October 17, 2013
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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.
Date: Fri., October 18 and Sat., October 19 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Location: Bay View
Description: Stop by the Humboldt Park Pavilion this weekend to see over 800 spooky jack-o-lanterns lit up. The grand lighting of the pumpkins will take place on Friday, October 18 at 7 p.m. where there will be games, hay rides, face painting, magic shows, fire spinners, live music, a black and white film, and costumed attendees. CLICK HERE for more information.
Humboldt Park Pavilion (MAP)
3000 S. Howell Avenue
Shrek: The Musical
"Once upon a time, there was a little ogre named Shrek..." And thus begins
the fairy tale of an unlikely hero who finds himself on a life-changing
journey alongside a wisecracking Donkey, a feisty princess who resists
her rescue, and a cast of banished fairy tale misfits. This musical
brings a story of adventure, friendship, and ogre love that is bringing
ugly back. This musical is best for children ages 6 and up.
CLICK HERE for more information.
2nd National Hmong Human Rights Conference
Date: Fri., October 18 and Sat., October 19
The Hmong Human Rights committee of the Hmong Student Association at the
University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee invites you to attend its 2nd
National Hmong Human Rights Conference. This conference aims to address
contemporary social issues in the Hmong community.
CLICK HERE or call (414) 229-1122 for more information including a
list of confirmed presenters.
21st Annual Dia de los Muertos Exhibition
Date: Fri., October 18 through Sat., November 16
This October marks 21 years of the Walker's Point Center of the Arts
celebrating Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a rich Mexican
tradition. Curated by local art historian Juan Lopez, this traditional
celebration will include a touch of contemporary flavor with ofrendas
(altars/offerings) created by local artists of various backgrounds in
addition to sculpture and 2-D work related to the holiday. Dia de los
Muertos recognizes death as a celebration of life. It reminds one to
reflect on what they value through the commemoration of loved ones and
their lives, while at the same time generating enthusiasm for the
friends and family around us. As the celebration progresses, this
dynamic gathering of people transforms itself into a festivity of life.
Informational tours and culturally relevant crafts for kids are
available during the course of this exhibition. The opening reception
will be held on Friday, October 18 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Location: South Milwaukee
500 Clown uses action-based performance, improvisation, and circus arts
to enact long-form dramatic stories that involve both physical and
emotional risk. Frankenstein features three performers who are
charged with a task: "make monster." Bound in elaborate Edwardian
costumes, the trio embarks on a journey to construct Dr. Frankenstein's
laboratory while they struggle and battle through acrobatic feats. A
tale of doctor and monster is told from scraps of the classic novel and
Hollywood versions, inviting audience involvement throughout.
CLICK HERE for more information or to purchase tickets.
South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (MAP)
901 15th Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI 53172
A recent Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo confirmed that Governor Walker's budget will increase property taxes on Wisconsinites. Therefore, many of my colleagues and I voted to provide some relief from this projected increase to Wisconsin's middle-class families. Continue reading for more information about this and other important issues such as discriminatory legislation, the sale of MPS buildings, and a survey to get your perspective on K-12 education.
Working to Lessen the Governor's Property Tax Increase
Trying to fill a hole that Governor Walker and legislative Republicans dug in the most recent budget, Wisconsin's Republicans are now rushing through legislation to lessen the property tax increase they created over the next two years. Of course Senate Democrats support reducing the Republican-created property tax increase on Wisconsin's middle-class families. This is why many of my colleagues and I voted in favor of the property tax relief bill. However, we do find some details surrounding this legislation troubling.
In addition to an increase in property taxes for the average Wisconsinite, our state is also facing a structural deficit. It is likely that this spending, on top of the governor's budgeted increase in borrowing, will continue to add to that structural deficit, turning the already deep hole into a pit for state taxpayers in the future.
Education Budget Still in Deficit
Unfortunately, many schools are expected to fare even worse this school year under Governor Walker's recently passed second budget. While general school aid statewide increased overall by 1.1%, including in the local Oak Creek-Franklin and South Milwaukee school districts, much of the increase is being diverted to private voucher schools as a result of Republicans expanding the program statewide. According to recent estimates by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), more than half of Wisconsin's public school districts will receive less general aid in the 2013-2014 school year than they did for the 2012-2013 school year. In fact, 229 of Wisconsin's 424 school districts, or 54%, will receive less general aid in the current school year. This includes our very own Cudahy, St. Francis, and Milwaukee school districts, which will see a decrease in state aid of $104,435; $199,455; and $1,407,778 respectively. In contrast, schools in the voucher program will see an astronomical increase of up to $1,414 per pupil.
This proposal by Governor Walker and legislative Republicans does not restore any of the funding cuts made to our neighborhood schools.
Rushed Legislation Problematic
Governor Walker called the Special Session on Thursday, October 10, which was created to take up this property tax bill, as well as other proposals. My colleagues and I were not given the bills that would be taken up until about 5 p.m. on Friday, October 11. Further, these bills did not receive a public hearing until the day they were to be taken up for a vote on the floor on Tuesday, October 15. This means that the legislation we passed today was authored, introduced, received a public hearing, was voted out of committee and passed the Senate in only a matter of days. Past experience has proven that rushing bills through the legislative process is likely to end in scandal, lawsuits, and wasted taxpayer dollars. Below are some examples of rushed bills that failed Wisconsinites:
Rather than rushing important proposals, we should take the necessary time to ensure that such bills do not result in missteps with taxpayer dollars. As representatives of the people, by the people, for the people, we owe them this much.
