50th Anniversary of SCLC Chicago Open Housing Marches Coming Up

August 5, 2016, will be the 50th anniversary of the stoning of Dr. Martin Luther King, in Marquette Park, Chicago, about a 20 minute drive from where the Sweet Water Foundation’s regenerative placemaking experiment at the Perry Ave District is taking place. Below is an image of myself directly behind Dr. King at the moment of the assault, there so close as a “field marshall” and temporary bodyguard not long after my 21st birthday. I was also a teacher in a SCLC Freedom School in a storefront on Roosevelt Ave. that summer. http://www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/CulturalProjects/JamesDonnellyGodsilStories

James Godsil As Momentary Body Guard For Dr. King

Here is where picture came from


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Sweet Water Community Guild Host Mandela Foundation Future African Leaders at 325 E. Euclid Heart Haus And More

Best “Texts” Of Sweet Water Foundation Scaling Up Aquaponics/Urban Ag As Community Development Resource On Chicago’s South Side

Co-Founders Sweet Water Foundation Emmanuel Pratt and James Godsil




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Sweet Water Foundation Workshop at Pratt’s and team’s School of the Art Institute show

James Godsil, Jesse Blom, Ben Koller, and Emmanuel Pratt at Sweet Water Foundation Workshop at Pratt’s and team’s School of the Art Institute show, “Outside Design” Aquaponocs Workshop.


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Sweet Water Foundation At Heart Haus May Day Celebration: Todd Leach, Emmanuel Pratt, Jesse Blom, and James Godsil

Derek Ware, James Godsil, Amanda Williams, and Emmanuel Pratt at Sweet Water Foundation Hyde Park Art Center.
Godsil and Pratt co-founded the Sweet Water Foundation, with Josh Fraundorf and Howard Hinterthuer providing foundational support.

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The Joseph and Mary Godsil Guild House

In honor of my Father, Jeseph, a tool and die maker, and my Mother, Mary, a wife, rooming house keeper, and child care provider. Neither Mary nor Joe went to high school, but both were what I and Gramsci would call “organic intellectuals.” My father often said back in the 1950s what our most enlightened public minded intellectuals and leaders are saying todsay, “We must not assume everyone is meant for white collar professions requiring college degrees. There is great dignity in “manual work” pursued as a sacred craft. That is what the I hope this vision of a “Guild House” advances.

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Conversations Of Blacks and Irish, ie Blirish, Baptists and Catholics, For Laudato Si Projects

There is a chance we can team up with Father Sean McDonagh in a 3 year “Laudato synodal process” in Catholic parishes across the world​​. This note is about Father McDonagh and the process he will be helping advance, followed by an invitation to him and the Columban Missionary order to meet with Emmanuel Pratt and some South Side Chicago teams headed to Dublin, Ireland this August, hopefully to meet with the good Father.​

​B​elow are excerpts from an interview with the key drafter of Laudato Si, Fr. Sean McDonagh, a Columban missionary recently awarded the Annual Justice Award of the Partnership for Global Justice.

Catholic Reporter. You were involved in the development of this encyclical. What was that process like? Were you focused on a specific aspect of the text?

Well, I was asked by Cardinal Peter Turkson in November 2013 to write a document for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and I wrote it up, like 30,000 words … now eventually, in 2014, that kind of morphed into the beginning of the encyclical itself. So that whole section, basically, on what’s happening in our world, those were issues I developed.


I hope you can read the interview and/or my exerpts and let me know if you are up for advancing vision of partnering across nation’s Ignatian community to support the 3 year synodal process to harvest Laudato Si for the good cause.

Central to that, the Irish priest said, is a three-year synodal process aimed at taking the new teaching, “a new spirituality” that Francis offers in Laudato Si’ and finding ways to put it into practice of the faith.

“It’s new for a lot of us. Most of the people who go to seminaries and into theology didn’t actually deal with any of these issues, so there’s a difficulty,” McDonagh said, pointing in particular to Francis’ quoting of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in his frequent discussion of sins against creation, be it human-caused climate change or the loss of biodiversity due to pollution and deforestation.

Read entire post here.

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®Evolutionary Collaboration Experimental Fields: Cuba Detroit Chicago Milwaukee UN Global Water Centric Network


*Urban Agriculture

*Skilled Trades

*Buddha Mind In The Space of Art

*Digital and Robotics Technologies

*Beloved Community Through Good Food, Beauty, Integral Urban Homes, and Faith!

*Global Water Centric Network Co-Creations

Why not?

My distillation of brilliance of conversations about Mother Grace and Mother Nature, with Emmanuel Pratt, Jesse Blom, Ben Koller, and Rick Feldman. With link to Grace Lee’s film on Grace.


May Day Muneer Peace Post Installation ceremony / Heart Haus Two Year Anniversary

Sunday May 1st, 2016 at 1P will mark the Two Year Anniversary of the Heart Haus, our Collaborative Urban Homesteading Project. Over the past 730 days the HH has interacted with thousands of visitors from every part of the City & World, taught hundreds of Students & Teachers and hosted International Guests from multiple countries through our Urban Farm, Makerspace, Aquaponics Living Laboratory & Airbnb “Haustel”.

May 1st is also International Workers Day, a time to remember the lives lost in the Chicago/Bayview worker strikes. To commemorate both of these significant events, a Peace Post was co-created by Elder Artist Muneer Bahauddeen and a diverse set of Milwaukeeans who attended our One Year Anniversary Block Party last summer.

The Peace Post Installation Ceremony was envisioned by Ben Koller & James Godsil to be not only an opportunity to share a moment of Peace on a day of remembrance, but also to create a connection node between Milwaukee’s Northside 15th District (Ben’s childhood neighborhood and location of Muneer’s studio) and the Southside 14th district of Bayview.

​Our hope is that you all would help us celebrate this important moment by attending our event to commemorate such a simple yet creative way of bring people together for Peace within our City, Communities and Individual Lives.

May 1st will be a day for us all to In-Joy the Peace of the Present, release the growing pains of the past and set intentions for our Future Endeavors. The Haus will be open for tours after the ceremony as we showcase our latest improvements while you enjoy soup cooked over our firepit.

Please feel free to contact me for further details. We are very excited to share this great opportunity with our amazing city. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Much Gratitude!

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Remus To Romulus, i.e. Rom

Hidden Cities To Discover, Create, and Share

The basic concept I carried from a series of meetings and gatherings
Has to do with the notion that each neighborhood in a city
Has places that are central to the “spirit” and local society/culture,
That give people a sense of identity, belonging, and meaning.

Quite often those places are hidden to outsiders, but
Were they “given voice” and highlighted in culture products
Could serve as a draw to bringing visitors to purchase,
Work, exchange, and sometimes settle.

I created quite a body of thought and vision around these themes
That I may be able to find someday if you are interested.

Stellar Portals, Globalization, and Action Research

Continued at Remus To Romulus

Sweet Water Academy

Sweet Water, the Farm and the Academy,
Is a museum alive, an evocative destination, and a science lab!

Sweet Water is a high tech, high science,
High craft, high art

Center for safe and delicious food production—
fresh fish and produce, locally sourced!

Sweet Water is a center for hands on education
For student teacher learners, young and old.

A center for attracting and energizing
Inventors, innovators, enterprisers…active citizens!

Civic minded celebrators!

Transforming our great industrial cities
Into even more inspiring organic cities.

Every city in every country,
In all of earth’s great civilizations and cultures…

Deserves a Sweet Water!

Sweet Water, Sweet Soil.
To be, once again,

Our children’s birthright,
Our elders security.

Sweet Water, Sweet Soil,
A means of harmony and dignity,

For one human race.

We’re In The Same Boat

by Susie & Harvey

We’re in the same boat, Sisters
we’re in the same boat, Brothers
and if we shake one end,
we’re going to rock the other
we’re in the same boat,
Sisters and Brothers.

It’s taking lots and lots of time
for the crew of this boat to learn
that if it’s bad for the bow,
it’s also bad for the stern
we’re in the same boat,
Sisters and Brothers.

Continued at Susie & Harvey

America, “Land of Opportunity”

by Evelyn Terry

Photo by Lee Matz

America, ”Land of Opportunity,” beckoned and they came. Some were already here. Others slipped in. Some walked in. Some swam in. Some sailed in. Some flew in. Groups of people came after being forced to leave homelands kidnapped or traded. Some came from concentration camps. Others immigrated, being tired and desiring a better life. Some fell in love and came. Some came for a better education. Some came seeking fame and fortune. Many came fleeing religious persecution. Some came after treacherous wars or political strife. Some came from prisons. But they came and are here. The reality is we are all here.

Celebrating Good: Rebirthing 53206

In working on my project, ”Rebirthing 53206,” my moment by moment thoughts focus on considering what is good about many things around me. Very specifically, I consciously nurture my thoughts, my process and my progress. Rebirthing 53206, strives to rehab my gallery, the Terry McCormick Contemporary Fine and Folk Art Gallery, as a beautiful healthy loving community space that celebrates and shares creativity through artmaking and through artists committed to making art.

This year, monthly, the Terry McCormick Gallery celebrates the two-term election of President Barack Obama, as America’s first Black president. This includes celebrating Women’s History Month by showcasing the work of Blanche Brown, Della Wells and the female portraits drawn by Ras Ammar Nsoroma.

Evelyn will also be discussing Women’s History Month, usher in April as National Poetry month, and share a reading of her poem:

© Evelyn Patricia Terry 2016

Click here for the full story

Radical Homemaking: My New Beginning

by Valerie Fieber


My body crashed. My gut was wrecked. My hormones were so whacked out that I got myself deep into Adrenal Fatigue, meaning I had serious difficulty lifting my legs and arms off the couch to take care of my 3 kids. I had absolutely zero energy. From eating the Standard American diet for 35 years, having three cesarian sections, and my gallbladder removed, I was now feeling the effects of not taking care of my body. I was told by doctors that I would feel better. But after surgery, I was sicker than I had ever been before. My world turned upside down and I started to see things clearly. It was like a veil was lifted. I realized that everything I had been told by society, the government, my doctors, everyone and everything, was wrong or, in the least, not working for me. I didn’t know how to take care of my body, and no one else did either. I took matters into my own hands.

Where’s All The Real Food?
I remember the first time I walked into the grocery store after my veil was lifted. I saw very little REAL FOOD. Much of what I saw was processed, manufactured, and had really long expiration dates. Real food is not processed or made in a facility. Usually it only has one ingredient! An organic apple is a whole, real food. It comes from nature. Apple pie is not a real food. It has been altered with chemicals, preservatives, loaded with sugar, and likely has been made with GMO apples. The next time you grocery shop look at the ratio of real to fake food. There are aisles upon aisles filled with processed food. We even have organic fake foods!

Supermarkets design their floor plans to make us shop and spend money on fake foods. They even give us coupons knowing we will buy it! Companies use words like “natural” and “healthy” on their labels which intentionally misleads consumers. They are not defined or regulated properly by our government. Products are even formulated with ingredients that have known addictive qualities. Even real foods have been corrupted! Almost all of the corn we eat is GMO, meaning it is a Genetically Modified Organism. Whether you are eating fresh corn or corn tortilla chips, they are most likely GMO. The more GMO and processed foods we eat, the more chemicals we put into our bodies. Just another way we contribute to our toxic load.

Click here for the full article
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A Prayer For Boomer Bussing

Testing The Power of New Story Prayers

Like mind jazz, symphonies, and chants

Chants Of Poet’s Prayers

For me a prayer is a mind image with will poised
To help bring about some hoped for future,

With a little help from our friends,
And foundational support from The Friend, as Rumi says it.

Let us pray for more boomers on more busses!
And let the prayer be too a celebration and a party!

A St. Patrick’s Day Party on the Green Line!

Let us pray!

Let us pray that a 2016 St. Pat’s Day Bus Party on the Green Line,
Is a seed from which grows an increasingly mindful and effective
Safe, easy, and economical bus network in Milwaukee.

And to bus means also,

To kiss.

Let us bus Mother Nature by enjoying our buses!
Free in Milwaukee, for those over 65!

And why not transform buses into theaters of knowledge and performance
For the need of it, for the fun of it.

Because we can try.

And Mother Nature approves,

Emmanuel Pratt and Teams ABCD “There Grows The Neighborhood” “Waste To Resources” Regenerative Placemaking Manifesting in Museums Conceived as The Citizens’ Commons

Solutionary Praxis “Living Art” at 5 Major Chicago Art Galleries 2014–15. Big Apple and Bay MoMAs Next?

Will Pratt’s multi-media MoMA performances include a hive of solutunaries across the world sharing their work as bioArt worthy of EB-5 Immigrant Olympian Mentsch Investors of a million in green cash?

Can the nation’s art museums be conceived as the New Commons, for the New Story of Our Stories? Can we imagine th EB-5 Program evolving beyond the bureaucratic, industrial paradigm’s exclusive call for jobs and image the program evolving to the point where it is providing start-up or expanding green dollar capital for networks of “ecopreneurs” operating “chaoridically” in hybrid entgerprise and cooperativist experiments?

EB-5 Cells of 1,000 names?

We’d need some folks assuming the role of Jareslov Vanek’s “Support Corporation” to handle the enormous transaction costs of launching this experiment.

Evolutionary groping and profusions of eco capitalist collaboration experiments, with “spiritual, cultural, and social capital” manifesting the green dollars as needed and appropriate.

Let’s do some local/regional/national/global Skyped Soap Box Moments and have some “dialectical” conversations. How about on the days of the Spring and Autumn Eequinoxes, and the Summer Winter Solstices. March 20, September 22, JUne 21, and December 22?

With the artists, the performers, and the engineer/archictect/ecopreneur bio artists leading the way!

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Faith, Food, and The Future

by Victoria Pratt

Seeds For Change

It’s wake up time. Our nation heaves under the weight of complicated, layered crises; wars, a failing economy, economic and racial divides, collapsing infrastructure and urban decay, environmental devastation, soil and air pollution and challenges that affect the source, quality and supply of our foods. The crises are so interrelated and polarizing that it is difficult to know where to begin to affect meaningful change. Perhaps, however, the real challenge involves making a shift in the way we think about change. Should you venture to listen beyond the bitter argumentation inside Washington for example, beyond the deafening rhetoric within city councils and mayoralties, beyond even the overwhelming negativity, fragmentation and divisive national conversations, you will find quite a different scenario unfolding. Critical numbers of people within urban neighborhoods are demonstrating a powerfully creative approach to issues that adversely impact the quality of their lives. The seeds of change are being quietly sown and have already sprouted wondrous roots. At first glance, you may never hear or notice them at work as you drive through the neighborhood. Nevertheless, intergenerational bands of earth warriors, urban farmers, people from diverse backgrounds and cultures are busily engaged in a grass roots movement now comfortably called “The Good Food Revolution”. And far more than good food is being introduced.

Continued at Victoria Pratt

Chicago and Milwaukee Sweet Water Aquaponics At School of Art Institute of Chicago!

This event has a good chance of inspiring an intensification of collaborations among the Olympian Mensch, first, of Chicago and Milwaukee, then, God willing, of Detroit and St. Louis, in its Great Lakes Heartland unfolding.

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Foreclosed Home Co-ops As Integral Urban Dorms

Email to Professor Mark Keane of UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning

Integral Urban Homes As Dorms of Experiential Learning

Students create wealth via learning projects turning wastes(foreclosed homes and grass lawns) into resources while growing neighborhoods and knowledge fields

  • Urban Ag & Nutrition Consortium
  • UWM Arch/Urb Pl
  • Home GR/OWN
  • Food Council
  • Water Council
  • Interfaith

Hands On Problem Based
Racial and ecological healing
Wealth creating
Global local/town gown

Why not?


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5 Years Ago: Michael Pollan Congratulations re NBC Nightly News Report On The Sweet Water Story, i.e. The Farm and the Academy

It’s been 5 years since “Sweet Water,” i.e. the Sweet Water Organics Farm(SWO)and the Sweet Water Foundation Academy(SWF) was celebrated on NBC nightly news, not long after the WSJ and NYT did the same. When I posted links to the show on a national urban ag collaboration platform I said

Here are links to Brian Williams NBC Feature on Milwaukee’s Sweet Water vision of democratizing aquaponics, starting with vision of Sweet Water Miniature in 50 per cent of Milwaukee schools in the next 10 years.

In those 5 years, under sustained leadership of Pratt and Blom, the SWF has not reached the 50% mark in Milwaukee schools; but enough advance has been made that we just might make the 50% level over the next 5. Alas, the SWO farm could not cover the R&D, electric, and heating bills from the sale of fish and lettuce, closing shop a few years back.

Here’s Michael Pollan’s response: James: congratulations- I’m so happy I got to see it. Seems like you’ve assembled an amazing team.Keep me posted.M​

While I would have preferred he say “Milwaukee has assembled an amazing team.” I am hoping we can proudly share news of 50% of Milwaukee schools with “sweet water miniatures” in 50% of our schools by 2020.

Here’s that NBC clip, featuring both Sweet Water Organics and the Sweet Water Foundation.


Here’s some of Blom in Milwaukee and Pratt in Chicago progress toward the democratizing of aquaponics with a focus on Milwaukee and Chicago schools.



America Yet Mature Enough For Organic Intellectuals To Unite?

Engaged Professors = Organic Intellectuals in 21st Century Information Economy

Engaged artisans = The Same

Engaged Clerks and Servers = The Same

I believe the social role of an intellectual
Who fights the good fight,
Sqy an engaged professor,
Is properly considered for
Theory and practice,
An organic intellectual,
Like Jimmy but also Grace.

We’re in this together.
All hands, says jon powell, on deck!

Why not?



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Flying On The Wings Of Grace

I see Grace’s text as contender for major 21st century manifesto from the USA doing for the ®Evolution what Marx and Engel Manifesto did for the labor movement of the last half of the 19th century.

Grace and her “partners” focused our attention on…

the power of the idea, and the idea of power, organically grown and globally framed; conversation based reflection upon solution experiments re daily issues; growing our souls and changing, evolving, ourselves to change the world and become the leaders we’ve wanted; redeem the soul of America becoming a more mature people; vision organizing for beloved communities shrinking the cancers of militarism, racism, and consumerism; new work outside commodity exchange and job system; ®Evolution toward a higher humanity; pathways found by walking AND theorizing: these are some of my favorite concepts from the Boggs et al dynamic text.

Click here for the full article
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SoilMobile To Detroit for Grace Lee Boggs Memorial & Carlos Nielbock Guild Gathering

​This by fellow traveler Molly Costello, while artist in residence at Worm Farm Institute.

Rest in Power Grace Lee Boggs!

Introducing Angela Allen, Ryan Schone, Molly Costello, Ben Koller, and Sandy Syburg

So here’s how it looks the day before the maiden regional voyage of Sandy Syburg’s Purple Cow SoilMobile and the 3rd collaboration with Ben Koller’s Heart Haus tours, now called the USbus Culture All Discovery Tours.

Angela Allen—Faculty; Community Natural Resources & Economic Development


Angela Allen, PhD
414–256–463 angela.allen@ces.uwex.edu

Ryan Schone—UW Extension Coordinator Milwaukee Urban Discovery Farm (MUDF)


Molly Costello—Cofounder Lets Go Chicago & Wormfarm Institute Artist in Residence 2015

As a co-founder of community-based grassroots organization LETS GO Chicago, Molly Costello’s work draws heavily on ideas of community, agriculture, and synergy between humans and nature. Working primarily in cut paper and illustration, her pieces combine stark, simple shapes with layered patterns and symbols. During her two-month residency, Costello was a contributor and co-curator of the Wormfarm Institute’s fall resident show, Season of Soil.

Ben Koller—Founder Our MECCA and The Heart Haus



Ben’s front left, next to Pratt and Che the dog.

Sandy Syburg—Purple Cow Organics, Oconomowoc Transport



Destination Nielbock Guild Hostel Hamlet
Chicago’s Emmanuel Pratt has woven carpentry training into the South Side Chicago Perry Ave Commons community farm, garden, and Think Do House.

His Sweet Water Foundation is now advancing a collaboration with Detroit’s Carlos Nielbock, metals master, to weave windmills and training into a broader vision.

Come brainstorm with this network!

Carlos Nielbock Windmill


Historic Lamppost restoration


Detroit Clock Tower restoration


Pratt Images




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Mother Grace, inspiring and centering spirit force, delighted to be “re-spirited,” in a circle, as she and Che confided, of Love, at her Boggs Center House, 2nd level commons, hearing and creating the New Story, with reports from Milwaukee and Chicago, re Obama’s 2008 Inaugural, and some of her much loved, self organizing, new work accomplished, and including the birthing moments of the Sweet Water Universe’s Sweet Water Foundation, now centered in Emmanuel Pratt’s Perry Ave Commons projects with a variety of “partners.” Marcia Lee, Yvette D. Murrell, and Tia Richardson and others pictured might add to this story someday. And, methinks in Grace’s terms, “solutionaries” to come!

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City of Milwaukee Must Protect and Preserve Public Spaces—Including 4th Street

There is a major public-asset giveaway at stake in the city’s arena-subsidy package that Milwaukee residents have only a few days to try to prevent. Common Council members must hear from citizens before they vote on September 22. In addition to receiving 30 acres of public land for free from the county and state, the billionaire Milwaukee Bucks owners also are demanding one block of 4th Street to use for a Bucks-controlled commercial plaza. Mayor Barrett and Development Commissioner Rocky Marcoux want the council to vacate forever that block for this purpose.

An arena-deal amendment introduced by Ald. Bob Bauman would protect the public’s long-term interest by keeping 4th Street open and available for many current and future uses as needed. The provision would retain the city’s ownership of North 4th Street (between Highland and Juneau Avenues) instead of ceding control of it to the Bucks.

Irreversibly closing one block of this north-south connector would make the arena complex a dead zone outside of arena events. Dead-ending 4th St. would further cut off Bronzeville from downtown, worsening decades-long “urban-renewal’ follies. It would create a clogging dam to raise the Bucks’ “revenue stream” by adding an unnecessary traffic barrier.

Talk of making it more “pedestrian-friendly” simply co-opts urban-planning principles by using misleading buzzwords. Most people still get around Milwaukee by car and the Bucks want to thwart traffic on 4th Street to aid their commercial enterprises exclusively. It would also overburden Old World Third Street, a more narrow street where brickwork is already the worse for wear. This area of Westown is a confusing maze of streets dominated by monolithic buildings. An even bigger arena plus a three-story bar mall will not make the district any friendlier. Nor will flooding the hospitality market with an unneeded and highly subsidized entertainment mall that tries to out-compete existing local businesses.

Taxpayers would pay to build this three-acre plaza and the Bucks would reap all revenues from it and pay no taxes—and probably no rent. It’s as if we handed a park to them and said “Use it for whatever you wish, just as long as you don’t post ‘no trespassing’ signs. Of course, they want people to come there—as paying customers for whatever the Bucks decide to peddle.

Ald. Bauman offered an alternative to forever blocking off this downtown thoroughfare as part of this arena-subsidy deal. He said it’s “Urban Planning 101” that cities never give up streets unless it’s absolutely necessary. The city has options for catering to the Bucks’ goals on game days and such without vacating a downtown street. That’s how it’s being done in other cities including Indianapolis and Boston.


Jay Walljasper is a leading proponent of preserving the commons and making the most of all types of public spaces, including streets:


Tell Common Council members before September 22nd that we can’t afford to make the concrete “Fortress on Fourth” even more forbidding. We need to keep Milwaukee’s streets—and options—open.

Virginia Small

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In Search OF Words For Muneer That Change Worlds

Racial Healing At The Soldiers Home

God willing at 2 pm this Saturday Cleo Pruitt, myself, perhaps Howard and 20 others will recapitulate the 2005 Soldiers Home unveiling of the Teju Bronze Monument to Soldiers of Color in the Rebirth of Freedom vision.

Here are some links to that historic event:



Please consider joining in at Old Main to here and grow the story of racial healing at the Soldiers Home.

This is not an official MPA, NAACP, Rebirth of Freedom, or any other organization.

It’s the manifestation of one of many networked agents and enterprises co-creating some kind of grand alliance to empower the citizens of the Great Lakes Sister Cities of Milwaukee Chicago and Detroit to make, grow, and care for our common and most sacred buildings and grounds.

Any of you or your friends and partners are invited to give voice at Old Main 2 to 2:15 this Saturday, 8/22.

If you wish a place on Sandy Syburg’s Purple Cow bus let me know.

I talked with Matt Cryer at the VA who said Bryan Walker was in charge of navigating any but informal entry to the grounds.
It is possible we may have to look in from afar.​

Howard and I also invite you to join in the creation of a living poem to Save the Soldiers Home, heal us peoples, and heal the planet. Hopefully once a year one or many of our youth might read it alongside Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Godsil 414 232 1336

Greater Bronzeville Stories

Growing Souls and Sklls”

The earth nation citizens who have graced the world with the Obama 2008 and Arab Spring 2010 stories have many more stories to grow, make, and imagine. Plese share your Greater Bronzeville story in the noosphere, i.e. the thinking envelope of Earth.

This wiki platform is one place to share. As is your facebook and other digital galaxies for the cultivation and care of your sacred life purposes in Greater Bronzeville.

Laudato Si

Green Diaper Babies

Earth Nation Americans

Critical software, e.g. English language, and hardware, e.g. the internet, are resources for American citizens to pragmatically advance some kind of Earth Nation vision, similar to when the North American colonies of the Crown
began to conceptualize an “American” identity back around the 1700s. The earth community has been growing a new organ
of consciousness, a planetary thinking network, an interlinked system of information and awakening consciousness Father
Teilhard de Chardin named the Noosphere. The noosphere is the Earth’s cerebral cortex, evolving a global net of self-awareness with instant feedback loops, increasingly easy planetary communication, a confluence of self-conscious awakenings. This new resource provides very small groups of people super-empowerment to change their local worlds, and link with other change agents who Walk Out Walk On, drawing upon Margaret Wheatley’s and Deborah Frieze’s new work.

Chicago As World City Of Great Lakes Heartland



Rural Arts and Culture Summit Concepts

Earth Nation STEAM+ Networked Centers

S for science and spirituality

T for technology, teaching, theater

E for engineering, ecology, economics, and entertainment

A for art, agriculture, artisanship, aquaponics, and architecture

M for math, makers, music, and Metis

Vision Organizing For An American Earth Nation

An emergent American Earth Nation is advancing the commingling of all of God’s children and communion of beings.

The Rural Arts Summit, Worm Farm Institute,
Art of the Rural, and Sweet Water Foundation
Constitute vital and highly networked innovation centers…

Perhaps sparking Nobel Prize worthy collaboration experiments, via social learning and production networks
Over the next 30 years…

Where teachers are students, and students are teachers,
Following ABCD algorithms and models,

Asset Based “Chaordic” Development, focusing on
Resources we have, upscaling through evolutionary groping,
Failing fast and often to succeed…

Addressing metabolic and cultural rifts,
Harnessing digital resources in…

Linked airbnbn, school, culture wagon
buses, and innovation centers large and small…

Sparking resourced boomer and
Young(anyone under 50) genius “partnerships”…

Mixing art, science, commerce, and spirituality,
Preparing regions of the heart and mind, of soul,
Where Earth Nation Americans being born.

American earth nation apprentices,
Across borders, boundaries, and waters.

From Earth Nation homes, hostels,
Universities without walls…

Rural and urban Agora,
Permanent and pop up.

Upschooling and deschooling America,
Hands-on working with land, water, air, energy…Life!

Bringing eChoupal and Mitra’s Hole in the Wall pedagogy,
Esalen-like, integral, “door in the wall,” life potential adventures,
To, God willing, 30 years of experiments connecting…

Wormfarm Institute, Rural Arts Summit,
Art of the Rural, and Sweet Water Foundation
Culture Wagon SChool Bus projects across the land…

Co-creating the American Earth Nation Nobel Prize worthy
In time, God willing for my 100th birthday celebration in Milwaukee…

Where the waters gather and people are coming to
Imagine the Universe as the key revelatory text,
To imagine their cultureshed as Holy,
Preparing for the Great Spirit’s descent..

Great spirit ascents…
Our Great Work Projects.

Milwaukee Chicago Reedsburg Golden Triangle Experiment

South Side Chicago “Partners”

Sweet Water Foundation, Chicago Schools, Museums, and Communities




Photo album of the Perry Ave Community Farm:

Photo Album of SWF General pics:

Milwaukee “Partners”



Reedsberg “Partners”



World “Partners”


Pragmatic Utopian Vision For Milwaukee Chicago Reedsburg Golden Triangle Experiment

Fields Cultivating Polyglot Youth Teams Acquiring Engineering Artisinal Art and Agrarian Skills Designing and Orchestrating E-enhanced Culture Wagons for Living Museum Centers and Networked Neighborhood Hubs Conveyed By SCool Bus Moments

30 Year Social Learning & Production Networks Advancing Golden Triangle Culture Wagon Ventures With Airbnb Connections, kicked off by harvesting 70th birthday parties for visionary 1% of the Boomers

Birthday Celebrations for New American Dreams, i.e. Placemaking Birthdays

  • boomer young collaboration experiments

  • discovering neighborhoods seeds for self-regeneration, i.e. weary houses into integral urban homes, empty lots into community gardens

  • Cool Buses that cross boundaries and weave associations

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Viva The Father of the Earth Poets, Jeff Poniewaz

Recording of Jeff’s poems as read by Antler at the Earth Poets & Musicians concert dedicated to Jeff, on April 18, at the Coffee House

Bruce J. “Jeff” Poniewaz
1946 - 2015

Poniewaz, Bruce J. “Jeff” Of Riverwest, passed away December 13 age 68 from pneumonia after surviving 9 years with stage-4 kidney/lung cancer with a 6-month-to-live prognosis. Born September 28, 1946, Jeff was a former Poet Laureate of Milwaukee and devoted his life to poetry and eco-activism. Author of Dolphin Learning in the Milky Way, a classic of compelling eco-poems which won a PEN Discovery Award and Ginsberg called “impassioned prescient ecological Whitmanesque/Thoreauvian verve & wit.”

Jeff taught Lit of Eco Vision at UWM for 20 years and in 1997 the MSO and Chorus performed the special “Song of the Rainforest” Concert he brainstormed to raise awareness of the Rainforest. In 2000 he was awarded an Earth Guardian Award at Milwaukee’s Earth Day Celebration. His work appeared in over 70 anthologies including Earth Prayers; Prayers for a 1000 Years; The Soul Unearthed; Burning the Midnight Oil and Gathering Place of the Waters: 30 Milwaukee Poets. In 1988 he founded the Earth Poets & Musicians Group which performed yearly here for 27 years. As Poet Laureate he created an event honoring the Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore in which Indian musicians and dancers participated. Loving partner of former Milwaukee Poet Laureate Antler for almost 50 years. They met as teenage boys at UWM. Jeff backpacked and canoed in wilderness areas with Antler in his younger years and spent many a night around the campfire under the stars. Thanks for being my pal O Jeff! Memorial visitation begins at 11:00 AM, followed by sharing of memories at 1:00 PM on Saturday, April 25, at the Feerick Funeral Home. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/jsonline/obituary.aspx?pid=174689996#sthash.YLlcp5vc.dpuf

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South Side Chicago Renaissance

This wiki collaboration platform is widening its coverage to include renaissance moments of the Great Lake Heartlands “solutionaries,” as Grace Lee Boggs and Detroit creatives say it. The South Side Chicago Renaissance expression will begin with an interview with Orrin Williams, a storied young elder and founder of the Center for Urban Transformations(CUT), and key partner with Emmanuel Pratt’s Sweet Water Foundation teams.

Renaissance. You have often been referred to as the Buddha of the South Side Renaissance. Might you share your thoughts as to how that came to be?

Williams. It’s an interesting question given that you and Emmanuel are the only people that reefer to me as that. I treasure the reference though as it speaks to several things. I find it to be difficult for most Americans to contextualize what it means when people identify as Buddhists. Of the people I know you and Emmanuel are two people (there are others to be sure in my network) are able to contextualize and make the connection. That is not a lack of awareness or consciousness one the part of other friends but a tribute the two of you attach to my way of being and acting in the world. I think if you had conversations with other people I know and made the connections they would agree with that appellation.

Another element in why I think the appellation is okay is because one of the Eight Noble Truths is Right Livelihood which I’ve tried to abide by over the past 30 years or so refusing to to jobs that I thought were inappropriate because they exploited people and/or the earth. I love what I do and the people I work closely with. Certainly I’d love to make more money but I’ve turned down employment or refused to engage in certain activities when offered the opportunity because I didn’t think it was the “right” way to earn a living. Am I perfect hardly, but that leads me to my last point. There is a being, the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha but there are and have been many Buddhas. All beings have Buddhanature and capable of becoming a Buddha (one doesn’t have to be a “Buddhist”, because it is about how one lives their life). I hope that I am on that path and it is a path where daily practice matters. Once you become enlightened it is not over as the book title by Jack Kornfield suggests, “After Ecstasy, the Laundry…”

I hope my remaining life is such that I have earned the appellation, through practice…



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Shrinking The Cancer of Stigma

Stigma shrinking is as important as
Carbon footprint shrinking.

It’s a necessary condition
For addressing the major challenges of our times.

Patricia Obletz Mental Health Activist: An Interview

Milwaukee Renaissance. You startled and awakened Milwaukee with an evocative image on the back of many Milwaukee buses of a person of unusual appearance getting punched in the face that had an equally unusual text alongside. Can you share that image, the story behind the image, and the impact of that image?

Patricia Obletz. That image is the oil painting “Out of Nowhere,” the first work to show up six months after Michael, my younger brother by four years died of sudden death syndrome on August 27, 2005. I’d moved to Milwaukee the summer before from Buffalo, New York, to visit family without need for a plane.

The following year, an x-ray revealed spots in my right lung, which by fall, had grown. Before surgery December 6, urgent need to raise mental health awareness in my new city inspired me to select that painting done after Michael died for a bus tail sign to accompany my message: “Put Your Money Where Your Mind Is. Mental illnesses run in every family. Ask your doctor for a mental health checkup.” The second batch of tail signs’ last lines read “Educate yourself. Call 800–273–8255.”

Partnered with Clear Channel Outdoors, and the following year with Titan Worldwide for three months in Chicago, the campaign hit the road in early 2007. Clear Channel Outdoors kept the signs in sight months on end in the Milwaukee area between 2007 and 2009. The media picked up my anti-stigma campaign, which expanded its reach. The impact became clear to me every time “Out of Nowhere” was in an art show and viewers said it was familiar, sometimes remembering the campaign. It facilitated open and honest conversation about personal experiences with mental health.

I’ve been working to help normalize serious and persistent mental illnesses in print, on TV/radio/web as well as in art galleries and marches since 1991.

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Sky Schultz Quaker House program: “Finding God in Nature, Science, and Mystical Poetry.”

