Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or opinions you might
Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707
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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: Fridays and Saturdays now through October 1
Description: The party lasts all month at Old Heidelberg Park.
Grab your stein and head over for music, dancing, and great food. There
is a big selection of German beers, games for the kids, and parking is
free. Do not miss Milwaukee's original and most authentic Oktoberfest.
In fact it is one of the best in the country. This event is open on
Fridays from 5 p.m. until Midnight and Saturdays from 3 p.m. until
CLICK HERE for more information.
700 W. Lexington Blvd. Glendale, Wisconsin 53217
Date: Thursday September 29 through Sunday, October 2
Description: The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts will be
hosting a four-day Oktoberfest celebration on Marcus Center grounds and
Pere Marquette Park. This event is free and open to the public. It
features authentic German beer, food, live music, and the Glockenspiel,
a life-size replica of a cuckoo clock. Delectable food and drink will be
available for purchase from Saz's Hospitality Group, which will feature
a full bar and a concessions menu.
CLICK HERE for more information, including location information, and
Date: September 23 to 25
Location: West Allis
Description: Start this fall with a visit to Harvest Fair, a free
event with more than enough to keep your family entertained for a day.
In addition to the many vendors that will be there, the event will host
kid-friendly activities like giant cookie decorating and pumpkin
For more information CLICK HERE.
Wisconsin State Fair
640 S 84th St.
West Allis, WI 53214
Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women Walk
Date: Monday, September 26
Description: This year is the 2nd Annual Zonta Says NO silent
walk, an event dedicated to raising awareness of the prevalence of
domestic violence and remembering those who have died as a result. The
walk will begin at 11:55 a.m. and will take about 30 minutes. This year
has seen a drastic increase in domestic violence, in Milwaukee and
Wisconsin as a whole, making now the time to show your support and say
NO to domestic violence.
For more information about the event, please CLICK HERE.
Milwaukee City Hall
200 E Wells St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Simply Swing: Chris Mariani and the Radio Rosies with Swing Explosion
Date: Friday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Location: South Milwaukee
Description: Chris Mariani's sound stylishly blends early 40's
Romance with late 50's Swing, meticulously crafted and enriched with an
influence that is exclusively, Chris Mariani. Be drawn back in time as
Chris is joined by the pure, sweet harmonies of The Radio Rosies, a
three-part harmony vocal trio, and accompanied by Swing Explosion, an
18-piece Midwest big band.
CLICK HERE for more information.
South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center
901 15th Ave, South Milwaukee, WI 53172
Head Start Dental
1, 2016, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Children ages 3-16 from low-income families will have an opportunity to
receive free dental exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments and emergency
treatment at the Marquette University School of Dentistry. Approximately
200 volunteer dentals professionals, dental and hygiene students, and
faculty, will participate in the Give Kids a Smile and Head Start Dental
Day. Care is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
Call the Milwaukee
Public Schools Head Start Office for questions at 414.777.7850.
School of Dentistry
1801 W Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Sturgeon Fest 2016
Head to Lakeshore State Park in downtown Milwaukee for the 11th annual
Sturgeon Fest on October 1st, 2016, to enjoy a day of free, family fun
(and make a huge difference while doing it!). The festivities continue
all day with games and activities for kids, kayak demonstrations,
prairie tours, educational booths, delicious local food trucks, and
celebrates Riveredge's 25-year partnership with the Wisconsin DNR to
bring back Lake Sturgeon, a critically important species both
environmentally and culturally, to the Milwaukee River, where they
haven't been seen in over 100 years.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Lakeshore State Park
500 N Harbor Dr.
Milwaukee, WI 53022
2016 Milwaukee Canoes for a Cause
Date: Saturday, October 1from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Description: 2016 marks the 5th annual Milwaukee Canoes for a
Cause -- hosted by Milwaukee Riverkeeper, the Urban Ecology Center, and
Leinenkugel Brewing Co. The event will feature a clean-up and canoe ride
along the Kinnickinnic River followed by a cookout at Steny's Tavern &
For more information on this event or to get involved, CLICK HERE.
