Friday, August 24, 2012

Tell Abele That Our Democracy Is Not For Sale

When the United Supreme Court issued their decision in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, many people were outraged on this assault on one of this country's most basic tenets - democracy.  The decision, in a nutshell, opened the flood gates for special interests to spend unlimited funding in political races.  In essence, it allows corporations to buy elections.

Large numbers of people from across the nation started to organize to work together to restore democracy by putting a stop to the corporate takeover of our county.  One of the organizations fighting for our rights is a group called Move to Amend.  This organization has chapters throughout the nation, including one right here in Milwaukee County.

It is this group that was successfully able to get Milwaukee County Supervisors John Weishan, Gerry Broderick, Nikiya Harris and Willie Johnson, Jr. to sponsor a "Move to Amend" resolution which would but a referendum on the November ballot which would be "on whether the U.S. Constitution should be amended to establish that only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to Constitutional rights, and money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech."

The resolution was approved by the Board on July 26, 2012 by a veto-proof 14-4 margin.  Along with the resolution the Board approved $25,000 to be used to pay for the extra costs related to printing and the fact that more ballots would be needed since it was a presidential election as well.

And thus the resolution was sent to Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele to sign.

To the time of this writing, Abele has yet to sign the resolution, Legislative File #12-544.  If Abele does not sign this by the end of the day Tuesday, August 28, 2012, it will be too late to have the referendum on the November ballot.

But that is not all.

On August 3, Mary Laan and Jim Ito of the local "Move to Amend" chapter met with Abele.  He told them that his concern and reason for not signing the resolution into law was the $19,000 price tag that went with it.

Now keep in mind that the County Board had already authorized $25,000 which was vetted and OKed by the comptroller.  Also keep in mind that Abele is worrying about $19,000 out of a $1.5 billion dollar budget.  Furthermore, just two months ago, Abele was bragging about an $11.5 million surplus.  The amount that Abele is sweating is less than the $21,000 raise he gave to Sue Black before he fired her.

To make matters worse, Abele told the MTA folks that if they paid for the cost, he would sign it.  He originally said it would cost them $19,000 but then put down the wrong date, which would have been too late.  Since then, Abele has corrected the date but has also more than doubled the price on his signature to $39,000.

The irony and absurdity of this is almost too much to comprehend.  Abele is wanting these private citizens to pay tens of thousands of dollars to have him sign a resolution for a referendum arguing that money doesn't belong in politics.

What's next? Allowing corporations to pay for ballots as long as they can chose what and who goes on them?

While Abele's position is extremely disappointing, it is not surprising.  Abele is part of the Greater Milwaukee Committee which is nothing more than a large country club for the region's special interests.  He also came down on the wrong side of the struggle for workers rights happening at Palermo's.

Someone needs to inform Mr. Abele that democracy is not for sale.  After all, isn't that the whole point of the referendum?

And that someone is you.

MTA has been joined by United Wisconsin in the call for Abele to do the right thing by signing the resolution before the end of the day Tuesday.  They have started an online petition to tell Abele to sign Legislative File #12-544 into law.

You can also do it the old school way, which will have more impact, by calling is office at 414-278-4211 or even better yet, emailing him at

There has been one rally this past Monday, and there is another one being planned for this coming Monday.  Stay tuned to MCF or MTA for further details on exactly when it will be.  We will be posting that information as soon as we get it.

But if you can't do anything else, remember to sign the online petition.

Abele's actions on this resolution is a glaring example on why we need it so much!

Cross posted from Milwaukee County First.


  1. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tells Michigan voters 'the truth' is key to a Mitt Romney victory over President Obama

    GRAND RAPIDS, MI – There’s a simple message that can propel a Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan victory in Michigan, according to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

    The truth, Walker said while campaigning for the Republicans in Grand Rapids Thursday.

    “If you have the truth and enough people are willing to spread the truth, you’ll win,” Walker said. “The truth is on our side.”

  2. 12:59,

    Here's Gov. Walker's "truth," from 2007.

    "Pension twist costs county millions:
    Ignoring county law and federal tax rules, Milwaukee County let employees change history by 'buying back' pension time from summer jobs in their youth. A Journal Sentinel investigation prompts the county to confess to the IRS."

    Signed the petition.