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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:

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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 (\. 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

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.


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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, 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

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

  • 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!

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:—B5---James-God/an/313064-PDF-ENG

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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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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Democracy Crumbles Before Our Eyes

Fri. 8/28/15: Now will you fight for gun control legislation?

Tues. 08/04/15: Milwaukee makes another Top 10, the 10 worst large cities… We need new leadership

Tues. 08/04/15: David Clarke for Mayor… Really? Look at the members: what do they all have in common?

By Chris Johnson, Editor/Publisher,

Sat. 7/4/15: WI GOP Attacks Democracy in Dark of Night:

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Highlights from 2015 so far: The Good News and Pivotal Facts

Fri.. 8/28/15: Sanity at Work:

Tues. 8/25/15: WI Gov. one of four GOP presidential wannabes whose failures were shamefully public yesterday after the market plunged deep and fast yesterday, by Washington Post

Wed. 8/5/15: Sanity at work: Abele and Lubar Help Startup Businesses

Tues. 8/4/2015: Wisconsin’s Walker Exposed Yet Again:

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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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Important Dates for MICAH

Friday, August 21: Radical Resistance Resilience 12-pm - 9-pm. 40th Street and Florist Avenue:

A day to embrace the principles of unity, self-sacrifice, political education, physical training and resistance.
  • 12pm Libations and opening ceremony,
  • 1–4pm Workshops, training, healing circles, youth and family events,
  • 5pm Unity March (a family-friendly march declaring Black Lives Matter),
  • 6pm Community Dinner,
  • 7pm-9pm Evening Concert (Event is happening in and around All Peoples Church: Havenwoods Campus (formerly Florist Ave Church), 5975 N 40th Street Milwaukee, WI

August 22: Back-to-School BLOCK PARTY, Saturday, 11-am - 2-pm. 15th & Hadley. Amani Families, Hopkins-Lloyd, Clarke Street School, Auer Avenue School.

Free Event!! Cookout, Kids’ games and crafts, Face painting, Prizes, School supply giveaways, Free Backpacks (backpacks provided to first 125 children) For More Information or to volunteer, call Marcelia at 414–259–1990

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WWFP Executive Director Admits WWFP is Tea Party of the Left UPDATE

By Chris Johnson, Editor,

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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Healthy Minds Make Healthy Bodies & Money

An Interview with Experts at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

By Patricia Obletz, Editor,

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
---Frederick Douglass

Behavioral/mental problems run in every family. Helping children and their parents manage the symptoms is a driving passion for two experts at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (CHW) Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine Department: Medical Director, Robert P. Chayer, MD, and Director of Mental Health Services, Tracy R. Oerter, MS. Chayer is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, and Vice-Chair of Child and Adolescent Services at Medical College of WI Psychiatry Department; Associate Professor. Oerter launched her career in mental health 20 plus years ago and has been at Children’s Hospital for the past 12. She works overtime to reduce stigma, promote suicide prevention and improve access to mental health services to all children and adolescents with innovative and collaborative partnerships.

When asked about the health disparities seen at Children’s, Chayer said they find a disproportionate amount of concurrent physical and mental health issues because they’re based in a pediatric hospital. Oerter added that kids don’t often come to Children’s for emotional trauma, but the trauma surfaces once they’re admitted.

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The Wisconsin Working Family Party Bedfellows

By Chris Johnson,

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,

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

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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 : 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,

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 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 <>

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

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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,


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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:

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. question-taxpayer-money-new-milwaukee-arena

If you missed Keisha Krumm on the Joy Cardin show, you can download or listen to it here: 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 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: and

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:

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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?

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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?

  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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Ending Chronic Homelessness Good Cause if Racial Parity Achieved

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

A few weeks ago, Milwaukee media blew up the town with news reports bellowing the narrative that a plan eliminating chronic homelessness in Milwaukee County in three years is being implanted by our local government officials.

Some call the plan “ambitious” and some label it “fantastical,” but the goal to coordinate a collaborative strategy by county and city officials is sound and should be supported by the community, especially the business community.

I met with Health and Human Services Director for Milwaukee County, Hector Colon to talk about the plan.

Our meeting came about after a few Facebook exchanges highlighting what I felt was a flaw in the plan.

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School Community Partnership for Mental Health

Project Overview

Milwaukee’s School Community Partnership for Mental Health (SCPMH), is an evidence-based, collaborative, multi-system, interdisciplinary approach to improve access and strengthen the capacity of schools, families and providers to improve youth mental health, school success and well-being. The focus is on students in Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) with mental health needs that extend beyond what can be addressed by school staff.

Milwaukee schools, providers and families currently face obstacles to supporting children challenged by mental illness and trauma. 1) There is no cohesive system in place to allow community mental health providers to collaborate with schools and families to meet the mental health needs of children. 2) With Milwaukee’s high poverty rates, the cultural stigma of mental illness and high levels of bussing to schools outside of a student’s neighborhood, families have great difficulty accessing mental health services for their children and the likelihood of collaboration with the school is extremely low. 3) The reimbursement policies and rates for youth mental health service delivery in Milwaukee are inferior to Albuquerque, Baltimore and Minneapolis, the three cities that SCPMH has used as a model due to their success with community-school mental health service integration.

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Updated ADA Celebration MKE Events Schedule

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

This is a reminder of all the great ADA events going on in Milwaukee this week, as well as in July. See below and hope to see you there!

Join the Milwaukee Area Celebration!
25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

#ADA25MKE Upcoming Events
June 22 “The Journey” national touring art exhibit from the Kennedy Center/VSA at

July 24 IndependenceFirst

June 26 National ADA Legacy Bus Tour

10:00–11:00am Harley Davidson Museum Lot with dignitaries
12:00–4:30pm Curative Care Network Lot at Milwaukee County Medical Complex

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6/25 Mental Health Board meeting and Public Input

Mental Health Task Force Update

This is a reminder that the Milwaukee County Mental Health Board is meeting this Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 3:00 pm at Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vliet.

The meeting includes an overview of the proposed 2016 Behavioral Health Division Budget and time for public comment. The agenda indicates that this portion of the meeting will begin at 5 PM and speakers will be limited to three minutes.

The full meeting packet and agenda are available online at

The 2016 BHD budget is very important in terms of the mental health and AODA services that will be available in our county and your voice is important. This appears to be the only opportunity so far this year for members of the public to provide public input at a meeting of the full Mental Health Board, so please consider speaking and spread the word – it is important that the board hears from community members about priorities for the budget and about the urgent needs in the community. The county has not to date publicized these meetings, so members of the public are not aware of this opportunity. At this time, there is no mechanism for members of the public to sign up to receive meeting notices so we encourage you to spread the word.

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Sheriff David Clarke Reception for Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander…A match made in heaven, the only one missing is Chris Abele

by Chris Johnson, Editor/Publisher

What does Sheriff David Clarke, Supervisor Deanna Alexander, and County Executive Chris Abele have in common?

  1. They all were elected as Milwaukee County officials,
  2. They all have conservative platforms,
  3. They all are supported by Republicans, and
  4. They all are registered DEMOCRATS.

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Common Ground - Cyber Action Continues!

We need you to join our Cyber Action Phone Calls, Emails, Letters & Postings!

Please contact your State, County & City Elected Officials and tell them to vote NO on public money for the Bucks Arena for 3 reasons:

  1. They don’t need our money. They are billionaires and can afford to pay for it themselves. They have never proved that they need our public dollars.

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2 important ACTIONS for this week

1) Contact your Legislators

In response to the concerns we have raised about Crimeless Revocations, several state legislators are seeking co-sponsors for a bill that would limit the number of people who could be sent back to prison for “technical violations” of Supervision or Parole to 3,000 per year. That still sounds like a lot of people to have going to prison without being convicted of a new crime. But, this legislation would have two huge benefits: It would reduce the number of people being sent back to prison by 1,000 per year; and, it would make the Department of Corrections have to start paying attention to the criteria for revocations and make them prioritize. It would be a big step in the right direction.

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Very Big News!

by Jennifer Epps-Addison, WJN Executive Director

In 2011, Wisconsin Jobs Now evolved out of a national movement to fight income inequality from the ground up. Since then, we’ve built a network of thousands of people who take action to improve their communities. By going workplace-by-workplace and door-to-door, our activists have won real victories for the working class, despite a harsh political landscape.

From the Fight for $15 to the fight for quality public education, it’s clear that WJN has matured into a robust, multi-faceted organization. With the expansion of our work comes great opportunities. I am very excited to share with you that WJN is merging with another organization born out of the 2011 uprising, United Wisconsin.

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June 19, 2015


by Mary Glass

JUNETEENTH is the date of launch of Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC Milwaukee Bucks Page. It was created June 13, 2015.

  1. 1 - The website is to give notice to the importance of a NEW mega opportunity that is being championed by Scott Walker (Governor), Chris Abele (Milwaukee County Executive) and Tom Barrett (Mayor of the City of Milwaukee) with UNINCLUSIVENESS and PROTECTION of the CORE CONSTITUENTS (especially African American, other People of Color and the Work Challenged).

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Sex Offender Residency in Milwaukee: A Community Conversation

Allen-Field Elementary School
730 W. Lapham Blvd., Milwaukee
Thursday, June 25, 2015, 6:00–7:30 p.m.

Providing information & resources, engaging the community, & finding solutions to the issue of sex offender residency.

Welcome by Milwaukee County Chief Judge Jeff Kremers
Invited speakers include City of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, City of Milwaukee Alderman Jose Perez, State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa, Captain James Shepard from the Milwaukee Police Department, Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) Region 3 Chief Niel Thoreson, & Ann Ranfranz from the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office Sensitive Crimes Division

English-Spanish translation will be available.

For more information:
SOC at 414–672–8090 or
CJC at 414–343–3581

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Future direction

Statement on the Future of Acute Services Provided by Milwaukee County

by Héctor Colón, MS, OT, Director Department of Health & Human Services

The Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division has been a presence in the Milwaukee community for over a hundred years. It has resided on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Campus grounds on Watertown Plank Road since the 1960s. The facility itself is over 900,000 square feet, and was originally intended to provide health care and living circumstances to thousands of individuals with mental illness.

From almost the moment it opened, there were changing national perspectives on best practices for care of those with mental illness — focusing on recovery and community living rather than institutionalization and long term living within the site.

Under County Executive Abele, the Mental Health Redesign Initiative of Milwaukee County began in 2011, embracing the perspective of increasing community based services and a strong focus on prevention of the needs for acute services. Since that time, and based on significant work of many across the community including BHD leaders, we have made great strides in transitioning to a much more community focused model of mental health and substance use services. This has included:

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SPLC on the Emmanuel AME church tragedy

A white man who admires apartheid walks into a black church and kills nine people. According to an eyewitness, he says that he has “to do it” because black people “rape our women” and are “taking over our country.”

It’s an obvious hate crime by someone who feels threatened by our country’s changing demographics and the increasing prominence of African Americans in public life.

Since 2000, we’ve seen an increase in the number of hate groups in our country — groups that vilify others on the basis of characteristics such as race or ethnicity.

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No, it wasn’t “unimaginable”

By Jeri Bonavia WAVE - Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort

Every detail out of Charleston this morning has been horrifying. But this brought me to my knees: As nine people were gunned down around her in their place of worship, a little five-year-old girl had to play dead in order to survive.

Condolences from WAVE supporters have been pouring in, and we’re going to make sure the families in Charleston know Wisconsin stands, and weeps, with them. But we cannot stop there.

There have been too many words, too many moments of silence. This is a time for action. And our own Senator Ron Johnson has both the authority as Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee and the moral obligation to act.

Call on Sen. Johnson to stop ignoring these daily tragedies and start treating America’s brutal gun violence epidemic as the Homeland Security threat it undeniably is.

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Common Ground Center Street Walk with Officers Tomorrow 1:00pm - Can you come?

by Allie Gardner, Milwaukee Rising Organizer: Southeastern WI Common Ground

We are going to be walking Center Street tomorrow with police officers from districts 7 and 3 to talk to business owners about how cops can help businesses on Center. We will meet at St. Catherine’s at 1:00pm, and finish by 2:30pm. Are you able to join us?

Common Ground wants slumlord mortgage company owned by Bucks owner Wes Edens to contribute to foreclosure crisis; what is your property value worth?

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View a new video of our work!


Today David Liners was a featured speaker at the national Health Impact Assessment meeting in Washington, D.C. He talked about how our Health Impact Assessment boosted our work and has helped increase access to alternatives to prison programs.

He introduced a new video that documents the benefits of Treatment Alternatives and Diversions and our work to increase such programing in Wisconsin.

We’re grateful for all our partners, especially today for our partners at the Health Impact Project. And we’re proud of our work. You may see yourself in the video!

Watch the video here:

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June 2015 MLHC General Coalition Meeting - Conversation with Political Leaders

When: Thursday June 25, 2015 from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM CDT
Where: United Community Center 1028 South 9th Street Milwaukee, WI 53204

Please join us on June 25th for the unique opportunity to hear from and ask questions of local and state politicians about current and future policies affecting the health of the Latino community in Milwaukee.

As of May 29th, the following individuals have confirmed their attendance:

State Senator Tim Carpenter, District 3
State Representative Jonathan Brostoff, Assembly District 19
State Representative Daniel Riemer, Assembly District 7
State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa, Assembly District 8

Plan to stay for a networking social at UCC’s Café del Sol following the meeting.

Please RSVP below for the meeting. We look forward to seeing you on June 25th!
can’t make it

Milwaukee Latino Health Coalition

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Leading The Way: Formerly-incarcerated people at the forefront of the movement!

Restore our communities

Restore justice to the criminal justice system

Wednesday, June 24
6:30 - 8:30 pm
All Peoples Church, 2600 N. 2nd Street, Milwaukee

An evening of conversation and inspiration with Dorsey Nunn.
The evening is free of charge, and refreshments will be served.

Dorsey Nunn is the Executive Director of Prisoners with Children, of Oakland, CA. He is also the founder of “All of Us or None,” a nationally-recognized support and advocacy group of and for formerly- incarcerated people. Dorsey is the man who coined the term “Ban the Box” and who sparked the national movement to end employment discrimination against people with conviction histories.

For more information: David Fields (414–412–8838) or David Liners (414) 736–2099

Sponsored by MICAH, the Table of the Saints, Project RETURN and EXPO (“Ex-Prisoners Organizing”, a statewide organization of formerly-incarcerated people, part of the WISDOM network)

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Walker’s WEDC Debacle Needs Aggressive Pursuit for Accountability

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

June 15, 2015

This past week, newly elected Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairwoman Martha Laning stepped into the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) imbroglio by sending a letter to Republican Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel officially asking that he do his job and release the official WEDC records in order for the public to see firsthand what damage has been done to the wallet of Wisconsin’s taxpayers:

The letter by Laning is the first real aggressive action DPW has initiated against Walker, who has enjoyed cupcake responses by DPW in the past few years, for his administration’s destructive policies that have sent Wisconsin into a whirlwind of debt, which Wisconsin’s children and grandchildren will have to pay unless more actions like this continue.

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Mental Health Board budget documents now posted - HB Finance Documents

Mental Health Task Force Update

This is a very important time for the development of the 2016 Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division Budget and we will continue to provide updates to the Task Force as the process moves forward.

