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Recall: An End in Sight - Part Two

Tonight's celebratory volunteer potluck put a smile on my face but made me wish I had done more.

Wednesday was my last day as a Recall Walker volunteer. Though I am proud to have been a part of this endeavor, I do have guilt about not doing enough. A few hours a week at the office and gathering signatures is so pale in comparison to what some have done – it’s almost invisible.

There are people like who has worked tirelessly, 7 days a week since the recall began. And , who has eaten, slept and lived this movement since day one. And then there’s Mark Balwinski who has probably put more miles on his car than most of us do in a year. When I ask them where they found their motivations, the answers didn’t surprise me.

“The papers reporting thousands of jobs leaving every month; education getting slashed while property taxes go up; the constant lies. Lawmakers breaking their own laws and then making up new ones for those that they can't find a way to get around. I promised the Ironworker Union that I belong to - wherever there was an attack on Working Families, I'd be there,” says Ironworker Randy Bryce.

And Mark Balwinski shares, “I worked so hard on this for a multitude of reasons. Largely because derailing the train robs future generations of opportunities. (Walker's) arrogant ineptitude cost Wisconsin taxpayers over $100 million, and removed opportunities for business growth and development that would have provided thousands of good-paying, family-supporting jobs at a time when we could really use them.”

Compared to these truly dedicated, hard working people, I am a slacker at best. I am not sure how many signatures I have collected. Not tons. But people like Kelly, Mark and Randy are probably responsible for thousands.

Kelly organized the first mobile unit for signature gathering. You could often see her and her loyal team on public sidewalks all over Racine. She also started a Facebook page devoted to organizing Racine recall volunteers. And she could even be spotted driving around in her PJs scouting out bridges for the Overpass Light Brigade. Hundreds of volunteers braved cruddy weather and passionate opposition because they knew that every signature mattered.

“I couldn't tell you how many hours I've put in. I barely can tell you what day it is,” Randy laughs, “I'm at it by 4:30 every morning - going through e-mails and getting info on what's going on. After work, there's always something to do whether it's a labor meeting, getting signatures or treasurer duties.”

But it is all worth it to Randy because as he stated, “Every autograph is like finding a pearl.”

And though the end is closer than it was 90 days ago, there is still some road to tow.

“We've got a long way to go, but I will enjoy the moment on Tuesday when we turn in the petitions and celebrate that part of the journey in Madison at Monona Terrace. But the real celebrating will come when the effort is complete and we have won the election,” says Mark.

Randy is looking forward to celebrating by shutting down his phone and email for a full 24 hours, and he admits, “I’m sure some quiet tears will be involved.”

Yes, I do wish I had given more of my time and energy. I do wish I would have pressed harder to collect signatures. But fact is, I did something. And that is more than I have done in the past. Involvement is a good thing and this was a lesson I needed. So I suppose I can thank Scott Walker and his pals for that.

But most of all I am grateful for these fabulous volunteers who really rocked it, pounded the pavement and made this happen. They have jobs, kids and many other responsibilities. But they sacrificed sleep, relaxation, entertainment and even meals all to help our state regain democracy and decency. My hat is off, my friends…now get some rest!!