I am giving the program at the Quaker Meeting House (3224 N Gordon Pl, Milwaukee, WI 53212) on April 16th at 7 pm. It is entitled “Finding God in Nature, Science, and Mystical Poetry.” This talk concerns the most important things I have uncovered in over a half century of research into many spiritual traditions, It concerns the root causes of suffering and what is refered to as “enlightenment,” In future iterations of the program I might call it: “An Extraordinary Spiritual Conversation: A Personal, Historical (and Hysterical) Exploration of Man’s Search for “God.” In the powerpoint at the Quaker Meeting house there will be many quotes from the world’s greatest spiritual teachers; and, of course, my “world-class humor and magic” :)

For decades of professional speaking I have billed myself as “The ‘Explorer Who Stayed at Home,” and a “spiritual humorist,” since I am inspired to find ways of saying serious things in entertaining ways. One of my heroes is Mark Twain because he found brilliant, humorous ways of talking about troublesome issues (although I do not share his sometimes dark and bitter attitudes. ) I do programs on Twain, Whitman, Rumi, Thoreau, and others which you might find of value.

By the way, I’m just setting up a new blog (http://skyschultz.blogspot.com\. with Jerad’s help. On the site is my award-winning film, “Common Miracles” about ecology in and around Lake Michigan and links to other spiritual and fun resources.

Earth Nation Mentschen: The Film

I prefer to begin with Mentschen of destiny doing their Great Work, in the Thomas Berry sense, in the fields of possibility available, for those with the eyes to see, in the Great Lakes Heartland. Here is where I hope to store, share, and connect their stories. Earth Nation Mentschen

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Godsil Reflections On Kenyan Oakland Roboticist Aquapon Farmer Eric Maundu Heart Haus Workshop​

Eric was way over the top brilliant, modest, and authentic. Strikes me that his commitment to the good cause comes from down, down deep, and I have a hard time imagining him not giving it his all for years to come. He has intensely studied the “earth story,” and drew the elegant and complex relationships of geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and “noosphere” with the energy providing sun all over the walls of the brainstorm and bread room.

Here’s a media report on his “Smart Aquaponics.”


Eric has applied his robotics and software background to making gardens smart. His company, Kijani Grows, sells kits, components, installs gardens throughout the Bay Area, and teaches classes on aquaponics. :

“I feel knowledge of electronics and software programming makes me a better farmer than just having a hoe. Gardens that can communicate for themselves using the internet can lead to exchanging of ideas in ways that were not possible before. I can test, for instance, whether the same tomato grows better in Oakland or the Sahara Desert given the same conditions. Then I can share the same information with farmers in Iceland and China.”


Aquaponics, for Eric, is a modeling of the earth story. Sensor enhanced aquaponics is a resource to provide support for human stewarding of these small worlds, tools for maintaining the balance of it all.

He moved from the earth and aquaponics modeling into a lucid and intelligible discussion of electronics and digital sensors, mixing white board graphics with sensor displays, then moving to the computer to display the results of his path-breaking labors. He maintained a passionate edge for 6 straight hours!

He has had a hard time making ends meet while deeply involved in his research and development. It all began after his return to Kenya following a 10 year green card journey, where a passion for farming, absent in his childhood as a farmer’s son, was intensely sparked. He hopes to farm in Kenya in time, and help people do sensor enhanced farming everywhere. But he can’t imagine making a living just growing food, agreeing with us, that the growth and distribution of knowledge, tech support, and experiences for schools and “early adopters” will be important source of revenue.

I intuit that you and he are at the beginning of an incredible journey of major importance. To me his work and his character are in perfect pitch complimentary with yours. I would welcome the “communion” and devote my peddling and connecting resources in support. I am also eager to introduce his Great Work to “Aquapons Across the Waters.”

I told him, and I mean it, that he is a man of destiny and it would be my pleasure and honor to support his quest on up through my 100th birthday.


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Sweet Water Foundation Heart Haus Guest Eric Maundu Workshop On Digital Sensors For Aquaponics Systems

On Sunday, March 29 from 1pm-5pm, we will be hosting a gathering at the Heart Haus (325 E Euclid Ave) with a very special guest, Eric Maundu. Eric specializes in low-cost, do-it-yourself water quality sensors for aquaponics systems.

Check out some of his work at his company’s website at http://www.kijanigrows.com/

Eric is visiting from Oakland, California and has offered to run a workshop on DIY digital sensors for water quality in aquaponics, including measurement for parameters such as:

  • Temperature
  • pH
  • Total Dissolved Solids
  • Dissolved oxygen

We would love if you could join us for a comfortable and casual gathering at the Heart Haus to meet Eric and learn about how to capture data from our aquaponics systems.

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Global Fulbright Community To Advance A Sweet Water Integral Urban Home For Each and Every Neighborhood?

Through Life Long Social Learning Networks?

Nice Radio Show On Milwaukee’s Heart Haus Integral Urban Home


Chicago “Sun Times” article on Chicago’s Think Do House.

Urban Homes As

  • School
  • Workshop
  • Farm

  • Lab
  • International hostel
  • Playground
  • Sanctuary

We are bringing into fresh being a 21st century homes and cottage industries local local economies in global networks.

For each American neighborhood, let us help manifest a
special house that’s multiform, multivalent, and mutualistic in essence…

That evokes awe and gratitude in Fulbright Scholars and everyday life long learners from across the world.

Fulbright International Scholars collaborate with SWF

Upon meeting in January at the SWF installation at the Chicago City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower, SWF Executive Director Emmanuel Pratt and Sarah Gleisner, Program Officer of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program with the Institute of International Education (IIE), began to explore opportunities for potential collaboration between the Fulbright Foreign Student Program Seminar on Youth Engagement and Empowerment and Sweet Water Foundation for the spring of 2015. Given Fulbright’s mission to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and other countries and SWF’s mission is to democratize, globalize, and commercialize urban agriculture practices for resilient 21st century communities via hands-on, real-world learning grounded in concepts of community, equity, transformation and resilience, both Sarah and Emmanuel recognized a tremendous opportunity for cross pollination across the programs.

On both Friday March 20th and Saturday March 21st, approximately 80 of the 140 Fulbright scholars joined by Megan Spillman, the IIE Chicago Director participated in site visits to the Perry Ave Community Farm, the Think-Do House, and the CSU Aquaponics Center. On Saturday March 21st, 40 of the Fulbright scholars from 30 different countries worked directly with the SWF team, local residents, and Orrin Williams from the Center for Urban Transformation on the Perry Ave Community Farm helping to prepare for the 2015 harvest season. Contunued at


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Artist talk

“In the emptiness, I find a visionary”

Chicago Sun-Times (IL) - Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Author/Byline: SUE ONTIVEROS

I knew something special had to be going on if my dear friend was calling before 8 on a
Sunday morning to invite me.

Still, that didn’t mean as I was agreeing that I wasn’t also thinking to myself, ‘‘So I am
going to just show up at 57th and Perry without an exact address, only with the
reassurance, ‘you’ll know the house when you see it.’ ’’

But as I drove through well-worn streets where so many homes and businesses are no
more, I could see she was right: there was no doubt which house it was. On the side of
the house is an almost-finished mural of regal-looking African Americans.

The building gives off this aura of “Yeah, I’m in the middle of emptiness; so what?” Once
inside, I realized that if the people who congregate here have their way, that emptiness
won’t be forever. And what you or I might see as emptiness, they see as opportunity
waiting to happen. It’s all in your perspective.

The answer to a host of urban problems — jobs, hunger, education — could very well
be right inside the front door. Literally. The walls are done in blackboard paint so ideas
and possible ways to implement them can fill them. And they do.

Oh, and the living room? It’s “living” alright. Herbs under grow lights sit in what was a
fireplace. An aquaponic system (a setup that basically grows plants and fish using the
same water) stands near a window.

Upstairs, along the stairway, downstairs, in the kitchen — something’s going on. Then
there are the two acres of land being farmed outside. The energy here is incredible.

And at the hub of it all is Emmanuel Pratt , a Chicago State professor and founding
director of the Sweet Water Foundation. You don’t run into true visionaries every day,
but Pratt , he’s the real deal. He looks at all of what’s going on here as a way to put an
end to the blight. But his ideas spring not from tearing down what’s left and embracing
gentrification (which, let’s face it, usually means moving out the poor people). He uses
what’s already here and gets kids, veterans, seniors involved in urban farming, green
initiatives and a lot more, not just at this location, but in other struggling neighborhoods.

One of the ways he’s doing that is by tapping into his incredible network of “doers.” The
day I’m here, so are others from Chicago Ideas Week. But Pratt doesn’t want to just
tout his programs; he gets the people in the room talking to one another about their
involvements, to get connections going. You connect the dots (err, people), and then
you’ve got a solid network going on.

The farming, the aquaponics. They’re not just to feed people well, although that’s a
good part of it. Pratt ’s trying to get kids and others to see the money-making
possibilities in green initiatives, to turn them into “eco-preneurs.” And why not?
Remember, Whole Foods is coming to 63rd and Halsted. Connection made.

Pratt doesn’t have trucks to haul the produce grown here around. Ah, but Washburne,
the culinary school at nearby Kennedy-King College, does. And there are connections
there. Who knows what’s next?

Yes, there’s a lot of work to be done. But Pratt and the Sweet Water Foundation can
see ways to bring people together and get things accomplished. Being able to see
solutions; why, that’s half the battle.

Email: sontiveros@suntimes.com

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How About a Traditional St. Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick didn’t drink. In fact, one of the things the Celtic chieftains admired in him was that he could get a good night’s sleep without the drink. Other reminders for this time of year: sausage and salted pork are traditional Irish meats; corn beef is American. Cromwell’s armies brought cabbage to Ireland. Sir Walter Raleigh brought potatoes there from South America. The Celts wouldn’t have worn green, either—it’s the color of things that die. Purple was the color preferred by royals.

St. Patrick’s Day in America has morphed, party-animal style, into a day to get drunk or, to insult-the-earth—an excuse to dump green dye in the Chicago River and foam it up. Patrick’s real life and the many good stories about him are what’s worth remembering.

St. Patrick was the first published anti-slave activist in history. At a time when British Christians were stealing Irish from along the east coast of Ireland, Patrick wrote: “…But it is the women kept in slavery who suffer the most—and who keep their spirits up despite the menacing and terrorizing they must endure. The Lord gives grace to his many handmaids.” During his life, Patrick negotiated with the court of Coroticus in England for the release of slaves, and, by the end of his life, the Irish slavery trade came to a halt.

Click here for the full article
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Origami At Timbuktu Rites Of Spring Celebration

Previously known as St. Patrick’s Day All City Celebration, March 17, Club Timbuktu, 7 to 9 p.m.

A terrific origami master has agreed to lead Rites of Spring participants in a paper folding workshop.

Her name is Seon Joo So, and she teaches the Korean version of origami at her Shorewood studio, and at UWM and other venues. She’s just lovely and creates the most intricate, beautiful works of art.

Her website is www.socoolcrafts.com, and her studio is: So Cool Crafts Paper Arts & Crafts Studio
4160 N. Oakland Ave. #14 Shorewood, WI 53211 414–418–8924

Seon Joo will bring supplies for 20 people. If you think we’ll have more participants than that, please let me know

Archive of St. Patrick Brigid Celebrations Since 2006



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Sweet Water Heart Haus Integral Urban Home Experiment

Lake Effect Listing – Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday on Lake Effect:


More images on this great story at http://sweetwaterfoundation.com/an-experiment-in-sustainable-urban-community-takes-root-in-bay-view/

What the rising prominence of women means in terms of political, economic and social power – in Wisconsin and around the country. Later, how an old house in Bay View has transformed into an experiment in residential living and working. We’ll talk about Bucks up and down year with our sports contributor. And meet the 1960s pop star-turned award-winning producer, Peter Asher.


  • Dorothy Thomas, speaker at LWV of Ozaukee County
  • Heart Haus feature
  • Howie Magner, Milwaukee Magazine
  • Peter Asher, musician​

The Heart Haus is embed in a global social learning and production network, including





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Social Learning and Production Networks For Gardens of Earthly Delights

Dear Adam,

I am wondering if you would be interested in reviewing volunteers from the Sweetwater Universe first galaxies called Sweetwater Organics and Sweet Water Foundation, to see if some appear to be worthy of your having some digital conversations to brainstorm possible collaborations over a 30 year experiment, God willing

Many are people of authenticity, competence, steadfast grit , and Grace.

Let me know and I will ask them for permission to share some of their applications, with you conceived as a “partner” with a social learning and production network of a thousand names.

What say?

Why not?

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Sweet Water Foundation’s Jesse Blom, the School of Freshwater Science, UWM Center for Water Policy & UN Global Compact Cities Program Collaboration

Sweet Water Foundation is happy to announce that its Milwaukee City Director, Jesse Blom, has enrolled in graduate studies at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (UWM), while continuing to spearhead SWF’s Milwaukee efforts. Jesse entered the Professional Science Master’s program at the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences in September 2014. The School of Freshwater Sciences has a 50 year history for internationally renowned research of freshwater ecosystems. Jesse’s coursework will focus on freshwater aquaculture, utilizing the school’s state of the art recirculating and flow-through aquaculture labs that are primarily used for studying yellow perch.

He is also working as a Research Assistant for the UWM Center for Water Policy, analyzing the economic and policy implications of water science. This year, Jesse is stewarding the Center for Water Policy’s efforts to mobilize the community around Milwaukee’s status as an Innovating City with the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme. To this end, Jesse will be convening a cross-sectoral group from Milwaukee that includes representatives from public sector, private sector, and academia to organize activities around how the city can most effectively exchange information with other cities on the topic of water science.

SWF has been directly involved with the UN Global Compact Cities Programme since Milwaukee’s entry into the Programme in 2009, and remains in close contact with the Programme’s staff in Melbourne, Australia. Over the past two years, SWF has hosted two visiting scholars from Australia as a participant in the Global Compact Cities Programme - Julia Laidlaw of RMIT University in Melbourne, and Dr. Nick Rose of the Australia Food Sovereignty Alliance.

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Goddess of Wheat Grass and her beautiful boys! Hero quest stories to follow.

Wheat Grass Goddess enjoying wheat grass waters, elixir of life!

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Advancing Ecopreneur Badges

There are some very resourced people and institutions committed to harnessing the power of the internet for life-long, connected learning and credentialing. Sweet Water’s Jesse Blom and Emmanuel Pratt have been working with the MacArthur and Mozilla Foundations and others around aquaponics training in the AQUAPONS program. This has inspired me to advance a badge project to provide support for entrepreneurial endeavors that also heal the planet, i.e. ecopreneurs! Jared Brill has agreed to test this concept out with me and others.

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Chronicling Connected Learning AQUAPON and Ecopreneur Junior Apprentice Badge Earners Sky Schultz and James Godsil

Here are many images of the development of Jesse Blom’s aquaponics demo at the Heart Haus.


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Emmanuel Pratt and Teen Creative Agency/Sweet Water Foundation Aquaponics As Art Installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

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The Googoal

Sole focus= Healing The Planet

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Clair Sprenger and Sky Schultz at Heart Haus Friday Potluck Brunch

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Walnut Way Founders Cuba Story Beginning Soon

Larry and Sharon Adams said “We’re going to Cuba this year!”

To be continued

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Vamanos A Cuba



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Sharing The Sacred Fire of St Patrick’s Brigid’s Timbuktu Celebration

to be continued

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Boomer Younge Connected Learning

To be continued

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The Tomb of the Unknown Poet

by Jeff Poniewaz

Why no Tomb of the Unknown Poet?
Wasn’t he killed as sure as the Unknown

Didn’t he die running wild after
the wildest beauty the same
as Wilfred Owen?

Didn’t he step on the toes of landmine

Wasn’t he mowed down by machine-guns
of mechanization?

Didn’t he throw himself on the grenade
of scorn lobbed at Poetry?

Drape a green flag of living grass
over his casket.

Blow his taps on panpipes:
phoenix syrinx!

Unknown Poet launched into the Unknown
like a poem in a manila envelope
addressed to Immortality

Care of the worms who edit scrupulously
but send no rejection slips.

May the Father of the Milwaukee Earth Poets be remembered beyond the 7th generation!

The Earth Poets & Musicians in July 2010.
from left: Harvey Taylor, Louisa Loveridge Gallas, Jahmes Tony Finlayson, Suzanne Rosenblatt, Jeff Poniewaz and Holly Haebig.
(photo by Jeffers Larson)

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Milwaukee and Chicago Public School Students To Lead TupperWare Aquaponics Workshops, Summer 2015?

Sky Schultz and James Godsil will be attending an Emmanuel Pratt TupperWare Aquaponics( Pratt Demos) tutorial tomorrow, at the Sweet Water Foundation Perry Avenue Community Farm and Think Do Lab House. We will quite possibly be sharing this technology to some of Jesse Blom’s Milwaukee Public School Aquaponics Teacher Cadre and their students at Heart Haus workshops this Spring, with hopes that, by the Summer of 2015, there will be a Milwaukee public high school student earning some summer money teaching the Pratt Demo system to people at the Heart Haus Aquaponics Lab. Here are some pictures of the Pratt Demo.
Hoping collaboration involving MSOE, MATC, and Shorewood’s New Horizon High School.

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Godsil Koller Wiki Experiment

We are experimenting in the petrie dish of peer to peer, optimally open sourced, laterally scaling, globalizing, social learning and production networks.Koller

We aspire to harvest miracle cascades. Godsil

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Panoramic Of Sweet Water Foundation ASM Roosevelt University Demo.

The preceeding picture is a panoramic taken by asm participant Damian Alvarez of other Aquaponics STEAM participants engaging in conversation about the basics of Aquaponics. Turning the traditional classroom into an elevated living learning coworking dynamic environment!

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Godsil Sen Wiki Experiment

We collect stories that humans and buildings tell us. Sen.

We connect resourced boomers with young genius. Godsil.

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A Milwaukee Farming Jubilee!

Farmers and Friends –

Let’s celebrate Farming as a profession and lifestyle on Wednesday December 17th 5:30 pm at Braise Restaurant! I want to recognize all the hard work that Milwaukee farmers put in this season, and the fact that, as a society, we oftentimes take farmers for granted. Let’s rejoice with tasty food from Braise, cheering holiday spirits, and live jazz from the fantastic Walker’s Point Trio! Bring yourself, your family, a farming friend – there’s no charge! Just don’t forget to wear your best farming attire – and PLEASE invite all Milwaukee area farmers to join!


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Introducing #MacArthurGeniusProspect Emmanuel Pratt To Nation’s Top Geography Professors

I have been blessed with time spent with some of the nation’s leading lights, none whose impact for the good cause will be any greater than Emmanuel Pratt’s, accelerating a South Side Chicago Renaissance.

These include MacArthur Geniuses Will Allen and Joel Rogers, presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy, Pulitzer Prize winner WH Auden, “Servant of God” Dorithy Day, Nobel winner Saul Bellow, Pacem in Terris awadee Saul Bellow, Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, JFK Advjsor Roger Hilsman, and actor activist Danny Glover

I hope the AAG Chicago Conference winds up spending time with Emmanuel and team at the Think-Do Lab House and Perry Avenue Community Farm!

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Bits Atoms Cells

The Sweet Water Foundation’s There Grows the Neighborhood initiative brings resources from a global social learning and production network. These networked “partners” include Boomer Millennial Partnerships experimenting ways of harvesting multiple values from mindful configurations of Bits Atoms Cells.

Integral Urban Homes, Agroecology Work Learn Tours, and Community Farms are three initiatives that will be explored at a Sweet Water/Chicago Museum of Science and Industry Hacking Hunger conference in Spring/Summer 2015 at the Perry Avenue Community Farm and Think Do House.

Since its 2010 incorporation, the Sweet Water Foundation has advanced in collaboration with Earth Renaissance”partners” across the waters, as well as some major institutions we are proud to be working with.

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There Grows The Neighborhood

The Sweet Water Foundation will be updating our social learning and production networks “partners” at this wiki equipped web platform.

My first offering is a Heart Haus brainstorm potluck on Faith Communities
Hacking Hunger through There Grow The
Neighborhood Experiments, with a focus
on boomer milennial local economies
experiments in integral urban homes
and agroecology work learn tours.

What’s yours?

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Introducing Ben Koller’s Heart Haus

The pages of the Milwaukee Renaissance have chronicled the people and the projects advancing some kind of renaissance in the venerable city where the waters gather, our Milwaukee. It is my honor and pleasure to share the story and the visions of a heavy lifter of this renaissance, Ben Koller, who while yet new to his 30s, has built layer upon layer of small accomplishments 20,000 leagues deep.

The Mecca Project

Here are some media links regarding Ben’s work to bless Milwaukee with a proper place for
Robert Indiana’s MECCA Floor.

Milwaukee Journal Front Page (Print & Online):


NY Times Article Front Sports/Business Page (Print & Online):


ESPN 30 for 30 “The Floor that Made Milwaukee Famous.”:


Work 2 Do Music Video/PSA:


More to come!


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Within Our Lifetime Network Twitter Town Hall

Thursday November 20th at 8pm ET

Featuring Rachel Godsil
Co-founder and Director of Research; The Perception Institute
#GotBias? Join an online conversation with national expert on implicit bias Rachel Godsil and the Within Our Lifetime Network.

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Emmanuel Pratt Notions

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Core El Centro Menu For Milwaukee AgroEcology Healthy Living Tours

CORE/El Centro is located in a beautiful, radically green, accessible building. Tour elements could include:

  • tour of rooftop production garden, with honeybees, grey water systems and delicious fruits/vegetables/herbs

  • tour of Wisconsin ‘ s first urban Creamery - delicious cheese curds, goat cheese specialties and more

  • cooking class/lunch. We could discuss specific menu if you’d like to help prepare a meal, otherwise we can recommend local caterers/cafes from the neigborhood.

  • yoga

  • Tai Chi

  • Seated exercise/dance

  • chair massage

  • acupuncture

Depending on what kind of tour/activities you are interested in, we could negotiate a price, but typically we ask $30–50/hr. We have both indoor and outdoor options, but considering a late spring/early summer visit would increase the chances for some delicious products from the roof.

I welcome other thoughts/additions to the tour visit

Stephanie Callaway

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The Story Of a Song Inspired By Grace Lee Boggs’ “The Next American Revolution”

Shared With India and Tibet

quiet rEVOLution – a song by Jess Vega Gonzalez with KT Rusch, inspired by Grace Lee Boggs’ book, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-first Century.

Jessica’s Story of the Song

I came to this book on my first visit to Detroit for the ReImagine Work conference in 2011. It was the first, but not the last time, I would meet Grace. Not that Grace remembers who I am, but that is no matter. Grace Lee Boggs is connected to quite a few friends important to me, and that’s really good enough for me.

The book sat unread for a couple more years on my shelf until winter 2013, when I found myself taking the bus to my problematic jobs and wanting something to read. The ReImagine Work conference had changed the way I understood the jobs system and its uselessness, and I thought it was about time to read the book. Good thinking, finally. And like all good thinking, I figured writing a song would help the message spread.

So the song manifested itself, and I passed the song and the book along to my friend and musician-partner-in-crime KT. She added a second ukulele part and encouraged that we play it out at Universal Love Band shows. So we did – January 2014 was the song’s debut, and we’ve played it around the world since.

Yes, literally around the world. In March, KT and I traveled to India to visit Venerable Kungchok Chopel, an elder Tibetan Buddhist monk and friend of KT’s for many years at Drepung Loseling Monastery in exile in Mudgod, Karnataka, India.

Deep history here. Definitely a place where people are devoted to growing their souls, a seat of the quiet revolution. Drepung Loseling Monestary is dedicated to the study of preservation of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of wisdom and compassion. A center for the cultivation of both heart and intellect, it provides a sanctuary for the nurturance of inner peace and kindness, community understanding, and global healing. And we found ourselves there, without words, to visit our friend.

Venerable Kungchok is in his late 80’s. He escaped Tibet during the 1959 uprisings. The Chinese army pursued him with dogs and bullets. He suffered four bullet wounds, still clearly visible, through each forearm and each buttock, but managed to survive and cross the Himalayas into Buxa, India. He recovered for five years in a Christian missionary hospital. India donated land in Karnataka state to the budding Tibetan refugee community and Ven. Kungchok was one of the founders of Drepung Monastery in exile. He was the only member of his Gyapa of Tibetan monks to survive. He cooked for everyone for years and was known for his happiness and great food. He was able to re-establish his home chapel, Gyapa Kangsten, at Drepung. He is currently one of the oldest living monks and still teaches. We have heard other lamas call him the Buddha.

This version of quiet rEVOLution was recorded in Ven Kungcok’s room on the first day we reunited with him in March 2014, on the first rain of the season. It was joyous and emotional. We laughed, we cried, we drank butter tea!

If I could speak to the beauty of that moment, I would dare not say a word. But that is the depth of music – it does much more. I hope you will find in it some happiness.

To the quiet revolution. To growing our souls.

The Song Sung!


The Lyrics

Having a quiet revolution over here

Growing my soul

The have-nots are not trying to get what the have’s have got [x4]

We don’t want your privilege, your suburbs, your schools

Not your whiteness, not your straightness, not your patriarchal rules

Not your chemicals in your vegetables, or even your Whole Foods

We are building, we are building something new.

My bridges are gardens, my streets lined with fruit trees

My food is your prayers, the soft sound of bees

Clean water form great lakes and rivers and streams

Reminded of my Mother in all that I see


Young people and elders come back to the center

Remind us how to play and tell stories together

Forgive me my sins against the ancestors

Commodifying everything, less meaning and surrender

Listen to the womyn, the queers, the dark-skinned ones

Give the gift back its joy, and its freedom to love

I tell the time by the sunshine, the month by the moon

More music, better life. Now, not a moment too soon


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Pink House Benefit

Lil Rev has had to cancel, yet other special surprise guests are stepping to the fore.
A great time will be had by all!

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Sharing Images Inspired By Grace Lee Boggs

Hoping to draw upon our own work and ask others to provide some images manifesting Grace’s visions and concepts.

Here are some of my favorite from Grace’s and Scott’s “The Next American Revolution”
chapters on “A Paradigm Shift in Our Concept of Education” and “We Are the Leaders We’ve Been Looking For.”

I would very much appreciate learning of some of your favorite Grace vision concepts
and permission to share them at http://www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/GraceLeeBoggs/HomePage

  • We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for

  • Freedom schooling America

  • Grass roots transformative energies

  • Ground up change we can believe in

  • Faith in human possibilities

  • Healing and redeeming from shameful legacies

  • Energies from renewed hope and a commitment to a just cause

  • Steps to a more responsible and self-governing community

  • Project notion of a “more human” human being

  • Replace command and control factory education model

  • Address outrage of prison industrial complex

  • The Young are the creators of knowledge and social change

  • John Dewey’s notion of education through active work in the process

of living, manifesting “the social spirit,” beyond mere cognitive training,
harnessing human impulse to make, active listening, and schools
embed in life

  • Gandhi’s intellectual development through socially useful labor, which

handles all of the little things of village life

  • Gandhi’s insistence of learning through the Heart Hand and Head,

drawing upon the resources of community, nature, and the world

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Earth Dance Farms and An Ignatian Response To The Ferguson Tragedies

For all who are hearing about EarthDance for the first time, we are an organic farm school, operating our programming on Missouri’s oldest organic farm, located in Ferguson, MO.

As you can imagine, the recent notoriety of our home base has come as a shock. Though you may be seeing images Ferguson on the news, trust me, they do not capture the diversity and true character of our town. We invite you to learn more about how EarthDance is working with partners all over St. Louis to develop our farm as an oasis of peace, a thriving ecosystem, a hub for agricultural education, and a space for community celebration. As Program Director at EarthDance, I would love to be in touch with you if have advice to offer us, or would like to collaborate.

If you are local, please join us for a free event coming up Sunday, October 5th, 2–4pm, at the farm.

Rachel Levi
Program Director, EarthDance

office 314.521.1006
cell 773–398–6515

Our Mission:
EarthDance sustainably grows food, farmers, and community, one small farm at a time, through hands-on education and delicious experiences.

Become a fan of EarthDance on facebook! http://www.facebook.com/earthdancefarms

See what we’re all about here:

Make a donation here:

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Emmanuel Pratt’s Think-Do Aquapaonics Lab Demo for the HIVE

​Chicago Learning Network
​Mozilla Foundation Festival Maker Party competition at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Winner goes to The Maker Party in London!

Here are the contestants:


  • AQUAPONS - A Think-Do Lab Demo by SweetWater Foundation
  • Mini Mass Action Day by Mikva Challenge + Free Spirit Media
  • Vinyl Cutter Extravaganza! by YOUmedia @ CPL
  • Cardboard Moving Challenge by CodeCreate
  • Yesterday I Was, Today I Am: Narrative GIF Workshop by NVAM
  • Get Into Art! by The Art Institute
  • Birds of Hope by Intuit: Center for Outsider Art

​Here’s a note regarding last year’s event.

​This year, Mozilla Festival hosted a Maker Party on Oct. 26 in London, England. The party was modeled as a mini-MozFest, featuring hands-on activities for young creators. Visitors joined makers and educators from across the globe to code LED displays, animate stories, design games, build robots, remix videos and much more. Here are all the stations that were present for the event. They represent many organiztations from NYC, Chicago USA, Toronto CA, Indonesia, San Fransisco USA, India. Many participants produced a “Teaching Kit” via Webmaker Thimble, which share the “how-tos” of each maker station (linked to below). Upon creating a teaching kit participants were awarded this Maker Party Teaching Kit Badge:​


to be continued…


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Boomer Millennial Old House Transformation Experiment

I call 325 E. Euclid The House With a Thousand Names, inspired by Joseph Campbell’s “Hero With A Thousand Names.” Millennial heavy lifters Ben Koller and Miguel Castro call it the Heart Haus.

At the beginning of summer 2014

Ben Koller’s team transformed the inside floors of what was a homely house

Heart Haus located in a “Euro American” hamlet that is gracefully receiving Ben’s “Northside Friends” in a city needing racial healing

In Boomer Millennial IntegralUrban Home transformations the families of the “partners” chip in. Ben’s Mom Judie and sister Anne helped with the planting and the painting, which includes a white board for the breaking bread/brainstorm room

Olde boomers get new lease on life and make new friends!

Miguel’s “Green Room” sprouts tour

Sweet Water Aquaponics Demo Room

The start of front yard food garden as art aspiration

Backyard micro farm August 4, 2014

Costa Rica Earth U. Prof, Sweet Water Foundation Milwaukee Director, Wisconsin’s top soil producer with Ben & Miguel at brainstorm/bread braking room

Eco Tourism destination, with ex-Milwaukee Bucs Rich Neiman and friend John O’Brien

Anne Koller giving first digital conference presentation

With Ryan Scaife of Project Hope in Tanzania

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From Sweet Water To Earth Nation Eco Tours: Centering In Milwaukee Chicago

I am beginning coordinate Sweet Water/Sweet Soil Eco Tours with a number of Milwaukee Chicago, regional, national, and global trailblazers. Some kind of emerging “Earth Nation!”

Might you share some of your story so I can provide you with the most appropriate menu of tours? I will be developing this service over the seasons and years, with new partners representing different kinds of adaptation genius. You can follow this elevating menu of Earth Nation Eco Tours at


Earth Nation Eco Tours

They can range from commercial scale aquaponics and composting, to school and family digitally enhanced and connected aquaponics demos, linking up with Shanhai and Mumbai, to Chicago repurposed factories or the 2 acre Perry Avenue Farm of the Sweet Water Foundation, the Victory Garden Concordia Gardens or one of their hundreds of family victory gardens, and many more, in Chicago, Reedsberg’s Worm Farm Institute and Fermentation Fest partners, and on and on and on.

Here’s a bit of my story:



If the latter document interests you let me know.


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Introducing Grass Roots American and Chinese Collaboration To Marry Urban Agriculture With Thinker Makers Agile Manufacturing

Yesterday Shanghai’s David Li introduced me to China’s Eric Pan to accelerate our shared commitment to “ecopreneur” collaborations across the waters, with a start up focus on urban agriculture and agile manufacturing. At the time I was with three of America’s top matchmakers of this union, Emmanuel Pratt, Franklyn Berry, and Jia Li Lok Pratt, who were delighted, as this picture suggests, by the prospect of teaming up with David and Eric. I asked David to send me some digital links to essays that would inform our work and share the good news. Here is the first article he sent, followed by some of my favorite quotes therein.


From “Made in China” to “Made With China”

As China’s DIY makers are coming together with manufacturers, they are spurring a shift in industrial production, from “made in China” to “made with China.”

Chinese and American Robin Hoods And Virtual Sherwood Forests

David Li, co-founder of XinCheJian, Shanghai’s first “maker space” (essentially, an open-access workshop), says the Robin Hood spirit is inspiring legitimate and often quite innovative products, as the socially progressive maker movement teams up with hard-nosed manufacturers.

From watches, bags and shoes to touchscreen tablets, fast food and electric cars — you can find thousands of knockoff brands in China. Large, highly coordinated networks of innovative companies take the products and services we love in the U.S., alter them relentlessly and make them … better. Then they speed them to one of the world’s largest consumer markets and sell them at devastatingly low margins.

Core Tenets of Shanzhai Business Model Worthy of American Attention

The problem with U.S. innovation? Our broken business models. American companies were built to be predictable, not adaptable. Trends like mobile, social and the cloud are major disruptive forces and businesses are struggling to keep up. Instead of fearing the Shanzhai, we can look at their 4 core tenets to reorganize the way we do business:

-Build nothing from scratch
-Innovate process at small scales
-Share as much as you can
-Act responsibly in the network

By adopting the philosophy of the Shanzhai “copycat culture,” companies can innovate faster and remain competitive.

But China’s rapid growth in open source hardware and maker communities challenges our assumptions. They show an alternative version of innovation, built on a home-grown version of open source that has developed in China’s small-scale factories over the last 20 years. Makers in China show that this history of open manufacturing will change not only what we understand by making, but also where we locate innovation.

San Francisco Chinese American CEO Highway 1 Accelerator Program

PCH a major manufacture based in Shenzhen has recently launch an accelerator program Highway1 in San Francisco and here is how the CEO’s take on Shanzhai:

WSJ: Why is Shenzhen still attractive for PCH?

Casey: The “shanzhai” culture is really important (Shanzhai literally means “mountain fortress.” Once a term used to suggest something cheap or inferior, shanzhai now suggests to many a certain Chinese cleverness and ingenuity.) It has this disruptive culture of wanting to be different, of wanting to be fast, wanting to show what’s possible.

The Economist Covering This Development

The Economist has also published several articles on how Shanzhai will be relevant to the innovation in China and the potential to change now new hardware are created.

What gives these young Chinese firms a potential edge is their close connections with the so-called shanzhai production networks centred on Shenzhen, China’s high-tech manufacturing hub. The term shanzhai is often used pejoratively to refer to Chinese copycat producers of mobile phones and other electronic devices, based on copied designs and knock-off brand names. But its literal meaning is “mountain village”, and it refers to bandits who opposed corrupt rulers and hid in the countryside—much like Robin Hood in English folklore. David Li, co-founder of XinCheJian, Shanghai’s first “maker space” (essentially, an open-access workshop), says the Robin Hood spirit is inspiring legitimate and often quite innovative products, as the socially progressive maker movement teams up with hard-nosed manufacturers.

