Actions Speak Louder Than Words

On August 14, 2018, we will hold a Primary Election to decide who will run to replace the current governor.  After that will come a blitz of fundraising and advertising -- at least for the Democratic Candidate.  The Republican is not waiting until then.  Scott Walker's campaign started with an ad in October 2017. Since then we have seen a lot of shenanigans in these ads and in what he purports to have done for the state.

  • Education - Walker claims that his budget will give more to public education than ever. "We are investing more money into education than ever before in the history of Wisconsin." One problem. He does not account for inflation in that claim.  When adjusted for inflation 2011 per student spending was $13,112, considerably higher than $12,329 spent in 2017.
  • Welfare "Reform" - What the current administration calls "reform" is a continuation of race-baiting and innuendo. The Progressive's analysis is spot on.  Walker's ad cuts to a black woman for his example.  In reality, 56-68 percent of the welfare recipients in Wisconsin are white. Additionally, the largest chunk of money goes to children who receive 43 percent of the total allotment. 
  • Jobs - Walker claimed that if Democrats get control of the Executive Branch the Foxconn deal would be over.  He based this on Dana Wachs' statement that he would hold Foxconn accountable for the terms of the contract and if the company violates those terms, he would push to extricate the state from the agreement.  When interviewed this past Sunday by Mike Gousha on his show "UpFront" Walker said, “What other company in the world would consider coming to this state if that’s the kind of leadership that’s going to be in place?”  When did holding to the terms of a contract become a demonstration of poor leadership?
  • Taxes - In a blatant attempt to buy votes Walker instituted a $100 child tax credit. "Parents will have from May 15 to July 2 to sign up for the tax rebate on a state Department of Revenue website that has yet to be launched.[As of this newsletter, the site has launched] They'll then receive the rebate checks later in the summer — just a few months before the November election. " (MJS)

Bottom line: Don't be duped by ads and phony rhetoric.


Q: WHAT HAPPENED in Shorewood on the evening of April 29th?

A: More than 70 people attended the Focus on Immigration evening at North Shore Presbyterian Church. They enjoyed delicious ethnic treats, shared stories about how their families originally came to the United States and learned how the current legal landscape today compares with immigration of the past.

Speakers detailed immigration’s past rules and their effects. Grassroots North Shore extends a hearty thank you to Professor Rachel Buff for her illuminating tour through immigration history, and to Kelly Fortier for her fascinating and funny but sometimes horrifying rendition of current immigration requirements, and to Nancy Flores and Miguel Lopez of Voces de la Frontera for the heartfelt and riveting story they recounted of coming to the United States as an undocumented immigrant.

The audience learned that long wait times for green cards, sometimes spanning decades, have contributed to people coming to the United States by unorthodox means. For example, a married son or daughter sponsored by a US citizen parent will usually wait 13 years to be reunited with child; for a U.S. citizen parent from Mexico, it would be 23 years before the child could enter.

Speakers’ presentations were followed by a 30-minute Q&A from the audience. The questions regarding immigration and its past effects on the United States were sometimes surprising and always informative; the questions regarding the future of immigration remain and can only be answered by how we respond to its challenges.


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Guest Intro from Jackie Boynton-Women Lead the Way

Maybe this will be the “Year of the Woman”, maybe not, but it is the year of the women candidates I am happy to say! We know that women have a different and needed understanding and perspective in policy areas such as healthcare, transportation, education, jobs and the environment. And we know that, of course, women should be equally represented in all levels of government, right? We also agree that women make up 50% of the population in Wisconsin. Those are facts, as are the following:

22% of City Council positions are held by women

20.4% of County Board positions are held by women

19% of Circuit Court judges are women

22% of WI Assembly members are women

27% of WI Senate members are women

For 3 decades the percentage of women in the WI Legislature has hovered at 25%.

Organizations are working hard to change this. Emerge Wisconsin trains Democratic women to run for public office. This round of training has 32 women from rural and urban areas. As an Emerge alum says, “Women need to step up if they want to see change.”

