Hurry Up, Please. It's Time!

With Labor Day in the rearview mirror, it's time for Grassroots North Shore to take action. And we have a plan! Beginning on Wednesday, September 19, we will be holding weekly phone banks, first to recruit canvassers from a list of volunteers in earlier campaigns and then to talk directly to voters to remind them to vote – early if possible.

We will begin door-knocking and talking face-to-face with voters on September 29, just as Micelle Obama's When We All Vote week of voter registration activities is winding up (September 22-29) and some communities — including the City of Milwaukee — will have just begun early voting or soon will. (Grassroots North Shore's website will have a complete listing of each communities' early voting times and places within the next 10 days or so.)

So please sign up! In general you will find our sign-up pages for election activities under the tab Elections 2018 —> Coordinated Campaign Events. Below are links to the first five phone banking opportunities (all taking place at our office at 5600 Brown Deer Rd, Suite 16) and the first five canvass shifts. We will provide everything you need so you don't have to call from your own cell phone for the phone banks! For the canvasses, you can use a smart phone to access minivan for your walk list if you download the app and then let Eilene Stevens know.

Phone Banks
Wednesday, September 19, from 5:30 pm to 8 pm
Tuesday, September 25, from 5:30 pm to 8 pm
Wednesday, October 3, from 5:30 pm to 8 pm
Tuesday, October 9, from 5:30 pm to 8 pm
Wednesday, October 17, from 5:30 pm to 8 pm

Canvass Shifts
Saturday, September 29, from 10 am to 2 pm (two shifts)
Sunday, September 30, from 3:30 pm am to 5:30 pm
Saturday, October 6, from 10 am to 2 pm (two shifts)
Sunday, October 7, from 3:30 pm am to 5:30 pm
Saturday, October 13, from 10 am to 2 pm (two shifts)

Additional phone banks and canvasses are scheduled throughout the remainder of the campaign season. See our Elections 2018 for dates and times.

While you're signing up to pitch in for the campaigns, don't forget Grassroots North Shore's Annual Picnic, a special evening lecture by the renowned Reggie Jackson on Do Black Votes Matter? and our fall fundraiser with John Nichols. You will find all three listed on the GRNS Events page and on our Facebook events page.

And if you want to know the campaign contribution limits for statewide offices, we have you covered. The Wisconsin Ethics Board has posted a handy chart.

On a final note before we head into the Events listing: I was hospitalized with endocarditis followed by a stroke in January 2018, which explains why I've been absent from Grassroots North Shore events and this newsletter for 8 long months. But now I'm back, baby! And very glad to be able to walk and talk like an almost normal human being. But typos remain a problem. If you see some, please excuse them.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Give Mike Pence a real Wisconsin Welcome

For as long as I can remember, Citizen Action has been the leading advocate for health care reform. As such, they are the perfect group to organize Thursday's action when Mike Pence hits town to fundraise for Leah Vukmir.  Below are the details from their Facebook post:

(Exact time TBA asap, likely between 5 pm & 7 pm)
VP Mike Pence Is coming to a fundraiser for Leah Vukmir in her bid to unseat Senator Tammy Baldwin and attack our healthcare. Leah Vukmir has NOT pledged to protect people with preexisting conditions and have made it clear she would repeal our healthcare! Join Citizen Action & allies (let us know if you want to be added!) to say NO to repealing health care, NO to Pence, YES to Medicare for All that protects people with pre-existing conditions!

We will be joined by State Legislative leaders, people with preexisting conditions and YOU!

We ask that co-op members or those interested in being Citizen Action co-op members please bring a voided check to show Pence we can mobilize many small checks to take on his giant checks!

Hope to see GRNS well represented.