Silvia Lindtner of U. of Cal. Irvine Shanghai Partnership

Silvia Lindtner of the University of California, Irvine, and Fudan University in Shanghai, who follows the startup scene in China, is not surprised. The two sides complement each other, she says. The founders of hardware start ups, often steeped in the open-source culture, partner with factories rooted in the Chinese culture of shanzhai, which translates as “mountain stronghold”. It used to mean pirated electronic goods but now stands for open-source manufacturing.

Much more to come!


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EXPO in the House and Nuns on the Bus

EXPO (EX-Prisoners Organizing) held a major public forum on Tuesday, June 28 at the Black Historical Society in Milwaukee. About 150 people attended the event. About half of those present were formerly-incarcerated people and/or family members of incarcerated people. Other members of MICAH, SOPHIA and CUSH also came out in good numbers to support EXPO.

James Causey of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel moderated the forum. Six panelists including four formerly-incarcerated and 2 family members of people currently in prison spoke. They covered topics ranging from Solitary Confinement, to Sentencing, to the kinds of barriers faced by men and women with conviction histories. The evening was moving, interesting and motivating. At the end, many people stepped up to say they wanted to be part of EXPO, and many others offered to be part of the ROC Wisconsin campaign.

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Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act leads to better care and improves financial well-being for new enrollees

Over 90 percent of new Medicaid enrollees are satisfied with their plans and doctor
According to a new report summarizing research to date, 78 percent of new Medicaid enrollees indicated that absent Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they wouldn’t otherwise have the resources necessary to access regular care. Additionally, the overwhelming majority of new Medicaid enrollees report being satisfied with their health plans (93 percent) and their doctors (92 percent).

The research also finds that Medicaid expansion improved the financial well-being for new enrollees, leading to fewer unpaid bills. According to estimates, Medicaid expansion reduced third party collections by $600 to $1000 per individual in expansion states.
Read more about today’s announcement.

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Leaders of MICAH’s 53206 Holy Ground Youth and Young Adult Organizing Project invite you to join 500 youth and adults in the “I Am 53206 March” on Wednesday, June 22, starting at Calvary Baptist Church, 2959 N. Teutonia Avenue, at 5:00 p.m. and proceeding to Incarnation Lutheran Church, 1510 W. Keefe Avenue. At Incarnation, a solemn ceremony will be followed by commitments from elected officials on a range of issues identified by youth leaders.

Milwaukee Innercity Congregations Allied for Hope is bringing together members of the 43 congregations apart of MICAH to join in a inter faith effort to support the efforts of rebuilding our city. We also will be joined by faith leaders across the state, community leaders, community partners across the state and nationally, as well by local elected officials.

Wednesday, June 22, starting at Calvary Baptist Church, 2959 N. Teutonia Avenue, at 5:00 p.m, with the March beginning at 5:30, and proceeding to Incarnation Lutheran Church, 1510 W. Keefe Avenue, at approx. 6:15 pm.

Please contact Dakota Hall at dakota@micahmke.org/414-264-0805 for more information

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Stand in Solidarity with the Fasting Prisoners

Standing with the men who have been refusing to accept food in protest of injustice in the use of Solitary Confinement in Wisconsin prisons, leaders of the ROC Wisconsin Campaign have set aside Tuesday, June 21 as a Solidarity Day.

At least 7 inmates in Wisconsin prisons, mostly at Waupun, are engaged in a “food refusal” action. Some of them have not eaten anything since June 5; others began June 10. Among their demands are that all prisoners who have been in solitary confinement for more than one year should be released back into the general prison population, and that there be proper mental health services for those who have been subjected to solitary confinement. More details are here.

On June 21, we are all being asked to do some or all of the following:

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In Our Lifetime, America’s First Black President, Barack Hussein Obama

Cuban Orisha painter
in his space, 2015

A yearlong art exhibition and celebration! Why? Who are the featured artists? How does it work? Founder of Terry McCormick Contemporary Fine and Folk Art Gallery, Evelyn Patricia Terry, committed to a 2016 yearlong art celebration of “America’s First Black President” through monthly exhibitions that began this past January - sharing behind-the-scene information. Focusing on 2016, the last year of President Barack Hussein Obama’s two-termed election, evolved from Terry’s decision to purchase four of Blanche Brown’s collage artworks for each of her four grandchildren as mementos for President Obama’s special historical breakthrough. Plus, Terry’s 2015 travel to Cuba via a MEDICC fellowship from Walnut Way Conservation Corps proved pivotal in her decision to celebrate President Obama’s last year in office.

In Matanzas, Cuba, Walnut Way Conservation
Corps and MEDICC Group, 2015, Photo by Rayna Andrews

Cuba’s spirited home studios, galleries and shops stirred Terry’s entrepreneurial spirit and expanded possibilities of what she could do with her home space. She enjoyed hearing Cuban vendor’s greeting, often extended to passerbys, “Looking is free.” While traveling Havana’s streets daily, open doors attracted her and other tourists, as artists painted, people prepared or cooked meals in kitchens, or groups of people conversed at tables in other rooms.

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Secretary Rhoades’ letter withdrawing concept paper

Make It Work Milwaukee/ Mental Health Task Force update

Earlier today, we shared with you the updates regarding the department’s decision to withdraw their concept paper with proposed changes to Family care and IRIS. Passing on to you now the official letter that Secretary Rhoades sent to the Joint Finance Committee. Other statements and coverage are posted on the Wheeler Report: http://thewheelerreport.com/

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Good News! …and More Work Ahead

We assume you all know by now that Sen. Alberta Darling (Co-Chair, Joint Finance Committee) has announced that there will be no action on FC/IRIS 2.0 in the coming months, and perhaps not until next year. It is interesting that this decision is very similar to our proposal to JFC in our most recent memo (5/26/16): “suspend action on Family Care/IRIS 2.0 for the remainder of 2016…and restart the process with the 2017–2019 biennial budget”.

This is excellent news, and certainly cause for the LTC Coalition to celebrate. At the same time, it is inconclusive. It’s not a victory - - it’s a reprieve. A delay, even a long delay, is not the same as JFC actually convening and formally voting to disapprove the DHS Concept Paper with no invitation to DHS to revise and re-submit it. So FC/IRIS 2.0 is still alive until and unless DHS withdraws it, JFC convenes and votes No on it, or it is displaced by a new LTC proposal from the governor in the 2017–19 biennial budget session.

Nevertheless, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on the ways that our advocacy may have contributed to JFC’s decision to hit the PAUSE button on 2.0, e.g:

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June 16, 2016, Mental Health Board Finance Committee Meeting Agenda - Public Input on the Budget

Mental Health Task Force Update

The MILWAUKEE COUNTY MENTAL HEALTH BOARD FINANCE COMMITTEE will meet Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 1:30 P.M. at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex , 9455 Watertown Plank Road, Conference Room 1045.

The Finance Committee has added to this meeting another opportunity for public input on the budget. The agenda includes “Public Comment on the 2017 BHD budget narrative. Speakers are limited to three minutes. The BHD Budget narrative is not yet posted – we will send out an update when it is posted.

Thanks to the Finance Committee for adding this additional opportunity for public input and being responsive to the requests for this.

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WISDOM Stands in Solidarity with Waupun Protesters

WISDOM stands in solidarity with those who are refusing to accept food as an act of protest against the conditions of Solitary Confinement in the Waupun Correctional Institution, and throughout Wisconsin.

Inmates in Waupun will start a Humanitarian Food Refusal Campaign on June 10, demanding more humane treatment. Solitary confinement or ‘Administrative segregation’ has been abused: some inmates have been in this type of isolation for years. More than 14 days is considered torture. Click here to download details on solidarity rallies to be held in Madison on June 10 and in Milwaukee on June 11.

As a network including more than 150 congregations of many faiths, along with hundreds of individual leaders, members and supporters, it saddens us that these, our brothers in the human family, have concluded that the only tool available to express their deep concerns is to deny nourishment for their own bodies. In their isolation, they are undertaking this extreme measure in an attempt to gain some recognition of their human dignity, and that of their fellow prisoners. We pray for their physical and psychological health as they take this action.
The decision to take this action comes from the prisoners themselves. One of the core principles of WISDOM is that every person has the right to be heard, especially regarding policies that most affect them.

Click here to download WISDOM’s Statement, the Prisoners’ calls and the commitments of the WISDOM Network. Click here for a list of things YOU can do to help.

You can read statements from the Prisoners who are leading the campaign: Uhuru’s testimony and Cesar’s testimony.

For more information about the Campaign, please call SOPHIA/WISDOM organizer Bernie Gonzalez at 262–443–7831.

WISDOM strives to be a vehicle by which those who are marginalized and ignored can have a chance to be heard. This is a moment to live that out.

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Recent LTC Press - media coverage of Family Care 2.0 Proposal

Hi Everyone, Lots of ltc press coverage over the past week!

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Lawmakers: Delays likely on long-term care changes

Wisconsin Public Radio: Advocate Plans New Push For Walker Administration Records On Long-Term Care Changes

Rep. Hintz: Calls on Gov. Walker to Finally Comply with Long Term Care Open Records Request

Wisconsin Long Term Care Coalition: National insurer chooses profit over people

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A.S.K. Mental Health Program at Milwaukee Public Libraries

Mental Health Task Force Update

  • A.S.K. is a free, informational mental health program on recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental illness and where to seek help. The next A.S.K. program is Saturday, June 11, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. at the Capitol Library, 3969 N. 74th, Milwaukee. Please share this information and attached flyer with your networks.

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Update on 2017 Behavioral Health Division Proposed Budget

The Mental Health Board Finance Committee met last Thursday, May 26. The primary agenda item was a high level overview of the 2017 BHD budget and the budget timeline, including public comment. Here is a link to the meeting packet and budget overview: http://county.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Public/BHD/Mental-Health-Board/MHBFinance05-26-16MeetingPacket.pdf

We have listed below some key points regarding the 2017 BHD budget based on what we know to date. A line item budget is not yet available. It is our understanding that this will be available at the 6/16 Finance Committee meeting (scheduled for 1;30, location not yet posted) and there may be another opportunity for public comment at that time. The table below include a listing of the budget highlights from the overview, broken out by program area, and a second table listing each Mental Health Task Force budget recommendation with any related information from the 2017 budget overview.

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ACTION ALERT: Bazelon Center, UMass Medical School Highlight Opportunities to Promote Employment for People with Psychiatric Disabilities

Mental Health Task Force Update

The Task Force has been supportive of efforts to promote employment for people with psychiatric disabilities, as we wanted to share this new brief by UMass Medical School and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law which outlines policy opportunities that can be leveraged to expand opportunities for people with psychiatric disabilities to successfully obtain and maintain employment. The brief also suggests policy changes that can result in increased access to career development, supported employment, and critical health services. See here for a link to the brief.

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2016 Mental Health Conference at Marquette University

Mental Health Task Force Update

We are pleased to share with you information about Marquette University’s 2016 Mental Health Conference, An infinite transition from Soldier to Veteran: The journey of navigating and accessing healthcare. See below for details, and help spread the word!

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Mental Health Board Quality Committee Agenda

Mental Health Task Force Update

June 6, 2016 - 10:00 A.M.
Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex, Conference Room 1045

Click on the link below to view the June 6, 2016, Mental Health Board Quality Committee Agenda and Meeting Packet:

Tuesday June 7th, 3 PM – 5 PM next door to Mental Health America of Wisconsin
Please join us for a June 7th 3 PM Task Force meeting, hosted by Mental Health America of Wisconsin, to welcome new BHD Administrator Mike Lappen. Mike is a Milwaukee native and most recently served as Director of Human Services for Ozaukee County, and has been active on the county and state level in advancing recovery oriented community based services.

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New Caregiver Rules in IRIS

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

Disability Rights Wisconsin has issued a letter to the Department of Health Services regarding new caregiver rules in the IRIS long-term care program that have been confusing for IRIS participants. We have also been communicating directly with the US Department of Labor.

You can read the DRW letter here: http://www.disabilityrightswi.org/archives/6064 Feel free to share.

Previously DRW had created some basic informational documents related to this rule change:

We are continuing to monitor this issue.

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Chicago Police Have Made Young Black Men “Enemies of the State”

By Phillip Jackson

May 25, 2016

On Friday of last week, as a woman was coming out of the neighborhood Bronzeville Starbucks, gunshots were fired. Two people were shot. The older woman, a city employee, Yvonne, Nelson, died. The younger man, who worked at a sandwich shop, was coming from a bank where he cashed his check for working the past two weeks.

Multiple media outlets announced that the young man was “a documented gang member referred to his job by The Black Star Project (TBSP).” It was also announced that the woman was killed in a “crossfire”. Someone is caught in a crossfire when they come between two or more people shooting at each other. There was no crossfire; only two victims shot by one gunman. Why did the police and the media widely, inaccurately report a “crossfire”?

While I did not know Yvonne Nelson, I do know that no one’s life should ever end that way. I hope that whoever did this will be quickly arrested, tried, convicted and appropriately punished for this horrendous, heinous crime. I personally know the young man who was shot. He was a former mentee in The Black Star Project’s mentoring program. He is like so many of the thousands of young men The Black Star Project has worked with for more than 20 years.

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Moving from Talk to Action on Poverty

The “Faithful Citizenship Spring Forums” will be held in five places throughout Wisconsin in the next few weeks. All the events are from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, and all are free of charge. They will be:

Wausau: Wednesday, May 25:
First English Lutheran Church ~ 402 N. 3rd Avenue

Milwaukee: Thursday, June 2:
St. Matthew CME Church ~ 2944 N. 9th St.

Eau Claire: Monday, June 6:
Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd ~ 1120 Cedar St.

Madison: Tuesday, June 7:
St. Paul AME Church ~ 4525 Diamond Drive

Green Bay: Wednesday, June 8:
West Side Moravian Church ~ 1707 S. Oneida St.

All the events are from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, and all are free of charge.
Spread the Word! Invite other interested folks!

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Milwaukeeans (or former) Who Made Big Time Differences

By George F. Sanders, Community Activist and Historian

Clayborn Benson: Executive Director of the Wisconsin Black Historical Society

“I had to prove I was worth it… and took the initiative myself to be as good as I could be.”
—Clayborn Benson

Clayborn Benson’s own history reflects the sampling of what many young Black men and women face — that of dealing with a strange world of vast challenging experiences, often isolated in unfamiliar environments, yet are expected to make what appears to be life-long decisions about what one wants to be in life.

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Attention: Resident Preference Program

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FULL scholarships for veterans and students to UWM Veterans Conference May 19/20

There are still openings for veterans and students to get a full scholarship to attend the Veterans Trauma-Informed Care conference at UWM May 19/20. Please email warriorheart@starfishfound.org for details. Please share this information so we can help as many veterans as possible and their service providers!!

Veterans Health Coalition, Healing Warrior Hearts and MAVRC are proud to be sponsors of this conference. It’s a great line-up of speakers and exhibitors.

Military & Veteran Populations Conference
Join us on May 19 and May 20, 2016 as we build bridges to healing lives at the Military & Veteran Populations Conference. Register Today! Deadline is extended!
View on uwm.edu

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LTC Coalition Memo JFC

Good morning,

During the past month, the Department of Health Services (DHS) and insurance companies have been leaning on the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) to take a vote on the Concept Paper regarding the changes to Family Care and IRIS, and DHS issued a statement saying that the Family Care and IRIS 2.0 model will save taxpayers $300 million over six years.

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A high quality transportation option needs your input and support.

Make It Work Milwaukee/ Mental Health Task Force Update

Milwaukee County is studying a new East-West Bus Rapid Transit system, or BRT, connecting the region’s biggest job centers from Downtown Milwaukee and the Near West Side, to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa, and all the neighborhoods in between.

Please join the final East-West BRT Open House on May 18th from 5–7PM to share your input and show your support.
Marquette University Campus
Alumni Memorial Union 3rd Floor Ballroom
1442 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee

Thanks to Kerry Thomas and MetoGo! for this update – see below for more information and please turn out to share your support for transit!

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May 26, 2016, Mental Health Board Finance Committee Agenda

Mental Health Task Force Update

Just posted: The Milwaukee County Mental Health Board Finance Committee will meet on May 26 at Washington Park Senior Center at 4 PM. The meeting will include an overview of the 2017 budget, and time for public comment on the 2017 BHD budget. Please spread the word – there are only a few opportunities provided for public comment, so don’t miss this!

Thursday, May 26, 2016 - 4:00 P.M.
Washington Park Senior Center 4420 West Vliet Street


1. 2017 Budget Preliminary Overview. (Randy Oleszak/Informational Item)


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Following Milwaukee’s Federal Funding

By George F. Sanders, Community Activist

A. Missing Community Development public funds

While the issue appears forgotten about, Milwaukee City government has still not explained in any way what happened to the $83,000,000.00 million dollars of the HUD- awarded Westlawn redevelopment funds, which were covered under HUD Section 3 program.

What is Section 3?

Section 3 is a provision of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, which recognizes that HUD funds are typically one of the largest sources of federal funding expended in communities through the form of grants, loans, entitlement allocations and other forms of financial assistance. Section 3 is intended to ensure that when employment or contracting opportunities are generated because a covered project or activity necessities the employment of additional persons or the awarding of contracts for work, preference must be given to low- and very low-income persons or business concerns residing in the community where the project is located. http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/section3/FAQ08.pdf

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All this month - Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Task Force Update

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and there are many great activities going on. See below for an update from Milwaukee County about their work to address mental health awareness. If you have information related to Mental Health Awareness that you would like to share with the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force list, please send it our way and we will help spread the word!

Click here for the Milwaukee County Department of Health & Human Services page

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The Milwaukee County East/West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Study needs to hear from you!

Thanks to Kerry Thomas for sharing this action alert! Transit is vital to the independence and mobility of people with disabilities, older adults, and many other community members. Check out the Action Alert and please take action down to support Bus Rapid Transit – and plan to attend the public meeting on May 18th (details below)!

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For streetcar sky is the limit, Safe drinking water for children too expensive

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

May 2, 2016

A recent report published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel informs us that Milwaukee bureaucrats are busy seeking a $20 million dollar federal grant to expand the Milwaukee streetcar, so that it can provide service to the new Milwaukee Bucks arena.

“The idea all along has been that the original route needs extensions to make the streetcar route more successful and efficient. And this is the first next step in terms of having a meaningful extension to add to the success of the streetcar increasing connectivity downtown,” said Ghassan Korban, Milwaukee’s Department of Public Works commissioner.

Notice that Korban said “increasing connectivity downtown.” It would be interesting to hear from the commissioner of public works, or from the mayor, how “increased connectivity downtown” translates into safer Milwaukee neighborhoods, increased access for black restaurant and bar entrepreneurs into the downtown financial networks and increasing revenues to pay towards lead service line removal for more than 70,000 homes where children risk being poisoned by lead laterals drawing water from the city’s water main.

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Talking Points: End Outsourcing Now!

Outsourcing is Economic Treason Against Wisconsin Workers

Framing Statement:
The economy thrives when working families earn enough money to afford the basics, and can buy goods and services in their local communities. With shrinking supply of family supporting jobs in Wisconsin, our state and federal governments ought to be focused on creating an economy where everyone who wants a good job can get one.

Shamefully, elected leaders who are supposed to work for us often aide and abet corporate outsourcers, helping them rig the economy against average people.

Too many Members of Congress vote for trade deals which make it easier for multinational corporations to ship more of our good jobs overseas.

In Wisconsin Scott Walker and his allies in the legislature give huge subsidies and tax giveaways to unpatriotic CEOs engaged in outsourcing our jobs. We need to end the political establishment’s economic treason against Wisconsin workers.

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Major Progress for ROC Wisconsin

Today Governor Walker signed into law a bill that will increase funding for TAD (Treatment Alternatives and Diversions) by an additional $2 million per year! TAD, a program that grants state money to counties for treatment alternatives to jail and prison, has been in place since 2007. It originally set aside $1 million per year for the program. Four years ago, a WISDOM-led movement led to the expansion of TAD to $4 million per year. Today’s increase will bring the budget to $6 million each year.

WISDOM’s 2012 Health Impact Assessment regarding TAD showed that each $1 million spent on TAD each year keeps 40–50 people out of state prisons, and 300–400 out of county jails. In addition, each $1 spent on TAD saves taxpayers $1.96 million in incarceration and other costs.

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The Unexpected Gift: An Interview with Blanche Brown, Artist and Activist

By Patricia Obletz, Editor

Spring 2016

“I became an artist on the heels of my stepfather’s unexpected death 13 years ago,” Blanche Brown said when asked at what age she knew she was an artist.

Losing her stepfather in 2003 so unexpectedly shocked her, the pain of loss overwhelming. A noted visual and commercial artist, Robert Bonner had tried to interest Brown in drawing when she was growing up in Chicago. But the energy she needed to burn in those years found release in physical rather than artistic pursuits – loosing her passionate exuberance into running free up and down the street.

In the aftermath of her stepfather’s death, Brown picked up one of his drawings. Suddenly, she drew it. The quality of her drawing surprised her as well as her husband. “It was like discovering an unexpected gift,” she said. “I couldn’t get enough of it. I was so excited about it, like a little kid.”

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Milwaukee Bureaucrats and Elected Officials Raised Water Rates, then Failed to Invest in Lead Pipe Removal

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

April 25, 2016

It wasn’t long ago that Milwaukee home owners were informed of water rate increases by the City of Milwaukee Water Works. In fact, before the City was able to increase the rate, Milwaukee authorities had to notify the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) to gain PSC approval of the city’s intent to raise the water rate.

To make the request to raise the rate look good, city officials informed the PSC that one reason they had to raise the rate was so that investments can be made towards water infrastructure repair needs that the city of Milwaukee wanted to pursue—especially water main repairs and replacements.


Milwaukee’s water utility asked the PSC for two rate increases within a year. The rate increase was approved and the city residents saw an average quarterly rate increase by almost 10%.

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Seeking Safety group!

MHA will begin a 6-week session of the Seeking Safety curriculum. Classes will run on Wednesdays from 1–2pm from May 11th through June 15th. Interested individuals can register by calling the number listed on the flyer. Please pass along the word to community organizations.

Seeking Safety is an evidence-based, present-focused counseling model to help people attain safety from trauma and/or substance abuse. It directly addresses both trauma and addiction, without requiring clients to delve into the trauma narrative (the detailed account of disturbing trauma memories). They will work to build healthy coping skills while gaining social recovery support.


A Women’s Empowerment Group

By attending you will:

  • Build social connections
  • Explore the link between trauma and substance use
  • Gain recovery support
  • Learn stress management and self-care skills
  • Take back your power!

*This is not a process group. The goal is not to discuss your trauma experiences in depth, but instead to build new skills to help you cope with trauma and feel safer in your day to day life.

WHEN: Wednesdays, from 1–2pm,

May 11th through June 15th.

WHERE: Mental Health America

600 W. Virginia St. Suite # 502 Milwaukee, WI 53204


To register please call Mandi Herbst at 414–336–7961.

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SEWRPC’s VISION 2050 Open House at IndependenceFirst Monday 4/25

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

This is an important opportunity to have input on the SEWRPC final recommendations for land and transportation plan to 2035 - at IndependenceFirst on Monday 4/25. See below for details.

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Walker’s Lincoln Hills Scandal

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

April 20, 2016

The recent dismissal of former corrections secretary Ed Wall from his new position at the Wisconsin Department of Justice has provided some interesting insights into the shadowy and shady world of the Walker administration.


Wall exposes for us the fact that Walker’s administration instructs its secretaries to work on matters of state in a secret fashion: limit all documentation by NOT putting things in writing through public mail or email etc — as evident by this statement Wall wrote in a letter to Walker Chief of Staff Rich Zipperer:

“I know that you didn’t want me sending this electronically or to the office because of the (open) records issue, so I elected instead to send it to your home in writing and would ask that you feel free to shred it once you’ve looked it over,” Wall wrote to Zipperer. “Nobody will know that I sent it and this is strictly between you and me. I understand the concern the administration has over creating records, Rich, but I can’t let that harm me or my family worse than we’ve already been harmed.”

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Tell Your Legislators Wisconsin Families and other Long-Term Care stakeholders need More Information on Family Care and IRIS 2.0

Make It Work Milwaukee/ Mental Health Task Force Update

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) submitted their plan to make significant changes to Family Care and IRIS to the Joint Finance Committee on April 1st. Before the changes can take effect, the Joint Finance Committee needs to approve the plan, but many key questions about the new system remain unanswered.

See below for an update from the Wisconsin Long-term Care Coalition, and an alert to contact your legislator if you have concerns about the changes to Family Care and IRIS. For information about the Coalition, visit their website at www.wilongtermcarecoalition.org/

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Republican Congressman Admits Voter ID Helps Suppress Votes

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

April 14, 2016

After the election on April 5th during a Republican Election Night party, Congressman Glenn Grothman was interviewed by a television news network and without hesitation bellowed out that Republicans would win Wisconsin in the upcoming elections because as he put it, “…we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well.”

I thought to myself NO KIDDING!

In a moment of extraordinary honesty, GOP congressman Grothman said the new voter ID law will help enable Republican candidates running for office beat Democrats in the November elections.

The statement made by the Congressman didn’t surprise me. For years it has been argued that voter ID would suppress enough Democratic votes to enable Republican candidates running for office greater odds at beating Democrats in a election. To actually say it out loud… to a reporter… on camera, was arrogance on his part.

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Gerrymandering Not Just for Political Power

By Eugene Barufkin for Angry Progressives Network, Facebook

I bet like me, you thought Gerrymandering was used to just consolidate votes for political power.

Well, NOT true:

- It’s also used to consolidate foreign money, for big economic leverage and gains.
Groups gerrymander Targeted Employment Zone (TEA) by gerrymandering abnormal district shapes of economically-stressed census tracts that meet the TEA-required unemployment rate of 1.5 times the national average.

- One example is the $500,000 invested by wealthy foreigners in exchange for green cards, which ended up in the hands of developers, who are members of the Dallas-based Civitas Capital Group, one of more than 600 such groups.

Civitas, through its City of Dallas Regional Center subsidiary, has raised $500 million in EB-5 (immigrant investor program) investments from more than 1,000 foreign families to finance upscale apartment buildings, hotels, office buildings and restaurants in and around downtown Dallas.


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Walker and GOP Against Minimum Wage, While Walker’s Puppeteers Run Shady Switzerland Bank

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

April 7, 2016

The sleazy secret world of tax evasion by the world’s super robber barons is now front page headlines in almost every major newspaper around the globe, after an explosive media leak called the “Panama Papers” hit the world media networks. (1)

More than 11 million documents from the secretive Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked to an international consortium of investigative journalists.

More than 140 world leaders, public officials, and major celebrities have been implicated, with more names coming forth.

The documents expose 30 years of how the world’s elite use fake corporations called “shell companies” to launder money, evade sanctions, hide wealth, and dodge taxes. (2)

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Wisconsin Assembly Democrats: Legislative Session in Review

Dear friends,

In February, Assembly Republicans rushed through nearly 200 bills in what they promised will be the end of the 2015–2016 legislative session. The majority party decided to adjourn the legislative session at the earliest date in nearly 50 years.

As state representatives elected to serve our districts and address our state’s biggest challenges, we were disappointed that we were sent home early with so much work left undone.

In the flurry of bills passed, there was no action to boost Wisconsin’s paltry job creation record, no help for our public schools and no action on anemic wage growth. The party in power took no steps to address our crumbling roads and bridges and there was nothing done to lower monthly student loan payments for the one million Wisconsinites saddled with student loan debt.

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TURN OUT: East/West Bus Rapid Transit: Your input is needed next week!

Make It Work Milwaukee/ Mental Health Task Force Update

The Milwaukee County East/West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Study has launched a new website and is holding two initial public meetings – 4/12 in Milwaukee and 4/14 in Tosa. Please see below for details and help spread the word. It is important to have a good turnout from the disability community!

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Housing Update - featured topic at 4/12 Mental Health Task Force Meeting

Mental Health Task Force Update

Please join us for the April 12th meeting of the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force featuring an update on Housing.

Tuesday April 12th, 3 – 5 PM
IndependenceFirst, 540 S. 1st st.

Access to safe affordable housing is essential for community members with mental health or substance use needs to achieve good health and advance recovery. Please join us to welcome Milwaukee County Housing Division staff Jim Mathy, Eric Collins-Dyke and Terri Ellzey, as well as Certified Peer Specialist Mary Lou Burger, for an update on Housing First, other supportive housing, plans for expansion moving forward, and the ongoing challenges that contribute to housing insecurity and homelessness for many. There will be time for questions and discussion, and to share ideas for moving forward, so bring your questions!

Other topics will include
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Healthy Minds Make Healthy Bodies & Money

An Interview with Experts at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

By Patricia Obletz, Editor, www.MilwaukeeRenaissance.com/PeaceOfMind/

3/31/16 Update: As you’ll note in the following interview, Wisconsin has funded a pilot project that offers pediatricians and other caregivers the opportunity to teleconsult Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin behavioral health specialists on individual cases, despite the fact that Wisconsin has no parity mental health legislation activity. Recently, President Barack Obama finalized the new mental health rules for Medicaid. Why is this critical to society in general?

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Scott Walker’s Endorsement of Ted Cruz Serves Koch Brothers - Helps Position Paul Ryan for Presidential Run

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

April 5, 2016

Republican presidential candidate, Ted Cruz has to be feeling pretty good about his campaign these days.

He got the endorsement of Koch Brothers front man, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and he’s threatening Donald Trump’s attempt to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

Also feeling pretty good about things have to be the Koch Brothers, who initially suffered a set back after their boy Scott Walker was defeated in his attempt to win the White House, but now suddenly find themselves back in the drivers seat after Scott Walker was able to seal the deal with Cruz.

But the Koch Brothers aren’t taking any chances this time around, they’re not about to let Trump win if Cruz doesn’t come through. The Koch Brothers have taken out an insurance plan to win the White House this time.

That insurance plan comes in the form of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Wisconsin Republican the Koch Brothers recently recruited to step in if Trump is able to beat Cruz.

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DHS Report on Medicaid Budget including enrollment in CCS

Mental Health Task Force Update

Please see the attached report from Wisconsin Department of Health Services to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance on the “overall condition of the Medicaid benefits budget.”

The last page has information on enrollment numbers in Comprehensive Community Services (CCS) broken out by region and by county, including Milwaukee County.

click here for the PDF

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Walker’s Koch Brothers Part of Global Oligarch Hucksters - Documents Expose Koch Brothers Shell Company In Switzerland

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

April 4, 2016

While the world’s news networks report on the massive leak of documents exposing the shadowy world of shell companies providing cover for wealthy and powerful billionaires, one family of particular interest to Wisconsin is being forced out of the sleazy abyss and is being illuminated along with all the other questionable business figures being exposed for hiding their money from government tax collectors.

The Koch Brothers. Financial backers of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and champions of libertarian views, sought after for their political funding and influence by political hacks, and recognized for their multi-billion dollar privately-owned global business empire, appear to be caught up in the line-up of corporate robber barons using shell companies to hide their wealth from the government.

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Gov. Jindal’s Voucher Experiment with Black Students

How Gov. Jindal’s Voucher Program is Like the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments

By Michael Holzman

Experiment: Take state tax-payers’ money and give it to failing private schools. Then fill those schools with poor Black children.
Procedure: Observe, but do not intervene. Let nature run its course.

In Louisiana, 30 percent of white, non-Hispanic students whose family incomes are low enough to qualify them for the National Lunch Program read at or above grade level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) grade 4 reading test. Half that percentage, 15 percent, of eligible Black children read at that same level. This could reasonably be interpreted to mean that the state fails to provide an adequate education for more than two-thirds of lower income white students and 85 percent of lower income Black students.

Obviously, something must be done. But how the state opted to solve the problem is, in my opinion, as harmful as the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment* was.

Let me explain.

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Anti-Muslim Tensions Rise During American Presidential Election

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

April 4, 2016

Anti-Muslim rhetoric continues to spark negative actions against American Muslims during the presidential campaign in America.

As Republican front runner Donald Trump continues his vile language of hate against Muslims, United States Senator, Ted Cruz, also a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president of the United States, has joined in with Trump by trying to out do the hate speech Trump espouses by injecting fear of Islam into the hearts of an ignorant American public.

The combination of fear and hate speech of Muslims by Trump and Cruz has clearly spiked anti-Muslim actions in America. These actions are being done by individuals who believe Trump and Cruz by taking to heart the foul rhetoric the duo promote.

For example, a United Airlines pilot asked a Muslim family of five to leave a plane before it took off, citing “safety” issues.

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The spring general election in Wisconsin is April 5

Need more information about acceptable forms of voter ID or how to get a voter ID card at the DMV? Watch this: https://vimeo.com/126427742

Take a look at what’s on your ballot so you know what’s at stake on April 5: https://myvote.wi.gov/Voter/VoterSearchScreen.aspx

Do you know where your polling place is? Find out here: https://myvote.wi.gov/Voter/VoterSearchScreen.aspx

Do you have transportation to the polls? Now’s the time to schedule a ride, ask a friend or family member or check out your public transit options! Make a plan for Election Day, April 5. Here’s a great resource to check out: http://www.wi-mm.org

Do you know where your polling place is? Find out here: https://myvote.wi.gov/Voter/VoterSearchScreen.aspx

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Family Care/IRIS 2.0 Concept Paper Submitted to Joint Committee on Finance

Click here to view the Family Care/IRIS 2.0 Concept Paper

As required by 2015 Act 55, earlier this afternoon the Department submitted the Family Care/IRIS 2.0 Concept Paper to the Joint Committee on Finance. Consistent with the current program, Family Care/IRIS 2.0 will continue to serve adults with physical disabilities, adults with developmental disabilities, and frail elders who meet financial and functional eligibility requirements.

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Myron Buchholz is no Ron Kind

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

March 30, 2016

Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District will have the chance to vote for change during the Congressional Democratic Primary.

Establishment Democrat incumbent, Congressman Ron Kind has a challenger by the name of Myron Buchholz, who is looking to dim the light of a leading Wall Street democratic point of light.

There’s a saying in the Latino community, “Dime con quién andas, y tediré quién eres” (Tell me who you walk with, and I’ll tell you who you are).

Congressman Ron has been walking with the wrong KIND of people, says Buchholz.

In fact, Myron Buchholz says that Kind has lost his way. Buchholz says that Ron Kind has turned away from being a good steward of the people, to being just another Wall Street rubber stamp.

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JOIN US FOR THE Neighborhood Town Hall Meeting with Justice Rebecca Bradley and Justice JoAnne Kloppenburg

MARCH 29, 2016


3022 W. Wisconsin Avenue 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Justice Candidate Jessica Bradley - Incumbent
Justice Candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg - Opponent

This is an opportunity for those adversely affected in Wisconsin Justice System to be present and weigh in on the importance of TRUST, FAIRNESS and the removal of disenfranchisement.

Tell a friend.
Limited seating.

