I get it. The difference, I get it.  We are all good people who care about others, our families, friends, neighbors, community. It’s just that, as a Progressive, our sense of community goes so much further than Conservatives'. For Conservatives that sense of community only extends as far as their own interests. Progressives view our community as global.

Eilene Stevens 3301pc

Eilene Stevens

Eilene Stevens's activity stream


  • published now we can exhale. Twice! in Newsletter Archive 2020-11-26 10:06:25 -0600

    now we can exhale. Twice!

    ast night, the GSA chief, Emily Murphy, sent a letter to President-elect Biden signifying that the presidential transition could begin. And I'm sure everyone gave a big sigh of relief. Now, three weeks after election day, Pennsylvania and Nevada finally certified their elections and we can all exhale. Again. (For a lefty take on the momentous anti-climax, see this Daily Kos diary.) That of course leaves the recount in Wisconsin (and the ridiculous one the Drumpf campaign is calling for in Georgia) to go. Plus, I guess, a new court case? That's what the tweeter-in-chief claims, anyway. His campaign did appeal a federal district court's ruling on a case that seeks to nullify the voting in Pennsylvania. You can see an account of what that appeal includes, if you have time and patience.

    The recount in Wisconsin is plodding along. And the Democratic Party is still looking for volunteers to observe the remaining process in Milwaukee County. If you can give some time to this work, that would be great. Sign up here. According to the chair of the Wisconsin Election Commission, in a presentation to the Milwaukee County Democratic Party on November 23, the Drumpf campaign is asking that absentee ballots requested through the myvote.wi.gov site should be discarded because the clerks did not receive the appropriate request applications directly. Also, in-person absentee ballots should be discarded because the people who voted early in person used absentee ballots but did not have to fill out the form requesting absentee ballots. And those are only two of the odd rationales for challenging ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties. This week's Capitol Notes conversation on UWUM 89.7 FM, on Monday, November 23, is headlined "Wisconsin Recount Will Likely End Up In Court." Is anyone surprised?

    It's a holiday week but we are urged not to spend the it with family we don't regularly live with or to travel. But it seems millions of people are ignoring the pleadings of officials and scientists. I hope you are not engaging in high risk behaviors! To get a great handle on the state of our knowledge about the coronavirus, and how the Medical Society of Wisconsin assesses the risk of various activities, you can't do better than to watch a recording of Dr. Ian Gilson's presentation to Grassroots North Shore on November 22. Dr. Gilson uses his first-hand experience with patients who have contracted COVID-19 to help us better understand the latest scientific information.

    The events list is pretty lean for the next two weeks, but the run-off elections that will take place in Georgia on January 5, 2021, will determine whether Mitch McConnell is demoted to Minority Leader, an outcome devoutly to be wished. You can do your part to help! Here are some ways to help put the Senate in Democratic hands so President Biden will be able to pass some much-needed legislation to provide COVID relief, stabilize the ACA, prop up our failing economy, and deal with many other pressing issues.

    All in all, we have much to be thankful for this year, even if we cannot gather with extended family to share a meal. We have won an historic election for President. He may do some damage in the meantime, but tRump will exit the White House on January 20, 2021. The new administration will be able to roll back many of the terrible orders our current *president issued. We've elected the FIRST WOMAN and the first Black and South Asian American to the Vice Presidency. And there are several very promising vaccines for the coronavirus in the offing. So 2021 will almost certainly have a very difficult beginning but we can hope for a happy end to much of the misery and sadness we are currently experiencing by late in the year, at least. So whether you're alone for the holiday, celebrating it with the people in your immediate household, or risking visiting with a wider circle of friends and family, be thankful and be safe.

    Read more

  • published Covid questions for Dr. Ian Gilson 2020-11-16 11:00:26 -0600

    Covid questions for Dr. Ian Gilson

    Dr. Gilson will try to answer your questions during the presentation.  If he does not get to all of them, someone will try to contact you with the answer.

    Take the survey

  • rsvped for Georgia Senate Run-Offs 2020-11-14 08:27:32 -0600

    Georgia Senate Run-Offs

    11-12-20georgia-senate-race-mtm-vo.jpg

    If we elect BOTH the Democrats in these run-off elections, Democrats will be able to control the Senate and President Biden will be able to enact the needed legislation to support the economy during the pandemic, to revise immigration policy, to mitigate adverse climate change, to create a DACA program in law and not just by executive order, and so much more. If we fail, of course, Mitch McConnell and his Republicans will thwart everything the Biden administration wants to accomplish, just as they did with President Obama's legislative agenda.

    WE CANNOT LET THAT HAPPEN! We have partnered with a grassroots group called Flip the West and that group has supplied us with 1500 names and addresses for our postcard writing project. So we are all set to go.

    If you are willing to work with us, please RSVP below and we will get back to you.

    WHEN
    January 05, 2021 at 6pm
    WHERE
    Online
    36 rsvps rsvp

  • Where the winning votes came from

    GRASSROOTS NORTH SHORE did (at least some of) it! As analyses of voting patterns roll in, one thing is clear: the Milwaukee suburbs made a huge difference this year. Although Biden's vote share in Milwaukee County was 69% to Drumpf's 29% (JSOnline.com), voter turnout in the city was essentially unchanged compared to the turnout in 2016 (JSOnline, November 9, 2020). Using the still unofficial results, Sarah Volpenhein concludes, "In the city as a whole, Biden picked up close to 6,000 more votes than Clinton did four years ago, according to unofficial results. For his part, Drumpf also won more votes than four years ago: nearly 3,000. Third-party candidates this time around got a smaller share of the vote." On November 6, Craig Gilbert's scan of the data is headlined "Where Joe Biden won Wisconsin: Dane County and the Milwaukee County suburbs." The places where the crucial 44,000 vote shift occurred? They were "principally in the city of Madison, the Madison suburbs and the suburban communities within Milwaukee County. It also occurred — on a smaller scale — in the suburban counties of Waukesha and Ozaukee, the Fox Valley counties of Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago, and the counties of La Crosse, Eau Claire and Rock. These are all among the state’s most populous places."