The 2016 Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division Budget summary is now posted online at the Mental Health Board web page:

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SPLC files lawsuit to stop unconstitutional policy that triples cost of college

SPLC lawsuit: South Carolina’s tuition policy discriminates against U.S. citizens

Aspiring college students in South Carolina are being denied in-state college tuition rates and financial assistance if they cannot prove the immigration status of their parents. Tuition costs for these students can be tripled. The SPLC has just filed a federal lawsuit to end this unconstitutional practice so that these U.S. citizens can continue their education. READ MORE

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BATTLEGROUND WISCONSIN PODCAST - We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Legislative Audit Bureau

We discuss conservative’s effort to end the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau. The proposal was unveiled this week and widely criticized as bad policy. Most see it as retaliation against the audit bureau for its investigation of Walker’s failed jobs agency, while the bill’s authors insist it was not. We review the numerous items inserted into the state budget by Republicans after the public hearings, including lower standards for 6–12 teachers, more logging in state forests, less funding for state parks and the potential Bucks arena. We thank all the parents, students, educators and community leaders organizing throughout Wisconsin in support of public schools. The panel reviews what’s at stake with the new Bucks arena proposal. The arena is a great opportunity for Milwaukee and Wisconsin if the project is done right. This week the first public hearing was held on the project. We discuss the funding mechanisms for the project and concerns being raised by community and political leaders that the deal does not adequately address job quality for the projected 1000 permanent jobs the project supporters predict the public subsidy will produce. Without clear standards many of these jobs are likely to pay below a living wage. We conclude the show with a preview of the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act exchange subsidies. A bad decision by the court will result in millions of Americans unnecessarily losing access to healthcare coverage, including thousands of Wisconsin residents. The court is expected to rule later this month and the issue will likely dominate the public agenda this summer and into the 2016 Election. Click here for Podcast #197

Citizen Action in the News

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BREAKING: Game-changing news

By Jeri Bonavia, Dir. WAVE - Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort

Just minutes ago, Johns Hopkins University unveiled a study on gun permits and background checks — and the impact in Wisconsin could be enormous (IF our lawmakers hear from enough of us).

According to the new findings, gun deaths in Connecticut plummeted a stunning 40%, following the passage of a law requiring a permit and background check prior to all handgun sales.

Compare that to Missouri, where they did the opposite and paid the price. After the state repealed its permit and background check requirement in 2007, firearm homicides soared 25%.

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Founders Reception

Table of the Saints, Inc. to honor Rev. Joseph Ellwanger at Founder’s Reception

Milwaukee, Wisconsin- Friday, June 26th 4 pm – 7 pm: On Friday, June 26, 2015, Table of the Saints, Inc. (TOTS) will honor their founder, Reverend Joseph Ellwanger at their Founder’s Reception to be held at St. Martin De Porres Catholic Church located at 128 W. Burleigh Street, Milwaukee, WI. 53212.

In addition to honoring Rev. Ellwanger, the keynote speaker will be Dr. David Liners, Executive Director of WISDOM, Inc. Over the past thirteen years, Liners has overseen the growth of the statewide network from three to twelve diverse, interfaith local organizations in Wisconsin. His duties include leadership training, supervision of organizing staff, and work with local and state leadership groups to develop solid organizing plans. He has developed models for building new projects, for moving start up projects into long-term stability, and reorganizing projects in need of re-vitalization. This Founder’s reception helps to raise funds to support the mission of table of the Saints, Inc. which is to assist and mentor our returning citizen’s in their re-entry process.

Table of the Saints, Inc. is a 501c3 organization founded in 2009. The office is located at 2821 N. 4th Street, suite 202 Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212. To purchase tickets, call 414–234–6077 or you may request tickets by email you may send checks to the address above also.

For more information, please contact Charles Hampton as mentioned above.

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Common Ground - it’s time for ACTION!

We need you to join our Cyber Action.

7 Days of Phone Calls, Emails, Letters & Postings!

At our press conference at City Hall yesterday (6/10/15) we launched our Cyber Action Campaign.

We ask you to contact your State, County & City Elected Officials and tell them to vote NO on public money for the Bucks Arena for 3 reasons:

  1. They don’t need our money. They are billionaires and can afford to pay for it themselves. They have never proved that they need our public dollars.

  2. They don’t deserve it. For starters, one of the owners, Wesley Edens, owns Nationstar Mortgage, which controls hundreds of foreclosed homes in Milwaukee. Common Ground members have inspected and documented 300 of these properties. Many are vacant and deteriorating. Mr. Edens is, in effect, a slum landlord. He does NOT DESERVE a tax subsidy when he is severely damaging our neighborhoods.

  3. Milwaukee DOES need and deserve it. This money should go toward many other critical things that truly warrant the investment such as rehabilitating foreclosed homes, fixing playgrounds and parks and repairing streets and potholes.

It is not too late! Let your voice be heard and contact your representatives today. You can reach their contact info here:

Remember to sign the Petition!

Tell 10 of your friends to call & write and have them each tell 10 more people. Let’s see how many we can get calling/emailing/writing. A Common Ground leader will be following up with you to see if you have any questions and to see how many people you contacted. Together we can tell our elected officials just how strongly we feel about saying NO to using public funds for the Arena.

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Milwaukee County Executive Abele’s New Chronic Homelessness Initiative Comes at Odd Time During Bucks Deal

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Spanish Journal

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is proposing aggressive feudalistic-type tax collection tactics against indigent tax payers living in Milwaukee County in order to collect revenue needed to build billionaire owners a stadium so that millionaire basketball players of the Milwaukee Bucks have a palace to play in.

The County Executive, who ironically announced recently that he would be spending $1.8 million annually to end chronic homelessness, makes it clear now why he is spending that money on the homeless initiative: He’ll obviously have to address growing homelessness in Milwaukee County once he starts shaking down indigent seniors and poor people for money he needs for the Milwaukee Bucks stadium.

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July 22nd VA Mental Health Summit Leave No Woman Behind - spread the word

Mental Health Task Force Update

Please see the attached information about the VA’s Mental Health Summit, Leave No Woman Behind, Scheduled for Wednesday July 22 at Marquette. Pre-registration is now available.

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Important Common Ground Action This Wednesday!

WE NEED YOU this Wednesday at City Hall to be present for our Press Conference kicking off our Opposition of Public Funds for Arena Action. It’s time to stand up and be heard. Please RSVP your number of commits from your organization ASAP!

200 people needed to pack City Hall for the kick-off of our:

Common Ground Opposition Action
Opposing Public Funding for the Bucks Arena
Wednesday, June 10th
10:00am - arrive
10:30am sharp - Press Conference begins
City Hall Rotunda 200 E Wells Street Milwaukee

RSVP to me or

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Men’s Health Awareness Month This Week!

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In late May, with no discussion and little explanation or information, the legislative Joint Finance Committee approved an additional $5 million to expand Wisconsin’s prison capacity. There is still time for the State Senate and Assembly to reverse that mistake. But, they need to hear from all of us.

Wisconsin already has the highest incarceration rate in the Midwest. Even worse, we have the shameful distinction of having the highest African-American incarceration rate in the nation. Those are Wisconsin’s problems; NOT lack of prison space.

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Martha Laning elected state Democratic Party chairwoman

Results from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) are in… Martha Laning has beat Koch Brothers financial contributing Nation Consulting sponsored and employee Jason Rae for Chairperson of the DPW. This is good.

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Out of the Pews to Stop MPS Takeover

Thursday, June 11th at 4:30 – 6:00pm

Join MICAH at Bethesda Baptist Church 2909 N 20th Street
Rev. Robert Sims, Pastor

  • We will gather at Bethesda Baptist Church for a prayer vigil to move out of our faith communities and into our larger community to confront the proposed takeover of our civil right to a voice in our public schools.

  • We will emerge from prayer to join our Schools and Communities United partners to lock arms in the struggle.

  • We will march to Hopkins Lloyd Community School to surround our beloved community school with our support. This school belongs to its hard-won community, not to those who would strip our rights and our legacy.

Learn why is MICAH coming out against the proposed takeover by visiting: or

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Democratic Party of Milwaukee County Faces Convention Delegate Tampering Allegations

By Chris Johnson, Editor/Publisher,

It has recently been discovered that the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County (DPMC) has been picking and choosing delegates to vote for the next Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) Chairman position not based on tenure or participation in party activities, but based on support of candidate Jason Rae. To read more open the following article.

An obtained copy of the DPW delegates list revealed that several delegates did not reside in the state of Wisconsin, they currently reside in Chicago according to public records. One of the windy city resident DPW delegates attended Mr. Rae’s wedding this past weekend. This delegate rigging was detailed in the following article.

No one will publish by whom or how the delegate list was compiled, but anecdotally; most of the folks who were shifted to “alternate” status are non-Rae supporters. Many people have asked the DPMC for information on the selection process. None has been provided. All but one of the officers listed on the DPMC website are also listed as Rae supporters. The only name not appearing on the endorsement list is Rep. Mandela Barnes. Many elected officials are choosing to remain neutral in the race for chair.

See the actual filed 990 tax forms declaring contributions to AFP here by Thad Nation’s non-profit.

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Press Release on Congresswoman Moore’s Amendment on Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act

Here is a link to the amendment regarding increased funding for Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) A video link is included at the bottom of the statement:

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County Budget Background for June 9th Mental Health Task Force Meeting Reminder

Mental Health Task Force Update

The Mental Health Task Force web site has a new area regarding the 2016 Milwaukee County Budget with links to information that is now available, key dates, etc. We encourage you to read over the budget information prior to Tuesday’s Task Force meeting, and mark your calendar for the public input opportunities. We will continue to add resource material and links to the page – feel free to pass on any suggestions. Hope to see you Tuesday June 9th at 3 Pm at IndependenceFirst! Thanks to IndependenceFirst for providing interpreters-

Here is a link to 2016 Milwaukee County Budget Information on our web site:

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Questions regarding DPW chair election spark debate and controversy

“What I found to be particularly egregious was that while they made sure that their friends and relatives were delegates - whether they were qualified or not - they made someone as prestigious as Vel Phillips as an alternative.”

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Reminder - Monday June 8th HSRI Report and Recommendations Session - Space is still available!

Make It Work Milwaukee/ Mental Health Task Force Update

Space is still Available for Monday’s HSRI Report and Recommendations Session! RSVP requested to

Milwaukee County Disability Services and the Public Policy Forum are working collaboratively to develop a blueprint for improving services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. See the attached flyer for information about a June 8th session which will present the project draft report and recommendations and provide an opportunity to share feedback.

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June 9th Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force Meeting

The agenda will include time for a Listening Session on 2016 BHD budget priorities. Several Mental Health Board Members will be in attendance to listen

We hope to see you at the June meeting of the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force – Tuesday, June 9th from 3 – 5:30 PM at IndependenceFirst, 540 S. 1st street.

We have a very informative agenda that you won’t want to miss as well as a special opportunity to share your priorities with some members of the Milwaukee County Mental Health Board. The agenda will include the following:

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SPLC makes history in New Jersey courtroom today

by Richard Cohen: President, Southern Poverty Law Center

As you may have seen in The Atlantic, we’re making history today in a New Jersey courtroom.

We presented opening arguments to a jury in our case challenging “conversion therapy” as fraudulent. It’s the first case of its kind anywhere.

Practitioners claim their techniques can “cure” LGBT people of their same-sex attraction. It’s a complete sham, of course – and based on the lie that LGBT people are mentally ill and need to be “cured.”

We’re representing three young men who paid thousands of dollars to a group called JONAH (client Benjamin Unger pictured above). Like many other young people, they ended up psychologically scarred and alienated from their families.

Here’s a sample of what our clients were instructed to do:

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Men’s Health Awareness Month at MATC

June is here and tomorrow is the first day of the above-referenced Men’s Health Awareness Month activities!

We begin with a “Prostate Call to Action” which is a focused discussion about the updates and available treatments for prostate cancer diagnoses. This “Call to Action” is specific regarding the disparities in treatment for men of color who are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

There will be a group of clinicians and other speakers on hand to answer questions and address your concerns. Lastly, we’re excited Governor Walker has proclaimed June 4 “Prostate Cancer Awareness Day” in Wisconsin!

Please come and join us for free coffee and a light lunch between 11am and 2pm and take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about prostate health - for yourself or someone you love!

Patricia Obletz
Artist, Activist, Author, Editor

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ADA 25th Anniversary Celebrations - mark your calendar!

Mental Health Task Force / Make It Work Milwaukee Update

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the landmark civil rights legislation that continues to improve countless lives. There will be a number of exciting Milwaukee events to celebrate this tremendous milestone for the rights of people with disabilities. This includes the “Road to Freedom Bus” which will make two stops in Milwaukee on June 26. The bus is traveling across the country to raise awareness of the ADA.

Please see below for information about ADA 25 events or For more local events & updates visit, check out ADA25MKE on Facebook or use the #ADA25MKE hashtag.

The Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force will also be working on an ADA 25 event for the fall. We will be discussing plans at our June 9th meeting - stay tuned for details!

As part of the celebration, the ADA25 MKE committee is collecting stories of how the ADA has impacted people during its lifetime. What has the ADA meant to you? How will you contribute to progress for people with disabilities in the next 25 years? Tell us.

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Abele Proposes Bus Rapid Transit Line

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

Access to affordable, accessible transportation is a high priority for the disability community. Wanted to be sure folks were aware of County Executive Abele’s proposal for a bus rapid transit line. See the link below to a related article and we will keep you posted as more information is available.

Abele proposes bus rapid transit service for county

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Campaign Theme Research

Mental Health Task Force Update

Please see the invitation below from Nancy Hernandez of ABRAZO multicultural marketing & communication. They are seeking community members to assist with messaging testing for a new statewide public service campaign on prescription painkiller abuse – see below for details and please reply to Nancy (not me) if you are interested!

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Democratic Party Of Wisconsin Chair & Co-Chair Candidate Forum

When:Saturday, May 30, 2015 - 10:00 a.m. - Noon
Where:Wisconsin African American Women’s Center 3020 W. Vliet St. Milwaukee, WI 53208
Moderator: Honorable Judge Russell Stamper Sr.

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Long Term Care Motion

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

For those of you following the long term care provisions in the budget (Family Care, IRIS, ADRCs), the Joint Finance Committee is meeting currently and discussing long term care motions advanced by Democrats and Republicans respectively. The attached motion was proposed by Senator Vukmir and Representative Knudson and is expected to pass. The motion includes the major changes proposed by the Governor including elimination of IRIS and requiring MA-funded long-term care consumers to receive both long-term care and acute care services from integrated health agencies.

You can watch the hearing on Wisconsin Eye – got to and select Joint Finance Committee. A number of disability and aging groups have issued statements opposing the plan – these are posted on the Wheeler Report at:

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Report on our visit to the Capitol

100 WISDOM leaders gathered at the state capitol today for a rousing action! After prayer and inspiring calls to action we delivered letters to Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Wall and legislative leaders Vos and Fitzgerald. You can view them below.

The $5M that the Joint Finance Committee added to the proposed budget for prison expansion last week isn’t a lot of money but it sets a direction: the wrong direction!

States around the nation, some led by Republicans and some led by Democrats, are working hard to reduce their prison populations, and even to close some facilities. They are saving millions of taxpayer dollars, and are restoring people to their families. Unfortunately, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and the Joint Finance Committee seem to have a vision of our state that goes the other direction.

Please contact your state representatives - find them here - and tell them to take responsibility and not vote for a budget that includes prison expansion. If they can find an extra $5M as easily as they did last week, tell them to put it towards Treatment Alternatives, or Transit, or our children’s education. Your message doesn’t have to be long or eloquent but we do need for you to contact them!

If you haven’t already done so, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter so you can stay up to date on our work.

Here is recent media coverage of the work of our Madison affiliate, MOSES. There will likely be more after today’s events. Stay tuned!

Click to download these messages:
Memo to Secretary Wall
Memo to Speaker Vos and Senate Leader Fitzgerald

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STOP the Takeover of Milwaukee Public Schools

The fight is on against Darling and Kooyenga’s proposal to take over and privatize Milwaukee’s public schools.

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This week, Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic will visit two Milwaukee County senior centers where seniors and persons with disabilities may apply for the GO Pass to receive free transit services. The GO Pass allows seniors in our community and persons with disabilities to ride Milwaukee County buses for free.

“This transit program has been popular since its inception and promotes independence for older adults and people with disabilities with the goal of increasing transit ridership,” Dimitrijevic said. “We’re heading in the right direction.”

Dimitrijevic will be at the Grobschmidt Senior Center, 2424 15th Avenue, South Milwaukee, from 10:30 a.m. to 11 on Wednesday, May 27. Dimitrijevic will be joined by Supervisor Patricia Jursik at the Grobschmidt Senior Center. Dimitrijevic will be at the Beulah Brinton Community Center, 2555 S. Bay Street in Milwaukee from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, May 29.

