Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Keep Gas Taxes For Roads

My comments to the Winnebago County Board in advance of their approval of an advisory referendum in November on a State Constitutional Amendment barring the raiding of the Transportation Fund for other purposes.  I've added some links to websites with more info on each factual item:

"I am here tonight to urge you to support Resolution 79--which would place an advisory referendum on the November ballot calling for a Constitutional amendment barring the Governor and the Legislator from raiding the State Transportation Fund.

"It's really kind of pathetic that we would need an amendment to protect such segregated funds--but politicians from both parties have proven that they cannot keep their hands out of the cookie jar.  You may recall, Governor Thompson lost a couple of court cases after trying to raid the state employee pension fund--

and earlier this month, the State Supreme Court ruled Governor Doyle and the Legislature violated the Constitution by taking money from the Patient Compensation Fund.  In all of these cases, taxpayers had to (or will have to) pay back the money taken--plus interest.

"I'm sure the raids on the Transportation Fund would also be ruled illegal if a group was willing to sue the state--like the teachers union and the State Medical Society did in the other cases.  What's worse, is that we have lost 400-million dollars in the transfers out of the fund and the subsequent borrowing to actually fund the projects that we should have had the money for!

On a per capita basis, that would be another 11.6-million dollars that could have been available to Winnebago County.  I'm sure that Highway Commissioner John Haase could put together a pretty good list of bridge and road projects with the money we have "lost".

"While the referendum before you is only advisory in nature, it would still allow voters to send a powerful message to lawmakers that we no longer want such budget "tricks" used to "balance" the budget--and that we want funds collected for a certain purpose to be used for only that purpose!  I don't pay the 10th highest gas taxes in the nation--33-cents a gallon--so the Milwaukee School Board can spend almost seven million dollars on travel expenses.

"Again, I urge you to approve placing this referendum on the ballot in November so that we can send a message to Madison that we want fiscal responsibility in our state government again.  Thank you."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Roundabouts strike again!!

I witnessed my first crash at the Jackson and Murdock roundabout Sunday evening.  I was on the way back home around 7:00 pm after a long day of doing doors on the Northside when I was witness to two women colliding broadside in the Roundabout.

The situation was very similar to one that I was involved in just a week after the roundabout opened.  I was in the left lane heading east on Murdock with plans to continue "straight" through the roundabout.  According to the DOT's roundabout website:

this is an allowable maneuver from the inside lane.  In my situation, a driver in a pickup truck entered from Northbound Jackson Street into the righthand lane--assuming that I was on the inside to make a "left-hand" turn" onto NB Jackson as well.  So he cut me off as I tried to continue along Murdock.  Fortunately, I avoided a crash by locking up the brakes.  Unfortunately for the women on Sunday evening they crashed into each other.

After they both got out of their cars, the argument started as to why someone in the left lane of a two lane roundabout can make a "righthand" turn in front of someone else.  The woman with the right of way pointed to the signs above the roundabout showing the "straight" arrow for that lane--but the other driver wasn't buying it.  I did not stay for the cops to arrive and set everyone straight (I thought they were going to be monitoring that intersection for such situations.)  Apparently, they both missed the "Roundabout School" the DOT held in Oshkosh on Saturday.

Anyway, this crash happened at a time when there was very little traffic at the roundabout--in fact, these were two of just three vehicles at the intersection at the time--yet they still ran into each other.  Would the same thing have occurred if we still had stoplights there?  I highly doubt it--since one of the drivers would have been sitting at a red light.

My wife had the same reaction as the "striking" driver in the crash:  how can the inside lane "turn right"?  I told her that from now on, IF THERE IS ANY OTHER VEHICLE IN THE ROUNDABOUT--NO MATTER WHERE THEY ARE AND IN WHAT DIRECTION THEY ARE HEADING--STAY OUT OF THE ROUNDABOUT!!  Yes, the people behind you will start honking and yelling profanities at you--but it's the only way to ensure your safety from now on.

PS:  I hope a permanent Police Field Office is planned next to the roundabouts coming to the 41-21 Interchange in the future.

Friday, July 9, 2010

And It Just Keeps Getting Worse

Looks like the Legislative Audit Bureau just found some more work for those of us promoting fiscal responsiblity down in Madison:

I especially like the last line in the article, "because lawmakers approved some additional spending at the end of the legislative session in the spring."  That "additional spending" was approved with the Majority Democrats in the Legislature knowing full well the deficit was already going to be at least TWO BILLION DOLLARS!!!!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lebron Out-Favres Even Brett

America will be able to sleep again tonight--LeBron James is about to let us know which NBA franchise will have the "honor" of paying him about 100-million dollars over the next six years to dribble a basketball and throw it in an iron hoop.  This has been the only sports story ESPN and the other networks have decided to cover since the Cavaliers were eliminated from the playoffs.  Do we even remember who actually won the NBA Championship last month?  I know LeBron wasn't playing for them.

