November 1, 2012
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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.
Watch this theater production done in the style of classic Edgar Allen
Poe tales. This twisted story reveals the truth behind Hopkins Manor, as
well as the dark powers of the Alchemist Eye.
CLICK HERE or call (414) 426-4169 for more information.
Grete Marks: When Modern Was Degenerate
Milwaukee Art Museum (MAP)
700 N. Art Museum Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Family Free Day at the Zoo
Date: Sat., November 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Description: Home to more than 2,275 animals with more than 330 species represented, the Milwaukee County Zoo is one of Milwaukee’s finest attractions. All visitors will receive free admission to the Milwaukee County Zoo on this day, although the parking fee remains in effect. CLICK HERE for more information.
Description: This six-week festival will spread holiday spirit with animated light displays in Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park, and Zeidler Union Square, as well as decorated streetscapes and hundreds of events. Marvel at the spectacular sights aboard the convenient Jingle Bus, a Coach USA bus that takes visitors on a 40-minute tour. For $1 per person, visitors can relish in the holiday spirit while admiring a festive panorama. The tour is narrated by Milwaukee Downtown’s Public Service Ambassadors who will acquaint riders with key attractions and landmarks. This event will kick-off at 5:45 p.m. on November 15 with a spectacular fireworks display and illumination of the lights. Free cocoa and sub sandwiches will also be provided. Featured guests including the Holy Redeemer Gospel Choir, Milwaukee Ballet, and Santa Claus. CLICK HERE for more information.
Description: Milwaukee's 86th Annual Milwaukee Holiday Parade, brought to you by Johnson Controls, will feature approximately 100 units and take about one hour. Volunteers will also be walking the route to collect non-perishable food items on behalf of Hunger Taskforce.
Park for only $3 at
the Shops of Grand Avenue, and get Downtown to help welcome Santa.
CLICK HERE for more information, including a map of the route.
This week, my colleagues and I fought to bring greater accountability and transparency to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Continue reading for more information.
Increasing Accountability, Transparency in WEDC
In a public hearing on October 17, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, of which I am a member, brought to light some major concerns with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). This past week my colleagues and I submitted a letter to Reed Hall, the interim Secretary and CEO of WEDC, that shares the concerns expressed by the committee and seeks immediate corrective action by WEDC. Continue reading for more information about WEDC and what was discussed in the letter submitted to them.
Currently, WEDC is being audited by
the Legislative Audit Bureau and an external auditor retained by WEDC,
Schenk. It was in preparing documents for the external auditor that the
$69.3 million in non-tracked loans was discovered. At a recent WEDC
board meeting, the COO said he expected these two audits would
uncover additional problems at the agency.
The problems that have plagued WEDC since its inception—instability, lack of oversight and accountability, and putting partisanship before economic development—go against the reason we created WEDC in the first place. I hope that the letter submitted to WEDC will encourage them to work hard to regain the public's trust and strive to improve the agency on behalf of Wisconsin's taxpayers.
Another Tragedy in Our Community
As you may know, on Sunday, October 21 a gunman entered Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield and opened fire killing three people and wounding four others before turning the gun on himself. According to police and news reports, the gunman likely committed this heinous crime to retaliate against his wife, a salon employee, who had recently filed a restraining order out of fear for her safety. It has also been reported that the assailant's wife and others that were killed lost their lives trying to protect neighbors in the salon from the gunman.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the
family, friends, and neighbors of these brave women. This senseless
tragedy has left our community, which is still reeling from the recent
Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting, heartbroken.
I hope that the Legislature and domestic violence advocates can do more to bring awareness to this prevalent issue in hopes of preventing such unnecessary acts of violence, like what occurred in Brookfield, from happening in the future.
Honoring Our Nation's Veterans
Join in honoring the brave men and
women that fought for our country to preserve our nation's freedom this
Veterans Day, November 11. Veterans Day, or Armistice Day, falls on the
anniversary of the signing of the Armistice ending World War I. This
federal holiday seek to honor the service of all U.S. military veterans.
The state of Wisconsin has also declared the 7-day period that ends on November 11 as “Veterans Recognition Week” and the week of November 11 through November 17 as “Hire a Veteran Week.” With these, Wisconsin demonstrates that it recognizes the contribution veterans have made to our society and that we should continue to support them the same way that they have protected us. While the Veterans Day National Ceremony is held on November 11 at Arlington National Cemetery, there are also several community events taking place nearby during the Veterans Day weekend where you can honor our neighbors who served. You can find information for these events listed below:
City of Oak Creek Veterans Day
Veterans Day Parade in Milwaukee
Remembering Veterans Day in St.
Milwaukee Veterans Day Memorial Program
Sunday, November 11 at 10:30 a.m.
Milwaukee's annual Veterans Day
memorial program will start at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 11 in
MacArthur Square. This event is hosted by Milwaukee Police Post 415 and
Milwaukee Fire Fighters Post 426 of the American Legion. Wayne Jensen,
commander of Wisconsin's American Legion, will speak. The program will
also include a rifle salute and the playing of "Taps."
Sunday, November 11 at 10:45 a.m.
