Recall Madness in the Land of the Cheeseheads

Governor Who Took On Unions May Face a Closely Watched Recall Election

Thousands of volunteers have raced to collect signatures near busy intersections and malls all over Wisconsin, at makeshift “drive-through” operations in parking lots, during Green Bay Packers viewing parties and New Year’s Eve pub crawls, and even at a fold-up table inside Milwaukee’s airport just off Concourse C.

By a state deadline on Tuesday, these volunteers, many of them Democrats and union supporters, say they will submit at least 720,000 names on petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker, the Republican who curtailed collective bargaining rights for public workers, leading to a face-off in this state.

Only two governors in the nation’s history have lost their jobs in recalls, but Mr. Walker himself acknowledges that, presuming there are no major flaws in the petitions, a recall election appears likely. That puts his removal, which would have a vote in late spring or early summer, within the realm of possibility.

Politicians and political operatives far beyond Wisconsin will be watching closely, not just for what the recall effort may imply for other states’ leaders who are considering cuts to workers’ benefits and union powers as a way to solve budget problems, but also as a sign for the presidential race. Wisconsin was one of several pivotal Midwestern states that gave Barack Obama solid victories in 2008 but then elected Republicans, including Mr. Walker, in significant numbers in 2010. Money from outside the state is certain to pour in from both sides for the recall vote.

In an interview in which Mr. Walker reflected on what he described as his “very surreal” first year in office, he spoke of the outside forces. “I think there’s a real sense that the government unions don’t want anybody — Republican or Democrat — doing this,” Mr. Walker said of his moves to limit benefits and bargaining rights for public workers. “And they’re going to try to make an example of me.”

When a state or local government has budget problems they basically have three options:

1. Cut spending

2. Raise taxes

3. Both

Borrowing is essentially option #2 but you spend the money now and collect it later. In many states this is not an option due to balanced budget amendments. Throw in other amendments like ones requiring 2/3 majorities and/or voter approval for tax hikes and your options are narrowed to option #1.

There is only so much “waste, fraud and abuse” to cut, and in economic downturns the cuts go beyond trimming fat and start carving meat. You can postpone spending on new infrastructure indefinitely but you can only delay maintenance and repair for so long and then bridges start collapsing.

So what did Scott Walker do that caused so much trouble?

Walker proposed a bill that would require additional contributions by state and local government workers to their health care plans and pensions, amounting to roughly an 8% decrease in the average government worker’s take home pay. The bill also would eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public employees except for wages. Public employees would be unable to seek pay increases above the rate of inflation unless approved by a voter referendum and the unions would have to win annual reauthorization votes and could no longer have dues automatically deducted from workers’ paychecks.

That’s it. No layoffs or pay cuts. Schools are still open.

Since the bill was passed into law the Wisconsin public employees have tried unsuccessfully to replace a crucial swing vote in the Wisconsin Supreme Court and spent millions on a recall election trying to remove six members of the state senate. They removed two senators but failed to gain enough seats to overturn the bill. Now they are seeking to remove Walker.

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14 Responses to Recall Madness in the Land of the Cheeseheads

  1. DeniseVB says:

    It would be a shame to see Walker recalled, he’s trying to help people keep their jobs, and an 8% decrease in benefits is better than no job at all.

  2. myiq2xu says:

    ‘They took my place!’ Single dad trying to take back home occupied by OWS

    They’re occupying his home.

    Occupy Wall Street protesters announced with great fanfare last month that they moved a homeless family into a “foreclosed” Brooklyn home — even though they knew the house belonged to a struggling single father desperately trying to renegotiate his mortgage, The Post has learned.

    “They’re trying to take a house and say the bank is robbing the people because the mortgage is too high — so contact the owner!” fumed Wise Ahadzi, 28, who owns the home at 702 Vermont St. in East New York.

    Occupiers “reclaimed” the row house on Dec. 6 and ceremoniously put out the welcome mat for a homeless family.

    But Bank of America, which has been in and out of foreclosure proceedings against Ahadzi since 2009, confirmed to The Post that he is still the rightful owner.

    Meanwhile, the family that OWS claimed to be putting into the vacant house has not yet permanently moved in. And it turns out the family is not a random victim of the foreclosure crisis, but cast for the part, thanks to their connection to the OWS movement.

    OWS last week said it has spent $9,500 breaking into the house and setting it up for the homeless Carrasquillo family. A photo of the smiling family covers a window, under the slogan, “A place to call home.”

    The head of the family, Alfredo Carrasquillo, 28, is an organizer for VOCAL- NY, a group that works with OWS. His Facebook page shows him in a “99 Percent” T-shirt at an OWS protest in November.

    The Post visited the Vermont Street home last week — six weeks after OWS announced that the Carrasquillos were moving in — and the family was nowhere to be found.

    In fact, the only people occupying the house were occupiers themselves.

    “They only stay here sometimes,” a protester named Charlie said of the Carrasquillos. “There’s not enough room for the kids.”

    The occupier refused to say how many others were inside, but at least two more protesters could be seen at the house, along with mattresses on the floor, during The Post visit.

    Police notified him in early December that the vigilante vagrants moved into his East New York digs, he said. He immediately ran over to the house to see for himself.

    “Oh, don’t call the police!” an occupier begged him.

    OWS leaders and Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron, an OWS supporter, met with Ahadzi before the press conference to discuss the future of his property, he said. Ahadzi hoped that the group would help him regain his footing.

    “Why can’t you fight for me?” he asked them.

    “They told me I don’t qualify,” he said. “So my lawyer asked what the qualifications are. [They said] I have to be with an organization and they’ll deal with the bank and you have to be homeless.

