Active McFarland March 7, 2015, Political Cafe



 Active McFarland ([email protected]) Jerry Collins  



Sun 3/08/15 4:36 PM




Dear Friends,

Here is the report of the March 7 Active McFarland political café. We look forward to seeing you at the next café on March 14 at the McFarland House Café.  

Announcements:  Mark your calendars for the following events.

           Thursday, Mar. 19, 7:00 PM:  Active McFarland will host Dane County Supervisor Patrick Miles for its monthly evening talk. Patrick will provide an overview of county government and the services it provides. Also speaking will be Nick Simonson, coordinator for the Lakes and Watershed Commission Community Engagement project. Nick will discuss ways for residents to get involved in protecting our local lakes. The meeting will be held in the community room of the McFarland Library.

           The 7th Annual Wisconsin Grassroots Festival will take place on Saturday, March 28. It will be held at Wisconsin Heights High School, 10173 US Highway 14, Mazomanie, WI. Speakers will include US Congressman Mark Pocan, State Senator Kathleen Vinehout, and Mike McCabe, author of Blue Jeans in High Places. Break-up sessions on a number of specific topics will also be available. Further information is available at:

1)  Phyllis Hasbrouck of the West Waubesa Prevention Coalition discussed issues of housing development and degradation of lake waters in the city of Fitchburg that will affect the entire Lake Waubesa region. She encouraged people to get involved in the mayoral campaign of Alder Steve Arnold, who is being endorsement by the group. The election will be held on April 7. Information on how to get involved in the campaign is available at:

2)  Nikki Mandell, professor of history at UW-Whitewater, provided an overview of the likely effects of the budget cuts and proposal to restructure the UW System into a public authority. The effects will include massive layoffs of personnel, inability to recruit qualified faculty, privatization of university functions, use of the sales tax to fund higher education, and eventual tuition hikes for students. Nikki distributed postcards that concerned citizens can mail to legislators to ask for a moratorium on these cuts and restructuring proposal until the consequences can be further studied and the public better informed about them. Those interested in becoming involved in this and related efforts can contact Ron Berger, also a UW-W professor, at [email protected] or 608-838-7127.

3)  A general discussion of ways to connect particular issues—whether they are budget cuts, right-to-work legislation, farming or environmental issues—into a broader, integrated grassroots movement ensued. Jerry is particularly interested in exploring ways to connect the union movement with the grassroots movement. Dawn encouraged us to get the word out about how our neighboring state of Minnesota is doing so much better than Wisconsin by pursuing more progressive politics.

4)  Ann provided an update on her project that involves middle-school students producing short video podcasts on environmental issues. Her current plan is to develop a pilot project of five podcasts, which will include interviews with Amber Meyer Smith and other staff of Clean Wisconsin, with the hopes of producing more podcasts in the future.

Related to the environment, Brad suggested that Active McFarland should have a presence at the McFarland Bird Festival that will be held at Lewis Park on Saturday April. 11. More generally, Brad is concerned that Active McFarland is ignoring opportunities to get more involved in local activities that would appeal to a broader audience. He wonders whether our focus on non-local issues will discourage more politically neutral residents from participating in our group. This will be a topic of discussion at next week’s café.

5)  Lastly, Sharon has begun work on making signs for Active McFarland’s Hwy 51 sign brigade in support of Judge Ann Walsh Bradley’s campaign for reelection to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The sign brigade will be held late afternoons on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday for two weeks before the April 7 election: Mar. 24, 26, 28, 31; Apr. 2, 4. In about a week, we will post a sign-genius that we will send out via email for people to sign up for the brigade.

 Submitted by Ron Berger


Active McFarland: Exercising Democracy
Email: [email protected]

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A Grass Roots Organization made up of people from the McFarland area promoting democracy at all levels of Government


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