporary changes in violence if we increase police patrols but ultimately the levels will return to their former status. The same could be said if we use any reactive method to violent crime (vigilante-ism, incarceration, increasing sentencing, more laws and more patrol cars) .

To change people’s behaviors for the long term, a change in values is required. And to change the values, we need to change the interactions among the people. And to change that, we need to change the people. The first step to changing the culture of violence is to remove the ‘hardwired behavioral problem people with poor nurturing’ from the remainder of the population. Interestingly, this is one result of a three strikes law. It removes a habitual criminal from society and incarcerates him for a longer period of time.

I recall that Minneapolis police noticed there were residences that had significantly more police calls than others. By working with landlords, they forced these habitual offenders to move to new and different areas by not renewing leases or forcing the tenant out. The change in location had a permanent impact on the crime recorded for the address and a temporary impact on the overall crime rates of the individual. I don’t know if those ‘relocation’ influences had a permanent impact over the years but it would be nice to think so.

Chicago built a rail system from downtown to Chicago O’Hare to ensure that city folks would not be distressed in going to the airport by driving on the freeways and to ensure that O’Hare had a supply of less expensive city labor to work in O’Hare, the cry of the suburbanites was that this would only “bring crime to the suburbs”. I don’t know if that is what happened but that was the fear at the time. Everyone appears to know that crime can ebb and flow with the quality of the people in an area.

Where do you put the hardwired bad behavior people? Good question. We are going to have to answer that one and it will likely be an uncomfortable answer. To my knowledge, there is no method to change the hardwired nature.

The second part of reducing violence in the Archipelago will be nurturing the remaining population. Life coaches, job training, and reinforcement will be needed to give them an opportunity to pursue a life without crime.

The third part is that government will have to shoulder this burden through a generational project to change behaviors. And before you scoff, this is exactly the message and the meaning of the reign of Christ in Revelations. Biblically speaking, removing the hardwired bad behavior people permanently is God’s solution, too. (Shh, don’t tell anyone.)

But until that time, what should we do with the Inner City Archipelago?

Barron County: Prayer before government meetings

Since 1957, the Barron County Board has prayed at the start of its meetings. Last year, the Freedom from Religion Foundation threatened a lawsuit if it continued this practice. On January 21st, the County Board voted to continue its invocation. It had the support and the urging of 35 citizens to proceed with this longstanding practice.

All of this is common sense, isn’t it? It is one thing to prevent the Federal government from establishing a national religion and quite another to say that people should forego a common time for religious prayer because it offends someone else. Although I may not be able to explain why a government call to Muslim prayer five times a day is different than a County Board calling for voluntary prayer once a month, I know that others can.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation seeks to prevent a time for voluntary prayer so they are not offended by someone else’s beliefs, and yet they seek to offend every religious person by denying them a time to jointly pray to their Deity for guidance.

As noted by others, the Constitution grants ‘freedom of religion’ but not ‘freedom from religion’. While we need to be mindful that we do not force people to pray, there is no cause to prevent people from voluntary prayer if they so choose.

I support the Barron County Board in its decision… and the Devil take the hindmost if you believe in that, too.

The Domestic Enemies of America

1. Any President who asserts authority not granted by the Constitution.

2. Any Congress that asserts authority not granted by the Constitution.

3. Any Supreme Court that ignores the rights of individual or collective states (or persons) and establishes more authority for Congress and the President than plainly expressed in the Constitution.

4. Political parties that seek to raid the National Treasury instead of preserving it.

5. An educational system that prefers advancing underachievers rather than developing excellence.

6. Federal and local law enforcement that commit unconstitutional and illegal acts while performing their duties.

7. Groups and organizations that promote social justice first, personal responsibility and freedom second.

8. News media that proselytize to stir emotions instead of promoting understanding.

9. People and organizations seeking to use the force of law over others to accomplish what they cannot achieve themselves by argument.

10. Those who do not recognize that just societies, economic societies, and healthy societies are fundamentally based upon spiritual qualities: honesty, truth, integrity, self-discipline, love of oneself, respect for others, and acceptance of the immutable goodness and evilness existing within the body of mankind.

The Town Caucus in Wisconsin

Prairie Lake has chosen January 8th to conduct its town caucus to select candidates for the Spring Election ballot. The caucus will be for the positions of Town Chairman, two Town Supervisors, a Town Clerk, and a Town Treasurer.