    The most detailed analysis of the vote in Milwaukee County comes from John Johnson, a research fellow at the Marquette University Law School's Lubar Center. His data show that the net votes for the Democratic presidential candidate grew by 51.5% between 2000 and 2020. The net votes in the Milwaukee suburbs over that same period grew from a deficit (-7,685 votes) to a net gain of 36,663 votes, or a change of 44,348 votes — a little more than 575%! In short, "Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris netted a larger number of votes than any other Democrat in Milwaukee County’s history. According to unofficial returns, they received 182,896 more votes than Donald Drumpf and Mike Pence. In percentage terms, this 40-point margin of victory is only exceeded by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1932 and 1936 campaigns (45- and 56-point victories, respectively), going back at least to 1892." Johnson goes on to say that "a remarkable blue wave in Milwaukee’s innermost suburbs ... recast the region’s political complexion. In the City of Milwaukee net votes cast for the Biden/Harris ticket exceeded those cast for Clinton in 2016 by about 3,000 votes. However, the Milwaukee county suburbs collectively netted the Democratic ticket over 17,000 more votes in 2020 than 2016."

    But what does the picture look like in the North Shore suburbs and Ozaukee County? Johnson's piece tells us about the North Shore area while Chris Drosner provides the results for the WOW Counties in a piece for Milwaukee Magazine published on November 5, 2020. The northern suburbs of Milwaukee have shifted dramatically to the Democrats over the last 20 years. Here are the numbers showing the Democratic presidential vote margins as the difference between the percent won by the Democrat compared to the percent won by the Republican.

    Municipality 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016 2020 Change
    Bayside 12.2 12.4 22.5 10.7 34.3 42.8 30.6
    Brown Deer 1.6 4.7 24.3 27.6 34.3 44.4 42.8
    Fox Point 2.8 6.1 13.8 6.0 30.3 41.4 38.6
    Glendale 13.9 16.3 27.4 24.7 37.2 45.4 31.5
    River Hills −17.4 −15.0 −7.0 −15.7 7.9 14.3 31.7
    Shorewood 23.8 33.6 47.4 44.7 60.0 67.1 43.3
    Whitefish Bay -9.2 0.5 12.8 4.5 33.0 41.8 51.0

    In the WOW Counties (Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington), the Republican strength remains but there are small blue gains in parts of those counties. Drosner writes that "Democratic gains were greatest in the more ... suburban suburbs and discrete cities — as opposed to the counties' exurbs and rural areas. Biden's largest gain in the WOW counties was in the city of Brookfield, where he added 8 points over Clinton's share. Biden gains of 4-6 points were more common in the WOW burbs, and those in rural areas and the southwestern part of the metro area were smaller." The only comparative figures here are with the 2016 outcome, so it's more difficult to see the longer term trends. But here is the data we have.

    Waukesha 2016: Drumpf 60.0% | Clinton 33.3% 2020: Drumpf 59.6% | Biden 38.5%
    Ozaukee 2016: Drumpf 55.8% | Clinton 37.0% 2020: Drumpf 55.2% | Biden 43.2%
    Washington 2016: Drumpf 67.4% | Clinton 27.2% 2020: Drumpf 68.3% | Biden 30.2%

    The slight uptick in Democratic performance in the WOW counties is largely attributable to the decrease in third party shares of the vote. But still, there's a little drift to the blue side we'll want to build on. And for the brightest spot in the WOW picture, how about that slim victory in the city of Cedarburg! Biden won there by "19 votes out of more than 8,000 cast. Drumpf won Cedarburg by 8.5 points in 2016." Congratulations to the Ozaukee County Dems who really put their backs into this year's election. And of course to Grassroots North Shore for the thousands of postcards and follow-up phone calls our volunteers made to the county. With all that hard work, we helped achieve the victory Deb Andraca won in the 23rd Assembly District!

    Finally, for a look at demographic data in the state as a whole, take a look at this Washington Post piece exploring exit poll results. The data are preliminary right now, but a first read shows that 92% of people identifying themselves as Democrats supported the Biden/Harris ticket, while only 86% of those identifying themselves as Republicans supported the current orange elephant in the White House.

    Read more

  • published It's not over! in Newsletter Archive 2020-11-05 10:39:37 -0600

    It's not over!

    As I am writing this, around 3pm on November 4, we have won Wisconsin by 20,000 votes, give or take. So a HUGE thank-you to everyone who got engaged and worked hard for this outcome. Several other states, including Pennsylvania and Michigan have yet to be called. Arizona and Nevada are also up in the air. As a result, we cannot definitively say that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have won. Still, it is a promising map, though too close to repudiate the large numbers of the country's voters who still support the man currently occupying the White House. Despite all the lies, the cruelty, the law-breaking and law-bending, the lack of vision and the lack of empathy. It's well nigh inexplicable that our fellow citizens have made that choice.

    But here we are. The newsletter is a little more than a day late because I was working in a Virtual Staging Location to Get Out the Vote in the Milwaukee area over the weekend and on Election Day. We were down to the bottom of the barrel and every vote we managed to get out made a difference. That is my take-away going forward. If we want this state and this country to move in a new direction, we have to put in the hard work. And not just in the last week or two before an election. There will be important nonpartisan races in our area next spring and we have to be ready. So take a break now, but plan to get active and to find out what YOU can do as soon as we have all recharged.

