LARSON REPORT

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

 

 

July 28, 2011

     

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

GermanFest
July 28 through July 31
GermanFest features an extensive variety of traditional music, authentic food, a cultural village, children's activities, weiner dog races and much more. There will also be a home-brewed German beer competition and nightly fireworks. Admission is $10 in advance or $13 for adults, $7 for seniors over 60 and students with a valid ID, and free for children 12 and under. For additional GermanFest information, please CLICK HERE.


Henry Maier Festival Park (MAP)
200 N. Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 273-3378
 

 

Bradford Beach Jam
July 29 at 5 p.m. through July 31 at 5 p.m.
Attend the seventh annual Bradford Beach Jam sports and music festival, which includes soccer, rugby, dodgeball, volleyball, and Wiffle ball along with multiple local reggae bands. For more information, please CLICK HERE.


Bradford Beach (MAP)
2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 967-9531

 

Brady Street Festival
July 30 from 11 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

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.
 

 

Milwaukee Brewfest
July 30 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Enjoy beers from around the world at the second annual Milwaukee Brewfest on the city's lakefront. Milwaukee Brewfest features unlimited sampling of over 150 craft beers and micro brews from around the world, plus live musical performances, exhibits, home brewing demonstrations, games and the crowning of the 2011 Miss Brewfest. A variety of foods for purchase from local restaurants and vendors will also be available. CLICK HERE for more information, including ticket prices.

 

Coast Guard Pavilion at
McKinley Park (MAP)
1600 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive

Milwaukee, WI 53202

(414)321-5000

 

Summer Sizzle Jazz Festival
August 6 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Enjoy four stages of continuous music from 18 local and regional groups at the Historic Third Ward's popular one-day outdoor jazz festival. Featuring traditional, Latin, swing, smooth and Dixieland-style jazz, Summer Sizzle packs a style for all musical tastes. You can also stop by the local food, drink and specialty vendors that will be set up throughout the day. Admission is free. The four stages are located at in Catalano Square and along Broadway in the Historic Third Ward and parking is available in one of the nearby structures (212 N. Milwaukee St. and 225 E. Chicago St.) or a few blocks to the north or south.

 


African World Fesitval
August 6

African World Festival is a celebration of African heritage and culture held on the shores of Lake Michigan at Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee. Known as "The Meeting Place," the African World Festival is not only an entertaining event but an educational experience. Come and explore the cultural village, sample a variety of ethnic foods, shop around the Marketplace, and let the kids play in the Childrenís Village. CLICK HERE for additional information.
 

Henry Maier Festival Park (MAP)
200 N. Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 291-7959

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friend,

This week's newsletter will focus on public transit in our community. While Milwaukee's Streetcar project continues to move forward, the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee (KRM) Commuter Line has been placed on hold indefinitely. You can also CLICK HERE to view a brief video I compiled to further discuss this important topic.

Sincerely,

Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7

 

 

 

Milwaukee Streetcar Project to Continue

 

As a strong supporter of the Milwaukee Streetcar project, I was happy to see that the Milwaukee Common Council voted 10-5 this past Tuesday to move forward with the project. This project has received strong support from Milwaukee business and community leaders alike and is a positive step towards improving our community's transportation infrastructure and economic prosperity.

 

CLICK HERE to view the letters that Milwaukee legislators and I submitted to the Milwaukee Common Council in support of the Milwaukee Streetcar project.

 

This project is a direct investment of $65 million in the future success of Milwaukee. The immediate benefits of approving this plan will be the creation of over 300 new construction jobs. Many of these jobs will go to family, friends and neighbors in our community who have been struggling to find work due to the economic downturn.

Furthermore, it is estimated that over the next 20 years the economic development potential within the quarter-mile buffer of the initial route and extensions of the Milwaukee Streetcar could generate approximately:

  • 20,500 new jobs (23% increase)

  • 1,000,000 square feet of new occupied retail space (31% increase)

  • 4,000,000 square feet of new occupied office space (28% increase)

  • $3.35 billion in new tax base

  • 9,000 new housing units (63% increase)

  • 13,500 new residents (55% increase)

Establishing this successful initial streetcar system will allow for practical expansions in the future as funding and market demand dictates.
 