Here is a simplified version of what occurs:

The procedure is to seek nominations from the floor. Each nomination must receive a second. After each nomination and second, the caucus chairperson must ask if there are more nominations a total of three times and, if hearing none, the caucus chairperson must announce that nominations are closed for that office.

Tellers, as vote counters (canvassers) are called, are responsible for distributing ballots and counting the results. Naturally, if there are but one or two nominees, the chairperson may call for an acclimation by the electors to place the nominee(s) onto the ballot without holding a special vote.

In cases in which the number of nominees is more than twice the number of electable positions on the ballot, a run-off vote is conducted to reduce the number of nominees to twice the number of positions available. For example, there is one Town Chairman position, if three people are nominated then a run-off will be held to reduce this to two. Prairie Lake has two Supervisor positions so if five or more people are nominated then a run-off will be held to bring this to four nominees.

In those run-off elections, the electors have as many votes as there are positions available. In the example above electors would have one vote for Chairman and two votes for Supervisors. If there are ties, another runoff vote is conducted or a drawing of lots occurs. The method for resolving ties should be announced at the beginning of the meeting.

After the caucus concludes the Town Clerk ensures that nominees are notified and the nominees acknowledge their notification. Appropriate forms are completed by the nominee and the Town Clerk and forwarded to the Government Accountability Board (GAB) in Madison.

The next step is for the Town Clerk to determine the order of names on the ballot and this is accomplished typically by drawing names out of a hat. This drawing for ballot placement should be noticed and then conducted by the Town Clerk.

This is a simplified description and if you’d like to know more details, please visit the GAB website:

I encourage you to attend your local town caucus and participate in choosing your nominees.


Who is more sovereign: Wisconsin or the Ho-Chunk Nation?

Has anyone compared the sovereignty of  the state of Wisconsin  to the Ho-Chunk Nation’s sovereignty vis-a-vis  federal laws? Anyone out there with some background in this area?

Seems to me that Indian nations have established their sovereign rights more conclusively in the past 50 years than any state of the Union.  I understand that, as individuals and as government , the struggle for Indian civil rights has fallen short of the civil rights of black  Americans, often requiring special legislation to provide Indians the equality under law that blacks had already achieved.

What is the political and legal relationship between the state of Wisconsin and the Ho-Chunk Nation?

Can anyone jump in and give me a tutorial on whether the rights and freedoms of tribal nations exceed the rights and freedoms of the states?

For example, does ObamaCare apply to the Indian Nations? Can Congress compel citizens of the Indian nations to buy insurance? Does the penalty tax apply? How does the Indian Commerce Clause differ from the Interstate Commerce Clause  in this case?

If there is a resource in the ether that can help me understand how the Indian Nations and the state governments differ in the application of federal laws, please point the way….




Surrounded by the Frac Sand Industry

My town, the Town of Prairie Lake, is surrounded by the emergent frac sand mining industry of Wisconsin. Today a new mine was proposed in the Town of Sioux Creek. It will be located on about 1,000 acres of land about 6 miles (as the crow flies) from my home. There are plenty of other mines and mining-related operations nearby. We know they are coming but not when.

This new mine will ship 1 million tons of sand every year to feed the shale of North Dakota. They have asked Sioux Creek to operate 24 hours a day.

No one thought that the rural dairy and turkey farming areas of Barron County would ever be involved in the Sand Rush era. But here we are. To the north, CN railroad has rebuilt miles of track from Ladysmith to Cameron and reinstated train service to move millions of tons of sand out of Wisconsin.

Most of the towns in Barron County have nonmetallic mining ordinances now to safeguard air and water quality. What is not known though is the noise that will be generated by trucks and machinery operating day and night. It is also not known how much of the dark will be sacrificed to the lights of a 24×7 operation.