C. Sanders January 15, 2012 at 02:34 PM
From your standpoint, sounds like the plan is working.
jt January 15, 2012 at 02:52 PM
@c sanders and from your stand point, you have proven my point that the right wing is morally bankrupt! you claim to be christians? BLASPHEMY!
C. Sanders January 15, 2012 at 03:07 PM
@john what do Christians have to do with it? Here's some cheese for your whine.
RT January 15, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Can't wait for the recall election so I can vote for Scott Walker again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
LEFTY January 15, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Can't to see the political sociopath start packing.
Ron Clone January 15, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Good job Heather. I'm un-checking the "Send me email updates" box. Keep me posted in our other electronic world. All I did was sign a couple pieces of paper for Kleefisch and Scooter. We have a Dem representing my district. Just hoping now that vanHollen doesn't disenfranchise me for being an "immigrant" from Michigan!
James R Hoffa January 15, 2012 at 06:34 PM
@Milwaukee Ironworkers - So, you did what you did because you believe in some goofball conspiracy theory promulgated by the Daily Kos crowd about the Koch Brothers? Answer me this then, please – if Charles and David are so invested in ‘taking over’ Wisconsin, as your side claims, then why haven’t I read a single report about either of them actually paying a visit to the governor’s mansion during Walker’s tenure, or vice versa? And yet, there have been plenty of reports about millionaire and billionaire campaign contributors paying Mr. Obama a visit in the White House, despite his promise to the American people of closing the White House doors to such people, right? Looks to me like you have this whole thing backwards, doesn’t it?
James R Hoffa January 15, 2012 at 06:56 PM
@john - Walker didn't take money out of anyone's pocket to balance the budget - he merely faced the reality of the situation and made some tough choices. You’re apparently working under the assumptions that public sector employment and wages should be constantly increasing, regardless of the actual needs of the per capita population for government services and the overall financial condition of the totality of the tax base from which those wages are funded. Those are some pretty ‘elitist’ sentiments, don’t you think? If a business in the private sector suffers a major set-back or loss, it’s expected that workers will face either lay-offs or decreased compensation, right? So, if the tax base from which public sector employment derives its need for existence and revenues for compensation begins to suffer and contrast, just as your little MS-NBC chart shows has been occurring for the last couple decades, then why wouldn’t the same hold true for the public sector? In case you didn’t realize this, the state can’t print currency – only the federal government can, which is currently $16T+ in debt thanks to Mr. Obama and company.
James R Hoffa January 15, 2012 at 06:56 PM
And when did Walker actually give any ‘wealthy’ people taxpayer funds? Tax breaks don’t count here john, as other states offer businesses these incentives as well, so we must also offer them in order to compete for industrial businesses, otherwise Wisconsin would quickly find itself in the current situation faced by states like Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana – is that really what you want for our children john? The rest of your assertions about Walker are as childish and insane as those that compare him to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. If this is the best you have to offer john, then I can only hope that you’ll grow-up and do so in relatively short period of time.
James R Hoffa January 15, 2012 at 07:00 PM
@BOB 4 - You already mentioned this in your last post. Why the need for redundancy?
James R Hoffa January 15, 2012 at 07:25 PM
@BOB 4 - "My roads are in terrible condition." As compared to what other winter-weather exposed state do you base your comparison upon? "My schools are losing the best teachers." How do you know that they are in fact losing the 'best teachers?' In the consensus reality, the 'best teachers' are those that are most effective in drawing out the potential from within their students, regardless of the circumstances they face, such as Jaime Escalante did. With performance based pay, as advocated for by Mr. Escalante in his book over the 'union' system, the 'best teachers' would have an incentive to stay as opposed to leave, would they not? Your logic is fallacious and unsupported. Try again. "Class sizes are increasing." Is this a fact, or just more rhetoric? Also, as Escalante proved, class sizes aren't really that much of a factor when effective teaching is utilized. The subject matter being taught plays a significant role in this, does it not?
James R Hoffa January 15, 2012 at 07:26 PM
"My Governor is in Texas. He talks to Billionairs (sic) more than he talks to regular citizens." So where's your criticism of Mr. Obama going to Hollywood, NYC, Hawaii, etc and only for the purposes of vacationing and campaign fundraising? Didn't Obama promise us that he'd work tirelessly until unemployment dropped below 6%? I seem to recall that he did and the national unemployment rate is still well above 6% in case you didn’t know this. So where's your outrage? Also, it's your side that’s forcing Walker to campaign early, in case you didn't realize this. As to the 'Billionairs' (sic) remark, if what you’re actually referring to is talking to people with the ability and where-with-all to locate their business operations within the state, and thus provide our state economy with jobs, then isn’t this something that you should be applauding as opposed to ridiculing? And again, where’s the outrage at Obama for making the White House a revolving door for wealthy campaign contributors and bundles despite his express campaign promises to close the doors to such people? A little hypocritical here BOB 4, don’t you think? “My taxes went down $20.” So, the man fulfills a campaign promise and you chastise him for it? Would you rather have seen your taxes increase by upwards of 60%, like Quinn did in Illinois?
James R Hoffa January 15, 2012 at 07:26 PM
“I was a republican.” Not sure about the point you’re trying to make here. You may have been a republican, but you most certainly weren’t fiscally conservative if you’re now supporting the recall effort.
James R Hoffa January 15, 2012 at 07:32 PM
@GearHead - Nicely said! If you haven't done so already, I'd like to invite you to check out my first film review as a part of a new feature that I started, Hoffa's Retro Cinema Club, over on the Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant and Caledonia Patches. http://mountpleasant.patch.com/blog_posts/hoffas-retro-cinema-club-among-giants-1998 Thanks, --JRH
James R Hoffa January 15, 2012 at 07:33 PM
@john - If you haven't done so already, I'd like to invite you to check out my first film review as a part of a new feature that I started, Hoffa's Retro Cinema Club, over on the Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant and Caledonia Patches. http://mountpleasant.patch.com/blog_posts/hoffas-retro-cinema-club-among-giants-1998 Thanks, --JRH
James R Hoffa January 15, 2012 at 07:43 PM
