Saturday, February 26, 2011


Dear Governor Walker,

I have written to you before to ask you to rethink your position on collective bargaining for public employees in the State of Wisconsin. Although you didn’t respond personally to my enquiry you have made it very clear in other ways that you just plain aren’t about to rethink anything at all ever so let’s just leave that issue alone. We are going to have to agree to disagree, more’s the pity but there you have it.

I have a different question to put to you today.

You have made it abundantly clear that you are sticking to your guns on the budget repair bill because:
  1. You believe that each and every provision in the bill is necessary for you to balance your budget (as a quick aside here I have noticed that you frequently refer to the budget for the State of Wisconsin as “my “ budget…is that a slip of the tongue or do you, in fact, see it as your own personal budget to manage as you see fit? Just asking…).  Okay, let’s take that as given.
  2. You believe what you are saying. It is not politically motivated. You are not union-busting for the sake of a larger agenda AND you actually believe collective bargaining is a budget issue. You need these things now to repair a shortfall in the 2009-11 budget (coz this isn’t your 2011-13 budget right? There’s more stuff hiding in there.)
  3. You really do respect and appreciate the large workforce you have become CEO over. (I gotta say that one’s a little harder to swallow. You say you respect and appreciate these people but you don’t actually trust them- well, you don’t trust them enough to even answer the phone to them nor do you believe that they might bargain responsibly in regards to the fiscal crisis the state is facing in spite of the fact that they have already agreed to all the pay cuts. Oh well, for purposes of this enquiry we’ll have to accept even that one. Trust and respect and appreciate public employees in your employ whom you refer to as the “haves”. Got it)

What you have not been clear about is why you have chosen to do this in this manner.

Why have you pitted the population of your state against itself?

Why have you called public workers the “haves” and taxpayers the “have-nots”?

Clearly you can’t have been in government this long and actually believe that public employees don’t pay taxes. I mean, come on! You do know that public employees pay taxes right? You did know what you were doing when you said that whole “have and have-not” catch phrase in that debate. You were driving a wedge, even then, back during the campaign, you were driving a wedge and you knew it. You did, didn’t you?

What was your motivation for doing that, saying that, if not to pit neighbor against neighbor; to divide your citizens by making them suspicious and resentful of each other in order to advance your agenda through a divided and defensive population? I’d really like to know. Not the WHY of the agenda (we’ve already agreed that you’ve made that clear) but the WHY of the method…WHY do it this way?

Here’s another WHY.

Why did you exempt Police and Fire and State Patrol from the increases and the sanctions in the Budget Repair Bill on the grounds that they work for the public safety and not include Correctional Officers? That’s a real stumper in my book.

What could possibly have motivated you to exclude and insult an entire group of dedicated public safety officers in this way? Was it in hopes of provoking a blue flu in the prisons so you might make good your threats of bringing the National Guard into the prisons and then bringing in that private security company from Ohio you’ve been talking with? (You do know that Correctional Officers are unarmed within the walls of our prisons where they deal with the same violent criminals that the police apprehend, right?) Why don’t you see them and their very dangerous job(s) as part of our public safety services?

I guess I had heard that you wanted to privatize the Milwaukee County House of Corrections. Maybe that’s the answer. Maybe you hoped the officers would stage a work action and you would just plain have to fire them for it, shucks and darn. After that who could blame you if you brought in a private firm? Can’t keep the National Guard there forever and well, the officers, they would have asked for it right? You had warned about job actions. You’d be backed into a corner. What could you do? Who could blame you? (Oops! another quick aside here. Do you realize that hiring Out of State Private Security Firms sends money OUT OF WISCONSIN? Just checking. Just making sure we’re clear here.)

Why do you keep saying that public employees should have been ready for this because it’s what you’ve been saying right along?

No it isn’t! You hadn’t previously mentioned stripping public employees of bargaining rights. That hasn’t been part of your drum beat or your campaign promises. Public employees heard what you said. They were ready for the cuts and increases. They knew you were coming for them about the money but you never talked about the bargaining.

Why do you want this state in this social crisis? Why do you promote resentment and mistrust?

I don’t get it. I truly do not understand.

Why did you do this in this way unless this mess was EXACTLY what you did want? A state divided upon itself at the mercy of a governor with a nationally promoted agenda and men of money and commerce standing back to take full advantage of a masterful, if ruthless, political conspiracy cloaked in a budget crisis.

But let’s be fair, that’s just my take. You give me yours.

Why did you do it this way?

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