WHO: Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and Supervisor Patricia Jursik

WHAT: Distribution of GO Passes at Senior Centers

WHERE: Grobschmidt Senior Center, 2424 15th Avenue, South Milwaukee, May 27

Beulah Brinton Community Center, 2555 S. Bay St., Milwaukee, May 29

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 27, Grobschmidt Senior Center

12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, May 29, Beulah Brinton Community Center

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Corporate media won’t talk about corporate welfare

More money out of your pocket. Less money for our communities. All so big corporations can pad their bottom lines.

Most Americans believe it’s time to end corporate welfare. If you agree, I need you to watch and share this video right now.

No more handouts for Big Oil, no more special tax breaks for Wall Street.

The first step is to spread the word by sharing this message right now, because MoveOn will be campaigning for the idea that gets the most traction in our Big Picture series.

You can bet the corporate media isn’t going to spend a ton of time talking about corporate welfare. That’s why I am counting on you to get this video out there.

Thanks for all you do.
–Robert Reich

P.S. This is the sixth idea in our series “The Big Picture: Ten Ideas to Save the Economy.” In case you missed the first five, once you’ve watched End Corporate Welfare, be sure to check out the timely Fight for $15, Help Working Families, Expand Social Security, Tame Wall Street, and Reinvent Education videos, which you can access through the website.

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Join us at the Capitol: Outrage on Prison Decision!

Wednesday, May 27, 12:00 Noon
King Street Capitol Steps

The legislative Joint Finance Committee accepted the Department of Corrections request for an additional $5 million to make provisions to INCREASE THE PRISON POPULATION by about 500 people in the next 2 years.

The $5 million that was suddenly available is money that is desperately needed for our schools and universities. It is needed for Treatment Alternatives and Diversions. It is needed for Transitional Jobs.


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Joint Finance Committee to Vote on Future of Long-term Care Wednesday! (1 Attachment)

​​Make It Work Milwaukee/ Mental Health Task Force Update

Please see the ALERT below from the WI LTC Coalition regarding the upcoming Joint Finance Committee (JFC) vote on the future of Wis. Long term-care system scheduled for this Wednesday. Attached is a memo from the WI LTC Coalition sent to JFC members and copied to all members of the state legislature regarding their recommended alternatives in Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) Paper #356, #357, and #358. See links to the full LFB papers below. This is a critical time to take action and contact your state legislators ASAP - prior to Wednesday’s vote.

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Community Advocacy Board Locked Out

An Interview with Milwaukee Leaders for Justice

By Patricia Obletz, Editor

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

Reverend Joseph Ellwanger

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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State Budget Update

Gov. Walker’s proposed budget is full of bad things for working people and the state of Wisconsin. From slashing funding for public schools, parks and recycling programs to even decreasing the number of on duty prison guards that keep communities safe – Walker’s outrageous budget leaves Wisconsin’s public services and infrastructure wholly underfunded.

Let’s be clear Wisconsin’s budget crisis is a direct result of Walker’s bad decisions. First, his irresponsible 2011 tax cut for millionaires ended up costing the state twice as much as projected. Then, in one of the worst decisions any Governor has ever made for Wisconsin, he refused to accept BadgerCare funds to the tune of $345 million over the next two years.

The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee (JFC) is responsible for reviewing and voting on all aspects of the Governor’s proposed budget. This week the JFC held two sessions and has discussed further meetings for the following week.

Here are just some of the harmful budget items that have been adopted during this week’s JFC executive sessions:

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You did it once…

More good news out of Madison

By Jeri Bonavia, Dir., WAVE - Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort

Lawmakers just introduced a bill to keep guns out of the hands of people convicted of a litany of violent misdemeanors, from sexual assault and domestic abuse to criminal gang activity.

Research shows the clearest predictor of future violence is past violence. But all you need is a little Wisconsin common sense to know people with a long history of violence shouldn’t be given easy access to lethal firearms.

Yet that’s exactly what we’re doing — and it urgently needs to change.

Tell your lawmakers to cosponsor LRB 2340, to keep guns out of the hands of violent and habitual criminals.

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WISDOM - Linking Communities across Wisconsin to Work for Justice

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.

There was no discussion about why the Department of Corrections refuses to take common sense steps that will reduce the prison population. There was no discussion of how unsticking the broken old law parole system could safely release hundreds of prisoners, how instituting more alternatives to revocation could stop us from sending thousands of people back to prison who have not committed a new crime.

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Joint Finance to Vote on Future of Long-term Care Next Week!

If you have yet to sign, please do sign on to the Wisconsin Long-term Care Coalition’s resolution on maintaining the current long-term care system.

Next week, the Joint Finance Committee will vote on the future of Wisconsin’s long-term care system. While we are encouraged by the Joint Finance Committee co-chairs’ comments that they plan to remove the proposed changes to Wisconsin’s long-term care system, we are very concerned that this new proposal does not protect key elements of our current long-term care system.

The new plan does not address the following concerns:

  • Keeping our regional, homegrown MCOs
  • Maintaining the separate IRIS program
  • Keeping the current Aging and Disability Resource model

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Psychotic Hallucinations, Delusions Rarely Precede Violence

Mental Health Task Force Update

Thanks to Christine Apple for sharing this resource with the Task Force, regarding a new study from the University of California, Berkeley, which shows that hallucinations and delusions associated with psychiatric disorders seldom foreshadow acts of aggression.

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BadgerCare Childless Adults Changes Will be Voted on May 21

Tomorrow the Joint Committee on Finance is scheduled to vote on proposed changes to the BadgerCare childless adult benefit.

As you may recall, the proposed budget changes health care coverage for Wisconsin’s Childless Adult population by requiring the department to seek a waiver from the federal Department of Health and Human Services to impose monthly premiums for all enrolled childless adults and additional premiums for behaviors which increase an individual’s health risks. Additionally, the waiver will seek the authority to require health risk assessments and screening for drug use to receive benefits. Finally, enrollment for childless adults will be for a maximum of 48 months.

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Assemblyman Zepnick, Author of AT&T Deregulation Bill Has Nation Consulting Partner, Sachin Chheda Backing

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

And Chris Johnson, Publisher/Editor,

May 20, 2015

It was a major political battle in the cable industry that Wisconsin was in the middle of a few years ago. Corporate giant AT&T was flexing its bank account muscle to pass legislation designed to help AT&T operate in Wisconsin with little oversight by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC). Clearly at the time the telecommunications bills being pushed by former Democrat State Senator Jeff Plale and State Representative Josh Zepnick, currently running for Milwaukee alderman, were designed to favor AT&T’s corporate interests over consumer interest in Wisconsin.

That’s right! Two Democrats authored two separate bills that would have given AT&T and other telephone companies the option to no longer be classified as telecommunications utilities. If that happened, the PSC would no longer have the authority to oversee much of AT&T operations.

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Time to close Walker’s failed jobs agency

The failure to close loopholes allowing public money to go to companies outsourcing Wisconsin jobs is only the tip of the iceberg at Walker’s failed jobs agency.

Now, in the headlines this week Walker’s top aides pushed Wisconsin Economic Development Agency (WEDC) to award a taxpayer-funded loan to company whose owner donated the maximum amount to the Walker campaign, created ZERO jobs and lost the state half a million dollars.

Enough is enough! WEDC is not just mismanaged, it’s a flawed model. That’s why we’re joining Citizen Action of Wisconsin this week to demand WEDC be closed immediately:

Sign our joint petition urging your legislators to demand WEDC be closed.

Governor Walker’s continued insistence that WEDC is “very successful” flies in the face of both the agency’s operational failures and Wisconsin’s poor performance in creating middle class jobs.

The only permanent solution to the stunning failure of Walker’s jobs agency is to disband it and create a fully accountable public department with a mission and a real strategy to create family supporting jobs.

No more tax giveaways to corporations outsourcing Wisconsin jobs. It’s time we raise our voices and demand accountability for the continued corruption at Walker’s WEDC:

Tell your legislators to scrap Walker’s failed jobs agency.

Thanks for standing with us,

-The United Wisconsin team

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President Adopts Grayson Amendment Against Police Militarization

By Rep. Alan Grayson (D) FL

Yesterday, President Obama acted to restrict the Defense Department and other federal agencies from providing military equipment to local police departments. In essence, the President adopted, by Executive Order, the Grayson Amendment that I introduced last year in the House of Representatives. My amendment was defeated, but shortly thereafter, we all saw militarized police occupy the streets in Ferguson, Missouri. Live and learn. I thank the President for adopting my amendment. It will help us take a giant step back from the militarization of Main Street, and let us remain the Land of the Free, as well as the Home of the Brave.

Ferguson made the difference, changing attitudes and changing minds. Who can forget what it looked like to see an American community occupied by paramilitary police forces, in military vehicles, pointing military weapons at innocent Americans? It looked like a nightmare. And the fact that in Ferguson, it was a largely white police force deploying military weapons against a largely black community made it even worse.

Click here for the full Statement
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Mental Health Board Finance Committee meets this Thursday 5/21

Mental Health Task Force Update

The Milwaukee County Mental Health Board Finance Committee will meet this Thursday 5/21 at 1:30 at the Mental Health Complex in room 1045. You may click here to the page with information about the Mental Health Board meetings: The Finance committee agenda and meeting packet are posted on this page. The agenda will include discussion of the 2016 Milwaukee County BHD budget and an informational presentation on the “Behavioral Health Division Structure for the Future”. There is still no mechanism to register to receive meeting notices for the Mental Health Board – since so many of you have asked for this information, we will continue to try to give advance notice of meetings. We do encourage you to check the Mental Health Board web page for meeting dates, as well, and to ask the board to provide a mechanism for the public to register to receive notice of these meetings.

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What’s The Matter With Milwaukee Democrats?

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

Chris Johnson, Publisher/Editor,

May 18, 2015

Why do Milwaukee Democrats vote against their economic and social interests? Thomas Frank, author of the book “What’s The Matter With Kansas” gives us a pretty good analysis of what happened in his home state, Kansas, when poor white voters consistently voted for rightwing GOP candidates who openly worked against their own interest.

Clearly, the upside-down world of Milwaukee politics reflects the Wall Street rightwing order that Kansas voters fell for, where a group of collaborating rightwing Democrats, lawyers and CEO’s managed to convince Milwaukee voters that they speak on behalf of the People.

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INVITATION to Wisconsin gun safety summit

If you have children in your life, you probably are concerned about the gun violence epidemic that’s devastating American families and communities across the country. The good news is, new evidence-based approaches to fighting gun violence are now available, including for Wisconsin.

On Thursday, May 28, the Wisconsin gun safety community is holding a summit in Milwaukee to present and discuss those evidence-based approaches, as well as the state’s progress on gun safety, state legislative priorities, and much more.

MomsRising members have been invited to this important Wisconsin gun safety event. Can you make it?

**RSVP here: IT’S FREE!

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Call to Action; State Corrections Budget

Call your state legislators TODAY!

On Tuesday, May 19 the Joint Finance Committee will be making decisions regarding the Corrections Budget. Please make a quick phone call to your State Senator and State Assembly Representative today!

Your message is simple:
1) “Please encourage Joint Finance Committee members to support the Second Chance proposal to return 17 year olds to the Juvenile System;

2) Please encourage Joint Finance Committee Members to reduce Corrections spending on elderly prisoners, people who are being sent back to prison without having committed a new crime, and others who don’t need to be in prison so that money can be freed for treatment alternatives and diversions in the Department of Justice portion of the state budget.

3) There are common sense ways to reduce our prison population while making our state safer. Don’t wait two more years to put them in the budget!”

To find your legislators’ contact information, click here.

Your call, and calls your friends make, can make a difference!

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20 Weeks and WEDC lawbreaking

“Politics with Women’s Health & Closing WEDC” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

by Matt Brusky <>

Battleground WIWe welcome Nicole Safar from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin to discuss callous legislation that would make all abortions illegal after 20 weeks from fertilization. We also discuss the latest scandals at failed WEDC, costly GOP legislation to drug test the unemployed and restrict food available to Wisconsin FoodShare recipients, new John Doe documents, and youth and community organizing behind the protests in response to the Tony Robinson and Nate Hamilton shootings.

Click here to listen to Podcast #193

Latest News

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Joe Wineke, Candidate for State Democratic Party Chairman Calling

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

May 14, 2015

The one time AT&T lobbyist and supporter for deregulation laws that would help corporate giant AT&T and other telephone companies raise rates without receiving approval to raise their rates, among other things, is seeking to become Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW)—again.

Former State Democratic Party Chairman Joe Wineke is asking for voters to consider his candidacy despite the fact that he was asked to resign back in 2007 when Wood County Democrats passed a resolution demanding he do so because he was a paid lobbyist for AT&T while serving as Chairman.

Party leaders at the time stated Wineke either had to serve as DPW chairman or be a AT&T lobbyist, “but he couldn’t do both.”

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Use of Force against Inmates with Mental Disabilities in US Jails and Prisons

Mental Health Task Force Update

This week Human Rights Watch released a report that is very relevant to the work of the Mental Health Task Force: Use of Force against Inmates with Mental Disabilities in US Jails and Prisons. “This 127-page report details incidents in which correctional staff have deluged prisoners with painful chemical sprays, shocked them with powerful electric stun weapons, and strapped them for days in restraining chairs or beds. Staff have broken prisoners’ jaws, noses, ribs; left them with lacerations requiring stitches, second-degree burns, deep bruises, and damaged internal organs. In some cases, the force used has led to their death.”

Here is a link to the report -

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Committee’s GOP leaders to reject Governor’s IRIS, FamilyCare proposals

Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force/Make It Work Milwaukee Coalition Update:

Today Republican leaders on the Joint Finance Committee announced their: “rejection of Governor Walkers long term care changes, while
pursuing limited reforms with strong legislative oversight….” See the links below to the release for more details. This is very encouraging news!

Advocates will be analyzing this proposal and we will share additional information with you as it becomes available.

Thanks to all who have helped to educate legislators on this important budget issue. Additional advocacy is still needed moving forward- stay tuned for updates!


Committee’s GOP leaders to reject guv’s IRIS, FamilyCare proposals:

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Mayor Tom Barrett to speak on the south side

Hi All,

For those of you on the south side who would like an opportunity to speak directly to the Mayor about issues impacting the City of Milwaukee, here is your opportunity! The Mayor will be at the Crime & Safety meeting held by District 2 Police Captain Morales on Thursday May 21st at 6 p.m. This meeting will be held at Vieau Elementary School, 823 S. 4th St. (see below)

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Why Would Leading Democrats Fund Tea Party & Koch Brothers Groups?

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

Chris Johnson, Editor/Publisher,

Milwaukee democrats are bewildered by the revelation that several leading democrats, who own and work at a political consulting firm based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, would give tens of thousands of dollars to support the work of organizations that clearly are tied to Tea Party and Koch Brothers political agendas.

At the center of this fire storm of controversy is the Nation Consulting firm owned by Thad Nation who is listed as the senior partner, and Sachin Chheda who is also a partner at the firm. Listed as a senior associate at the firm is Jason Rae, a candidate for the position of Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

All three are seasoned political advocates who have held key positions and are considered go-to strategists within the Democratic Party network.

But since tax records of a non-profit group called the Coalition for the New Economy surfaced, showing Thad Nation as the principal officer of that group that contributed more than $83,500 to rightwing groups opposed to the Democratic Party, speculation and accusations are buzzing throughout the party.

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Upcoming Poverty Forums

Check the schedule below for Poverty Forums near you!

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The Bureau announces the release of report (15–4) Non-Emergency Medical Transportation.

The Department of Health Services (DHS) administers the State’s Medical Assistance program, which includes non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services for individuals with low and moderate incomes. From August 2013 through June 2014, Medical Transportation Management (MTM), Inc., a transportation broker with which DHS has contracted, provided 2.3 million trips to approximately 69,300 Medical Assistance recipients. We analyzed concerns with the transportation provided by MTM, including no-shows and late arrivals, and we make recommendations to improve NEMT services and enhance oversight by DHS.

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Rally with Us this Week!

We are trying to send 10,000 letters to members of Congress by this Wednesday, May 13. Even if you sent a letter last month as part of Stand Up 4 Transportation Day, you can have a big impact by emailing your Members of Congress again now.

Federal transportation funding, including America’s Mass Transit Account, runs out starting May 31. Another short-term fix is not the solution!

Help us reach our goal to send 10,000 letters to members of Congress.