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Public Meetings announced for East-West Bus Rapid Transit Study

April 12 and April 14, 2016 ~ 5–7pm


April 12, 2016 5–7 p.m. Presentation at 6 p.m.
Miller Pavillion at O’Donnell Park 910 E. Michigan Street Milwaukee, WI 53202

April 14, 2016 5–7 p.m. Presentation at 6 p.m.
Zoofari Conference Center 10001 W. Bluemound Road Milwaukee, WI 53226

You are invited to public meetings for the East-West Bus Rapid Transit Study.

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New report shows Medicaid expansion can improve behavioral health care access

Nearly 2 million low-income uninsured people with a substance use disorder or a mental illness lived in states that had not yet expanded Medicaid in 2014

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report showing that states can greatly improve access to behavioral health services for residents by expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Substance use disorders and mental illness are prevalent and serious public health problems in American communities. According to today’s report, in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, an estimated 1.9 million uninsured people with a mental illness or substance use disorder lived in states that have not yet expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and had incomes that could qualify them for coverage. The report finds that people with behavioral health needs made up a substantial share of all low-income uninsured individuals in these states: nearly 30 percent. While some of these individuals had access to some source of health insurance in 2014, many will gain access to coverage only if their states expand Medicaid, and others would gain access to more affordable coverage.

Read more about today’s announcement.

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Keeping Children Safe From Lead Pipe Hazard is Not Priority of the Mayoral Candidates

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

March 28, 2016

During a recent debate of the mayoral candidates hosted by the Public Policy Forum, mayoral candidates Tom Barrett and Bob Donovan, when asked what would be their priorities if elected mayor; both men declared that in the first 100 days in office the top three priorities will be:

Mayor Barrett:
1. Re-energize efforts to get the Century City successful
2. Push summer Earn and Learn Program
3. Work on city fiscal stability

Mayoral Candidate Donovan said:
1. Public Safety
2. Jobs
3. Education

Donovan’s public safety response could be interpreted to mean that he will be working to keep our children safe from lead hazards in our water, but his answer most likely dealt with crime fighting instead of fighting lead poisoning.

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“Don’t Worry, I’ve Got Your Back”

My University of Michigan Professor and Me

By R. L. McNeely, PhD, JD

Little did I know what an important role in my development would be played by that skinny, wiry, black-haired guy with the long Gorgeous George-style locks. It was in 1966 or ‘67, my sophomore year in college, that I encountered him at a demonstration I was participating in over the issue of married women being denied credit cards without their husbands’ consent. That demonstration took place at a mall that was just off U.S. 23 and midway between Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan. I was a student at Eastern Michigan and that wiry black-haired guy, who seemed to be leading the demonstration, was John Erlich, a young assistant professor at U of M’s School of Social Work.

Imagine my surprise when, upon entering the School of Social Work, two years later, I was assigned to John as my academic advisor. That year, 1968, was the time of W.I.T.C.H, the Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, whose members were among the most fervent of the bra burners of the late 60s and early 70s. It was also the time of the White Panthers, who believed in publicly fornicating on the double yellow lines in the middle of major streets as a political act. And it was the time when some rock bands performed nude in city parks to throngs of university students and locals. One such park, where I witnessed a number of such performances, was right down the street from my flat on W. Huron St. Where did such activities take place? Why of course, it was none other than Ann Arbor of that era!

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CMRT Community Forum Less Than a Week Away!

We’re less than a week away from CMRT’s I-94 community forum on Wed., 3/30. We’re going to tell WISDOT: Repair, don’t expand I-94. The community needs real transportation solutions.

Please keep spreading the word about the event to everyone you know, to make sure we have good turnout. I’ve seen many great e-mails, newsletters and event notifications go out already, and some of you have been out flyering in the community for the last week — keep it up! If you can, please make follow-up calls to people/groups you invite to firm up their commitments to share the announcement and to attend.

WHEN: Wednesday, 3/30 at 6 PM.
WHERE: Hunger Task Force; 201 S. Hawley Court, Milwaukee, WI 53214 - On Bus Route 64.
WHO: State Rep. Daniel Riemer and Elected Officials, the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation & Members of the Community.
RSVP: http://goo.gl/forms/uqHwRqt5pI or facebook.com/CMRTWI

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MMHTF Testimony for Milwaukee County Mental Health Board Meeting

Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force Testimony for Milwaukee County Mental Health Board Meeting on 2017 Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division Budget Priorities

Martina Gollin-Graves – MMHTF Co-chair on March 24, 2016

Click here to view the testimony.

Click here to view the MMHTF survey on 2017 budget priorities.

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3/24 Mental Health Board meeting - Public Comment on 2017 budget and 2017b Milwaukee County Budget priorities survey

Mental Health Task Force Update

The Milwaukee County Mental Health Board will meet Thursday March 24th at 4:30 PM at Hillside Terrace Family Resource Center 1452 North 7th Street. Location updated!

The primary agenda item is discussion of the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division 2017 Budget including time for public comment. Comments will be limited to three minutes. This is an important opportunity to share your priorities for the 2017 BHD budget – to date the Board has only provided a few opportunities each year for public comment, so plan to attend and share your perspective.

Here is a link to the meeting agenda: http://county.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/User/lgram/MHBMarch24Agenda.pdf

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Honest, Open, Proud, FACILITATOR TRAINING for School Student Services Staff and other Youth Serving Staff

May 25th, 8:30–3:00
Silver Lakes Center of Rogers Behavioral Health System 1205 Corporate Center Drive, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

Honest, Open, Proud is a small group program for youth 8th-12th grade.
Youth with mental health challenges face decisions everyday about what to say to friends, extended family, teachers, and others about what they have experienced. Whether a youth is returning from a treatment setting, had a momentary “meltdown” or is asked about a behavior that someone has noticed, having an answer that points to their strength and resilience can be key to moving forward with their recovery.

Honest, Open, Proud (HOP) is a five-session program for youth who have faced mental health challenges. Youth do not need a formal diagnosis to benefit from participation. It is based on the evidence-based adult program of the same name. HOP works well in the school setting with student services staff facilitating the sessions or in community, youth-serving settings.

To register for the Honest, Open, Proud facilitator training, contact wise@wisewisconsin.org.
The group is limited to 20.
There is no cost to participants. Lunch will be provided.

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Wisconsin Youth Leadership Forum Accepting Applications

The Wisconsin Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) is a week-long leadership training and career awareness program for high school students with disabilities held June 26- July 1, 2016 at Edgewood College in Madison, WI.

Costs of the program are covered by BPDD.

YLF is for high school students with a disability who are active in their school and/or community and would like to develop leadership and advocacy skills, explore career options, and start making valuable connections with others.

Please forward the application form and other information available at: http://www.wi-bpdd.org/projects/YouthLeadershipForum.cfm to high school students that may be interested.

Application Deadline: Monday, May 1, 2016
Please direct questions to John Shaw at – john1.shaw@wisconsin.gov or (608) 266–7707.

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Robert Miranda on Riverwest Radio: Milwaukee’s water crisis


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If Black Men Succeed in America, Its an Accident!

“If a young Black man in America is able to succeed, because of the realities stated below, it must be considered an accident, and not intentional! In fact, America is designed for young Black men to fail!!!”
-Phillip Jackson, The Black Star Project

By Phillip Jackson

1) Only 7 out of 100 (7%) of 8th-grade Black boys in Chicago read proficiently according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

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Highlights from 2016 so far: The Good News and Pivotal Facts

Fri 3/18/16: Portrait of Sanity:

Mon. 1/25/16: Hope, may it spring eternal:

Tues. 01/19/16: Keeping county parks safe for political activity

Mon. 01/18/16: Golden Rule Practitioners Win 30-Year Battle and Save the World:

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Monthly Educational Meeting on CCS

We have a Guest Speaker the last Monday of every month (except November & December) who will discuss a different topic of interest concerning mental health. Meetings are the last Monday of the month and are from 6:30pm until 8:00pm.

Our topic for March is

Monday, March 28th, 6:30pm-8:00pm
NAMI Greater Milwaukee, 3200 S. 3rd Street, Unit 6, Milwaukee, WI 53207

Visitor parking is available in the front; there is also parking in the back but that entrance currently has a locked outer door with no bell; if you park there you’ll have to knock hard on the door or go to the front. We apologize for any inconvenience.

No registration is required. If you require special accommodations, we will attempt to meet any requests. For further information please contact Aaron Arteaga at (414) 344–0447 or email aarona@namigrm.org.

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Growing Effective Communities in Milwaukee Central City: An Interview with Tom Schneider, Executive Director of COA Youth and Family Centers

By Patricia Obletz, Editor


Slight of frame and quiet-spoken Attorney Thomas P. Schneider is a driving force at COA COA Youth and Family Centers. Atty. Schneider is the Executive Director at COA, a board member of United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee (UNCOM) and Safe & Sound, and he serves on the Campaign Cabinet of United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County. He also the created Milwaukee Weed & Seed program and co-founded the Milwaukee HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) and Safe & Sound (a community-wide crime prevention initiative).

His tenure as COA Executive Director began with an unexpected phone call in 2001 from a COA board member, Schneider said. Having served for 8 years as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and 21 years before that in the Milwaukee County DA’s Office, he had worked with youth serving agencies, knew the problems facing Milwaukee children and their families, and he accepted the opportunity to shepherd direct services to low income children and families.

Since then, the annual service population has increased from 2000 children and families at four locations to more than 10,000 children and families at 10 Milwaukee locations plus COA’s central Wisconsin 206 acre Camp Helen Brachman.

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House Republicans Propose Steep Cuts to Essential Health Care Programs

The budget proposal approved this week by the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee is predicted to balance the federal budget in nine years, largely through across-the-board reductions in spending. One exception to these cuts is an increase of $90 billion dollars in defense spending. The proposed changes to the health care system are profound…

Read More

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SDC Counseling & Wellness Clinic presents:

Motivational Speaker, Poet and Spoken Word Artist: Kwabena Nixon

**Inspiring Youth**

Saturday, March 19, 2016 11:00 a.m.-noon
For more info, 414.906.2793

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HHS releases report showing poverty reduction impact of safety net has increased tenfold since war on poverty began in 1964

March 14, 2016

Just over 50 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared an “unconditional war on poverty.” Today, the Department of Health and Human Services is releasing a report demonstrating the increasing impact of safety net programs in lifting families and children out of poverty, while also documenting the need for more progress.

Read more about today’s announcement.

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Office of the City Treasurer Spins Warped Record

In a press release issued by the Office of the City Treasurer, Treasurer Spencer Coggs alleges that Robert Miranda and “several community activists” issued a false premise news release.

In a March 9, 2016 press release issued by Treasurer Coggs, he accused the writers of KINGFISHmke of implying that Treasurer Coggs was working in collusion with the Mayor’s Administration and the Common Council on a plan to resolve the serious cost issue of lead lateral pipes poisoning the water of homes built before 1951. Treasurer Coggs wrote that the writers were responding to an article in a local weekly newspaper.

Treasurer Coggs is wrong to assume this.

Here is that March 9th release:

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Trump Ignorance of Islam is Dangerous for the World

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

March 14, 2016

Donald Trump’s rise to power in America to become the Republican presidential nominee should worry governments around the world.

A Reuters’ article pointed out that foreign diplomats in Washington have shown serious concern over Trump’s foul mouth, ignorant rants and vitriolic language about Muslims and Islam.

The greatest example of Trump’s ignorance is his constant attacks against Islam. Trump speaks of Islam as if Islam is a country and Muslims are a race.

Trump considers Muslim immigrants to be intruders operating to undermine America. He projects to the poorly educated American that the country of Islam is attempting to control the American people.

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By Eugene Barufkin, Wisconsin Institute For Progressive Politics

Fans cheering for Catholic basketball team shout, “You killed Jesus” to opposing Jewish players.

BIG Question: Where did the Catholic kids learn this stuff?

1 - At home?

2 - In the streets?

3 - Go back to #1.

Too many people think that most bigotry is in the south.

Well think again.

Where is bigotry learned?

1 - At home?

2 - In the streets?

3 - Go back to #1.

Human beings are not born bigoted.

Like religion, bigotry is learned at home.

Everyone is born without religion.

Everyone is born with huge capabilities to love and extend love.

We live in a very bigoted selfish country, with learned hypocrisy, greed and jealousy. These are not inborn human traits. They are all learned at home.

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Lead in H2O Is Everywhere!

5 articles that seem to indicate a tip of an huge iceberg of a national infrastructure problem.

By Eugene Barufkin, Wisconsin Institute For Progressive Polities

This is truly a national problem - Dr. Irwin Redlener, president of the Children’s Health Fund and a professor at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, said that lead in drinking water was a problem with immediate health consequences, especially for children, but that the recent revelations about contamination offered another ominous warning about the general state of the country’s infrastructure.

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City FLUSH the water remedy to clear water of lead is unacceptable

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

March 11, 2016

Milwaukee homes (mostly in the Northside and parts of the Southside) have lead pipes and possibly galvanized pipes in the home, which bring water to the faucets of these homes. This water sits in these pipes for a period of time (6hrs or more), and all city officials have to offer (after decades of knowing this), is that we should run the cold water for three minutes every morning before we drink it. That’s the remedy city bureaucrats and the mayor are touting.

The city admits there is a hazard to the health of our children and, to downplay that hazard, the bureaucrats of City Hall and corporate democrats of the Common Council, cavalierly say it’s no big deal, all we have to do is FLUSH! Really!

So in the middle of the night, a 3 or 4 year old child decides to get up to have a drink of water, and we’re to believe this child is going to just turn on the faucet and let the water run for three minutes before drinking that water, which was sitting in lead based pipes for 6 hours or more, and we’re supposed to believe that’s safe?

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for School Student Services Staff and other Youth and Adult Serving Staff

May 5th, 8:30–3:00 At Rogers InHealth in the Outpatient Services Building of Rogers Memorial Hospital 4555 W. Schroeder Drive Suite 185 BROWN DEER, Wisconsin

Honest, Open, Proud is a small group program for youth 8th-12th grade and adults.

People with mental health challenges face decisions everyday about what to say to friends, extended family, teachers, employers and others about what they have experienced. Whether they are returning from a treatment setting, had a momentary “meltdown” or are asked about a behavior that someone has noticed, having an answer that points to their strength and resilience can be key to moving forward with their recovery.

Honest, Open, Proud (HOP) is a 5 one-hour-session program for youth (3 two-hour sessions for adults) who have faced mental health challenges. People do not need a formal diagnosis to benefit from participation. The adult program is evidence-based from a randomized control trial. HOP works well in the school setting with student services staff facilitating the sessions or in community, youth-serving settings.

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Lead Laterals Cost Thousands of Dollars to Replace. Why Did City Officials Cancel A Partnership Created To Help Homeowners?

By KINGFISHmke March 9, 2016

There is a mine field of toxic ticking bombs made up of lateral lead pipes mostly located in Milwaukee’s central city, and all City Hall can think of is adding more ortho-phosphate in the water to combat the toxic metals flowing through these lead lateral pipes.
The Mayor has been in office 12 years knowing 70,000 homes in Milwaukee have this underground menace and all city officials have done is add minerals to the water?

Believe it or not, there was an effort to help homeowners reduce out of pocket costs not too long ago, advocated and endorsed by Alderman Joe Davis.

Alderman Davis was able to move the Common Council to support a program that gave homeowners the option to buy a warranty protection program for sewer lines offered by the company Service Line Warranties of America.

Come join us at our press conference at City Hall on Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 11:30am and listen to Alderman Joe Davis detail why ending this program was a big mistake.

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Get The Lead Out

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

March 9, 2016

It must be said to Mayor Barrett that using additives to reduce lead in lead Lateral pipes doesn’t completely block the toxic metals from our drinking water that enters our homes. Instead, Mayor Barrett should have opted to replace the 40% of lead lateral water pipes contaminating the water of 70,000 homes in Milwaukee as soon as he learned of this toxic time bomb

When did Mayor Barrett know these lead lateral pipes were still a threat to the lives of our children?

In a recent interview on FOX 6 News, the Mayor stated that his administration did not have a solution to this problem. I find that hard to believe. How is it that the City of Madison, Wisconsin, was able to find a solution to replacing 8,000 lead water pipes in their city at a cost of $15.5 million dollars, yet Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s only idea is to put more ortho-phosphate in the water to combat the menace of lead in our water?

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It’s Time To draw The line In The Shifty Political Sand Pit.

by Eugene Barufkin - Wisconsin Institute For Progressive Polities

Seems the DNC is still not listening well.

How many people must say: It’s “Bernie, or Bust the DNC,” before they understand our message?

If Bernie is not on national ballots, I will NOT cast a vote for any person for president.*

The DNC and chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz did bow to mass public pressure and expanded the number of sanctioned debates. So we know they are listening, a little. Let’s use this as absolute proof that we can show them, permanently, that when they screw us, we multiply.

The media’s treatment of the left have not been much different. During the first weekend in March plus a few days, at best Democrats may have gotten 15% of the “news” air time. It seemed that the clowning by the GOP buffoons was planned to divert air time from important issues to entertainment with sexual content.

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Democracy Crumbles Before Our Eyes

Mon. 3/7/16: No Time to Play Ostrich as 21st Hate Inflames Voters:

Mon. 2/01/16: County parks at risk of being sold:

Wed. 1/27/16: Fight Back:

Thurs. 1/21/16: OPINION: Michigan’s pollution crisis shows black lives do not matter

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Family Care and IRIS 2.0 Concept Paper Talking Points - WI LTC Coalition

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

The Wisconsin Long Term Care Coalition has prepared recommendations and talking points based on the Family Care/IRIS 2.0 draft concept paper released by the Department of Health Services (DHS). The Coalition’s talking points and recommendations are available as a reference and guide to anyone preparing oral or written testimony for Monday’s public hearings on DHS’ Concept Plan.

To read the DHS Concept Plan or for additional details on the public hearings scheduled for Mon., March 7th click here. Public hearings are being held in only two locations – Madison and Eau Claire.

You have the option of submitting written testimony. Due to the limited time to make revisions before submission of the concept paper, and extensive public comments received at the public hearings, the Department will be accepting written testimony about the concept paper through March 7. Send written testimony to DHSFCWebmail@dhs.wisconsin.gov.

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How Mayor Tom Barrett’s downtown streetcar IS taking money away from MPS

By Chris Johnson, Editor KINGFISHmke.com

FEBRUARY 5, 2015

There has been a lot of discussion in recent days about Mayor Barrett’s downtown streetcar proposal. Discussions about who will actually benefit from this city-wide taxpayer funded project, who is being overlooked and left out from participating in the planning, construction, and use of the streetcar, which neighborhoods are deliberately or indeliberately being excluded from planned extended map routes, in particular on the north and south side.

The most recent and most vigorous discussion has centered around how the proposed downtown streetcar proposal will be financed, in particular whether or not Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) future revenues will be sacrificed to finance the downtown streetcar.

This discussion has resulted in a retraction (see retraction here) from the City of Milwaukee Legislative Research Bureau (LRB) about three memos that the department released in the last month regarding how much of future tax property revenue would be “deferred” or “diverted” from MPS, and other taxing entities, to pay for the streetcar financing. A retraction from the City of Milwaukee research department has never happened before in recent history.

The position that Mayor Barrett’s administration, downtown Ald. Bauman and eastside Ald. Kovac have adopted, that no future MPS funds will be used to finance the downtown streetcar, is simply not true or factual!

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SPLC President Richard Cohen to speak today at Congressional forum on voting rights

MARCH 5, 2016

Dear Readers.

Today SPLC President Richard Cohen is joining members of Congress, including Congressman John Lewis, to discuss the importance of protecting the right to vote and the need for Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act.

The forum is hosted by Congresswoman Terri Sewell in Birmingham, Alabama, in conjunction with the 51st anniversary of the Selma Bridge Crossing.

Please read Richard’s testimony and the SPLC’s recommendations for improving ballot access.

And if you know someone who hasn’t registered yet, be pushy and help them get registered — and then make sure they vote. Find out about state deadlines and how to register today.

Your Friends at the SPLC

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Reports on talk of razing the Domes—and veto of funding to repair them

Please pass the word.



Virginia Small

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Milwaukee County Executive Candidate Forum: Chris Abele & Chris Larson

Friday, March 11, 2016 - 1:00 to 2:30 pm IndependenceFirst, 540 S. 1st Street, Milwaukee, WI

Sponsored by
Make It Work! Milwaukee Coalition & Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force

Moderated by Tom Hlavacek, Executive Director - Alzheimer’s Association l Southeastern Wisconsin

Hear from the candidates on aging and disability issues including:

  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Mental health services
  • Aging and disability services
  • Criminal justice system reform
  • Juvenile justice

Join us at 11:45 AM for “Voter Training for the Disability Community” Provided by the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition
All are Welcome!

Reasonable Accommodations
IndependenceFirst is committed to providing the highest degree of accessibility when offering agency-sponsored events. Please notify Brian Peters at bpeters@independencefirst.org or 414–937–5912 with your disability-related accommodation requests by March 4. We will do our best to honor accommodation requests made after this date. Interpreters will be present.

Environmental Chemical Sensitivities
For the safety and comfort of those with chemical and environmental sensitivities, IndependenceFirst requests that when attending agency-sponsored events, please refrain from using any perfumed products such as scented soaps, deodorants, perfumes, colognes and heavily scented fabric softeners. To maintain a smoke-free environment, please also refrain from smoking in paths of travel and doorways.

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Please join us for the March meeting of the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force:

Tuesday March 8th 3 – 5 PM
IndependenceFirst, 540 S. 1st st.

Our agenda will include the following:

  • Presentation on Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division for 2020 and Administrator’s Update, Alicia Modjeska, Behavioral Health Division

  • Milwaukee County BHD Budget -
    • Budget process and timeline
    • Opportunities for Public Input
    • Report on MHTF survey re county budget priorities
    • Recommendations from steering committee.
    • Discussion of priorities and MHTF testimony for 3/24 Board meeting

  • Mental Health Board update, Kelly Davis

  • Update on candidate forum and voting training, Barbara Beckert

  • Possible next steps with strategic planning? Kelly Davis

  • Open discussion about concerns re youth at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lakes

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2015 Safety Net Referral Directory is available online!

We are very pleased to share the 2015 edition of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership’s Safety Net Clinic Referral Directory. This comprehensive inventory contains essential information about 63 primary care, dental, mental health and specialty clinics in Milwaukee County that serve uninsured and low-income patients. It provides a variety of information about each safety net clinic, including location, hours, payment practices, languages spoken, and types of clinical services and screenings offered.

The Safety Net Clinic Referral Directory is a critical resource for hundreds of health and human service professionals and IMPACT 2–1−1 community resource specialists, in their support to individuals seeking free and low-cost health care services.

Given the broad community interest and usage of this directory, it is available for viewing or download on the websites of IMPACT Planning Council, Milwaukee Health Care Partnership and United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County. Please pass along this email to key personnel in your organization, such as case managers, social workers, community health workers, front desk staff and others who help connect low-income patients to care.

A limited number of hard copies of the directory are available for front-line staff who may not easily access this information electronically when assisting clients. Please contact Carrie Koss Vallejo ckossvallejo@impactinc.org at IMPACT Planning Council to request a printed copy.

We extend special thanks to the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County for its funding of this valuable safety net resource, and we send our thanks to you as well, for your support of our collective work to connect vulnerable patients to care, and improve our community’s health.

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Turkey Should Scrutinize Trade With Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

By Robert Miranda, Special Columnist, Yeni Asya News, Istanbul, Turkey

February 29, 2016

Editor’s Note: The following article was publish this week by Yeni Asya News based in Istanbul, Turkey. Robert is a weekly columnist for the daily national publication for the last five years.

In recent days, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, former candidate for President of the United States of America, met with the General Consul of Turkey, Umut Acar, to begin talks to improve trade relations between Turkey and Wisconsin.

The government agency in Wisconsin charged with leading this effort is the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The department is chaired by Dan Ariens who is also President and CEO of the Ariens Company.

The WEDC views Turkey as an unimportant commercial link between East and West, which as evolved into one of the world’s newly industrialized economies. Governor Walker wants to pursue trade talks with Turkey because it presents Wisconsin companies looking to export goods with great opportunities.

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Did You Know about this?

“Since he has been running for president, Trump has twice retweeted a message from the account @WhiteGenocideTM. The name associated with the account is “Donald Trumpovitz,” and the user’s location is listed as “Jewmerica.” The avatar associated with the account — which Trump has twice sent to his own 6 million followers — includes the phrase, “The man who wants to be Hitler.”

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March 9: Community Resources for Mental Health Crisis Management

Approximately 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness in a given year and approximately 1 in 5 youth experiences a severe mental disorder at some time in their life (NAMI, 2015). With the closure of inpatient health facilities, clients are left wondering where to go for care and health care providers are scrambling to find community resources for clients. This educational session will examine the effect that lack of access can have on clients and provide insight to community resources that are emerging in the Milwaukee area.

Registration is FREE!

March 9, 2016
5:30–7:30 PM
5:30–6:15 Buffet And Socializing
6:15–7:15 Presentations
Door Prizes!

Milwaukee School Of Engineering
Todd Wehr Auditorium
1025 N. Broadway Milwaukee, WI

Register Today!

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Action: DOC Confirmation Hearing next Wednesday

Dear WISDOM Leaders and Friends:

On February 5, Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Ed Wall offered his resignation. Governor Walker has nominated Mr. Jon Litscher to replace him. Jon Litscher was the DOC Secretary back in 1999–2003, under Governor Thompson. Mr. Litscher’s appointment must be confirmed by the State Senate.

This is an opportunity for all of us to make sure that our concerns about the DOC are heard. There will be a public hearing this coming Wednesday. The public has a right to speak at this hearing, which will be before the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. After that, the entire State Senate will vote on whether or not to confirm Mr. Litscher as Secretary of the Department.

Wednesday, March 2, 10:00 am
Room 411 South, The Capitol building, Madison

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ACTION ALERT: Rapid Response needed

By Citizen Action of Wisconsin

Join Citizen Action tomorrow morning at 9:45am at the Milwaukee County Courthouse for a very special last minute press conference. Your presence is strongly requested!

We have discovered over $60 million per year in federal funds that are currently NOT coming into Milwaukee county alone that should be headed to the pocketbooks of working families.

We’ll be hosting a last minute press conference to highlight how much money is at stake and how many people would be affected throughout Greater Milwaukee. Proof that this issue is so powerful we’ll be joined by multiple Mayors and State Legislators with less than 24 hours notice!

WHAT: Press conference to highlight millions of dollars at stake for working Milwaukee families
WHERE: Milwaukee County Courthouse Lobby
WHEN: Tomorrow, Thursday February 25th, 9:45am

RSVP here to make sure you get up-to-date info ASAP on this rapidly moving important media event!

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Milwaukee’s Current Trolly/Streetcar Project Should Be Stopped and Subjected To More Logic

By Eugene Barufkin, Progressive Activist

February 24, 2016

As usual, there is too much politics in politics. Too many people promote one issue to throw up a smoke screen to hide political power play. The Milwaukee trolley/streetcar project is one of those cases.

The trolley issue is the trolley issue. It is not about an election. This issue has been festering far longer than the short time Barrett has had an opponent. However, now it looks like an election issue because it’s election time. It’s people who are making it an election issue.

To lead the community, outspoken people should not mix issues like a candidate vs an important physical community issue. It’s like making a pumpernickel/rye-looking loaf of bread, rather than two separate loafs.

For logical reasons, not because it’s become an election issue, Mayor Barrett should withdraw/cancel the now out-of-control trolley plans. Not withdraw from his re-election. The plan should be withdrawn because it’s growing more costly, is dangerous* and does not serve the vast needs of more deserving service areas.

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Briefing on Long Term Care Redesign Blueprint - March 11 at 3 PM in Milwaukee

Are you interested in the upcoming changes to Wisconsin’s Long-Term Care System?
Please join us for: The Stakeholders’ Blueprint for Long-Term Care Redesign in WI
Friday, March 11, 2016
IndependenceFirst, 540 S 1st St., Milwaukee, WI

3:00pm Presentation by Lynn Breedlove

  • Join us for information regarding upcoming changes to Long Term Care (Family Care and IRIS) as Wisconsin plans for a new Long-Term Care system. This will affect the lives of people with disabilities, older adults, their families, care providers and provider agencies.

  • Learn about the Stakeholders’ Blueprint for Long-Term Care Redesign developed by the WI Long-Term Care Coalition. The Blueprint pulls together the best ideas from advocates/stakeholders and was recently given to the WI Department of Health Services, the WI Legislature and the public. Read it online at http://www.wilongtermcarecoalition.org

  • The presentation will begin at 3:00pm, followed by audience questions and discussion until 4:30 pm. This briefing will follow the 1 PM Milwaukee County Executive Forum – Come to the forum and stay for the briefing!

Reasonable Accommodations: Please notify Brian Peters at bpeters@independencefirst.org or 414–937–5912 with your disability-related accommodation requests by March 4. We will do our best to honor accommodation requests made after this date. Interpreters will be present.

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NAMI Monthly Education Series - Voice Your Vote

Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force

Voice Your Vote

February 29th,2016
Monday, 6:30pm-8:00pm

The right to vote is an American issue. Wisconsin’s new voter ID law is challenging and confusing, putting bureaucrats between voters and the ballot box. Now is the time to act. Come and join us in welcoming Advocacy Specialist Mary Cerretti from Disability Rights Wisconsin, Staff Attorney Shunette Hunter from Disability Rights Wisconsin and Community Outreach/Advocate John Shaw of the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities.

All three are representing the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition. They will be educating and assisting citizens so they are able to exercise their right to vote.

Location: NAMI Office 3200 S. 3rd Milwaukee, WI 53207

No registration is required

If you require special accommodations, we will attempt to meet any requests.

For further information please contact Aaron Arteaga at (414)344–0447
Accessible Bus lines: #51 ,#80, Green

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Is Walker using anti-immigrant legislation to extort money from Wisconsin Dairy and Other Businesses?

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Spanish Journal

The anti-immigrant Legislation many in the private business sectors and worker rights groups who feel the laws would shock Wisconsin’s economy, has moved rather quickly through the Assembly.

According to different studies, between 1,4000 and 2,0000 undocumented workers are employed in the Wisconsin manufacturing and dairy farm industries.

Interesting that Walker would not consider how these bills would impact those businesses, especially because many of them contributed money to Walker’s campaigns.

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Mental Health Board and Community Justice Council - upcoming meetings

Mental Health Task Force Update

We encourage you to consider attending these meetings, and to be in touch with Mental Health Board members regarding your priorities, questions, and concerns.

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Governor Walker’s Former Secretary of Workforce Development Perez Asks Walker Not To Sign Anti-Immigrant Bills

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

February 21, 2016

Former Wisconsin Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), Manny Perez responded to questions asked of him by Latino community blogger H. Nelson Goodson, of the Hispanic News Network-USA (HNNUSA)—the questions were posted on the HNNUSA Facebook page this weekend.

Perez was asked whether he supported or did not support the current Republican sponsored anti-immigration bills now being debated at the Capitol.

Former Secretary Perez responded to the questions by stating the following:

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Milwaukee Taxpayers on the Hook for Another $25 Million for Downtown Streetcar

By Chris Johnson and Robert Miranda

February 20, 2016

The price to pay for Milwaukee’s downtown streetcar to nowhere just got more expensive.

The city lost in court recently and was notified that Milwaukee taxpayers will have to pay the additional $25 million tab “for utility relocation costs linked to the Milwaukee streetcar project.”
The decision was issued by Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge William Sosnay, who agreed that the burden to pay for the relocation of utilities for relocating or modifying the streetcar route are not costs the utilities and their ratepayers should pay for.

The proposed downtown streetcar is only 3.1 miles long. It goes from the near east side through downtown to the lake front. The second phase expands to UW-Milwaukee campus, which currently has at least three forms of public transportation (county bus, university bus, and rent-a-bike) to Marquette University, which has the same number of public transportation options as UW-Milwaukee.

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Wisconsin Senate “Unlikely to Take up AB450″ following Day Without Latinos & Immigrants

Spokeswoman for Sen. Fitzgerald says Senate unlikely to take up AB450/SB369

Thursday saw work stoppages, business closures, and student walk-outs statewide and a massive mobilization at the Capitol in Madison to defeat racist, anti-immigrant legislation
AB450/SB369 would lead police to investigate people’s immigration status and detain undocumented people for deportation.
SB533/AB723 would block counties statewide from issuing local identification cards to people who cannot access state ID

Thursday, February 18th, was A DAY WITHOUT LATINOS AND IMMIGRANTS IN WISCONSIN. The mass community and labor strike in Wisconsin of Latinos and immigrants garnered national and international attention. According to Univisión, Wisconsin’s dairy industry operated at half capacity yesterday. Hundreds of businesses closed, hundreds more were affected by worker absence, and thousands of students walked out of class. Tens of thousands of immigrant workers, students, and their families and supporters converged on the Capitol in Madison in the largest mobilizations since Act 10. Dozens of buses and car caravans came to the Capitol from more than 30 cities throughout Wisconsin. Thousands more not present at the Capitol participated in work stoppages and did not buy anything.

The actions were called to resist two racist, anti-immigrant bills (AB450/SB369 and SB533/AB723). AB450/SB369 aims to increase collaboration between police and Immigration agents, while SB533/AB723 seeks to block counties statewide from creating identification cards available to those who cannot obtain state ID.

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‘Year in Hate’ Report Documents Mounting Hate and Extremism

The number of extremist groups operating in the United States grew in 2015 – a year awash in deadly extremist violence and hateful rhetoric from mainstream political figures, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual census of hate groups and other extremist organizations.

The report, contained in the Spring 2016 issue of the SPLC’s investigative journal, Intelligence Report, can be read here (PDF version is available here).

Click here for an interactive map showing hate group names, types and locations across the country.

The SPLC found that the number of hate groups operating in 2015 was 14 percent higher than in 2014. Antigovernment “Patriot” groups – armed militias and others animated by conspiracy theories – also grew 14 percent during the same period.

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Hispanic GOP Anti-Immigrant Bill

Mr. Joe Medina
Chairman, Hispanic Caucus
and Member of the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Wisconsin

Ref: AB 450

Dear Mr. Medina:

I once served as Chairman of the Latino Caucus of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. As you are currently Chairman of the Hispanic Caucus of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, I am frankly flabbergasted by your silence regarding the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the Republican Party of which you are a member.

The recent passage of AB 450 without so much as a word of protest from you is very disheartening. Your lack of leadership is very disappointing to the vast majority of Latinos in Wisconsin.

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Milwaukee Parks Update 2/17/16

There’s much open-space land that is not within a named county park, plus other public assets that could be sold off because they are not zoned “parkland.”


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Silver lining on 4th Street closure plans

City officials have said they have the vote to close off 4th St. to meet one more Bucks demand. Even though the Plan Commission approved it, two plan commissioners rejected the proposal including former JS architecture critic Whitney Gould.

“Gould raised questions about whether the block should be closed to traffic only during Bucks games and other arena events, while otherwise keeping the street open.

