LARSON REPORT

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER


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May 23, 2013

     

 

CONTACT ME


Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or opinions you might have.

Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487

Email:
Sen.Larson@legis.wi.gov

 

Mailing Address:

State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707

 

Web Site:

SenatorChrisLarson.com

 

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COMMUNITY EVENTS
 

Supporting our neighbors and being involved in our community is of the utmost importance. Some community events that might be of interest to you and your family are listed below. 
 

 

Milwaukee Trolley Loop
Date: Now through Sat., August 31, Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Location: Milwaukee

Description: All aboard the Milwaukee Trolley Loop. Operating Thursday through Saturday each week, this transit option gives visitors a connection to attractions and summer activities throughout Westown, East Town and the Historic Third Ward. Two trolleys will service the route to offer 20-minute headways at designated stops. One complete loop is 40 minutes. Fare is $1 per person, round trip. CLICK HERE or call 414-562-RIDE for more information.

 

 

Spring on Brady
Date: Sat., June 1 from Noon to 4 p.m.

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Visit Brady Street as they celebrate Spring as well as their Annual Art Walk with friends from Art Milwaukee. Shop at amazing sidewalk sales and dine and drink at various restaurants and their springtime deals. Nearly 20 merchants will be hosting live artists from painting, sketching, pottery, and even puppy artistry. CLICK HERE for more information including a list of artists and vendors.

 

 

Family Fun Night: Puff & Other Fables
Date: Tues., June 4 at 6:30 p.m.

Location: Oak Creek

Description: Join local children's author and storyteller Mary Ellen LaPorte for an evening of tales, songs, and activities. Light refreshments will be provided. This program is geared toward children ages 5-10, but all ages are welcome. No registration is required and this event is free and open to the public. CLICK HERE for more information.
 

Oak Creek Public Library (MAP)

8620 S. Howell Avenue

Oak Creek, WI 53712

 

 

Downtown Dining Week
Date: Thurs., June 6 through Thurs., June 13

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Take advantage of this eight-day smorgasbord highlighting over 40 destination eateries with prix-fixe menus at $10 for lunch and $20 or $30 for dinner. Reservations are strongly encouraged. CLICK HERE for more information, including a list of participating restaurants and their menus.

 

 

Jazz in the Park
Date: Thurs., June 6 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee

Description: Jazz in the Park is an outdoor, free, summer music series featuring a line-up of jazz, big band, funk, R&B, reggae, blues, and more. Performers come from across town or across the country. Music starts at 6 p.m., but stop by early for Jazz in the Park Happy Hour and get great drink specials. All proceeds from sales help offset the high costs of production and ensure continued success of the summer festival. CLICK HERE for more information.

Cathedral Square Park (MAP)
520 E. Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202

 


PrideFest

Date: Fri., June 7 through Sun., June 9

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Attend this annual festival that was founded in 1988 by the LGBT community. Every year, PrideFest attracts thousands of people and families, both gay and straight. With permanent stages, food buildings, vendor pavilions, and support from Milwaukee World Festivals, PrideFest kicks-off Milwaukee's festival season. Admission is $16 for a single-day ticket at the gate or $13 online. A weekend pass is $30. CLICK HERE for more information.
 

Henry Maier Festival Park (MAP)
200 N. Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202

 

 

Locust Street Festival

Date: Sun., June 9 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Join our neighbors at the Locust Street Festival in Riverwest for its 37th year. There will be music and dancing in the street with over 30 bands on six outdoor stages, over 100 unique vendors, a scrabble tournament, and the famous 1.8-mile beer run/walk. Admission is free. The festival will be held at Locust Street between Holton Street and Humboldt Boulevard. CLICK HERE for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friend,

 

This week, we honor the brave men and women that sacrificed for our country as we celebrate Memorial Day. A number of other important issues are also discussed including the opening of my new Milwaukee office, introduction of an education investment plan, announcement of recent job losses, and the sale of state assets, such as the Kohl Center. Continue reading for more information.


Sincerely,

Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7

 

 

Celebrating Memorial Day

Memorial Day is fast-approaching. Join in honoring the brave men and women that fought for our country and died to preserve our nation's freedom. There will be Memorial Day events going on all through out Wisconsin this weekend. Below are just some of the events that will be occurring in the Milwaukee area:
 

St. Francis

Monday, May 27 at 8:30 a.m.

Wake-up early to stop by the St. Francis War Memorial located at 4320 S. Nicholson Avenue for the city's annual memorial day event.


