Mahlon Mitchell announces run for Lieutenant Governor

(cross-posted from Daily Kos)

The President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin (PFFW), Mahlon Mitchell, announced this morning that he will run for the office of Lieutenant Governor in the upcoming recall election.

Mitchell is running to replace the current Lieutenent Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, the former television reporter best known politically for equating same sex marriage with marrying a table or a clock.

Members of the PFFW, including Mitchell, have maintained a strong presence at protests against Governor Scott Walker’s attacks on public employee unions and at rallies supporting the rights of public employees. Mitchell has spoken at numerous events over the past year and it was widely assumed he would be running for political office if the recall petition drives succeeded.

The race for Lieutenant Governor will probably include a primary which would be held on May 8th, then a general election on June 5th. Unlike regularly scheduled elections, candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor will be listed in separate contests, not grouped as a pair by party affiliation.

Mitchell’s campaign web site includes the following statement by Mitchell posted today:

“I have been a fire fighter for 15 years. When firefighters see an emergency we respond. We respond because we care about our community. It’s a level of service and a calling that only a few decide to take. I look at being LT Gov as another part of this service. As fire fighters, we have a motto – all hands working. Every fire fighter on scene is doing a task or job to stabilize the tragedy. We need all hands working now in our community to deal with the emergency in Madison. ”

Pro-Falk Group Buying Ads in Wisconsin

Daniel Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that a newly-formed political group has purchased air time in 5 Wisconsin markets to run TV ads promoting Kathleen Falk. Falk is campaigning to become the Democratic nominee against Governor Scott Walker in an almost certain upcoming recall election.

The group calling itself “Wisconsin for Falk” registered as a Special Interest Committee with the Government Accountability Board (GAB) within the last week, but it’s not clear who serves on the committee or who is funding the TV ads. Here is an image of the their registration form at the GAB:


Michael Vaughn is the Treasurer. He lists a Minneapolis telephone number. The group itself lists a Madison telephone number. Bice reports that messages left have not been returned. The group’s first ad can be viewed here.

Their ad includes a disclaimer at the end saying the ad was not authorized by any candidate, candidate’s agent or committee.

Really?

The Scott Walker campaign was quick to speculate that the funding came from labor unions that have endorsed Falk. You probably know the tune…big union bosses, blah, blah, blah. Walker has been the beneficiary of advertising from similar political action groups, and he has spent the past few months traveling to out-of-state fundraisers at every opportunity picking up donations that total over 12 million dollars.

Mike McCabe of the non-partisan watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign gave a persuasive argument at last year’s Fighting Bob Fest that the legalized bribery now funding most campaigns has to be fixed before we attempt to fix anything else. I thought about McCabe’s speech when I was perusing the Wisconsin for Falk registration form, and when I read Scott Walker’s hypocritical response. The legendary Ed Garvy, the organizer of Fighting Bob Fest, has pointed out that the Democratic candidate in the recall election will not be able to compete with Walker on spending. Not even close. Garvey suggests that the eventual candidate should forget the outside funding and make Walker’s secret, out-of-state money the major issue.

I wish one of the candidates would pledge to do that. I really do.

Stoughton Man Cited After Scuffle With Recall Circulator

A 54-year-old Stoughton man was cited for disorderly conduct after he provoked a confrontation with a 41-year-old Madison woman collecting recall signatures on Madison’s east side.

The incident happened Thursday, December 8. Here is the Madison Police Department’s incident report:
________________________________________________________
POSTED: Friday, December 9, 2011
Release from Madison Police:
Incident Type: Disturbance
Incident Date: 12/08/2011 – 3:42 PM
Address: 3800 block Milwaukee St.

Arrested:
Earl A. Gluth, age 54, Stoughton
Mr. Gluth was cited for Disorderly Conduct.

Victim:
Female, age 41, Madison

A tête-à-tête between a petitioner and a supporter of Governor Walker ended with a citation for disorderly conduct Thursday afternoon.

A 41-year-old Madison woman was one of several collecting signatures on a sidewalk near the east side Woodman’s when a man appeared and started taking pictures of the recall volunteers. The woman assumed the man was a supporter of their effort. She posed for him and asked if would like to sign. She says the man said, “This is not good,” and, “This is going on the website.” She said the man then went over to where their cars were parked and began snapping shots of their license plates saying he was going to look up where they live.

It was about this time, the woman began to feel uneasy about the man, particularly when he said he was going to try to find out where she resides.

She decided to take out her phone to get a photo of him. She had not yet flipped it open when she says the man took a swipe her way, knocking her clipboard – with petition attached – and her phone to the pavement.