She and Najera also asked whether the public could hold rallies or political protests on the plaza.”

At least some city officials now recognize that you cannot grant total control over a space to a for-profit entity and pretend it’s a “public” plaza. Citizen squawking has at least been heard a wee bit.

There’s a good chance a closed-street pedestrian mall will usually be a dead zone, further shred Westown’s grid and hurt development on 4th north of Juneau. But, with more citizen pressure perhaps it could possibly be a real public space.

So it’s worth telling your Common Council rep that public plazas must serve the people, not a sports/entertainment monopoly.

Also there will be a public hearing before April 1st on this.

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4th Street closure & pedestrian mall to be heard by City Plan Commission

The CPC agenda for next Monday, Feb 15th says they’ll be taking up separate resolutions to approve a pedestrian mall on 4th St. and to vacate 5th St. and some alleys. Details below…

Testimony is allowed by the public.

The next City Plan Commission meeting will be held on Monday, February 15, 2016, 1:30 PM start time, at 809 N Broadway, 1st Floor Boardroom, Milwaukee, WI.


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MICAH Presents:Candidate Forum: Meet The Candidates

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“Radio Active” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast 02−05–16

We discuss the latest rushed conservative legislation to restrict voting rights and the newly open (and potentially competitive) Congressional seat in Northeast Wisconsin. We review new dismal approval ratings for Scott Walker and GOP predictions of a bad state budget. Milwaukee Teachers Education Association president Kim Schroeder joins us to update listeners about a national Walk-In for Public Schools day next Wednesday, February 17. Jorna provides a Paul Ryan Watch update on the snack party he held this week for the conservative “Freedom” Caucus. We talk about Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s legislation to end corporate inversions like the one Johnson Controls recently announced. Finally we chat with Citizen Action Organizing Cooperative member Ted Kraig about the exciting new Radio Active media project launching next Monday evening in Milwaukee.

Episode #229
Download MP3
Citizen Action Press Clips

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Walker’s Workforce Development Debacle

By Robert Miranda, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

February 4, 2016

Scott Walker has named yet another Secretary of Workforce Development, replacing Reggie Newson (http://www.jsonline.com/business/reggie22-b99656310z1-366121901.html). This is the third Secretary of Worforce Development since Secretary Manny Perez resigned in May 2011.

Before Secretary Perez left DWD, Wisconsin’s employment ranking was 17th in the nation. Since then, Wisconsin has dropped to 34th, according to the latest job report.

So, what happened at the Department of Workforce Development?

The DWD suffers from untrained and unqualified leadership being placed at the helm of the organization for political expediency. The difference between Secretary Perez and every DWD appointee after him, is that Perez has had private sector employment development experience, actual knowledge, and proven ability to achieve results; he understands the needs of business and workers and he cared for the wellbeing of Wisconsin.

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Legislation that Would End Vital Medical Research

from Wisconsin State Representative Jonathan Brostoff’s 2/1/16 E-News

Poliovirus vaccines are currently estimated to save 550,000 lives worldwide every year. Many other vaccines, such as those for chicken pox, rubella, and shingles also safeguard our loved ones. These vaccines were developed through research that utilized donated fetal tissue.

Two similar, pending bills — Assembly Bill (AB) 305 and Senate Bill (SB) 260 — would cripple the use of fetal tissue for scientific research in our state. And these bills threaten not just the continued work of Wisconsin’s leading-edge and world-famous medical researchers, but everyone’s vital interest in protecting and advancing public health.

When a woman’s pregnancy must be terminated she may offer to donate the resulting fetal tissue for the advancement of science. When this occurs, multiple safeguards are in place: Thus federal regulations ensure that such tissue is harvested and used ethically, and in full compliance with established medical protocol. Solicitation of the fetal remains prior to a termination decision being made is prohibited. The medical professionals performing the procedure are not permitted to know if the tissue will be donated or not. And fetal tissue sale is already prohibited by federal law.

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Join the February 17 Nationwide Walk-Ins for the Schools All Our Children Deserve!

Support Gamaliel’s partner, The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS) and MICAH Education Task Force’s local partner Schools and Communities United as they WALK-IN to support the quality public schools that all our children deserve.

In September, Milwaukee educators, parents, students and community supporters proclaimed support for public schools in Milwaukee with walkins at over 100 public schools in our city to celebrate and reclaim our schools. As a result, we have pushed back school takeover attempts and forced the county executive and takeover commissioner to publicly commit to supporting MPS and to taking over only one empty building.

Parents, students, educators, and community members: Please join us at a public school near you on Wednesday, February 17th at 7:00 a.m. to celebrate public education and to stand up for public schools that welcome and serve all children.

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Dog Training Unleashed : Lesson Three: “Flicking the Mental Lightswitch to ON”

By Julie Westphal, CVT (Certified Veterinary Technician), member of The Pet Professional Guild for Force-Free trainers, CPNC (Certified Pet Nutrition Consultant), PCWC (Purina Certified Weight Coach), Dog Trainer & Behaviorist, Volunteer for Northcentral Maltese Rescue, Doberman Rescue Alliance of Wisconsin, and referred to by several area animals hospitals for behavioral cases

Every day, in every situation, we offer “language cues” to each other and to other species, whether we are conscious of them or not. Physical or verbal, we are constantly sending out signals. Dogs read our body language much more readily than they ever will our verbal language, because that is how they are hard-wired. They are genetically programmed to use their mouths when threatened or scared and have a completely different set of behavioral rules than we do. This is why most humans and dogs get into, let’s say, behavioral skirmishes. By starting to understand how dogs think, how they learn, and then teaching them the rules to our very human society, we can have a much better relationship with them and avoid a lot of these unnecessary arguments.

The first step is actually realizing the psychological aspect of thinking patterns. First, realize that this is a TEAM effort and you are no longer going to “command” dogs…you are going to cue them, like with actors on stage who forget their lines. This way, if they fail to respond, we don’t feel as if we have to punish them for disobedience. It’s no different than everyday life…we ALL make mistakes. I learn much more from someone I trust than from someone I fear.

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Public Hearing on Mental Health in Milwaukee County

by State Assembly Representative Jonathan Brostoff

Good afternoon,

I would like to personally invite you to provide your insights and input regarding the state of mental health in Milwaukee County at my upcoming public hearing on February 6, 12:00–3:00 p.m. in the Main Hall of Washington Park Senior Center located at 4420 W. Vliet St.

How Milwaukee County addresses the concerns associated with mental health has been an ongoing issue. The time has come to reevaluate the reforms made and look at options of how to move forward as a community.

Many changes have already been made, and as a member of the Committee on Mental Health Reform who represent a district in Milwaukee, I am seeking your expertise and experience on this subject and interested in hearing any suggestions you have, legislative or otherwise.

I hope that you will be available to attend this important public hearing. Please let my office know by emailing Rep.Brostoff@legis.wi.gov so that seating arrangements may be made. Please feel free to forward this invitation as appropriate.

*ASL interpreter accommodations will be made.

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Wisconsin Working Families Party Could Face Legal Challenge for Late Filing

2015 WI law states once $300 is accepted, obligated or disbursed, registration is required

By Chris Johnson, KINGFISHmke and Robert Miranda, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

January 28, 2016

The political season brings with it many opportunities and many challenges. So when groups show up in the African-American and Latino communities in Milwaukee to announce they’re going to be organizing to run candidates under a “fusion voting” model and seeking political alliances with communities to get candidates they endorse elected, these groups should be vetted, and they should be familiar with state laws regulating their political activities—especially laws that relate to finances being obtained or spent.

Wisconsin State Legislature Chapter 11 Campaign Financing
11.05 Registration of political committees, groups and individuals
Committees and groups. Except as provided in s. 9.10 (2) (d), every committee other than a personal campaign committee which makes or accepts contributions, incurs obligations, or makes disbursements in a calendar year in an aggregate amount in excess of $300, and every political group subject to registration under s. 11.23 shall file a statement with the appropriate filing officer giving the information required by sub. (3). In the case of any committee other than a personal campaign committee, the statement shall be filed by the treasurer. A personal campaign committee shall register under sub. (2g) or (2r).

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DHS releases Long Term Care redesign report, forecasts two March hearings on redesign plan

On Monday January 4th, the Department of Health Services (DHS) shared publicly its December report on Long Term Care system redesign, as required by the 2015–17 state budget.
You can read the report here: http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/lfb/jfc/200_reports/2016_01_04_health_services_medicaid_waiver_request_progress.pdf

DHS’s report references an ongoing internal process to redesign the system, the Department’s plan to report on its internal work in the Concept Plan (due to Joint Finance April 1st), and states there will be two public hearings in March 2016 on DHS’s draft Concept Plan.

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Assembly Health Committee Public Hearing Published

Mental Health Task Force Update

Next Wednesday, February 3rd, the Assembly Health Committee is holding a public hearing which includes a number of bills of with a mental health component. See below for a listing of bills. To view the full text of a bill, you can go to this link and enter the bill number – ie AB 710: http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/

If you want to submit comments regarding any of these bills, you have a few options:

  • Attend the February 3rd hearing and register to speak. You should bring at least 15 copies of your testimony for committee members and staff.

  • Email your testimony to the committee clerk with a request that it be distributed to committee members. Committee clerk is Joshua Hoisington and email is Joshua.Hoisington@legis.wisconsin.gov Note that Representative Joe Sanfelippo is the committee chair.

  • Email or call committee members. You can find a list of Assembly Health Committee members with links to their contact information here: http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/committees/assembly/1406

  • Reach out to your Assembly Representative to share your position. If you don’t know who your state legislators are, click on this link and enter your address in the box in the upper right hand corner: http://maps.legis.wisconsin.gov/

And Click on the link below to view the February 2, 2016, Joint Meeting of the Task Forces on Local Public/Private Partnership and National Entity Partnership Agenda

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Wisconsin Working Families Party is not a real party, literally

By Chris Johnson, KINGFISHmke & Robert Miranda, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

January 26, 2016

A recently obtained Campaign Registration Statement from the Milwaukee County Election Commission reveals that the Wisconsin Working Families Party (WWFP) is NOT a political party; it is categorized as an “Independent Expenditure Committee,” which is very similar to a Political Action Committee (PAC).

On the Campaign Registration Statement, there are several categories identifying what type of committee an organization is, one of which is “Political Party,” WWFP did not choose this categorization, it chose Independent Expenditure Committee. On many occasions, WWFP has identified itself as a “political organization”; however, for donors and contributors’ clarification, its type of political organization should be made clear.

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Three Invitations

Dear WISDOM Leaders and Friends:
I write to you today with three invitations.

1. WISDOM is sponsoring a Listening Session in Madison regarding issues with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. People will speak about the breakdown of the Parole system for long-term inmates, the difficulties of making use of “Compassionate Release,” the problem of “Crimeless Revocations” and the overuse of Solitary Confinement. Download the detailed flyer here.

2. We also invite you to look at the letter WISDOM faith leaders have crafted regarding the issue of Native American Effigy Mounds. Various interests have tried twice to pass a law that would allow for the desecration and destruction of ancient mounds that are key to Native American religion, and most of which are burial grounds. Please read the letter, which includes instructions on how you can have your own name added as a signer before it is delivered next month. You can download that letter here.

3. Our friends at the Wisconsin Council of Churches invite you to their 2016 Winter Forum Feb. 26–27 in Portage, WI. Sr. Simone Campbell of “Nuns on the Bus” fame will be our presenter. Are you feeling depressed and cynical about the state of our national political life right now? Sr. Simone brings a message of hope and possibility as we take seriously the call of the gospel to care for “the least of these.”

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Walker State Address: From Unintimidated to Unprepared

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

January 21, 2016

Governor Scott Walker gave his State of the State address recently. His presentation was lackluster at best and a feeble, desperate attempt to again deceive moderate Republicans, independents, and Democrats at worst.

Once again, he tried to appear proactive to stave off an increasingly agitated Republican base and a disgruntled business community in order to lure them into helping to pay off his $1 million plus debt, by giving half measure proposals to stop Wisconsin’s continued slide into last place in the nation’s economic standings.

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by David Liners

There is a lot happening in our state legislature. Some of it is bad, and some is promising. Your communication with your representatives about any of it can make a difference.

Two things to oppose:

  • Please let your representatives know that you oppose AB450 – the “Sanctuary Cities” bill. AB450 is designed to punish local communities that make the decision to keep local law enforcement out of the immigration enforcement business. Any community that has a policy calling for law enforcement NOT to inquire about immigration status in the course of their regular duties would lose state aid money. AB450 is a very bad idea for a lot of reasons, notably including that law enforcement doesn’t like it. To do their jobs effectively, they need the trust of ordinary people. If local police are extensions of Immigration, people are much less likely to report crimes or to cooperate with police.

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Request: TEPP Emergency Response Phones

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

Thanks to Deb Langham regarding possible free emergency phones for “find consumers, family members and friends that would benefit from the additional measure of safety provided by having an emergency response phone. These emergency response phones are free to qualified (at risk) people in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties.“ See attached for details.

Telecommunications Equipment Purchase Program information
Emergency Response Phone Application

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Wisconsin’s Economy Damaged Because of Governor Scott Walker

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

January 17, 2016

This past year Governor Scott Walker used the power of the governor’s office to enact policies negatively impacting Wisconsin’s working families. His actions not only have caused hardship on families, they have hurt Wisconsin’s ability to produce a competitive workforce and lead the nation in innovation.

Walker’s massive $250 million budget cut from the University of Wisconsin and the decimation of K-12 public schools funding is another factor, in part, contributing to the exodus of corporations from Wisconsin.

Walker’s actions seem to show a blatant disregard for Wisconsin’s economic future. Walker dismissed State Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers’ public call to Walker to veto more than 20 education measures he supported that would undermine the state’s public schools.

Going along with his own plans he laid out for Wisconsin, Walker saw to it that the majority of public school districts in Wisconsin received less funding, and he left school districts at the mercy of inflation by not providing state cost of living support to school districts.

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Wisconsin’s Corporate Exodus

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

January 14, 2016

Scott Walker’s ‘college affordability’ plan a joke, maintains blogger at

Walker’s administration wasted four years of Wisconsin’s ability to strengthen the state’s ability to develop the technical workforce by cutting the budgets of our technical schools. Now, the private sector is leaving Wisconsin because corporations do not have a skilled workforce needed to ensure private sector ability to compete in the global economy.

Walker also wasted four years of potential innovation in the private sector by improperly implementing non-targeted tax credits, and allowing corruption and dirty politics at Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and Department of Workforce Development (DWD). Further, Walker wasted four years of lost consumption by effectively giving all state workers a pay cut though ACT 10.

Because of Walker’s failed economic policies and failed presidential aspirations, Wisconsin’s competitive edge has been negatively impacted, which is contributing to Wisconsin’s corporate exodus.

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Support Transportation $ for All!

Dear WISDOM Leaders:
There is a bill (AB210) that is working its way through the state legislature which we need to address. AB210 would allow counties to hold a referendum to decide of they want to raise their local sales tax by .5% (one-half of one percent) for the purpose of supporting local transportation needs. The problem is that the revenue could NOT be used to fund local transit needs (e.g. bus service, van service, etc.) in our urban and rural counties. The money could only be used for local streets and highways.

We need to let members of the legislature know that AB210, as it currently stands, is not acceptable. The bill needs to be amended to give counties at least the option of using the increased revenue to pay for transit. All members of the community need to be able to get around, not just people who can drive.

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Mental Health Board Meetings: January 18, 2016, and January 25, 2016, Joint Meeting of the Task Forces on Local Public/Private Partnership and National Entity Partnership Agendas

Mental Health Task Force Update – Upcoming Mental Health Board Meetings

The Mental Health Board and BHD Administration have established two “task forces” which are moving forward with efforts to replace the acute care, OBS, and PCS (psychiatric emergency room) services now based at the Mental Health Complex with another entity which would “own and operate acute mental health services to include a psychiatric emergency department, observation beds, acute services for adults and acute services for children and adolescents, with a focus on high acuity and involuntarily detained patients. The solution must include use of an acute care facility. An ongoing contractual relationship would be created with Milwaukee County to meet statutory obligations overtime. The model could also include additional services desired within the community, but not necessarily funded by Milwaukee County.”

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Exposé: America’s “White History” Mexico!

By George F. Sanders, with Robert Miranda and Edward McDonald

“…white people don’t know who they are or where they come from…and that’s why you think I’m a problem…But I am not the problem …your history is …and long as you pretend you don’t know your history you are going to be prisoner of it and there no question of you liberating me …you cannot liberate yourselves.” James Baldwin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTjY4rZFY5c

Baldwin’s scenario currently reflects how Mexico has become an American scapegoat resulting from historical inaccuracies that emulate from the British owned Colonial sufferings worked by white slaves for almost 300 years.

Yet, America’s tendency to distort history takes front stage as illustrated by the 2015 presidential candidates who have politicized the discussing of immigration, and the “Wall,” save one candidate, whose Adolph Hitler-like approach, wants to build it larger.

The candidates, the descendants of American colonists and immigrants, arguing about borders and walls to keep out Mexicans, are really campaigning to maintain slave-like Mexican labor to harvest American veggies and cabbages.

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Walker’s Workforce Epiphany

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

January 9, 2016

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is making it clear that he will move to get the nomination of his party to seek a third term when reelection time comes around.

During a recent interview, the governor seemed to have experienced an epiphany in which he realized that workforce development goes hand in hand with economic development and are equally key to Wisconsin’s economy. Why is Walker all of a sudden trying to reverse course?

If he truly understands how important it is for workforce and economic development to go hand in hand, why did Walker allow dirty politics and corruption to fester within Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) when Paul Jadin was WEDC director and Manny Perez was DWD secretary? The scuttlebutt is that both individuals had sound plans in place and Wisconsin was moving in the right direction under their leadership.

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DHS Substantially Reduces Medicaid Spending Estimate

Mental Health Task Force Update 1/7/16

DHS reports that Medicaid spending in Wisconsin will be $72.6 million less than previously expected over the course of the current biennium. The biggest single factor is that BadgerCare participation among childless adults is now about 10,000 below the level assumed in the budget bill. Another significant factor is that the federal match rate for Medicaid spending will rise in Wisconsin in October, and that is expected to reduce state costs by $23 million during the biennium. Read more on the WI Council on Children and Families Blog:

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Walker seeking third term is no joke: to Walker, that is

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

January 6, 2016

Walker’s hinting at campaigning for a third term as Wisconsin governor apparently is no joke to him.

However, there are Republicans who seem to be aghast at the idea that this governor, who has led Wisconsin for two terms, is looking to continue leading our state into the basement.

But one has to wonder if what motivates Walker to run for a third term is more about hustling for the money he still needs to pay his huge failed presidential campaign bid, instead of looking to repair the destructive policies he’s enacted that have taken Wisconsin from being an enlightened state to one flirting with mimicking the Dark Ages.

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Contact Legislators to Support Procedures that Protect Children with Disabilities in Cases of Abuse and Neglect - PLEASE SHARE


Children with disabilities are nearly two times more likely to be abused or neglected and three times more likely than those without disabilities to be sexually abused. A recent investigation by a television news station reveals an alarming number of cases in which abuse of children with disabilities in Wisconsin is reported, but little is done.

Legislators are now introducing a bill that would ensure equal protections for Wisconsin children with disabilities in the child welfare system. Specifically, the bill will require that the Department of Children and Families develop a model policy to be followed by child protective services workers when investigating cases when a child with a disability is involved. Disability Rights Wisconsin supports this bill.

What you can do:
Contact your legislator and ask them to support Representative Kleefisch’s bill - #LRB4095 - to protect children with disabilities from abuse and neglect. (Senator Rob Cowles and Representative LaTonya Johnson are also co-sponsors).

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Looking ahead to 2016

Dear WISDOM Leaders and Friends:

One of the great things about working with all the WISDOM groups around the state is that I get to work with a wonderful variety of dedicated, faithful people who are willing to dig in to the hard work of making our communities more compassionate and fair places for everyone. I am grateful for all of you.

We have a lot of work in store for us in 2016. Some of it will begin right away. Two bills have been introduced in the state legislature that will require a response:

  • AB210 is a bill that would give Wisconsin counties the ability to hold a referendum and to increase their local sales tax by .5% in order to pay for road and street repair. The problem is that it does NOT allow for counties to use any of that new revenue for Transit.

  • The so-called “Impound Bill” needs to be opposed. It calls for the cars of people driving without a license to be taken away. To retrieve the car, the person would have to pay an additional fine.

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Focus Group for Persons with Mental Health Issues

Mental Health Task Force Update

Please help us to share this invitation to individuals with lived experience of mental illness to participate in a focus group on January 11, sponsored by the Wisconsin Center for Nursing. The invitation is copied below.


We are looking for adults with mental health issues who have used Milwaukee Area Hospital Emergency Departments (ED’s) in the past five years to volunteer for a focus group discussion. The purpose of the discussion is to examine your experiences in having your physical and mental health complaints addressed when visiting the ED as well as follow-up care.

The focus group is expected to last an hour and a half and will be guided by Mary Neubauer MSW, CPS Co-Chair of the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force and Sharon Quinlan MS, RN. Aurora Ambulatory Health Care. The focus group will be held Monday, January 11, 2016 at 4:00 PM, at Aurora Administrative Offices, 750 West Virginia Street (Timbers Building), Racine/Kenosha Rooms. Beverages and food will be served.

Please be assured that we respect your privacy and all information obtained during the focus group will remain confidential.

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Good news about the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

by Virginia Small

The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts will not be “orphaned,” at least not anytime soon.

In case you missed this, the unanimous votes by the WCD board yesterday represented a decisive defeat of Chris Abele’s tossed-off scheme for a takeover of the Marcus Center by a state taxing authority (WCD).


Besides delaying serious consideration of any transfer until 2020, the WCD board rejected Abele’s request to form a committee on “joint operations” among the Marcus Center, WCD and Visit Milwaukee. Board members said they would encourage collaboration without the need for such a committee, and those involved say that is happening already.

Beyond that, WCD’s attorney told the board they are under NO obligation to request a transfer of the Marcus Center. They must only “consider” it. One county supervisor told me he doubts this will ever happen. So there will be no need to get legislation to make this all go away. Advocates for cultural organizations and parks can focus on other efforts.

For further background on the issue:


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Mental Health Board Administrator Update/ North side director posting

Mental Health Task Force Update

The Milwaukee County Mental Health Board met yesterday. We have attached the Report from the Administrator to the Board. It includes an overview of the proposed new model for the “front door” to community behavioral health services, the North Side community center that will open in 2016. You can view the full board packet at: http://county.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Public/BHD/Mental-Health-Board/MHBDecember2015MeetingPacket.pdf

Milwaukee County has posted the position for the new Director of Community Centers, who will report to Amy Lorenz, Deputy Community Services. Thanks to Amy for sharing with us a link to the job posting for this important new position – please spread the word! Online applications must be completed by January 4th-

Link to job posting for Director of Community Centers:

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Issues at stake if Marcus Center merges with Wisconsin Center District

The future of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts is up in the air
by Virginia Small

This was just published…


And this recently:


The WCD board is meeting tomorrow and could pass a resolution about postponing a merger until 2020.

Please post or pass the word to arts supporters.

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“Bathroom Bill” Criticized As Big Government Intrusion

By Robert Miranda

Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

December 15, 2015

Many people in our community are not aware of a debate taking place in Madison regarding an individual’s right to use a public restroom based on how the individual identifies rather than his or her biology.

The debate was stirred up by a legislative bill known as the “bathroom bill” introduced by state Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum.

The bill, if it were to pass and become law, proposes that schools designate bathrooms for each sex, meaning at a public school, students would have to use bathrooms according to their biological sex, the way they are physically, not the gender by which an individual identifies with, meaning the sex they believe they are.

Why this bill has yet to become a topic of discussion in our community by community leaders is beyond me.

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Marketplace Health Care Sign-Up Deadline Extended

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

The Health Insurance Marketplace saw an unprecedented surge of consumer visits yesterday, December 15, the last day to sign up for health insurance to start on January 1 of 2016. Since many people were not able to get through the long wait times over the phone or online, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services extended the January 1 coverage deadline until 11:59pm PST on Thursday, December 17. See below for details.

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Marcus Center in Limbo

By Virginia Small, Milwaukee, WI Community Activist

Urban Milwaukee just posted my article about the Marcus Center’s uncertain future because Chris Abele wants to dump it onto a state corporation. Please pass the word and post if you can.

It’s also an opportunity to create public dialogue around the issue. It was all done through stealth moves, but is now meeting resistance because it was not thought through.


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By Megan Dwyer-Cossou

Oh young,
Frustration may pull at your side,
Feelings may mask your true being,
Still in that moment you know not what to do,
Hold on,
Accept your mistakes,
In pieces found,
In pieces lost,
You need not dissect.
Remain true,
True to discover,
Who you are,
What you are.
Erupting lava,
Spilling, and solidifying,
Or a meteor.
Accept the spills,
The eruptions,
Create and pursue,
As you begin to uncover,
Your Euphoria.

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FRIDAY - We Did It!

CONGRATULATIONS, Voices for Public Transit!

Congress has sent a fully funded, five-year transportation bill that increases public transit funding for communities of all sizes to President Obama. Both the House and Senate passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) by wide bipartisan margins, and we expect the President will sign it today.

We’ve been working toward this goal for the past two years, and we couldn’t have succeeded without your hard work, especially over the past few months. Your emails, personal letters, and phone calls made a huge difference—your members of Congress knew this was something their voters wanted to see happen for the benefit of all Americans.

More updates about what this means for public transportation across the nation will be coming—and we’re planning to ring in the New Year with a big celebration in January. For now, please enjoy the victory. It belongs to all of us.

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Alert: County Board to vote on casting off Kulwicki Park (please pass the word…)

Dear Friends of Our Parks:

County Executive Chris Abele and the County Parks Department propose to lease Kulwicki Park to the City of Greenfield in a 30-year management and development deal. Kulwicki’s 28 acres on Highway 100 and Coldspring Road include ball fields and a pavilion.

Sup. Gerry Broderick, the Parks Committee chair, several other supervisors, and Preserve Our Park all oppose this deal. This “takeover” agreement will set a dangerous precedent and put this and other parks at risk. Broderick says “It could ultimately unravel the Emerald Necklace of our county parks of which we are so proud.” No county park has been given to a municipality to manage in entirety.

Please contact your county supervisor by December 16th, by phone or email, and urge them to reject the handing over of Kulwicki Park. We need to solve the problems of our parks system as a whole, rather than through piecemeal, short-term tactics. Here’s how to find and contact your supervisor:


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“Flying while Muslim” 2015

By Mary Kay Diakite, LMSW

As I listen to the current political rhetoric, I am immediately reminded of the policies that were enacted under former President George W. Bush Post 9/11. My work at the time was doing outreach in Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities. In 2002, the NSEERS (National Security Entry Exit Registration System) program was established. Men, of a certain age from a list of 22 countries, were asked to voluntarily register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Both port of entry and domestic registration took place. By 2003, more than 100,000 men had voluntarily registered to show their patriotism and support for their country, the United States. This led to mass secret detentions and mass secret deportations.

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Trump Rise Built on Hate and Ignorance

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

The rise of Donald Trump as the front runner for the Republican Party presidential nomination is both bewildering and insane.

Trump is not an extraordinary speaker, so his ability to convince people that he will “make America great again” is baffling. So why do Americans believe in him?

Trump’s rise can be attributed to the ignorance of the uneducated populations. He has figured out that Americans are more interested in the latest line of video games than they are concerned about the economic hardships many of them face day today.

The Americans are disoriented by the wars fought in Iraq; he is convincing them that America has yet to win in the Middle East and that, without him leading the nation, the United States faces a growing threat emanating from the Muslim world.

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Informational Session

We are here to lend a helping hand helping you to uplift the lives of your children
Meet with a Child Support Specialist one on one after the session!

ADDRESS: 1915 N Martin Luther King Dr,
DATE: Wednesday, December 16, 2016
TIME: 10:00am

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Advocacy Works and Now We Need Everybody

- MIT professor Noam Chomsky

“Noam Chomsky told Truthout that, even if someone like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is elected president, the Republican Party will retain the ability to stifle any attempts to move the US in a more progressive direction for years to come,” wrote Arturo Garcia/ Raw Story.

Garcia also included the following Chomsky quote in his December 5, 2015, column: http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/noam-chomsky-gop-no-longer-normal-political-party-its-radical-insurgency?akid=13741.295758.UNLuGs&rd=1&src=newsletter1046852&t=20
“’It’s important to recognize that they are no longer a normal political party,’ Chomsky said in an interview published on Thursday, adding that ‘the former [Republican] Party is now a ‘radical insurgency’ that has pretty much abandoned parliamentary politics, for interesting reasons that we can’t go into here.’

“Chomsky expanded on those reasons in a separate interview with Frontline earlier this year . . . .

“That brings us, I think, to the most important part of the Sanders candidacy,” Chomsky said. “It has mobilized a huge number of people. If those forces can be sustained beyond the election, instead of fading away once the extravaganza is over, they could become the kind of popular force that the country ba

Patricia Obletz
Artist, Activist, Author, Editor

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By R.L. McNeely, Ph.D., J.D.**

Race-related perceptions and opinions, on many issues, including domestic violence, often are divided sharply in this country. Sometimes this cultural chasm becomes well known to the general public, as was the case with the violent murder of Nicole Simpson, allegedly at the hands of O.J. Simpson. Whites were stunned and amazed at the reactions of many African Americans who cheered, ecstatically, when Simpson’s trial ended with a not guilty verdict. More often, though, European Americans have little idea of the depth of the divide separating opinions held by many black and white Americans. Most whites, for example, I suspect, would find it absolutely incredulous to know that, at the time of trial, the general sentiment among many African Americans regarding Mike Tyson’s rape conviction was that Tyson was not guilty. As exclaimed, even to this day, by many whites, how could a notorious brute such as Tyson, a man who later bit off part of opponent Evander Holyfield’s ear during a prizefight, and who had been accused of domestic violence by his first wife, actress Robin Givens, years before the alleged rape of Washington, not be guilty?

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Overcoming Racial Disparities

By RL McNeely, PhD, JD

Attorney McNeely recently retired from his professorship at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Helen Bader School of Social Welfare.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that it might be a good idea to phone and/or email several legislators identified below to indicate your support for the proposed minority impact legislation (http://www.wpr.org/bill-requires-racial-impact-statements-when-new-crimes-penalties-are-created) that has been drafted by Sen. Nikiya Harris and Rep. Sandy Pasch. This proposed legislation would require that any new legislation creating criminal penalties, or any modifications of existing criminal legislation, must be subject to a racial impact investigation in order to make sure that anything new will not have a disparate impact on people of color. Some legislators are arguing that this already exists.

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Citywide Summit to STOP School Takeovers

Saturday, December 5, 2015 | 9am-2pm
MATC Downtown Campus

Calling all public school allies! Join with parents, students, educators and community members to stand up for public community schools that welcome, educate and succeed with all students! RSVP at mtea.org
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Hispanic LIBRE Initiative Is More Backdoor Bail Out

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

December 1, 2015

As election season gets closer, the pandering for Hispanic votes begins. The electoral process in the Hispanic community is about to be inundated with Koch Brothers, Scott Walker and Republican Party talk of small government leads to prosperity rhetoric. The target for this message is the Hispanic community of Wisconsin, especially in Milwaukee.

The organization to lead this campaign in the Latino community is called LIBRE.

LIBRE was founded in 2011 by Daniel Garza, a former aide to George W. Bush. Almost all of LIBRE funding comes from Koch Brothers and their political affiliates.

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Make the Phones Ring off the Hook

We had a tremendous response to our call to action yesterday! Let’s keep it up. Today, we’re making the phones ring off their hooks in congressional offices.

Please call the toll-free Voices for Public Transit Action Hotline now at 888–443–5862 to deliver this message to Rep. Moore and Sens. Johnson and Baldwin:

“Increased, long-term funding for public transportation is essential. Please support a fully funded five-year transportation bill that includes an increased investment in public transit.”

It’s easy to use the Hotline. Just call 888–443–5862, listen to a brief message, and then you’ll be connected to your legislators’ offices.

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Democratic Socialist Challenges Corporate Democrats

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

November 26, 2015

The relentless expansion of corporate control over our economy, both mainstream political parties and our society in general, has netted America uncontrolled corporate crime, fraud and abuse, and an unprecedented control of our government.

Yet it seems that, while Democrats and Republicans talk of what the undermining corporate rule has done to our democracy, no one seems able to want to do anything about it.

No one that is, except democratic socialist candidate Bernie Sanders.

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Dog Training Unleashed : Lesson Two: “Terms and Conditions May Apply”

By Julie Westphal, CVT (Certified Veterinary Technician), member of The Pet Professional Guild for Force-Free trainers, CPNC (Certified Pet Nutrition Consultant), PCWC (Purina Certified Weight Coach), Dog Trainer & Behaviorist for Northcentral Maltese Rescue, Doberman Rescue Alliance of Wisconsin, and referred to by several area animals hospitals.

So, after Lesson One, now that I am asking you to look into a mirror, I am not asking you to criticize yourself. I am simply asking you to start asking questions about how YOU would want to be treated if you were in the same situations.

You’re going to make mistakes along the way. We all do. Forgive yourself. Don’t regret what may have happened in the past. Today is the first day to the rest of you and your dog’s lives. So, let’s get this journey started!

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The time is now!

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

November 21, 2015

As the stream of bad news for Scott Walker continues, during his post failed Presidential candidacy, Wisconsin continues to witness the failing policies of his administration with the reporting of corporate exodus from Wisconsin and jobs being lost because of it.

Why are jobs and corporations leaving Wisconsin?

Recent reports state that Walker’s WEDC may have awarded tax credits illegally. The Department of Justice has been asked by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to investigate WEDC. This kind of news does not bode well in many corporate board rooms.

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GOP Influence Grows in Strong Democratic Milwaukee

By Robert Miranda and Chris Johnson of KINGFISHmke

November 18, 2015

In the last 30 years, the Democratic Party stronghold in Milwaukee has been weakening since the rise of private voucher schools. Before former Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) Superintendent Howard Fuller started the direct assault against public education in the early 1990s, and after Black leaders grew frustrated, expressing concerns that MPS was not reflecting the cultural and racial make-up of Milwaukee in the ranks of MPS.

Much of the early rot can be read in the book, “Seeds of Crisis: Public Schooling in Milwaukee Since 1920″.

On the heels of the Civil Rights movement, Black leaders began to aggressively complain in the late 1970s that Black children were not receiving an education comparable to the rest of the public schools around Wisconsin. The target of their complaint was the teacher’s union, which did not respond to demands that MPS hire more Black teachers to deal with the growing number of Black children enrolling in MPS.

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Video of State Rep. Mandela Barnes pushing journalist

Public official turns violent over questions about Bucks arena finance vote

By Chris Johnson and Robert Miranda of KINGFISHmke

November 16, 2015

Ed. Note: Rep. Barnes was invited to express his view for PeaceOfMind, but declined.

