Category Archives: Politics

Washington Reaches Deal to Spend Money we Don’t Have

No, we don’t even know what is in the bill. What I can guarantee you is that for every dollar spent on something worthwhile, two dollars will be wasted or lost to graft. We are mortgaging our grandchildren’s future because of our bad governance today.

“In effect, this is a war-time level of investment into our nation,” said McConnell, who promised the bill would rush financial assistance to Americans through direct checks to households, enhanced unemployment insurance, hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency loans to small businesses, and more resources for hospitals and medical equipment.

The Senate has yet to release the final terms of the deal. An earlier draft seen Tuesday would provide cash payments of up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples and $500 per child, reduced if an individual makes more than $75,000 or a couple makes more than $150,000.

The draft language also stipulated a $350 billion fund for small businesses to mitigate layoffs and support payroll.

Washington County Sheriff Schulteis Reacts to Governor’s Shutdown Order

Hats off to Sheriff Schulteis. This is a solid, measured, constitutionally correct way to respond to the Governor’s order.

I am also here to assure you that the words in my leadership direction matter. My staff and I are committed and dedicated to protecting your constitutional guarantees. This order has not suspended the United States Constitution or the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin. We are not under “martial law.” You will not be stopped without reasonable suspicion that a violation of law has occurred. This is the same standard that existed prior to this order. You will not be detained or questioned as to why you are leaving your house or questioned as to if the purpose of your travels falls under the essential travel portion of the order. You do not need any documentation to approve travel.

We will investigate and take enforcement action on blatant violations of this order that put our community at great risk. We are asking for voluntary compliance with this order so we can move forward and defeat this enemy. I want to end by thanking the people of Washington County for their compliance, understanding, and great personal sacrifice. Like most law enforcement agencies, we have had to change how we operate during this pandemic. I am here to assure you that the entire Washington County Sheriff’s Office is standing ready to protect and serve for you

Businesses React to Evers’ Economic Shutdown

It’s good to see some sensible voices rising above the fray.

The outdoor power equipment industry, including Ariens Co., Briggs & Stratton Corp., Kohler Co. and others employs tens of thousands of people in Wisconsin. Headed into spring, it normally would be cranking out products to be shipped around the world.

“With the number of jobs in this industry, from Milwaukee to Brillion to Kohler to Tomah, I would consider it essential,” Ariens said, adding that he was sending the governor a letter pleading to keep the plants open.

“I am telling him that we will take care of our employees as we care for our families by following the CDC best-safety practices and advice. We don’t need to have the government teach us responsibility,” Ariens said.

A devastating cure: Weighing liberties, security in the age of coronavirus

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Go pick up a copy!

In the future, when we remember the liberties we once had and explain to our grandchildren why we surrendered them, some old man will slowly look down at his shoes and mutter, “We did it out of an abundance of caution.”

The global Coronavirus pandemic is a severe health concern that requires a response from our government. We need our government to aggressively work toward a vaccine and treatments, inform the public with the latest prevention methods, act to provide resources where needed, and provide the legal and regulatory safety net for the private sector to join in the fight. We do not need or want our government to arbitrarily suppress our civil rights, undermine the rule of law, and intentionally destroy our economy and our livelihoods.

It is breathtaking the speed at which our government leaders resorted to totalitarian extremes to combat the spread of a disease. The government ordered thousands and thousands of businesses to close indefinitely. This has forced millions of people out of work. Many of them do not have the financial cushion to get by without an income for weeks on end. Many small-business owners are losing their life’s work and their families’ entire net worth by order of the government.

With millions of people are struggling to get by, the inevitable wave of foreclosures and bankruptcies will follow. The government may try to halt this by decree or throw stimulus money at the problem, but the financial realities make the long-term impact of these decisions unavoidable.

Meanwhile, some governments are ordering people to remain home, forbidding people from assembling, and even closing churches. In California, people who are caught outside of their homes for nonessential reasons are subject to arrest, fines, and imprisonment for violating the order. At the same time, jury trials (a constitutionally protected right) are being postponed, elections are being delayed, prisoners are being released, and the government is ignoring private contracts — for example, the government ordering that landlords can’t evict people — in lieu of the judgment of politicians.

The impact is more than just financial or an inconvenience. The government restrictions have caused a massive shortage in donated blood for hospitals, crime is sure to rise, people are postponing necessary medical care for fear of leaving their homes, and an increase in depression, addiction, and suicide will result from mass unemployment and economic destruction.