The phone back broke off, but she was able to reassemble.

She followed the man as he walked into Woodman’s.

She says he was yelling about her following him and being “anti-Walker.”

The other petitioners (a 64-year old Madison man and a 62-year old Madison man) relayed the same story to the investigating officer.

He was able to locate the other party who provided a much different take on the tête-à-tête.

The 54-year old Stoughton man said he stopped to take pictures of the group because one petitioner was standing way too close to the road and nearly hit his car. He says the woman actually nailed him in the eye with her phone, and he took a swing to get it away from his face. He doesn’t recall knocking the recall petition.

The officer inspected the man’s eye and found it looked just like his other eye, not overly bloodshot, no evidence it had been touched.

Still, the man said he was going to see a doctor and he would be suing the woman for striking his eye.

He maintained she chased him into the store. Surveillance video shows her following him as he points back at her, saying something. In the end, based on available evidence, the officer decided to cite the Stoughton man for disorderly conduct.
__________________________________________________________

This type of incident is becoming way too frequent. Come on, Walker supporters. Grow up.

Apropos of nothing, how often do you read a Wisconsin police report that includes the phrase tête-à-tête? “Bonne chance” at your hearing, Monsieur Gluth!

Scott Walker’s Ad to Recall Himself

This is a rare moment. Here goes. Ready? I’m going to say it:
Let’s let Scott Walker do the talking.

This epic ad was brought to you by the facebook page
Shit Scott Walker is Doing to My State

Want to know more about that 1st recall? Interesting reading awaits.

Walker got into office as Milwaukee County Executive on a recall after Tom Ament resigned. This extraordinary April 2006 entry from the blog Watchdog Milwaukee says Walker had his way paved by GOP media lapdogs Charlie Sykes and MJS Journal Communications who flogged Democrats and obscured Walker’s Norquist-style drowning of government at all costs.

Blogger’s Report: Recall Papers Have Been Filed on Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefisch, and Scott Fitzgerald

At 9AM this morning the Wisconsin State Senate rules committee began a meeting many are concerned will hobble recall efforts in Wisconsin.

Simultaneously, two blocks away a group of people proclaimed they would exercise the right to recall one of the most hated Wisconsin politicians in all of history: Governor Scott Walker. We were jammed into a spartan basement recall office at 330 E. Wilson. I heard former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Wisconsin Firefighters Association President Mahlon Mitchell, and citizens declare their intent to file papers on Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch. The words that made me gasp: “Wisconsin can not take 1 more day of Scott Walker as governor of our state”.

We walked over to the Government Accountability Board office at East Washington, probably looking like a blob of press and 1 “Recall Walker” sign held aloft

Julie Wells walked up to the G.A.B. desk and announced, “I want to take out a petition to recall Governor Walker and I want to recall Lieutenant Governor Kleefisch”.

The paparazzi-like mass crowded closer, camera shutters clacking, digital cameras bleeping. Papers were filed, a few details were spelled out by the G.A.B clerk and it was done.

A reporter asked Julie how she felt, and she said, “It feels surreal. It really does. It feels like a dream. A dream come true. We’re going to do this. We’re taking back our state” There was light applause. And soft sounds of “yes”.
In my recording, I hear myself sigh loudly with relief in the background. Julie then embraced Sarah Hammer and another citizen and I heard her repeat, “We’re going to do this.”

I asked Sarah Hammer co-coordinator for United Wisconsin how she felt, “Amazing. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. 10 months in the waiting….I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep lately. It feels like Christmas.”

I asked her if she could devote all of her efforts to the recall in the next 60 days of signature gathering. She replied, “I have a full time job and I have a 4 and an 8 years old. I work about 100 hours a week- including this. For free.”

The assembled then left for the 1605 Monroe Street Madison United Wisconsin Office to carry on the press conference at that location.

I lingered listening to a few reporters confirming details on the recall process. I noticed a woman and her daughter had quietly slipped in and were filing more papers . They were adding papers to recall Wisconsin State Senator Scott Fitzgerald.

Me being a deferential citizen reporter, I asked them if they would like to be videotaped. They declined but authorized a photo. They tweeted under the @RecallFitz twitter

“Just filed the paperwork to #RecallFitz”
and I retweeted the message.

16,742 signatures at minimum must be gathered to recall Scott Fitzgerald.

Before departing, filer Lori said, “I just wanted to make clear that this is a serious effort. I’ve had lots of people say this is just symbolic. I wouldn’t allow Scott Fitzgerald to raise money – unlimited funds – if we weren’t serious. We’re coordinating closely with the Democratic Party.”

