The Final Recall Lap

Keep focused, educate and stick together...this fight can be won.

We can hold onto our hopes. We can work our dialing fingers to the bone. We can donate the last few dollars left over from our meager paychecks. And we can anxiously wait to cast our ballots.

However, the crystal ball is cloudy. The cards are laid out, but not speaking. The tea leaves are not settling on the bottom of the cup. And not one single person in this state can definitively predict the outcome of the June 5 recall election.

Polls only tell us so much. In fact, they say very little. The numbers from the primary cannot be counted as foreshadowing because we simply do not know who voted for whom or why. Perhaps many Democrats stayed home because they simply couldn’t decide. Maybe too many people were confused about the fake candidates. There was so much cross-over voting, you’d have to be a wizard to know the true motives of each voter on May 8.

The next 26 days are absolutely crucial and the words and actions we speak and take need to be done so carefully.

Stop the bickering!! Solidarity is a must right now. So you didn’t back Barrett in the primary…get over it! While none of us enjoy the “anyone but…” scenario – this isn’t a matter of the least worst. Barrett is a good man and solid choice to get us out of this war zone (I will talk more about that in coming weeks). And Mahlon Mitchell is a fresh face who will also help pick up the pieces. These men are not difficult to support and if you are still pooping your pants because Falk or LaFollette didn’t win – wipe your butt and move on. We have less than four weeks to get people out of their beds of apathy, get their heads out of the sand and get their fannies to the polls. There is no time for the divisive belly aching.

According to the Milwaukee Journal, Walker acquired more votes in this primary than any gubernatorial candidate in 60 years. It is no secret that Republicans – especially now with their Tea Party excitability – vote in every single election. They will brave the cold Wisconsin blizzards to vote for a single circuit court judge.  We cannot ignore or deny this fact while we prepare for the recall election. While they may not be attending rallies or banging drums – they are just as energized to vote for their Messiah Walker as we are to vote him out.

The thing is, if you bothered to read this article – you are likely prepared to vote. If you are reading this, your mind has probably been made up for quite some time. If you are reading this, you already know where you stand and why it is important to you. It is the people who are still living in marshmallow land who need to be made aware. It is those who think their vote doesn’t matter who need to be contacted. It is those who think politics do not affect them who need to be educated.

Badgercare has been slashed and is surely facing greater cuts. Public education is being gutted like a fish ready to fry. Job loss in Wisconsin is higher than in any other state. Ground work is being laid to allow for lethal pollution. The most personal rights of women are regressing back to the days of chastity belts and poodle skirts. We simply cannot bear another two years with this leadership at hand. Change needs to be made now before more harm has been done to the people of our state.

Our laws are being written by corporate billionaires and our legislators are puppets looking out only for their personal greed, power and future benefits. And my critics will say that the left has their puppet masters as well. And perhaps that is true. But before this Tea Party takeover…these new armies of extremist politicians…people were not being hurt the way they are now. And the future did not warrant such fear.

I would love to see money absent from all politics one day. Complete campaign and tax reform. No loopholes or lobbyists. But right now we are fighting more immediate challenges. Right now, we need to eliminate the reverse Robin Hood policies taking over our state. And right now we need to wake people up and point them in the right direction and that direction is to the polls on June 5.