Americans should be following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control to maintain a physical distance from others, cover sneezes, avoid touching faces, wash hands, sanitize surfaces, and reduce unnecessary travel. But there is an abyss between free Americans taking steps to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus of their own free will and our government using police power to enforce those steps. In most cases, it is a single man — a governor — making these incredible decisions to upend our lives.

If the response to Coronavirus has taught us anything, it is that our government officials will strip us of our liberties at a moment’s notice on the justification that it is for our own good. Instead of relying on the collective wisdom of a billion individual decisions made by free people, our government officials instantly supplanted their own judgment for that of the people they were elected to represent. They immediately assumed that they know better and are not only empowered, but obligated, to micromanage our lives “out of an abundance of caution.” And then, when the inevitable negative effects are being felt, these same people will mortgage our grandchildren’s future too with another boondoggle trillion dollar stimulus.

This is a very old debate about the balance of government power between liberty and safety. The way in which so many Americans surrendered their liberty for the dubious promise of safety with little more than a shrug and a muffled bleat is testament to how far we have strayed from our roots. For all of the “don’t tread on me” stickers and “live free or die” machismo, too many Americans have become fat and docile.

Coronavirus will ravage the world and leave devastation in its wake, but we will find workable treatments and a vaccine. It will pass. The devastation to our economy and liberties will be far longer lasting.

States Move to Halt “Non-Essential” Abortions

It’s hard to argue with the logic.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The governor and attorney general of Texas are moving to ban most abortions in the state during the coronavirus outbreak, declaring they don’t qualify as essential surgeries.

Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday that the order issued over the weekend by Gov. Greg Abbott barred “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.”

Failure to comply with the order can result in penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time, Paxton said.

“No one is exempt from the governor’s executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortion providers,” Paxton said. “Those who violate the governor’s order will be met with the full force of the law.”

[…]

“If abortion is a ‘choice’ then abortion is an elective procedure,” said Mark Harrington, president of the anti-abortion group Created Equal.

Wisconsinites Head to the Bread Lines Thanks to Government-Forced Economic Downturn

This is just the beginning. After this comes the bankruptcies, foreclosures, increases in crime, suicides, and general crap show of a steep recession. The surest path to societal peace and prosperity is a thriving economy and work for everyone.

The social distancing measures and bans on large gatherings put in place by Gov. Tony Evers to combat the spread of coronavirus has created challenges for a number of industries. Many restaurants, including Punch Bowl Social and The Bartolotta Restaurants have had to close for the foreseeable future. Some retailers, including Kohl’s Corp., have shut down stores and some manufacturers, including Harley-Davidson, have suspended production.

The 69,342 initial claims filed last week marks a sharp uptick in unemployment in Wisconsin. For weeks ending in 2020, the state averaged 6,250 initial claims per week for a total of 56,252.

According to non-seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Department of Labor, the highest one-week total for Wisconsin was 49,267 at the end of 2001.

Even during the Great Recession and its immediate aftermath, only one two-week period at the end of 2009 saw more than 70,000 initial claims. Most two-week stretches during that downturn saw fewer than 60,000 initial claims.

GOP Leaders Respond to Evers’ Order

I watched all but the very end of the Q&A of the governor’s press conference. It was a mess. No details. No definition of “essential” businesses. No reason for the change of policy. Evers admitted that he hadn’t even spoken to the legislative leaders. Several times the governor’s legal counsel jumped in to answer on behalf of the governor. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to hear from my actual elected governor on these things. Overall, I was not left with any sense of comfort that the people now micromanaging our lives are competent enough to be doing so.

In any case, it appears that the GOP leadership is pushing back a little, but I want more than better communication from our governor. I want competent decision-making that takes into account all stakeholders’ interests and protects out civil liberties.

“The governor’s announcement has created mass amounts of confusion. For days, Governor Evers took a measured approach and reassured business owners that a shelter-in-place order may not be necessary. Legislative leaders even complimented him for it. The governor’s sudden change of course and lack of specific guidance have increased the level of uncertainty and anxiety in our state. The people of Wisconsin deserve clear communications during a public health emergency.

“There also needs to be a better understanding as to why the decisions are being made, because of the impact on the economy, businesses and residents of the state.