The other big protest event is Saturday, September 8, 2018, MARCH FOR ECONOMIC AND CLIMATE JUSTICE

 

 


Don't forget to rsvp for our annual picnic. In addition to great food, and motivating speakers, we will have Bluegrass from Linda and Poul Sandersen. It is impossible not to feel happy when listening to them and we need all of the happiness that we can find as commit to making a Blue Wave reality in Wisconsin and in D.C.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

There is an alternative to sadness

I googled "depression in the age of" and the top completion should come as no surprise: Trump.  Looking at the list that followed I realized that none of us is alone in this feeling. The old adage "misery loves company" is the most worthless saying I've ever heard. It accepts misery as inevitable and I refuse to do that. It is time shake off any passive acceptance that plagues us. It is time to empower ourselves. It is also time for a little old-fashioned self-care, too. 

In an article from Psychology Today last year, How to Cope With Trump Anxiety, offers a productive list of actions:

  1. Empower Yourself
  2. Connect
  3. Appreciate Your Ability to Cope
  4. Get Physical
  5. Write
  6. Assign Probability and Plan
  7. Retain Hope

At Grassroots North Shore, you can work on four of the seven actions.  We have spent the last 14 years helping people empower themselves to work for progressive change and solutions. If you feel alone, come to our annual picnic and connect with others. If you want to get physical, sign up to knock on doors. Doing something will help you to retain hope. And, always remember the word of Margaret Mead, " Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."


With the primaries over it is time to get to work.  We love this statement from UW-Milwaukee professor Mordecai Lee talking about grassroots political groups and how they could help counter money in politicals.  "They don’t particularly have a lot of money but they have volunteers, they have campaign energy, they have a kind of cohesive perspective on who they would like to see elected, who not elected and they give endorsement."  That is, indeed, Grassroots North Shore.

Therefore, this is the first  second of many requests for volunteers. We need first and foremost, people to knock on doors and talk face-to-face with voters. We know that these conversations are the most effective way to motivate voters.  We also need people to make calls and work in the office.  Please sign up and a member of the Campaign Committee will contact you.


Don't forget to rsvp for our annual picnic. In addition to great food, and motivating speakers, we will have Bluegrass from Linda and Poul Sandersen. It is impossible not to feel happy when listening to them and we need all of the happiness that we can find as commit to making a Blue Wave reality in Wisconsin and in D.C.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Now We Get to Work

With the primaries over it is time to get to work.  We love this statement from UW-Milwaukee professor Mordecai Lee talking about grassroots political groups and how they could help counter money in politicals.  "They don’t particularly have a lot of money but they have volunteers, they have campaign energy, they have a kind of cohesive perspective on who they would like to see elected, who not elected and they give endorsement."  That is, indeed, Grassroots North Shore.

Therefore, this is the first of many requests for volunteers. We need first and foremost, people to knock on doors and talk face-to-face with voters. We know that these conversations are the most effective way to motivate voters.  We also need people to make calls and work in the office.  Please sign up and a member of the Campaign Committee will contact you.


Now, some fun: September 16, 2018 - Our Annual Picnic, Served hot or cold, politics is on the menu at our picnic... Once more we will feature Keith Schmitz's famous pulled pork and pulled chicken at Cahill Park Square in Whitefish Bay.

RSVP now! 


 

 

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Election Countdown

This past March, leading up to the April Elections, we looked at Leadership MKE.  The group worked to unseat supervisors who had opposed Chris Abele, Milwaukee County Exec, in the past. It should come as no surprise that Abele also used his seemingly limitless personal wealth to finance the group. Between January and March of 2018, he donated $740,000 to the group. According to the finance report, he was not the only person funding the group.  Five other people donated a total of $65.00

Leadership MKE is at it again trying to buy an office. In the race for Milwaukee County Sheriff, we are not alone in endorsing Earnell Lucas. Leadership MKE has endorsed his opponent. So, as your mailboxes fill with glossy ads, make sure to look and see who paid for them. Please, if you see this at the bottom, ask yourself if there is an ulterior motive behind the expense.

