County Executive Kathleen Falk Wins, Mitch Henck Loses

It was a rough and nasty campaign as the Nancy Mistele forces waged an all out fight to frighen Dane County voters over the 911 system, while downplaying  the need for remodeling our transportation infrastructure.    There were many who held their breath in the closing weeks of the campaign, working and hoping for a sensible and thoughtful voter turnout that would again place Kathleen Falk back in the role as County Executive.  With the final votes tabulated the race that some had thought to be close, was instead not close at all.   Once the City of Madison votes tipped the balance there was nothing to do but wait for the candidates to speak to their respective election night crowds.

During the election I was struck by the intensity that some waged the battle on behalf of Nancy Mistele.  Rough and tumble politics is great to see, and I think nothing wrong with promoting a strong point of view.  But there are places and times to do that.  However using a morning radio talk show, as Mitch Henck often did on WIBA, to promote the candidancy of Nancy Mistele was unseemly to witness.  If was as if he thought himself a  surrogate speaker on behalf of  the  Mistele campaign.  Maybe he was, and that was part of the Mistele attempt to win the race.

Let me be perfectly clear about this.  Had the tables been turned, and Henck taken the same partisan position in favor of my candidate I would have found it just as troubling.  As crazy as it sounds I had hoped that  WIBA could have at least used their morning local talk show to impart some objectivity to the issues that confront Madison and Dane County.  Instead I found far to0 often Henck making every effort to sway the voters for Mistele, as opposed to educating and illuminating the issues of the day.  In the final weeks I no longer could even listen. 

I had hoped that Mitch Henck could be more than just a shill for the latest conservative causes that inspire and energize Vicki McKenna in the afternoon drive-time slot.   I had hoped that at least one radio talk show in Madison could rise above the partisan, and think about the listening public.  While I respect Mitch Henck as a singer and on-stage performer, after this election he has lost my respect as a broadcaster.

My Reaction To Tax Increase Opponents In Illinois

I have a few thoughts after listening to a spirited conversation on  Chicago radio over proposed tax increases for that state.

Being from Wisconsin where we face a roughly $5 billion dollar budget gap I understand the frustration over these matters.  Regardless of the state in question there are needs that must be met, and simply to remove the taxing portion of the solution from the table is just not a rationale way to proceed.

I know I have upset many simply with that limited remark.

So I ask you to offer ways that the budget in your state can be brought in line without tax increases.  To say that free bus service be cut for seniors sounds like we have eliminated about what (?) .3% of the red ink.  That leaves 99.7% to go.

At some point in times like these when state revenues shrink be mindful that the cuts do not take long before they hit the bone.  Should state colleges be denied funds so that tuition needs to increase sharply?  How about closing all state parks to save money?  Should in-home nursing services be cut for the elderly who wish to stay in their homes?   The unemployed will need re-training in many cases to place them in new jobs, or should we just apply Darwin’s laws to the down-and-out? 

Government is about making choices, and in these hard times there are no good ones.  Only ones that are less awful than the others.

The first reaction far too often to tax increases is to reject the notion.   After all, since 1980 we have had the relentless political one-note response to fiscal matters of ‘never raise taxes, only cut them’.  Ever consider that this is not the proper way to run a government, or keep the trains running on time?

When a man like Governor Pat Quinn explains the need for a tax increase I would think he might be allowed the respect of having looked at the matter with care, and then deemed it essential.  Might he be right? 

In Wisconsin we have a massive structural shortfall that is truly alarming.  I will not tell you tax increases are fun, but I will tell you that sometimes they are needed.

Hey Big Spender

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Gay Marriage Coming To District Of Columbia Too?

There is yet another story to report in the fight for civil rights tonight.

On the same day that Vermont’s House and Senate voted to override GOP Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state, the Washington City Council voted 12-0 Tuesday in favor of allowing same-sex marriages performed in other states to be recognized in the nation’s capital.

But nothing is set in stone yet.

The Washington council is expected to hold a final vote on May 5. The bill would then go to Mayor Adrian Fenty, a Democrat who supports gay marriage but told WTOP.com Tuesday that he has yet to review the legislation.

If approved, the measure would then encounter its biggest potential hurdle: It would be sent to Congress for a legislative review and vote, setting up what would amount to a straight up-or-down vote on same-sex marriage.

Because Washington is not a state, its legislation must pass congressional muster. Some measures approved by overwhelmingly Democratic Washington voters, including a restrictive gun law and a proposal decriminalizing medical marijuana use, have been vetoed by Congress in recent years.

“This is a right that should be enjoyed by all of our citizens,” Council Member Jack Evans, a Democrat, said in an interview with WTOP. “Today is another major step toward the ultimate goal of all of us living in a city and a country where everyone is treated equally.”

Spring Election Voting Slow On Madison’s Isthmus

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A sunny and spring-like day should mean that many voters take advantage of the weather while  fulfilling their responsibility as a citizen at the election polls.  But at the Wil-Mar Center on Madison’s Isthmus the numbers of voters at 2:30 P.M. was anemic at best.   James and I were numbers

With a major Supreme Court race, and very important county executive race on the ballot,  one would think that people would understand the necessity of being involved in the election process.  With a low voter turnout expected one should be aware of the danger of the ‘other side’ getting their voters out, and thereby creating an outcome we do not want.

Now get your butt to the election booths!

Gay Marriage Legal In Vermont

This is a major development, and incredible news.   For those who cringe when courts such as Iowa correctly apply the law regarding marriage, well look at Vermont.   WOW!!  Hats off to the gutsy fair-minded, educated folks of Vermont!  New England is the place that this fight is being waged with intensity.  So my question is why are the legislators in New England more able to see the gay marriage issue with clarity, and the voters more capable of throwing off the old worn arguments as to why it would be ‘wrong’?  Perhaps the folks in New England, as I am continually told here in our home, are of a better more stout variety, and have the fortitude to stand up and do what is right.   I think this may be true.

Vermont lawmakers on Tuesday overrode a veto from the governor in passing a bill that would allow same-sex marriage, clearing the way for the state to become the fourth in the nation where gay marriage is legal.

The Vermont House of Representatives passed the bill by a 100-49 vote after it cleared the state Senate 23-5 earlier in the day. In Vermont, a bill needs two-thirds support in each chamber to override a veto.

Vermont’s vote comes just four days after Iowa’s Supreme Court struck down a decade-old law that barred gays from marrying to make that state the first in the U.S. heartland to allow same-sex marriages.

Vermont’s gay marriage legislation looked in peril after a vote Thursday in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives that failed to garner enough support clear a veto threat from Republican Governor Jim Douglas.

California briefly recognized gay marriage until voters banned it in a referendum last year.

Vermont, which became the first state in the country to allow full civil unions for same-sex couples in 2000, joins New England neighbors Connecticut and Massachusetts in allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Lawmakers in New Hampshire and Maine are also considering bills to allow gay marriage, putting New England at the heart of a divisive national debate over the issue.