Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Random Thoughts on the State of Our State

Wisconsin, Quality of Life, Political, Education, Taxes

The current situation in Wisconsin has caused me some random thoughts that appear in no particular order:

·         A reader questioned what could or couldn’t be accomplished, namely related to ending collective bargaining, with the use of an Executive Order by the Governor.  I consulted with a member of Rep. Dan Knodl’s staff (thanks BJ) in Madison and his answer, after some research, was this:  in order for the Governor to be able to use an Executive Order to rescind collective bargaining, that collective bargaining would have had to have been created by the use of an Executive Order.  In our case, collective bargaining is a statute and would need to be altered or rescinded by legislation.


·         Where will all this end?  I have no idea other than to believe this atmosphere is likely to permeate our school systems, localities, counties and the state for several years to come.  This is a ‘sea change’ event in the making and it has changed the usual dynamics.  We watch the politicians try to feel their way through this situation because they’ve never experienced anything just like this before; that goes even for Fred Risser who has been in state government almost since we’ve had state government (that was meant to be humorous).  The classic phrase, “the genie is out of the bottle”, is quite appropriate today.  We see the political posturing going on at virtually every level of state politics from the smallest village to the state government and at every stage in between.


·         The MATC dash to settlement, and probably other technical college acts, has prompted Sen. Glenn Grothmann to begin the process of changing the technical college governance rules.  He is seeking co-sponsorship for a bill that would require that two-thirds of each technical college board be comprised of ‘business people’.  That could have a huge effect on what I have long felt was a runaway situation.  MATC has, in my opinion, demonstrated the collusive nature of public sector bargaining rights.  Madison’s mayor has also shown how corrosive that is to the public good through his efforts to ‘slow walk’ the publishing of bills to provide his city enough time to thwart the goals of the governor by passing contracts/extensions before the law took effect.


·         I continue to learn of more and more individual angst, of disputes in families, of disputes in the workplace and so on.  The impact of this time on personal relationships will take time to heal, and in some instances relationships will simply be ruined.  While it is good to avoid such conversations if we know of potential angst, it is sometimes simply unavoidable until too late.


·         The approach of some of the union people, typically from the trades, using raw intimidation has been evident.  That strikes me as more a throw-back to much earlier times but I guess intimidation has worked for ages so I shouldn’t be surprised at its continued use.  Thankfully, there has been little or no actual violence of which I’m aware.  It is, however, difficult to have a debate when one side simply hollers to preclude anyone hearing what would be said.


·         I hope that some semblance of order will have been restored to our Capitol come next week.  The semi-permanent residents have packed up and moved out per the Judge’s order.  Access to the Capitol is to be “more normal”, whatever that will come to mean, than has been the case for the past half-month or more.  A more thorough clean-up can be commenced and we will see what, if any, real damage has occurred during this occupation.


·         Finally, what a change for Dave Obey.  I saw him on the sidewalk outside the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon and only later learned that he had not been able to gain access to the Capitol since he didn’t have an appointment.  A few short months ago, he was among the most powerful people in Washington, D.C.  Power can be fleeting in the world of politics.

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