Milwaukee Film Festival
Date: September 22 through October 6
Description: The annual Milwaukee Film Festival starts this
Thursday, September 22 and runs through October 6. This year's festival
will feature over 170 films from around the world.
To find a full listing of films, their locations, and times please CLICK
Trek 'n Treat at Grant Park
Date: October 16, from1 p.m. 4 p.m.
Location: South Milwaukee
Description: An educational event for families, costumes
optional. Trek through the trails of the 7 bridges area, answer
questions about nature, visit historic Wulff Lodge and receive treats at
20 stations in the park. There will be a pumpkin painting contest, best
nature costume contest, birding info and more. Registration is
$2/participant. Handicapped accessible route available.
CLICK HERE for more information.
100 Hawthorne Ave.
South Milwaukee, 53172
Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,
It was great to catch up with some neighbors and friends at the Bay View
Bash last Saturday. I heard a lot of concerns about barriers to voting
and the direction Walker is pushing our state.
The November General Election is just
around the corner. Early voting starts in Milwaukee this Monday. We have
you covered with a section on early voting information in this week's
Casting your vote is important now
more than ever as the integrity of our elections continues to be in
jeopardy due to the flood of dark money pouring into state and local
Speaking of dark money, by now, I'm sure you've seen the disturbing news
about the leaked John Doe documents as reported on by the Guardian
U.S. Read below for an in-depth look at the most appalling, unethical, immoral, and
downright anti-Wisconsin schemes that have been uncovered. The leaked
documents provide the clearest example so far into Walker's culture of
corruption and greedy corporate favoritism.
As always, thank you for reading the
Larson Report. Please feel free to offer any suggestions on topics
covered in this report, or ones you may want to see covered in the
State Senator, District 7
These are the words I've been hearing over and over from neighbors after
reading the hundreds of pages of documents that reveal what clearly
looks like elaborate pay-to-play schemes by Walker and Wisconsin
The Guardian U.S. reported
on nearly 1,500 pages of leaked documents from the halted John Doe probe
into Walker's recall campaign. These documents contain a barrage of
exchanges between Walker, campaign advisors, and big money donors --
including Donald Trump -- and show the cold-hearted truth to Wall
Street, corporate money in our elections.
You can view the documents and the Guardian U.S. report, here.
brutally shown in the documents, Walker's Wisconsin wasn't "Open for
Business," it was "For Sale." However, before we get into the dark
money trail that leads to Scott Walker and his culture of corruption,
let's recap the John Doe investigation for perspective.
John Doe "Fast Facts"
There have been many references to "John Doe" investigations in the
media lately. Here's a quick refresher on John Does probes and,
specifically, the one that has recently garnered widespread, national
- John Doe investigations have
traditionally been a tool for judges to independently gather
testimony and other evidence in order to determine if a crime has
been committed and by whom. The probes are coined as "John Doe"
because those being investigated are kept anonymous until it is
determined if charges can be pressed.
- The recent firestorm of news
articles are in reference to a John Doe probe into Governor Walker's
recall campaign. Specifically, whether or not the governor's recall
campaign illegally coordinated with shadowy, third-party groups,
such as Wisconsin Club for Growth.
- The investigation into
Walker's recall campaign activity was first launched in 2012.
In 2015, the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court
halted the probe, raising more questions about the influence of big
donor spending. The campaigns of two of the justices who sided
with the majority in the 4-2 decision strongly benefited from
the very groups being investigated. Prosecutors asked the
justices to recuse themselves from the case due to the glaring
conflict of interest, but the justices refused to do so.
- Prosecutors appealed the
decision to halt the investigation and asked the U.S. Supreme Court
to review the state Supreme Court decision. Notably, the state
Supreme Court also ordered to have all of the documents
destroyed, but later decided to have the court keep them after
all appeals have been exhausted.
- Showing the amazing lengths
Republicans in Wisconsin will go to hide their culture of
corruption, legislative Republicans betrayed the public trust and
our shared values of good-government, by passing legislation that
essentially exempts some elected officials from our state's John
Doe laws. They also gutted our state's campaign finance laws to
allow an unlimited avalanche of dark money to flow into state and
Using this change
in law, GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel asked the U.S. Supreme
Court to reject a review of the halted criminal investigation into
the governor's unethical and potentially illegal campaign schemes.