We need Congress to provide long-term, consistent funding for transportation, including public transit. Help us make it happen by participating in the Rally to Rebuild America.

Thank you,

Mantill Williams
Voices for Public Transit Community Coordinator

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Key Democratic Party Leaders Hold Top Executive Positions in Company That Gave Over $83,500 to Extremist Right-Wing Tea Party & Koch Brothers Front Groups

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

Chris Johnson, Editor/Publisher,

Tax records for years 2011 and 2012 show that the non-profit group Coalition for the New Economy, tied to Thad Nation, founder of the Nation Consulting company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, provided unrestricted funding to ultra-conservative Tea Party and Koch brothers supported non-profit organizations working on a variety of anti-worker, anti-poor, anti-middle-class and pro-Governor Scott Walker groups.

As first reported by blogger Aaron Camp of The Progressive Midwesterner (this blogger was threatened with multiple law suits recently and forced to make minor changes to the original article) Nation Consulting, founded in 2003 by Thad Nation, listed on the company website as the senior partner went into business to offer services to business, non-profit, and political clients.

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You’re Invited: 30 Day “Halfway There” Party!

Please join us Thursday at 6:30pm for this upcoming party and update on a major game-changing campaign we’re working on! And please RSVP so we can plan for food!

RSVP here:

On Thursday May 14th we will celebrate our half-way mark on the 60 day countdown challenge to organize 200 member-owners to support their own professional organizer to push for progressive issues and bring diverse people and organizations together on elections, messaging and trainings!

Join us as we celebrate our accomplishments and share where we are on our member-ownership drive! We’ll lay out our plan for the next 30 days, network with all of those that have already signed up, and share what our structure committee has put together laying out the rights of every member-owner to influence this project!

View the short video here

RSVP to learn more. After RSVPing you will be re-directed to the sign up page in case you’d like to join right away and haven’t yet!

WHEN: Thursday May 14, 2015 at 6:30pm - 8:30pm

WHERE: Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (MTEA) 5130 W Vliet St, milwaukee, wi

CONTACT: Kevin Kane,, 414 550 8280

RSVP here:

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NOW is the Time to Ask Your Legislator How Will They Vote on Long-Term Care!

A vote on the long-term care changes in state budget will come in the next two weeks and with little notice! Many legislators share our concerns about changing Family Care into a statewide insurance program run by large out-of-state companies, eliminating IRIS and dismantling ADRCs. They have told us they agree there too many questions and not enough details about how the changes will impact people with disabilities, older adults, jobs and small businesses.

A growing list of legislators including many leading Republicans and Democrats have signed on to a motion that would stop these changes. We thank them for hearing us!

However, not every legislator has committed to pull these changes out of the budget. They need to commit NOW!

NOW is the time to ask Your Legislator TWO questions:

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Baltimore’s Fires Expose Milwaukee’s Folly

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

May 6, 2015

Since the early 1980s, Milwaukee has witnessed a deteriorated manufacturing industry leading to decaying neighborhoods. While this deterioration of neighborhoods progressed, Milwaukee was fast working on reliving the glory days by focusing its efforts to build up the downtown area in the mid-1990s.

This brings me to a parallel I found most interesting after watching news coverage of the Baltimore riots, and studying the causes for the explosion of human emotions that took place after the death of Freddie Grey.

Closely examining Baltimore’s problems as brought forth by many of the youth who participated in the chaos, Baltimore has much of the same social and economic problems the Black community faces in Milwaukee. Unemployment, poverty, crime, and racial inequality are some of the same social problems both cities face.

The social problems that exist in both cities, combined with the economic problems, create a perfect storm for social upheaval, especially in the central city of Milwaukee.

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Budget Hearing in Milwaukee, May 9

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BREAKING: Budget passes

Dear People,
Speaker Boehner and his radical caucus forced through their “Work Harder for Less” budget last week.

Now Senator McConnell and the GOP-held Senate just passed this.

This budget makes it harder to buy a home, pay for college, or save for a secure retirement. Put simply: the GOP budget is a DISASTER for hardworking families, while millionaires and billionaires make out like bandits.

We can’t let Boehner and McConnell get away with this. Tell Boehner and McConnell to stop ransacking America’s future in favor of corporations and special interests.

Let’s recap the “highlights” (or “lowlights”, as I’d call them) of the GOP’s “Work Harder for Less” budget:

  • slashes programs for K-12 education
  • cuts Pell Grants that help low-income students attend college
  • repeals the Affordable Care Act
  • cuts investments in infrastructure and innovation

And let’s not forget, the GOP budget does all of those things while empowering special interests and paving the way for huge tax breaks for millionaires.

Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell CANNOT get away with this — and we need to hold them accountable. Add your name to the petition today.

Thank you.

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State Agency Unveils “Building Dementia- Friendly Communities” Tool Kit

Guide will help communities and businesses develop ways to be accessible and welcoming to people with dementia and their care partners

MADISON —Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary Kitty Rhoades today unveiled the agency’s latest step toward making the state dementia-capable. The “Building Dementia-Friendly Communities” tool kit provides guidance to communities and businesses to become more accessible and welcoming to residents with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and their care partners—most often a spouse or adult child.

“We know that dementia is a progressive disease, and people who have been diagnosed with it still want to follow their usual routines as long as they’re able. This tool kit offers creative ideas and insights on how to help people with memory issues, and their caregivers, feel more comfortable and less isolated in their communities,” Rhoades said.

View the entire news release.

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Upcoming Public Hearing on SeniorCare

The Department of Health Services is holding a public hearing on SeniorCare. The hearing will be held on Tuesday, May 12 from 10am-noon at Wilson Park Senior Center in the main hall. Wilson Park is located at 2601 W. Howard Ave.

The Department plans to request a three year extension for the popular prescription drug program, so this is an opportunity to express support for the program and to express feelings about the changes proposed to the program in the Governor’s budget.

A quick recap- the budget calls for SeniorCare to be used as a “wrap around” program, meaning that all beneficiaries will be required to sign up for Medicare Part D first in order to access SeniorCare- imposing a financial burden on seniors. The state will lose $17.2 million a year in federal matching funds and $52.9 million a year in rebates from pharmaceutical companies if this plan is implemented.

Hope to see you there! Thank you!

Carmen Pangilinan, MSW
Program and Policy Coordinator: Milwaukee County Department on Aging
1220 W. Vliet St., Suite 302 Milwaukee, WI 53205
Phone: 414–289–6546
Fax: 414–289–8536

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“Wisconsin’s Truth in Sentencing Law”

By Gina Barton

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s award winning law enforcement investigative reporter.

Date: May 19th 2015

Place: Atrium of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist 831 N Van Buren, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Time: Starting time 6PM with a light supper prior to the presentation

RSVP: Deacon Tom at or (414) 961.0332 Prior to May 17th

Gina Barton:
Her coverage has been honored with several national awards, including the George Polk Award, an IRE certificate, the John Jay College Criminal Justice Reporting Award, the Al Nakkula Award and a Casey Medal. Barton is the author of a true-crime book, “Fatal Identity.” She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a master’s degree from Indiana University-South Bend.

Gina writes, “As a results of Wisconsin’s Truth in sentencing law, the state’s prison population has tripled since 1990. Prisoners eligible for parole aren’t getting it. And as of 2012, nearly 1,500 prisoners were housed in solitary confinement in Wisconsin. Fourteen of them had been there for more than 10 years.”

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MICAH’s Annual Gala

St. Louis Activist to Address MICAH Faithful

MILWAUKEE – The Rev. Starsky D. Wilson will be the keynote speaker when the Milwaukee Innercity Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) holds its annual gala May 21 at the Italian Community Center.

The theme for the evening festivities is “Racial Justice through Inclusion.” Several awards will be handed out as part of the program, including Volunteer of the Year.

Wilson is pastor of Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community) in St. Louis. He is also president and chief operating office of Deaconess Foundation, a faith-based, grant- making organization devoted to making child well-being a civic priority in the St. Louis region. Wilson earned a bachelor of arts in political science from Xavier University of Louisiana, master of divinity from Eden Theological Seminary, and is pursuing a doctor of ministry degree at Duke Divinity School.

“Rev. Wilson is a man of faith and principles who has tremendous insight into many of the issues that affect creating a more just society for all people,” said the Rev. Willie Briscoe, MICAH president. “These are challenging times for everyone dedicated to the principles of liberty and justice for all regardless of race, religion, or socio-economic background. I am looking forward to hearing about Rev. Wilson’s experiences in the struggle for justice and how he sees us moving forward as a nation in stemming the blight of racism, injustice and inequality.”

Wilson also serves boards for the United Church of Christ Cornerstone Fund, YMCA of Greater St. Louis, FOCUS-St. Louis a, Teach for America-St. Louis, and stl250. He is a member of the Mayor’s Commission on Children, Youth and Families, for which he co-chairs the Regional Youth Violence Prevention Task Force.

“We are looking forward to an engaging, informative, and uplifting event,” said Catoya Roberts, MICAH executive director and lead organizer. “We invite the public to join us and welcome the support of our many friends.”

Tickets for the evening Gala, which will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 21, are $50 and can be purchased by calling MICAH at 414–264–0805.

Media Contact: Catoya Roberts, MICAH lead organizer
Office: 414.264.0805 / Cell: 414.839.3943

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Two Bucks Owner Makes Racism Part of Business Practice

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

May 3, 2015

Reported by, the owner of a Milwaukee establishment is under fire for racist statements she made against Black citizens.

The report goes on to say that on Friday last week, patrons and employees who were at Two Bucks witnessed the owner of the bar, Lynn Forthaus make racist comments about Black people and refused to serve Blacks who were patronizing the bar.

A Facebook page has been created by witnesses to the racist remarks and actions made by Forthaus. The page is calling for a boycott of the establishment.

The page is filled with witnesses’ first-hand accounts of being approached by Two Bucks representatives and asked to leave.

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Test Drive a Heiser Ford for Grand Avenue Club (GAC)

By Rachel Forman for the GAC community

We hope you will consider devoting 15 minutes of your time so that Grand Avenue Club can raise $6,000.

Please come to the Water Street entrance of GAC (and encourage your friends to do so) this coming Wednesday, May 6 at any time from noon to 8 p.m. to do a test drive for Heiser Ford.

You will need to register, but we can save time by pre-registering someone. Just send Carl Lockrem that person’s name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. Carl’s e-mail address is .

As we can register only one person at each address, we encourage people to use their home address as opposed to their business friends.

Thank you so much.

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No new taxes!

A Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan
May 1, 2015

Seeing that my colleague is fast-tracking his “one-percent solution” sales tax proposal for the new arena is a little more than disconcerting to me and thousands of other residents of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County.

The proposed sales tax – now scheduled for a hearing before the Council’s Judiciary and Legislation Committee on Monday – is NOT good news for the average, hard-working citizen. I mean I’m sorry, but our problem is that we’re already taxed enough!

In my opinion, it seems some of my colleagues are clamoring to raise taxes on the little guy (primarily for an arena) while our real problems and issues go unaddressed.

Click here for the full statement
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Outsource Scott Walker’s Job Agency - Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

This week the panel discuses the latest Walker outsourcing scandal, a $15 minimum wage, the proposed deregulation of for-profit colleges, whether we are ready for Hillary, and Citizen Actions new crowdfunding project.

Click here to listen to podcast #191

Citizen Action of Wisconsin: 221 S 2nd St, suite 300, Milwaukee, WI 53204, United States
You can also keep up with Citizen Action of Wisconsin on Twitter or Facebook.

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Public Hearing Scheduled for Prevailing Wage

Family-supporting jobs with good wages are under attack in Wisconsin. Republicans have introduced a bill to repeal Wisconsin’s long-standing Prevailing Wage laws. After publicly saying they didn’t have the votes to repeal Wisconsin’s Prevailing Wage and would instead slip changes into the budget – the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform has scheduled a public hearing for Prevailing Wage this Tuesday, May 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in room 411 South.

We need you there! Come testify in support of prevailing wage.

Get the facts on Wisconsin’s prevailing wage law. Click here for a flyer on the issue.

Sign the petition to support prevailing wage laws in Wisconsin.

Prevailing wage is the wage set for workers on publicly-funded construction projects. Prevailing wage serves as a wage floor and ensures a level playing field for workers and Wisconsin contractors alike.

Prevailing wage works for Wisconsin; it makes sure construction projects are top-quality by using highly-skilled, well-trained workers to complete projects on time and on budget. Prevailing wage creates value through good wages for workers, stability for contractors and safe buildings for citizens. Protecting prevailing wage laws are essential for safe communities and strong families.

Click here for a prevailing wage information flyer. Sign the petition to support Prevailing Wage.

Then, make your voice heard; testify at the public hearing Tuesday, May 5, at the Capitol in room 411 South.

Meddling with Wisconsin’s prevailing wage is bad news for Wisconsinites. Wisconsin workers are the backbone of the economy. We all deserve safe jobs with family-supporting wages.

In Solidarity,
Phil Neuenfeldt, President
Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer

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MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) will be heading out into the community beginning on Friday, May 1st to continue distribution of the GO Pass to eligible riders. The pass allows all Milwaukee County residents 65 and older unlimited free rides on MCTS buses. The free pass will also be available for residents with disabilities who meet certain requirements*.

GO Pass applications will be processed and the passes will be handed out at 21 senior and community centers throughout the months May and June. To see a complete list of dates, times and locations visit

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800 Strong in Madison Today


Just a few minutes ago, Hannah Rosenthal of Milwaukee Jewish Federation framed our day of advocating for social justice, Rev. Everett Mitchell of Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church in Madison spoke powerfully about the need to fix our criminal justice system, and state Rep. Evan Goyke thanked us for coming today and pledged his support for criminal justice reform. We’ll try to see the other 131 of them later today!

Wisconsin’s people of faith have banded together for justice: Jewish Federation of Madison, Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin, Madison Area Urban Ministry, Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Wisconsin Council of Churches, Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice, and Wisconsin Jewish Conference.

We’ll be breaking out to go in depth on the issues next, rallying at the Capitol and then heading to our legislators’ offices to get action this afternoon.

If you want to help us from your home or office today, you can call the Capitol and let your state legislators know you support the goals of the People of Faith United for Justice Madison Day of Action: call 608–266–2517.

If you are on social media keep track with us on WISDOM’s Facebook page

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Black Media Too Quiet

By George F. Sanders

George Sanders is a long-time activist, artist, author and teacher. Mr. Sanders created the accompanying image.

The Black media’s quietness regarding any beat-up on Gov. Scott Walker’s ‘Act 10,’ or his upcoming Voter ID and DNA requirement stuff, “…is .no mystery,” said Kool Papa Doo Doo, when asked about reactions from Milwaukee’s African American newspapers.

“They have pretty much folded, particularly, along with the Black middle-class and Black elected officials,” Kool-Papa Doo Doo responded.

“They’re scared, wondering what they may or may not get out it ‘cause the media’s acting like this guy is making tracks to the Whitehouse and, they do not want him to have any bad memories about them if he gets there.”

“As you know, they started blaming Walker for what Mayor Barrett and his Unca’ Tom Blacks had been doing for years. But after Walker whittled down county government and defeated the white lady, those Negroes did not know what to do.

“Oh, they do blame all the stuff on no education, no jobs and a dangerous raggedy-ass Central City…but they ain’t ‘bout to say who caused all that shit.

So they, along with Black elected officials, try not to look like they are sucking up to both Barrett and Walker simultaneously.”

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Madison Action Day 2015

People of Faith United for Justice

Is a day-long gathering to learn, discuss, pray and advocate together for social justice issues of importance to all the people of Wisconsin. As a new legislature starts work on the next state budget, our representatives need to hear our values, priorities, and concerns. Together, we can ensure that our commitment to compassion and justice is reflected in that budget.

Racial Equity is an important part to the work that we do.

Each of the issues will break the Structural Racism that exist in our everyday lives.