What we care about is:
1. Can we enjoy the peace and quiet of our area if there is a mining operation nearby? Can we sit on our front porch and watch the wildlife wander our property? Can we simply listen to the wind in the trees? Or will we have to listen to the industrial noises coming from a mining operation that was never invited to our area? Can we have our windows open all summer or do we have to close them to keep the noise of heavy vehicles out of our house? Do we have to hear the incessant beeping of every heavy equipment vehicle backing-up all day and all night long? I read in the paper that the mine owner’s representative says they will use flashing/strobing lights instead of alarms but he neglected to say anything about the 130 truckloads of sand that will be hauled out. Do they have beeping alarms when they back up? It is unlikely that the mining operators have any control over the trucks. We are told that the blasting operations are nothing like what we see on TV. That it merely goes Phfft and it’s done. We’ll see.
2. What about the traffic? On my six-mile drive to work, I encounter maybe three or four vehicles. Mostly cars, but a few pieces of farm equipment also. More frequently it is the Amish horse and buggies going to and from church or school and an occasional trip to the City of Chetek. What do we do with 14-year old Amish teenagers sharing their horse and buggies on a road with three and four-axle sand hauling trucks? And recently, our town approved portions of our roads for ATV operations. My wife and I bicycle a few hundred miles every year and the idea of sharing a town or county road with a sand behemoth is not our idea of a relaxing ride in the country. The mine operators say they don’t know what train will haul their sand nor what routes the County will permit them to travel on but we all know where the train tracks are and of the need to get the sand to the trains. The mine operators are intelligent (and determined) and they know that the trucks have to access county roads out of their mine else the towns will want them to pay to maintain the roads. How do we protect the town’s rural character from this county road encroachment?
3. Water table quality is essential in this community. Everybody has a well. There’s no city water in rural Wisconsin. Pollute the water table and your quality of life is effed forever. The mining companies will not willingly bring you water everyday forever and you don’t want your family dependent on that anyway. And if there are two nearby mines using flocculants or other water quality adulterating substances, your town is going to have to prove that one of them is the problem before you stand a chance to receive compensation or even fresh water. There is no ‘sorry’ big enough to make up for effed water. But pollution of the water is not the sole issue. There’s the turbidity from drawing more than 100,000 gallons of water per day from the table that sucks up debris and stirs it into the water table, too. Who wants dirty water coming from their well?
4. Air quality is a concern but not for reasons of silicosis. It’s the darn sand everywhere. One hundred thirty five trucks per day hauling sand down a corridor is going to leave a residue. If you live along that corridor, you will have grit all the time. ‘Cept maybe winter. Diesel smoke, truck noise, and grit. 24×7. Who wants that? It’s called fugitive dust. At the town meeting, the mine representative was a bit  disingenuous. He said that “You’re not allowed to let fugitive dust leave your property.” True enough but not a complete enough answer. Those 135 truckloads a day don’t belong to the mine so how will the town ensure that the truck drivers will cover their sand loads while traveling 50-60 miles an hour down county roads? Note: Towns don’t have police forces. Nobody will be actively ensuring that trucks are covered. The County has bigger fish to fry.
5. The nuisance of dealing with an industrial invasion is another problem that none of us really want. Complaints from residents, noises, night-long lighting,  visual signs that Wisconsin’s earth is removed, dirt is extracted, sand is shipped, and flocculants are used will be in our face every day. We will be defending against an ever present threat to nature and our quality of life.

These are things we fear when mining operations come to our town. Are the 20 jobs for other people just compensation to the people whose property can no longer be enjoyed due to the mining? Is the commerce from 135 truckloads a day and trains rumbling through small town crossings enough to enrich the life of those who hobby farm, dairy farm, turkey farm, and live on the land? Is the risk of traffic accidents between horse and buggy and sand trucks worth the changes? Probably not.

Prairie Lake is surrounded. There is no cavalry. We are adjusting to the facts in front of our faces. And we don’t roll over.



The faintest of praise is fodder for campaigns

Those political advertisements about Governor Walker and job creation are compelling, aren’t they? One side triumphantly says ‘Governor Walker created 30,000 jobs since he took office’ (woohoo!) while  the other side says disparagingly ‘Under Governor Walker, Wisconsin placed last in job creation’ (OMG, the sky is falling!) And, as we suspect, both marketing ads are likely true but immaterial.

Did you know that Wisconsin possesses a total of ~2.8 million jobs? Those 30,000 jobs represent an increase of ~1% of the total jobs in Wisconsin.  Do I still hear a ‘woohoo’?

All of this only matters if you think that the Governor can create jobs or lose jobs in our state. We are all adults and we know that a rising tide floats all boats while an ebbing tide lowers them – whether or not a Republican or a Democrat is in charge. However, if the tide is rising and the jobs boat is sinking, the Governor should do something to save passengers and crew. (pay attention, ex- Governor Doyle.)

Political advertising does bear scrutiny. Touting a 30,000 jobs increase is faint praise indeed in 2.8 million jobs state. Perhaps this should be noted by the media.