Posts Tagged ‘stimulus’

by Liberty Chick

If you want to take a pulse on the political vibe in this country, one need only look at Wisconsin.  The state has become the barometer for judging not just the public’s appetite for political battle, but the competitive landscape as well.  The spotlight on anything that has six degrees of separation from a Koch brother has been great drama for Wisconsin’s ongoing soap opera, but audiences in the state and nationwide might get a better show by turning their attention leftward.  Few have examined the strange pattern of money and favor trading that’s been pervading Wisconsin’s beloved circle of progressive politics.

The activity in Wisconsin over the last few months becomes crucially pertinent as the state gears up for the 2012 Wisconsin Senate race.  It’s worth looking at the financial innards  of the Supreme Court race and the protests against Governor Scott Walker in order to assess what the fight for the Wisconsin Senate seat, soon to be vacated by retiring Democratic Senator Herb Kohl, will look like.  What many don’t realize is that this race could have broader implications – not just in national politics, but in specific policy areas, like health care and your personal medical records, for example.  Lots of money, fueled by liberal business interests and an ever-growing progressive movement in Wisconsin, has already been freely flowing.

But is anyone watching? Who are some of these donors?

Let’s start by looking back at the recent Wisconsin protests and the Supreme Court election, and then dissecting some of the money trail.

The hostility stemmed from the union reform bill signed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on March 11th as a stand-alone portion of the overall budget repair bill.

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[original post 2/1/2010]

Ten minutes prior to the start of a December 15th, 2009 board meeting of the Riverside Community College District in California, board members are handed a 52-page document filled with millions of dollars in projects to be funded by the district’s taxpayers, who themselves are struggling under the state’s 12.4% unemployment rate.  The document, a draft Project Labor Agreement (PLA), will commit long-term construction and ancillary projects for the next several years to labor unions.

At least twenty-three members of the public, many of them local private business owners who oppose the PLA, have attended to publicly comment on the proposal.  Two of the board members have never even seen the PLA prior to today, and have asked for a special session to review it.  Despite opposition from the public, and the concern voiced by those two board members, the remaining three board members have moved that the Board of Trustees authorize Chancellor Greg Gray to negotiate the final PLA with the Riverside and San Bernardino Building and Construction Trade Councils. Board Trustees Virginia Blumenthal and Janet Green dissented.

riverside-ca

So, without adequate time for all to review the draft, without any backup analysis provided to justify the use of up to $350,000,000 in Measure C taxpayer funds, without giving the public reasonable time to voice their opinions, and with an unemployment rate of over 12% when non-union workers are in even greater need of jobs than union workers…why would three of Riverside’s five board members vote to move forward with a final negotiation anyway? Why the rush? Residents and business owners in Riverside are wondering the same thing, and hope to have the chance to weigh in before the PLA’s final draft is signed.

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