In his filing, Schimel argued the recent law change now makes the
alleged activity legal and prohibits the use of secret "John
Doe" proceedings in investigating campaign finance violations.
caught doing something wrong, then changing the law still doesn't
make it right.
- The Guardian U.S.
leaked documents and produced a report regarding the John Doe
investigation, moving the case of Walker's immoral and
potentially criminal schemes to the court of public opinion.
- The U.S. Supreme Court is
to decide soon whether or not they will hear the case.
Click here for an in-depth timeline of the John Doe probe by the
Wisconsin State Journal.
Campaign Dollars over Justice
for Poisoned Children
I'm guessing most of us never thought that Wisconsin Republicans
would go so far as to make it okay to poison our children without any
legal ramifications. Unfortunately, that appears to be exactly what
Walker and legislative Republicans did.
In a heartbreaking example of betrayal, we need look no further than a
GOP-backed bill that essentially made corporations who produced lead for
lead paint immune from compensation claims for lead poisoning.
fact, one of the leading producers of lead formally used in lead paint
-- who donated $750,000 to Wisconsin Club for Growth -- even helped to
craft the language of the bill to make it retroactive, blocking pending
lawsuits against them by 171 children who were made sick by lead paint.
The Guardian U.S. report puts the extent of the poisoning in perspective
with the story of Milwaukee resident, Yasmine Clark. Yasmine was
hospitalized twice, once at age two and again at age five, and at one
point was found to have 48 micrograms per deciliter in her blood. The
Guardian U.S. disturbingly notes: "To give a sense of what that
meant, doctors in Flint, Michigan, sounded the alarm after children were
found to have levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter from polluted
water supplies -- about one-tenth of Clark's concentration." Lead
poisoning can have heartbreaking, lifelong negative health consequences.
While the Republicans did pass the immunity and retro-immunity,
fortunately, the retroactive language of this law was subsequently
blocked by a federal court.
This is just one way the release of
the leaked John Doe documents has given us a clearer picture of Walker's
culture of corruption and just how far he and legislative Republicans
will go to betray the public in order to secure their own partisan
Overall, in looking through the emails and other documents, it
appears that wealthy donors were solicited and sweet-talked, for
contributions for both Walker's campaign and the shadowy conservative
political interest group, Wisconsin Club for Growth.
See painful evidence of this
who were heading the John Doe investigation were suspicious of Walker
illegally coordinating with groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth. The
leaked emails and documents by the Guardian U.S., strongly affirm
that money was being funneled through Wisconsin Club for Growth to
guarantee not only a Walker recall win, but also the victory of several
Republican legislators also facing recalls. Here's one example of evidence that
this was occurring: the memo line of a big donor check to Wisconsin Club
for Growth read, "Because Scott Walker asked."
Read more about the coordination of Walker and Wisconsin Club for
Growth in this article by the New York Times.
While in the Legislature, I have
fought against the backwards, harmful political policies of Walker and
his Republican legislative allies. These documents begin to show the
truth of why such a harmful agenda was pursued, regardless of the harm
or damage to our people or state. That's why some of my Assembly
Democratic colleagues have called for an investigation into the
documents. The public has a right to know what laws were passed as
payback to wealthy corporate buddies of Scott Walker.
See the press release by Assembly Democrats, here.
Culture of Corruption
While it is clear these documents must be looked at more thoroughly
for links to campaign donations and laws that were pushed, when it comes
to the governor, apparent pay-to-play schemes and other politically
motivated games are nothing new. Here are just a few others that have
- GTAC, an out-of-state mining
corporation, cut a deal with the governor and legislative
Republicans to change the state's mining laws so they could dig a
controversial open-pit mine in Northern Wisconsin, without our
historic safeguards and public oversight. It was later revealed
that GTAC gave $700,000 to Wisconsin Club for Growth.
