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
The Journal Sentinel reports this morning that it cost less to restore the Capitol than earlier estimated by the Walker Administration. The actual cost was 'only' $197,459 as of March 15th, so obviously the Walker Administration was guilty of over-estimating the costs when it initially forewarned that costs could be as high as $7.5 Million. The actual costs were comprised of the following:
-$65,000 to reseed grass and replace trampled shrubs and bushes
-$43,520 to pay three limited-term employees to clean large swaths of the Capitol walls to remove tape residue
-$30,504 for overtime paid to custodial workers in February and March, 2011
-$17,500 to remove marker stains from walls and replace damaged stone
-$13,750 to pay a consultant to assess the damage and what needed to be done to restore it
Buried after the fold is the small amount of more than $9 Million paid to law enforcement officers to augment Capitol security.
Where to start?
There should've been no damage to the Capitol and the grounds; adults should be able to control themselves and act in a civilized manner rather than deface walls and trample shrubs as they tried to enter the building illegally through windows opened by co-conspirators whose offices were at ground level.
There should've been no need for augmented police presence, except that the 'unionistas' who were driving the protest knew that would be "good press". Many of those people were from many states away from Wisconsin, and the majority of funding of this "debacle in the name of freedom" came from national union coffers although WEAC is not without culpability.
We have elections to determine who will be the majority in our state, and we, up 'til now, have pretty well controlled our impulses whether we were in the majority or the minority. This episode sullies the history of our great state; it sullies the reputations of those whose protesting went beyond the pale; it served to remind us that freedom is a very fragile thing since we were under attack by forces that didn't give a 'good crap' about that.
We have seen what, apparently, is our future for at least a time; we do not seem willing to abide by the ethics and rules that have been in place through both Republican and Democrat periods of control. If this is to be the 'new normal', then we need to seriously review the rules governing such gatherings. . Maybe there needs be a solid and substantial perrnitting process to be accompanied by a bonding requirement. If there is destruction, the bond would be used to pay for the restoration. If additional law enforcement is required, maybe that bond ought to be used to reimburse the governmental units sending those officers to Madison rather than having that be shouldered by taxpayers.
Some will protest that this would fly in the face of their liberties, but the costs for the excesses of the demonstrators came from our pockets, and the vast majority of us had nothing to do with this destruction. I should not bear the expense for their desecration of our Capitol or for their months-long illegal occupancy. Capitol police were not empowered to make arrests, but that should've been done from the very beginning of this obstruction and destruction. Apparently the Chief of the Capitol Police thought he'd rather cajole than enforce. We have seen footage of his deal-making with protestors.
Mob mentality is a very dangerous and volatile thing. The usurpation of my freedoms to make the protestors feel good ain't goin' to cut it the next time.
And, while we're at it, maybe it is time to tighten up the rules of the Legislature so that those who flee their duties will be penalized in some form the next time they pull that stunt. The fleeing fourteen were acting like fools flitting about in Illinois, holding their press conferences, and so on. These 'adults' gave adults in general a bad name.
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By the way, I visited our Capitol during the height of this 'occupation' and was absolutely aghast at its state and at the conduct of the protestors during that visit. I had to pass through security after showing ID and being wanded, be escorted by a staff member of my Representative and a police officer to and from that office, and could hardly hear myself think over the din of banging drums, horns and chants. You might say, 'tough, we have our rights to protest'. I would tell you that your rights do not trump my rights. We both have rights, but neither of us has the right to deny the other his or her rights.