I believe they are enjoying something sweet on the square and some down time before heading into a great deal of work.

Lori will release a presser around noon from @RecallFitz with more information on the effort.

I have video I’ll be filing when I get back home.

For now, I’ll be talking to the people at the two tables next to me in this cafe. One is a table of two men circulating petitions and the second is a table of two women who were elated to be asked to sign. I will follow my state’s future as dictated by the GAB and the rules committee at 140 characters at a pop on twitter even though I’m across the street from our lawmakers.

For just a while, I need be at the periphery of the macabre bureaucracy inside and talking to people….. like a woman who has just drifted over to ask me where she can buy this Recall Walker sign..

Forward.

To answer your frequently asked questions on the Walker and Kleefisch recalls, see United Wisconsin’s FAQ

Wisconsin State Senator Scott Fitzgerald expected to face a recall effort

Scott Fitzgerald, Republican Majority Leader, Wisconsin State Senate, pouting at the podium

On Friday a new site called RecallFitz was created to document and promote an impending recall effort against Scott Fitzgerald, leader of Wisconsin’s state senate GOP majority.

The site authors promise that “we’ll post the petition on this site at 12:01 November 15”. Based on social media, the recallers will aim to gather 18,000 signatures, but gather at minimum, 16,750.

(In case I have some outta-staters drifting in here, papers will be filed to recall Scott Walker on November 15th along with his Lieutenant Governor and 3 other Republican state senators–Sens. Pam Galloway of Wausau, Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls and Van Wanggaard of Racine )

Scott Fitzgerald has served state senate district 13 since 1994. District 13 encompasses the villages of Fort Atkinson, Lake Mills, Watertown, much of Oconomowoc, Deerfield and Beaver Dam.

It doesn’t look like an easy task to boot Fitzgerald out considering his 2010 election numbers. Dem opponent Dwane Block of Oconomowoc got 29.2% of the vote, Independent Vittorio Spadaro got 3.14% of the vote, and Fitzgerald got 67.61% of the vote with 65,860 people voting in all.-source

I wish I could report that the Kloppenburg race this spring brought a switch to blue there as we saw in Wisconsin’s southwest and northwest but…. I can’t. In Dodge County Prosser got 13,379 to Kloppenburg’s 8,524. In Jefferson County Prosser got 13,261 votes to Kloppenburg’s 9,763 votes.

But election stats be damned, local recall volunteers are gung-ho to get out there to recall for Walker and this will be just 1 more piece of paper to bring along. They’ll be able to tell us what if any hope there is in getting Fitzgerald out of there from their time in the trenches. And in the meantime, they will build a stronger network for progressive types. Godspeed!

For just a quick refresher on why many hold a touch of contempt for Scott Fitzgerald – –
You may remember that Fitzgerald called the Dem14 – the 14 Democratic senators who left for Illinois to halt passage of Wisconsin Act 10 – “the most shameful 14 people in the state of Wisconsin” and he called their time in Illinois a “vacation from reality”

You may remember Scott Fitzgerald as the guy who ordered the LRB to do a runaround on our Secretary of State AND a court order, telling them to print the union-busting Wisconsin Act 10. Afterward he defied all legal logic and he proclaimed it legally published. – illusory tenant

Or perhaps you recall that he admitted on Fox that the whole gutting-the-unions thing was not for fiscal prudence, but for defeating Obama in Wisconsin saying:

FITZGERALD: Well if they flip the state senate, which is obviously their goal with eight recalls going on right now, they can take control of the labor unions. If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you’re going to find is President Obama is going to have a much difficult, much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin.


Backup link to video.

2008 Campaign contributors

Walker’s own Wauwatosa Neighbors Welcome a Recall Kickoff Rally Tuesday Nov 15th

This gets more beautiful the more I learn about it.  Not only is there a march to sign Walker’s recall papers on Tuesday in Wauwatosa near Walker’s home,  Walker’s own neighbors are volunteering their yards for the purpose. Enough people are coming that buses will be running for about 4 hours!

Copied directly from the facebook event:

“We Are Milwaukee, an alliance of community-based organizations, unions, faith communities, and local leaders, will kick off our work on the Walker recall on November 15th with a rally and march.

We are gathering at the practice field by Juneau High School for a brief program before marching over 4 blocks to Walker’s neighborhood. There, we will line up to sign recall petitions and sign up to play a role on the campaign. Actually, we’ll be signing petitions in the front yard of Walker’s own neighbors who have volunteered their space to help us start off the recall right. Also, we will provide training to activists and opportunities to activate right away.