The South Milwaukee Veterans Day
Program will be held on Sunday, November 11. The local veterans groups
will step-off around 10:45 a.m. at American Legion Post 27 located at
920 Monroe Avenue. The parade will march to the South Milwaukee Veterans
Memorial just north of 10th and Rawson where, weather permitting, a
short ceremony will be held there. If it is raining or snowing, the
program will be held indoors at the Legion Post. Afterwards, a luncheon
will be held back at the American Legion's Post headquarters. Call (414)
764-1827 for more information.
Monday, November 12 at 9 a.m.
Oct. 25 Declared USS Gambier Bay Day
On October 25, 2012, the governor issued a proclamation declaring October 25 USS Gambier Bay Day. The USS Gambier Bay was a Navy escort carrier used in the Pacific Front during WWII. On October 25, 1944, 137 men lost their lives when the USS Gambier Bay sank after being attacked by enemy fire.
A reunion honoring those that lost their lives and those that survived the attack on the USS Gambier Bay is held annually. The most recent reunion, presented by the USS Gambier Bay VC-10 Association, marked the 68th anniversary of the event and was attended by nine survivors. The survivors were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their action in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines.
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: The Wisconsin Department of Commerce used to maintain a public database tracking where taxpayer money was going and how effectively it was being used. Is this still being maintained by the new Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)? I was having trouble locating such a Web site.
A: As you stated, the Department of Commerce did have a Web site dedicated to tracking where Wisconsin's economic development funds were going. It also posted results so that taxpayers could see if the companies, organizations, or local governments receiving these economic development funds were fulfilling the requirements set in their contracts, such as creating a specified number of jobs in the state. Providing this information to the public was a requirement of 2007 Wisconsin Act 125, which sought to bring greater accountability and transparency to government spending and investments.
Unfortunately, with Commerce being replaced by WEDC, this Web site has changed. Here are several problems I noticed with the Web page WEDC created to monitor Wisconsin's economic development programs.
Another concern raised in a recent public hearing on WEDC in the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, of which I am a member, is the extent that legislation passed by Governor Walker and Republican legislators last session undermines the accountability and transparency measures laid out in 2007 Wisconsin Act 125. As a result of the passage of 2011 Wisconsin Act 7, WEDC is no longer statutorily required to track quantifiable performance measures, the amount of tax benefits allocated, and the benefit recipients. While WEDC has said they will continue to monitor and track this data, I am concerned that without specifying this in Wisconsin statutes, taxpayers will often be left in the dark on who WEDC is giving money to and whether these investments are wise.
There were clearly a number of
accountability and transparency concerns regarding Wisconsin's economic
development programs. I look forward to hearing further updates from
WEDC on the measures they are taking to remedy these concerns. I also
look forward to crafting joint legislation with the other members of the
Audit Committee to address oversights made by the Legislature when
replacing Commerce with this public-private entity, including ensuring
the public have adequate access to online, up-to-date information about
our economic development programs.
Did You Know...?
Still have not registered for the upcoming election on Tuesday, November 6? Do not worry just yet. Did you know that Wisconsin allows voters to register at the polls on Election Day? Remember that everyone needs to be registered in order to vote in Wisconsin.
Currently, nine states and the District of Columbia have some form of same day voter registration. Providing this option to voters has been crucial to increasing voter turnout. A study done by George Mason University examining voter turnout, ranked Wisconsin among the top five states with the highest voter turnout.
Remember to Vote Tuesday, November 6
Wisconsin's November elections are
fast-approaching. Remember the polls are open on Tuesday, November 6
from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. You will not need to present a valid photo ID
since that requirement has been ruled unconstitutional by the Courts.
This ruling is subject to appeal, but is not expected to change before
the upcoming general election, if at all.
Voting Procedures Detailed Here
Many Wisconsinites are still getting used to the plethora of changes made to our voting laws during the most recent legislative session. In fact, voting procedures is one of the things I get asked about most frequently. Therefore, I am providing you with detailed information so that you can ensure your vote is counted on Election Day.
Residency & Registration
All voters must register prior to casting their vote. Fortunately, in-person voters can do this as late as Election Day since Wisconsin allows for same-day registration. To register at your polling place on the day of the election, you must provide proof that you meet residency requirements. Voters in Wisconsin must live at their voting address at least 28 consecutive days before an election. An individual who moves within this state later than 28 days before an election must vote at his or her previous ward or election district.
Proof of Residence
Acceptable forms of proof of residence must include:
The following constitute acceptable proof of residence if the document contains the information specified above:
Absentee applications must be made no earlier than the opening of business on the third Monday preceding the election and no later than 5 p.m. or the close of business, whichever is later, on the Friday preceding the election. You should contact your local municipal clerk to request an absentee ballot. In addition, they should explain where to return your ballot once it is filled out. You can also vote absentee in-person. In-person absentee voting now falls between the opening of business on the third Monday before Election Day and 5 p.m. or the close of business, whichever is later, on the Friday before Election Day, a two week time frame.
Students can use a university, college, or technical college identification card with a photograph of the cardholder as proof of residence if the university, college, or technical college provides a certified and current list of students who reside in housing sponsored by the university, college, or technical college, who are U.S. citizens, showing the current address of the students. If the university does not provide such a list to polling locations, then the student must present a fee payment receipt along with their identification card.
I have also created a PDF guide to provide information about election and voting procedures in Wisconsin. This is a great resource to email or print to pass on to family, friends, and neighbors who may want more information about changes to Wisconsin's voting laws.
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