“It appears at the end of the governor’s press conference, there are more questions than answers. We would ask the governor to answer the following questions for the people of Wisconsin:

  • What are the metrics that this decision is based on?
  • What is considered an essential and non-essential business? How is that being determined?
  • What changes need to happen for the order to be lifted?

“The governor’s executive order came as a surprise to the legislature. It was a complete reversal from his repeated assurances. It should be noted that legislative leaders have asked on a daily basis whether or not this was the direction the governor was headed, and we were told it was not.

“We all want what’s best for Wisconsin. We want people to stay safe and follow CDC guidelines. We would ask the governor to do a better job communicating to the people of Wisconsin.”

Governor Evers to Suspend Civil Rights Indefinitely

Freedom of assembly? Gone.  Freedom of free exercise of religion? Gone. Freedom of movement? Gone. Perhaps elections suspended? All gone… indefinitely… by the order of a single, mediocre man: our governor, Tony Evers.

The Democratic governor made the announcement on Twitter three days after saying he did not think he would have to issue such an order but that he would do what is scientifically necessary.

He said he would formally issue the order Tuesday and it was expected to take effect within a day or so of that.

The governor did not say how long the order would last or how the state could conduct its April 7 presidential primary and election for state Supreme Court and local offices. Evers for weeks has been encouraging people to vote absentee.

The governor is calling his edict a safer-at home order rather than a shelter-in-place order, as California and New York have. Evers’ phrasing is the same as what’s been used in Ohio and is meant to get businesses to close and people to stay at home without terrifying them or making them think martial law is being imposed.

“I know this has been difficult and has disrupted the lives of people across our state,” Evers tweeted. “That’s why issuing a #SaferAtHome order isn’t something I thought we’d have to do, and it’s not something I take lightly. But here’s the bottom line: folks need to start taking this seriously.”

Under the order, people will be able to go to grocery stores, doctor’s offices and pharmacies and go outside to exercise or walk a dog. But people will be required to stay at home for most other reasons and the governor noted that means “no sleepovers, no play dates and no dinner parties with friends and neighbors.”

Former Mayor Sadownikow Supports Kasten for Mayor

That’s quite an endorsement.

March 21, 2020 – West Bend, WI – In-person absentee voting is taking place at the West Bend City Hall.  I already voted and feel that West Bend is fortunate to have two high quality candidates running for Mayor, Rich Kasten and Chris Jenkins.

I believe West Bend is best served if both men are able to continue serving our community.  Due to the way election law is written, the only way that can happen is if Rich Kasten is elected Mayor and Chris Jenkins retains his aldermanic seat.

Rich Kasten earned my vote.

I had the pleasure of working with Rich while we served together on the Council.  Rich is a thoughtful man, husband, father and community servant.  He is a confident leader who thinks before he speaks, considers all facts before rendering an opinion and can defend the actions he takes with logic and reason.

Rich uses his IT, Engineering and Personnel Management skills to enhance the City of West Bend.  Rich has chosen to get deeply involved so he can fully understand City operations and how to make them the most efficient possible.

He currently serves as the Finance Committee Chairman, Chairman of the Transportation Task Force and is a member of the Plan Commission and Union Negotiations Team.  Rich has the experience, desire and ability to serve our community as Mayor.

Make no mistake, Chris Jenkins has a bright future in public service and I am confident his time will come.  In order to ensure a strong, conservative Council please join me in voting for Rich Kasten to be West Bend’s next Mayor.

 

Kraig Sadownikow

West Bend

GOP Leaders Ask Governor to Not Close More Businesses

It’s about time we started having a public discussion about how far we should go in killing our economy, our livelihoods, and our financial and societal stability.

MADISON – Republican leaders of the state Legislature are asking Gov. Tony Evers not to place any further restrictions on Wisconsin residents’ ability to spend money, warning of an economic collapse.

Evers has ordered the closure of schools, bars, restaurants, hair salons and limited gatherings to 10 people or fewer to lessen the chance that the coronavirus spreads like wildfire throughout the state, endangering thousands of lives.

Other states, including Illinois and California, have gone further and codified advice by ordering all of their residents to stay in their homes — a measure Evers has said, for now, he isn’t taking.

Senate leaders Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau and Roger Roth of Appleton and Assembly leaders Robin Vos of Rochester and Jim Steineke of Kaukauna said Saturday they agree with the governor’s position, saying more restrictions are unnecessary in Wisconsin.

