July 21, 2011
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.
July 17 through July 24
Attend South Milwaukee's annual week-long community festival that features fun events for the entire family. Neighbors can enjoy great food, outdoor activities, concerts and even a parade. More information about these events are available by CLICKING HERE.
Bay View Beach Cleanup
July 23 from
8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Bay View Park (MAP)
South Milwaukee Municipal Band Concert
July 26 from 7
p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Immigrant Family Park
(South of the Cudahy
4647 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue
Cudahy, WI 53110
Enjoy this annual festival that takes place on Brady Street between the cross streets of Farwell and Marshall. The Brady Street Festival offers three music stages featuring a variety of local bands and musical persuasions. There will also be local vendors selling food, drinks, clothing, jewelry, arts and crafts and more. CLICK HERE for more information about the event or call (414) 581-5947.
GOP Legislators Delay, Deny Unemployment Benefit Extension
The Legislature went into extraordinary session earlier this week to vote on Senate Bill 147, legislation that would extend unemployment benefits to help Wisconsin's displaced workers while they continue looking for jobs during these tough economic times.
The simple legislative change proposed in Senate Bill 147 would have allowed Wisconsin to capture nearly $90 million from the federal government to extend unemployment benefits in the state. These funds would not need to be repaid to the federal government.
Unfortunately, while the Democratic legislators succeeded in pressuring Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald to schedule a vote on this important bill, the legislation is currently at a standstill due to infighting between Republicans in the Senate and the Assembly.
As a result of Republican legislators failing to work together to reach a consensus on this important legislation, tens of thousands of our fellow Wisconsinites who were knocked down by this economic crisis are left wondering if they will get the support they need to get back up on their feet again. Many of these individuals reside right here in our own community as Milwaukee County reported an unemployment rate of 8.4% in April of 2011.
I encourage my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to place their responsibilities as elected officials above partisan politics, and call upon the Senate to return to the floor next week. Passing this legislation would help to ensure that our neighbors do not lose hope and financial stability while they are looking for jobs.
CLICK HERE to view a copy of the letter that was sent by the Milwaukee Democratic Legislative Caucus to Majority Leader Fitzgerald requesting that he schedule a session day to take up this important legislation.
Republicans Rush Through Redistricting Power Grab, Overrule Local Governments
Despite outcries from local government
and growing constitutional concerns, Republican legislators hurriedly
passed their redistricting maps that remained secret until recently.
Republican legislators began working on the new district maps months ago in secret and behind closed doors. The maps did not become available to the public until Friday, July 8. Further decreasing transparency, Republicans opted to fast-track their redistricting plan by scheduling a vote less than two weeks after the release of the new district maps, leaving little time for public input. Over the course of 10 days, Republicans perpetrated a power grab that will impact our communities for the next 10 years.
The Wisconsin State Legislature is required by Article IV, Section 3 of the Wisconsin Constitution to redraw Senate and Assembly districts every 10 years based upon the results of the federal census to ensure districts provide representational equality for all potential voters.
Wisconsin currently uses a legislative redistricting process, where the maps are drawn up by the majority parties in the Legislature, are voted on by the Senate and Assembly, and are then signed by the governor. If the Legislature cannot agree on a redistricting plan, as is usually the case when there is partisan balance, the judicial system steps in to finalize the new legislative districts. For the past 50 years, Wisconsin's elected officials have had to work together with bipartisan cooperation or leave the task of redistricting up to the courts. This will be the first time in 60 years that one political party will have complete control over the redistricting process.
The new district maps proposed by Republican legislators will likely have a profound effect on Wisconsin politics by making districts less competitive, placing the jobs of Republican incumbents ahead of the interests of Wisconsin voters. These maps will also increase partisanship across the state making Wisconsin even more polarized than it is now.
Republicans Overrule Local Governments on Redistricting, Costing Valuable Taxpayer Dollars
Rushing through the current redistricting proposal created by Republican legislators and the lawyers they hired with taxpayer dollars will have a detrimental impact on our local governments as well. Republicans have been so focused on passing redistricting legislation before the recall elections have concluded that they are acting before all local governments have even submitted their local ward redistricting maps.