Park on the streets around Juneau High School or at State Fair Park, from which buses will run from 3:45 PM to 7:00 PM”

Parking site:
Juneau High School Practice Field
6415 W. Mount Vernon
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

MAP to parking site:

Here’s the facebook event where you can indicate you are ATTENDING! 

GOP throws more wrenches at Wisconsin recalls. Will moderate Dale Schultz help block all of it?

Laws may be enacted to facilitate its operation but no law shall be enacted to hamper, restrict or impair the right of recall.-Wisconsin Constitution

Republican Senator Dale Schultz says he will not be voting for Mary Lazich’s bill SB268 which would bump up the date of redistricting by 1 year – to November 2011 instead of November 2012. In doing so, he is lending a deciding vote to Wisconsin Dems in the state senate and ensuring that citizens can work on recalling other state legislators when they work to recall Scott Walker starting November 15th.

But it’s unclear as of yet how Schultz will vote on two other actions discussed Monday night which also have a significant impact on Walker’s impending recall: a proposed amendment to 840(2) of Wisconsin Statue which would require a notary public to certify each sheet of recall signatures and what is technically LRB-3339/1 which allows local clerks to recruit pollworkers from the entire county instead of only the most local municipality or town put forward by Senators Lazich, Grothman, and Kedzie .

I just called Senator Schultz’ office and was told by his staffer he hasn’t made a formal decision on the other 2 bills and in fact I was only the 2nd person to ask about the poll worker bill. I asked him to extend my thanks to Dale Schultz for being a moderate Republican in Wisconsin and said it gives me hope. I asked if he’s getting a lot of nasty calls from Republicans. He replied, “Oh yeah. But that’s OK. We consider ourselves a tough bunch, here”.

Madame Chair, a word with you on your redistricting plan…

Lazich said in committee last night that SB268 is necessary because Assembly and Senate members currently represent the new districts drawn by the GOP in Act 43 but recalls initiated this fall will rely on “old” district maps and thus signatures from individuals who voted in those maps.

Senator Coggs said that “the people who elected me in the first place should have the right to recall me, not the people whom I’ve never served before even though I technically serve them because of your bill…”

Or as I would word it, I want to be represented by somebody I had a chance to vote for, not by somebody who got switched to my geographic region by a majority of Wisconsin Republicans and $400,000 of legal work at taxpayer expense.

He said the simple solution would be for Wisconsin to stick to what it has been doing which is representing all “old” districts until elections and switching to new redistrict maps at time of election. “We represent the district we were elected to until there is a regular election again”.

I’ve heard this whole discussion once. I am listening again. And either Lazich is stubborn as a mule or is a fantastic actress. Every statement she makes assumes that legislators will represent the GOP’s newly drawn map right now.

Update: And illusory tenant has a post which explains why Kevin Kennedy said in testimony [roughly paraphrased] “And I have concerns about the Assembly districts but you have asked me to not raise those here”

Lazich: “That can be done. That is what is probably what has been done since the beginning of time..This recall landscape is a whole new world for us… So to do that-Let’s just say we did that…because we have recalls if we do that we are disenfranchising those odd number districts because they would right now recall us in those old districts and you’d recall a senator that has got 3 years left on their term and the people in that district couldn’t make the decision on it. They couldn’t do the recall and they couldn’t vote for the person to be the senator. They are disenfranchised if we made the consistency the other way. That’s the problem.”

To add to the confusion, the committee kept on referring to a court case brought by Judy Robson and 14 other citizens which is in progress and could nullify the newly drawn districts. They say the new map disenfranchises 300,000 voters.

Good video here of Bryan Bliss’ testimony. Well worth your time.
“Mary Lazich in your district we went door to door and there were lockstep tried and true straight party Republicans who came to the door and said “You know what I’m not promising to vote for whoever goes on this ticket but I am signing this recall petition.” 20,000 people wanted you out because you betrayed them. You lied to them. You shook their hands, you took their money. You representated yourself in a way that said I will represent you and you didn’t do that. The politicians that say “representation” in such jingoistic ways while at the same time selling us out and betraying us to your corporate donors and buddies- you need to stand accountable. And it is our constitutional right. No law shall be effected to restrict or inhibit recall recall and that’s exactly what this law does.”

Senator Lazich cheats, restacks deck for Recalls from bryan bliss on Vimeo.

[Watch all of the committee’s testimony in full here. More on Schultz stalling the redistricting plan is at madison.com.]

