Democrats Delay National Convention

This is unfortunate, but understandable.

Democrats announced Thursday that they were postponing their presidential nominating convention until August, an unprecedented move that shows how the coronavirus is reshaping the battle for the White House.

The party had hoped that a mid-July convention would give them more time to rally behind a nominee and unify against President Donald Trump. But concerns that large crowds will spread the virus prompted Democrats, including prospective nominee Joe Biden, to press for alternatives.

“In our current climate of uncertainty, we believe the smartest approach is to take additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds so we can best position our party for a safe and successful convention,” said Democratic convention CEO Joe Solmonese.

Milwaukee will still host the convention, which is now scheduled for the week of Aug. 17. Republicans are sticking with their plan to meet in Charlotte, North Carolina, a week later to renominate Trump.

Air Force Academy Relaxes Social Distancing After Suicides

There are consequences to these decisions. Humans are social mammals. Most people don’t do well in isolation. That is why so many lefties consider solitary confinement to be a form of torture.

Coronavirus social distancing measures on the Colorado Springs Air Force Academy campus will be relaxed following the back-to-back deaths of two cadets in suspected suicides, officials said.

While all underclassmen are learning online, the senior class has remained on campus. The students were spread throughout dormitories and each was given their own room as part of quarantine measures.

One cadet tested positive for COVID-19 last week, the academy said.

Since those measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 were put into place weeks ago, two cadets have died within days of each other. The first death was reported Thursday and another on Saturday. USAFA said the deaths were not related to COVID-19 and investigators did not suspect foul play.

“These are deaths from despair,” Katrina Knight, the mother of a class of 2020 cadet, told FOX21 Colorado Springs. “Our hearts are grieving as a community because a couple of class members have already suffered the impacts to the furthest extent that they could.”

The senior class was kept on campus because “our Air and Space Forces have deemed us essential to their missions,” USAFA superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria said in an email sent Monday to students and later obtained by local news outlets.

Now, seniors will be allowed to venture off campus for food and hold on-campus events, according to the email. Silveria said that he met with the senior class and spoke with top Pentagon officials before changing the policy.

“We are working several morale events like golf or an outdoor movie that allow them to connect and keep them healthy,” the email said. “We continue to provide round the clock access to mental health services and support through this tragic loss.”

Wave of Americans Hit the Unemployment Line

I am more and more convinced in my opinion that not only is this government-enforced recession a massive infringement on our rights, it is a massive overreaction. That is not to say that Coronavirus isn’t a serious issue that needs to be managed, but our collective response to it has been madness.

New York (CNN Business)Millions more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, as businesses continue to lay off and furlough workers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

6.6 million workers filed for their first week of unemployment benefits in the week ending March 28 — a new historic high. Economists polled by Refinitiv had expected 3.5 million claims.
A week earlier, 3.3 million Americans filed for their first week of benefits, which was the largest number ever at the time.

Judge Leaves April Election Alone

Good decision. The decision to monkey with the election is for the legislative and executive branches. This wasn’t a judge’s call to make and I’m glad that he exhibited the judicial modesty required by the situation.

U.S. District Judge William Conley told attorneys for the Democratic National Committee and a host of liberal-leaning groups that they haven’t shown how the pandemic has truly hampered people’s voting rights. He said infections look ready to spike in Wisconsin but Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republican legislative leaders don’t feel the crisis is severe enough to stop the election.

“I’m not sure it’s my place to to assume the steps taken by the state or not taken by the state is an impingement on an individual’s right to vote. That’s what I’m struggling with,” Conley said.

Tuesday’s election includes the state’s presidential primary, a state Supreme Court race and hundreds of local races.

It will be interesting to see what turnout is. I expect it will be in line with normal April elections, but not as high as Dems were hoping with a contested presidential primary. However, given that the primary is all but settled, the Dems’ hopes for a massive Dem turnout were already dashed.

Go vote!

Volunteer to be a Poll Worker

If you are a healthy, younger person, please, please, PLEASE consider volunteering to be a poll worker. Just call your local municipal or county clerk to volunteer. I volunteered in my municipality and am on the schedule to work next Tuesday. The clerk was friendly, helpful, and all of the training is online. EASY!

