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Staffer Inside Wisconsin Capitol Details What Happened

March 1, 2011

This is how the events playing out in the Wisconsin State Capitol on Monday looked according to one staffer in the building.   The person submitted this to me, and I will honor the request to not release the person’s name…for obvious reasons. 

I come into work this morning, using my employee ID to get in (been that way for a while.)

What I learn once arriving is that the elevators have ALL been shut down and no one is allowed to go up above the ground floor (I guess for people who… have stayed the night -who are ALL being compliant, in my opinion) unless you have an employer ID or are escorted by a legislative staff member to the upper floors.

Police of all types stationed at every stairwell.

And then I realize that the building is in lockout mode.

The King St. entrance looks like it is prepared to receive the “raucous” visitors: long tables set out with plastic tubs – just like at the airport, but smaller – serving the same purpose: to hold coins, keys, metals of any type – metal detection wands at the ready.

But nothing is happening.

No one is entering the building.

It went on like this for hours. I asked the random police to ask what was happening, but no one seemed to know, or say. I truly believe that they did not know what was happening. It is a state of confusion now.

All of a sudden, at about 1:45pm, (keeping in mind that normal business hours on a weekday are 8am – 6pm), one center-revolving door lets in the light, and they are very slowly and cautiously allowing people to enter. Apparently, the Dem. Assembly members have called a public hearing on this “repair” bill. The law dictates that this bldg. is open for public hearings.

The thing is, a citizen of this state couldn’t just come in and get to the hearing as on any other day. One had to acquire a “legislative pass” in order to enter this meeting. Having learned this piece of news, and never had heard of such a thing, I called a couple of other  representative’s  offices to ask what this is, where to get one. They had never heard of such a thing, either.

As things were changing from moment to moment and no one still had answers, a State Trooper told me that these passes were being given out at the entrance (inside). So I go to this entrance, and there is a Trooper giving out sticky tags, upon which were obviously computer generated, quick-to-the-get tags that read something like, “Legislative Hearing” with today’s date. But he had a total of four sheets with ten tags each.

40 legislative passes.

 There must have been hundreds of people outside waiting to get in.

After people spoke their minds at the hearing, they were escorted out of the building by police.

Within the past couple of days, and I’m not sure when this was exactly instated, food was prohibited from being brought into the capitol- all those pizzas from Uganda to waste. (Except for last night, when my new hero, Charles Tubbs) the Chief of Cap Police allowed the protesters to stay the night.

In fact, everyday, there have been more and more restrictions as to what a person can bring in or where they can go – or pee.

As a last resort – and I am privy to the fact – that people on the outside have delivered food and meds to people on the inside through windows on the ground floor offices or restrooms.

Well now, the restroom windows, as of today, have all (including the first floor, which is one level up) have been secured shut with screws on either side of the windows, rendering them impossible to open, the screw heads lopped off. I witnessed the maintenance dudes who were told to do this.

It sickens me to see this happen at our capitol. I love this building and all that it stands for.

People from around this earth visit here, and have always been especially impressed, not only for its beauty, friendliness, and the especially important fact that it is (has been) so accessible to the public.

9/11/01 was a workday at the Capitol for me. The following weeks of that horrible event lead to a less scrutinizing of public access to this building than what is happening now.

When I saw the thousands of fourth graders on their annual springtime tours, I would stop when I could and  make it a point to say that, “This is YOUR house”. That IS (or was) what this building was built for.

And now I feel I can’t honestly say that anymore.

23 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2011 11:58 AM

    I think the civics lesson would be a powerful one for fourth graders……to be honest for most adults too!

  2. March 2, 2011 11:52 AM

    I have been thinking about Capitol access now vs. after 9-11, and am glad this staffer brought that up. I would love to see an in-depth comparison of this somewhere mainstream.

  3. Topher permalink
    March 2, 2011 11:47 AM

    Badgerlvr: pretty sure this would be an ideal time for some tours by school children.

  4. cindy johnson permalink
    March 2, 2011 10:27 AM

    I think the opposition has hacked the last bit of the video that shows Matt Sandy getting in the doors – can’t see it – only shows a black screen. thank you.

  5. Andy Olsen permalink
    March 2, 2011 9:53 AM

    Video of right wing lobbyists granted speedy access to Wisconsin Capitol.

  6. Anna K permalink
    March 2, 2011 9:13 AM

    Thank you for this post.

    It’s sickening to think that they’re literally starving the protesters out.

    Human rights? Screw them!

  7. aewells permalink
    March 2, 2011 9:08 AM

    Thank you for your insight! Truly a risk in the totalitarian state Walker has created. Keep the info coming if possible. The rumors are flying. But most appear to be true. Again thank you.

  8. Shripe permalink
    March 2, 2011 7:32 AM

    Amazing words… Send that guy/girl to the hearing this morning. That first-hand account is worth listening to.

  9. Frank Mills permalink
    March 2, 2011 7:02 AM

    When the Tpartiers from other states disrupted my Congressman’s Town Hall meetings last year, they were not locked out, even though they made it impossible for anyone from his District to participate or have a voice. Now their loyalist is the imperial force barring others from speaking in Wisconsin.

  10. Badgerlvr permalink
    March 2, 2011 6:52 AM

    So, when is all the garbage hanging on the walls and rails going to come off so the tours by school children can resume?

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