Archive for March, 2010

I couldn’t have said it any better…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 31, 2010 by Jim Rosenberg

Here’s an interesting little tidbit from the Wausau Daily Herald today:

The thing is not whether the same people are working on some different campaigns.  It’s that you’ve got a couple of candidates for public office who won’t answer the obvious questions surrounding the verbatim duplications in their literature and at least one who seems willing to tell an outright untruth about it, rather than own up to it. 


Politics Wednesday…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 24, 2010 by Jim Rosenberg

It’s been an interesting week and some long-standing things look like they may have finally been resolved — although this is politics, so there are no guarantees. 

First, the House of Representatives passed and President Obama signed an historic health insurance reform act.  Sunday was a long day clicking between the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and C-SPAN.  We finally got to see the difference between being outnumbered and being outshouted, as raucous protestors did their best to intimidate members of Congress into believing they’re a majority.  They’re not.  The number of seats the GOP holds in the House and Senate shows it.  Polls show that between those who support the health care reform legislation and those who don’t think it goes far enough, more than half of the people in this country who are asked favor sweeping action.  This is pretty incredible, considering the misinformation that has been dished out over many months by people who want you to believe that the solution is worse than the problem or that this is some kind of constitutional crisis.  It’s not.  Whether you like the present system — (and how could you?) —  or not, it is unsustainable and it leaves too many people out, while it is bankrupting people and organizations all along the way. 

The GOP is in a state of denial and promises are being made to repeal the bill, despite the fact that they would not have enough seats in the Senate to override a Presidential veto even if they won every contested race for that house of the legislature in November (which they will not.) 

“We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat,”  said former speechwriter for President George W. Bush of the GOP.  Well said.

* * *

At the Marathon County Board, a grant application was sent forward that, if approved, would provide some major institutions in the Wausau area including local government, education and health care institutions with a broadband “backbone” that will enable high-speed, high-volume electronic data transmission.  It’s not that easy to follow this high tech stuff, but what I’m convinced of is that we need infrastructure like this in our community in the same way that we need state of the art transportation and utility infrastructure if we expect to have an opportunity to compete in tomorrow’s ecomony.  And tomorrow’s economy is right now.

* * *

At the Wausau City Council, we approved moving forward with a significant riverfront area development project on the east side, near bridge street.  There haven’t been many projects of any kind to move forward with during the past couple of years.  This $7.2 million residential development will go a long way toward advancing the environment for future developments and it will help clean up a neighborhood that has needed it for a long time.  Just watch.

* * *

After tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills that began at the city’s ethics board and ended with a ruling by a federal court, perhaps the multi-year adventure with the Christine Van De Yacht case will finally be over.  (Apparently there was some e-mail floating around trying to pull the item from last night’s agenda.  I never saw that e-mail and I just looked for it again, but I’m not all that surprised.) 

Without making any judgement beyond what the venues with jurisdiction have already said, my opinion is that most of what went on in this case was unnecessary.  I never advocated for censure.  Early on, the opportunity was there to handle things with little or no cost or damage to reputations on either side.  That it didn’t work out that way is unfortunate and it was literally made into a federal case.  

With all the water that’s gone over the dam now, nothing can be done to change what has already happened.  Everyone involved has already paid too much — especially the taxpayers.  The last thing we need now is to buy another expensive ticket to sit through what has been a consistently bad show because somebody wants to rewrite the ending. 


35th Assembly District an open race

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 8, 2010 by Jim Rosenberg

If you’re following things in the 35th Assembly District, you know that I offered speculation back in January that Rep. Don Friske (R-Merrill) might not be seeking another term, after 10 years in the state legislature:

That came true late last week and you can view his discussion here: 

Of course, no good pol blindsides his party and Don is a good one, so it was only a matter of time before we found out who a potential successor might be.  So far, it’s Jeremy Cordova of the Utech Agency in Merrill, affiliated with the Murphy Insurance Group.  I talked to both Friske and Cordova this morning and this looks like a sure thing, with annoucements expected today.   Meanwhile, Democrat Jay Schmelling has all but announced his candidacy and we’ll see if there are more candidates for this open seat race in the 35th.


Payday lending bill smells real fishy…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 1, 2010 by Jim Rosenberg

If you followed my old blog, you know that I don’t think much of the “keeping poor people poor” payday lending industry in Wisconsin.  I think it needs some serious controls placed on it. It’s predatory lending, pure and simple — and I’m sick of people defending its exploitive practices by acting like the free market is going to take care of it.  It hasn’t and it won’t, because the business relies on a market comprising people with few options or who lack sufficient sophistication in financial matters to adequately protect themselves.  

In short, there ought to be a law and it has to include some interest rate limits.  Not having limits would be like claiming to reform drunk driving laws without having a specificied unlawful blood alcohol limit in the statute. The sad truth is that if the Wisconsin legislature set an Annual Percentage Rate cap of 100 percent interest on payday loans, they would still be performing a significant service.  Think about that.

The Democrats should be able to rally the votes to get this done and signed and time is running out in this term of the legislature.  If they don’t, then it’s a wasted opportunity to do some good and we don’t know if there will be sufficient support in the term that begins in 2011.

Playing in the background of this discussion is a highly compromising situation with Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan and you can read about that here: 

This is starting to remind me of the bad old days with former Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala and it should give everyone cause for pause. In ethics laws, we talk about both conflicts of interests and the appearance of conflicts of interests.  If it walks like a duck…