Football fans have been accustomed to this "one man overshadows the whole legue" scenario for several years now, as the same sports networks have waited breathlessly for Brett Favre to decide if he is going to "retire" or "unretire" every summer.  But LeBron is taking the "Favre-Watch" lunacy one step farther by announcing his decision not at a tearful press conference or through his personal website but as part of an hour-long TV special on ESPN.

Not even the NFL's all-time leading interception thrower was able to turn his "emotional decision" into a made-for-TV event!  Sure, he would tease the people with appearances on Jay Leno or David Letterman "dropping hints" for laughs--but an entire primetime special?  That ups narcissism to a whole 'nother level!

The only thing left for Brett to do now to one-up LeBron is to demand a reality show series every summer.  Episode 1 of "As the Brett Favre Turns":  Brett has his ankle operated on!!  Is this a sign that he is coming back--or is he in too much pain to ride the tractor on the farm?  Episode 2:  Brett spends an afternoon throwing passes to high school kids!!  Is this how he keeps his arm in shape?  Or is he just trying help out his old school?  Episode 3:  The flashing light on Brett's answering machine: Is that Brad Childress or the seed salesman?  Every episode would have to end with a tearful Brett pondering if he "still has it in him" to take that beating and play one more season.  The live finale comes on Opening Sunday of the NFL season--as the audience (and the Vikings) wonder if Purple Number Four is going to run out of the tunnel in time for kickoff.  Who needs Training Camp?

Back to LeBron--a day's pay says a lot of this TV special nonsense is being driven by Nike.  Don't be surprised if there are several Nike commercials in the show featuring LeBron "amazingly" in his new jersey dunking and hitting last second shots and raising the Larry O'Brien Trophy in some kind of dream sequence.  Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh will "somehow" be in that commercial as well (all Nike endorsers--coincidence?). 

So enjoy the spotlight tonight LeBron--"As the Brett Favre Turns" debuts tomorrow--check your local listings.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Taking Care of Each Other

More proof today that those in power in Madison right now are only interested in taking care of each other.

Former Administration Secretary Michael Morgan--Governor Doyle's top aide and most trusted advisor--has been appointed a new Vice President for Administration and Fiscal Affairs in the University of Wisconsin System.  I've talked with Michael Morgan in his previous capacity as Revenue Secretary before becoming the Governor's real right-hand man--and I found him to be a very intelligent guy with a track record of bringing economic development to some very blighted areas in the City of Milwaukee before going to Madison.  It doesn't hurt that he was also a running back for the Badgers back in the 1970's.

Is Mr. Morgan qualified to be the new Vice President for Administration and Fiscal Affairs in the University of Wisconsin System?  Maybe.  But we will never know that for sure--because UW System President Kevin Reilly gave him the job before he even turned in a resume or sat down for an interview.  President Reilly says the usual process of posting the job and interviewing several candidates and meeting with the Board of Regents to discuss the hiring was not done to "avoid a protracted and costly search to fill the job at a time when the system is in the midst of major projects".  Reilly adds that everyone knows Morgan is qualified for the job--and that Morgan will be in the position on an "interim" basis--three years at the most.

Now Attorney General JB Van Hollen is weighing in on the hiring process:

However, the AG has no authority to conduct an investigation into why the hiring practices of the UW were not followed in this case.  It turns out, the Board of Regents is the only one allowed to look into hiring practices by the UW--and being all Doyle appointees--I doubt we will see much interest in doing that.

Did you notice that Mr. Morgan will be seeing a 79%  increase in pay?  With zero experience in higher education administration, he will make as much as the person he replaced--who had 30-years in the "business" and who left to become the University of Arizona System President.

It should be interesting to see what other "Golden Parachutes" Governor Doyle finds for his supporters on the way out the door this fall.  I think the high speed train probably needs a conductor.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

In the Race

Today, I announce my candidacy in the 54th Assembly District race on the Republican ticket. After much careful consideration, I have decided to leave my successful radio career and take up the challenge of representing the people of Oshkosh in Madison.

I believe that we can do a lot better than the representation we have had in the Assembly for the last four years. A nearly 10% increase in state spending, a $2.4 billion dollar deficit, $5 billion dollars in new taxes, last minute reductions in school aids that left the Oshkosh School District to find another million dollars in cuts after they had made their original budget—not to mention, the loss of 163,000 jobs statewide.

For five years now, my wife, Michele, and I have been debt-free except for our mortgage. We have learned to live within our means—and it is that attitude that I will take to Madison.

I look forward to meeting the people of Oshkosh—hearing about their concerns—and providing them with hope that we can return fiscal responsibility to Madison.