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I've always said that Republicans don't comprehend the effects of the policies that they support (and the politicians who promote them) until the harsh reality affects them or their families personally.  They don't mind the wolf being at anyone elses door, but when the wolf is at their own door prepare for a lot of whining and complaining that nobody has done anything about the "wolf problem".

The wolf is coming to the door for Milwaukees North Shore suburbs, middle to upper middle class communities that surround the northeastern part of Milwaukee.  

Being small communities, they share services such as fire departments and EMTs to save the costs of paying for larger much larger individual departments for each city and town.  In a fire, whichever municipality has an available unit will respond and they join together to battle large fires or medical emergencies.  It's an efficient and cost effective way to provide services to those areas and one I was familiar with having lived in Glendale many years ago.

I was attracted to this story in one of their community newpapers.  

Minimum staffing levels are expected to decrease in the North Shore Fire Department's five stations as officials brace for ongoing budgetary constraints.

Last week, the village presidents and Glendale mayor met at a Fire Board meeting to discuss regular staffing levels.

Whitaker last week presented the board with four options, and six of the seven board members voted in favor of an option to cut daily minimum staffing requirements. Brown Deer Village President Carl Krueger voted against the measure.

While the fine points are being worked out, Whitaker said the number of firefighters on the street will decrease on any given day. The reduction will be spread across the North Shore, not concentrated in one station.

So, they're cutting the "minimum staffing levels" across the board.  This means less firefighters which means an increase in the wait time for a response to an emergency situation or fire.  Not a good thing.

The reason for the cuts are buried in the bottom of the article which most people never read.

Fox Point Village President Mike West said municipalities are caught between a rock and a hard place at the moment because of state-mandated levy freezes.

"This problem exists because of issues beyond our control," he said. "We're capped on revenue, as far as I can tell."

(emphasis mine)

You have to comprehend what's been going on to "get" what the reporter doesn't say;  that the Scott Walker budget and all it's chickens have come to roost in the North Shore.

When Scott Walker unveiled his budget he not only stripped union rights for public workers (totally eliminating them for all state workers) and made severe cuts to social programs, but severly cut state revenue sharing (Wisconsin collecting state income taxes and then sharing a good portion of it with the municipalities) and then prohibited them from raising local property taxes to mitigate the difference.  This left local governments with such a deficit in their budgets that they were forced to resort to program cuts, layoffs, and stripping wages from their public employees (the state mandated about 18% of their wages going to pay for their benefits).

This was great for Scott Walker who could crow about how his "tools" "are working" and that he "balanced the budget" without "raising taxes".  And he's been braying out that message everywhere in the country.  He's a rock star in the GOP.

The local governments, however, were left holding the bag.  They were given huge revenue cuts and it was now illegal for them to raise property taxes beyond a level set by the state so they started cutting and cutting and cutting.  They peeled back wages from their public employees, cut positions, cut back on community services (no, they can't afford to fix that pothole in front of your house), increased class sizes in their schools because of cuts in the numbers of teachers, cut back or eliminated non educational programs like art, music, sports, college prep, remedial education, after school programs, etc.

Now they're doing budgets for fiscal year 2 under the Walker budget.  And they're hurting more.  They cut to the bare bones last year and this year it's worse so local governments are starting to look to cut basic services.  Like firefighters and EMTs.

Unfortunately, those who want to keep their taxes low and support Walker and the GOP are the same people who will now wait longer for paramedics and firefighters, whose children are now in larger classes with less teachers, who will travel on poorly maintained roads, and will see less and less services within their communities.  However, they're not seeing the connection between this and Scott Walkers budget "tools".  Instead, they'll blame their local governments.

The fact that these cuts are entirely due to the Walker budget was reserved for a sentence at the end, won't be widely known, and far too many of the people in these areas will keep supporting and voting for Republicans who will continue harsh budget cuts in order to fund even more tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, such as the billionaire lady who asked Scott Walker about turning Wisconsin "red" and making this a Right to Work (for less) state.  Her billions of dollars business, ABC Supply, hasn't paid a dime in state taxes for nearly a decade and she still isn't satisfied and wants more and more.

These aren't poor communities, they're fairly well-off suburbs.  And when they start cutting at essential services, imagine the cuts happening in poorer areas with a much lower tax base.  

Scott Walker, on the other hand, loves it.  He gets to brag about "not raising taxes" and "it's working" and those "tools" that he gave to local governments.  He makes sure that the cuts to city and local services aren't known to be due to his budget policies which provide largess for the wealthy and corporate and austerity for everyone else.

The wolf is at their door and it looks just like Scott Walker.  They just don't realize it's him.

UPDATE:  DWS is Coming to Town Edition:  According to my email inbox, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the DNC, will be in Wisconsin on May 30 as a guest at a Tom Barrett breakfast reception.

You are cordially invited to join:

Special Guest Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Chair of the Democratic National Committee

and Mayor Tom Barrett Wisconsin Gubernatorial Candidate
and the Women of Wisconsin for a breakfast reception

(details ommitted by me, the diarist)

To contribute by check, please make payable to:
Barrett for Wisconsin and mail to:
Barrett for Wisconsin P.O. Box 510796 Milwaukee WI 53203

Questions? contact Johannah at: (414) 271-8050 or johannah@barrettforwisconsin.com

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is appearing at this event only as a special guest. She is not asking for funds or donations.

That last line is pretty telling.  People are angry about DWS not cutting a check and coming here to fundraise.  And when the chair of the DNC fundraises, those funds go to the DNC.