@HRG - Glad to hear that you enjoyed the potluck and thank you for providing us with all the photos from the event, even if I don't agree with the underlying goal/intent of this recall effort. Also, I can't believe that you're making a 'hero' out of Kelly Gallagher, as her 'Root River Siren' blog spews nothing but hatred and divisiveness. She is an extremely closed minded individual and constantly views anyone who disagrees with her political convictions as an 'enemy.' How does this kind of attitude help us at all when recent elections have made clear that the state and country as a whole are about equally divided when it comes to political ideology? Just something for you to think about. Also, if you haven't done so already, I'd like to invite you to check out my first film review as a part of a new feature that I started, Hoffa's Retro Cinema Club, over on the Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant and Caledonia Patches. http://mountpleasant.patch.com/blog_posts/hoffas-retro-cinema-club-among-giants-1998 Thanks, --JRH
Cynthia January 15, 2012 at 08:39 PM
john, the public sector says they did not take a pay raise in previous years so they could keep better benefits, yet healthcare rose over 20%.... so wouldn't you say they got over a 20% raise?
Cynthia January 15, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Another thing john, most Federal Workers pay 25% of their 'EMPLOYEE' SHARE of healthcare. WI public sector was asked to pay 12.6%.......... why the tears?
jt January 15, 2012 at 08:54 PM
@cynthia, you are assuming that all public worker are in the same healthcare coverage. well , they are not! we took freezes in my community plus got cheaper insurance through the teamsters union. so we actually saved our town $500 per man per month. and got locked in rates for three years at a time. so your 20% figure is not accurate for many public workers unless they were in the state plan, and well, that's run by the state! so the 20% increase is who's fault there?
jt January 15, 2012 at 09:03 PM
cynthia, you don't understand that not all in the same healthcare or pension plans! you are only going by the #s of state employees! most small towns and villages are really not even on the same pages as that! and as in your own profile statement , " i don't care, i earn what i have and you can't have it!. well , the governor is stealing from me like a dictator! so, i want him overthrown! if you can't understand that, then maybe he should make it legal for public employees to strike! because that would be the only way to get our point across anymore! where would you be then in a snow storm?
jt January 15, 2012 at 09:05 PM
can't help but notice, most of the bloggers on here all have political ties to the right when you look at their profiles! i think someone is nervous about the recall!!!!
LEFTY January 15, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Nervous- you got that right. Look at the polls. Walker has yet to move despite his out of state funding of his $6 million media blitz.
LEFTY January 15, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Despite calling a special session of the Legislature that was allegedly "all about jobs" as his first act as Governor, and then calling a second special session this fall, unemployment has risen to 7.9% in Wisconsin. What's worse, Walker's failed policies have put such a downward pressure on wages that the jobs that are available provide incomes at a nearly all-time low. ["Struggling Wisconsinites ask: where are the jobs with good wages?" The Capital Times, 10/5/2011]
LEFTY January 15, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Public Policy Polling, which finds major buyer's remorse in Wisconsin, with voters saying they'd support Scott Walker's opponent by 52-45 if they could hold a do-over election.
LEFTY January 15, 2012 at 09:50 PM
The prank call, which surfaced Wednesday, also showed Walker's cozy relationship with two billionaire brothers who have poured millions of dollars into conservative political causes, including Walker's campaign last year. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110223/ap_o… This guy is bad news for every working family in Wisconsin.
Heather Rayne Geyer January 16, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Hoffa - I have had it open on my desktop for 2 days now LOL. I promise to read and comment tomorrow!! Tho I am annoyed because I have been hoping for a movie column for years!!! ;)
Heather Rayne Geyer January 16, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Oh - and I really like Kelly. She is no nonsense and says what she feels. I can really relate to her. I also like The Siren blog. I think it is hilarious and I love that it isn't politically correct (gotta tell ya, I am a potty mouth myself so I can relate that way too). However..I should let you know that she is not the only one to write for that site (if she even still does). It is a collaborative effort. Its not a news site, it is a blog...so I don't see anything wrong with it. There are plenty of Tea Party sites out there which are just the same. Ok...gotta leave the puter now...almost Golden Globe time :) (yes, I can be a shallow celebrity gawker at times...sometimes my brain needs a break)
Heather Rayne Geyer January 16, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Thanks guys for your support and kind words...you know it means a lot. And for the rest of ya...thanks for reading and commenting even if you disagree...nothing wrong with discussion. Have a swell night y'all.
The Wall January 16, 2012 at 02:54 PM
If that was all Temporary Governor Scott Walker did, the recall would have fizzled and few could be rallied outside the unions to protest. Instead the abuse of public trust defiled democracy in many areas. Still the trigger men harp on the division issues on Unions when the unity issue is Wisconsin. Under Temporary Wisconsin Governor Walker the Republicans suddenly marched in lockstep through a series of sweeping legislation indicating a clear unspoken plan unaffected by the diverse needs of their constituency. This devious lurch from public and opposition party input demonstrated unsuitability as a legislator by every Republican. There was so much BAD legislation passed effecting Unions, Tort Reform, Education, Public Utilities, Tax Burdens, Transportation, Finance, Insurance, Voting, and Renters by this group was premeditated, but not discussed with the voters. This is why we recall. Progress was made against the legislative ambush by the Republicans and the ALEC backroom dealers. This was not a stalemate, nor the final state of affairs. There will be more recalls, and recalls and then general elections. A well practiced volunteer Democratic base against the overpaid Republican profiteers. Volunteers will eventually win a war of attrition. Large volunteer base - costs very little. The expensive defense by the Republicans will close them down.
In touch May 27, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Now we know why the Racine police department never did fair and complete police investigation back in December2011 of identifying the driver of the black Lexus SUV owned by Mr.Tom Bode of the Bode Financial Group LTD when 'that' driver harassed , abused and recklessly operated the black suv as righteous workers for the recall movement were working at All Sports bar and grill parking lot with permission of the owner ! Then chief of police Kurt wahlan was still on the job- Wahlan recently endorced (05-26-12) Von Waaaanguard for senator !!

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