    Needless to say, there's very little on the events list right now. But that does not mean there's nothing to do. Have a look. And don't miss the entry for a John Nichols presentation on Saturday, November 14!

    Read more

  • published One week to go! in Newsletter Archive 2020-10-28 09:46:39 -0500

    One week to go!

    We're one week away from what we used to call Election Day but is now better called "the end of voting day." We're unlikely to know the complete results here in Wisconsin that night because the law does not permit any processing of absentee ballots until 7am when the polls open on November 3. And as of this morning, 1,771,503 ballots have been issued, and 1,451,462 reported returned, including 352,073 in-person absentee ballots (clerk's office) cast since 10/20. In other words, about half of the 2.9 million votes in 2016's presidential election have already been cast. And, depending on where you live, there are still three to five days of early voting yet to come.

    We don't know, of course, what this avalanche of early voting means: it could mean people — presumably on both sides — are just that eager to vote or it could mean that voters in Wisconsin are deeply concerned about the explosion of COVID-19 cases we're currently seeing. In any case, people are voting early in droves. If you have not voted yet, TODAY'S THE DAY TO DO SO. And if you still have an absentee ballot kicking around, fill it out, get the certification envelope signed and witnessed, and take it to the DROP BOX in your community. You can find a list of drop box locations by using the Wisconsin Democratic Party's website.

    The COVID-19 situation in Wisconsin is almost catastrophic: the per capita rate of infection is the 3rd highest in the nation, according to the New York Times. And the total deaths from the coronavirus so far have exceeded 225,000 nationwide. In other words, "American carnage" for real this time. Mark Meadows, the Chief of Staff to the orange occupant of the oval office, has signaled that the administration's policy is to avoid blame for the explosion of infections by doing nothing itself but pointing to governors' policies in the states. In a CNN interview on Sunday, he said, "We're not going to control the pandemic." Although some of the press have called Meadows's statement "admitting defeat," it is in fact merely making plain what has been the de facto federal policy all along. Meanwhile, a study from Kansas University has shown that COVID-19 is spreading half as quickly in counties with mask mandates than in those without.

    As we round the last turn and head down the stretch toward the end of voting, there are still plenty of opportunities to help make sure Wisconsin corrects its error of 2016.

    • Phonebanking. This is the most important thing you can do to make sure the turnout in Milwaukee and all across the state is as robust as we can make it. The Biden campaign is holding phone banks for the four days of the traditional Get Out the Vote, when we would ordinarily be knocking on doors. So if you live in Milwaukee County sign up for shifts on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. If you live in Ozaukee County, sign up for shifts for Mequon and Thiensville or Cedarburg, Grafton, and Port Washington. We need to get every last person who is going to vote for Biden (and other Democrats down the ballot) to turn out. It's how you do your part!

    • Work with Supermarket Legends by handing out flyers at busy locations. Pick up flyers and a list of places to distribute them at Linea Sundstrom's home, 1320 Lake Bluff, Shorewood. Flyers are in the red box near her garage. For questions, email Terri Lowder.

    • Volunteer to drive sound trucks in Milwaukee to help turn out the vote during the Final Four days (10/31-11/3), and especially Election Day, when we'll want about 10 of these trucks. Drivers will pick up the trucks the campaign is renting, large speakers and gas cards from the office, and routes to drive in high-priority, low turnout wards. The campaign would love to have people who are committed to all four days, but if that's unrealistic it would be great if volunteers could form their own teams to cover the period. To get involved, contact Millicent Cripe. She'd love to have volunteers connect with her by noon on Wednesday, October 28.

    • Drop literature on behalf of the Biden Campaign:

    You'll also find phone banking and lit drop opportunities for specific candidates in the events list.

    Read more

  • published NOW it's a sprint! in Newsletter Archive 2020-10-21 14:01:30 -0500

    NOW it's a sprint!

    Early in-person voting has begun in Wisconsin! The chair of the Milwaukee County Democratic Party has informed the Executive Committee that by tomorrow, voters in Wisconsin will have already cast over a million votes. Yesterday's Journal Sentinel analyzed the absentee ballots received before the early in-person voting began. "Wisconsinites have now returned more than 860,000 absentee ballots by mail, according to the latest statewide data released Monday. That is the equivalent of 29% of the state’s 2016 turnout of just under 3 million. And it’s astronomically more ballots cast by mail than in any previous fall election in Wisconsin. Dane County has returned the most ballots as a percentage of its 2016 vote (45%), followed by Brown (35%), Door (34%), Milwaukee (32%) and Bayfield, Ozaukee and Outagamie at 31%." In the North Shore, "communities that have hit 50% of their 2016 turnout include Bayside, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay in Milwaukee County...." In short, turnout is already high and climbing.

    If you yourself have not already voted, now would be a good time to do so. For early voting days & times in your community, see our Early Voting page on our website. Voting early means that if you are not in a high risk group for Covid-19, you can sign up to be a "poll observer" and help ensure that voters are not intimidated or challenged when they go to vote on election day. Sign up here.

    And here's some analysis you can use — and we have published on our website — to talk about the economy and jobs with that shrinking pool of undecided voters. Bill Holahan and our own Keith Schmitz have teamed up to bring us another "Mythbusters" segment. Bill dissects the latest jobs report, the last one the Federal government will release before Election Day. Be sure you watch it and refer others to it.

    The events list is suddenly quite full and long! Lots of opportunities to help win races in Wisconsin. So be sure you sign up for something. Although voters are turning out in droves around here, our candidates will need your help to chase down every last one of our left-leaning supporters to turn them out by or on election day. Only two weeks remain: get busy!