You can find more information about the Milwaukee Streetcar project by CLICKING HERE to visit their Web site. The site includes route, timeline, ridership and cost information for the project.
 


 

Milwaukee County Faces Another Transit Setback

Milwaukee County faced an additional setback to its public transit infrastructure this past Monday when the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (RTA) met for the last time this past Monday before dissolving. This action will effectively halt plans to build a commuter rail line that would link Milwaukee to Kenosha, Racine and surrounding suburbs.

 

The dissolution of the Southeastern RTA and three other authorized RTAs were a result of a provision that Republican legislators inserted into Governor Walker's budget. This provision remained in the final version of the budget along with a 10% cut to transit aid that slashed about $7 million from Milwaukee County buses.

 

The planned KRM Commuter Link would have offered 15 round trips each weekday, providing fast, city-to-city service for commuters, students and shoppers. Additionally, federal aid would have covered most construction and operating costs.

 

The KRM Commuter Link would have been a vital asset to our local community by playing a significant role in the economic success of our community through 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.

 

CLICK HERE to view the provision in the budget that disbands RTAs throughout Wisconsin.

 

 

 

Vote on Unemployment Scheduled for Monday After Two Week Delay

The Senate is scheduled to go into extraordinary session this upcoming Monday 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. This legislation should have been passed and signed as early as Wednesday, July 22, but has been at a standstill as a result of Republicans in the Senate and Assembly failing to work together to reach a consensus.

 

The simple legislative change proposed in Senate Bill 147 would allow 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.

 

Passing this important legislation is crucial to our community as Milwaukee County faces an 8.4% unemployment rate. Extending unemployment benefits will help to ensure that our family, friends and neighbors who were knocked down by this economic crisis will be able to continue receiving the support they need to get back on their feet again.

 

CLICK HERE for more information about this legislation.

 

 

 

Debt Ceiling Deadline Days Away

We are only days away from the August 2 deadline for raising the national debt ceiling. Although this is a federal issue, if Congress continues to balk at a compromise and refuses to raise the ceiling, it will have devastating implications on Wisconsin and its local communities.

Failing to raise the debt ceiling will cause the U.S. to unnecessarily default on its loans. The U.S. defaulting will send out an economic shockwave, affecting every aspect of our economic health including lowering our national bond rating, causing our stock market to plummet and spiking interest rates for consumers on things such as houses, cars or student loans. Such catastrophic events would require government service shut downs and would likely trigger another economic crisis.

Effect of Debt Ceiling on Wisconsin
Given that nearly 30% of Wisconsin's budget comes from federal funding, our state would not be able to endure a government shutdown for very long. The economic uncertainty and downturn would greatly affect our state. Below is a list of some of the devastating affects that our communities and neighbors could face if compromise and passage do not occur:

  • Further Crippling Our Neighborhood Schools: If no deal is reached, such action could affect some or all of our $761 million in federal aid for schools in our communities. These cuts would be in addition to the $1.6 billion in school aid that was already eliminated by the Republican budget.

  • Health Care for Most Vulnerable Jeopardized: Wisconsin currently receives $350 million monthly in federal funds to invest in our state's health safety net. The programs most reliant on these funds include nursing homes, FamliyCare and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), all of which provide vital services to our seniors and individuals with disabilities. Suspension of these funds could result in our most vulnerable neighbors being forced out of their homes and into long-term care facilities at a greater cost to taxpayers.

  • Halt Benefits for Our Veterans: Our state's veterans homes heavily rely on per diems from the federal government to support residents (approximately $6 million per month). Our state also supports over 162,000 veterans through its veteran assistance programs. Halting these services is not a way to show our gratitude to Wisconsin's soldiers.