Update 11/19/15: Click on link below to watch a second video of Rep. Mandela Barnes shoving a Madison journalist for asking about his vote to give New York billionaire Bucks owners $250 million of taxpayers dollars after the state legislature cut funding for public education.

The video appears to be taken from a security camera across the street from where the assault occurs. There is no audio.

It shows Rep. Barnes coming out of the entrance of a building after journalist, Miles Kristan, passes while walking by that entrance on the sidewalk. Barnes approaches Kristan from behind and gets in the face of Kristan and begins backing Kristan up and then Barnes shoves Kristan backwards.

Watch first video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndalclf1Dik&feature=youtu.be

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Make Some Noise Back Home

Senate and House negotiators are hammering out the final transportation bill, and we need to let Congress know the voters back home are watching

Will they fund public transportation at the highest possible levels?

Emails to Congress are important, but you can help us drive the message home even more by sending a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Your letter to the editor will show that people in your community are tracking the transportation debate—and want to see a substantial increase in funding for public transportation.

The Voices for Public Transit Action Center makes it easy for you to send letters to editors of your local papers. You just confirm your contact info, choose which papers will receive your letter, review a sample letter and make changes if you want, and then send. It’s that simple and takes just a few minutes.

We cannot settle for the status quo when it comes to transportation funding. Please send a letter to the editor today.

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November 12, 2015

Statements recently made by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke are inaccurate, divisive and disparaging of African Americans.

Sheriff Clarke has stated, among other things, that:

  • There is no police brutality in America, as it ended back in the ‘60s

  • The Black Lives Matter movement will join forces with ISIS, and the demonstrators are sub-human creeps

  • Blacks sell drugs because they are lazy, uneducated and morally bankrupt

These and similar remarks made by Sheriff Clarke are inaccurate, irresponsible and racist. These comments are counter-productive and are not representative of the interests of those he is elected to serve. Moreover, these types of remarks render Sheriff Clarke or anyone making such remarks unfit to serve as an elected public official.

The NAACP Milwaukee Branch finds Sheriff Clarke’s comments deplorable. We urge all citizens of good will to reject such vile invective and we encourage the voters of Milwaukee County to hold him accountable at the ballot box.

Fred Royal, President
NAACP – Milwaukee Branch

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Mismatched Code Words: “White” and “Privilege”

By Evelyn Patricia Terry

I often listen to the Moth on Friday nights and even attended their recent program at Turner Hall, so storytelling is one of my interests. Maybe I can endure the Ex Fabula Community Conversation Series: Whiteness Community Conversation Series: Whiteness and Privilege (see below for details) fellows speaking on “white” and “privilege” even though it portends emotional and psychotic discomfort for me as a black American. For me, “white” and “privilege” are code words for “If you are black, get back!” I accept that counter-productive people, of all races, ethnic groups and religions, exist through all kinds of “isms.” My preference would be to attend a program that concentrates on positive outcomes for race relations instead of continually feeding counterproductive words and actions that historically have too much traction and energy already.

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Community Advocacy Board Locked Out

An Interview with Milwaukee Leaders for Justice

By Patricia Obletz, Editor

Update 11/08/15: HBO’s talk show host John Oliver on prison re-entry issues: http://www.alternet.org/watch-john-oliver-slams-one-worst-things-about-americas-criminal-justice-system?akid=13641.295758.7eTJ6K&rd=1&src=newsletter1045512&t=6

Update 6/11/15: WI AG Brad Schimel must respond to Community Advocacy Board’s 6/9/15 open records request based on Schimel’s own public promise to expand WI open records law to include electronic communications, as well.

Ed. Note: “On Tuesday, May 19, with about 30 minutes notice and virtually no discussion, the legislative Joint Finance Committee accepted the Department of Corrections request for an additional $5 million to INCREASE THE PRISON POPULATION by about 500 people in the next 2 years.”
---David Liners, State Director, WISDOM

Corrections officials in Wisconsin, which has the nation’s widest black-white gap in imprisonment, have been stonewalling on the release of additional racial data and have cut ties with a Milwaukee corrections advisory board seeking that data, members of the board say. Advisory board chair attorney RL McNeely, PhD was invited to join other board members, including Honorable Lindsey Draper, Esq., formerly Disproportionate Minority Contact Coordinator for the State of Wisconsin’s Office of Justice Assistance (WOJA), civil rights leader Reverend Joseph Ellwanger, organizer for MICAH/WISDOM 11x25 criminal justice campaign to end mass incarceration, and Barry W. Givens, board First Treasurer and Revocations Committee Co-Chair, and president of the Sherman Park Community Association (SPCA).

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TOMORROW: Milwaukee Immigrant Community Marches on the GOP Debate to Say: Stop the Hate!

Dolores Huerta joins families to march against anti-immigrant, hateful rhetoric and demand immigration reform and racial and economic justice

WHAT: March and rally by immigrant rights advocates and community members calling on Republican presidential contenders to change their anti—immigrant policies and drop anti-immigrant hate speech during the GOP Presidential Debate

WHEN/WHERE: Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

3:30 p.m. Bus leaves from Racine Labor Center (2100 Layard Ave, Racine, WI 53404)
4:00 p.m. Marchers begin assembling at 1027 S. 5th St.
4:30 p.m. March from 1027 S. 5th St. to City Hall (200 E. Wells St.).
5:00 p.m. Rally at City Hall
6:00 p.m. March on GOP Debate (500 E. Wells St.)

WHO: Speakers at rally include Latina civil rights icon Dolores Huerta of People for the America Way and Dreamer Joaquin Soto of Voces de la Frontera Action. The march includes immigrant and civil rights organizations, faith leaders and institutions, student groups, labor, and others.

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Walker’s Cup Overflows with Failure

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

November 8, 2015

On November 6, Walker started asking for donations to pay his debt for his failed presidential campaign. Will the Republican base and Wisconsinites dish out money from their pockets to help Walker get out of debt?

But before the GOP base starts to dig in their pockets to fill Walker’s panhandling efforts, consider the other failures Walker has cost Wisconsin. The Republican base and all Wisconsinites should consider the following facts before considering bailing out Walker.

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Pieces: In My Own Voice - November 17th

Mental Health Task Force Update

Save the date for November 17th:
The Mental Illness Stigma Reduction/Recovery Coalition Proudly Presents Pieces: In My Own Voice A Mental Health Advocacy Play by Brenda Wesley, Playwright and National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI - Greater Milwaukee Education and Outreach Director. Hope to see you there!

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Please Contact Your County Supervisor!

November 4, 2015

Yesterday, the Milwaukee Common Council passed legislation to create local ID cards in partnership with Milwaukee County available to all people in Milwaukee! We are one step closer to this historic victory, but we need your support.

On Monday, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors will vote on the legislation. Can you call and email your supervisor and ask her or him to support Milwaukee IDs?

Click here to find your supervisor’s phone number and email address.

Suggested script:

“Hi, my name is ___________, I live at [your address], and I am calling to ask Supervisor __________ to support local IDs for Milwaukee. Thousands of people in Milwaukee are currently unable to obtain government-issued identification. Please support them by creating the Milwaukee ID. Thank you.”

#idMKE #WeAreAllMilwaukee

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Milwaukee Common Council Passes Local IDs

By a 14–1 Vote, Common Council Sides with Diverse Coalition to Create ID Cards Available to All in Milwaukee

This morning the Milwaukee Common Council adopted the 2016 amended budget including funding for Milwaukee IDs. The legislation directs the city to partner with Milwaukee County to create a task force that will make the ID card, and sets aside money to fund the program the task force creates.

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors will vote on their 2016 budget including funding for the county’s participation in the local ID task force on November 9th. If created, the joint task force is expected to create the program before the end of 2015. The cards would be issued beginning in the first quarter of 2016.

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Milwaukee’s Black elected officials need backbone

By Robert Miranda and Chris Johnson from KINGFISHmke

November 3, 2015

In December 2014, more than 150 African American Congressional staffers staged a walkout to gather on the Capitol steps in a display of unity to decry the deaths of black men at the hands of police officers.

The protest followed large demonstrations in New York and other major cities, all held to speak out against police brutality.

Almost a year later, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke announced to the world during a FOX News segment that there is no police brutality in America and that the Black Lives Matter movement is a Black mobilization that will eventually link up with terrorist group ISIS.
No! We’re not making this up.

David (the Manchurian Sheriff) Clarke is on a mission to not only advance his personal political ambitions, he’s also looking to dismantle legitimate voices of police brutality. During his rant, Clarke cites unnamed studies that he claims legitimizes his declaration. To this date, those “studies” have not been identified.

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Reince Priebus, Scott Walker and WEDC Corruption

Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

November 3, 2015

Reince Priebus is currently Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). In recent days, he has faced pressure from within his party. Most of his critics come from supporters of the GOP presidential candidates, who recently revolted against Priebus for not negotiating properly the questions that were asked at the recent CNBC GOP presidential debate.

But that’s just part of the dilemma Priebus faces. It seems that, within GOP networks, the base is demanding answers to questions regarding questionable practices and highly suspect loans between Wisconsin Governor Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and company CEOs who donated to Scott Walker’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns.

Indeed, Priebus does have a lot of explaining to do regarding Scott Walker and the corruption scandal at WEDC, where it has been demonstrated that donors to Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign received loans under highly suspect conditions and tax credits that netted no jobs being created, all this as Wisconsin’s position is plummeting in national job rankings, and economic growth failing.

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Check out our new website!

New Campaign. New Website!

Our 11×15 Campaign gets a new name today:
ROC Wisconsin: Restoring our Communities - Beyond 11×15!

Check out the new ROC Wisconsin website and watch for reports of our launch event in Madison today!

We continue to use www.prayforjusticeinwi.org, but it will focus on WISDOM’s other campaigns and initiatives. Check both websites regularly to keep up with all of our work for justice.

Also, check in regularly on Facebook and Twitter:

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TODAY, 6PM: Community Members Rally for Local ID Cards Available to All in Milwaukee

Who: The Milwaukee ID coalition: County Supervisors Peggy Romo-West, Marina Dimitrijevic, Khalif Rainey, Voces de la Frontera, Project Return, LGBT Community Center, Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, MICAH, St. Ben’s Community Meal Program, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, transgender community members, immigrant community members, students, and religious leaders

What: Rally for Milwaukee ID Cards in advance of Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors public hearing

When: Today! Monday, November 2nd, 6:00 pm

Where: Mitchell Park Domes (27th and Pierce)

Why: If local government approves the creation and implementation of Milwaukee IDs, Milwaukee would become the 14th city in the nation to issue such IDs. Tonight at 6:00pm at the Mitchell Park Domes, organizations and community members will rally to support the creation of a local ID card through a city-county partnership. The card would be available to all residents of Milwaukee, in particular those that cannot access a state government ID because of lack of documents or money. The card would also allow transgender community members to self-identify.

Legislation creating the ID program in partnership with the city of Milwaukee passed the County Board’s Finance Committee last Monday, October 26th, and will come to a full vote before the board this Thursday. Last Friday the Public Safety Committee of the Milwaukee Common Council unanimously passed legislation to include the program in the city’s budget.

“Too many people are denied access to a full quality of life because they do not have proper identification,” said County Supervisor Peggy Romo West. “Some cannot get driver licenses or other forms of ID, making this measure critical to ensuring that people can get needed identification so that they can perform basic functions in society. Local ID cards are being used more and more throughout the United States, and it’s time our community takes action to allow people to identify themselves.”

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WI Rep. pulls a gun out of his pocket

By Jeri Bonavia, Ex. Dir., Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort

Last week, we had a great Citizen Lobby Day in Madison, but then something happened that I just have to tell you about — an outrageous and potentially dangerous encounter.

Two of our Lobby Day participants stopped to talk with Rep. Michael Schraa to discuss measures to prevent further violence and save lives. Although the conversation remained civil, Rep. Schraa made it clear that he disagreed with them. He told them that he always carries a gun, and he pulled his gun, in its case, out of his pants pocket to show them.

Of course, Rep. Schraa is now denying it, but the participants could describe the gun and its case, and they knew from which pocket he pulled it. His own staff person, who was just a few feet away, said that he couldn’t say whether it happened or not.

Rep. Schraa’s actions were absolutely inappropriate and unacceptable. Indeed, a legislator behaving so thoughtlessly and recklessly has a chilling effect on citizen participation in the democratic process. The fact is, guns don’t belong in the Capitol.

Please click here to add your name to our petition, demanding that guns are kept out of the Capitol.

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The GOP debate is coming to town

Show the GOP that Wisconsin is fed up with the divisive politics of fear and bigotry.

The Republican Party will hold its next presidential primary debate in Milwaukee on November 10. But when their extreme right-wing sideshow rolls into town, we’ll be there to let them know what Wisconsin thinks. Click here to be a part of it!

Let’s stand united to show Wisconsin is fed up with the divisive politics of fear and bigotry.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is standing with our allies to rally at Milwaukee City Hall on Tuesday, November 10 at 5 pm and march to the GOP debate to demand justice and reject the 1% agenda that makes the rich endlessly richer at the expense of ordinary families!

Together, we have the power to shift the focus from GOP theatrics to the failure of conservative policies. If you can be there, you should be there.

-The Citizen Action of Wisconsin team

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Sign up to join your sisters and brothers in MICAH, who are going to Madison on Tuesday, November 3, leaving by bus from the MICAH office/St. Francis Catholic Church parking lot, 1927 N. 4th St., at 7:00 AM, and returning at about 4:00 PM. (Park at rear of parking lot.)

To reserve a seat on the bus, call Sahvana at the MICAH office, 264–0805, or call Joe Ellwanger, 791–2480.

The action starts at Bethel Lutheran Church, 312 Wisconsin Ave., Madison, two blocks north of the Capitol, at 9:30 AM, and will include a prayer rally at the Department Of Corrections office building, a press conference at the Capitol, distribution of materials to legislators’ offices, and mutual discernment of next steps in the ongoing 11X15 Campaign.

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GOP takes a machete to Wisconsin

Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We welcome Rep. Debra Kolste to talk about WEDC’s indefensible decision to give $2 million to John Deere to end 100 Janesville jobs for 80 jobs in Horicon. Tamarine Cornelius, an analyst with the Wisconsin Council of Children and Families to talk about new legislation to restrict local school districts ability to hold referendums to raise money for their schools. We also review the latest on efforts to take a machete to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board and campaign finance laws. We also discuss Paul Ryan’s election as Speaker of the House of Representatives and the release of the 2016 health insurance rates on healthcare.gov.

Click to listen to podcast #216
Download MP3
Citizen Action Press Clips

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Milwaukee Black elected officials say nothing about Sheriff Clarke’s absurd remarks

The Manchurian Sheriff Frightens Black Elected Officials into Silence

By Chris Johnson and Robert Miranda of KINGFISHmke

October 30, 2015

This week on FOX News, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke stated, “First off, there is no police brutality in America. We ended that back in the ‘60s.” Watch the Fox News interview here.

In making such a preposterous statement, this elected law enforcement officer provided a glimpse of how out-of-touch and delusional he is and displays his disregard and disrespect for the Black community and the issues that erode it.

With the growing number of savage killings of unarmed Black men in this country at the hands of armed police officers, this statement was not only false, it was utterly insensitive and harmful to a large swath of the community that is so desperately trying to heal from the repetitive onslaught of terroristic tactics being rained upon them with no protection from justice to rely on.

David Clarke has conveniently forgotten about Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York, John Crawford in Dayton, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Walter Scott in Charleston, Freddie Gray in Baltimore and in Wisconsin, Tony Robinson in Madison, Michael Bell in Racine and right here in Milwaukee, Dontre Hamilton, just to name a few.

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A New Behavioral Treatment Benefit and Informational Meetings -

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

Check out the information below from Wisconsin DHS regarding a new benefit related to Behavioral Treatment and Other Support Services for Children with Autism. Click on the link below to see the schedule for informational meetings being held around the state.

2016: A New Behavioral Treatment Benefit to be Provided Under Wisconsin Medicaid and Other ForwardHealth Programs

Announcing: Informational Meetings

Please visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website to learn more about the new behavioral treatment benefit and the Informational Meetings that have been scheduled around the state.

Additional information about the Autism Spectrum Disorder Benefit Updates is available on the Department of Health Services website.

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House Passes Bi-Partisan Budget Bill, Addresses Medicare Part B Premium Increase

Late Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a budget deal that increases spending for military and domestic purposes and increases the debt limit. The deal also addresses the increase in Medicare Part B premiums that is otherwise projected to impact 30 percent of beneficiaries, and an increase in the Medicare Part B deductible that would have impacted all Part B enrollees.

Due to a combination of higher than projected Medicare outpatient costs in 2015 and the lack of a cost-of-living increase for Social Security recipients, premiums for some beneficiaries are projected to increase from $104.90 to over $150 – or more for those with higher incomes. Other beneficiaries, those who have their Part B premium deducted from their Social Security check, are “held harmless” and protected from increased Part B premiums where there is no increase in their check. This means that the increase would fall on a smaller group, and is therefore projected to be larger for each affected person. The Part B deductible, or amount people have to pay out of pocket before their coverage begins, is also set to increase to about $223.

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11/2 - County Board Public Hearing on Budget at the Domes

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

Monday, November 2nd is the Milwaukee County Board’s public hearing on the 2016 proposed budget and an important opportunity to share your priorities for the Milwaukee County budget.

Some of the budget priorities identified by the Mental Health Task Force and Make It Work Milwaukee include funding for transit and paratransit, support for the Go Pass, funding for the housing division including the initiative to end chronic homeless, and support for the Finance Committee amendment to restore $300,000 in funding to the shelter system which serves so many people with mental health needs. Turn out Monday to share your priorities with the Board.

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Last unchallenged Milwaukee Alderman to file, Jose Perez, to get challenger, Angel Sanchez

By Chris Johnson and Robert Miranda of KINGFISHmke

October 27, 2015

This past Sunday evening on his Facebook page, former Alderman Angel Sanchez announced he will be entering the 12th district Alderman race.

Sanchez served as the first elected Hispanic City of Milwaukee Alderman from 2000 to 2004. He takes on the streetcar-supporting incumbent, Jose G. Perez.

Most recently, Perez failed to support a widely-backed community library project that would have honored civil rights activist and labor leader Cesar E. Chavez. Perez has been in office for one term.

This marks the last of the current Milwaukee Alderman entered into the 2016 spring election that remain unchallenged. To view all of the City of Milwaukee 2016 spring election candidates, click here.

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Health Prices are Finally Public

After months of waiting, after Wisconsin because the only state to not publish them, and even after Citizen Action had to publicly demand them for the 3rd year in a row, Wisconsin’s health insurance prices for 2016 plans are finally publicly available. And we want to tell you what to expect.

Use Healthcare.gov’s Comparison Tool to Search By Zip Code

Right now you can search by zip code to see what plans, companies, prices and more are available in your county. You don’t need to log in or create a username and password, just provide an age and estimate annual income to see what is available.

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Milwaukee County Outpatient Behavioral Health Capacity Assessment report available online

Mental Health Task Force Update

This morning, Public Policy Forum released their Milwaukee County Outpatient Behavioral Health Capacity Assessment Report:

“The Milwaukee County Outpatient Capacity Analysis (OCA) is the third report issued jointly by the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI), the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC), and the Public Policy Forum (PPF) related to the ongoing initiative by public and private sector stakeholders to redesign the mental health care delivery system in Milwaukee County….” The report ….”finds that stakeholders in Milwaukee County are challenged by “issues of fragmentation, complexity of provider types, a rapidly changing policy environment, multiple levels of governance, and limited resources” in their efforts to provide sufficient outpatient behavioral health services for low-income individuals.”

Here are links to the report and some related posts. The Task Force meetings for November and December have very full agendas, but we could consider having the report findings as a topic for our January meeting, if there is interest.

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Next GOP Debate is in Milwaukee

The next GOP Presidential debate is on November 10. And they’re coming to Milwaukee.

We have two choices— we can let the GOP continue to treat our democracy as their personal ego-booster, or we can change the conversation away from Donald Trump’s latest soundbite to what the American people actually need.

Join us on Tuesday, November 10 to show the nation that Wisconsin knows what we need— and it’s not more failed conservative policies.

Where: Milwaukee City Hall, 200 E Wells St
Date: Tuesday, November 10
Time: 5 pm

You do not want to miss this showdown. RSVP today.

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Did Grebe Act As Godfather of WEDC?

By Robert Miranda and Chris Johnson, KINGFISHmke.com

On the eve of Governor Scott Walker signing into law changes that prevent prosecutors from using the John Doe law to review matters that could lead to misconduct in office or to bribing public officials charges, Michael Grebe, the CEO of the Bradley Foundation and Godfather of the Scott Walker political regime, announced his retirement as CEO of the Bradley Foundation. This foundation is the epicenter of conservative political funding for the Republican Party and America’s conservative movement.

The Bradley Foundation is also a conservative Milwaukee philanthropic organization that sits atop an endowment of more than $800 million. The foundation was led by Michael Grebe, who was Walker’s campaign chairman for three different elections and whose board members have personally contributed more than $700,000 to Walker’s gubernatorial campaigns. But Grebe’s “retirement” is bittersweet, coming a couple of months after he co-chaired the disastrous Scott Walker presidential campaign.

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Prep 4 Healthcare.gov’s Open Enrollment: Two Trainings Tomorrow

Citizen Action of Wisconsin

Sign up for the Monday Oct 26th 3pm training for citizens and activists on how to help people get affordable healthcare!

Sign up for the Monday Oct 26th 6pm training for citizens and activists on how to help people get affordable healthcare!

Tomorrow, Citizen Action will hold two trainings — 6 days before the beginning of Healthcare.gov’s open enrollment, on what you should know and say to help friends and family get health coverage while they can! Open enrollment goes from November 1st to January 31st, and now that Walker has cut funding that helped people get signed up, folks like you and I are needed now more than ever to make sure others know how to get get covered and where to go.

If you’ve ever wanted to know what to say, where to send someone, or why it is important now more than ever to get health coverage, then join us tomorrow at either our 3pm or 6pm training held at the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals office in West Allis. We promise you’ll learn something!

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See what MICAH is up to!

As a supporter of MICAH, we want to invite you to see what your financial support has allowed MICAH to accomplish and what we plan to accomplish in the coming year!

MICAH’s Annual Public Meeting

(psssst: it’s not really a meeting!)

October 29, Doors open at 5, Program begins at 6
Tabernacle Community Baptist Church 2500 West Medford Ave
Rev Don Darius Butler, Host Pastor

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October 21, 2015

The incident on Monday involving Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers in Whitefish Bay and Milwaukee Bucks player John Henson is most troubling. It is a blatant example of the type of racial profiling and stereotyping that occurs all too often in situations involving retail services, law enforcement and other aspects of life. It is wrong, unlawful and unacceptable and is reflective of underlying biases and perceptions that need to be challenged and addressed if we are serious about providing equal opportunity and access to all.

In the recent matter involving Schwanke-Kasten and Mr. Henson, the victim of the profiling happened to be a professional athlete, a prominent member of a major organization with high visibility both locally and nationally. In this instance, Schwanke-Kasten was very quick to offer a “closed door apology.” However, we know that these types of incidents occur often and usually involve individuals who are not in the public eye. In fact, the Henson matter is not the only incident of which we are aware involving Schwanke-Kasten. In these all-too-common occurrences, there are no apologies. The victim is just left to feel degraded and humiliated as Mr. Henson described.

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Medicare has a problem

by Citizen Action of Wisconsin

By now you’ve probably heard that premiums for Medicare are about to skyrocket faster than they ever have in the program’s 50 years of operation. The reason is that Medicare has a Congress problem.

Without Congressional action, and because of quirks in federal law, Medicare premiums for 15 million are about to go up. And the cause is wholy conservative. Because conservatives have not allowed Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and have not reined in healthcare costs, we all are at risk of paying more.

Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but with no Speaker of the House currently, Congress is in chaos. Senator Baldwin has introduced a bill to fix the problem but Senator Johnson has not promised to help this Medicare crisis.

That’s why Citizen Action and the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans will hold a media event this Thursday at 12:45pm outside his office on the steps of the Federal Courthouse in Milwaukee. Can you join?

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Join us Tuesday: Restore Parole-Eligible People to Their Families

3,000 Wisconsin citizens are lost in the bureaucracy of our broken prison system. Their family members will tell their stories and read their letters from prison. Remember them and advocate for their release:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

6:00 – 7:00 pm

St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church
 128 W. Burleigh St., Milwaukee
(parking on the side, off 2nd St.)

You can read their letters here.

There are thousands of people in our prisons who do not need to be there. These Old Law prisoners, who have served the time envisioned by the judge who sentenced them in the last century, are eligible for parole. But the parole system has broken down. By its own admission, it does not coordinate efforts with the Department of Corrections. Not all Old Law prisoners are ready to be released, but many are.

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MAPP bill introduced

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

In the past, we have discussed opportunities to improve the MAPP program – Medical Assistance Purchase Plan. After working with disability advocates for some time, Rep. Jacque has introduced a proposal the makes a number of changes supported by advocates to the Medical Assistance purchase plan (MAPP) and requires the Department of Health Services (DHS) to exclude certain types of assets when determining eligibility and cost-sharing requirements for certain Medical Assistance (MA) and long-term care programs. The bill number is AB 414 and you can click on the link below to see the proposal.


If you want to contact your legislator regarding this proposal, click on the link below to find the contact information for your state Assembly Representative and Senator. We will keep you posted as this moves forward.


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October 22, 2015, Mental Health Board Meeting Agenda

By Mental Health Task Force

The next meeting of the Milwaukee County Mental Health Board is Thursday, October 22 at 8 AM at the Mental Health Complex Auditorium. The agenda is posted online. Here is a link to the meeting packet:

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Co-op Assembly a Big Success!

by Anna Dvorak, Community Organizer: Citizen Action Organizing Cooperative

221 S 2nd St #300 Milwaukee, WI 53204
Cell: (414) 469–0118

Our 2nd Citizen Action Organizing Cooperative Assembly was a huge success! Thanks to all our members and friends who attended, presented, and helped to make it such a fun event!

I’ll fill you in on some of the details from last Saturday in a little bit, but first take a second to check out some of these amazing photos that member-owners Beth Ludeman and Paul Trotter took at the Assembly! (If you cannot view the images, click here to view them on the Co-op webpage, or here to see them posted to our Facebook group)

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Oct. 13th Mental Health Task Force meeting

Mental Health Task Force Update – Please Join Us October 13th!

IndependenceFirst, 540 S. 1st St. at 3 – 5 PM

We hope to see you Tuesday, October 13th at 3 PM at IndependenceFirst for our monthly Task Force meeting. Our featured topic will be Comprehensive Community Services (CCS). Guest speakers Jennifer Alfredson and Jennifer Wittwer, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, will provide education about Comprehensive Community Services, including addressing questions submitted by the Task Force. This is a great opportunity to learn more about CCS – don’t miss it.

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Wisconsin Working Family Party is NOT against corporate Democrats

By Chris Johnson, of KINGFISHmke

October 11, 2015

Recently, Friends of Chris Larson (D), the campaign committee for Chris Larson for State Senate, distributed an e-mail asking the question, “Should Chris Run?” referring to a campaign run for Milwaukee County Executive in 2016. The e-mail message was sent by former democratic State Senator Sandy Pasch, who is listed as the Treasurer of that campaign committee, a position that was once held by Milwaukee County Board Chair Theodore Lipscomb. In that e-mail, the question is asked, “Would you stand with him in a run for Milwaukee County Executive?”

In the past, Wisconsin Working Family Party (WWFP) State Director, Milwaukee County Sup. Marina Dimitrijevic, has stated that WWFP will challenge current Democratic Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. The Executive Director has, on numerous occasions, stated that the WWFP is going to run candidates against “corporate Democrats,” often referring to Chris Abele.

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The Silence is Deafening

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

October 12, 2015

St. Anthony’s is the largest private voucher school program in the country. The school is located on Milwaukee’s near south side where the majority of the city’s Hispanic population lives.

The Alderman of the district the school is in (12th Aldermanic district) is Jose G. Perez. The school is in the 8th Assembly district of JoCasta Zamarripa.

The school is majority Latino students with half to most coming from families with questionable citizenship status.

Recently, the school has come under fire for canceling a contract it had with Liga Juvenile a soccer league with more than 900 children, mostly Hispanics taking part in the league’s sponsored games. The organizer of the league, Pablo García, told the Hispanic News Network (HNN-USA) that he “paid a total of $56,000 for using the St. Anthony H.S. indoor facility for six months and that three other leagues paid the same amount, totaling at least $224,000.” (http://ow.ly/T63xX)

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Milwaukee County Executive Announces $10 Million “New Pathways for Fathers and Families” Grant

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee County will receive a $10 million “New Pathways for Fathers and Families” Administration for Children and Families grant that will build on and enhance the County’s successful Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood project.

County Executive Chris Abele yesterday announced the grant award at an event at Next Door Foundation.

Milwaukee County is the only child support agency in the U.S. to receive and administer a “Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood” grant from the federal government. This grant partners Milwaukee County with community organizations to help fathers improve their economic security. With this funding, Child Support Services has piloted a one-of-a-kind model that works to not only get support to kids who need it and strengthen family relationships, but to help fathers receive job training, improve their economic mobility opportunities, and recover lost driver’s licenses.

The New Pathways grant will fully fund an additional $2 million per year, for the next five years, on top of the Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood grant, allowing Milwaukee County to build on this success, add more in-depth services, and provide more hands-on case management with an increased level of measurement and evaluation.

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“Ruth Conniff’s Progressive Look Forward” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We welcome Ruth Conniff, Editor-in-Chief of The Progressive, to talk about Scott Walker’s return to “governing” in Wisconsin and potential opportunities for the progressive movement. Ruth discusses The Progressive’s Public School Shakedown Project that is exposing the privatizers of public education and highlighting people on the front lines of public education. We also discuss conservative legislative efforts to gut GAB and the civil service, and reveal a new bigoted bill that targets transgender youth in Wisconsin schools. Click here to listen to podcast #213b
Download MP3
Citizen Action In The News

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Building Trust

Dog Training Unleashed – Lesson One: Looking Into The Mirror

By Julie Westphal, CVT (Certified Veterinary Technician), CPNC (Certified Pet Nutrition Consultant), PCWC (Purina Certified Weight Coach) Dog Trainer & Behaviorist, Volunteer, Northcentral Maltese Rescue & Doberman Rescue Alliance of Wisconsin

Whether training your dog – or simply living life - it is human nature to try and come up with excuses behind why things happen, or attach reasons to behaviors and actions. In truth, it is simply that the incompatible behaviors have not been taught yet. There are no guarantees in behavior; there is no 100% all the time, every time. Life is full of variables, so I cannot promise anything EXCEPT: When you create a solid, happy bond that is based on trust, and clearly communicate your cues (after they are truly trained habits), you will have a happily responding dog that will not require any type of equipment to “correct” or create fear because you will be clearly communicating and building trust.

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INVITE: New Economic Messaging Webinar

by Robert Kraig, Executive Director: Citizen Action of Wisconsin

I am sure you are concerned as I am about the WEDC disaster and more broadly declining economic opportunity in Wisconsin.

I am writing to personally invite you to a special webinar to unveil Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s new Economic Opportunity Agenda.

As I wrote recently in a column in the Capital Times: If we focus exclusively on the WEDC train wreck, we miss a more fundamental challenge: the lack of any serious strategy to reverse the ongoing decline of economic opportunity for working families in Wisconsin. The WEDC crackup is an opening to take a step back and consider the scope of Wisconsin’s economic challenges and solutions of the scale needed to put us back on the road to shared prosperity.

In the webinar I will discuss the depth of Wisconsin’s economic crisis, and a bold new strategy to challenge the rigging of the economic system and to use our democracy to expand the middle class once again.

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Private Voucher Schools Increase Milwaukee’s Notorious Segregation

By Robert Miranda and Chris Johnson, KINGFISHmke

October 7, 2015

Twenty-five years ago, around the time Milwaukee’s parental school choice program started, it was forecasted and predicted by genuine Black civil rights leaders in Milwaukee that the private voucher schools program promoted by former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson and his loyal Black cohorts in Milwaukee, was the start of a new method to segregate Black children from interacting with the children of other ethnic backgrounds.

In the early 1990s, Howard Fuller and the late Annette Polly Williams stood against that notion and convinced many of Milwaukee’s established Black leadership that private voucher choice schools was a way to defeat the teachers’ union, who they claimed was a major obstacle in the education of Black children. To change this, Fuller and Williams advocated for private voucher schools to be offered exclusively to parents in the Black community fed up with Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS).

Initially, the private voucher school program was offered to black parents opting out of MPS, but when Gov. Scott Walker opened up the private voucher school program to parents outside of Milwaukee’s inner city community to parents living in affluent communities several years later, Williams turned away from the voucher program, charging it will lead to a broader segregation of blacks into inferior schools. The truth seeped out of William’s mouth after she collected tens of thousands of dollars in speaking fees for promoting the privatization of school funding.

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It’s Time To Restore Parole-Eligible People to Their Families

Join us in prayer to remember those who have been forgotten in the Wisconsin prison system.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church
: 128 W. Burleigh St., Milwaukee
(parking on the side, off 2nd St.)

There are thousands of people in our prisons who do not need to be there. These Old Law prisoners, more than 2,500 men and women who have served the time envisioned by the judge who sentenced them in the last century, are eligible for parole. But the parole system has broken down. By its own admission, it does not coordinate efforts with the Department of Corrections. Not all Old Law prisoners are ready to be released, but many are.

On October 20, we will hear the stories of many of these parole-eligible prisoners. We will hear from them in their own words as we read their letters.

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Participate in our Day of Action for REAL Change in Mental Health Policy!

On Wednesday, October 7 the Campaign for Real Change in Mental Health Policy is encouraging everyone to call, write, or use social media to contact their member of Congress and tell them that the Murphy Bill is bad for America.

Everything needed to be a successful advocate on our Day of Action can be found here. Make your voice heard!

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Join us October 6th for dialogue with special guest Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division Administrator, Patricia Schroeder

Mental Health Task Force Update

We hope to see you Tuesday, October 6th for a great opportunity for dialogue with special guest Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division Administrator, Patricia Schroeder. The Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division is embarking on many changes including plans for a community behavioral health center on Milwaukee’s North side; implementation of Comprehensive Community Services which has the potential to serve thousands of community members; closing of long term care units at the Complex; the RFP for PCS, Obs and Acute Care; and much more. Administrator Schroeder will join us on the 6th to provide an update and for dialogue – this is a great opportunity to share your questions, ideas, and concerns. Please join us on the 6th! Details are as follows:

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We’re doing the GOP’s job… because they won’t.

We’re holding a public hearing for the $15 minimum wage bill, because the state Republicans won’t.

Despite the GOP refusing to give the bill a hearing, there are elected officials who want to hear from the public about why Wisconsin needs a $15 minimum wage. A panel of legislators from multiple levels -from Dane & Milwaukee County Board Supervisors to State Senators- will be taking your testimony on why Wisconsin needs $15.

Join us on Tuesday, October 6 for the People’s Wage Board!