Oak Creek

Monday, May 27 at 9 a.m.
Join me in honoring our nation's veterans at this annual neighborhood event. The City of Oak Creek will hold this remembrance at Forest Hill Memorial Park located at 3301 E. Forest Hill Avenue.


South Milwaukee

Monday, May 27 at 10 a.m.

Join me and our neighbors in South Milwaukee at this annual event. It will begin with a parade originating at the corner of Manitoba and 13th Avenues and concludes with a ceremony at the South Milwaukee War Memorial located on Chicago Avenue north of Rawson Avenue.

 

Click here for more information.

 

Franklin
Monday, May 27 at 10 a.m.

There will be a service held at St. Martin of Tours Church Cemetery located at 7963 S. 116th Street. Immediately following the service, there will be a short walk and parade to Market Square Park for a Flag Retirement Ceremony sponsored by VFW Post 10394 and the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Monastery. Anyone may bring old flags that are in need of retirement to the ceremony.

 

Click here for more information.


Cudahy

Monday, May 27 at 10:30 a.m.

Cudahy will hold its annual Memorial Day ceremony at the War Memorial located at E. Layton Avenue and S. Lake Drive. Stop by to take part in remembering those who fought for us.

 

Milwaukee
Monday, May 27 at 2 p.m.
Attend Milwaukee's annual Memorial Day Parade. The parade will feature a large number of groups including color guards, bands, marching units, vehicles, and VIP dignitaries. It will start at 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue proceeding towards the War Memorial Center and ends with a ceremony at Veterans Park.

 

Click here for more information.

 

 

Education Investment Plan Introduced

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau recently released an adjusted budget projection showing Wisconsin will have an additional $500 million. While the governor has said that this money should be used for such things as tax breaks and building up a rainy day fund, my colleagues and I have different priorities. Yesterday, Democratic members of the Joint Finance Committee introduced a plan reinvesting in our children to guarantee Wisconsin a brighter future.

The education plan contains three basic components:

  • Increase pubic school funding by a minimum of $275 in aid per student

  • Eliminate all of Governor Walker's proposed taxpayer funded expansion of private voucher schools

  • Provide property tax relief using the funding that would have gone towards voucher expansion and leave taxpayers off the hook for funding two separate and unequal school systems

 

Click here or on the video above to view the press conference introducing this plan.

 

In the 2011-2013 Biennial Budget, Governor Walker and Republican legislators chose to cut funding for Wisconsin's public schools by $1.6 billion. Unfortunately, the 2013-2015 state budget is not any better for Wisconsin's children as it freezes spending for public school students while increasing funding for voucher schools by up to $1,414 per student. The people of Wisconsin are also opposed to this diversion of funds away from our public schools. This was further illustrated when my Democratic colleagues and I delivered 16,809 signatures to Governor Walker in opposition to the expansion of private school vouchers.


After the historic cuts to education in the last budget and diversion of public school dollars in the proposed budget, increasing per student spending by $275 is a modest request and a vast improvement to Governor Walker's proposal. While an additional $275 per student at our neighborhood, public schools will only get us close to filling half of the $1.6 billion hole created, it is a step in the right direction towards getting Wisconsin back on track to educational and economic success.

Let us not forget that this is a false surplus only created by balancing the last budget on the backs of our children through cuts to the classroom. Further, those in our community know first-hand that doubling down on private, unaccountable voucher schools is a losing bet that only results in further cuts to public schools and higher property taxes for neighbors.

We must take this opportunity to invest in our future. Wisconsin's next engineers, teachers, and doctors are in our K-12 classrooms right now. We must make the necessary investments now to ensure their success and in turn, the success of Wisconsin. Our children's success is our success. Therefore, I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in supporting the education plan proposed by Democratic Joint Finance Committee members as it is a winning bet for both public school students and local property taxpayers.

 

 

Kohl Center for Sale?

Yesterday, members of the Joint Finance Committee took up provisions in Governor Walker's budget allowing the Department of Administration, with marginal Building Commission oversight, to sell or lease our state property. The definition of state property is broad and encompasses UW dorms, state power plants, state prisons, and even state highways.

Changing sale of state property procedure has been taken out of previous omnibus legislation. Considered too divisive, this provision was removed from Act 10 in 2011. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau noted in their research that Department of Administration staff indicated Secretary Huebsch has no immediate plans to use this new authority to sell state-owned properties that provide a public service like a campus dormitory, state highway, or state prison to a private entity. But if they did not have plans to sell state-owned properties, then the question remains, why would the governor's Department of Administration need broader authority to sell or lease state assets? Furthermore, the lack of a public bidding requirement is a clear sign this provision's central purpose is not to truly pay down the state's debts.