  • Environmental Clean-Up/Protections on Hold: The $77.9 million in federal funds Wisconsin receives to protect our precious natural resources and ensure clean water could be withheld indefinitely. These funds are currently being used to reimburse communities for cleaning up contaminated areas, support pollution abatement efforts, provide forest fire assistance and prevention, and restore our Great Lakes.

Continue Down the Path to Economic Recovery
In this game of high-stakes "chicken," the taxpayers ultimately could be the biggest losers in addition to the nationís long-term financial health. 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.

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.

 

 

 

Redistricting Survey Results Available

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Redistricting Survey to provide me with valuable feedback on what is important to our community and state. I asked for your thoughts on our current redistricting process and what redistricting process you would like Wisconsin to utilize in the future. Overall, more than 400 people responded with their perspective on the three questions that I asked.

As you review the results, please keep in mind that the survey was not scientific. I invited anyone that subscribes to the Larson Report to participate and also made the survey available on my Web site.

 

Survey questions and results are listed below:


Question 1 & Results

I __________ Wisconsin's current redistricting system, which has the Legislature draw the state's Senate and Assembly district maps.

  • Oppose = 90%

  • Support = 7%

  • No Opinion/Not Sure = 3%

Question 2 & Results
Wisconsin's current redistricting system __________ partisanship and political gridlock in the state.

  • Increases = 84%

  • Decreases = 8%

  • Does Not Affect = 5%

  • No Opinion/Not Sure = 3%

Question 3 & Results

I believe Wisconsin should use the following redistricting model:

  • Bipartisan Commission = 45%

  • Nonpartisan Commission = 38%

  • Legislative (current system) = 8%

  • Other = 3%

  • Advisory Commission = 2%

  • No Opinion/Not Sure = 2%

  • Back-up Commission = <1%

It is my hope that we can continue working together on this and other important issues to improve our communities and make Wisconsin a better place to live and work for our family, friends and neighbors.

 

 

 

Bay View Community Listening Session

Wednesday, August 3 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Show your support for the educational success of our local students by being a part of the discussion on adding college-preparatory programs at Bay View Middle School and High School. Community members, teachers and students are asked to attend next week's community meeting in Bay View to discuss our children's futures. Parents for Bay View Schools, the Bay View Neighborhood Association and District 8 School Board Member Meagan Holman will also be in attendance. Contact the Office of Board Governance by phone at (414) 475-8282 or via email at governance@milwaukee.k12.w​i.us if you have any questions about this event.


Bay View High School Auditorium (MAP)
2751 S. Lenox Street

Milwaukee, WI 53207


 

Hoan Bridge Traffic Alert

The I-794 southbound/eastbound off-ramp to S. Carferry Drive will be closed beginning August 1 as part of the I-794/Hoan Bridge repair project. The ramp will be closed for approximately 30 days to complete deck repairs on the bridge and ramp section. Motorists are advised to use Howard Avenue as a detour route.

Once the ramp work is complete, traffic will be switched to the outside lanes of the Hoan Bridge to facilitate completing inside deck repairs. The project remains on schedule for completion by the end of November, weather permitting.

 

 

 

Changes to Voting Laws in Wisconsin

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. Below is just one of many activities that you can take part in this summer.

 

Juneau Park Paddleboat Rentals
Enjoy a relaxing outing on Milwaukee's lakefront this summer by renting a paddleboat or sailboat from Juneau Park Paddleboats, Inc. Located on the Veterans Park Lagoon, Juneau Park Paddleboats has operated for over 15 years and offers Milwaukeeans and visitors  the opportunity to view the city in a whole new way. From the quiet lagoon, you can see the tallest skyline in Wisconsin and the gorgeous shoreline of Lake Michigan.

 

Juneau Park Paddleboats is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (weather permitting) from Mid-May through October. CLICK HERE to visit the Web site for Juneau Park Paddleboats, Inc. or CLICK HERE to view their brochure for additional information and rental rates.

Juneau Park Paddleboats, Inc. (MAP)
1400 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 217-7235
 

 

 

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