“The consequences felt by citizens and small businesses around the state has already been tremendous,” the lawmakers said in a statement. “As we move forward together in this fight to defeat the virus, we must keep in mind that the people we serve need the jobs they have today to help weather this storm. Continued economic activity will not only help us in our fight against this virus today, it will also ensure that we don’t have to fight to recover from economic collapse tomorrow.”

Emphasis mine.

Evers Halts Prison Admissions

This will not end well.

Under the order, any defendant who is sentenced to prison will be held in a county jail instead of being transferred to one of DOC’s more than 30 prison facilities across the state.

Neal said most individuals who violate probation and parole rules would also go to the county jails, but some would go to a DOC facility in Milwaukee that is specifically for felons who violate their supervision terms. It is the only such DOC facility.

Although the emergency order could help prevent an inmate from bringing COVID-19 into a prison, it might also put extra pressure on county jails, including potential overcrowding.

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney said there were “absolutely no conversations” with county sheriffs about the impact the order will have on county jails. The Dane County Jail was notified of the change via email at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

“It’s really got sheriffs really upset,” Mahoney said. “It’s just very frustrating — as we’re trying to keep our own institutions healthy while we continue to hold prison inmates for the Department of Corrections — that we were not involved in at least a conversation about the need to find a collaborative solution.”

Mahoney said if the governor would have consulted county sheriffs, they could have come up with another solution to keep the prisons and jails safe, such as screening all inmates before transferring them to prisons.

We’re watching a very average man lurch from draconian thing to stupid thing without any real understanding of the consequences. Why are we allowing this one man to have so much power over our lives? We elected a governor, not a king.

Blood Shortage Could Kill

The cure is worse than the disease.

As the coronavirus outbreak spreads across the US, a dangerous blood shortage threatens to create another public health crisis – with one medical director warning: “This could kill our patients.”

Coronavirus control methods mandate social distancing that has ranged from banning in-person seating in restaurants to closing schools to issuing shelter-in-place orders. Many places where blood donation might take place – such as campuses and libraries – are presently shuttered.

The result has been a disaster for blood donation as the medical sector finds its blood supplies running out.

The American Red Cross said that as of 19 March, more than 5,000 of its blood drives were canceled across the US over coronavirus concerns – resulting in approximately 170,000 fewer donations. More than 80% of donated blood collected from the Red Cross is from drives at places closed for social distancing: workplaces, schools, and college campuses.

“This could lead to mortality,” said Dr Jennifer Andrews, director of the blood bank at Vanderbilt University medical center and pediatric hematologist. “This could kill our patients.”

Police State

Where are the “resisters” now? How quickly we give up our rights.

Donald Trump has declared New York State a major disaster area as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases skyrockets and New York City was declared the epicenter of the US outbreak by city Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The US military will now be called in, and the US Army Corps of Engineers have said they plans to take over hotels, sports arenas, college dorms and other buildings in a bid to bolster the number of available hospital rooms.

De Blasio had urged Trump to send in the military and its logistical support to hard-hit New York State, California and Seattle on Wednesday. On Friday de Blasio said: ‘We constitute 30 percent of the cases in the US and 70 per cent of the cases in New York State. Whether we like it or not, we are the epicenter.’

The president’s declaration comes as a hospital in the Bronx revealed it is running low on ventilators and a Queens doctor revealed that an elderly patient experiencing coronavirus symptoms died on the hospital ward floor.

[…]

Prior to Trump’s declaration, Cuomo issued a total ban on non-essential businesses and warned there would be strict fines for any businesses that do not comply Friday.

The ban – which will impact 19.5million people – is to go into effect on Sunday evening and is indefinite.

Work forces that are excluded are grocery stores, pharmacies, certain government workers, food deliveries and restaurants, internet service providers and news organizations.

Washington Politicians Try to Outbid Each Other With Our Money

Insanity. All we are doing to perpetuating an economic collapse and burdening our children with yet another TRILLION dollars of debt to pay back. And for what? So that McConnell, Trump, and Pelosi can say that they “did something?”

There are a few notable gaps in the Republican proposal. Those who paid less than $1,200 in taxes in 2018 would receive a smaller rebate, at a minimum of $600. Some of the nation’s poorest families fall into that category.

Those who earn more than $75,000 would also receive a smaller rebate, and people who earn more than $99,000 won’t receive any benefit.