 

It is amazing that this divisive provision again made it into the governor's budget, but clearly selling the state's assets with limited oversight remains a top priority for this governor. From the Kohl Center to Camp Randall to I-94 to the Waupun Correctional Institution, state property is on the auction block with minimal legislative oversight.

 

While Republicans in the Joint Finance Committee had the opportunity to once again remove this divisive provision that is widely opposed by the public, they failed to do so. Instead, they slightly changed the provision requiring Joint Finance to approve a sale or lease. This alteration is by no means a remedy for the problem given that Wisconsin's agencies, the governor's office, and the Legislature are all controlled by the same party. As a result, if Governor Walker chooses to sell the Kohl Center to the lowest bidder, maybe a political friend, he will still be able to do so relatively easy with no input from taxpayers.

If the Kohl Center is not for sale, we should not change the laws to allow for the sale of the Kohl Center. Our precious state assets are not fodder for Craigslist. In light of this information, I call on Republicans to join members of the Wisconsin business community and Democratic legislators to stop the fire sale of state property by amending the budget when it reaches the floor. It is not yet too late to consider the unintended consequences that will result from this extreme agenda item.

 

 

Milwaukee Office Opening on May 29

Senator Nikiya Harris and I are excited to announce the opening of our new, shared district office in Milwaukee! Our shared district office is part of an ongoing effort to make our community a better place to live, work, and raise a family. We hope you will join us, along with fellow leaders, as we formally open our doors to the public on Wednesday, May 29.

We are committed to increasing accessibility and better serving our neighbors. The district office will serve as a home base in our community, a resource for our neighbors, and an opportunity for us to showcase the work being done every day in the 6th and 7th Senate Districts. As our community grows, we are here to provide assistance, gather feedback, and recognize the people in our neighborhoods who work tirelessly to improve our quality of life and build a brighter future for us all. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, let us know what is going on in the community, suggest events for our electronic newsletters, or give us a heads-up on any individuals in the community who are doing stand out work and deserve recognition. We encourage you to contact us to set up an appointment or drop by. Below you will find the contact information for the district office staff members should you have any questions about the event or need future assistance on behalf of our offices.

Jonathan Brostoff
District Director, Senator Chris Larson
Email: jonathan.brostoff@legis.wisconsin.gov
Phone: (414) 273-1509

Lisa Bahr
Communications Director, Senator Nikiya Harris
Email: lisa.bahr@legis.wisconsin.gov
Phone: (414) 273-1555

The office opening event will take place at our district office on Wednesday, May 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Our office is located at 316 N. Milwaukee Street, Suite LL16, Milwaukee, WI 53202 (free street level parking starting at 6 p.m.). We look forward to seeing you there!

 

 

Ask Chris

I often have neighbors contact me looking for my perspective on various local and state issues. I very much appreciate our neighbors' questions and want to dedicate a portion of my newsletter to common questions that I hear to maintain an open dialogue. Please continue reading for this week's question.

Q: Do you have any updates on how Wisconsin is faring on job creation?

A: The most recent Wisconsin jobs numbers available are for April 2013. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic's seasonally adjusted employment data released late last week, Wisconsin lost a total of 22,600 private sector jobs in the month of April.

 

These numbers paint an even clearer picture of where Wisconsin stands on job creation and economic development compared to its neighbors. While Wisconsin ranked 11th in the nation in job growth the year before Governor Walker took office, it has since plummeted to 44th. Additionally, Wisconsin currently ranks 45th in wage growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and dead last in short-term job growth, according the conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

It is no wonder Wisconsin is in a downward spiral while other states are experiencing economic recovery we can only dream of, given the problems cited at Wisconsin's job creation agency. A stinging audit of the troubled Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) was recently released. It showed WEDC authorized illegal loans or tax credits, lost track of millions of dollars in loans, and spent taxpayer money on such questionable items as alcohol and iTunes gift cards.

 

My colleagues and I have proposed real solutions to move us forward and create jobs by introducing a job creation proposal and offering reforms for WEDC. Governor Walker's political appointees, on the other hand, have simply blamed April's job loss on the weather, saying that everything will be okay and jobs will be created so long as the sun is shining. It is clear that those in charge are no longer governing, but rather are now trying to get by with just hope and a prayer.
 

 

No-Call List Deadline Approaching

The deadline for the Wisconsin No-Call List is fast approaching, so be sure to register or re-register your phone number before the Friday, May 31 deadline. The list is updated four times per calendar year (January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1).