We, however, do not have to go along with it.  UWM professor Mordachai Lee says that groups like Grassroots North Shore can counter the effect of big money: "They don’t particularly have a lot of money but they have volunteers, they have campaign energy, they have a kind of cohesive perspective on who they would like to see elected, who not elected and they give endorsement," he said

Don't forget to do some election homework. 
  1. Make sure that your voter registration is correct.  You can check it here.
  2. Mark your calendar and make a plan to vote on August 14, 2018.
  3. Remind your friends and contacts to vote.  Don't stop there.  Ask them to remind their friends and contacts to do the same.

A few dates to add to your calendar:

  • September 16, 2018 - Our Annual Picnic, Served hot or cold, politics is on the menu at our picnic... Once more we will feature Keith Schmidt's famous pulled pork and pulled chicken at Cahill Park Square in Whitefish Bay.
  • October 14, 2018 - Our Annual Fundraiser with featured speaker, John Nichols. 
Read more
Add your reaction Share

Primary Candidates and More

The primaries are almost here and here is your list of things you should be doing to get ready:
  1. Make sure that your voter registration is correct.  You can check it here.
  2. Mark your calendar and make a plan to vote on August 14, 2018.
  3. Remind your friends and contacts to vote.  Don't stop there.  Ask them to remind their friends and contacts to do the same.
  4. Read the op-ed from Earnell Lucas for Milwaukee County Sheriff and see one of the reasons GRNS has endorsed.
  5. If you live in the 23rd Aldermanic District read from Andy Lamb and Liz Sumner in this highly competitive race.
  6. Even though they are running unopposed in the Primary, remember to vote for our much needed Dems who will be running in November.

A few dates to add to your calendar:

  • September 16, 2018 - Our Annual Picnic, Served hot or cold, politics is on the menu at our picnic... Once more we will feature Keith Schmidt's famous pulled pork and pulled chicken at Cahill Park Square in Whitefish Bay.
  • October 14, 2018 - Our Annual Fundraiser with featured speaker, John Nichols. 

Ongoing Projects


Finally, I am happy to report that Nancy Kaplan (whom I often describe as our own Rachel Maddow) is almost back to normal after her stroke six months ago.  The doctors said that it would take a full year for her to return to full recovery.  Any of you who know Nancy also know that she achieves her goals far more quickly than the average person.  She indicates that she will resume the newsletter after Labor Day.  Thank you for your patience while I have covered for Nancy but let's face it, if Nancy is the Rachel Maddow of Northshore politics then I am the Erma Bombeck.  We need facts and analysis; we will save entertainment for after we win.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

You are the reason other groups ask us for help

Two groups have requested our help with upcoming events/initiatives.  The first is WAVE :

Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) is looking for old/used shoes for a project they are working on. 

WAVE is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works to prevent and end gun violence throughout the state of Wisconsin, and the intern team (comprised of students from the ages 14-18) is currently planning a Silent March at the end of the summer.

The purpose of the Silent March is to produce a public awareness action using shoes as a symbolic memorial of those lost to gun violence in Wisconsin. Their goal is to collect 600 pairs of shoes by August 6th, which represents the average number of gun deaths every year in Wisconsin. The shoes will then be laid out on the lawn of the Wisconsin State Capitol building in Madison. To achieve this goal, they are looking for any old/used shoes that you may have. After the Silent March, the shoes will be donated to various organizations/charities.

You can take your shoes to the following location where you will find a labeled box near the front door.

community person address
Shorewood Chuck Carlson  2606 E Olive St.
Whitefish Bay Shirley Horowitz 4845 N Newhall St
Bayside Eilene Stevens 8576 N Pelham Pkwy
Glendale Nancy Kaplan 7759 N River Edge Dr
Mequon Kath Michel 1931 W Fiesta Ln
Brown Deer Alanna Malloy 8689 N 63rd Street
Fox Point Lois Malowsky 7409 N Crossway Rd

The second request is from the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County