The package bases relief rebates on peoples’ 2018 tax returns. If someone made more than $99,000 in 2018, but much less in 2019, they would not get the benefit. The GOP plan also only calls for a one-time check, while a counterpoint from the Democrats offered recurring checks for the duration of the crisis.

The Democrats’ proposed plan, which Chuck Schumer presented on the Senate floor, includes a “Marshall Plan” – which borrows its name from the stimulus plan the US developed in the aftermath of the second world war – for hospitals and the healthcare system. It includes broader paid sick leave mandates, help for small businesses, bailouts for workers and full pay for those out of work.

Senator Burr Dumped Stocks Before Public Knew What was Coming

This is how out politicians exit office as millionaires. In a just world, Senator Burr would be tarred and feathered.

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr, dumped between $582,029 and $1.56 million of his stock holdings as he was getting coronavirus warnings.

ProPublica reported that on February 13 Burr sold of stock holdings in 29 separate transactions. A week later the stock market started its downward trend, now losing about a third of its value.

Burr dumped $150,000 worth of shares of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts stock and $100,000 worth of shares of Extended Stay America.

The hospitality industry has been one of the worst shattered in this collapse.

Wisconsin Republicans Voted Against Pandemic Panic Bill

I’m proud of our Wisconsin Republicans. Instead of surrendering to panic and responding as too many politicians do by throwing our own money at us, they are thinking through the consequences of the actions that are being proposed and making thoughtful decisions. The key now is that government will need to take actions, but they need to avoid making the cure worse than the disease.

A bill mandating paid sick leave and expanding federal unemployment benefits that won resounding bipartisan approval in the House and Senate received no support from Wisconsin’s Republicans, who say it was rushed and would put further strain on small businesses.

The legislation, signed into law by President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening, expands federal unemployment benefits and mandates employers provide paid sick leave to employees along with a host of other measures to ease the economic hardships the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has wrought upon many Americans.

But the state’s Republican delegates said the paid leave measure would harm small businesses already struggling with the economic downturn caused by the outbreak.

In a statement, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, supported many of the bill’s provisions, including free testing for COVID-19, but said the legislation could force businesses to lay off workers or close their doors.
“We all agree those living paycheck-to-paycheck shouldn’t have to decide between going to work or endangering their co-workers, but we need a solution that doesn’t cause severe and unintended economic damage,” he said.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, opposed the paid leave provision and expansion of federal unemployment benefits. Instead, he unsuccessfully proposed an amendment that would have cut both in favor of boosting state unemployment funds with federal dollars and passing temporary laws to accommodate their use in response to the pandemic. He voted against the final Senate bill on Wednesday.

Wauwatosa Clerk Assaults Democracy

Exclusive from Mark Belling.

Wauwatosa City Clerk Melanie Kollmansberger is violating Wisconsin state law by saying her office will accept absentee ballots in the ongoing spring election by email. It is against Wisconsin law to accept emailed absentee ballots.

By state law, absentee ballots must either be sent by traditional US Postal mail or in person. The Wisconsin Election Commission’s own website explicitly states absentee ballots may not be emailed.

The following is pasted directly from the Wauwatosa City Clerk website:

You may email absentee ballots to the City Clerk’s Office at tclerk@wauwatosa.net. You will need to include specific information on your absentee ballot, which is explained below. The first day to vote in person by absentee ballot for the Tuesday, April 7, 2020 election is Tuesday, March 17, 2020. All in person absentee ballots must be submitted by Friday, April 3, 2020 at 5:00 pm. Ballots must be received by the Clerk’s Office by Election Day in order to be counted. Please submit your ballots as soon as possible.

The above advice is contrary to Wisconsin state law

Sure, I’m worried about the virus, but I am more worried about our liberty, right to self-governance, and rule of law. We once thought that these principles were worth dying for… worth killing for. Do we still?

Evers Relents on Open Records Request

Why is Evers so opposed to transparency? Should we be concerned given that he is wielding dictatorial powers over us right now?

Gov. Tony Evers will comply with a top state legislator’s request for records about farmer mental health programs that is the subject of a lawsuit, despite maintaining that the request is overly broad and burdensome.

Democrats Sue to Weaken Election Laws

Never let a crisis go to waste.

Democrats are asking a federal judge to extend deadlines for absentee voting in a new lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission ahead of the April 7 spring election and presidential primary.