This free no-call service, offered through the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, covers both residential land and cell phone lines. Wisconsin residents who add their numbers to the list by May 31 will receive protection from unsolicited telemarketing phone calls and text messages by July 1, 2013. Political calls, calls from non-profit organizations, and calls made in response to your written or verbal request or permission are not covered by the no-call law. Consumers must register or re-register every two years to ensure their phone number remains protected.

Sign-up today! You can add your phone number to the list by dialing 1-866-9NO-CALL(1-866-966-2255) or by filling out your information online.

 

Click here to sign-up online.

 

 

Did You Know...?

You may know that the deadline for Wisconsin's No Call List is fast approaching. But did you know that our very own Milwaukee is also the birthplace of the first answering machine?

 

In 1949, Joseph J. Zimmerman of Milwaukee invented a device known as the "Electronic Secretary." Zimmermann, the owner of his own heating and air-conditioning business, created the device because he did not have enough money for a company secretary to answer the phones. His first model weighed 80 pounds and was eventually housed in the Milwaukee Public Museum's collection.

 

 

Honoring Our Police and EMS This May

Like Memorial Day, National Police Week and National Emergency Medical Services Week also fall at the end of May. So, in addition to remembering our soldiers, we should also take time to honor our police and EMS professionals who work hard to keep us safe here at home.


Members of law enforcement and EMS professionals play a vital role in safeguarding the rights, freedoms, safety, and health of our citizens. Therefore, it is important that we understand and appreciate the responsibilities, hazards, and sacrifices these brave men and women make each and every day on our behalf.

Remember to take a moment to thank your local law enforcement and EMS officials for all that they do to increase public safety in our community.

 

 

Summer Camps Nearby

Our community offers a wide variety of camps to keep Wisconsin's youth busy while school is out for summer. Below are just a few activities that your children can take part in this summer in Milwaukee and the surrounding area.

Urban Ecology Center
The Urban Ecology Center offers summer camps that allow kids to explore their own interests in nature and science through outdoor recreation and adventure activities. Campers may canoe, rock climb, kayak, hike, bike, and fish while learning about the natural world during an action-packed week of camp. Activities will be tailored to the interests of each group.

Before & After Care activities are offered for some of the camps. With this option you can drop-off your children early or pick them up late. At Riverside Park drop-off is as early as 7:30 a.m. and pick-up is as late as 5:30 p.m. At Washington Park and Menomonee Valley you can drop-off as early as 8 a.m. and pick-up as late as 5 p.m. Staff members will supervise games, reading time, play, and activities.

Additionally, the Urban Ecology Center offers need-based scholarships for children to attend camp. To qualify for a scholarship, families must be eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch program.

Click here for more information about summer camp at the Urban Ecology Center.

YMCA Summer Programs
Our local YMCA offers a plethora of summer opportunities for kids ages 5-17. YMCA has plenty of options to fit your needs, whether your child is looking for a day-time or sleep-away adventure that lasts a week, a month, or all summer long. At YMCA, campers can experience horseback riding, canoeing, sailing, hiking, rock climbing, athletics, and much more. The YMCA has three camps located in the Milwaukee area and does have a scholarship program for children who would like to attend, but may be unable to afford the costs.

Click here for more information about YMCA summer camps.

Discovery World
We know that kids are smart, creative, curious, and eager to build the future. Discovery World is the launch pad for kids to display their intelligence, talent, and creativity. The teen workshops and summer camps camps offered at Discovery World have been created to offer up to 10 weeks of unique, exciting, non-stop fun for young scientists, engineers, artists, innovators, and designers.

Click here for more information. Remember camps are filling up fast.

Zoological Society of Milwaukee Summer Camps
The Zoological Society offers fun and educational programs at the Milwaukee County Zoo. They boast a variety of options for children ages 2-14. There are camps to suit just about any interest including art camp, theater camp, various animal camps, and camps for those looking to pursue a career working with animals.

Click here for more information and to learn how to register.

 

Peacemakers' Day Camp
The mission of Peacemakers' Day Camp is to provide campers ages six to 12 peacemaking skills to a diverse group of children in a safe, fun environment. The teachers, staff, and teen counselors--all of whom are volunteers--are committed to working together to guide the campers and to respond to group and individual needs. Through play, discussion, projects, helping others, and interacting with nature, campers gain confidence in themselves as peacemakers. Every day, campers learn and practice various skills such as giving put-ups, building peace bridges, compromising, negotiating, and sharing respect. This camp is only $25 and will run the week of July 15 through July 19.

 

Click here for more information, including an application form.
 

 

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