Where: Hephatha Lutheran Church, 1720 W Locust St, Milwaukee
Date: Tuesday, October 6
Time: 6pm

Click here to RSVP

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Aurora to invest $35 million in behavioral health services in southeast Wisconsin

Mental Health Task Force Update

Aurora Health Care is investing $35 million to expand services at its psychiatric hospital campus in Wauwatosa, the health system announced Friday.

Aurora plans to add 18 patient rooms at the psychiatric hospital. It also wants to replace the 90-year-old Dewey Center with a modernized residential substance abuse and rehabilitation facility, increasing capacity from 15 to 30 beds. And it has plans to build a new Alumni House, which serves as a short-term sober living facility.

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Ben Carson’s Fear of Muslims Shows No Faith in America

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

October 1, 2015

Asked by Chuck Todd on the American news show “Meet the Press,” whether he could support a Muslim for president, former neurosurgeon and current Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson replied, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

The following week, speaking on Phil Hemmer via satellite on Fox News’ Happening Now, candidate Ben Carson stood firm on his position that a Muslim should never be president of the United States.

Continuing his crazy idea Carson went on to say “I’ve worked with Muslims, I’ve trained Muslims, I’ve performed brain surgery on Muslims. I can tell you that, anatomically, a Muslim’s brain is wired differently than ours.”

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Milwaukee’s High Cost of Health Insurance

Why, Where, and What To Do About It

Tuesday, Oct 6th, 1:30pm. Marquette University College of Nursing, RSVP Here: http://www.citizenactionwi.org/mkehealthcosts2015

Metro Milwaukee’s health costs have consistently been higher than most other regions of the state and nation. Join Kevin Kane, lead organizer of Citizen Action of Wisconsin,as he reveals the latest data on cost, coverage and causes.

Why is health insurance more expensive in Milwaukee than in Madison? Why is Wisconsin the 4th most expensive state? What can we do today to reduce the cost of health coverage? Join us and find out.

Hosted at Marquette’s Nursing Department together with Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Citizen Action Organizing Cooperative

WHEN: Tuesday, October 06, 2015 at 1:30pm - 2:30pm
WHERE: Marquette University School of Nursing, Emory Clark Hall #111, 530 N 16th St, Milwaukee, WI 53233

RSVP Here: http://www.citizenactionwi.org/mkehealthcosts2015

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Milwaukee County Budget Update

A Make It Work Milwaukee/ Mental Health Task Force Update

Here are some updates on the Milwaukee County Budget process:

There are many important services for people with disabilities and older adults funded by the Milwaukee County Budget and we encourage you to stay informed and participate in the process.

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Oct 16 Introduction to Zero Suicide

Mental Health Task Force Update

Please see the information below and attached flyer about the October 16th kick-off for Zero Suicide – thanks to Walter Laux for sharing.

Prevent Suicide Greater Milwaukee (PSGM) presents Introduction to Zero Suicide

Download flyer

Milwaukee Behavioral Health Division −9201 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, Helen Carey Cafeteria
October 16th, 2015
Networking & breakfast 8:45am
Presentation begins at 9:15am
RSVP to: RSVP@PreventSuicideMKE.com

The philosophy of Zero Suicide is coming to Milwaukee. Learn how YOU can make a difference. Let’s achieve Zero Suicide in health & behavioral health care. Learn about the movement http://zerosuicide.sprc.org

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BPDD State Plan Input in Your Area: Grafton, WI!

Every five years, the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD) is required to submit a plan to the federal government that focuses on systems change that will improve the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities in the state.

BPDD is holding a series of Conversation Cafes, throughout the state. These interactive sessions allow you to have input into BPDD’s new five-year plan to improve the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities.

There is an upcoming Conversation Café in your area: Grafton.

The Grafton Café is October 8 at Bunker’s Edgewater Gold Course, 1762 W. Cedar Creek Rd., Grafton, WI 54501 at 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

There is still room to register.
Sign up to attend!

To find out more about BPDD’s State Plan or other Conversation Cafes around the state: Find out more.

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Wisconsin’s 8th Assembly District is Walker’s Voucher School Breeding Ground and Birth Place of Modern Segregation

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal and Chris Johnson, Publisher, KINGFISHmke

The debate regarding a new private voucher school being advocated for in Milwaukee’s south side has been making news as of late.

At the center of the debate is Waukesha businessman Gus Ramirez, a wealthy business man who wants to use his family’s fortune to build a 25,000-square-foot gymnasium, as well as indoor and outdoor soccer fields to complement an 185,000-square-foot building with capacity for 1,000 students in 4-year-old kindergarten through grade 12.

The private voucher school complex would be known as St. Augustine Preparatory Academy and would be located at S. 5th St. and W. Harrison Ave.

When all is said and done, it is estimated that the Ramirez Foundation will have spent nearly $40 million dollars to get the school established. Read more about the school here.

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Why is Representative Zamarripa avoiding making a stand?

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

As another voucher school enters the south side scene, questions abound but State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa has yet to weigh in on whether or not she supports having another private choice school placed in her district. This article does not even question or include a statement from Zamarripa. Why? To date, Zamarripa has not responded to the Spanish Journal inquiry regarding her position on private choice schools and the new voucher school, St. Augustine Preparatory Academy at S. 5th St. and W. Harrison Ave., being proposed in her district.


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Downtown Streetcar Election Nightmare

By Chris Johnson and Robert Miranda, KINGFISHmke

September 28, 2015

Last week, news started to spread that the construction of Mayor Tom Barrett’s $124 million taxpayer funded three mile long Milwaukee Downtown Streetcar, which was supposed to begin this October, will be postponed until next year; most likely after the upcoming spring primary election in February and general election in April. The postponement was briefly mentioned in a WUWM article published earlier this month.

This began a discussion as to why would the robber barons and their kleptocrats down at city hall want to delay the construction of this boondoggle? According to Ald. Bob Donovan, “Mayor Barrett and streetcar aldermen want to get themselves reelected without facing a significant anti-streetcar uprising from Milwaukee voters.” In order to do this, Donovan asserts that, “streetcar supporters have delayed construction to keep the potentially multi-billion dollar project out of sight and, they’re hoping, with fingers crossed, off the minds of voters.”

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Making Fourth Street a Bucks plaza is a risky plan

An Open Letter

The City of Milwaukee’s funding package for a Milwaukee Bucks arena complex was passed and signed on September 22. Riverwest’s Ald. Nik Kovac was one of three dissenting votes, along with Mark Borkowski and Tony Zielinski. However, one proposal remains undecided and subject to public scrutiny and eventual hearings. It involves possibly ceding North Fourth Street between Highland and Juneau Avenues for the Milwaukee Bucks’ exclusive commercial use as a three-acre plaza.

Permanently closing off any downtown street involves ramifications for current and future transportation and land-use planning. More study and civic engagement should happen before the Common Council votes on this attempted privatization of a public space.

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Important Dates for MICAH

October 11, at 10:00 AM: MICAH’s Immigration Taskforce is sponsoring a presentation
The presentation will be about Drivers’ Cards for undocumented persons in Wisconsin, those who are currently denied Drivers’ licenses due to not having social security numbers. WISDOM is strongly in favor of the Drivers’ Card proposal.
At Congregation Sinai 8223 N Port Washington Rd Milwaukee, WI 53217.

Saturday, October 24: 35th Annual Celebrate The Return
At Marquette Alumni Memorial Union
Meet and Greet and Silent Auction 5:00PM: Banquet 6:00pm. $60 per person/$400 for table of 8
Keynote Speaker for the Evening Rep. Danny Davis with Guest Introduction by Rep. Gwen Moore
Program will also include
Presentation of the Don Bein Volunteer Award
the Elijah O’Neal Achievement Award Performances by Local Talent
Silent Auction including Inmate Made Art & Design
For more information please visit www.projectreturnmilwaukee.org or contact Wendel Hruska at 414–218–2238
Special reduced prices for students. Contact Wendel Hruska for details.

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Community Conversation Invite for 9/29

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 from 3:30–5:00pm
at Washington Park Library 2121 North Sherman Boulevard Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53208

We are seeking your wisdom and recommendations as we plan a community based behavioral health center on Milwaukee’s north side.

The Conversation continues and focuses on three questions for the impending Northside service location, they are:

  • What should it include?

  • How should it look and feel?

  • What should it be called?

Participants may begin arriving at 3:00pm and the Conversation will begin at 3:30pm. Families Moving Forward Coalition is the host and they thank you for sharing the notice with your partners.

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NEVER FORGET: Remembrance & Awareness Rally

This is just a reminder we plan to support Brandon Johnson’s family on Tuesday, October 6th, for a walk/rally in remembrance of him. Brandon Johnson died at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex on October 6, 2012, after staff refused to take his paralysis claims seriously. No one was ever charged for his case, we support this family as they seek to spread awareness and demand justice for their loved one.

Calling all Community Members, activists, friends, and family to stand with Brandon Johnson’s family against injustice.

As the Hamilton family faced the challenges of mental health in their case for Dontre’s life, the Johnson family does the same as they fight for justice. And still - no accountability for Brandon’s death, three years later.

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Scott Walker: The Great Bamboozler

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

September 24, 2015

How did Scott Walker bamboozle Wisconsin Republicans? By now Wisconsin Republicans are asking themselves, what did their Brethren Iowa Republicans see in Scott Walker that they did not see in Wisconsin?

The simple answer is that Iowan Republicans know a thing or two about identifying a snake oil charlatan. Walker was subjected to questions he normally would not have to address in Wisconsin. When he could not answer the questions the Republicans in Iowa asked him consistently and honestly, well, you know what happened.

Scott Walker promised he would not drink the establishment Kool-Aid, but not only did he drink the Kool-Aid, he mixed it up with a witches’ brew of rats’ lies, bats’ shenanigans and a smidgen of snakes’ forked tongues.

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Community Conversation with Milwaukee County BHD - 9/22

Please join leaders from Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division for a…

Community Conversation

Tuesday September 22, 2015 from 1:30–3:30pm
Metropolitan Baptist Church 1345 West Burleigh Street Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53206

We are seeking your wisdom and recommendations as we plan a community based behavioral health center on Milwaukee’s north side:
*What should it include?
*How should it look and feel?
*What should it be called?

We are looking forward to seeing you and hearing your thoughts!
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Senator Chris Larson: A stepping stone for the oligarchs

By Chris Johnson, Editor Kingfishmke.com

Milwaukee’s corporate democratic networks are cheering on the idea that State Senator Chris Larson is looking to challenge oligarch Chris Abele for county executive of Milwaukee County.

Jumping on the Larson for county executive band wagon are the usual blind mice progressive and liberal networks, who for the last forty years have been led by the nose to support corporate democrat centrist goombahs that have been part of the reason why Wisconsin lost its blue state status.

When Larson announces his candidacy he’ll shoot to the top of the polls by embracing real progressive economics and attacking the failed politics of austerity that Abele has embraced.

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September 16th Briefing on 2016 Milwaukee County Department Budget Requests As Submitted to the County Executive

When: Wednesday, September 16, 2015 3:00 PM
Where: IndependenceFirst, 540 S. 1st St.

Sponsored by
Make It Work Milwaukee! Coalition In partnership with Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force

The budget briefing will be followed by a short business meeting to discuss 2016 Milwaukee County Budget priorities– all are welcome to attend

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Insulting. Outrageous. WRONG.

by Jeri Bonavia, Ex. Dir. WAVE - Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort

Last Tuesday, in the midst of Suicide Prevention Week, hundreds of us sent our legislators new evidence proving that gun-purchase waiting periods save lives — the kind of evidence that demonstrates just how reckless they were when they repealed Wisconsin’s 48-hour cooling off period earlier this year.

What we sent them last week was a respectful, important message that a true leader would welcome — yet one of the legislators sent a reply to a WAVE supporter that was so crude, so arrogant and ugly, so flat-out WRONG, we just had to let you see it for yourself.

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Another Call to Action: Ban the Box

EXPO leader Mark Rice has been invited to be on the Joy Cardin show on Wisconsin Public Radio this Monday, September 14, from 8–9 am. You can find the show on your radio anywhere in Wisconsin, but here is a link so you can either listen online, or find your local station: http://www.wpr.org/programs/joy-cardin-show.

Mark will be speaking about the issue of Crimeless Revocations and about Ban the Box. This is a call-in show. We’d be happy if many of you called in to be supportive.

As you know, WISDOM, with significant leadership from MOSES, EXPO and MICAH, has been working on the issue of Ban the Box. We’re calling for the question, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” to be removed from initial job applications. It is a step toward helping people who have been incarcerated to have a chance to re-build their lives, and not to be forever shut out from opportunity.

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Walker’s WEDC is Nectar for The Corporations

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

September 10, 2015

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Wisconsin’s state-run jobs-center (DWD) lists 86,000 unfilled jobs. This does not fare well for either Secretary Reggie Newson or Georgia Maxwell, the newly appointed Deputy at DWD, and it sure does not help Governor Scott Walker sell his lies as he waltzes around the country telling the nation how he single-handedly saved our state from being ruined.

But there are some questions that should be asked. Is it true that DWD has 86,000 jobs listed? And if this number is true, why hasn’t Reggie Newson or Georgia Maxwell exerted the right leadership and rallied Wisconsin workforce development organizations to fill these jobs with qualified people in the last three years? Even if the reported number is not accurate and there are let’s say 60,000 jobs — Why hasn’t DWD filled those positions?

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4th highest in the nation

Wisconsinites are fed up with elected officials wasting time on politically-motivated efforts to repeal and defund the ACA; time that could be spent making the law work even better for everyone and reducing costs.

A recent report shows Wisconsinites paying the 4th highest health insurance premiums in the nation - yet conservatives like Scott Walker and Ron Johnson continue peddling their tired old rhetoric about repealing the Affordable Care Act instead of using all the tools in the law proven to actually lower health care costs.

This week, Citizen Action of Wisconsin went on offense - helping introduce legislation exposing conservatives for failing to use the ACA to hold insurance companies accountable for high premiums. We need you to join our call for an end to the political attacks on health care:

Add your name: The ACA is here to stay!

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How Might Wisconsin accept federal funds for BadgerCare?

How Wisconsin Could Accept the Federal Funds

By Kevin Kane, Lead Organizer Citizen Action of Wisconsin


While Republicans control the State Legislature, more and more states have changed their mind and accepted the federal funds, and some have asked to do so in new ways. Wisconsin could accept the funds the traditional way and ensure thousands could access BadgerCare (the ideal), or we could look to one of the other states who have done so. Iowa offers one effective model: our neighbor to the Southwest has accepted the federal funds in a novel way, by ensuring that thousands of people enrolled in private insurance plans can actually afford them! Here in Wisconsin Scott Walker has forced tens of thousands to buy private insurance instead of BadgerCare, if we follow Iowa’s example these citizens could actually afford the plans they are now enrolling in! LEARN MORE HERE

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Why are Milwaukee’s Black elected officials hiding?

Mayor Tom Barrett’s police body camera plan lacks accountability; only one alderman has said anything

By Chris Johnson and Robert Miranda, KINGFISHmke

September 8, 2015

Last week, just days after Mayor Tom Barrett’s announcement of allocating one million dollars in the city’s upcoming budget for body cameras for the Milwaukee Police Department, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS) published an article in which is stated that the Mayor’s police body camera initiative allowed police officers the “discretion” to turn off the cameras for “certain sensitive calls.”

Many concerns and questions arose among Milwaukee’s Black activists after this announcement, some questioning the rationale of allowing police officers to turn off the cameras at will. While some individuals spoke in support of the Mayor’s plan, many others have reservations.

Of key concern is the issue of what is defined as sensitive moments?

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New chance to fix a broken gun law

by Jeri Bonavia WAVE - Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort wave@WaveEdFund.org

“In 11 states with waiting periods, the longer the waiting period, the lower the gun suicide rate.” -The New York Times [1]

That’s the indisputable finding of a new study in The American Journal of Public Health. And it offers all the evidence we need to demand our lawmakers fix what they broke and reinstate the cooling-off period for gun purchases that they repealed earlier this year.

One of our allies in Madison just introduced a bill to restore this lifesaving family protection law. But the deadline for co-sponsors is THIS FRIDAY — so your legislators need to know, today, that you expect them to sign on.

Tell your state legislators to follow the facts — and throw their support into restoring Wisconsin’s 48-hour cooling-off period for handgun buyers.

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New WEDC CEO Hire is Governor Walker Message: To Hell with All of You

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

September 5, 2015

Scott Walker appointed retired M&I banking executive and long-time political supporter Mark R. Hogan as the new chief executive officer (CEO) of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

The Governor did this without WEDC board review, proper candidate vetting by the WEDC board or an independent company, and without consideration to mention in the last WEDC board meeting that such a hire is coming. What Walker did is legal under state law however. Still, the hire needs to be approved by the senate.

“Mark Hogan is a proven and respected leader in finance and business, and we are honored to have him as a partner in our efforts to grow the economy, create jobs and keep Wisconsin heading in the right direction,” Walker said in a statement. “Mark’s experience will be invaluable as WEDC continues to reform and improve processes to best serve the citizens of this state in developing economic opportunities for families all around Wisconsin.”

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Family Care and IRIS 2.0

We wanted to share this update from DHS regarding Family Care and IRIS 2.0.

Also please note that the Milwaukee and Madison hearings will NOT be held on the 14th: October 6, 2015, is the new date: for more info, check here

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WWFP Fusion Voting and Candidates

By Chris Johnson and Robert Miranda, KINGFISHmke

September 4, 2015

Wisconsin Working Families Party (WWFP) state director, Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic, recently said in an interview that WWFP will be using “fusion voting” as a means to get candidates that WWFP endorses elected to office. In that interview, co-host Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, interjected to ask Dimitrijevic for a clarification about WWFP ballot access. He wanted confirmation that WWFP planned to use fusion voting, which he stated could “theoretically” allow candidates to be both a WWFP and Democratic candidateand if WWFP “succeeds in the future,” candidates will be able to run as WWFPkeep? Republican candidates as well. He noted that for now, all of the “progressives” happen to be Democrats, but in the future there could be “Republican progressives.” Dimitrijevic did not confirm or deny, instead she discussed the success that voter fusion had most recently in Oregon and other states.

What exactly is fusion voting? Well, here’s one way it works.

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Family Care Public Hearings have been scheduled - 9/14 hearing in Milwaukee

Make It Work Milwaukee/Mental Health Task Force Update

Below please find the schedule of public hearings the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has announced to gather input into the formulation of a waiver application the legislature has directed the Department to prepare that would make substantial changes to Wisconsin’s existing long-term care system.

The Milwaukee Public Hearing is scheduled for:
September 14, 2015, 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Milwaukee Medical College, HRC Auditorium
8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226

The Biennial budget gave DHSD authority to move forward with major changes to Wisconsin’s long term care system. As a reminder the main points of these changes would include:

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Bernie Sanders Deserves Latino Vote

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

September 3, 2015

Hillary Clinton defended her call to deport children from the U.S. who are fleeing violence in Central America.

Clinton, without any hesitation, abandoned migrant children seeking safety from violence. Her action has demonstrated for Latinos why we must not be tricked into voting for her.

Clinton said, “U.S. immigration authorities should focus on expediting the deportation cases of children and people locked in family detention.”

Clinton is pandering for the crazy people vote. She wants to show these people, most of whom want a wall built on the border, that she can be just as nasty as Donald Trump.

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Medicaid Managed Care Forum Info and Wisconsin DHS Family Care/IRIS Town Hall meetings

Make It Work Milwaukee/ Mental Health Task Force Update

Many of us attended yesterday’s Medicaid Managed Care forum hosted by the National Council on Disability at the Capitol which included discussion of how Wisconsin will move forward with major redesign of Family Care and IRIS, and some of the experiences with integrated managed care in other states. WisconsinEye taped the forum and it is available online at http://www.wiseye.org/Home.aspx

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Vital Voices for Mental Health

Click here for the Vital Voices Website
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Black community conditions continue to worsen because our “progressive friends” have other agendas

By Chris Johnson, KINGFISHmke.com, and Robert Miranda, KINGFISHmke.com

August 31, 2015

For two weeks KINGFISHmke has pressed Wisconsin Working Families Party (WWFP) state director, Marina Dimitrijevic to answer a simple question.

We asked Milwaukee County Supervisor Dimitrijevic if in fact WWFP has a contractual agreement with the firm, Nation Consulting. Her response was to meet with KINGFISHmke to discuss the work of WWFP and our online news network.

As we pointed out in prior articles Thad Nation, through an Astroturf nonprofit called Coalition for the New Economy, gave $5,000 in unrestricted cash donations to the reelect Governor Scott Walker political action group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), in 2012.

You will note that in 2012, tens of thousands of Wisconsinites converged on the state Capitol to protest against Governor Scott Walker’s union busting ACT 10 initiative.

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The dog ate my teacher - Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Our back to school podcast looks at the growing teacher shortage in Wisconsin and the country. We also discuss the continued staff turnover at the discredited WEDC, increasing the minimum wage for tipped workers, and more. Click here to listen to podcast #208

Citizen Action in the News

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August 17, 2015 Letter from Secretary Rhoades regarding plans for stakeholder input regarding the changes to the Family Care and IRIS

Make It Work Milwaukee/ Mental Health Task Force Update

Many of you have been asking about how Wisconsin Department of Health Services will obtain stakeholder input as they move forward with major changes to Wisconsin’s long term care system, specifically to Family Care and IRIS. The Survival Coalition of Disability Organizations had contacted Secretary Rhoades to offer suggestions regarding this process and request information. Please see the link below for her response.


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4 Troubling Truths About Black Boys and the U.S. Educational System

This crisis begins in homes, stretches to K-12 educational experiences, and leads straight to the cycle of incarceration in increasingly high numbers.

By Matthew Lynch

August 26, 2015

Most people like to think that American K-12 schools, workplaces and courthouses are pillars of fairness, but statistic after statistic all point to a crisis among the young, Black men of the nation. This crisis begins in homes, stretches to K-12 educational experiences, and leads straight to the cycle of incarceration in increasingly high numbers. In America’s prison systems, black citizens are incarcerated at six times the rates of white ones - and the NAACP predicts that one in three of this generation of Black men will spend some time locked up.

While there are many areas of improvement that we could look at changing for more successful outcomes for black men, I will discuss just four indicators that illustrate the current situation for black boys in the U.S., with the hope of starting a conversation about what we can do to produce a stronger generation of Black young men in our society.

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Do you want to subsidize the billionaires’ Bucks arena? Make your voice heard:

PUBLIC HEARINGS: Room 301-B of City Hall, 200 E. Wells St.
Mon., Aug. 31 at 4 PM Steering Committee. Comptroller’s report on subsidy costs.
Tues., Sept. 15, 9 AM Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee
Wed., Sept 16, 9 AM Finance and Personnel Committee
Tues., Sept. 22, 9 AM Vote by Common Council in its chambers, Third Floor, City Hall

Before you go, please review economic outcomes of sports arenas in other cities – not good for taxpayers! In addition to the article links below, do a search yourself. The rich get richer when taxpayers give them land and money to build sports arenas, sometimes destroying established local entertainment venues. If you cannot attend these public hearings, please urge your representatives to vote against building a new arena.


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We’re making progress!

Recent articles indicate that the Department of Corrections has made some of the changes related to the use of Solitary Confinement for which we began to advocate last October. Check out our website for specifics on our policy recommendations. WISDOM leaders were interviewed about the new DOC changes this week in the following posts:

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Save the Date - Briefing on Proposed 2016 Milwaukee County Department Budget Requests

As Submitted to the County Executive

Sponsored by:
Make It Work Milwaukee! Coalition

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015 3 PM
IndependenceFirst 540 S. 1st St.

The budget briefing will be followed by a short business meeting of the Make It Work Milwaukee Coalition and Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force to discuss County Budget priorities – all are welcome

Agenda in formation – stay tuned for details!

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WI Gov. 2011 to Present & Wanna Be

By Jennifer Vulpas

In 2011, after Union workers demonstrated in the Capitol square in Madison and during that time, Governor Walker was fooled into believing that David Koch called him in support of breaking up unions. I was struck by what a “puppet” our Governor had become. I wanted a placard to carry in Madison in support of public unions. I wanted it to encompass everything that Governor Walker seemed to be. So I made him appear to have no focus (since Governor Walker doesn’t seem to help people who are needy, and together with the state legislature, they are governing without any acknowledgment to an opposite opinion — like a kingdom), money seems to be his main goal and he has someone who pulls his strings.

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We Cannot Let Children Go Hungry!

By Anna Dvorak, Community Organizer: Citizen Action Organizing Cooperative

Join us for a press conference to call for continued federal funding of school lunches, summer meals and more. Make sure our kids get the food they need to grow and learn!

Citizen Action will be joined by Congresswoman Gwen Moore, MPS Superintendent Darienne Driver, the Hunger Task Force, and the Milwaukee Center for Independence.

Member-owners, educators, friends, family, young, old - all are welcome!

WHEN: August 26, 2015 at 11:45am - 12:30pm

WHERE: Merrill Park, 461 N 35th St (35th and Clybourn St) Milwaukee, WI 53208

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#BlackLivesMatter & Progressives

By Citizen Action of Wisconsin

#BlackLivesMatter & Progressives - Battleground Wisconsin Podcast
We welcome Brandi Grayson, co-founder of Young, Gifted and Black and Nate Hamilton, co-founder of The Coalition for Justice to continue the important conversation between #BlackLivesMatter and white progressives that we began on last week’s podcast.
Click here to listen to podcast #207
Download MP3

Special Podcast:”WalkerCare will repeal healthcare for millions” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast
Robert Kraig tells you everything you need to know about Scott Walker’s plan to turn the clock back by repealing the health care law, ending care for millions of Americans and dramatically increasing the cost of health insurance for tens of thousands of Wisconsinites.

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Walker’s bait & switch health “plan”

By Erik Kirkstein, Citizen Action Health Care Organizer

“‘Walker’s supposed plan is not serious health policy. It is a campaign document which provides nothing more than window dressing for a massive roll-back of the freedom to access quality affordable health care,’ said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.’”- Wisconsin Radio Network, 8/18/15

As his Presidential poll numbers continue to freefall, Walker is now moving even further to the right fringe, unveiling Tuesday in Minnesota an extreme health care plan and promise to repeal Obamacare on day 1 of his presidency (never mind the Constitution which says it is Congress that repeals laws).

Strangely Walker chose Minnesota to make his big announcement, a state with substantially lower health insurance rates than Wisconsin because it has taken advantage of health care reform.

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WWFP Executive Director Admits WWFP is Tea Party of the Left UPDATE

By Chris Johnson, Editor, KINGFISHmke.com

On Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s “The Battleground Wisconsin” podcast this week, executive director of Wisconsin Working Families Party (WWFP), Milwaukee County Sup. Marina Dimitrijevic admits that this independent political organization is the “Tea Party of the left.” You can hear it for yourself here. The discussion regarding the WWFP being the Democrats’ version of the Tea Party begins at approximately four minutes and 15 seconds into the interview.

Sup. Dimitrijevic also talks about how the WWFP will use “fusion voting,” which is a system in which the same candidate may be nominated by two or more different parties, with the parties listed separately on the ballot but combining their votes to determine the overall tally for the candidate they share.
A candidate that would most likely support billionaire projects like the Bucks stadium, the Wisconsin XXL pipeline, and the Milwaukee downtown streetcar. These are the type of candidates they will be pushing for. More to come from this interview this upcoming Monday.

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Governor Walker Continues Deception and Obfuscation of Record

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

August 14, 2015

In recent articles, Scott Walker made the statements that, if elected, Hillary Clinton would be the “great deceiver” and that she can not be trusted.

Governor Scott Walker attempts to shift public attention from his deceptions, verbal manipulations and mismanagement of government. His actions have negatively affected Wisconsin.

What moral or ethical authority does Governor Scott Walker have to call someone deceptive when his behavior clearly shows that he continues to practice deception, corruption, and wrongdoing? Here are the examples — you judge for yourself.

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Building Healthy Milwaukee Social Reality

By Ben Rader, Psy.D.Licensed Clinical Psychologist

The Milwaukee Affiliate for Social Living (MASL) is an organization of mental health clinicians and community members dedicated to the promotion of a healthier social reality, through public education, professional training, and community enrichment.

MASL operates from the perspective that individual physical and psychological health and wellness occurs in concert with healthy families, communities, and social order. Founded on the principles of Individual Psychology, which espouses a democratic, creative, and purposeful view of the individual operating in social contexts, MASL approaches its work as being an open and invested inquiry into human experience, as it occurs locally, impacted by broader social realities.

The city of Milwaukee offers for us a backdrop in which contemporary problems and concerns are played out in the interpersonal transactions that describe our shared experience, and shape the individual and social outcomes of its people. Challenges that are endemic to Milwuakee, provide a telling portrait of the human condition and it’s relationship to broader social factors.

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County Executive Abele To Hold Budget Town Hall Meetings

Make It Work Milwaukee / Mental Health Task Force Update

County Executive Abele will be holding Town Hall Meetings to get input from the community on priorities for the 2016 Milwaukee County Budget. This is an important opportunity to share priorities for people with disabilities and older adults in the 2016 budget. The County Budget provides funding for many essential services for people with disabilities including transit, paratransit services, housing, benefits counseling, services in the criminal justice system, mental health and substance abuse and much more. You can share your priorities for the 2016 budget with County Executive Abele at these hearings – please help spread the word. The first session is Tuesday August 18th and the second is Wednesday August 19th – see the details below.

Tuesday August 18th, 2015 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Wauwatosa Civic Center, 7725 W. North Ave.
Wauwatosa, WI 53212

Wednesday August 19th, 2015 9:30 - !1:00 a.m.
Mitchell Park Pavilion on the Lagoon, 2200 W. Pierce St.
Milwaukee, WI 53204

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The Wisconsin Working Family Party Bedfellows

By Chris Johnson, KINGFISHmke.com

August 10, 2015

Recent articles regarding the newly formed and announced political party Wisconsin Working Family Party (WWFP) have brought rise to questions regarding who makes up this party and what differentiates them from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW). The most comprehensive account about the creation of this party is a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article initially published on July 31 of this year.

WWFP describes itself as, “a grassroots independent political organization that fights for Wisconsin’s working families.”

The executive director of WWFP is former Milwaukee County Board chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and the Deputy Director is former Milwaukee County supervisor and two time candidate for city of Milwaukee alderman, Eyon Biddle.

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Walkernomics Won’t Work for USA, Either

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal; /PeaceOfMind/InMyMindsEye

Time Magazine 8/6/15 Fox News debate in Cleveland transcript below illustrates clearly the pipe dream that is Walkernomics:

CHRIS WALLACE: Governor Walker.

(APPLAUSE) Governor Walker, when you ran for governor of Wisconsin back in 2010, you promised that you would create 250,000 jobs in your first term, first four years. In fact, Wisconsin added barely half that and ranked 35th in the country in job growth. Now you’re running for president, and you’re promising an economic plan in which everyone will earn a piece of the American dream.

Given your record in Wisconsin, why should voters believe you?

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They Say Move to Award Energy Assistance Contract to UMOS and Community Advocates Defies Last Week’s County Board Vote Granting an Extension to SDC

Milwaukee County Supervisors Martin Weddle and Khalif Rainey today blasted County Executive Chris Abele and Health and Human Services Director Hector Colon for taking “emergency” action to award $2.2 million for a low-income energy assistance program contract to UMOS, Inc. and Community Advocates after the County Board directed them to keep the contract with the Social Development Commission for six months.

The Board voted 13–4 with one abstention on July 30 to grant the six-month extension to SDC and reject Colon’s recommendation that the contract be moved to UMOS and Community Advocates. But Colon issued an order on Wednesday awarding the contract to UMOS and Community Advocates, saying “given the time critical benchmarks of the 2015/2016 energy application season, the department does not have sufficient time to implement the board’s recommendations.”

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Wisconsin Working Families Party is the Democrats’ Tea Party

By Chris Johnson, http://www.kingfishmke.com/

August 5, 2015

Reprinted with permission.

Last week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an article about Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic stepping down from her position as chairwoman and discussing her new role as director of a new political party called the Wisconsin Working Families Party (WWFP). This newly launched political party is marketed as “a coalition of labor and community organizations,” These are two groups that historically caucus with the Democratic Party. Why is there a need to start another Democratic party? Sup. Dimitrijevic was quoted as saying, “We’re basically trying to take our state back, starting at the local level.” Isn’t that what the Democratic Party is supposed to be doing?

The launch of this new party comes shortly after the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) Convention, which was held in Milwaukee at Potawatomi Hotel and Casino in June. At this convention, elections for statewide officers were held and the state Democratic party delegates elected Martha Laning as the new party chair, upsetting establishment favorite Jason Rae of Nation Consulting.

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Important South Side Public Safety Meeting

Community Public Safety Meeting

Please join Ald. Pérez, Ald. Donovan and Police District 2 Captain Morales for a public meeting to discuss crime issues on the south side.

Where: Ascension Lutheran Church – 1236 S. Layton Blvd.
When: Wed. Aug. 5th at 6 p.m.

This is your opportunity to address your concerns regarding crime and police response directly to your elected representatives and to Captain Morales.

Reunión para Seguridad Pública de la Comunidad

Por favor únase al Consejal Pérez, Concejal Donovan y el Distrito 2 de Policía, Capitán Morales para una reunión pública para discutir temas de criminalidad en el lado sur.

Dónde: Ascensión Iglesia Luterana - 1236 S. Layton Blvd.
Cuándo: Miércoles 5 de agosto a las 6 p.m.

Esta es su oportunidad de tratar sus preocupaciones con respecto a la delincuencia y la respuesta de la policía directamente de sus representantes electos y al Capitán Morales.

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Asking for Sheriff Clarke’s help to stem south side auto theft crisis

243% increase in 8th Aldermanic District in five years

Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan

August 4, 2015

My first obligation as alderman is to protect the interests and the health, safety, and welfare of my constituents. When those interests are NOT being served, I am compelled to take action.

I am asking Sheriff David Clarke for assistance in putting the brakes on the auto theft crisis we’re seeing on the south side. I believe the help is needed because it appears the Milwaukee Police Department simply is not up to the task, despite the best efforts of the fine rank and file officers.

It gives me little pleasure, and makes me extremely angry, to point out a few of the statistics I have garnered from online city records:

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GOP has lost its foundation and standing

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

August 3, 2015

As more and more information comes forward regarding Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), it is without question that Walker’s allies continue to look for ways to stop the bleeding and embarrassment that WEDC has caused.

The GOP once touted its resolve to be a fighter and protector of taxpayers. They vowed to fight against waste, fraud and corruption in government. But after news reports of WEDC loans being given without proper oversight, companies using those loans to buy luxury cars, companies receiving WEDC support while shipping jobs overseas, and companies going under yet given loans anyway, in addition to companies failing to produce jobs after receiving WEDC money, Republican leaders have resorted to desperate attempts to stop the political damage by initiating an effort to change the open records laws, and are now trying to remove elected representatives from being members of the WEDC board of directors. Clearly they have something to hide.