- After learning that over 60%
of the loans given by the scandal-plagued Wisconsin Economic
Development Corporation (WEDC) went to Walker and/or GOP donors, it
also came to light that there are hints of a pay-to-play aspect
with a Walker campaign donor, who received $500,000 in tax
subsidies. Walker -- who was Chairman of the Board of Directors
of WEDC at the time the loan was approved -- said he didn't know
about the loan to his donor. However, Walker again lied to Wisconsin
as documentation and evidence was revealed that he was indeed
notified. The unsecured loan was given to the struggling Building
Committee Inc. in 2011, after top Walker aides pushed for its
approval. Shockingly, even as WEDC was
authorizing to extend the loan due date to August 2013, Walker aides
were pushing to give the unstable company even more money -- $4.5
million. In fact, aides continued to seek millions for the company
even after finding out the public money would be used to pay off
debts, such as leases on luxury cars.
- Walker came under fire after a
heavyweight financial supporter of his was working to seal a deal
with the Department Natural Resources (DNR) to quietly buy hundreds
of feet of prime public lakefront property.
The sweetheart scheme called for the DNR to sell 765 feet of
frontage for $275,000 -- the "friends and family" low end of the
land's appraised value -- to Walker mega-donor, Elizabeth Uihlein.
Uihlein currently owns an adjacent 11-unit condominium complex that
does not have direct access to the lake. When the land near the
lakefront property was sold in 1994, state officials opted to keep
the part of the property that had access to Rest Lake, preserving it
as a opening to the public for fishing and other recreational
- Let's not forget the voter
suppression law pushed by Walker and legislative Republicans in
2011. The law, which requires a photo ID be used in order to cast a
ballot, was wrongfully deemed necessary because of the made up
notion of "widespread voter fraud." Buried in the hundreds of pages
of documents were emails with hints of the GOP photo ID for voting
scheme. As previously discussed, two of the state's Supreme Court
justices benefited heavily from conservative third-party groups. As
the New York Times reported, "...as a tight race for
election to the state's Supreme Court came to a close in April 2011,
conservative leaders wondered aloud how to respond should Justice
David Prosser Jr. -- a reliable opponent of legal challenges
to the agenda of Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican -- go down in
defeat." A top official of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Chamber of
Commerce offered an idea, stating, "Do we need to start messaging
'widespread reports of election fraud' so we are positively set up
for the recount regardless of the final number? I obviously think we
should." One month later, Wisconsin's photo ID law for voting
The revelations brought to light by these documents make it clear
why Republicans seemed so determined to see these documents destroyed
before they ever reached the public eye. In fact, while our neighbors
and my Democratic colleagues stood aghast at the news and cynical
exchanges contained in the documents, Republicans sat uncomfortably
Instead of speaking up against the unnerving emails that were now
capturing the attention of Wisconsinites across the state as more and
more news outlets began to echo the Guardian's story, Republican
leaders and GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel called for an
investigation into the leak of the documents.
The Republicans' distraction game of "catch the leaker," brings their
partisan hypocrisy to a new level when we remember that they were eerily
silent and failed to express the same concerns when the Wisconsin Club
for Growth director leaked John Doe information to the Wall Street
Journal before some of the documents subsequently became public.
Read more about the Republican and attorney general response, here.
Democrats Fight to Restore
Trust, Bring Back Transparency
These documents shred the last hope that somehow Wisconsin still held on to
its good-government model. We deserve better, but we will not have it
until we rollback all GOP legislation that was bought and paid for
Walker's wealthy friends, sadly at the cost of our dignity, respect, and
I know that my Wisconsin neighbors
are sickened and saddened when reading lines from the leaked emails that
contain exchanges like
"Because Scott Walker asked" and
"Corporations. Go heavy after them to give" or
"I got $1 million from John Menard today."
if funneling money through outside groups to help secure an election
isn't heinous enough, the glaring reality is that had these documents
not been leaked, the public may have been permanently left in the dark
about who is trying to buy elections in our state.
The people of Wisconsin and our
economy are hurting because greedy corporations and the politicians
bought and paid for by them only care about their own self-interest, not
people like you and me. State leaders, especially those who betrayed the
public's trust, have a responsibility to fix the colossal mess they have
made with our campaign finance rules and stop the shielding of corrupt
politicians from investigation and prosecution. The public has a right
to know who is influencing lawmakers charged with representing them. It
is woefully clear that is not the case under Walker's Wisconsin.