    “They said they couldn’t help me,” he added.


    Ahadzi even attended the Dec. 6 press conference at the house when the Carrasquillos were introduced. He wanted to tell reporters his story.

    “[OWS] told me not to talk to them [reporters] because they [OWS] had an offer for me,” he said.

    At a second meeting after the press conference, however, organizers said they would not pay him for the house. At that point, he told them to leave.

    Inside the house the walls are knocked down and all of his belongings, including a stove, refrigerator and bedroom furniture, have been moved to the basement.

    “I’m pissed off,” he said.

    “I’m trying to get my house back, and they’re trying to take it from me.”

    • DeniseVB says:

      So Bank of America’s been working with the owners for 3 years? I thought banks were evil and kicked families out for no reason per the Owies?

      Were the owners evicted? Why not help them first? I don’t trust the OWS version of this story.

    • DandyTiger says:

      OWS is pure evil.

    • Karma says:

      With those kind of results you have to wonder if the bank called in OWS to get the homeowners out?

  3. myiq2xu says:


    Survey finds school districts have taken hits; Walker touts reforms

    A new survey of the majority of the state’s school districts shows many of them were forced to make staff reductions and increase class sizes as a result of school aid cuts in Gov. Scott Walker’s state budget, according to the state Department of Public Instruction and a school administrators association.

    But the governor’s office, briefed Wednesday afternoon on the survey to be announced at a Thursday news conference, says the Walker administration’s reforms are working and points out that the majority of teacher layoffs have been in districts that didn’t adopt the reforms – notably in Milwaukee, Kenosha and Janesville.

    The survey, by the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, was conducted in the early fall of the current school year, after the state Legislature passed a two-year budget that trimmed $749 million in aid to public school districts, in addition to reductions in the limits of what districts can levy in property taxes.

    The survey was sent to administrators in all 424 state school districts, and 83% of the districts responded.

    The loss of aid was supposed to be made up with flexibility passed by the Legislature that allows school districts to impose an increased share of costs for health insurance and pensions on employees.

    Some districts, however, were locked into labor contracts that pre-empted the new state law. Milwaukee Public Schools, already with a collective bargaining agreement with its teachers through June 2013, appealed to the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association in June to contribute 5.8% of teachers’ pay toward their pensions. The union’s membership refused, and two days later the district announced the layoffs of 519 employees, including 334 teachers. Some 70 of those laid-off teachers were later recalled.

    • 1539days says:

      This tends to be the pattern with unions. They have steady increases in power and compensation. Then the company gets into financial trouble. The union allows for give backs a few times and then draws the line. The employer then starts the massive layoffs.

      Now, you can blame this on the corporations, especially if they have “record” profits, but here’s a better question. Many unions have rather substantial pension funds. Why don’t they just buy the companies their members work for and become the bosses themselves? Then they can figure out how to pay workers and pay the bills. I imagine they would end up like the pigs in Animal Farm.

  4. myiq2xu says:

    Survivors tell of panic as men ignore order that women and children should go first and passengers fight to get on boats

    Fights broke out to get into the lifeboats, men refused to prioritise women, expectant mothers and children as they pushed themselves forward to escape. Crew ignored their passengers – leaving ‘chefs and waiters’ to help out.


    ‘I was standing by the lifeboats and men, big men, were banging into me and knocking the girls. It was awful. There was a total lack of organisation. There was no one telling people where to go.

    ‘And when we finally got into a lifeboat, people, grown men, were trying to jump into the boat. I thought, if they land in here we are going to capsize.

    Suddenly all those guys believe in gender equality.

  5. votermom says:

    O lordy, kids are watching MO on icarly. I may barf.

  6. votermom says:

    I may barf

    • yttik says:

      It’s kind of funny, I mean I never thought it was possible for ICarly to get any worse.

      Miley Cirus, Suite Life of Zack, and ICarly, ……hmmmm, how could we make them even more tortuous and annoying?? I know, let’s have a dance party with Michelle Obama!

  7. DandyTiger says:

    I don’t think the unions claim to have a problem with the cuts. At least that’s my recollection through the fog of a football loss hangover. I think they only have a problem with the reduction in bargaining rights. So the fight makes sense from that point of view. Certainly it makes no sense from the cuts point of view because they’re probably spending more on the effort that the total of the cuts.

  8. Glenn McGahee says:

    Here’s my view of this recall. Remember when the governor of California was recalled because of the energy prices skyrocketing in California. Later we learned it was all ENRON manipulating those prices and the gov. was helpless. How much money was spent on that recall and then the state was left with arnold swarchenegger. Elections cost alot of money and it seems the state of Wisconsin can ill afford another one right now. Why not wait until the next election cycle and then see how it plays out. Whats done is done and a new election will not necessarily change anything now. Or is it just revenge. I have friends there and they’re on that bandwagon. They are also big Obama supporters and hate Sara Palin. The thing is that they are 1 issue voters. All they care about are gay rights. They look at everything from that single issue and are suffering financially because of the job scene in the state but completely ignore the economic issues the state is facing. They don’t pay attention to any economic issues of the country. I’m reeling from watching the infrastructure economic stimulous money being spent on shovel-ready jobs here in Florida. Its all going into landscaping. Yea, thats shovel-ready alright. We’re spending thousands per palm tree to line the streets everywhere and put in irrigation for those palms. Its driving me crazy when I think of the money being spent here. I might add there is one other project with the money. Its for bus stops lit with solar panels. The solar panels light up the bus stops advertising billboards (created jobs to install) but guess what. There’s no overhang to keep people dry when its raining and at night, the solar panels are useless and the bus stops are dark. Somebody is stupid.

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