    Read more

  • published Four weeks to go in Newsletter Archive 2020-10-06 15:49:57 -0500

    Four weeks to go

    With only four weeks to go, Grassroots North Shore is putting the pedal to the metal. And you should too. The polls are looking good but we all know we cannot entirely rely on them. So what are you prepared to do? Here are some suggestions:

    You'll find other opportunities to contribute your energies to worthy candidates and causes in the events listing.

    The latest forecast for the electoral college from fivethirtyeight.com predicts that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will win 83 out of 100 times in the 40,000 simulations the site runs frequently. It's based on both state and national polls and is a pretty reliable guide to where things stand right now. The chances of a Biden/Harris win have been increasing steadily over the past week. So I'm cautiously optimistic. The site has Wisconsin at 52.6% for Biden and 46.5% for Drumpf. The margin is a mere 6.1% but the really important piece of data is that Biden is well over the 50% mark!

    RealClearPolitics has the national polling at +9.2% for Biden and the Senate going BLUE if its state-by-state projections pan out. Although we should not rely on polls and relax, you might want to bookmark these two sites. RealClearPolitics runs a bit to the right while fivethirtyeight.com tries to hew to the objective, statistical probabilities. Between the two, you are likely to get a fairly clear picture of the state of the race.

    Finally, the results of the first debate between the disgrace of a president and former VP Biden are in. Daily Kos has the story.

    A new CNN-SSRS national poll released Tuesday puts Joe Biden up over Donald Drumpf by a whopping 16 points among likely voters, 57%-41%. And the poll isn't exactly an outlier. Another national poll released over the weekend by NBC News/Wall Street Journal gave Biden a 14-point advantage among registered voters.

    Both polls were taken entirely after Drumpf's off-the-rails performance last Tuesday, but CNN's poll—taken Thursday-Sunday—also captured most of the window in which the public learned Drumpf had tested positive for COVID-19. In fact, support for Biden's response to the pandemic spiked in the latest poll, giving him a 21-point advantage over Drumpf on the matter.

    Overall, on the issues, voters gave an advantage to Drumpf on basically nothing. Even on the economy, Biden held a slight edge, with voters preferring Biden over Drumpf 50%-48%. And then there was everything else—where Biden dominated.

    • Coronavirus: Biden 59%, Drumpf 38%
    • Health care: Biden 59%, Drumpf 39%
    • Racial inequality: Biden 62%, Drumpf 36%
    • Supreme Court nominations: Biden 57%, Drumpf 41%
    • Crime and safety: Biden 55%, Drumpf 43%

    Now get busy. We can win this election and take back the Senate. But we need all hands on deck.

    Read more

  • published Let's Get Ready to Rumble in Newsletter Archive 2020-10-01 14:36:40 -0500

    Let's Get Ready to Rumble

    Important things to do this week: Watch the first presidential debate, perhaps, but for sure sign up for our Sweet Sixteen afternoon party and FUNdraiserat 4:30 on Sunday, Oct. 4, with our guest and good friend John Nichols. He's bound to lift our spirits and get us well and truly pumped up ahead of the election. In the spirit of the Wisconsin we used to know, John is a true progressive through and through. He believes in the power of collective action, both in marching for justice and in voting for change. The event itself is open to the public. But we encourage you to support Grassroots North Shore with whatever donation you can afford.

    In this year of multiple elections, and of Covid-19, we have still been hard at work, teaming up with Souls to the Polls to recruit Election Inspectors (aka poll workers), with Civitech and Indivisible groups in northern Illinois to register voters, and with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to make direct voter contact. We have now sent voter information postcards and follow-up phone calls to more than 10,000 voters in Ozaukee County, the North Shore, and the city. We've helped sponsor a candidate forum with the Ozaukee Dems and held another candidate forum for four candidates running for Assembly and state Senate. And now we're experimenting with innovative pantomime canvassing — with poster boards — to maintain appropriate social distancing while refusing to give up door-knocking altogether. Volunteers have stepped up to make all these activities possible. But without funds, the vibrant and creative talents our supporters provide can't continue. And that's why we need your financial support as well.

    Partnering with others is one way we multiply the energy and talent in the Grassroots North Shore Community. So let Jim Brown with Supermarket Legends know if you want to help Milwaukee optimize its early voting period (from October 20 through November 1). The plan is to do signage and visibility near early voting sites (there are 18 of them) without any direct contact with people. Near some of the sites where signs might be most effective, cars with EARLY VOTE HERE NOW signs will be placed on top of cars and trucks. Volunteers who are comfortable with it can stand nearby and wave bright orange signs with arrows pointing to the voting locations without risking anyone's health. Supermarket Legends will supply the signs and everything else you need.

    Grassroots North Shore is still looking for people to make follow-up phone calls to voters who received postcards from us, both on the North Shore and in the city. Our purpose is to encourage early voting, both by vote-at-home balloting (aka vote-by-mail) and by early in-person voting. Our phone calls provide important information about the processes people can use and also give voters the phone number of the Voter Protection Team in case they run into snags. You can sign up to help us complete the calls to North Shore voters and to younger voters in Milwaukee. Like Supermarket Legends, we know that early voting effectively reduces lines and chaos on Election day. And people can register or correct problems with their registration during the early in-person voting period. The sealed ballot envelope can be witnessed and turned in as the voter completes the process.

    YARD SIGNS! We have them and they're yours just for the asking! Go to our Yard Signs website page and sign up for all that apply: Biden/Harris, of course, but also Neal Plotkin (8th state Senate District), Deb Andraca (23rd Assembly District), and Emily Siegrist (24th Assembly District). Yard signs help with name recognition for the candidates and let your neighbors and passersby know that you are proud of and enthusiastically support our candidates. After you sign up, you'll receive an email with some instructions and/or contact from those organizing the distribution of signs.