Our right to self-governance relies on making sure people can vote. If you are in a low-risk group, please step up to protect some of our older neighbors who usually work the polls.

Corona-Dashboard

Speaker Vos pointed out on Twitter how New York is providing data on a city level and chided Governor Evers for not having that level of detail. I happened upon this dashboard for a county in Texas. Notice the detail… how many are sick; how many are recovered; where the cases are; the source of the infection; gender breakdown; closings; etc. – all of which can be filtered by zip code. Meanwhile, here in Wisconsin, we has so little data.

Wisconsin has the data. Why are they not sharing it? This kind of dashboard is a layup for private industry.

Nobody’s Hiring

The economic wreckage of our government’s overreaction to coronavirus will be felt for years.

In addition to widespread layoffs, hiring has collapsed, which will also drag down the overall job numbers. A Moody’s survey of companies that typically finds 40% of firms hiring has fallen to a record low of just 6% of businesses adding jobs, Zandi said.

“Not only are we seeing big layoffs but obviously no one’s hiring at this point,” he said.

NFL Expands Playoffs

Nooooooooooo… I disapprove of the continued “everybody’s a winner” culture. Of course this is about the money. More games = more revenue. This seems like a backdoor way to just lengthen the season.

The NFL’s anticipated playoff expansion officially passed.

League owners voted to approve expanding the postseason to 14 teams beginning in the 2020 season, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source.

The decision came during a conference call Tuesday, which took place in lieu of the NFL’s Annual League Meeting, which was canceled earlier this month as part of the league’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Changing the playoff format required approval from three-quarters of the 32 NFL owners.

In the new format, AFC and NFC Wild Card games will feature the 2 seed hosting the 7 seed, the 3 seed hosting the 6 seed and the 4 seed hosting the 5 seed.

The April election is on and more important than ever

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday. Note that I had an error in the deadline for getting an absentee ballot. I corrected it below.

Coronavirus might still be raging across the state, but our right to self-governance continues on. For now, the April election will be held on schedule. The deadline has passed to request an absentee ballot to vote by mail. The deadline is April 2nd. If you already have one, be sure to fill it out and exercise your franchise. Most municipalities are still allowing in-person absentee voting until April 3, although there may be some additional precautionary measures. Be sure to call your local clerk. I voted a couple of weeks ago at City Hall in West Bend and it was a perfectly quick and delightful (and sanitary) experience.

Finally, the polls will be open on April 7. Some of the normal polling places have been moved and the process will work a bit differently, but they will be open. We must not abrogate our right to vote in the face of adversity.

There are several important races on the ballot. Here is a quick rundown of who I voted for and why:

Wisconsin Supreme Court: This is, by far, the most important election on the ballot. The Supreme Court is always important, but as we have seen our governor exercise extraordinary arbitrary power to micromanage all of our lives, the importance of the other branches of government stands out. Incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly is being challenged by a liberal activist judge Jill Karofsky, who has repeatedly told audiences how she would use the court to advance the liberal agenda. Daniel Kelly has proven himself to be a conservative jurist who will uphold the Constitution and the law – even if he personally disagrees with it. Kelly is an ethical judge with a humble temperament that is too rare nowadays in the judicial branch. To protect our rule of law and our rights, I voted for Daniel Kelly.

Court of Appeals District 2: This is the second most important election on the ballot. Very few cases are actually decided by the Supreme Court. Most important legal issues are settle in one of Wisconsin’s Courts of Appeals. Incumbent Appeals Court Judge Lisa Neubauer lost an election for the Supreme Court last year. In that election, she showed her true colors with a scorched-earth campaign in which she passionately advocated for liberal activism on the court. This election is a chance to remove her from the Court of Appeals and replace her with someone who respects the role of a humble jurist.

Fortunately, Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Paul Bugenhagen Jr. is a great conservative judge with just the right temperament for the court. Bugenhagen got my vote.

Washington County executive: For the first time, Washington County citizens will elect a county executive after the County Board voted to change the county’s government structure. Josh Schoemann is the current county administrator. Adam Gitter is the Economic Development manager for the city of West Bend. Both men are conservative. Both men are veterans. Both men are career bureaucrats seeking their first elected office. Both are promising to hold the line on taxes and spending.