Brian Dey May 12, 2012 at 04:50 PM
The fact is Heather, you have taken pot shots at me every chance you get. Ron shared is experience and his opinion based on that experience, and I did the same. Yes I was offended an honestly thought those were your words directed at me.
Stormy Weather May 12, 2012 at 04:53 PM
HRG - You are so funny... You whine on here all the time, and demean people if they aren't on your side. And then when they call you out, you always run and bury your head in your liberal sandbox! Brian is right - Barrett has no plan, but you being they liberal that you are, will vote for him because the Unions and probably your husband told you that liberals need to "Take Back Wisconsin". Heather... The sky is not falling and things are getting better in Wisconsin. The only one dividing our state is the democrats. You can thank your "Fab 14" for that...
Brian Dey May 12, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Ron, when RUSD improves, I'll stop bashing the district. Your district, and mine, is 2nd worst in the state. 20% points down from state average in almost every category, and only 73% graduation rate. 50% for African-Americans. By any standard, that is failing our children. Excuses don't cut it anymore. When you had the money, the results were the same. If that is acceptable to you, as a teacher, than sadly, that will never change. And never say never to Caledonia pulling out of Unified.
Stormy Weather May 12, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Heather that makes you just like every other mom out there... That still doesn't make it okay for you to be a hypocrite. You demean people all the time and when they call you out, you rant, throw in the towel and run and hide...
Brian Dey May 12, 2012 at 05:15 PM
We all have our crosses to bear, but some of us have to do all those things and work just to pay our bills, yet you call us evil, greedy and much, much worse. I get offended every time I pay taxes knowing that there are those out there that struggle to keep a roof over their heads and have to pay excessive benefits to those that supposedly work for them. I get offended when someone I stood up for, feels the need to share that load crap that you did. That gets old. You know, I have always been there for my community. When asked, I have stepped up. Not for accolades, but for results. Sorry, I have no sympathy for the public workers when they are finally sked to do what the rest of us have been doing for years, then go out an act like complete idiots rather than the professionals they are. but sorry, I went off on you because I had your back when someone posted crap about you on here, and then you feel the need to post crap about me.
Brian Dey May 12, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Last year, when you were posting, you most certainly did, and also wrote a column taking something I said out of context.
Ron Clone May 12, 2012 at 05:50 PM
The facts (and I realize that words scares many people) are that I make $67, 460, have met my $2,000 (single, not family) annual deductible twice since last August due to my brain surgery. I face at least annual MRIs for the foreseeable future; $2K met easily annually. I don't know how much Unified pays for my insurance and benefits. I know we employees saved RUSD close to $20 million by changing our insurance. I haven't had a raise in a couple years and don't see one on the horizon. This year added a 5.8% pay cut. I regularly put in eight hour days with maybe 15 minutes to eat lunch. It's fairly normal to spend 4-6 hours each weekend checking papers and planning for the next week. I also volunteer for all of the activities at Red Apple, from garden club til 5 twice a week in the spring and fall, family movies nights 4-5 times a year, dances, concerts, and so on. In two weeks, we take our 80+ fourth and fifth graders to camp for three days. No extra pay for that either. My current school is full of family support and kids who respect all adults. We continually put out successful students. At Case, where I taught at-risk freshmen, I was called a "bitch-ass, mother fucking teacher" by a student who didn't even know me simply because I wouldn't let him in a side door after school. I walked away not knowing if he might have a gun in his droopy jeans.
Ron Clone May 12, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I regularly dealt with kids threatening me or others, sleeping in class, arriving to class when they felt like it, breaking up fights and other similar activities. I promise I didn't teach them that. I'm thinking it came from their homelife, or a lack thereof. In spite of that, most of my students achieved an average reading level increase of two years. Sadly, also many of them then dropped out of school shortly after becoming old enough to do that. Some dropped out to raise their newborns, some because being in a gang was going to provide a better life. Didn't teach them that. Yes, I didn't go into teaching to get rich. If I was still in Michigan, I would probably be at a salary of over $80K; Illinois, closer to $100K. I was making $60K when I left Detroit in 2001 and signed my contract with Unified for $47K. They put me on the top step because of my experience teaching reading and my certification. Walker's attack on teacher and nurse unions was just a slap in the face to both professions disguised as a budget adjustment. His true motives just became very clear in the video with his $500K supporter girl friend. Divide and conquer. Well, if that was his goal, and apparently it was, I will have to agree with you - he has achieved his goal. I'm am puzzled as to what type of person would want to live in Wisconsin now as class sizes increase and good teachers retire and the press is full of vitriol. Your turn to play the "Democrats created the issue" card. Play on.
Edward May 12, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Ron, Thank you for your service to Wisconsin. I'm rather appalled and embarrassed at your level of pay (for someone with 39 years experience and two Master's degrees it is very low, and I agree, other states are paying 20% + more for someone with your credentials). Thanks again for your hard work and service.
Stormy Weather May 12, 2012 at 06:42 PM
