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Not all is politics. When I'm not working, or being a political geek, I like getting outdoors, taking photos, running. But sometimes the political and the personal intersect. There are some, today, that think that state parks aren't important. There are some that look to sell off state land - land we all own - to pay off short-term debts.  Debts incurred to cut taxes for the so-called "job creators".

Earlier today I posted photos from March of the Kinnickinnic River as it passed through the city of River Falls. Today I went to Kinnickinnic State Park, where the Kinni meets the St. Croix River, just miles before the St. Croix joins with the Mississippi:

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The South Fork of the Kinni - in the University of Wisconsin - River Falls campus.

It's a gorgeous day here in Wisconsin, and I'm off to enjoy the outdoors.

About a month ago, I took my camera out and took some photos of the Kinnickinnic River (and its tributary, the South Fork) here in River Falls, WI. The Kinnickinnic is a real jewel, one of the few remaining streams with a naturally reproducing trout population.

I used a polarizer on my lens to emphasize the reflections off the melting snow and water.


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Update 5 pm CST 4/23/2015 - See my update at the end of the diary. This issue has gone to the highest level of the DPW. Other delegates have reported receiving this phone poll, and we have an originating number for the polling. There is an active, ongoing effort to determine who is making the calling and how they obtained the convention delegate list.  Until we know more, I will not write any more on this topic and would discourage speculation in open channels that could damage the party and/or party chair candidates. Thanks to all who have helped to make this story go viral through the DPW.

I just received a phone call from someone who asked me if I was going to be a delegate to the DPW (Democratic Party of Wisconsin) convention. I replied yes - I have attended in the past, but I have not yet registered for the upcoming convention. (Edit - it turns out that although I have not yet registered, I'm on the county delegate list - so yes, I am on "the list".) But I think it's safe to say that I'm "SD" ("Strong Democrat") on anyone's political list.  

(I've written diaries about this race here, and here, and here, as to why this race for chair  is important for making the party responsive to the people.)

The caller then asked me whether I would support Jason Rae, Martha Laning, Joe Winecke, Jeff Smith, or Steve Smith for chair. At this point my spidey sense started tingling, and I asked who he was with and who was paying for this poll. He told me that he was working for "WT Polling", and that they were hired by the "Democratic Party Convention".

"Democratic Party Convention???" No one associated with the convention would use that term. We call ourselves the DPW.

More details under the orange cheese curl.

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Not all is politics and work here in the land of beer and cheese. The storm windows are down and stored, the screens are up, the house is open and the sun is shining. Spring has come, and it's time to celebrate it.

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I've written two diaries about the Democratic Party of Wisconsin chairmanship -

Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Open forum for new chair, April 9, River Falls. and

Candidates for Chair of the WI Democratic Party - in their own words.

I haven't stated my own preference because I wanted to give everyone an impartial view of the candidates for chair.

The need for new leadership is obvious. The state party has badly mismanaged the last several legislative elections. In 2014, nearly half of the republican incumbents went unchallenged. That meant that, in these districts, we had no proxy to campaign for Mary Burke. It meant that, right now, the Democratic Party is at its lowest level of representation in the Assembly since 1957. That's right - we're at a 60 year low.

The party governance and structure is opaque and needs to change. The party leadership has for too long focused on a strategy of running in only a few locations (cough Madison and Milwaukee cough). Well, you can't win in Wisconsin with only Madison and Milwaukee. We've got expensive fights over who will be the best progressive to represent districts in those two cities, and we're not even running candidates in a third of the state! We need a 72 county, 99 Assembly seat strategy, and we need to have party policy set by the people not by a group of elites. We need to welcome the activists to the table and listen to them, instead of asking them to help us every two years and then blowing them off. We need to empower our local parties.


Who do you favor for DPW chair?

25%15 votes
13%8 votes
44%26 votes
15%9 votes
0%0 votes

| 58 votes | Vote | Results

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On June 5-6, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin will elect a new chair at its 2015 convention. On April 9, all five candidates candidates for chair appeared at an open forum at the University of River Falls in River Falls, WI, which I diaried about before the event. I was there and videoed their presentations, and include them here for your viewing.

I intend to give my impressions of each (both presentation and earlier/later discussions) in a later diary. For now, I want everyone to see the candidates and perhaps exchange thoughts.

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Scott Walker has apparently been anointed as the frontrunner in the GOP race for 2016, and the past few days have given him a raft of polls to prove it.

But don't look back, Scotty. It appears the Wisconsin natives are on to you.

Oh, Scotty makes a good first impression. But the more you know about the preacher's son, the less you like him.

Below the fold for the polling fun.

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The American City County Exchange is ALEC's little brother, hoping to do to local communities what it's done for states. No thank you, ALEC got me into elective politics.

So imagine my surprise when I got an email asking me if I wanted a one year membership.

Well, Mozilla Thunderbird (my email program) thinks this may be a scam. It has no idea how big a scam this is.


Should I send in my application?

15%18 votes
64%73 votes
19%22 votes

| 113 votes | Vote | Results

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The St. Croix County Democratic Party is sponsoring an open forum for candidates for the next chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW), on April 9 at 6 pm in the University Center at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls.

For anyone in western Wisconsin, this is an opportunity to meet the candidates for DPW chair and press them on their vision for the party. You do not need to be a DPW member to attend or participate in the forum!

I've pasted some information about the candidates below the orange curlique. To avoid bias, I've used some of their own language from their own websites.

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Hello everyone. Just a quick check-in from/for our fellow Orange Cheeseheads. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin is having its state convention Friday and Saturday in Wisconsin Dells.

I will be there. Anyone else? Feel free to respond in the comments, or if you don't want to "out" yourself, just say hi to me if you see me - I'll be wearing a red "U W R F" (think periodic table) Chemistry T-shirt and my goofy hat. (See my avatar.)

For anyone else - any thoughts on the DPW as we go into the next election season? Anything I should relay to Mike Tate? ;-)

You can see the platform and resolutions online. Yes, the platform does support marriage equality. And marijuana legalization.

For anyone who's interested - I would encourage you to consider becoming a delegate for next year's convention. It's easy to do, and most of the state does not send its full allowed contingent. With no election, the major business next year will be electing the party leadership.

Consider this an open forum on the direction of the DPW in the state.

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Last Saturday, I and a several dozen other DPW (Democratic Party of Wisconsin) members attended the 3rd Congressional District convention in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The 3rd CD is a monumental Gerrymander, cut and sliced to include just about any area of outstate Wisconsin that might lean blue-ish. Republicans pretty much handed the district to Rep. Ron Kind (figuring he’d win anyways) and make sure that Sean Duffy would have a shot at keeping his seat.

We had talks from a number of state and local office seekers, including Mary Burke, John Lehman (Lt. Governor), all three candidates for Attorney General, a candidate for State Treasurer, Representative Kind, and an assortment of candidates for state Assembly and Senate.

We also had some good news from local races around the district.

Consider this your report from the ground. The observations below the squiggle are my own, just one delegate.

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Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:23 PM PST


by Mike Kahlow

Willow River State Park, Wisconsin.
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