The lawsuit, brought by the Democratic National Committee and Wisconsin Democratic Party in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, also seeks to waive the voter ID requirement for absentee voting and proof of residence requirement for voter registration. The suit was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Democrats are seeking to roll back the requirements to make voting absentee easier for an April election that is nearly guaranteed to be upended by a global pandemic beginning to ravage the U.S.

This should, I repeat, should be thrown out immediately. The fact that there is a pandemic does not make a law any more or less constitutional. If the legislature wants to change the laws in response to the pandemic, that’s their prerogative. But a judge has no standing here. We’ll see if the Rule of Law can withstand an aggressive assault by Democrats during a crisis.

Cast your vote based on the record

Speaking of voting, here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday.

Three incumbent West Bend School Board members are up for re-election on the April 7 ballot. Joel Ongert, Nancy Justman, and Tonnie Schmidt ran as a bloc in 2017 and are running for re-election as a bloc again. In 2017, they ran on conservatism and transparency. Having failed on both counts, this year they are running on their record. It is certainly a record that deserves scrutiny.

Despite promising transparency, the West Bend School District became instantly more opaque when they took office. Individually, these three board members repeatedly refused to respond to questions from media and constituents who did not support them; documents disappeared from the district’s website; and there was a noticeable increase in the number of closed sessions.

This secrecy enveloped the decision in 2017 to split the high school administrations. West Bend has two high schools in one building, but previous boards had combined the administration to be more efficient and economical. Without any public input or discussion, and in the middle of a hiring process for a single principal, the School Board split the position into two expensive principals instead of one. Secrecy and patronage were the new guiding principles with these three.

Under the leadership of the Triad, the district abandoned using Act 10 and reversed course on the implementation of merit pay for school staff. After a year in limbo, the district is implementing a new compensation system that rewards teachers for experience and more education — irrespective of the teacher’s performance.

Who could forget the superintendent shuffle? The district will be hiring its fourth superintendent since the Triad took office three years ago. They forced one out (allegedly), had an interim for a while, and then hired Superintendent Kirkegaard. While Kirkegaard has been a capable superintendent, it did not take much foresight to understand that an administrator nearing the end of his career who spent his entire life in another state would not last long. Along with the superintendent shuffle came the huge turnover of the rest of the administrative staff. The district has cycled through six business managers, five HR directors, and countless other staff positions.

The Triad also ran last time as conservatives. They may be fiscally conservative in their private lives, but they are big-spending liberals with other people’s money. Despite steeply declining enrollment (not the district’s fault), the School Board increased spending by over $5 million, or over 6%, since 2016. That spending brought with it property tax increases. The School Board increased the property tax levy by over 9% over the same period. The spending and taxing decisions of the West Bend School Board are indistinguishable from those of legendarily liberal school boards like Madison or Milwaukee.

The increased spending and taxes were not enough for this crew. Throughout the Triad’s entire tenure, the district has been roiled with referendum debate. After a few months, the Triad pushed through a $74 million (with interest) referendum for a new Jackson Elementary School and work at the high schools. They followed the liberal school referendum playbook to the letter. They manipulated a fake community study committee, conducted a sham survey, rolled out the scare tactics, and were hazy about the details of how the money would be spent.

After the voters rejected the referendum, they are right back at planning the next referendum. Despite the fact that a private task force of local business and facilities leaders (of which I was a member) dug into the data for months and showed a way to restructure facilities with enormous improvements without increasing taxes, the Triad appears determined to ignore those findings and proceed with a rehashed version of the previous referendum – a new Jackson Elementary School and maybe some other fluff thrown in to lure voters from outside of Jackson.

Sadly for the kids of the West Bend School District, the spending, taxing, administrative turmoil, lack of performance incentives for teachers, secrecy, and poor management have only perpetuated a steadily declining performance. None of this has improved educational outcomes or better prepared our kids to enter the world.

If you want higher taxes, more spending, declining performance, and an endless succession of referendums, vote for the Triad. As for me, I will only be voting for one person for the West Bend School Board, Jody Geenen.

Geenen is a solidly conservative mother who had three children go through the West Bend School District. She is committed to doing the hard work of improving transparency, communicating with the public, evaluating the curriculum, being a frugal steward of taxpayer money, and providing a “high-quality, content-rich, truth-and-factbased education for all students.”

There are four candidates for three School Board seats, so two of the three members of the Triad will be re-elected. It does not matter which ones. But it does matter that the voters elect Jody Geenen to be the only conservative on a school board that lurched to the left with the election of the Triad.