A corrupt core of GOP leaders have taken the GOP away from its marketing brand of being professionals who can balance the budget to create jobs, to prevent tax increases and to give tax breaks aligned to job creation for the purpose of creating jobs. Obviously, these goals are no longer are the creed of the GOP.

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Upcoming Events

Schools and Communities United General Meeting

Monday, August 3rd at 5:30pm. Washington Park Library 2121 North Sherman Blvd, Milwaukee

You’re invited to the Schools and Communities United General Meeting on Monday, August 3. Join us as we plan the next steps to fight the takeover of Milwaukee Public Schools. There will be brief reports on the MPS takeover plan, community schools, and schools defense committees. The meeting is open to Schools and Communities United members, parents, students, educators, and all supporters of Milwaukee Public Schools.

Support Drivers’ Card Legislation

Wednesday, August 5 at 10am. State Building 819 N. 6th Street Milwaukee, WI

Driver’s Cards for the undocumented is important for all of us!! Learn more about this issue on www.prayforjusticeinwi.org

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The Big WEDC Lie Update &WI Rep’s Response

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal; /PeaceOfMind/InMyMindsEye

Walker announced that the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ stats were “inaccurate.” He promoted bogus stats his people at the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) created, which showed WI’s numbers as much more favorable. The media fell for the propaganda and the big lie was on.

Recently, Walker’s administration made an Interesting change in key executive positions of the DWD and Financial Institutions.

Longtime deputy director Jonathan Barry was moved out of DWD and sent to Public Safety. Walker’s peeps then moved Georgia Maxwell out of Financial Institutions to become deputy director of DWD. There is grumbling at DWD that Maxwell has no clue of labor economics and it appears the move was more an attempt to get a Walker loyalist inside DWD who will follow direction without question-someone whose trust is without question.

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Mental Health Board meetings - option for members of the public to receive notice of board meetings

ByMental Health Task Force

Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee offer a free “E-Notify” service for members of the public to register to receive email notice of committee meetings, hearings, events, and the like from Milwaukee city, Milwaukee County, Public Schools, Elected officials, agencies, etc.

An option has now been added to this service for the Milwaukee County Mental Health board – members of the public will now be able to sign up to receive notification for Milwaukee County Mental Health Board meetings through the E-Notify system. The link to register is : https://itmdapps.milwaukee.gov/Portal/login.jsp?from=/Enotify/index.jsp If you do not already have an “E-Notify: account, you will need to set one up.

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Wisconsin on the losing end!

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

July 28, 2015

As Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker seeks the GOP nomination for President of the United States, he would like to use what he has done in Wisconsin as a real example of what he would do as President. But what Walker wants to show you, and what Walker has done, are two entirely different things.

Walker’s ECONOMIC SECURITY plan fell apart when he decided to follow political agendas that do not generate jobs, increase incomes or expand the middle class.

Ask yourself: “Is this the person you want in the White House?”

The facts:

1. WISCONSIN EMPLOYMENT 38th WORST IN USA IN 2014 — WAS 20TH BEST IN 2010: Walker not only failed to fulfill his promise of creating 250,000 jobs in his first term, Wisconsin now ranks 38th worst in the nation and last in the Midwest.

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Walker’s WEDC, A Costly and Corrupt Venture

By Robert Miranda: Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

Chris Johnson: Editor/Publisher, KINGFISHmke.com

Walker’s declaration of an economic emergency in Wisconsin when he became governor was the seed that sprouted the creature known as WEDC.

Shortly after Scott Walker was elected Wisconsin governor in 2010, his first major initiative was to get rid of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and replace it with a public-private experiment called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC); the action was known as legislation Act 7, which he signed into law.

To ensure his centerpiece for creating 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin materialized, Walker placed himself as WEDC’s board of directors chairman to move a policy that was “business friendly.” His aim was to dole out loans, grants and tax incentives to businesses that will help Walker achieve his 250,000 new jobs promise before the end of his first term as Wisconsin governor.

But that didn’t happen. What did happen however was a whirlwind of problems and mismanagement at WEDC.

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SPLC maps hate by tracking pro-Confederate flag rallies across America

As Confederate flags are removed from government facilities across the Deep South, a backlash is brewing. Flag supporters are staging rallies, and the SPLC is exposing the involvement of white supremacist groups in this reactionary movement. Use our interactive map to track protests like the one last weekend by the North Carolina-based Loyal Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.


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Three Ways We Fix Health Costs

By Kevin Kane, Lead Organizer, Citizen Action of Wisconsin

If we want affordable health insurance we need to use all tools available to get rid of waste and abuse while driving innovation forward. Unfortunately much of that is decided at the Statehouse, which means we need to fight for affordable healthcare right here in Wisconsin.

Here are three ways Wisconsin could reduce the cost of healthcare:

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Got Your Back

By Kevin Kane, Lead Organizer: Citizen Action of Wisconsin

The Obama Administration just showed once again that they have your back when it comes to the cost of healthcare, which is greatly needed here in Wisconsin.

The CEO of Healthcare.gov just sent a letter to Walker and other states encouraging them use their power of #RateReview to challenge insurance companies who are proposing big rate increases. You may not have heard of #RateReview and that might be because the Walker Administration has never used this tool to challenge insurance companies looking to price gouge consumers. But it is very important.

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An open letter to the Wisconsin media

By Jeri Bonavia WAVE - Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort <wave@WaveEdFund.org>

The recent “Open Government” scandal didn’t just reveal the dangers of letting lawmakers operate in secret. It showed how skilled and effective the media can be at exposing these backroom deals and protecting the public interest.

It’s high time they apply that same fierce energy, journalistic zeal and unflinching courage to exposing the secret shenanigans that produce dangerous gun laws here in Wisconsin.

And if this scandal proved anything, it’s that our voices have power — so I’m asking you to raise yours.

Read my Open Letter to the Wisconsin Media and add your name to demand they apply the same hard-hitting investigative journalism to help break the gun lobby’s grip on our gun laws.

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By Barry Blackwell, M.D.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The woes of mental health care in Milwaukee have deep and tangled roots, many of them fed by overt and covert discrimination, stigma and deafness to the lived experiences and plight of people and families struggling to cope with the social consequences and inadequate treatment of their ailments.

The largest city in the State of Wisconsin, long (but no longer) known for a progressive political climate has become the place where treatment of those with mental illness is viewed as seriously flawed while the capital Madison, 90 miles to the northwest, is seen as among the most enlightened. How did this come about, are we on the cusp of final remediation and, if so, what must we do to secure and preserve its success?

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Monthly Education Meeting July 2015 “Nutrition”

Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force:

NAMI Greater Milwaukee
Monthly Education Meeting Series

Food for Thought: Nutrition and Mental Health
Monday July 27, 2015, 6:30pm—8:00pm

Is there a link between nutrition and mental health?

Come join us at NAMI Greater Milwaukee as Aleisha Anderson, a Licensed Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner, and Sarah Philipp, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist talk about the link that connects mental, emotional and physical health. They share how to discover a “happier” place of eating foods you enjoy, feeling satisfied, and discovering your own connection between nutrition and mental health.

Location: NAMI Office 3732 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53208 (please enter from the rear of the building, where parking is available).

No registration is required-if you require special accommodations, we will attempt to meet any requests.
Please contact Aaron Arteaga at 414–344–0447 or aarona@namigrm.org

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State Budget & Bucks Arena Town Hall

July 23, 2015 from 6–7:30pm

Please spread the word

Find out how the $73 billion state budget and the $500 million proposed Milwaukee Bucks arena deal will impact you. I welcome you to join invited guests from the state, City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County for a briefing and question and answer session. Please, stop by my Town Hall Meeting tomorrow night, Thursday, July 23 from 6–7:30pm at Greater New Birth Church, 8237 West Silver Spring Drive, Milwaukee, WI. To RSVP, click here. To help spread the word, please forward this email or share the event on your Facebook wall.

WHO: All interested persons
WHAT: Town Hall Meeting to discuss the state budget and Bucks arena deal
WHERE: Greater New Birth Church, 8237 West Silver Spring Drive, Milwaukee, WI.
WHEN: Thursday, July 23 from 6–7:30pm

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Rep. Zamarripa Code Talk Not Convincing - GOP Passing the Buck

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

July 21, 2015

The pressure to pass a deal that will keep the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee is being put on the shoulders of the Democratic Party.

Republican messaging experts are attempting to create a narrative that will clear them of failing to keep the Milwaukee Bucks in Wisconsin because they don’t have the votes.

So to make themselves look like they’ve been working hard to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee, Republicans are pointing the finger towards the Democrats in an attempt to shift blame away from the GOP.

Democrats on the other hand continue to look like deer on the road, staring into oncoming lights unable to move before getting smacked for not responding to the GOP for their failure to muster up the votes they need in order to pass the Bucks deal.

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Ending Homelessness in America

July 21, 2015

By: Sylvia Mathews Burwell, HHS Secretary

For a year, Bobbie was homeless. She was one of the half-million Americans who face the uncertainty, on any given day, about where they will find their next meal, where they can get care when they are sick, and where they will sleep at night.

Bobbie was lucky to find the Stout Street Health Center – a community health center in Denver, Colorado that provides integrated health care and housing support for the city’s homeless population.

She told a local reporter that without the men and women working in the health center, “I don’t know where I would be.”

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Stout Street Health Center and see the work they do for up to 18,000 men, women and children experiencing homelessness every year.

What if we could guarantee that no more Americans would have to face what Bobbie did? What if, in just a few years, we could help the more than a million people including children, families and veterans who have no place to call home? What if we finally and completely ended homelessness in the United States?

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Patient and Family Education Series Update


Here is the updated schedule for the Patient and Family Education Series.
Moreover, please feel free to forward to other interested parties.

Thanks so much!


John Schneider MD FAPA
Chief Medical Officer
Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division

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GALLERY NIGHT at GALLERY # 105 featuring Oils by Patricia Obletz

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FAQ re long term care changes in the budget

Make It Work Milwaukee/ Mental Health Task Force Update

Now that the budget has been signed into law, what does that mean for Family Care and IRIS? There will be changes to the way Family Care and IRIS operate. These changes will unfold over the course of the next two years. The shift to the new long term care system will happen after the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approves a waiver–which will contain details on the kinds and levels of services offered and how the new program will run. Wisconsin’s Survival Coalition for Disability Organizations has developed a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding the long term care changes approved in the budget. You can view the FAQ online at:


Feel free to share this with others.

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Support Drivers Cards for Immigrants in Wisconsin!

Drivers’ Cards = Safe Roads, Healthy Communities

Thursday, July 23, 6:30 pm
Emmaus Lutheran Church, 1925 Summit Avenue, Racine

Undocumented immigrants are not able to get a drivers’ license in Wisconsin. WISDOM calls for new statewide legislation for Drivers’ Cards. A Drivers’ Card could not be used as a Federal ID; could not be used to get on an airplane; would not be a step towards legalization. BUT it would allow undocumented people to drive legally and purchase insurance.

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT. Join faith leaders, WISDOM leaders from around the state, Representative JoCasta Zamarripa, and other elected officials!

In WISDOM, we work on many different issues, but at the deepest level we recognize that what effects one of us effects all of us.


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How the Billionaires Bought Justice for Scott Walker

Scott Walker is the perfect example of how billionaires can purchase justice a la carte to protect their pet politicians.

Now that’s not to say that Scott Walker himself is a billionaire. But he has a well-known relationship with billionaires like the Koch Brothers - and their assorted front groups. And in short, that’s why the Wisconsin Supreme Court dropped its John Doe probe into whether Scott Walker criminally violated campaign finance laws to win his recall election in 2012.

The Koch brothers and their front groups, particularly the Wisconsin Club for Growth, along with the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce group (also known as the WMC) have been setting up this ruling for almost a decade.

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“John D’Oh & Dough 4 Bucks” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the democracy imperiling Wisconsin Supreme Court decision to end the John Doe case against Gov. Walker and conservative groups for illegal campaign coordination during the recall election. We welcome Sen. Chris Larson to review this week’s vote in the state senate to help finance a new arena in Milwaukee. Listen to podcast #202

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$20 Million Settlement Reached in Labor Trafficking Cases Coordinated by SPLC

Company at center of SPLC trafficking suit agrees to pay $20 million to hundreds of exploited workers

A $20 million settlement agreement has been reached to resolve numerous labor trafficking lawsuits that we spearheaded against Signal International, a Gulf Coast marine services company that was found liable in our suit earlier this year for defrauding and exploiting workers it lured from India. A federal jury awarded our clients $14 million, but this settlement will also cover some 200 others represented, at no charge, by law firms we recruited and coordinated.

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JULY 17, 2015

Citizen Oversight and Wake-up Call on NBA Milwaukee Bucks Projects Press Conference

17th & Vliet, MLKING Park, Milwaukee, WI.

Right back response needed for your attendance.

Contact: Mary Glass, mpapublicpolicyreview@gmail.com


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Bradley Crossing Lease-up - new accessible affordable apartments available

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

JFS Housing, Inc. has opened four new buildings (1-, 2- & 3-bd units) on their current Bradley Crossing campus (corner of Sherman Blvd and Bradley Rd.) – see below for more details and please help spread the word to those who may benefit from these new accessible apartments.

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Docking Governor Walker’s Salary

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

July 16, 2015

Wisconsin taxpayers continue to pay Governor Scott Walker’s salary, benefits and Mansion. We’re paying for many other things to support the governor and his family so that he can focus on working to represent the people of Wisconsin.

But as of late, Governor Walker has been putting in more hours working for Scott Walker’s aspiration to become president of the United States.

So while candidate Walker travels across the country and the world in pursuit of the presidency, why are Wisconsin taxpayers paying his salary and benefits during work hours that he clearly is not representing or working on behalf of the people of Wisconsin?

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UPDATE On Open Records Violations: As of July 17, 2015, still no response:

Hard copy mailed:

July 1, 2015
WI Attorney General Brad D. Schimel
Dept. of Justice
17 W. Main St.
PO Box 7857
Madison, WI 53707–7857

Dear Attorney General Schimel:

It has come to my attention that, despite your public assertions (6/1/15 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) that you will uphold and expand the Wisconsin Open Records Law, the WI Department of Corrections continues to withhold from the Felmers O. Chaney Advocacy Board the public records containing the answers to these questions:

  • How many paroled or on probation people by race break a rule, but don’t commit a crime, yet get sent to Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) for evaluation of whether they return to prison or go to an Alternative to Prison (ATR)? This procedure effectively cuts off these individuals from their families and usually ensures that they will lose their job attained after being released from prison.

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Final State Budget: The Good, the Bad, and the UGLY

After months of battle, the dust from the budget process is settling at the State Capitol. Last weekend, Governor Walker signed the state budget into law.

There is no question this budget was one of the worst in history for conservation. But, because of conservation voters like you weighing in time and again, we walked away with some victories, too. Let’s start our budget summary with those victories you fought so hard for – and won.


Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program – Governor Walker tried to freeze the popular land protection program, but conservation voters like you weighed in almost 14,000 times with members of the Joint Finance Committee and the Governor to save it from extinction. Citizens held meetings with their legislators, wrote letters to local newspapers, and asked friends and family to join in. The thousands of stories you shared with legislators about the importance of this program brought it back to life, restoring over $33 million for land protection in Wisconsin.

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Please join us on Saturday July 25 for a unique opportunity: RESPECTING THE HUMANITY OF PRISONERS

Saturday, July 25, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
First Unitarian Society, 1342 North Astor Street, Milwaukee

A unique encounter with the stories, letters, poems, artwork, and essays of Wisconsin prisoners and their families, where we will explore and discover that which reveals their feelings, experiences, and hopes.

Event Co-Sponsors:
ACLU of Wisconsin, The Body & Soul Healing Arts Center, First Unitarian Society, JusticePoint, MICAH, Prison Action Milwaukee, Project Return, Wisconsin Community Services (WCS), WISDOM

Presented by the Buddhist Peace Fellowship - Milwaukee

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Immigration Action and More!

1) WISDOM has an important immigration action in Racine!

Next Thursday, July 23, 6:30 pm
Emmaus Lutheran Church, 1925 Summit Avenue, Racine

The event will lift up the issue of Drivers’ Cards for immigrants. WISDOM is calling on Wisconsin to join the growing number of states that allow undocumented workers to drive legally. WISDOM has long supported this initiative, which will make our roads safer, allow thousands of people to breathe easier as they go to work or to church or take their children to school, and which will make life much easier for law enforcement.

We will rally people to support the efforts of State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa, who will soon be introducing a bill in the state legislature to allow for drivers’ cards. Besides Rep. Zamarripa, we expect other legislators will join us. And, we will be joined by a couple of busloads of people coming from the Gamaliel National Training.

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Scott Walker, F-Bomb, My Mom

By Jeri Bonavia WAVE - Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort

Monday, fresh from announcing his bid for the White House, Governor Walker bragged to supporters about his “A+” NRA rating, pretending it was all about being “fierce advocates for our hunting heritage…”

Give me a break! Scott Walker has been working shoulder-to-shoulder with the radical gun lobby, helping them force their reckless “anyone, any gun, anywhere” vision on our state. That’s not protecting our hunting heritage; that’s an affront to our hunting heritage — and it’s an ugly attack on our values and the culture we cherish.

This photo, from a new gun shop in Wisconsin called F-Bomb Ordnance, says it all. THIS is the gun industry’s terrifying new vision of the forests and fields of our state:

There’s a whole slide show of these alarming paramilitary-fantasy photos on F-Bomb’s website, along with the tagline: “BE THAT GUY!”

No thanks!

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2016 Follow-Up Q & A regarding 2016 BHD budget

Mental Health Task Force Update

Mental Health Board member and Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force Co-chair Mary Neubauer had submitted follow-up questions regarding the 2016 Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division Budget request. The response to budget follow-up questions and related attachment 1 are attached to this message for your reference. Sincere thanks and appreciation to the BHD staff for responding to the original questions and the follow-up questions regarding the 2016 BHD budget request.

Followup questions 1
Followup questions 2

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Good News and Calls for Action

1) Congratulations! Sometimes, hard work really does pay off. Because of the efforts of WISDOM, and about 30 other organizations and coalitions, Governor Walker vetoed the provision from the budget that would have expanded the Payday Loan industry. Thanks to all of you who made phone calls and who helped raise awareness about this attempt by the legislature to sneak through a provision that could never pass if it had to be explained in public.

2) If you have not already done so, this week would be a good time to contact your State Senator and Assembly Representative to ask for their support in the effort to encourage the President to “Ban the Box” for federal jobs and for federal contractors. This would mean the removal of the box on job applications that asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime. (That question can still be asked later in the process, but it would remove it from the very top of the application.) Click here to find your state legislator.

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7/12/2015 State Budget Vetoes

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update on State Budget

Governor Walker signed the biennial budget today. It included a total of 104 vetoes. The Governor’s veto message and the full list of vetoes can be found online at: http://doa.wi.gov/Documents/DEBF/Budget/Biennial%20Budget/Governor%27s%20Veto%20Message/2015-17%20Veto%20Message.pdf

Here is a listing of vetoes of particular interest to the disability community – there may be additions as we continue to review the approved budget and the Governor’s vetoes.

BadgerCare Plus Coverage for Childless Adults
Section 1797

This section requires the Department of Health Services to submit two reports to the Joint Committee on Finance regarding changes to the BadgerCare Plus coverage for childless adults. The first report must be submitted to the Committee prior to submitting a waiver amendment to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and must summarize the provisions of the waiver and estimate the fiscal impact of any changes. The second report is required to be submitted to the Committee summarizing any provision approved by the federal government and must estimate the fiscal impact of those approved provisions.

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Common Ground Update - Town Hall Meeting Tuesday


Tuesday, July 14th

  • 5:30pm - Pre-meet
  • 6:00pm - Meeting

Central Library - Centennial Room, 733 N 8th Street, Milwaukee

if you can attend. You do not need to be from District 4 to attend.

Wear your Common Ground T-Shirt!

Meeting will center around the plans for the Arena along with other District issues. Click HERE for flyer.

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Survival Coalition Sends Veto request to Governor Walker:

Survival Coalition has worked with and appreciated the diligence and attention Joint Finance Committee members and other legislators have taken to listen to constituents concerned about how changes to a critical and complex long term care system, Medicaid, personal care, and education can directly impact the daily lives of people with disabilities. While the committee has made modifications, substantial concerns remain.

There are several areas of the budget that may result in negative or disproportional impacts to people with disabilities and their families, or are large scale changes in which Survival Coalition is not confident all the necessary technical and other fixes are included in the final budget bill.

You can find the full letter on our website or click this link:

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WEDC Investigation Is Needed

BY Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

July 11, 2015

As Scott Walker announces a run for the White House, the sleaze and incompetence of his office have become obvious to the public, causing many questions to arise.

The Republican Party’s open records tampering failed. The failed initiative was followed by another taxpayer give-away article published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at the hands of Walker’s corporatestein monster, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

The corporate monster WEDC took another hit after it was reported that WEDC lent $1.2 million to a businessman who had a history of troubled finances.

Just last week, Scott Fitzferald stated to the media that Walker and his office were directly involved in the drafting of the proposed changes to the Open Records Law. But Walker is not one for taking a fall. To take focus away from his own reason why he would like to see the Wisconsin open records law changed, Walker told conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes on WTMJ-AM that the idea didn’t come from him. Interesting. Walker did not initiate the removal of the open records changes from the budget until all hell broke loose from the political left and right.

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Letter from the WCMH to Governor Walker regarding biennial budget

Mental Health Task Force Update

As you know the state budget has been approved by the Legislature and has gone to Governor Walker for his review and approval. The attached letter is from the Wisconsin Council on Mental Health and asks Governor Walker to consider vetoing some budget provisions which as seen as “potential to have a significant and disproportionate impact on adults and children with mental health disorders”. Also note that the new Chair of the Council Is Matt Strittmater of LaCrosse. We look forward to working with Matt and thank outgoing Chair Shel Gross for his tremendous leadership and his partnership with the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force.

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Major WEDC Issues & Timeline

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

July 10, 2015

The Mother Jones report: “Scott Walker’s Office Was Part of a Sneaky Effort to Keep His Records Private” link is below. It seems clear that this action, to tamper with Wisconsin’s open records law, comes on the heels of several news reports published in media outlets all over Wisconsin highlighting a loan given to a failing corporation without staff review. Reports indicate that taxpayer money was used by the Building Committee Inc. to pay for luxury cars including a Maserati.

The link below is to an article in which it gives a quote by Paul Jadin, once a key WEDC administrator who left the agency not long after its creation.

The quote is clearly a smoking gun statement directly from Jadin’s mouth.

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The State Legislature pushed through a potentially very damaging provision in the state budget that is now before the Governor. Please call the Governor’s office, (608) 266–1212, right now - even after hours - and leave a message: VETO THE EXPANSION OF THE PAYDAY LOAN INDUSTRY. it will only take a minute.

Background: At the very last minute, the Joint Finance Committee added language which would dramatically increase the amount of business that could be done by predatory Pay Day Loan businesses. As the article linked here makes clear, the new law would allow predatory lending establishments to get involved in all kinds of businesses, ranging from insurance to liquor stores, thus increasing their capacity to squeeze even more money from the people who can least afford it.

Besides being bad policy that makes it easier to exploit vulnerable people, it is a policy change that was introduced in a very undemocratic way. There has been no hearing on the matter, and no public discussion. There is not even a single legislator willing to claim it as his or her idea. It is something the legislature is ashamed of: it is why it was done by night.

The Governor needs to veto the provision and instruct the legislature to have the courage to debate the issue on its own merits, rather than try to sneak it into the budget.

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Hearing Regarding Home Care Workers - You are Invited

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Common Ground - Need your vote on the WPR Arena Poll TODAY



IMPORTANT: Vote to OPPOSE public money (your money) to help build the arena NOW!

Please vote on the WPR Poll NOW! Tell your friends to vote!! It’s important our voice be heard.
http://www.wpr.org/big- question-taxpayer-money-new-milwaukee-arena

If you missed Keisha Krumm on the Joy Cardin show, you can download or listen to it here:
http://www.wpr.org/shows/big- question-should-public-help- pay-new-milwaukee-arena

We don’t mind a new arena - it’s great to have new sports arena. What we do mind is our hard earned money paying for it for a long time when they have the money to pay for it themselves.

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Information about July 9th Mental Health Board Meeting

Mental Health Task Force Update

Reminder: The next Mental Health Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday July 9th, 2015 at 3 PM. It will include time for public comment on the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division’s Outsourcing of Acute Behavioral Health Services. The meeting will be held at 3 PM at Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex Auditorium, 9201 Watertown Plank Rd. Click here to view flyer. If you are not able to attend the meeting, and wish to submit testimony, contact the office of BHD Administrator Pat Schroeder for guidance on submitting your comments. The number is 414–257–5202. The Mental Health Board web pageis http://county.milwaukee.gov/BehavioralHealthDivi7762/Mental-Health-Board.htm. There is still no mechanism to sign up to receive notice of these meetings - the only opportunity to get information is that web page, so please spread the word to your network.

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Belling, Trump! Bigots Who Know No Better

By Robert Miranda, Editor: Wisconsin Spanish Journal

July 8, 2015

The face of bigotry doesn’t necessarily have to be white. The common face of bigotry is ugly, and bigots have an abundance of that.

For Milwaukee’s Mexican community, the racist attack by Mark Belling of WISN radio was a wakeup call for Latinos. It was a notice to the community that no matter how hard Latinos worked. No matter how hard Latinos provided for their families. No matter how hard Latinos contributed to the general well-being, economic prosperity and cultural enrichment to society, in the eyes of Bigots like Mark Belling, we’re still nothing but “WETBACKS.”

Now Donald Trump comes to the front of the world stage and proceeds to insert foot in mouth.

After riding down on his escalator stairs in one of his overrated hotels and casinos, Trump waltzed up to the podium to give his presidential announcement speech. From there he proceeds to say that, when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

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Can you, the People believe the disingenuousness and lengths Bauman and Stamper will go

By Mary Glass, Editor: MPA Public Policy Review

  • Union officials say one of the main obstacles to an agreement is the transit system’s plans to hire retirees as part-time drivers.

Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman and Alderman Russell Stamper II released a joint statement:

“The work stoppage by the Milwaukee County Transit System bus drivers may be just another news story for many across Milwaukee and the metro area, but for tens of thousands of City of Milwaukee residents it is a major, life-altering hardship.

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Last Minute Effort By Governor Walker Posse to Undermine Open Records - Democracy

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

July 7, 2015

What does Governor Scott Walker and his posse have to worry about? What are they trying to hide?

This past week the State Republicans tried to sneak in a rider amendment to gut Wisconsin’s open records law as lawmakers prepared to pass the biannual state budget. The rider amendment basically would have prevented the public from accessing documents the public is entitled to review to ensure our government is operating cleanly.

The last minute effort was thwarted however when grass roots groups from liberal and conservative sides of the political arena raised objection in unison. Not only did the public come out in force to stop this sneaky anti-democratic action, Republican law makers and Wisconsin’s Republican attorney general cried foul.

Who introduced this rider? Turns out that was a secret as well. Apparently, no one wants to claim authorship of this attempt to block the public from obtaining documents from the government.

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Now GOP Wants To Gut Open Records Law in Wisconsin: http://www.wisfoic.org/ and http://host.madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/republicans-vote-to-dramatically-scale-back-oversight-of-lawmakers-other/article_8901f2df-1ec2-5e74-b6ea-4a1f006aacf5.html

Dear Attorney General Schimel:

It has come to my attention that, despite your public assertions (6/1/15 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) that you will uphold and expand the Wisconsin Open Records Law, the WI Department of Corrections continues to withhold from the Felmers O. Chaney Advocacy Board the public records containing the answers to these questions:

  • How many paroled or on probation people by race break a rule, but don’t commit a crime, yet get sent to Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) for evaluation of whether they return to prison or go to an Alternative to Prison (ATR)? This procedure effectively cuts off these individuals from their families and usually ensures that they will lose their job attained after being released from prison.

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Update on 2016 budget for Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division

Mental Health Task Force Update

We would like to update you on the current status of the 2016 Behavioral Health Division Budget. We continue to add links with budget information to the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force web page.

The next Mental Health Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday July 9th, 2015 at 3 PM. It will include time for public comment on the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division’s Outsourcing of Acute Behavioral Health Services. The meeting will be held at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex Auditorium, 9201 Watertown Plank Rd. Click here to view flyer. If you are not able to attend the meeting, and wish to submit testimony, contact the office of BHD Administrator Pat Schroeder for guidance on submitting your comments. The number is 414–257–5202.

Thanks to Mental Health Task Force Steering Committee Mark Flower who spoke at the June 25th Mental Health Board meeting and presented a portion of the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force budget Testimony, and also shared copies of the Task Force survey on County Budget priorities. These are both posted on our web site at: http://www.milwaukeemhtf.org/2015/06/04/2016-milwaukee-county-behavioral-health-division-budget.html

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All PEOPLES CHURCH OFFICE HELP NEEDED: transit rider support

Dear Friends,
As you know, the transit work stoppage means working folks that ride the bus need help to get to work. All Peoples has been blessed to organize carpools the past 2 days. We’ve got riders and drivers lined up for tomorrow as well.


If we do not get sufficient volunteers we will have to move the effort out of the church or jeopardize rides for folks.

If you can help with the office, please complete the attached form. Pastors, if you can share your admin staff for a volunteer shift that will make a huge difference!!

Peace, Pastor Steve

Can you help drive for transit rider support? https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Vam1FZsMSrXiQH29mChLJJ47_McY0MSJO6R5J1aSpSI/viewform?c=0&w=1

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Milwaukee County - BHD - Family Advisory Council - July 22, 2015

We are pleased to announce our “Kick-Off” of our new Behavioral Health Division - Family Advisory Council (FAC)

The FAC will advise on BHD services with a focus and opportunity to engage family members and significant supports of those individuals served in order to improve the family and patient experience.
Please share this exciting information.

Jennifer Bergersen, MSW
Chief Clinical Officer, Milwaukee County BHD

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Governor Walker: Hey! Don't Worry About It! WEDC Shame

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

June 30, 2015

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has a hot mess on his hands. His signature jobs-making agency, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, or WEDC, has become an albatross riding along in a repo man sought Maserati.

But before we indulge in the notion that we too can possibly have Wisconsin taxpayers buy each of us a Maserati, allow me to bring you up to speed on what WEDC is and why you should pay attention to what can be potentially Governor Scott Walker’s biggest scandal to date.

WEDC was created in 2011 by Governor Walker, who decided to replace the Wisconsin Department of Commerce with the WEDC. Why did he do this? Well, Walker, who promised that he would create 250,000 jobs in the state his first term in office, created WEDC to help him achieve that lofty goal.

But as anticipated by those who saw Walker’s action as nothing more than a pipe dream, Walker did not reach his goal of 250,000 promised jobs.

However WEDC, the agency that was supposed to help Walker create jobs instead created the hot mess for Walker I previously hinted at.

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Upcoming Events!!!! June 30th


Issue Night will be held Thursday, July 16th, (Fellowship 5:30pm) Meeting will begin at 6:00pm at Mt. Zion Baptist Church 2207 North 2nd Street
All MICAH Taskforces will be present at this meeting. If you are looking to get involved or learn more information about the taskforce please come and join us at issue night

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The NEW BREED of Politicians spoke at SATURDAY TALK, June 27, 2015


MPA LLC Communication

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June 25, 2015

What say you?


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BREAKING: SPLC wins groundbreaking lawsuit

Just hours ago, we won a landmark court victory in the fight for LGBT rights and acceptance.

After a three-week trial, a jury in New Jersey agreed with us that JONAH – a group promoting gay-to-straight “conversion therapy” – violated that state’s consumer fraud law by claiming it could change someone’s sexual orientation.

Our case exposed conversion therapy for what it is – an abusive scam that our expert witness called “a form of sexual abuse.”

It put to rest the idea that LGBT people suffer from a mental disorder and should be “cured.”

We’ve made history today. This is the first verdict ever to proclaim that conversion therapy is a fraud.

I couldn’t be prouder of our legal staff and our clients for speaking out against this practice – one that inflicts harm on too many young people and stigmatizes the LGBT community.

This victory belongs to all of us. Thank you for supporting our work.

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Walker should be ashamed

Gov. Walker signed it.

My phone has been ringing off the hook with reporters asking for comments after Gov. Scott Walker signed a package of NRA-backed bills into law yesterday afternoon.

I can sum up my response in one word: Shame.

Barely a week after nine church-goers were slaughtered at their own bible study and smack in the middle of one of the worst sprees of gun violence Wisconsin has ever seen, and THIS is what Walker calls leadership? It’s appalling.

Make sure everyone knows where Gov. Walker’s priorities are by sharing this graphic on Facebook right now — while the news is still spreading.

Our elected officials should be spending their time passing laws that we know will save lives and reduce gun violence — starting with background checks on all gun sales.

Instead, Gov. Walker just showed exactly what his A+ NRA rating means by repealing the 48-hour cooling-off period formerly required to buy a handgun in our state.

I couldn’t put it any better than state Representative Lisa Subeck:

“Instead of heeding the public’s call for commonsense reforms that keep us safer, Governor Walker and legislative Republicans have chosen to bolster their credentials with the NRA and other extreme right-wing interest groups.”

I couldn’t agree more. If you feel the same, show it — call Walker out right now.

Let’s go,

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Call to Action: Oppose Rent-to-Own


WISDOM has a history of working to ensure consumer protections, especially on issues that impact those with limited incomes. Many of our affiliates have worked on payday loan and auto title loan issues. We call on your support once again! Joint Finance Committee and the state Legislature are trying to sneak in policy to permit rent-to-own stores to not disclose interest rates during the final stages of Wisconsin’s budget process.

Rent-to-own stores let people rent products like electronics or furniture with the option of eventually buying them. Many such stores don’t operate in Wisconsin because the state’s Consumer Act forces them to disclose their interest rates, which can run more than 200 percent. Using high-cost financing contracts that require customers to make weekly or monthly payments, rent-to-own stores have a business model to intentionally prey on the poor much like payday loan stores.

What’s at stake:
Without credit checks or down payments, rent-to-own agreements are especially attractive to customers with poor or no credit. However, the interest rates charged on these transactions can be as high as 200 to 400 percent. An appliance costing $600 retail can end up costing a customer $2400. Currently, Wisconsin treats rent-to-own transactions like credit transactions and requires certain consumer protections, including the disclosure of interest rates. The Joint Finance Committee is working to remove these protections by exempting rent-to-own agreements from the Wisconsin Consumer Act.

What you can do:

  1. Call your legislator: Tell them that proposed policy in the state budget to exclude Rent-to-Own transactions from the Wisconsin Consumer Act is wrong! It’s wrong to charge 200–400% interest rates and not disclose the cost upfront! Consumers should know and understand the total cost and terms of what they are purchasing. Need help finding your legislator? http://legis.wisconsin.gov/

  2. Join the press conference: Advocates will be holding a press conference at 10:00 am on Monday, June 29th in the Assembly Parlor at the State Capitol in Madison.

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