Lazich Now Notorious for Notary Push

As we sit here reading this, an army of volunteers and trainers are readying themselves to gather signatures to recall Walker. And Lazich and friends scurry to add one more hoop for them to jump through. Another Lazich bill would require a notary public to certify the signature gatherer – not each individual signature which appears on each recall sheet. However in yesterday’s hearing G.A.B.’s Kevin Kennedy made clear that when the signature gatherer gets that sheet of, for example, 10 signatures notorized, they are taking an oath which opens them up to possibly felony conviction.

I’m not so sure the notary requirement really has a dampening effect on recall volunteers. They are passionate volunteer citizens who take their duty very seriously already. Which is why this looks like its supposed to act as a speed bump, slowing down the recall process against Walker, which needs to gather 540,000 or so signatures minimum within a 60 day time period.

I called SWDFI and spoke with a very helpful secretary who had no idea about Lazich’s notary plan and has not gotten a rash of calls. From her: every Wednesday new notary public authorizations go out. If I submitted a complete application today, it would go out tomorrow.

I did a bit of asking around on twitter and fellow Wisconsinites said they have been charged everything from nothing to $15 for a notary seal, however the figure Kevin Kennedy gave as an example in testimony was 50 cents per signature. Friends on twitter said they’ve gotten documents notarized at libraries and banks. I doubt a public library would gouge recall volunteers because they have a civic mission. I have no such feeling about banks since, well — they are all about money and there seem to be more people marching in a street somewhere yelling about them every day.

And these are political documents, with multiples of signatures on each page. That’s not a real estate document. Will all banks handle them? My one quick call to a guy named Jim at UW Credit Union in Madison gave me hope. He said they notarize any and all documents for members but don’t notarize at all for non-members.

I learned if I decide to become a notary public, I have to fill out a form from SWDFI, pay $20, purchase a “notary public” seal, complete either an online test or essay, and get a “notary public bond” in the amount of $500 which looks like it would run me another $20. I would have to purchase a separate Errors and Omissions policy to gain protection against whatever civil lawsuit might be brought against me for my work.

Lazich’s notary public push is technically called LRB−3341/1 at the moment.

Want to work the polls? What party are you from?

You may not be aware that a Wisconsin state statute already on the books calls for clerks to first refer to lists of Democrats and Republicans when recruiting poll workers. Pridemore and Lazich are pledging to call for enforcement of this statute and using that as ammo for a bill to allow municipal or town clerks to cull from their greater county populations when looking for poll workers.

There could be some goodness to this and there could be a lot of evil in the implementation of this (like so many things, but especially in Wisconsin politics). This bill widens the pool of potential applicants where poll workers are unpaid volunteers. This bill might tick off the occasional independent or third party voter who operated under the delusion that the two party system wasn’t running things. And this will give some of the red communities in Milwaukee County a chance to get their workers into the City of Milwaukee: an area from which they believe voter fraud flows like water through the Wolf River.

Republican margin-of-terror dropped down to 1 vote from 3 in Wisconsin’s Senate

By Aredee

It’s lamentable that we didn’t take back the state Senate, but it wasn’t a total loss; in fact it was quite an historic victory.

In the entire history of the state, Wisconsin has had only four legislative recall elections–and only two of those were successful–until yesterday. We replaced two reactionaries–who were backed by huge out-of-state contributions–with progressives.
And now the Republican margin-of-terror in the Wisconsin Senate is one vote, rather than three.

I am as negative about the condition of this country as anybody else, but let’s give ourselves credit where it’s due.

When Goldwater lost to LBJ in the ’64 landslide, America’s right wing regrouped and reorganized to bring us Reagan, Bush, and the Tea Party.

Progressives need to understand that our task is also one of long-term planning and perseverance. Toward that end. I’ll accept even a partial victory over total defeat any day.

One other thought: assuming the Dems don’t get kicked out in next week’s recalls, the result of last night does improve things for progressives.

With only a one vote Senate majority, the Republican’s hold on the Senate has been weakened, and with the presence of at least one true GOP moderate, Dale Schultz, the right-wing legislative agenda is even weaker. Not an ideal outcome for us, but not entirely terrible, either.

More photos from today’s Wisconsin budget protest

Here’s a slideshow. If you’d like some easy-to-share and downloadable images, check out the facebook album HERE.

I’d like to write something wise about the damage done inside the Capitol today.  But I’m getting some video together.

For the moment I’ll just say that I am still the same person I was and I still hold the same values going forward. Acts perpetrated against the people of Wisconsin inside of the Capitol building in the legislature and inside of the Wisconsin Supreme Court today do not stop the movement you and I have already started.

There is no choice but to fight back and fight hard.

There is no choice but to recall.