On the issues, Schoemann and Gitter differ on two primary issues. First, Schoemann supports park fees and Gitter does not. Second, Gitter considers the county sales tax to be a “slush fund” and wants to reform or repeal it. Schoemann thinks the sales tax is necessary to fund the county. I’m somewhat indifferent on park fees, but want to see the sales tax repealed. Mainly for that reason, I cast my vote for Adam Gitter.

Mayor of West Bend: Much like for county executive, the citizens of West Bend have two great choices for their next mayor. Chris Jenkins and Rich Kasten are both currently aldermen for West Bend. They are both conservative, fiscally and socially conservative, hard workers, and love the city. They both want to fix the roads, control spending and taxes, and attract businesses.

The difference really comes down to experience and background. I voted for Kasten because he is a bit older and more experienced. Also, Kasten works in the private sector while Jenkins works for another municipality. In light of the fact that the next mayor’s term will be spent trying to heal the city after a government-forced recession, I prefer a mayor whose experience is rooted in the private sector.

West Bend School Board. My column from a few weeks ago went into detail on the need for a new voice on the West Bend School Board. There is only one person on the ballot worth voting for. The citizens of the West Bend School District need Jody Geenen on the board.

In an era of unprecedented government intervention, it is more important than ever to choose our elected leaders. Vote by mail. Vote absentee in person. Go to the polls on April 7 to vote. Just vote.

Looking at The Current Washington County Administrator Contract

Here is a guest post from former Washington County Sheriff, Dale Schmidt. Here is a copy County Administrator Current Contract

As the candidates for Washington County Executive, Mr. Gitter and Mr. Schoemann, campaign using information they want you to know, voters should always seek out their own information about the candidates.  As Schoemann has been employed by county government since 2014 it may be worth reviewing the positions he has held and his current employment contract.

When he was first hired, the position was known as County Manager.   That position was part of the County pay chart at that time and probably had the same benefits as other full time employees.

By June of 2014 though, the County Board changed the position to County Administrator, still on the pay plan.  Starting in June of 2015 the Executive Committee held closed session meetings under the heading “County Administrator Contract” every month, (for 7 months) which culminated in the Board approving an employment contract for Schoemann at its December 8th meeting.

That contract was a public document made available as part of the Board’s packet of information. The contract was for two years, renewable in one year increments.  Schoemann negotiated and the Board approved wages of $126,555 in 2016, and $132,883 in 2017.  The total wages and benefits were $166,988 in 2016 and $174,223 in 2017.  (At that meeting, the Board also approved a 1% cost of living raise for all non-represented employees.  It’s unknown if 1% was then added onto Schoemann’s negotiated wages).  Schoemann also was to accrue Paid-Time-Off at the rate of a 9 year employee and the contract included performance evaluations and a retention/incentive clause.

In September of 2017, that contract was amended by the Executive Committee in a closed session meeting lasting 16 minutes.  The contract item was on the public agenda as closed session, but the proposed contract was not publicly available.  To the best of my knowledge, the contract has not been published publicly to this day.  It also was never approved by the whole County Board as the Administrator is now only required to answer to the Executive Committee.  The members who approved this contract were Supervisors Kriefall, Michalak McCune, Bulawa, Deiss, Bassill, and past Chairman Gundrum.  The contract has been released to the public through a formal record request.  It should be noted that since the County Board changed its form of government to Executive, this contract is done the day the new Executive term begins in April.

Significant bullet points of the current contract.  (Words in italics are copied from the contract):

-This is a five year contract covering years 2018 through 2022.

Administrator’s gross salary shall be set as follows: For calendar year 2018: $138,198; For calendar year 2019: $143,726; For calendar year 2020: $149,475; For calendar year 2021: $153,960; For calendar year 2022: $158,578.