For the record I have a lot of mom friends who work very hard for their families, for their schools and for their community. They too have their own obstacles so you are not alone. Funny that you should comment on the moms who don't meet your standards... Btw... How do you feel about mayor Barrett using act 10?
Brian Dey May 12, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Sorry, I would have thought with 2 Masters, you would have Been a Step X, so they are only paying you the Master's + 24 level. And the $4,000 is the family deductible. I'm not trying to change your opinion, and know I won't. But I want to share with you some of the outside world figures. My wife is a health care professional working in a Milwaukee hospital. Through her years at different places, she has 20 years experience. Currently, she is paying for our family, $320 bi-weekly for our insurance premium, or $8,320 per year with a $2,000 deductible for 80/20 coverage, meaning that after the premium is paid, and the deductible is met, we still have to pay 20% of billing. So just to get to the 80% coverage, she pays $10,320 that is deducted from her pay. She has no pension, but has a 401K that is 100% self-funded. This plan is the same whether you are making $30,000 per year as a Nursing Assistant or a Doctor making $150,000+ per year. If I had to carry insurance for my family as an officer of my company, my premiums would be in exccess of $10,000 per year with the same deductible and coverage. The national average for the type of insurance you have is about $750 per month or $9,000 annually. According to DPI, the fringe benfit package you have cost the district about $30,000. The average annual increase has averaged anywhere from 10 to 20% annually over the past decade.
Brian Dey May 12, 2012 at 07:21 PM
As far as the pension, I believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, you are paying 5.6% of your salary or $3,775 ammually, or about $315 per month. RUSD is paying the same. Tou didn't lose any dollar amount in your pension as you will not pay that portion after you retire and you compensation is based on your best years gross pay. I understand that you put in a lot of hours during the school year, but you also have another benefit. You do have four months off. Putting that into perspective, and I don't mean to dismiss your grievances, but you are getting $67k for 8 months work. You also have to realize that in the private sector, salaried positions re expected to work more than 40 hrs per week. Salaried employees in the public sector are expected the same. That is reality. I will tell you this, and you could ask Dennis Wiser, who sat across the table with me in negotiations representing the REA as Executive Director. One of the things I tried to do was take the sum of the benefits and salary, and allow the union to divide it up any way it saw fit. I also agreed to to two, two year contracts that had salary increases of 4.5% each year. All I asked for was the modest premium contribution that you still pay. Again, I'm not writing this as I "know all" because I don't. I share this with you as my personal experience, which hopefully is beneficial to the dialogue.
Ron Clone May 12, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Edward, thank you.
Brian Dey May 12, 2012 at 07:35 PM
And while I may never know what it is like day in and day out, I have some idea as I volunteered the three years I was on the board to teach Junior Achievement at Wind Point Elementary for 3 hours per week, 6 weeks per year. I did that so I would at least have some experiences that you experience every day. It was interesting to say the least the lack of support from administration in disciplinary procedures. And while Wind Point is in a great neighborhood, it was at the time 50.1% free and reduced lunch. I also had special ed kids in my class from hearing disorders to 1 non-cognitive learner. It was challenging, but I felt necessary if I was going to sit on the board. I do apologize for dismissing your opinion on leadership. I should have stated that I don't agree with you. I have always held the belief that professionals should not be unionized. I believe teachers are much better than that and should be compensated based on their own merits and not collectively. Great teachers should be paid better than not-so-great teachers. And I don't believe in tenure. A teacher, should always strive to be the best they can be, and my belief is that tenure only provides a safety net for those that are poor or mediocre. I wish you well. I have always thought good teachers are the district's best asset. For me it's never been about the teachers, but I do have issues with the union leadership.
Ron Clone May 12, 2012 at 07:44 PM
And Mr. Dey, I know no teachers who only work eight months. Not even counting June, it's nine months in front of children, minus 10-15 days for religious holidays. Then add a few days in August that are required, 5-10 days in June, depending, taking summer classes that are required in order to maintain our certification, many breadwinners teaching summer school to make ends meet, and I come up with a good 10 months+ You have no idea of the intensity of a modern classroom, the hundreds of decisions a teacher makes every day, the hours spent outside of the classroom, the endless meetings for IEPs, school improvement, various school committees... I just wish I knew the root cause of your and others' hostility toward the educational community. Baffles me. SO glad you aren't on the school board any more. Not running away, just following my dad's advice involving a pissing match with a skunk. Peace and good luck in your inner battles. I'm done now.
Brian Dey May 12, 2012 at 07:58 PM