    Finally, I'm sure you've already heard about the New York Times bombshell reporting on DJT's 20 years of tax returns. The lead story was published Sunday evening. Today there's a second story showing the fortune and the fortunes DJT made out of The Apprentice, what he squandered the money on, but how he catapulted himself into the White House on the strength of the phony business acumen that was the central fiction of the TV show. Will this be the exposé that brings "The Donald" down? Who knows. But it appears that rushing to name a new Supreme Court justice is not helping him win over any voters. It turns out that a majority of Americans think winner of presidential election should select Supreme Court nominee, according to a Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

    Read more

  • Gerrymandering & healthcare are huge issues

    There's big news on the gerrymandering/fair elections front: Senator Dave Hansen and Representative Robyn Vining will introduce a nonpartisan redistricting bill, LRB 2062/1, and hold a press conference on Tuesday, June 4, in the Assembly Parlor at 11:30am. If you are going to be in the Madison area, please make time to show your support by attending that event.

    And if you're going to be in the Milwaukee area on Tuesday, June 4, drop by our office at 5600 W Brown Deer Rd, Suite 116, between 3pm and 6pm to send a postcard to your own Senator and Assembly representative to urge them to support Fair Maps and the bill that will mandate a nonpartisan process modeled on Iowa's successful plan. We'll look up all the info you need and supply the postcards and stamps. Go to our RSVP or Facebook event pages for more information.

    If you bring a cell phone, you can also call their offices and lobby them to support the Medicaid (BadgerCare) expansion. Not only would 82,000 more people in Wisconsin have healthcare coverage, but the state budget would be enhanced by millions of dollars that could be spent on education, infrastructure, environmental protection — you name it. Medicaid expansion is a win-win for our state. We want our Senators and Representatives to back it. You can let us know you're coming on our RSVP or Facebook event pages. Hope to see you there.

    In other news on Fair Elections, federal courts in Michigan and Ohio have ruled extreme partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional, as have courts in Wisconsin (in 2017), North Carolina, and Maryland. Both the court in MI and the one in OH ruled that electoral maps must be redrawn before the 2020 elections! As expected, however, the Supreme Court, stayed those orders until the pending cases from NC and MD are decided by the end of June this year. Our own Whitford case, now enhanced with additional plaintifs to address the issue of standing that the Supreme Court used to send the case back to the trial court, will be heard in July.

    Meanwhile, as late night host Stephen Colbert often says, Ariel Procaccia has a not-to-be-missed article in the La Crosse Tribune today on the role of statistical analysis in adjudicating extreme partisan gerrymanders. According to this account, math can be used to find problematic cases: "At the heart of [this] approach is the idea of testing whether the map in question is abnormal when compared against random maps that only account for legal and geographical constraints, and are generated in a way that's oblivious to partisan machinations." Although he offers no concrete evidence in support of his claim, Procaccia argues that the Court is more receptive to the so-called outlier-detection method than it appeared to be to the efficiency-gap method the Whitford case in part relied on. The piece is called To beat gerrymandering, do the math. It's worth the read.

    This issue is very much in the national news lately (despite all the attention the press pays to His Idiot's tweets and other nonsense pronouncements). In The Hill, Lon Johnson reports that "only 2 percent of Americans say American elections work all of the time. It also found that fighting gerrymandering and corruption has bipartisan support, with 82 percent of Americans saying they are concerned with the corruption of the system, and believe gerrymandering is undemocratic and should be illegal." New Hampshire's Senate has just passed a bill to create a commission to redraw its legislative maps. And according to NBC news, half of the states have considered what's known as "prison gerrymandering" in the last few years. Six states have now passed laws "to require that prisoners be counted at their pre-incarceration addresses — instead of where they're serving time...." The change matters because "[w]hile a significant number of correctional facilities are located in comparatively rural areas that are largely Republican and predominantly white, prisoners tend to hail from urban, often Democratic communities...." We have the moral high ground on this issue. Help Grassroots North Shore, the Fair Maps Coalition, and fair-minded people everywhere win this campaign, all over the nation and right here in Wisconsin!

    And finally, a heads-up on another issue Grassroots North Shore has singled out for attention as we head into the Democratic primary season: reforming healthcare, again. Confused by all the different healthcare proposals the Democratic Party's candidates for president are supporting? Then don't miss Robert Kraig's discussion, The Future of Healthcare in the US. He will explain what's at stake and what the various proposals set out to do. This will be a wonderful opportunity to ask questions of a healthcare expert! Grassroots North Shore is hosting the event on Sunday, June 23, at the Brown Deer United Methodist Church (5736 W Brown Deer Rd, Milwaukee). Doors will open at 2:30pm and the program will begin at 3:00pm (with lots of easy parking behind the church). As usual, we are asking that people RSVP on our website or our Facebook event page so we will have enough goodies for everyone.

    Read more

  • published good and bad news in Newsletter Archive 2019-05-23 14:38:03 -0500

    good and bad news

    It is the best of times and the worst of times, maybe. In a national poll released by Quinnipiac on May 21, Trump's approval-disapproval numbers were 38% approve and a whopping 57% disapprove. Voters apparently are not impressed with his handling of foreign affairs or trade. Meanwhile, "54 percent of American voters say they 'definitely' will not vote for him, compared to 52 percent in an April 30 Quinnipiac University National Poll. Today, 31 percent say they 'definitely' will vote for Trump and 12 percent say they will 'consider voting for him.' ... Definitely not voting for Trump are 10 percent of Republicans, 94 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independent voters." Our job is to make sure we turn out everyone who claims they will definitely not vote for our Liar in Chief! And that's the good news.