Retention Incentive.  Administrator shall receive an incentive (“incentive”) accrual and payment in accordance with the following procedures and policies:  1. Accrual of Retention Incentive, Beginning in 2018 for each year Administrator is employed by County from January 1 to December 31 under this Agreement, he shall accrue a retention incentive payment, The incentive accrual amount shall be as set forth in Article IV,B.2.  2. Payment.  In January of 2018 Administrator shall receive a retention incentive payment in the amount of $10,000, On January 1 each year thereafter, Administrator shall receive a retention incentive payment in the amount accrued three (3) years prior which shall be five percent (5%) of the then gross salary budgeted and approved by the County Board.  Said payment shall be deemed income and subject to applicable withholdings in accordance with the County’s standard payroll practices, The retention incentive payment shall be made as directed by Administrator in one lump sum or in 26 installments.  (Schoemann received the $10,000 on January 1, 2018 and then on January 1, 2019 it appears he received 5% of his gross salary for 2016 which is $6327.75 and on January 1 of 2020, 5% of his salary for 2017 which is $6644.15.)

-Deferred Compensation.  Beginning January 1, 2018 and continuing for the term of this Agreement, County shall make a contribution to a deferred compensation account approved by Administrator.  The amount of the contribution for 2018 shall be $6,000’ The amount of the contribution shall increase by $3,000 per year every year thereafter during the term of this Agreement.  (Deferred Compensation is a program to invest money for retirement.  Washington County employees must use their own money to invest in this program.  This contract specifies taxpayer funds are invested for the Administrator).

Performance Bonus. Administrator shall be eligible for a performance bonus in the amount of $10,000 each year upon a satisfactory annual performance evaluation as determined by the Executive Committee.   (The Executive Committee conducted a performance evaluation on the Administrator during an October 9, 2019 closed session meeting.  The minutes reflect that Schoemann was rated a 5.  I believe the County scale is 1 to 5.)

Other income.  Beginning January 1, 2018 and every year thereafter during the term of this Agreement, per Administrator’s direction, County shall make a payment in the amount of $5,000 to a health savings account established by Administrator.   (The County puts $728 per year in individual employee HSA’s, and the employee can add their own money).

Administrator, as of January, 2018, accrues paid-time-off (“PTO”) hours consistent with fourteen (14) years of service in the PTO table for Full Time non-represented employees with administrative leave and for the duration of this agreement will earn years of service credit consistent with the PTO table.   (2018 was the Administrator’s 5th year of county employment.  Also, unused PTO can be cashed out at time of separation).

Additionally there are two lengthy sections on Removal/Resignation/Separation and Severance.  Together, they indicate the ways Schoemann could be separated from the position and what the payout would be for each.  One specific method is Change in Form of Government.  It spells out that if the County, changes to a County Executive form of government, the Severance clause is followed.  That clause essentially states the County agrees to pay Administrator a one-time lump sum cash payment equal to six (6) months of his current annual salary, and, extend paid health insurance coverage to Administrator and existing beneficiaries for six (6) months following removal.

A few thoughts… it is a shame that this is coming out less than a week before the election, but it needs to be known. This is one of the consequences of the decimation of local journalism with the rise of the internet. There was a time when it would have been someone’s job to watch local government. When a new contract like this was signed, they would have gotten a copy and reported it if anything was newsworthy. Now we are mostly relying on local citizens and a couple of small media outlets to cover the dozen or so governments just in Washington County.

The contract itself is a pretty sweetheart deal. Guaranteed raises, performance bonuses, expenses, and a separation payout clause? Sign me up! While County Administrator is an important position, I struggle to understand why the taxpayers needed to extend such a lucrative contract to attract good talent to the position.

The most egregious part of the whole deal, however, is the process. It was secretive, non-competitive, and just as you would expect the “good ol’ boy” system to work. For example, if they were going to so dramatically increase the compensation package for the role, then why not post the job to see if we had the best candidate we could get for that money? Or, if the County Manager was threatening to leave without the contract, why not let him quit and see if the county could get an equal or better resource for the money? As it is, we took the same guy and gave him a pretty substantial contract for the same work. It flies in the face of the cries of “frugal” and “broke” we get from the County leadership.

If you look at the folks who negotiated and signed this contract, they are many of the same people who have been writing letters of recommendation for Shoemann in his bid to be an elected County Executive. One wonders if they just want to keep the bodies buried when we have an independent, elected County Executive.

The April election is on and more important than ever

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. It’s a rundown of who I voted for and why. Most readers of this blog won’t be too surprised, but go pick up a copy!

Finally, the polls will be open on April 7. Some of the normal polling places have been moved and the process will work a bit differently, but they will be open. We must not abrogate our right to vote in the face of adversity.