Issues: 11x 15, Driver’s Cards, Safety Net, Transportation / Conservation, Education

Solidarity at the Capitol
People of Faith United for Justice

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Bethel Lutheran Church 312 Wisconsin Avenue Madison, WI

Travel with us! Bus departs St. Frances Capuchin Building (MICAH Office) 1927 N 4th st Milwaukee, WI 53212 at 7:30am please be there no later than 7:15am (the bus will leave promptly at 7:30am)


  • 7:30 am Bus departs St. Frances
  • 8:30 am Registration & Refreshments
  • 9:00 am Plenary & Lobbying Training
  • 10:30 am Issue Breakouts
  • 12:00 pm Lunch
  • 1:15 pm March around the Capitol
  • 2:00 pm Legislative Visits
  • 4:00 pm Action Day Concludes
  • 5:30 pm Bus returns to Milwaukee

We also have t-shirts available for $5

Please note that all bus seating has been reserved

For more information: 414–264–0805

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“Walker’s budget fails drug test” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We welcome Scott Anderson, executive director, Wisconsin Council of Churches, to discuss a recent letter from 9 faith-based organizations raising moral objections to the forced drug testing of moderate income Wisconsinites. We also handicap changes in Walker’s budget in the context of new polling numbers and pessimistic revenue projects. We look at State Senate’s repeal of the 48 hour background check waiting period for the purchase of handguns. We also dig into new disturbing data linking increasing poverty in Wisconsin to the explosion of low wage jobs without benefits.

Click here to listen

Citizen Action of Wisconsin in the news

Citizen Action of Wisconsin · 221 S 2nd St, suite 300, Milwaukee, WI 53204, United States
You can also keep up with Citizen Action of Wisconsin on Twitter or Facebook.

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ACTION ALERT: Tell Your Legislator to Support the Born Motion to Take Long-Term Care Changes out of the Budget

Assembly Representative Mark Born-R, Beaver Dam, has introduced a motion that would take the changes to Family Care, IRIS and Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) out of the 2015–17 Biennial Budget. Now other legislators need to join Representative Born to make this happen! The motion is not final but is under consideration in the legislature. Representative Born and other legislators have concerns about the lack of details in the current budget proposal and are asking for more research and input from stakeholders to understand how these major changes to long-term care programs will affect people with disabilities, the elderly, their families and the state.

As the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee makes final decisions about what stays in or comes out of the budget, they need to hear that people with disabilities, the elderly, family members and communities want these changes removed from the budget NOW! The current proposal to turn Family Care into a statewide for-profit insurance plan, to eliminate IRIS and to dismantle ADRCs have caused great concern statewide. There are still many unanswered questions.

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Art is Part of my Everyday Routine

By Stevie J. Krueger

Grover Beach, CA. 93433

I live in the moment, which usually means I’m creating something in some form or another I’m spending time with my Senior dog Suki, I’m picking up behind others, I’m changing my life to have a smaller footprint, I’m spending less time reading the news and more time enjoying what little time I feel I have here and doing what is really important, living, laughing, loving and paying it forward. This is my time to create, to share my visions that will continue to create emotions for years to come. I’ve been creating for 44 years already.

My inspiration comes from everywhere and beyond, meditations, dreams, music, the wind, comedy, travel and usually anytime I’m in nature. I’m sometimes inspired by the beauty, and other times by the ugliness of pollution and crime and what it is doing to everything, although that hasn’t shown in my work much. I’m also inspired by past artists who have blazed the trail and set the bars for others. Liebovitz, Dali, Pollock, Picasso, O’Keefe, and could never list them all, past or present.

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Why Elizabeth Warren should run

by Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig is a professor at Harvard Law School and a co-founder of Mayday PAC, which fights to get big money out of politics.

Ed. Note: Whether you want Sen. Warren to run or not, Prof; Lessig spells out the reality of American life today and how, as united citizens, we can gain true equality.

On Monday, I spoke with a room full of MoveOn members about the critical need to get big money out of our politics—and why I think Elizabeth Warren would be the best presidential candidate to take on this challenge today.

Will you watch me explain why and then share the video with friends?

We all know that there’s a laundry list of issues that need to be addressed by our next president—climate change, Social Security expansion, and more. But I believe wholeheartedly that the root of corruption in our government and economic inequality in our country today is the rampant, unaccountable money in our politics.

Elizabeth Warren has consistently shown that she has the independence, passion, and commitment to tackle this problem.

That’s why I hope you’ll watch me explain why we need her voice in the 2016 presidential debate and then share my video with a friend or two.

Thanks for all you do.

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HUGE NEWS: the bill’s in — are you?

By Jeri Bonavia, Executive Director, WAVE - Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort”

Senator Harris-Dodd just announced legislation that she and Representative Berceau will be introducing to close the glaring loopholes in Wisconsin’s broken background check system and take us one giant step toward a safer Wisconsin.

Click here to automatically add your name as a Citizen Co-Sponsor of this landmark background checks bill and stand should-to-shoulder with its authors.

As you know, this has been the top WAVE priority for years — because requiring a criminal background check on ALL gun sales is proven to be one of the single-most effective steps we can take to reduce gun violence and save lives.

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CMS Webinar: Application of MHPAEA to Medicaid and CHIP

Friday, April 24, 2015 | 2–3 p.m. Eastern Time

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and SAMHSA invite you to join a webinar titled “Overview of NPRM (CMS-2333-P) Application of Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).”

CMS recently announced a proposed rule to align mental health and substance use disorder benefits for low-income Americans with benefits required of private health plans and insurance. The goal of this webinar is to inform consumers and providers about the details of the proposed rule and how to submit comments.

Learn More and Register for the Webinar

Visit SAMHSA Health Financing for more information on MHPAEA.

For questions, please contact: Karen Chaves at

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Save the date for these upcoming community events

Update From the Office of Rep. Barnes April 17th, 2015

Dear Neighbor,

Last week we had an excellent town hall meeting on the budget and other issues facing our community at the Villard Square Library. Thank you all who came out to make your voice heard.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend last week’s meeting, mark your calendars for these upcoming opportunities to discuss the issues most important to you.

Wisconsin Economic Unmasked Featuring: Rep. Barnes and Prof. Levine

This Sunday, April 19th, I’ll join UW-Milwaukee Professor and Center for Economic Development Director Marc Levine to discuss the state of Wisconsin’s economy and the effects of the governor’s proposed budget.

Budget Listening Session With Rep. Fred Kessler

Join Representative Fred Kessler and myself on Monday, April 27 to discuss the state budget at Mill Road Library at 4:30 PM. Come make your voice heard.

Mandela Barnes
State Representative, 11th Assembly District

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SDC ‘s Sponsoring NAMI’s “PIECES”: In my Own Voice play and Resource Fair Saturday May 2, 2015

This is the adolescent version of the play, although we also plan to sponsor another event with the adult version of the production latter in the year as well, with that date yet to be determined, most likely sometime in fall or December.

Any agencies interested in having a table at the resource fair May 2nd should contact me at 414–906–2793 office # Or my Cell # 414–217–3618.

Or email me regarding their interest. At:

Thanks again,

Susan T. Sigl M.S. LPC, CSAC, ICS
Clinical Education and Counseling Supervisor, SDC-YFDP Counseling and Wellness Clinic
4041 N. Richards Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212
414–906–2793 office, 414–217–3618 cell, 414–963–2691 Fax

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NAMI Monthly Education

Hope all is well, below is a copy of our most recent monthly educational flyer being held Monday, April 27 2015 from 6:30 pm −8:00 pm at the NAMI office. This month topic is on self care and relaxation. Please help us spread the word.

Thank you;
Aaron Arteaga

Aaron Arteaga
Public Ally, Community Outreach, Family-to-Family Coordinator, NAMI Greater Milwaukee
3732 W. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53208
Phone: 414–344–0447
Web: www.namigrm@org

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Budget Listening Session Saturday, April 18, 2015

By Sen. Harris Dodd

TIME: 10:00am - 12:00pm

Let your voice be heard!
Tell us where you think your tax dollars should be going.
Education? Transportation? Job Creation? Childcare?
We want to hear from you!

WHERE: Black Historical Society Museum 2620 W. Center Street, Milwaukee

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Medicare “Doc Fix” Bill Passes in the Senate

This week, the Senate passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that determines Medicare physician payments and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years. Congress has acted 17 times to temporarily prevent drastic payment cuts resulting from use of the SGR formula. The “doc fix” bill replaces the SGR with alternative, value-driven payment strategies. This is good news for people with Medicare, who need to know their doctors will be there when they need them.

The bill also permanently funds the Qualified Individual (QI) program that helps low-income Medicare beneficiaries afford Part B premiums. While the Senate considered an amendment to the bill to permanently repeal the Medicare therapy caps, this measure was not successful. Instead, the therapy caps exceptions process will be extended for two years. When this exceptions process expires, Congress must again act to ensure that people with Medicare are able to retain access to needed therapy services.

Also extended for two years is federal funding for community-based organizations, including State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs), Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and others, to find and enroll vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries in low-income assistance programs. Like the therapy cap exceptions process, it will be paramount for Congress to ensure this funding continues beyond the two-year extension included in the final bill.

The legislation will now go to the President, and he is expected to sign it into law.

Click here to read the final bill.

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Attorney Arellano Accuses Alderman Perez of Impropriety

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

April 16, 2015

Milwaukee - Alderman Jose G. Perez is alleged to have acted in a manner prominent Madison attorney Victor Arellano considers unethical.

Arellano stated that the impropriety he charges that Perez engaged in sheds light on the reason why his client, Terra Bar on 6th & Bruce in Milwaukee, is being denied having its liquor license renewed by the City of Milwaukee.

On Tuesday, April 6 during the City of Milwaukee Licenses Committee meeting, attorney Arellano was representing his client when, during the presentation, Arellano made the charge that alderman Jose G. Perez approached the owners of the building that Terra Bar is operating from, and sought to have them sell their building to two individuals Perez knows who are seeking to buy the building.

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2 days; 7 dead

by Jeri Bonavia, WAVE - Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort”

Tuesday night, a 4-year-old girl was shot while playing on a couch — a spray of bullets tearing into her house. She survived, but others weren’t so lucky:

A 22 year-old murdered with a gun … a 17-year-old shot and killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time … a double-shooting that left a father of four and a 15-year-old boy dead following a tragic traffic accident that killed a toddler.

All and all, it was 7 dead in 2 days and I’m left with one searing question: Why are our state lawmakers still trying to repeal the 48-hour cooling-off period currently required to buy a handgun in Wisconsin?

Help set their priorities straight: Tell your senator to STOP trying to make it easier for people to get their hands on guns and START working to save lives!

This effort to repeal the 48-hour cooling off period is pointless, irrational, and the last thing our lawmakers should be focused on while the lives of their constituents and neighbors are torn apart by gun violence.

So let’s give them a better idea…

If our elected leaders are ready to reform our gun laws, the first thing they should do is close the loopholes in our broken background check system — not waste time wrapping up another gift to the gun lobby.

Tell your senator where you stand — demand the commonsense laws that we know will save lives.

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Black and White America Yesterday and Today

The persistence of racism in America is explored at the following links from CBS and BBC that portray current and past facts as well as the attitudes revealed by about half of Americans interviewed back in the late 1960s. The speakers on the CBS program are today’s grandparents. One can hope that enlightenment grows as decades pass, and yet the videotaped atrocities by police across the country over just the past 12 months says otherwise. Here then are two links that can help us all examine our own attitudes and beliefs on being human in the 21st Century.


And this:

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Action Alert: Please help clear up the misinformation about the long-term care system

Fact or Fiction? There is a lot of misinformation about Wisconsin’s excellent long-term care system, which includes Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs), Family Care, the self-directed IRIS program, and the integrated Family Care Partnership program. Many of the misleading claims are based on pure speculation and do not have any evidence, data, or credible evaluation to back them up. There is absolutely no evidence that what is being proposed is as good as or as cost-effective as our existing system.

The Wisconsin Long-term Care Coalition: Keep our Care at Home created a great fact check document which is copied below. Please pass it along and use this information when contacting your representatives so we can encourage legislators to base important decisions on facts not fiction!

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THE CONTENT OF OUR CHARACTER, by Shelby Steele: A Review

New York, N.Y.: HarperPerennial, a division of HarperCollins, 1991 xii + 175 pp. $11.00 (paper)

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

About Being Black in America: A Review

My intention when assigned to review Steele’s The Content of our Character was to produce a more-or-less standard review essay suitable for publication in a refereed social science journal. I realized, however, that even before completing the volume’s first ten pages, the review I would ultimately produce was unlikely to conform to that intention.

The overarching reaction generated by those first few pages was one of deja vu: It was as though I was back in 1968 or 1969 (I cannot recall which), reading the Grier and Cobb sizzler, Black Rage 1 (1968). In my estimation, at that time, the Grier and Cobb volume was, indeed, a sizzler, but a sizzling and unfair indictment of a people. There was virtually nothing in my background, at least my conscious background that prepared me for the volume’s self-defeating landscape of Black people; a landscape of a people immobilized by their feelings of race-based inferiority and insecurity. “But these are psychiatrists writing about clinical populations” I cried to those as I vented the rage that reading Black Rage spawned in me. “These are not people typical of the race; they are people victimized by some form of insanity!”

Click here for the full annotated review
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4/15/15 Mental Health Task Force Update and Survey on 2016 Milwaukee County BHD Budget Priorities

Milwaukee County 2016 Budget – Please Complete Our Online Survey

Because we had such a robust agenda at our meeting yesterday, we ran out of time for our discussion of priorities for the 2016 Milwaukee County BHD budget. The Steering Committee had identified some possible priorities which they wanted to share with the Task Force and we had also developed an input form so Task Force participants could share their priorities. Since our time was so short, we are providing the list of Steering Committee priorities and the input form online. Thank you also to those who completed a survey yesterday.

Please click on the link below and share your priorities for the 2016 BHD budget. We will compile the results and share them with the Mental Health Task Force and use them as a resource to share priorities with County staff, the County Executive, and the Mental Health Board. Your input is valued and appreciated – please respond by Tuesday, April 28. Please share with others who have an interest.

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“Public Safety –needs- Leadership”


While the City appears to be in a public safety freefall the Mayor chooses rhetoric and political agenda over a plan for saving our community.

The mayor was quick to point out that no amount of police staffing could make the difference:

(1) The mayor chose the current chief – does he [Flynn] agree with this flawed perspective

(2) The Mayor says, more gun control and state support is needed [where is the local plan];

(3) and finally, he adds that small amounts of marijuana should be permissible and he reminds us that black lives matter. Let me remind him: recently three teens were killed… small amount of marijuana involved! An elderly couple enjoying their senior years, lives cut short… small amount of marijuana involved! Every life in this community matters!

Our police force remains two–to-three hundred officers under staffed; while at the same time this force is furloughed at a rate equivalent to 48,000 man-hours per year!

How can staffing not make a difference?

Our police officers are over tasked; while expected to perform duties of vacant positions – these officers are forced to work without partners, which puts them at great risk, delays response time and ultimately jeopardizes the safety of the entire community… investigations are minimized [detective & forensic investigators: each downsized - 25% less than when Flynn arrived] - - the crook(s) has/have gained the upper hand under this current leadership!

Mike Crivello, President, Milwaukee Police Association

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Sign up for Madison Action Day!

We need to send our numbers in on Friday to assure lunches and packets for everyone.
Contact your local organization to register. Or download a registration form from our website,

One of the concerns WISDOM has identified is the plight of parole-eligible “old law” prisoners, who were sent to prison in the last century, before “Truth In Sentencing.” Many of them have been caught in a bureaucratic nightmare, caught between the varying expectations of the parole commission and the Department of Corrections, caught between the expectations of the old law and the norms and practices that have evolved under Truth in Sentencing.

On Thursday, April 23, at 10 am there will be a hearing to consider the confirmation of Mr. Dean Stensberg as the new Chair of the Parole Commission. The hearing will take place in Room 330 Southwest of the Capitol, before the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety The hearing is open to the public. It is our hope that many citizens will attend and/or let their Senators know of our concerns for the nearly 3,000 parole-eligible prisoners whose lives are deeply effected by the breakdown of the parole system.

You can send a quick note to key decision makers:
Senator Wanggaard (Chair)
Senator Vukmir (Vice-Chair)
Kyle Koenen , (Committee Clerk)

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Gov. Walker “rushing to the altar of the NRA”

By Jeri Bonavia, Exec. Dir., WAVE, Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort

In the final hours of the NRA’s annual meeting Sunday, more tragedies were striking Wisconsin — another three people lost their lives to gun violence. One was just 15 years old.