    The bad is more diffuse. It's good that at least some documents from the intelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election will be supplied to the House Judiciary Committee, but we're a long way from doing whatever needs to be done to protect our elections from intrusion and manipulation. And the testimony of Bob Mueller, Don McGahn, and others remains uncertain and unscheduled, either in the House Judiciary Committee or the Intelligence Committee. The whole national scene — including the performance of HUD Secretary Ben Carson yesterday, the ongoing tragedies at our southern border, the policies of our Secretary of Education, and the drum beat for war in Iran — depresses me. The nightmare we are living through never lets up, never ends.

    Here in Wisconsin, there is apparently no progress in negotiations between the GOP dominated legislature and Democratic Governor Tony Evers. At stake — school funding, the future of voucher schools, Medicaid expansion, nonpartisan redistricting, and the ever contentious but ever needy infrastructure enhancement. What we have learned, of course, is that it's not enough to vote, to win elections. We need to keep up the pressure, especially on the legislature, to compromise, at the very least. Voting for the federal dollars that come with the Medicaid expansion — never mind providing affordable health coverage for 82,000 of our neighbors — would be the right thing to do. If we call, write, and demonstrate in large enough numbers, wobbly Republicans might get the message. So do your part and call or write you legislators TODAY. You can find contact info for your Senator and Assembly Representative here: legis.wisconsin.gov.

    Our local Democratic organizer, Davette Baker, has two announcements to pass along:

    We are going to be having a DPW Grassroots Call with Special Guest, Representative Jimmy Anderson on Tuesday, May 28th at 6:00 pm to strategize about actions surrounding Medicaid Expansion over the summer. Please dial-in using your phone: 605-562-0400 Access code: 428 0380#.

    Our hope is to show the grassroots support for Medicaid Expansion in key legislative districts where Republicans may feel pressured to vote our way. We need all the help we can get to make sure our Representatives hear our voices. We will be having a Weekend of Action on June 29th - 30th to knock on doors, make phone calls, write letters to the editor & more. Please stay tuned for events forthcoming next week.

    Grassroots North Shore will be holding at least one phone bank to call our supporters and urge them to call Senator Darling, and Representatives Knodl and Ott. We'll get that organized as soon as we can and will send out an action alert to call for volunteers. Stay tuned.

    Finally, make sure you save the date for an educational program on the healthcare proposals national candidates are providing. Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, will discuss The Future of Healthcare in the US. This will be a wonderful opportunity to ask questions of a healthcare expert! Grassroots North Shore is hosting the event on Sunday, June 23, at the Brown Deer United Methodist Church (5736 W Brown Deer Rd, Milwaukee). Doors will open at 2:30pm and the program will begin at 3:00pm. As usual, we are asking that people RSVP on our website or our Facebook event page so we will have enough goodies for everyone.

     

    Read more

  • as we head into a Constitutional Crisis...

    The nation's capital is undergoing unfathomable turmoil and the rest of America is rattled to the core, it seems. Either you turn on the news every day to see what the newest challenge to our Constitution and the rule of law is, as I do, or you avert your eyes because it is all just too much to bear. It is hard to be a helpless witness to history! So perhaps the best thing to do is to turn your attention to areas where your voice and your activism can still make a difference. Although the Republicans have voted to remove pretty much every one of Governor Evers's initiatives from his proposed budget, we're still fighting the good fight on a number of crucial fronts.

    On the BadgerCare expansion, the League of Progressive Seniors is spearheading a move to have a massive state-wide demo in an effort to get attention for the Medicaid Expansion. We can win this fight, just as we won the effort to prevent the complete repeal of Obamacare. So stay tuned and plan to participate. I will let you know once a date, time and place have been firmed up for this event. And in case you've momentarily forgotten just how central this issue is, I want to remind you that the health insurance for thousands of Wisconsin citizens is not the only thing at stake. If the state takes the Federal dollars that come with the expansion, we can fund the Evers proposals for schools, roads, and more. It's that important.

    On the Fair Maps front, the Coalition has begun a new initiative to get yard signs posted all around the state in noticeable numbers. The Fair Elections Project is taking orders for bundles of 25 signs at $4 per sign ($100 for 25 signs, $200 for 50 signs, etc.) Once an order is placed, the organization will get in touch with instructions about how to pick them up either in Milwaukee on June 1 or in Madison on June 2. You or the organization distributing them are free to sell them at cost or for a profit (which you can keep!). If you'd like to participate and either want to order signs in bulk yourself or have access to an organization that might purchase and sell or distribute them, you'll find all the information you need at fairelectionsproject.org/yardsigns. For more information, email info@fairelectionsproject.org. And while you're visiting the Fair Elections Project website, be sure to sign the petition.

    Sunday, May 5, was a beautiful spring day. So a lot of people opted for outdoor activities that day and missed Reggie Jackson's wonderful presentation on the history of racial segregation in Milwaukee. If you are one of those people, here's a very brief recap. You'll find a longer and more interesting account on our website, including information about local organizations who are working to address the issues.

    What Did Reggie Jackson Tell Us about the Hidden Impact of Segregation in his May 5th Presentation?
    by Chistine Kuramoto

    Milwaukee ranks as the "most segregated" metropolitan area in the U.S., and Wisconsin is the second most segregated state in the nation, said Jackson. Jackson reviewed the history of Wisconsin housing segregation progression, citing policy specifics at both local and national levels. He noted effects of contracts for individual sales restricted sales to "Caucasian" buyers; the contracts were legally enforced until 1948. On the Federal level, an agency called the Home Owners' Loan Corporation shaped real estate reality, and gave realtors and lenders resources to implement color-coded maps for discriminatory purposes.