Get into the Wisconsin State Fair Park for free.  Work for the Milwaukee Democratic Party of three hours then enjoy the Fair. The Fair runs from August 2 - 12.  Shirts are as follows:

10 am - 1 pm, 1 pm - 4 pm, 4 pm - 7 pm, and 7 pm - 10 pm

If you can help, please send the following information to Marlene Ott at solidarity.ott@gmail.com

  1. Date and time
  2. Your telephone number in case Marlene needs to contact you
  3. Your current mailing address so Marlene can send you a ticket to State Fair Park

Finally, nothing could happen without you, our supporters . . . but are you a member? If you want to support our mission, to advocate, educate, and inform for progressive change and solutions become a member. We are an all-volunteer organization so your money goes directly to helping us maintain our presence - our office in Brown Deer, our electronic presence, and our events.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

July 17, 2018

In literature Science Fiction takes current trends and shows through exaggeration where, if left unchecked, they may lead us. George Orwell's novel, 1984 was published in 1949 but returned to the best-seller lists in 2017. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, published in 1985 is not only back on the best-seller list but is also a successful television show. They both speak to today's conflicts and the decimation of societal norms.

I mention this because I recently saw Boots Riley new film, Sorry to Bother You. Yes, it is a comedy but it has the same power as 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale. Here in Wisconsin, we see state Republicans extolling our low unemployment but hear nothing about the stagnant salaries, shrinking middle class, and safety nets under attack.  Much like Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal, Riley presents a chilling solution, the return of slavery albeit marketed as a safe existence free from the worries of providing for oneself and one's family.

Orwell and Atwood did not provide a roadmap for averting potential catastrophic outcomes but we have one -- VOTE. 

So that you can be an informed voter, here is our first piece from one of November's candidates, Emily Siegrist who is running in the 24th Assembly district.

I have had the privilege to work in the medical field for about 15 years, in diverse roles including combat medic in the National Guard, dialysis technician, registered nurse, and now as a Nurse Practitioner. I have worked in emergency departments, free clinics and primary care clinics targeting underserved, marginalized and medically vulnerable populations.  Now I have decided to run for state assembly in the 24th district. Why? Because I have seen the economic and physical hardship that comes from a lack of health insurance or a lack of access to care, and I want to build a Wisconsin that ensures this basic human right for our future generations.  The state legislature needs to act to expand BadgerCare to all Wisconsinites.  
Health insurance provided by an employer has been the norm in this country since the years following the Great Depression.  During times when healthcare costs were relatively low, this was a viable solution.  As costs have risen, employers have sought to limit coverage and shift more of the cost to their employees.  Additionally, some employers have cut employee hours and reclassified employees as independent contractors to limit or deny benefits.  The current employer mandate clause of the Affordable Care Act applies to companies of 50 or more full time employees, defined as 30 or more hours a week.  This leaves nearly 100 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 to purchase health insurance in an open market.  The costs for such plans can be unconscionably high - a friend of our family living in River Hills has seen her premiums double in the past 3 years, and she now finds herself spending more for her family’s health insurance than her mortgage.   
Forgoing health insurance is simply not a reasonable option.  Uninsured people who find themselves with a significant illness can easily see their life savings and retirement accounts wiped out from medical bills in the blink of an eye.  An emergency coronary artery bypass surgery averages nearly $100,000 in the US, not including the aftercare or the weeks off from work for recovery.  Intensive care units routinely charge $3,000-5,000 per day, not including physician and pharmacy costs.  Treatments like bone marrow and solid organ transplantation are so expensive that insurance is considered a prerequisite before treatment can be seriously discussed.  Medical debt is the #1 cause of personal bankruptcy filings in the United States.
For those who are uninsured, costs are also less likely to correspond to quality care.  Without insurance, most people are reliant on emergency departments to receive care.  Emergency rooms are expensive and cannot be expected to take ownership of managing chronic problems.  Primary care clinics are ideally suited to just that purpose, but without insurance, many patients do not have access to a primary care physician.  Very manageable conditions (hypertension, diabetes) that are ignored will eventually and inevitably worsen, and the complications that ensue (strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure) are catastrophic both physically and economically.  Prevention is unquestionably better than trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.  
BadgerCare was originally introduced in 1999 to provide coverage for families with uninsured children during the transition from welfare to the workforce.  It is currently available to anyone in the state earning less than 185% of the federal poverty limit, plus some select other groups.  Coupled with recent expansion in coverage under the ACA, Legislation currently tabled in the Madison would seek to expand BadgerCare+ to offer it as a coverage option for all Wisconsinites, regardless of income.  This expansion is in our collective best interest.  Premiums would benefit from an “economy of scale” and be highly competitive with commercial plans.  We would be promoting the health of Wisconsin’s workforce, leading to fewer lost hours and greater productivity.  We would be able to contain costs by helping to develop the medical infrastructure that guides medically vulnerable people from the emergency departments to primary care offices.  We will reduce the public cost of complications of chronic disease by focusing on evidence-based management and prevention.  
It seems unlikely that this legislation will see a fair debate in the State Senate or State Assembly.  it is indefinitely tabled. In limbo.  Rotting on the vine.  The current proposal from the majority parties in those bodies, as well as Governor Walker, is for the state to defray the cost of health care premiums for low-income Wisconsinites by providing subsidies directly to the private insurers.  This is nothing more than business as usual and will do nothing to contain costs or expand coverage.  Please contact your state senator, your state assembly representative, the governor’s office.  Tell them that you want BadgerCare for All to be considered in their next legislative session.  
Read more
Add your reaction Share