Meanwhile in Nashville, Gov. Walker flaunted his allegiance to the NRA — bragging about the deadly gun laws he helped pass to win political points with the gun lobby.

As the people of Wisconsin were once again left with the tragic consequences, Mayor Tom Barrett made a powerful public statement that everyone needs to see:

We need to spread this message near and far, so if you’re not on Facebook, please forward this email to anyone you think needs a reminder that more guns lead to more gun violence, not more freedom.

We can, and must, pass commonsense gun laws that will help save lives.

Thanks for sharing this vital message,

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We Did It! And We’re Pressing Forward

Thank you!

Thanks in large part to Voices for Public Transit, National Stand Up 4 Transportation Day delivered a wake-up call for members of Congress.

Here’s just a sample of what we accomplished:

  • Transportation advocates held more than 150 events in communities around the nation.

  • 22,425 supporters signed our petition, and our online “Thunderclap” reached more than 915,000 people on social media.

  • Voices for Public Transit like you sent 11,500 emails to members of Congress.

  • At least 60 people sent letters to the editor to their local news media.

  • More than 19,000 new supporters joined the Voices for Public Transit movement.

So What Happens Next?

One way or another, Congress must act before the Highway Trust Fund and Mass Transit Account run out of funding on May 31. The question is whether they will be able to set aside their differences and make a long-term federal investment in our transportation infrastructure.

We need to reinforce what Congress heard on April 9 by keeping the pressure on to pass comprehensive transportation legislation. Please watch for more opportunities to take action over the next six weeks.

Stand Up 4 Transportation Day was a huge success—and we hope you’ll continue working with us to keep Congress focused on the real goal— improved and expanded public transportation for every community.

Thank you again for your support!

Mantill Williams
Voices for Public Transit Community Coordinator

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How Might Wisconsin accept federal funds for BadgerCare?

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

So how should we be talking about the federal funds for BadgerCare?

  • The upcoming state budget is going to start off with a $315 million hole to cover fewer people unless we accept the federal funds! (URGENT)

  • Tens of thousands of consumers struggling to make ends meet are now buying private insurance plans that are far too expensive for them, and if we accepted the federal Medicaid funds we could make coverage truly affordable. (MORAL)

  • There has been super-majority support (73%) for the referendums on accepting the federal funds for BadgerCare in communities across Wisconsin, now the Legislature needs to listen to the voters. (POPULAR)

  • More and more Republican-led states have accepted the federal Medicaid funds - in the last year alone Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Indiana, Utah, Wyoming, and New Hampshire all moved toward accepting the federal Medicaid funds - more than 27 states! (INEVITABLE)

Kevin Kane, Lead Organizer Citizen Action of Wisconsin

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April 14th Mental Health Task Force meeting

We hope that you can join us for the April meeting of the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force: Tuesday, April 14th from 3 – 5 PM at IndependenceFirst, 540 S. 1st st.

Our agenda will include the following:

  • The state budget includes significant changes to the Crisis Assessment and Emergency Detention process and repeals current law regarding emergency detention procedures in Milwaukee County. Our panel members will share perspectives on the proposed changes to Crisis Assessment and Emergency Detention, and how they might be implemented in Milwaukee County. Confirmed panel members include:
    -Amy Lorenz, Deputy, Community Access to Recovery Services, Director of Crisis Services Milwaukee County BHD
    -Inspector Carianne Yerkes, Milwaukee Police Department
    -Dennis Purtell, Attorney Manager Mental Health Division, Wisconsin Public Defender
    -Kit Kerschensteiner, Managing Attorney Disability Rights Wisconsin

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Tell Your Senator: We Must Pass a Better “Doc Fix” Bill

After years of quick fixes, the House of Representatives recently passed a “doc-fix” bill to solve a long-standing problem with how Medicare pays doctors. This is good news for people with Medicare, who need to know their doctors will be there when they need them.

But there is bad news. The deal has people with Medicare shouldering more than their fair share of the cost. To pay for fixing this broken payment system, the bill increases the cost of premiums and deductibles for some beneficiaries.

Now, it’s the Senate’s turn to vote. The Senate has a chance to make the bill better for seniors and people with disabilities.

Tell your Senator to vote on an amendment to the Medicare “doc-fix” bill to improve the deal for people with Medicare. Pressure is mounting on the Senate to vote on the deal as is. We need your help to make sure the Senate votes on an amendment to secure a better deal for seniors and people with disabilities. Here are some ways the Senate can fix the Medicare doc-fix bill:

  • Eliminate arbitrary restrictions on access to needed physical, occupational and speech therapies

  • Strengthen protections and outreach for low-income beneficiaries

  • Extend expiring funding for Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) that help families stay together at home

We must improve the Medicare doc-fix bill for people with Medicare! Urge your Senator to support an amendment to secure a fairer doc-fix deal for seniors and people with disabilities.

Best regards,

Stacy Sanders
Federal Policy Director
Medicare Rights Center

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Common Ground Update - Open Houses Today!


Saturday 4/11
1:00 - 4:00 PM

2640 N 46th Street
2572 N 49th Street
2528 N 48th Street
5730 W Roosevelt Drive

Come and see the houses we have rehabilitated and are ready for sale! In the market? Know someone that is? Want to show your core team what our MKE Rising campaign is up to? Join us on Saturday.

Attend Tuesday 4/14 to show your support for proposed ordinance!

Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee Meeting
Tuesday 4/14 1:30 PM
City Hall, Room 301-B
200 E Wells Street, Milwaukee

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Officer injured in yet another car theft incident

Milwaukee’s auto theft rate 12 times higher than that of New York City

Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan April 10, 2015

Early this morning on the city’s east side, a Milwaukee police officer was injured when he was struck during an attempted traffic stop of a stolen vehicle. The occupants of the stolen vehicle hit the officer while fleeing the traffic stop, and – fearing for his partner’s life – the other officer fired his service weapon at the fleeing vehicle.

The injured officer was taken to the hospital, and thank God his injuries are not life-threatening.

Milwaukee, with a population of 595,000, has an auto theft rate that is 12 TIMES HIGHER than the rate in New York City! (population 8.5 million). Last year, New York City tallied 7,664 stolen vehicle cases, and Milwaukee had 6,657.

That is almost incomprehensible to me!

Given the level of disorder across Milwaukee, I could hold a news conference twice daily, seven days a week – but I choose to restrain myself.

The level of crime and disorder in Milwaukee is shocking, really. And am I the only one in town who is concerned enough to speak out?

It sure looks that way to me.

Mayor Barrett: Do something, please.

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Milwaukee County Mental Health Board to Meet April 23rd

Mental Health Task Force Update

The next meeting of the Milwaukee County Mental Health Board is scheduled for April 23rd from 8 AM - 12 noon at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex Auditorium, 9455 West Watertown Plank Road. The meeting agenda and packet are posted online at

Because there is not a mechanism to sign up for receiving meeting notices, the Mental Health Task Force is trying to regularly share information about Mental Health Board meetings. The April 23rd meeting is open to members of the public; however, it’s our understanding that there is not an opportunity for public comment at this meeting.

ADA accommodation requests should be filed with the Milwaukee County Office for Persons with Disabilities by calling 414–278–3932 (voice) or 711 (TRS)

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Milwaukee Sex Offender Residency Ordinance: A Panel Discussion

Learn more about this complex community safety issue.

Washington Park Senior Center 4420 West Vliet Street
April 23, 2015 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Who are sex offenders and what are the impacts of the residency requirement?

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Carl Ashley, Facilitator

Panelists include City of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Common Council President Michael Murphy, and representatives from the Milwaukee Police Department and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections

Sponsored by the Milwaukee Community Justice Council

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Who is Alderman Jose G. Perez Working For?

By Robert Miranda: Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

April 8, 2015

The Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) conducted a community survey in order to get an idea of what our community thought about the two competing proposals seeking to relocate the Forest Home Library to either the Hill Building on 9th & Mitchell St., and the proposal that sought to build on property located on South Cesar E. Chavez Drive.

The MPL survey, some argue was “unscientific”, but asked several questions. The two questions most telling about the community’s preference were:

Question #5: “Which proposal increases visibility and expands access to the library?”

The results to this question were as follows:

The Mitchell St.: Proposal: 16.1%
The Cesar E. Chavez Proposal: 83.9%

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State Budget Advocacy Days

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

Thanks to IndependenceFirst for hosting these advocacy sessions about the state budget

Barbara Beckert, Milwaukee Office Director DISABILITY RIGHTS WISCONSIN
6737 W. Washington St., Suite 3230 Milwaukee, WI 53214
414–773–4646 Ext 15 Voice
414–773–4647 Fax

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A Latino Downtown: Missed Opportunity

By Robert Miranda Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

April 4, 2015

My recent commentary regarding the Forest Home Library addresses issues such as community involvement, bureaucratic indifference to community involvement, an alderman who throws the community under the bus and a Hispanic group with a history of going against the Hispanic community.

But I think the biggest issue that my commentary touches on is the fact that the Forest Home Library, had it been relocated to South Cesar E. Chavez Drive, would have been the corner stone to a Latino downtown in Milwaukee that Wisconsin could be proud of.

Indeed, the Cesar E. Chavez Library could have been the anchor to a thriving Latino downtown in Milwaukee.

Cesar E. Chavez Drive, with combination of successful retail stores, various attractions, restaurants and of course an inviting atmosphere, could have become a welcomed addition for Milwaukee.

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Democracy and Fairness

On April 7, citizens will have the opportunity to make an impact on our Supreme Court. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO supports Ann Walsh Bradley for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Justice Bradley is tough, independent and fair. Honoring the true nature of Wisconsin’s nonpartisan judiciary, Ann Walsh Bradley has refused to accept any monetary donations from political parties. We can trust Justice Bradley to make decisions based on the law, not on the wishes of special interest donors.

On Tuesday’s ballot, there will also be a constitutional amendment as well as local elections. We urge you to vote NO on Question 1, the Chief Justice Amendment. The amendment is a power-grab designed by special interests to take away power from the people of Wisconsin.

Click here for a list of locally endorsed candidates.

Vote for democracy and fairness. Vote to uphold the constitution. Vote with the people. Vote NO on Question 1, Chief Justice Constitutional Amendment. Vote for Ann Walsh Bradley for Supreme Court.

In Solidarity,
Phil Neuenfeldt, President
Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer
Wisconsin AFL-CIO

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Vote on April 7!

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update – remember to vote April 7th!

Remember to vote on April 7th – see the helpful reminder at the bottom of this email and thanks to the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities. In addition to the Supreme Court Justice election, there is a statewide referendum regarding how the Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice will be selected. You can view it online on the Government Accountability Board web site, and I have copied it below:

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BC+ renewals - poster and staggered renewals info.

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

Thanks to the Milwaukee Enrollment Network for providing this helpful update - those who are covered by BadgerCare Plus (BC+) need to complete an annual renewal in order to keep their coverage. Last year at this time, the program expanded to include Childless Adults at or below 100% FPL. As a result, nearly 30,000 Milwaukee County residents enrolled in BC+ in April 2014, and thousands more in the months since then (current enrollment stands at 55,604). See below and attached for details and please help spread the word.

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Have You Lost a Loved One to Suicide?

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[NCI] Letter to Joint Committee on Finance from the WCMH

Mental Health Task Force Update

We wanted to share with you the Wisconsin Council on Mental Health Recommendations on the 2015 – 2016 Biennial Budget – please see attached. These may be a helpful resource for you as you communicate with legislators about budget provisions that impact people with mental health needs.

Opportunities to share your perspective with legislators

The state budget process is still underway and you still have an opportunity to share your perspective with legislators. Here are a few options-

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Forest Home Library Relocation Decision Questioned

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

April 2, 2015

In January of this year, Jorge Franco, CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce - Wisconsin (HCCW), announced at their 25th Annual Awards Banquet held at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino, a partnership endeavor to produce a publication called “Vision” with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This announcement started a war of words on Facebook when the publisher of the “El Conquistador” newspaper, a member of the HCCW, criticized the partnership as another example of the HCCW ignoring its mission to the Latino community for not working with Latino owned small businesses.

Joining in on the criticism, among many others, were Jessica McBribe an independent journalist who said “I would think the “Hispanic Chamber of Commerce” would support Hispanic-owned businesses, not help non-Hispanic businesses compete against them. That’s pretty shocking, really.”

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MPA LLC call for Due Process using Core Constituents, TRIAL ATTORNEYS, Courts and Legislators

March 31, 2015
City Center Milwaukee | DAY 211 | Today, Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC announced that it will seek the third branch of government, judicial, for pronouncement, review, definition, understanding/ clarity, enforcement and “due process” in a culture bedeviled of by-design and business-as-usual disenfranchisement of CORE CONSTITUENTS in Milwaukee, the only Class A city in Wisconsin.

The population consists of over a half-million people with 3/4 of the population People of Color.

The Core Constituents being African American, other People of Color and Work Challenged (represents UN-, under-skilled; UN-, under-employed; UN-, under-financed neighborhood-level businesses; disabled; and re-entry.

Re-entry represents those returning from WAR, INCARCERATION, boomerang employment, boomerang retirement and college-certificated graduates unemployed.).

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Milwaukee Board of School Directors Candidate Forum

MICAH Education Task Force Invites you to Milwaukee Board of School Directors Candidate Forum
Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 6:30 – 8:00 pm
St. Matthew CME Church 2944 North 9th Street Milwaukee, WI

All candidates have been invited, whether running opposed or unopposed. We will have a community panel asking questions from each of our sponsoring organizations. We will also take questions from the audience.

Guest Moderator: Mr. Eric Von, Former Talk Show Host, 1290 WMCS-AM Milwaukee

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April 2015 BizTimes Cover Story

Mental Health Task Force Update

We wanted to pass on this story from the BizTimes: “Employers have a stake in the urgent need for mental health care” as well as a link to the April 16th Jewish Family Services Conference on Compassion Fatigue – see the links below.

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Additional listening session opportunity

Hello all,

I have learned about another listening session opportunity that will be held in Wauwatosa tonight:

Representative Rob Hutton (represents South Wauwatosa, 5 wards in Milwaukee and 3 wards in West Allis) is having a listening session in Tosa tonight, Monday, March 30, 2015 from 6pm-7pm at the Tosa Lions Club 7336 St. James Street.

This is in addition to the listening sessions that Rep. Kooyenga, who also represents parts of Wauwatosa, will be holding. It is especially important for Rep. Kooyenga to hear from us since he is a member of the Joint Finance Committee. Rep. Kooyenga is holding 2 listening sessions:

City of Brookfield
Public Library
Monday, March 30th
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
1900 North Calhoun Road
Brookfield, WI 53005


City of Wauwatosa
Public Library
Tuesday, March 31st
7:00 PM – 8:00PM
7635 West North Avenue
Wauwatosa, WI 53213

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“Not Every Problem in the World Has a Military ‘Solution’”

Transcript below; video here:

Last week, Congressman Grayson joined the inaugural installment of “Watching the Hawks,” a new national cable news show. In a far-ranging interview, he discussed what is wrong with Congress, why even many Democrats are afraid to take on the military-industrial complex, whether military spending actually creates jobs, the division of authority between the President and Congress regarding military action, the likelihood of more infrastructure spending, and more. Enjoy:

Tyrell Ventura: “Whether you love him or hate him, the Representative from Florida’s 9th District definitely isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Congressman Grayson, thank you for joining us today, and stepping into the Hawk’s Nest, on our inaugural show. Thank you, sir.”

Rep. Alan Grayson: “You’re welcome. I’m hoping that by the end of the show, you’ll all love me.”

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Organizational Structures and Institutional Racism

By R.L. McNeely, Ph.D., J.D., Attorney and Professor Emeritus: Bader School of Social Welfare University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Just recently, I was struck when watching, pursuant to a friend’s request, a panel discussion focused on the concept of institutional racism. That discussion took place on a college campus in front of a large audience. The discussants were three youngsters who were or had been enrolled as students in that private liberal arts college, or were employed therein. The fourth discussant was a senior social scientist from a research university who had just published an important study on disproportionate treatment by race.