    Read more

  • published opportunities galore in Newsletter Archive 2019-05-02 16:46:56 -0500

    opportunities galore

    Grassroots North Shore is dedicated to education around vital issues and engagement to help make the changes we all want to see. In years like this one when there are either no or very few elections, we like to focus on a few key issues. High on our list this year (and pretty much every year) are race relations, voting rights, the environment, gun safety, public education, criminal justice reform, immigration, and healthcare. We will undoubtedly sponsor programs and activities around most if not all of these issues over the next eight months. Our Facebook page, our website, and this newsletter are the surest ways to keep track of our activities and to RSVP for the ones of most interest to you. So LIKE us on Facebook, VISIT our website, and of course READ this newsletter!

    Apropos of our interest in voting rights, there's been big news about gerrymandering this past week. While the US Supreme Court is still deciding whether to declare extreme partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional in the two cases before it (one from Maryland and one from North Carolina), a three-judge district court in Michigan unanimously ruled that state's maps for state and federal offices unconstitutional. Moreover, it has mandated that the state redraw the districts before the 2020 election. (See the Washington Post article, April 25, 2019.) If this outcome sounds familiar, it should. As Nicholas Stephanopoulos points out in his electionlawblog post, The Emerging Consensus of the Lower Courts, "The decision is ... further proof that, while the Supreme Court continues to debate the issue, the lower courts have found a way to identify—and invalidate—extreme gerrymanders."

    Lest you think that this issue is too esoteric or too minor for your attention, let me explain why it is foundational — to our democracy and to the hopes we have for our beloved state of Wisconsin. You see, unless we achieve fair maps, we cannot change who sits in our Assembly or our Senate. The election last November showed that the Assembly district maps (on which the state Senate district maps are dependent) are so partisan in their makeup that even the sort of wave election we saw last fall cannot make a dent in the grip the GOP has on legislative power. Although the statewide vote for Assembly went heavily for Democrats (roughly 54%), Republicans "won" 63 of the 99 seats!

    None of the issues we care deeply about — the state of our environment, criminal justice reform, the funding of public education and rethinking the role of tax dollars in voucher schools and so on — can be successfully addressed with the GOP so firmly in control. In truth, the legislators do not need to listen to their constituents when elections are forgone conclusions. Even if a huge majority of WI counties (46 of 72 and counting) and huge support among voters back nonpartisan redistricting (the January Marquette Law School poll measured support at 72% statewide), our current legislators will not pay any attention. Unless we raise our voices so that they can no longer ignore us.

    That's why we're asking you to take an hour or so to send postcards to the members of the Joint Finance Committee to "flood the zone" and let them know that we really care about this issue! We've organized some postcard parties to get the job done but we need your help. We have everything you will need — including postcards with a simple message already printed on them, pens, stamps, and names and addresses. Really, all we need is YOU. Please take a little of your time to make this postcard campaign a success! You can sign up for one of the three currently scheduled events right here.

    • Tuesday, April 30 at our office (5600 W Brown Deer Road, Suite 116),1:30-3:30pm

    • Friday, May 3 at our office (5600 W Brown Deer Road, Suite 116), 3:00-4:30pm

    • Thursday, May 9 at at Martha Pincus's house (7045 N Belmont Ln, Fox Point, 53217), from 5:00-6:30pm

    As we move deeper into May, we're holding a public presentation on why Milwaukee is and remains such a segregated city. On Sunday, May 5, Reggie Jackson, Head Griot for America's Black Holocaust Museum, will speak to us about this issue and will offer some ideas about how we address the problems. The event will take place at Plymouth Church (2717 N Hampshire St, Milwaukee) from 3:00-5:00pm (doors open at 2:30). Please RSVP so our team of hearty volunteers will know how to gauge the amount of light refreshments they plan to serve.

    Finally, recruiting good candidates and giving them the support they need to be successful in our Assembly districts are vital to our success. Fortunately, Emily Siegrist has declared that she will run again for the 24th Assembly District. To that end, Kath Michel and I — plus a distinguished list of co-hosts — will be holding a pre-campaign kickoff and fundraiser for her. Even if you don't live in the 24th Assembly District, you can help her win by giving what you can and by coming to the event at 4:00-6:00pm at my house (7759 N River Edge Dr, Glendale). You can RSVP by email or by phone (612-590-9112) and you can donate online. You can also learn more about the event on Facebook.

     

    Read more

  • signed up on Get Our Weekly Newsletter 2018-09-20 12:30:56 -0500

    Get Our Weekly Newsletter

    Get GRNS Newsletter and Event Invitations.

    Sign up

  • May 16, 2017, Yet More Shock and Awe :-(

    Every week is a stunner, isn't it? So much sturm und drang, so little time or energy to try to respond in a meaningful way to all of it. The key, I think, is to focus: one or two national issues/opportunities and one or two state issues/opportunities. Everyone will have her own set — I certainly have mine — so this week, instead of including a piece on a specific issue, I am offering a range of political actions individuals can take on a variety of issues.

    Let's start with local issues. As the budget battles loom, there is no end of issues to address. So here are three that have been in the news lately: gas tax v. wheel tax v. bond issues; funding university scholarships with money diverted from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program; eliminating the Manufacturing and Agricultural Tax Credit and taxing investment income just like other income to free up funds for important investments.

    Your job? Call your legislators, write letters to the editors, talk about these issues with family, friends, and on your social media outlets. You could also speak up at town hall and listening sessions in the area. As it happens, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is holding some "office hours" in locations that aren't too far from the North Shore! On Thursday, May 18, he'll be at the Horicon Marsh Visitors Center, N7725 St Road 28, Horicon, at 11:30 AM. On Monday, May 22, he'll be at the Johnson Creek Village Hall (Johnson Creek Village Hall, 125 Depot St, Johnson Creek) at 10:00 AM and at the Public Library in Oconomowoc (200 W South St., Oconomowoc) at 12 noon. Road trip anyone?