Getting the Information You Need

Have you ever noticed our mission statement, WE ARE A GROUP OF VOLUNTEERS WHO WORK TO ADVOCATE, EDUCATE AND INFORM FOR PROGRESSIVE CHANGE AND SOLUTIONS? Sometimes that is not easy.  We have a policy not to endorse in primaries where two or more Progressives are running for the same office. We want to support the candidate who is running in November against the Republican.  There is one exception to the rule.  Sometimes there is no Republican running for a seat making the winner of the primary the defacto winner of the election as in the Milwaukee Co. Sheriff's race. (More on that in a few weeks).

So, how can we fulfill our mission statement to inform?  We are asking candidates in contested primaries the opportunity to write op-eds for our newsletter and website. We only make one stipulation -- no opponent bashing. Tell our readers what is right about you, not what is wrong with your opponent. 

Stay tuned in the coming weeks to hear from candidates.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Last week information; this week action.

Last weeks Governors Forum was our biggest event to date with close to 200 in attendance.  You can view a copy of the live stream here.  The candidates were all class preferring to talk about their individual strengths rather than bash each other. The one thing they all agreed on, however, is that Foxconn is bad for Wisconsin which leads to the first of this week's two major actions.

A new group, the Gaia Coalition, Is organizing a protest for the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Foxconn debacle. The Republican bigwigs will be there in mass. So will we. The event will start at Smolenski Park, 438 S Stuart Rd, Mt Pleasant, WI 53406 at noon. If you are attending the organizers ask for two things: 1) Carpool if possible and 2) Protest signs should highlight issues, not people.

The second opportunity this week to demonstrate is around immigration. Saturday is the Day of Action, Keeping Families Together.  Again, carpools are recommended (check details below).

Today's Supreme Court decisions were disappointing. They ruled against a California law that would require "crisis pregnancy centers" to share information about abortion with clients.

They also upheld the Administration's Muslim Ban.  "In a 5-to-4 vote, the court’s conservatives said the president’s statutory power over immigration was not undermined by his history of incendiary statements about the dangers he said Muslims pose to Americans."

We knew in November of 2016 that this would be a marathon, not a sprint. At least we will not endure The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner.  We will be running this marathon together, holding each other up until we cross the finish line.

Read more
Add your reaction Share