[…]

In an era of unprecedented government intervention, it is more important than ever to choose our elected leaders. Vote by mail. Vote absentee in person. Go to the polls on April 7 to vote. Just vote.

Letter to the Editor

There is only one new candidate running for West Bend School District Board, Jody Geenen.  The three incumbents running as a bloc promised to be conservative, but their actions say something different. The current school board is out-of-touch and far from good stewards of tax dollars.

  • The current board wants to increase taxes with new buildings and a declining student population. The current board has tabled suggestions provided by an independent, volunteer task force who have researched and offered alternatives. Last year’s school referendum they wanted a palace in Jackson with 180+ square feet per student.  We are still paying for the rebuilding of Badger and Silverbrook.
  • The current school board took credit for a low mill rate which had nothing to do with the WBSD Board.  They count on the public being confused by mill rates.
  • The current board won’t review curriculum and are “leaving it to the experts”. The current board touts that there is parent/public input, but they make it so inconvenient for parent/public input to be heard.
  • The current board wants to eliminate the traditional 100-point grading system to prevent students from failing. The lowest possible grade would be a 40% or 50% instead of a 0 for a student who doesn’t do the work.

There is more, but all in the midst of another nation-wide search for a new superintendent.

I want someone on the school board who is honest, committed, fair minded, has common sense and will listen to ALL stakeholders, who treats my tax dollars as their own, and who supports high quality education.  Actions speak louder than words.  The ONLY vote for West Bend School District School board should be Jody Geenen.

Mary Wild

West Bend

Special Interests Spend Big to Support Liberal Karofsky

There is never a shortage of money for lefty activists running for the court.

Special interest groups spent more than $3 million as of Monday morning in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race.

Groups supporting Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky have spent nearly $1.9 million. Groups backing incumbent Justice Dan Kelly have spent nearly $1.2 million. The election is next Tuesday, April 7.

Until late last week, groups backing Karofsky had a large spending advantage over groups that were supporting Kelly, but two outfits that support GOP and conservative candidates filed more than $1 million in new spending to support Kelly to close the gap.

Karofsky has backing from Democratic contributors and outside groups and Kelly has support from GOP contributors and groups.

Election for Washington County Executive

The voters of Washington County will be choosing their first ever County Executive next week. The County Board voted last year to change the county’s form of government from a County Administrator, in which the executive function is performed by an administrator hired by the county board, to a County Executive, in which the executive function is performed by an elected County Executive who represents a separate, co-equal branch of government.

The voters are blessed with two good choices. Josh Shoemann is the current County Administrator. Adam Gitter is the Economic Development Manager for the City of West Bend. Both men are conservative. Both men are veterans. Both men are career government bureaucrats seeking their first elected office. Both are promising to hold the line on taxes and spending.

On the issues, they differ on two primary points. First, Gitter wants to rescind fees for county parks. A couple of years ago, the county implemented a fee structure for people to enter county parks. In the past, the parks did not have an entrance fee. Gitter’s argument is that the people pay taxes for the parks and should not have to pay a fee to go in them. Shoemann, who advocated for and supports the fees, says that using fees for some things helps keep taxes down. Both are right.

This is an issue on which I can go either way. Generally speaking, I don’t mind if there is a fee for things that not everyone uses. The people who use it should bear the brunt of the costs. On the other hand, we have seen where governments will implement fees and still keep raising taxes. What’s the point of fees then? Furthermore, there is a philosophical justification for the notion that we pay taxes for our county to maintain parks and that should include free and open access. Again, I’m somewhat indifferent on the issue It is an esoteric discussion that has little bearing on my life. But this is the issue that has garnered the most energy in this campaign.

The second issue on which they disagree is on the county sales tax.Washington County implemented a sales tax many years ago on an “emergency” basis to pay for some specific capital needs like a new radio system for the Sheriff. Once those things were paid off, the county kept the sales tax and now uses it for whatever they want. I have long advocated that the county should repeal the sales tax. The reason it was implemented is no longer valid and they should repeal it. If, after it is repealed, the county wants to implement a new sales tax to fund county government, then let’s have that debate. As it is, the county sales tax is the greatest bait and switch ever foisted on the people of Washington County.