    Even closer to home, Represenative Joe Sanfelippo will be at the New Berlin Public Library (15105 West Library Lane, New Berlin) at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, May 23, and at the West Allis City Hall (7525 West Greenfield Avenue, West Allis) on Wednesday, May 24 at 7:00 PM.

    National issues take up a lot of the oxygen these days. We have a completely dysfunctional (and terrifying) executive branch coupled with a crassly self-serving Republican Congress. Just keeping up with the daily events is exhausting, so FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS. Indivisible offers help. It's promoting some top priorities for this week:

    1. Call for an independent prosecutor to investigate Trump's ties to Russia. Last week, Trump not only fired FBI Director James Comey, he then went on national television and admitted that the Russia investigation was part of his reason for doing so. The American people deserve to know just how serious this administration's ties to Russia are, but it's clear that Republican Members of Congress aren't in a hurry to find the answers. And we can't trust whoever Trump nominates as the next FBI Director to take this seriously either.
    2. Keep defending the ACA. From Virginia to California, you made the most of Payback Recess at town halls and die-ins across the country to hold the House accountable for the shameful vote to pass TrumpCare. Now it's time to start making sure your Senators know that if they pass this bill, they can expect the same constituent outrage the House saw this recess. Need a refresher on the rest of the AHCA's path to becoming law? Read up on TrumpCare Passed the House: Now What?
    3. If you want to prevent the next financial crisis, this week could be your chance. Once they are back from recess, the House is planning to vote on the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10), a bill that will deregulate Wall Street. Here's your script for making calls.

    A "feature" of the American Health Care Act proposes to "help" people with pre-existing conditions by allowing states to set up so-called high-risk pools. Wisconsin had one of those before the ACA (Obamacare) made it unnecessary and Speaker Ryan is touting it as an example of the concept's success. The Journal Sentinel did a good job of explaining the issue (and hinting at its inadequacy) yesterday. So, if you applied for coverage under the high-risk program that preceded Obamacare and were denied or found the premiums to be way out of reach, write a letter to the editor or send me your story. I will use what you send me without attribution so that we can get these stories out to push back against the idea that high-risk pools are an adequate substitute for mandated coverage of people with pre-existing conditions without higher premiums. That's what Obamacare provides now and we must insist that these protections remain in any "replacement" the GOP enacts into law!

    Finally, get beyond marching, calling, writing, and wringing your hands! Apply for an Organizing Fellowship with the Wisconsin Coordinated Campaign. The volunteer positions begin June 10th and run through August 25. Full-time fellows will commit to a minimum of 40 hours/week. Part-time fellows will commit to at least 20 hours per week. Deadline for application is Friday, May 26. This is a great opportunity for people who want to become a critical member of the next generation of community organizers. You will help our movement expand its outreach in neighborhoods across Wisconsin, and learn the skills and tools necessary to become a campaign operative.

    Read more

  • commented on LET'S TALK ABOUT GUN SENSE 2017-05-02 13:28:46 -0500
    Wow.Time to pick up my phone and call my legislator.

  • signed up on Defend Democracy 2017-03-21 14:46:18 -0500

    Defend Democracy

    DD-FF.png

    The DD:FF 2017 Challenge

    You will need:
    A jar          Slips of paper          Dedication and energy

    How it works:
    At the end of every week, jot down what you did to defend democracy that week and put that slip of paper into the jar. Place your jar where friends & family will see it. At the end of the year, tally it up!

    The rules are simple: Not everything counts.

    These actions count:

    • Attended a meeting that concluded with an action plan, specific assignments, and a way to measure and report the effectiveness of each planned action.
    • Wrote a letter or email to an elected official about a specific bill.
    • Attended and spoke up at an elected official's town hall or mad.
    • an appointment and presented your views/concerns to an electe. official at his/her office.
    • Reached out to a member of a marginalized group and asked the.
    • what you can do to help.
    • Volunteered with a group, school, or religious organization that aids marginalized groups.
    • Did voter registration or voter education.
    • Helped develop, produce, or distribute voter education materials.
    • Helped with a local, county, or state campaign.
    • Ran for office.
    • Researched and donated to an organization that is pro-democracy.
    • Subscribed to a newspaper.
    • Voted.
    • Participated in, or enabled, a protest relevant to DD:FF. (‘Enabled.
    • means you provided food, transportation, legal observing, etc..
    • Attended and spoke at a public meeting of your municipal, county.
    • school, or state government.
    • Worked or volunteered at a polling place.
    • Helped with a ‘sanctuary’ activity, such as providing housing or legal aid to an undocumented immigrant.
    • Joined or rejoined a union.
    • Bought local. Ate, shopped, or used personal services only a locally owned businesses, not big chains.
    • Recruited someone for a DD:FF action.
    • Researched an issue and submitted a letter to the editor about it.
    • Learned how to intervene when a stranger is being harassed or taught someone else what to do.
    • Made a plan to reduce your use of fossil fuels: installed sola.
    • panels, cut back on driving, used the bus or biked instead or driving, turned down the thermostat.
    • Organized an alternative activity to draw attention away from hate groups. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s “10 Ways to Fight Hate” has many examples you can follow or adapt. Turn a negative event into a positive counter-event to raise awareness and money for community-building efforts.
    • Moved money from a corporate bank to a local credit union or into a social-good investment fund.

    These do not count:

    • Attended a meeting that was just talk, no action plan.
    • Posted something on Facebook or posted a comment on a web site.
    • Signed an online petition. (Most of these exist to mine your data, and they are not very effective. See www.indivisibleguide.com.)
    Sign up

  • wants to volunteer 2014-05-13 18:57:39 -0500

    Become a volunteer

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

    --Margaret Mead

    Choose to become one of those committed citizens and work with us at Grassroots North Shore. Let us know, below, what activities you will be participating in.

    Become a volunteer