WI Should Not Tolerate Discrimination
In the 2009-2010 session,
the Legislature passed bipartisan legislation that would give community
members the option to petition the use of of race-based mascots at
local schools in their area. Of the 65 schools that had Native American
related mascots in 1989, 30 schools changed their nickname prior to the
2010 law while 32 schools still have Indian mascots. Despite only four
schools having been affected by this bill--three changed their names and
one is challenging the change request in court--legislative Republicans
have felt compelled to overturn this so-called mandate.
Those who support this discriminatory bill and the continuing use of race-based mascots tell us that these mascots are used out of respect for the tribes. However, the reality is that these mascots and their continued use represents an incredible level of disrespect that reflects a disturbing lack of tolerance in our state. It would not be until 1924 that Congress would pass the Indian Citizenship Act, which granted all Native Americans, on or off the reservation, citizenship and the possibility of suffrage. While the act gave Native Americans voting rights, states often passed laws that limited this right. In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which prohibited states from discriminatory voting practices and ensured all Native Americans had access to the polls.
This bill would revert our state back to the days of discrimination and hatred. The schools that still retain race-based mascots, as well as the schools that compete against them, tend to reinforce offensive stereotypes by turning this ethnic group into a cartoon, mocking cultural dances or traditions, and shouting racial slurs or bigoted comments.
While most of the students and parents at these schools are not racists, the use of these mascots promotes discriminatory actions against neighbors in our community and around the state. It is a fact that no other ethnic group has as many mascots parroting their identities in our state, and there is a reason for that. It is because we recognize that this type of discrimination is not only unfair, but wrong. For this reason, I will be voting no to Senate Bill 317 and its companion Assembly Bill 297.
Assembly Bill 297 passed the Assembly
this Tuesday despite bipartisan opposition with a vote total of 52 ayes,
41noes, and 2 paired votes. While the Senate was poised to take up the
bill on Tuesday or Wednesday, it has since delayed action on the bill
until November 5. My colleagues are using this delay to work with
Republican senators to amend this bill.
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.
We got a glimpse of this plan to ultimately force the sale of MPS buildings to vouchers schools this week when St. Marcus Lutheran School tried to purchase the old Malcolm X building to expand their voucher school program. While St. Marcus was offered a number of possibilities for their expansion by MPS, they ultimately rejected these options wanting to instead forge ahead with an expansion into the old Malcolm X building. However, MPS already has plans in place to sell this desired building to a company that will turn it into 32 units of low-income housing and a multi-cultural and community services center. In making this deal, the district will also retain the ability to lease back 50% of the space for a school.
MPS has been successful at responsibly
selling and redeveloping underutilized buildings. Over the last few
years, the district has sold four buildings, leased 11 buildings to
charter school operators, and used eight buildings to expand successful
programs. They have also decreased the number of empty building they
maintain from 27 in 2010 to only 15 to date, with five of these
buildings already having plans for future use in place.
While this bill was originally on the fast-track, it has currently stalled due to growing bipartisan concerns. Legislators on both sides of the aisle, as well as neighbors in our community and beyond fear that this bill sets a dangerous precedent by interfering with the control of local government that could spread well beyond the borders of the city of Milwaukee. I will be sure to keep you updated on the status of this bill as it makes it way through the legislative process.
Did You Know...?
you know that on this very day (October 17) in 1931, gangster Al Capone
was sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion and fined $80,000,
signaling the downfall of one of the most notorious criminals of the
1920s and 1930s.
|Survey on K-12 Education Available|
A quality education is a shared Wisconsin value that many of us highly treasure. Our next generation of workers are in Wisconsin schools right now, and their success or failure will likely dictate whether Wisconsin will succeed or fail in the years to come.
As a result, the statewide expansion of the private voucher program and the reduction of state aid to the majority of our local public schools for the 2013-2014 school year have become increasingly hot topics. Therefore, I would like to hear your thoughts on K-12 education in Wisconsin. I have created an online survey to learn more about you and your perspective. Please take the time to fill it out. I look forward to hearing back from you on the important issue of K-12 education in Wisconsin.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month was founded in 1985, and has since proven
to be a productive way to spread information, support, and resources to
those affected by the disease. According to the American Cancer Society,
breast cancer is the second most common cancer found in women. In fact,
approximately 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer are estimated
to be reported in 2013 alone. Breast cancer is also the second leading
cause of death among women in the United States with an estimated 39,620
deaths happening this year.
Although there is no sure-fire way to prevent breast cancer 100%, as many risk factors--such as age or family history--cannot be altered, listed below are steps recommended by the American Cancer Society that can help women decrease their risk by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes:
The median age for breast cancer
diagnosis is 61. However, there have been cases reported in people who
are just in their 20s, so do not wait to take these preventive actions.
Exercising and changing diets can only go so far, so be sure to talk to your doctor about breast cancer screenings. The most common screening is a mammogram. A mammogram is just an x-ray of the breast that can detect abnormalities. It is suggested that women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year. If you are not yet in your 40s, it is suggested that women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam as part of their periodic health exam.
Important Notice Regarding the Larson Report
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If you still have problems viewing photos or links in the Larson Report, please check it out online at www.senatorchrislarson.com. I post the Larson Report to my Web site every Thursday before sending it out to Larson Report subscribers.
Take the 2013-2014 Neighborhood Survey
I created a survey for the 2013-2014
Legislative Session asking about various issues that are important to
our community and our state. The input of neighbors is greatly
appreciated. My staff and I will be working hard to deliver as many
surveys door to door as possible before winter arrives. In addition, I
have also made this survey available online.
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