On this issue, Gitter calls the sales tax a “slush fund” and has advocated repealing or reforming it. Gitter is right. Shoemann argues that the sales tax revenue has become too integral to the county’s finances and repealing it would blow a $4 million hole in the budget. Yes, it would. That has been part of the insipid nature of the sales tax revenue in that once the County Board got it, they wouldn’t let it go. There is no reason that we could not work toward the goal repealing the sales tax over time. At least Gitter wants to try and will push in the right direction.

Primarily because of the sales tax, I voted for Adam Gitter. There is a lesser reason that irks me a little too.

Shoemann has seen a wave of support from the current insiders in the county. The current county board chair, former chair, several county board members, and a couple of local politicians have come out in support of Shoemann. This makes sense and is a credit to Shoemann. In his role as County Administrator, he has worked with these people over years and earned their trust. That’s great. But there is what we used to call a “good ol’ boys” network in Washington County. In our modern nomenclature, we call it the swamp. That’s what this is. One of the reasons I advocated for a County Executive form of government was so that the county could have an elected, independent executive branch. If the executive is that tight with the board and part of the club, then what’s the point? I’m not saying that we should have open warfare between the branches of government, but the friction created by skepticism and independence is part of the balance of powers that makes for good government.

Finally on a side note, it is unfortunate that these local races have been drowned out by the presidential primaries and coronavirus. One of the fascinating things about this race that the county’s local lefty contingent has all lined up behind Gitter. As a quirk of politics, I find myself on the same side. It is curious because Gitter is an avowed conservative who has been successful in his role at the City of West Bend with conservative leadership. In reading the lefties’ writings, it looks like it comes down to two issues. First, the liberals hate park fees. As a matter of philosophy, they oppose park fees and believe that the parks should be free to everyone. Gitter agrees with that philosophy. Second, the lefties just hate Shoemann and don’t really know Gitter. It is a testament to Shoemann’s conservatism that he is so reviled by the local lefty establishment. I hope that Gitter can earn their enmity should he be elected.

All said, the voters can’t make a bad choice for county executive, but because of a couple of issues, I voted for Adam Gitter.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Fails Again

It’s possible that the WEC is the most dysfunctional government agency in the state. The Democrats’ behavior here is despicable.

The state elections commission will not investigate county clerks in Milwaukee and Dane counties for encouraging absentee voters staying home due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak to use an indefinitely confined provision to avoid the state’s photo ID requirement.

In a Sunday meeting, the Wisconsin Elections Commission — which consists of three Democrats and three Republicans — was deadlocked on motions that would have tabled investigations into the two clerks, while warning them their use of indefinite confinement violated state elections laws. Motions by Democratic members to do away with the proposed investigations entirely also failed along party line votes. With all votes split 3-3, none of the motions passed.

Iranians Dying From Drinking Methanol to Cure Covid

Sad.

Iranian media report nearly 300 people have been killed and more than 1,000 sickened so far by ingesting methanol across the Islamic Republic, where drinking alcohol is banned and where those who do rely on bootleggers. An Iranian doctor helping the country’s Health Ministry told The Associated Press on Friday the problem was even greater, giving a death toll of around 480 with 2,850 people sickened.

The poisonings come as fake remedies spread across social media in Iran, where people remain deeply suspicious of the government after it downplayed the crisis for days before it overwhelmed the country.

“Other countries have only one problem, which is the new coronavirus pandemic. But we are fighting on two fronts here,” said Dr. Hossein Hassanian, an adviser to Iran’s Health Ministry who gave the higher figures to the AP. “We have to both cure the people with alcohol poisoning and also fight the coronavirus.”

$1.6 Billion in School Referendums on Ballot

Given that most of these are for buildings and all of the kids are at home… no. Oh, AND, we are entering a government-forced recession and we shouldn’t raise our taxes when thousands of our neighbors are losing their jobs, savings, and businesses. Oh, AND, even if both of those things weren’t true, it would still be a waste of money.

As the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has upended daily lives, bringing with it economic uncertainty, voters in 48 Wisconsin school districts — including in two of the state’s largest school systems — will decide next month on referendums totaling more than $1.6 billion.

[…]

But voters in the state’s largest district, Milwaukee, and fifth-largest, Racine, have big asks before them — permanently raising operating funds by up to $87 million and spending up to $1 billion on school projects over the next three decades, respectively.