Why was I so struck? I was struck because it was amazing to hear the statements of the three youngsters. None of them were able to articulate a definition of institutional racism and their comments were so murky as to be incomprehensible; at least they were murky about the topic at hand. Their jumbled thoughts revolved around notions of white supremacy, residential segregation, uneven access by the races to public resources, and the residual effects both of slavery and of the Jim Crow era following Reconstruction. But none of the youngsters could connect their thoughts into a coherent definitional or explanatory framework. To make matters worse, their comments consistently revealed an abiding belief that individuals were responsible for the racism meted out by institutions. Indeed, and on the other hand, one of the panelists also seemed fixed on who had been attracted to whom, in their neighborhoods of origin, and on the discriminatory treatment afforded to fat black women.

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MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) will begin handing out the free transit pass, known as the GO Pass, to eligible riders on March 31st. The pass, which was mandated by the County Board of Supervisors, allows all Milwaukee County residents 65 and older unlimited free rides on MCTS buses. The free pass will also be available for residents with disabilities who meet certain requirements*. Both groups are currently allowed to ride on the bus for half fare.

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House of Representatives Votes to Fix Medicare Payments for Doctors

Today the House passed a bill, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R.2), to repeal the formula for physician payment under Medicare and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years. Congress has acted 17 times to temporarily prevent the formula, called the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), from going into effect. H.R.2 would replace the SGR with alternative, value-driven payment strategies. The bill also permanently funds the Qualified Individual (QI) program that helps low-income Medicare beneficiaries afford Part B premiums.

Medicare Rights supports this bipartisan effort to repeal and replace the SGR. Yet, Medicare Rights and other beneficiary advocates are concerned that the current replacement proposal asks beneficiaries to shoulder too much of the cost of this legislation—$30 billion in higher costs would be shifted to some beneficiaries. Reflecting that concern, Medicare Rights wrote a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, expressing the need for additional improvements for low-income beneficiaries as the Senate takes up the legislation.

Click here to read Medicare Rights’ letter to House leadership on H.R. 2.
Click here to read Medicare Rights’ statement about H.R. 2.
Click here to read the text of the House bill H.R. 2.

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Chicago Can Lead The Way With Chuy

By Robert Miranda: Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal
March 20, 2015

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, candidate for mayor of Chicago for the past year has provided the public positions regarding his policies to positively impact how Chicago can provide an opportunity for individuals to meet as equals without regard for race or class. Clearly, he demonstrates with his words ideas for the most effective way to engage in fair housing, safe and vibrant neighborhoods, market affairs, transportation needs and concerns and long term plans for urban development and employment.

Economic justice, good public schools, urban infrastructure up-grades and making sure that Chicago places its citizens at the center of public policy are the ingredients that ensure stability in Chicago. “Chuy” gets it.

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Tell Congress It’s Time for Long-Term Investment

from Mantill Williams, Voices for Public Transit Community Coordinator

March 26, 2015

Voices for Public Transit is already making a lot of noise as we prepare for Stand Up 4 Transportation Day on April 9.

Even before advocates from around the country gather in Washington to deliver a strong, united, bipartisan message to Congress, we want to make sure Congress hears us loud and clear: America needs comprehensive, long-term federal funding for our nation’s transportation infrastructure.

Send an email to your members of Congress today!

April 9 will be an important day for transportation advocates. We want to give it as much impact as possible by laying the groundwork now. Your email to Congress will help us do just that.

Take just a few minutes today to send your email to Congress. Then stay tuned for more opportunities to Stand Up 4 Transportation in your community.

Thank you for your support!

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3/26 Mental Health Board Finance Committee Meeting and Opportunity for Public Input

Planning is already underway for the 2016 Milwaukee County BHD budget. Because of the establishment of the new Mental Health Board, this process occurs earlier and in a different manner than the overall Milwaukee County budget and the opportunities for public input are much more limited than with the overall county budget. The first opportunity for public input will be this week – 3/26 at the Mental Health Board Finance Committee meeting.,

It’s our understanding that the Mental Health Board will be providing two opportunities for public input on the 2016 Milwaukee County Budget.

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One African American’s Perspective on Football, Fathers, Friends, and the American Dream

By RL McNeely, PhD, JD

Attorney McNeely is professor emeritus of social welfare at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a practicing attorney. He has published books as well as numerous articles appearing in professional academic journals. He is a Research Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, he has testified before Congress, and he has served as a consultant for the U.S. Army. His work in the field of domestic violence inspired the NBC documentary, Of Macho and Men. He is listed in Who’s Who in Social Sciences Higher Education, Who’s Who in the Human Services, and Who’s Who in Aging.

Once upon a time, in the days of yore, high school football was a very big thing in Flint, Michigan. Indeed, the Saginaw Valley Conference, within which Flint Northern played, was pronounced by some football commentators, during the years I played (1961 & 1963), as the toughest high school conference in the country. Flint Central, Northern’s arch rival, had, in my senior year, even been proclaimed in some national magazines and other media covering high school football as the best high school football team, ever. The two rivals, each year, ended their respective seasons in a traditional Thanksgiving Day Game, played in Flint’s Atwood Stadium, which often was attended by more than 20,000 animated fans. Games occurring in lackluster seasons would attract fewer fans, but never fewer than 12,000 attendees, per my recollection.

Find Out What McNeely Found in the Coach’s Drawer
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We Like to Name Drop

Yes to Badger Care, No to UW Cuts!
by Kevin Kane, Lead Organizer: Citizen Action of Wisconsin

Tomorrow, we at Citizen Action will be delivering 35,000 plus petitions, including your name, to the final Joint Finance Committee public hearing on the budget in Reedsburg, the last chance for public comment on this backwards state budget, and we want to give your friends and neighbors one last chance to add their name!

SHARE YOUR PETITION: Yes to BadgerCare, No to UW Cuts!

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How to report complaints about NEMT - non-emergency medical transportation for individuals in Medicaid

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

We continue to hear concerns from the community about problems with non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) coordinated by MTM, the Medicaid transportation broker. If you or your clients are experiencing concerns with NEMT, it is important that these be reported as complaints – this is key to ensure that DHS has the needed information about provider performance to address concerns. Currently complaints with NEMT are underreported. This is a reminder that it is important to take the time to report these complaints – please see the directions below and spread the word.

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Watch BlackLivesMatterBeloit

Educate Yourself:

Watch #BlackLivesMatterBeloit —

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Act now to support Go Pass for people with disabilities - County Board to Vote this Thursday - Resolution File No: 15–204

Mental Health Task Force Update

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors is meeting this Thursday, March 26th. One of the agenda items is implementation of the new GO Pass (File No. 15–204) which our coalitions supported during the County budget process. The “GO”, or “Growing Opportunities” pass will allow seniors and persons with disabilities to ride the bus for free. Amendments related to the GO Pass will be considered at this Thursday’s County Board meeting.

When this proposal was advanced during the budget under the leadership of Chairwoman Dimitrijevic, it was our understanding that the definition of disability would be an inclusive one and include individuals with mental health and developmental disabilities, as well as physical disabilities. Supervisor Weddle has advanced an amendment (see attached) which would ensure that all people who meet the definition of disabled within the Americans with Disabilities Act would be eligible for the GO pass. The amendment also provided some provisions for people who do not have a government issues photo ID to be able to otherwise document eligibility and obtain a GO pass. As we know from our work on voter ID requirements, many people with disabilities and older adults do not drive and do NOT have other government issued picture ID cards.

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How BadgerCare can save the UW system

By now you’ve likely heard that Walker’s 2015–17 proposed state budget cuts $300 million for the University of Wisconsin (UW) System.
This threatens to undermine Wisconsin’s world class university system, closing off access and further undermining economic opportunity for generations of future students. But our friends at Citizen Action of Wisconsin have a solution to prevent this disaster that is already getting support from key Republicans in the legislature, and are asking for our support to keep the pressure on: Add your name to the petition demanding Wisconsin stop the cuts to UW by accepting federal Medicaid funds for BadgerCare!

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What Has Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections Got to Hide?

by R.L. McNeely, Chair, Felmers O. Chaney Community Advocacy Board (FCAB)

MARCH 23, 2015

Just a few weeks ago, Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections Director of Research and Policy, Mr. Tony Streveler, spoke before an audience of more than one hundred people at a meeting of Milwaukee’s Community Justice Council. All seemed to be going well until one member of the audience pointed out that Mr. Streveler’s statistics failed to present the fact that Wisconsin has been the worst state in the nation for disproportionately incarcerating blacks. That comment unleashed a torrent of questions and comments focusing on the Department’s practices. One audience member spoke to what he said were inhumane practices in placing inmates in solitary confinement. Privately, that audience member said that the solitary confinement practices of Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections (DOC), in fact, violate the threshold set by the United Nations for cruel and unusual punishment. Wouldn’t it be useful to know if this sanction is disproportionately meted out to blacks?

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Report Analyzes Financial Impacts of Mental Health Complex Downsizing

Mental Health Task Force Update

The Public Policy Forum has just released their report analyzing the financial impacts of downsizing the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex and using the savings to help finance the urgently needed expansion of community based services. See below for links to the report.

Report Analyzes Financial Impacts of Mental Health Complex Downsizing
by The Wheeler Report
Mental Health Complex Downsizing. A report released today by the Milwaukee-based Public Policy Forum finds that Milwaukee. County’s ability to …

Exploring the Financial Impacts of Mental Health Redesign
by Public Policy Forum
Our “Fiscal Analysis of Mental Health Redesign in Milwaukee County” … the anticipated closure of all long-term care beds at the Complex by the end …

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Before you reform evil, you have to see evil.

Rev. Jerry Hancock makes this statement in a ‘For the Record’ TV program that will air on Sunday morning in Madison. It’s posted already, so you can watch it now. He and Talib Akbar, both leaders in WISDOM’s MOSES affiliate, do a great job of educating on the evils of Wisconsin’s prison system, especially the abuse of solitary confinement.

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Open Letter to Starbucks and USA Today

By Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation

The conversation on race in our country is changing. Once a subject left to be discussed by civil rights leaders, organizers and a few non-profits, race is now a topic for many. Names like Renisha McBride, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and so many more have led to widespread conversations on race. The numerous anniversaries marking milestones of the Civil Rights Movement and, yes, that the President IS Black also factor in to discussions about the role race and racism play in our society.

Yesterday we saw a relatively new entrant into the discussion: Starbucks, in a partnership with USA Today. Starbucks has committed to socially conscious practices in the past including hiring vets, banning open weapons in their stores, and supporting gay marriage. A public dialog on race is new for Starbucks. While we applaud Starbucks for their effort to engage a topic that many seek to avoid, and while their efforts seem well intentioned, we, as a national racial justice organization, with a name similar to the hashtag used in the campaign feel compelled to say: As a nation, we need more.

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Leadership Change At Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division

I am writing to inform you all that Susan Gadacz has transitioned out of the position of Deputy Community Access to Recover Services at Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division. I want to thank Susan for her many contributions to the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division. Sue provided leadership to important work including co-chairing the Mental Health Redesign Task Force, and the application process for CCS in Milwaukee County, among other actions as we expanded community based services.

I want to assure the Mental Health Board that this important work will continue. The wellbeing and recovery of patients, families, and the community we serve is a priority for BHD leaders and staff. We remain committed to moving forward with ongoing Mental Health Redesign efforts and to enhancing and expanding our community based services. We also remain focused on strengthening our current partnerships and fostering new relationships that will help us reach the goal of creating a robust community based, patient-centered and recovery-oriented system.

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Emergency Fair Play Meeting Saturday

Anyone interested in Fair Play, Forclosure Issue or the new Bucks Arena - please attend

Emergency Fair Play Meeting
Saturday, March 21st 9:30 - 11:30 AM
St Mark’s Episcopal Church 2618 N Hackett Avenue Milwaukee

Park on Street & Enter doors facing Hackett Ave (doors off parking lot will be locked and not available to enter).

Attention ALL Common Grounders. Saturday’s walk in District 3 has been cancelled. Instead we will be having an emergency strategy session on Home\Field Advantage (our combined foreclosure and Fair Play proposal).

There have been some new developments, including the loss of our Home\Field Advantage sponsor. We want to brief everyone and discuss possible changes and opportunities. We need to decide as a group how we want to move forward. We need to be united and prepared to act quickly.

Any Common Ground leader interested in Fair Play, foreclosure, or the arena should come to this meeting.

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From Wausau to Madison

Rural and Urban Wisconsinites Together 4 Justice

By Melissa Lewis, Wausau

On Wednesday morning I crammed into a van full of my Wausau neighbors and drove to Madison to participate in the “We Rise” national day of action. It was a beautiful day and an inspiring glimpse at what can happen when we all join forces against corporate power.

In Wisconsin, we have some of the worst of what corporate power has to offer. From massive budget cuts to education, to attacks on workers’ rights and families in need, to a malignant prison system that swallows the lives of young black men at a rate higher than anywhere in America. These injustices are all connected to each other. They are all designed to keep power consolidated in the hands of the wealthiest few.

The central Wisconsin farmer who works day and night shouldn’t be struggling to keep the electricity on— but he is. The Milwaukee mother who works two jobs shouldn’t need food stamps to feed her family— but she does. Though their lives are different, they are both hampered by a structure that isn’t working on their behalf. This is why rural Wisconsin and urban Wisconsin must fight for each other- to be divided is to be defeated.

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Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update – March 20 Hearing on State Budget in Milwaukee

Good morning! This is a reminder that State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance will hold a public hearing on the budget in Milwaukee next Friday March 20th from 10 AM – 5 PM at Alverno College, Pittman Theater, 3400 S. 43rd street.

This is an opportunity for community members to attend and be part of the democratic budget process. You may decide to register to speak to the committee and share your priorities on the budget or you may come to show solidarity with others who are speaking. Here are a few tips for the hearings.

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If Mayor Barrett used TIDs Wisely, Poverty Would Fall, Property Tax Relief Would Rise

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Spanish Journal

Chris Johnson, Editor/Publisher,

Here is a basic breakdown on how much residential property owners could save per year if Mayor Barrett, along with the City of Milwaukee Common Council, would terminate TIDs #49 and #56 instead of shifting these revenue streams to finance the downtown streetcar:

  • Revenues to streetcar from donor TID #49: $ 9.7 million Source: TID #49 2013 Periodic Report
  • Revenues to streetcar from donor TID #56: $19.2 million Source: January 7, 2015 LRB Letter
  • Total revenues from both donor TIDs: $28.9 million

  • Number of households in the city of Milwaukee: 228,000 Source: 2013 US Census Bureau

  • Potential property tax relief: $28.9 million/228,000 = $126 per household

This potential property tax relief has one gargantuan hurdle that makes it difficult to see realization however, and that hurdle is called “political will”.

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Schizophrenics Anonymous Support Group

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Sojourner Family Peace Center

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Update on Mental Health Reform Committee hearing

By Mental Health Task Force

The new Assembly Mental Health Reform Committee met this week, and Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force Co-chair Mary Neubauer was among those invited to speak to the committee. Wisconsin Health News covered the hearing and quoted our great co-chair – way to go Mary! See below:

Committee to address psychiatric shortage; advocates speak on priorities

A Republican legislator is working on a bill that seeks to address the shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, which he hopes to introduce by late April.

Manitowoc Rep. Paul Tittl, chair of the Assembly Committee on Mental Health Reform, said at a public hearing Tuesday the bill “is not ready for primetime yet,” but could be unveiled by the committee’s April meeting.

“Our work this session is going to be quite intense, and I think we’ll be able to get some good things done for the state,” Tittl said.

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Young Adult Support Group Resource

Good Morning,

A new support group is starting in Milwaukee for young adults 18–24 who have lost someone to suicide. Flyer attached. It is open to the public and offers a free dinner. Please share with clients, students, friends, family or peers who may be interested.

Thanks you!

Rebecca Frank, CAPSW, SAC-IT, Associate Director of Community Services: Bell Therapy
4929 W Fond du Lac Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53216
(414) 871–6122 x11025

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Law that Boehner broke by inviting Netanyahu to speak to Congress

Dissenting opinion: Congress regularly visits and negotiates with foreign countries. they just can’t do binding things and that hasn’t been violated.