I have no animosity towards education; I do have animosity towards poor education. Big difference. I don't believe I have ever said or written one word that implies animosity for teachers. My issue is with the union leadership, AND the Administration. Racine Unified as a whole, so I am judging "collectively" is a poor performing district. It wasn't always that way, and money has nothing to do with it. It is attitude. 50% of our African-American students are not graduating, 73% overall. With the exception of Case HS, Jerstad Elementary and West Ridge Elementary, the achievement gap is widening. Because we have examples of those three schools closing the achievement gap, we know it can be done. I don't hear excuses from those principals, just results. We know that the REAL School and Walden also are successful. No excuses, just results. With the state that are city is in, failure is not an option. We can't keep blaming parents, or poverty anymore. We have to start accepting responsibility that it is the District's job to educate these students, no matter the situation. It can't be done by throwing more money at it, we've tried for years and it has only gotten worse. We can't do it by trying to solve all the social and societal ills through the schools. We've tried that. And we can't just pay lip service and complain. We need solutions, and I offered some up. I'm trying, and I hope those inside keep trying as well.
Stormy Weather May 13, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Heather - In your own words, "People cannot discuss and disagree without getting vicious, lying or pot shots". So lets see... You said to Brian "What a friggin liar!!" and you told him to, Kiss your Ass and you also snidely said, "Gee - I wonder why you couldn't get enough votes. LOL". You also called him a POS jerk wad and said to Brian, "This isn't a resume, Dey, and we don't really give a crap about your "qualifications". Heather... I think most rational people, would consider your words demeaning and not very "Adult Like" conversation. Maybe you should look in the mirror when you accuse other people of getting vicious, lying or using pot shots...
skinnyDUDE May 13, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Can any liberal here name ONE major achievement of Tom Barrett? Just One? Waiting..........................................
Stormy Weather May 13, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Brian - Many of us appreciate that you aren't afraid to stick your neck out and tell the truth about RU$D. Anyone who spends a lot of time working/volunteering in our school district knows that it is almost impossible to beat the Union vote. Thank you for trying, and now I guess we just have to sit back and watch the ship sink. 2013 will be a killer year for RUSD...
Heather Rayne Geyer May 13, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Yes, I was a part of it which is why I am going to delete my comments entirely. Feel free to delete any corresponding replies. I just don't want to be a part of this behavior.
Denise Lockwood May 13, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Does anyone feel like we are having the same conversation over and over again?
Stormy Weather May 13, 2012 at 05:24 AM
Heather - You are deleting them because you have been called out for being a potty mouth and being disrespectful. That being said, you and I are probably more alike then you think... We both care about our husbands, children, animals, our school district, etc. We just have differing opinions on politics. Have a Happy Mother's Day...
Heather Rayne Geyer May 13, 2012 at 05:31 AM
That isn't why. But you can think what you want. Regardless, no...I am not proud when I am pushed to that point of making low blows and insults.
Stormy Weather May 13, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Sorry Heather, it would have been better if you had stopped with your comment at 11:43 P.M. because as an adult, you shouldn't try to use the excuse, "I am not proud when I am pushed to that point of making low blows and insults" As an adult and as a regular contributor on the Patch, you can and should be more selective in the types of words you choose to type...
skinnyDUDE May 13, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Can any liberal here name ONE major achievement of Tom Barrett? Just One? Waiting..........................................
GearHead May 14, 2012 at 06:30 PM
"I see Walker and his actions as evil. Pure and simple." Wow, Heather. That pretty much says it all. Does that mean anything goes with your subsequent bog gassing? It always amazes me how someone will say something definitive by their own definition, to then justify any bilge that follows. I see the vile statements you make as evidence of a closed mind and eyes wide shut. You see, I've met Governor Walker more than once and have looked him dead in the eye each time. There is not an ounce of evil in him, and he in fact remains a boy scout. That is what puts you and your ilk over the top. You have nothing on him. So you have jumped the shark at this point and seem obligated to become even more unhinged in your rantings. It's like hate is a drug, and you can't get enough blood in your eyes. I feel sorry for you. Instead of crucifying the likes of Walker and Brian Dey with your vile statements, maybe you should get your head out of the toilet we know as the Daily Kos, and come up for some air. Dey should be respected for having the courage to challenge the train wreck known as RUSD, and offering reasoned and workable solutions. As for the governor, he should at least deserve your respect that we won't become another IL, CA or Greece. But that is probably too deep for you to understand. So much of what you believe is simply wrong, so arguing with you is pointless. What are you going to do when you wake up June 7, and Walker is still Governor?
GearHead May 14, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Wednesday, June 6 btw, is the day the democrats vote in the recalls. :)
Edward May 14, 2012 at 06:43 PM
" As for the governor, he should at least deserve your respect that we won't become another IL, CA or Greece. But that is probably too deep for you to understand." How can you equate IL, CA, and Greece? Have you lived and worked in all those places? They are NOT AT ALL THE SAME, not even close. Walker is using the shock doctrine method of governing, which never ends well.
Edward May 14, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Election day is June 5. Now they are so scared of losing that they have to lie and use shenanigans . . . typical right-wing dirty tricks.
GearHead May 14, 2012 at 09:38 PM
@Edward: The June 7 was a typo, and the subsequent June 6 is my own feeble attempt at humor to justify the typo :P And yes, IL, CA and Greece are all alike. The difference is degree of decline. All are facing bancrupcy. I hope you aren't a contractor waiting for Illinois to pay you. They aren't paying.


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