The referendums in districts throughout the state come as thousands of people are out of work and businesses shuttered to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Whether the economic impact of the public health crisis will hamper the success of school referendums is uncertain.

 

WalMart Sees Sales Surge for Tops, but Not Bottoms

There are a lot of teleworkers sitting in their underwear.

(CNN)With more and more people working from home, Walmart has picked up on an interesting trend: Tops have seen an increase in sales, while bottoms haven’t.

The reason? Teleworking.
That’s what Walmart’s executive vice president of corporate affairs Dan Bartlett told Yahoo Finance on Thursday. Later, a spokesman for the company told CNN the same thing.
As officials try to control the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of white collar workers — normally bound by dress codes and expectations in the office — are trading business trousers for sweat pants, and stiff blazers for that hoodie they would only ever allow their family, roommates or dog to see.

Dan Kelly for Supreme Court

I wrote a column last September advocating that folks vote for Dan Kelly for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In that column, I wrote:

With the liberals’ resurgent interest in trammeling our civil rights, it is important that all of us make a firm statement in the voting booth that we will not tolerate such an assault on our rights. In April, Wisconsinites will have the chance to affirm that we insist that our government remain restrained by our state and federal constitutions by electing Justice Dan Kelly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

After spending a career in private practice, Justice Kelly was appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Walker after Justice David Prosser resigned from the court in 2016. In his almost three years on the court, Justice Kelly has honored his promises and honored his commitment to be a humble defender of the rule of law and our individual rights.

Governor Evers may consider assailing our rights and seizing our guns, but he and his fellow liberal travelers will never be able to do it as long as judicial conservatives sit on the Supreme Court. Electing Justice Kelly to a full term on the bench is our next chance to make our will known at the ballot box.

Boy, doesn’t that ring even more true today? Many of the overreaching actions that are being taken by the governor are likely to be challenged and find their way to the Supreme Court. The same is true for the unconstitutional actions being taken by liberals in Dane and Milwaukee Counties to violate our election laws and steal our elections. Given everything taking place these past few weeks, it is more important than ever to make sure we have Justices on the Supreme Court who will uphold the Rule of Law. We need Justices who do not think that our Constitution should bend to a virus or our civil rights should be surrendered to panic.

Elect Dan Kelly. Go vote. Now.

Rich Kasten for Mayor of West Bend

I had intended to write my column for this week about the various offices on the ballot, but the pandemic took precedence.  With the April election being impacted by Coronavirus, I hope you are all voting early or absentee – just in case. Next week’s column will cover several races, but with the word limit, it will be necessarily light on explanation for each race. I think that several races require a fuller discussion, so here we go…

There are two candidates for West Bend Mayor: Rich Kasten and Chris Jenkins. Both of them are currently Aldermen for the city. I wrote a column a couple of months ago with some details on their backgrounds. After a lot of thought, I voted for Rich Kasten (yes, I already voted).

I like both men. They are both conservative, smart, pragmatic, and passionate about serving the community. They have both been assets on the Common Council and helped lead the city in a positive direction. For me, the decision came down to two factors.

First, Kasten is a bit older and more experienced. I worked with him years ago on a task force of some kind and he’s been my representative on the council for years. I’ve seen his patient, thoughtful work first hand. I’ve seen him get things done while building consensus along the way. He’s just been around a bit more; seen a bit more; and experienced a bit more. I have found occasion to disagree with him from time to time, but his decisions are always well thought out and rooted in conservatism and the best interests of the community.

Second, and this really came into clarity for me with the Coronavirus shutdown, Kasten works in the private sector and has for decades. His coworkers are in the private sector. His friends work in the private sector. He sees and lives with the consequences of government action and inaction every day. Particularly as the people and businesses of the City of West Bend recover from the government-forced recession, I am more comfortable with a Mayor who is living it like the rest of us. I have no doubt that Jenkins’ heart is in the right place, but he only worked for a short time in the private sector. He currently works for a government and serves/has served in multiple government positions. As conservative a someone might personally be, being a government employee brings with it a different mindset.

Rich Kasten has been a great Alderman and he’ll be an even better Mayor of West Bend.