Original poster: At the very least, what has been violated is the respect and honor of the Presidential Office of the United States of America by both Boehner and Netanyahu.

It is my understanding that the US Attorney General could have sought a Supreme Court injunction against Boehner’s invitation or Netanyahu’s acceptance, but the conservative dominated Court would likely avoid the issue as political. Cowards.

Also, the Republicans in Congress interfered in the nuclear arms negotiation with the Iranian government when they sent that signed letter to the Iranians.

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Archbishop Timothy Dolan is Right About ISIS

By Robert Miranda Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

March 12, 2015

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, compared Islamic State (ISIS) to the IRA - saying militants terrorizing the Middle East are a distortion of “genuine” Islam, just as the Irish Republican Army was a “perversion” of Catholicism.

In an interview on CNN, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said, “Remember 30, 35, 40 years ago with the IRA in Ireland? The IRA claimed to be Catholic. And they were baptized; they had a Catholic identity. What they were doing was a perversion of everything the church stood for.”

“And to their immense credit, the bishops of Ireland, every time the IRA blew up a car or a house or a barracks to the British Army, the Irish bishops would say they are not Catholic,” continued Dolan.

When ISIS beheaded 21 of Egypt’s Coptic Christians last month, they claimed to be doing God’s work. They quoted religious sounding terminology like “fighting until the war lays down its burdens,” not ceasing until the Promised Messiah returns to “break the cross” and “kill the swine.”

The Koran likens the murder of an innocent life to the murder of humanity.

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This is moving fast. Speak out now:

By Jeri Bonavia, Ex. Dir., WAVE - Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort

Last week, Congress introduced a bipartisan bill to expand background checks — the single-most effective step we can take to reduce gun violence and save lives.

Meanwhile, back here in Wisconsin, our lawmakers did the opposite: They plowed ahead with legislation that — instead of seeking to save lives — would repeal the 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases in our state.

I’m writing because this irrational bill has a Senate committee hearing tomorrow. And it’s urgent our senators hear from folks in their districts before they make up their minds.

Speak out now: Help flood the Committee with messages urging them to stop this waste of time and get to work fixing our broken background check system.

The Assembly already held its committee hearing on the bill, and things could speed up quickly.

Let’s remind our lawmakers they work for us -- not the gun lobby -- and their first priority should be public safety -- not politics.

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Reclaim Our State: Day of Action March 11

Today, Scott Walker will sign “right to work” legislation, making this latest right-wing assault on working people and family-supporting wages the law in Wisconsin.

For years now, Wisconsin has been battered by pro-corporate policies that have benefited only the wealthy few and big business while putting the American dream further out of reach for far too many. But this is not just a Wisconsin problem.

Across the nation, politicians are rigging the system for big corporations and the very wealthy while families are struggling to get by. This has gone on for too long. Families are fed up and taking action on March 11 to reclaim their stake in government.

As Wisconsinites, we have a choice to make. Are we going to fight each other for breadcrumbs? OR ARE WE GOING TO JOIN TOGETHER AND FIGHT BACK?

We say it’s time to fight back.

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Petition to End Unnecessary Police Violence from

There was little doubt the Department of Justice report on civil rights violations committed by the Ferguson Police Department would be damning. Here’s just some of what it confirmed:

Entire policing strategies were based on generating profit through fines and fees rather than keeping communities safe—and this often meant that people of color were disproportionately stopped, searched, and ticketed without cause. (1)

Residents of Ferguson were sometimes detained, searched, and even placed under arrest without any documentation—meaning oversight of police conduct was nearly impossible. (2)

Police used dogs purely to intimidate people fleeing from police—and the records available to the Department of Justice for review showed that police exclusively deployed dogs against Black residents, including a 14-year-old boy. (3)

The report confirms that the Ferguson Police Department violated the First, Fourth, and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution. (4)

Will you join our allies at ColorOfChange and call on President Obama to use his executive authority to curb discriminatory and violent policing now?

Sign the petition from our friends at ColorOfChange.

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As Heard on the Helpline: Latest Report from the Medicare Rights Center

The Medicare Rights Center counseled more than 15,000 people who called our national helpline with questions about Medicare. As told through their compelling stories, we compiled a new report on the top Medicare issues heard over the year and policy recommendations intended to address these issues and improve access to affordable health care for the 50+ million people with Medicare.

According to what we hear on our helpline, we know that many of our callers have difficulties understanding their Medicare coverage and navigating denials of coverage; transitioning into Medicare because of insufficient or inaccurate information; and affording needed health care services and medicines.

Do you have your own experiences with Medicare? Visit our website today, and share your story.

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Citizen Action Fights for Families!

Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

  • In Wisconsin, CHIP is the federal funding source that pays for BadgerCare for kids beyond Medicaid levels (over the poverty line) and covers over 150,000 Wisconsin children.

  • With CHIP, working parents know that a job loss won’t mean losing their children’s health insurance and a sick kid won’t mean bankruptcy.

  • Congress must keep funding for CHIP so it doesn’t end this year – that way millions of our kids will keep getting the affordable health care they need.

Child nutrition programs

  • Child nutrition programs like school breakfast and lunch and WIC are keeping millions of children fed with nutritious food to grow and learn. These vital services are helping parents meet the basics for their families.

  • Congress must support and improve child nutrition programs like school meals and WIC, so more of our children get the good food they need to grow and learn.

Providing a better future for our children is what America is all about – that means refunding the Child Health Insurance Program and renewing child nutrition programs!

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Dane County NAACP Statement on Police Shooting of Tony Terrell Robinson, Jr.

March 7, 2015


Dane County NAACP Statement on Police Shooting of Tony Terrell Robinson Jr.

Madison, WI-The Dane County NAACP extends our thoughts and prayers to the family of Tony Terrell Robinson, Jr. the 19 year old African American male who lost his life in a police-involved shooting last night.

Each new case of an African American person killed is a grim reminder of the urgent need for reform in the use of force against American citizens. Although excessive use of force disproportionately affects African Americans and people living in poverty, it can affect people everywhere regardless of race, age or gender.

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First Steps in Reforming Wisconsin’s Prisons

NAOMI Leader Ron Alexander has a compelling column in the Wausau Daily Herald, “First Steps in Reforming Wisconsin’s Prisons”.

He notes the success of Marathon County’s OWI Court as well as Eau Claire County’s specialty courts for mental health and for veterans. These are samples of many such alternatives to prison sentences for individuals with treatable conditions that cause criminal behavior. WISDOM has advocated for many of them across the state: we need many more.

Alexander outlines ways the Department of Corrections can responsibly reduce our prison population by 1,500 inmates, thus freeing up $75 million to be used for more treatment alternative and diversion programs.

Read the article. Then tell your state legislators that this should be included in the current deliberations of our state budget!

Join WISDOM in our work for justice across Wisconsin!

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Register Now for Disability Advocacy Day: March 17th in Madison

The budget includes major changes to Family Care, BadgerCare, personal care, SeniorCare, and IRIS is eliminated – come to Madison to learn more and meet with your legislators.


Disability Advocacy Day connects you with your legislators so you can share your story and tell them what issues are important to you. It is sponsored by the Survival Coalition of Disability Organizations

Who: Anyone interested in advocating for persons with disabilities

Date and Time: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 8:15 a.m. Bus departs from Park & Ride at The Mayfair Collection 3:30 p.m. Bus departs from Madison for trip back to Milwaukee 5:30 p.m. Estimated return to Milwaukee

Pick Up Location: Mayfair Collection Park & Ride 11500 W Burleigh St Wauwatosa, WI 53222

Disability Advocacy Day: Monona Terrace Center 1 John Nolen Dr Madison, WI 53703

RSVP: Bus seating is free but limited. RSVP to Amanda or Megan at Life Navigators at 414–774–6255 to reserve your seat.

If you do not need transportation, you can register online at:

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Slamming the doors on democracy

Brothers and Sisters,
Thousands of you rallied today to stand up against attacks on workers, to stand up against attacks on the middle class and to stand up against Right to Work legislation. Despite the bitter cold, we came together to tell our legislators that working people want strong unions and a healthy middle class.

Earlier today, citizens flooded the Capitol to bear witness to the Assembly debate and vote. After just minutes of debate, Speaker Robin Vos ordered the gallery cleared. Clearing the gallery completely shuts the people out of our own democratic process. It is not right. It is not just. It is not a transparent democracy.

Right to Work is wrong for every Wisconsin family, union and non-union – we know that Right to Work will drive down wages, cripple worker rights and slow down the economy.

No matter what happens in the hours ahead in the Capitol building, we will continue to educate and organize in every workplace in every city and every town across our state.

We will not give up, standing together we will ride out this storm, the road has never been easy, our fathers and mothers and grandmothers and grandfathers have fought for all the rights they’ve passed on to us, now is our turn to preserve and protect our heritage. History has called on each and every one of us to defend the middle class and we will move forward, together in unity and togetherness.

In Solidarity,
Phil Neuenfeldt, President
Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer

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State Budget Briefing March 10th at IndependenceFirst/ Joint Finance Budget Hearing 3/20 in Milwaukee

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee

This is a reminder that you are urged to join us for a briefing on the proposed state budget and the impact on people with disabilities and older adults. The briefing is scheduled for Tuesday March 10th at 3 PM at IndependenceFirst, 540 S. 1st st. The proposed budget eliminates the IRIS self direction program, makes major changes to Family Care including adding medical care, allows the state to contract with multiple private entities to perform the functions of Aging and Disability Resource centers, and makes changes to the BadgerCare benefit for childless adults including limiting eligibility to four years. The attached summary from DRW provides an overview of the impact on people with disabilities.

The briefing will be followed by a short business meeting of the Mental Health Task Force – we hope to see you Tuesday.

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Joint Finance Committee Hearings: Mark your calendar!

The Joint Finance Committee hearings have been announced. They receive testimony towards the pending State Budget. WISDOM always has a strong presence at such events. We’ll be lining up people to make statements as well as people to stand in support.

Please mark your calendar for the hearing near you! Talking points and more detail will follow.

These are the hearing dates and locations of Joint Finance Committee hearings:

  • March 18 at Brillion High School. Brillion is between Lake Michigan and Lake Winnebago in Calumet County
  • March 20 at Alverno College in Milwaukee
  • March 23 at the University of Wisconsin-Barron County. Located in Rice Lake, 60 miles north of Eau Claire
  • March 26 at Reedsburg High School. Reedsburg is just west of Baraboo

The hearings will run from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. but could vary slightly according to each venue’s availability.

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Mark Belling Serves The Interest of Those who Want Us Divided

By Robert Miranda, Editor,Wisconsin Spanish Journal

Milwaukee’s voice of buffoonery in the local ultra-conservative radio, Mark Belling once again managed to say something exceptionally moronic.

At issue is a website post authored by Julia Fello, the WTMJ-TV reporter who became his target because she posted on the station’s web page that the right-to-work “… bill would make Wisconsin the 25th state to ban employees from joining a union or pay union dues.”

The post was wrong. The right-to-work law bars private businesses and unions from reaching labor deals that require workers to pay union fees.

Belling instead of just addressing the issue proceeds to attack Fello by calling her a bimbo and an airhead.

Clearly out of line.

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Presentation to the Special Committee on Redevelopment of Foreclosed and Abandoned Houses

Thursday, March 5th 8:30 AM
Meet in the main lobby at City Hall for briefing
200 E Wells Street, Milwaukee

R.S.V.P. to or 414–751–0755

Help Common Ground go on record about Nationstar and Wes Edens connection to many foreclosed houses in our City. This Action will show our commitment to Fair Play and will inform our Alderpeople to TAKE ACTION!

The meeting will begin at 9:00AM in 301-B. Please be present for the 8:30 AM briefing in the main lobby.

Looking for 30 Common Ground representatives to attend! Please wear your Common Ground T-shirt if you have one. We will bring extras for purchase ($10) or to borrow for Action.

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Tell advertisers to ditch Bill O’Reilly

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly once told a harrowing story in which he was attacked during the L.A. riots. According to O’Reilly, he and his colleagues were viciously showered with bricks and other hard objects — “concrete was raining down on us” — by an angry, lawless mob of protestors.

It is quite a story. Too bad this story — like so many other tales weaved by O’Reilly over the course of his long, checkered career — is completely fake. [1] It never happened. And it’s just one of many O’Reilly tall tales debunked in recent weeks; tales designed to promote an agenda of hate.

It’s time to pull the plug on O’Reilly. Tell advertisers: if you support hatemongering, we don’t support you.

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Grassroots Wellness Peer Run Respite & Learning Community


Come see our new house, learn about our program, meet our team, and celebrate with us!

2727 Blackberry Trail, Menomonie
March 13 | 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Please join us! This open house is for partners, supporters, neighbors and community members in our region and across Wisconsin! Learn about our program and approach to peer support. Meet our team and get a tour of the house. All are welcome and we hope to see you there!

For more information please call us at 715–619–0588

Grassroots Wellness is a project of Grassroots Empowerment Project
800.770.0588 |

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Labor Committee Hearing Details

Join us on Monday, March 2, to pack the Assembly Committee on Labor, Room 417 North, as the public hearing on so-called Right to Work legislation begins. We need everyone who supports unions and a strong middle class to register and testify to tell legislators on the Committee how Right to Work legislation will impact your jobsite, your community and your family.

Here are the full details of tomorrow’s hearing:

  • What: Assembly Committee on Labor public hearing on “right to work” legislation
  • Where: Wisconsin State Capitol Building, 417 North (GAR Hall)
  • When: Monday, March 2, 2015 from 10am-8pm
  • Who: Open to the public. All speakers have a 7 minute time limit.

Raise your voice and show your opposition to RTW. Make your voice heard. In the Senate hearing, over 1,751 citizens registered in opposition of RTW and just 25 registered in support.

Let’s keep the momentum and the movement building. Register and testify at the Capitol to oppose RTW, Monday, March 2. Be there to participate in democracy and do all that we can to stop Right to Work.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR, Thursday March 5. The bill will go to a floor vote on Thursday, March, 5. Plan to be at the Capitol for the entire floor debate which may go around the clock.

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Mayor Barrett is Squandering Milwaukee TIDs

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal and Chris Johnson, Editor/Publisher,

To develop the downtown streetcar, Mayor Barrett, we now know, had to create a tax incremental district (TID) to pay the debt incurred by the streetcar project.

TID #82 (East Michigan) was created to pay the debt of the downtown streetcar. However, realizing that TID #82 did not have a healthy revenue stream that the mayor needed to pay on the debt the streetcar project will create, the mayor looked to existing TIDs #56 (Erie/Jefferson Riverwalk) and #49 (Cathedral Place) as the healthy tax revenue streams his streetcar project needed.

Seeing that these TIDs had healthy revenue streams, the mayor moved to amend these TIDs to become donor TIDs and is now proceeding to shift their revenue streams towards paying into the development of the downtown streetcar instead of paying into the taxing entities including MPS and MATC.

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6 corporations own 90% of the media outlets

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Introducing the Community Consultation Team

Mental Health Task Force Update

The Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division has launched the Community Consultation Team (CCT). As the CoC moves toward serving individuals with more acute needs, the service may be of great benefit to programs, especially emergency shelters. Please see the attached brochure for more detail.

Barbara Beckert, Milwaukee Office Director: DISABILITY RIGHTS WISCONSIN
6737 W. Washington St., Suite 3230 Milwaukee, WI 53214
414–773–4646 Ext 15 Voice
414–773–4647 Fax

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster. Based on work by patricia obletz, James Godsil, Godsil, godsil, Sen, kt rusch, Micah Leinbach, Bill Sell, tyler schuster, People's Books Coop, Brian Rothgery, Todd, Anne Steinberg, Philip Philo Kassner, patricia Obletz, patriciaobletz, Vineet, Olde, Worm Mon, Commonwealth Citizen, Theresa Ford, BillSell, marc rassbach, bs, Jacob Hey, TeganDowling, Eddee Daniel, Steve Jerbi, Melanie Hupfer and Peggy Hong.  Page last modified on August 28, 2015, at 06:58 PM

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