The City of Milwaukee, for example, will be forced to change 55 of its 315 wards and nine of its 15 aldermanic district boundaries, as a result of the preemptive actions by Republicans on redistricting. These changes come after Milwaukee has already held four public hearings, participated in three public listening sessions, held two full-day public workshops for citizens to produce their own maps, and conducted countless informational briefings to individuals and activist groups. Milwaukee has also already spent over $40,000 for dedicated labor hours and administrative expenses related to the redistricting process.
There is no reason why the state should be moving at such a careless speed. Such actions will negate months of work by local officials, circumvent the open and transparent public hearing process, and waste additional taxpayer funds.
To view the map that illustrates the changes Milwaukee will be mandated to make, please CLICK HERE.
Given the concerns over the maps that were drafted by Republican legislators, it is likely that legal challenges will be filed citing constitutional grievances once the bill is signed into law by the governor and published. However, it is impossible to know what the outcome of such challenges would be.
The Future of Redistricting in
Participate in My Redistricting Survey
In order for me to better represent you, please participate in my redistricting survey to share your opinions on the current redistricting process and provide feedback on the direction you would like to see our state going with redistricting in the future. To take the redistricting survey, please CLICK HERE.
For more information about redistricting or to view the proposed maps for the state, please CLICK HERE.
Debt Ceiling Should be Raised to Prevent Economic Catastrophe
One of the hot topics that has been the subject of constant debate and controversy at the federal level is the national debt ceiling. Although this is a federal issue, if Congress and the President opt not to raise the debt ceiling by August 2, it will have devastating implications on our local communities.
Failing to raise the debt ceiling will
cause the U.S. to unnecessarily default on its loans. This action will
then snowball, affecting other aspects of our economic health including
lowering our national bond rating, shutting down much of the government,
and likely causing another economic crisis.
Raising the debt ceiling is nothing new. Since 1962, Congress has voted to raise the debt ceiling 74 times. It has been raised under Republican and Democratic leadership alike.
The choice to raise the debt ceiling has nothing to do with the country's ability to borrow in the future and everything to do with enabling our federal government to be able to continue paying the bills we have already incurred. We need to keep our country moving forward by continuing to pay our bills and improving our country's economic prosperity and vitality.
I encourage Congress and the President to work together in a bipartisan fashion to do what is best for all Americans, including those right here in Wisconsin, and that is to raise the debt ceiling to prevent any further economic harm in our local communities.
The Milwaukee Common Council is scheduled to vote this upcoming Tuesday on moving forward with the Milwaukee Streetcar project. This project is a positive step forward for improving our community's transportation infrastructure and economic prosperity.
The Milwaukee Streetcar network will provide our community with a modern way for us to connect with our jobs, homes and entertainment destinations. However, streetcars do more than simply improve our public transit infrastructure. They will also play a vital role in the economic success of our community by promoting commerce and development, attracting future businesses to the area, raising property values, and providing our workforce with a means to get to and from their jobs.
If you live in Milwaukee and would
like to voice your support for this proposal, please contact your local
CLICK HERE to visit the Milwaukee Common Council's Web site for your
alderman's contact information. You can also find more information about
the Milwaukee Streetcar network by
CLICKING HERE to visit their Web site. The site includes route, timeline, ridership and cost
information for the project.
Changes to Voting Laws in Wisconsin
Primary, general and special elections are now upon us. Given the recent changes to Wisconsin's voting laws, I have included a handout to provide you with updated information on voting procedures for this summer's elections. Please contact me if you have any questions.
CLICK HERE to view the changes to Wisconsin's voting laws.
Summer Activities in Our Community
Our community offers a wide variety of summer activities for families, children and adults alike. Below is just one of many activities that you can take part in this summer.
Visit the Local Beaches
Enjoy sun, sand, and surf at one of
our Milwaukee County beaches. Jumping into our community lakes is a
great way to relax and take in the beautiful scenery Milwaukee County
has to offer. Although each of the beaches listed below are available
for sunbathing and swimming, lifeguards are only on duty at Bradford
2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53211
Grant Beach (MAP)
100 S. Hawthorne Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI 53172
1750 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
2900 S. Superior Street
Milwaukee, WI 53207
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