Update 2:  Bad News On Union Dues Payroll Deduction Edition:  Public employee unions that celebrated an earlier  judicial decision that rolled back Scott Walkers prohibition of dues collection via payroll deduction have experienced a set-back today.

State unions were dealt a setback Friday when a federal judge said they would have to get their members to opt in, rather than opt out, to have the state deduct union dues from their paychecks.

What's more, the judge did not rule on dues deductions for unions that he earlier found the state improperly decertified. A substantial number of state unions were decertified, and the ruling - at least for now - will make it harder for them to get money.

But U.S. District Court Judge William Conley gave unions one beneficial ruling by saying that members who sign up to have their dues deducted from their paychecks can be required to make a yearlong commitment. That will help unions budget because they can better know how much money they will be getting, attorneys for the unions said.

Friday's rulings came as part of a union challenge to a new law, championed by Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans, that all but ended collective bargaining for most public workers. Connelly gave the unions a partial victory in March when he ruled aspects of the new law were unconstitutional.

This means that every year, public employee unions must go member to member to member to have a card signed for every employee to "opt in" to have union dues deducted from their paychecks.  Employees who don't opt in will still get the full benefits and representation of their union, they just won't have to pay for them.  In other words, they get the services, but none of the financial responsibility to pay for them.

On the bright side, Walker representatives asked that members be able to opt out of paying dues at any time.  The judge issuing the ruling decided that the annual opt in was burdensome enough.

Still standing is the ruling that prohibits the requirement that public employee unions must recertify annually, a burden that mandated unions hold a vote and receive a majority of the votes of all employees every year as if they were a brand new union.

More #3:  Look Who's Talking About Concensus Building Now Edition:
 It's Scott Walker!

H/t to poison kitchen for alerting me to an article in the Wisconsin State Journal that I haven't gotten to yet because of a series of puter malfunctions.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday he's not afraid to lose the historic recall election he faces in less than three weeks, but if he wins he intends to govern in a more inclusive, consensus-building way.
...

But more than a year after he signed the law eliminating most public workers' collective bargaining rights, the Republican governor told The Associated Press he doesn't want to go through that acrimony again and intends to govern in a way that includes winning buy-in from more people at the outset.

So the My Way or the Highway guy is telling us he'll be a uniter and not a divider?  Where have I heard that before....  And if the dull brained actually believe that crap, I have some swamp land a nice piece of property for sale, cheap.

Questions about whether Walker still wants that to happen were raised after a video from January 2011 emerged last week in which he tells a wealthy donor that he's going to employ a "divide and conquer" strategy when taking on public sector unions. Walker refused Thursday to say whether he would sign or veto a right to work bill, skirting the question by saying he will make sure one never passes.

"We don't want to redo the debate we had last year," he said.

Thanks right.  Nothing to see there.  These aren't the extremist policies I support that I want you to notice.  Move along.
"I'm not afraid to lose," Walker said. "I plan to win, I'm running to win, but I'm not afraid to lose to do the right thing."
Yeah, it's easy to talk smack when you've got over $25 million in your campaign war chest and more rolling in every day, when you will outspend your opponent 25:1 not even counting the billionaires that are flooding the airwaves with your lies and pummel your oponent with even more lies.  

More #4:  Anotty's Caught Again Edition:  Looks like I'm not the only one who noticed the headline change on yesterdays Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.

Uppity Wisconsins Jud Loundsbury noticed too and found out WHY the headlines and opening paragraphs changed from :

State Loses 6,200 Private Sector Jobs in April

to

Controversial Survey Shows Estimated April Job Loss of 6,200

to

Disputed Survey Shows Estimated April Job Loss of 6,200

Today the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel demonstrated who is really in charge of the paper:  Scott Walker.

Initially, after the jobs report, they put up an article that had a headline and first paragraph that followed the same format as all of their other monthly BLS job report articles that they have been running for the last 30+ years

Because of the intense pressure of this change, the paper compromised and changed "controversial" to "disputed."

Sarcastic applause, please.

Those changes occurred within minutes.  The only thing that the JS couldn't change, however, was the link to the article, which retained the original title.

More #5:  Uh-Oh Edition:  This one might leave a mark.

When MaryAnn Nellis tried to pay for groceries on April 14, her credit card was declined. Later, she said, she found out why: Her credit card company, Capital One, had flagged an earlier purchase as potentially fraudulent. The problem? A $5 donation to Friends of Scott Walker [1], the Wisconsin governor's campaign committee, Nellis said.

Nellis told a Capital One representative she had not made the donation to Walker, who is fighting an effort to recall him as governor in a closely watched, expensive election set for June 5.

"Over my dead body," said Nellis, a potter and retired teacher in upstate New York who describes herself as "adamantly angry and upset" at Republicans such as Walker. Nellis disputed the charge and she was issued a new card.

Soooooo, how did someone who wouldn't give Snotty Walker the time of day much less a campaign donation have one charged to her credit card?  That's what Capital One is investigating.  

Walker's campaign spokeswoman, Ciara Matthews, emailed ProPublica on May 10 under the subject line of "follow up."

"I received a message about the story you are doing," she wrote. "The campaign does not comment on internal matters."

"How about allegations of credit-card fraud?" we wrote back. "That's hardly internal, it's external."

Matthews did not reply.

Stay tuned.  

Stay tuned.  This might turn out to be a big news day.  It's Friday, you know.

Originally posted to Puddytat on Fri May 18, 2012 at 10:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by Your Government at Work, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Badger State Progressive.

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