Women Lead’s mission is to support and promote viable pro-choice progressive women running for office in Wisconsin and seeks to make a direct and immediate impact on legislative policy affecting women’s rights and reproductive health while building a pipeline of seasoned candidates to run in future races.

Here is a sampling of the fantastic legislative candidates running in the southeastern part of Wisconsin:

Marisabel Cabrera- AD 9

Lillian Cheeseman- AD 15

Charisse Daniels- AD 37

Erica Flynn AD 84-

Julie Henszey SD 5-

Christine Rahlf- AD 60

Emily Siegrist- AD 24

Liz Sumner- AD 23

Gina Walkington- AD 61

Come and meet some of them on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, at 1122 N. Astor St., 5 to 7:30 PM.

Contact for more information.

* We at Grassroots North Shore urge our members to judge all candidates based on individual strengths.

DoYou Want to Help the Blue Wave?  Are you a great phonebanker? Here is your chance to help.

Caleb Frostman is running in a special election for State Senate to represent the 1st District. His campaign set up a virtual phone bank so that we can help.  If you have never participated in a Virtual Phone Bank, it is quite easy. You will always be calling someone who has not been contacted by anyone else.  Check out the directions and links here.

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One of These Things is not like the Others

From 1998 until 2012 I taught high school English in highly conservative Washington County. In addition to teaching I learned. I discovered that Republican is not a synonym for racist.  I learned that we do not own social justice. I discovered that we all want the best for ourselves, for our families, and for our communities. How was it possible for us both to be good people while agreeing on almost nothing. It all comes down to our definitions. We all agree on the definition of self; we have some differences on the meaning of family; we completely differ in our definition of community. For some, community extends only as far their city limits, for others, it extends only as far as their block and for yet others, their community ends at their front door. For those of us who identify as Liberal, our sense of community extends to all who live and breathe. 

Short of spending a decade working in a conservative community, how do we discover our similarities, our shared humanity? More important, how do we all become part of the same community?  We must build bridges and that begins with talking and listening. Grassroots North Shore has two upcoming events that address that precise need.  On Wednesday, Jan 31, we are hosting WAVE for How to Talk About Guns and ProtectionThe talk will be at our office, 5600 W. Brown Deer Rd. #116, from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm. The second event is broader, focusing on knocking on doors and building relationships based on shared values and we need to do this before we start asking people to vote for specific candidates. To that end, please join us on Feb. 24, in our Bridge Building initiative.  You can read more about it and sign up to participate on our website.

"The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something." -Barack Obama

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Worry Globally; Achieve Locally

"I abhor _________________, but what can I do?" There is no shortage of issues to fill the blank. When a friend recently filled the blank with racism I signed him up for Rid Racism Milwaukee's newsletter. When it comes to gun violence, WAVE is the group to follow and emulate.  Last week WAVE had a letter-writing session that we can all take part in.

Recently the Wauwatosa School Board passed a resolution to amplify the voices of students demanding action. "Among a slate of proposals, the School Board also is calling for more mental health funding for schools, universal background checks for gun purchases, an assault weapons ban and waiting periods for gun purchases." (Milwaukee Journal/Sentinal, April 20, 2018)

We can all write letters to our school boards, asking them to pass local resolutions calling on the legislature to enact the following policies, as identified by the students: universal background checks on all gun sales, limits on magazine capacity, an assault weapons ban, and raising the minimum age for firearms purchases from 18 to 21.

When we act locally, we see change.

Event Reminder

On Sunday, April 29, 2018, Grassroots North Shore will be presenting Focus on Immigration:

If you have not submitted your RSVP, do it now!

Don’t ignore the fun part of the event, FOOD. Heritage Foods:  You are invited to contribute a savory or sweet finger food representing your heritage or ethnic background.  Small plates only, no entrees.

Suggestions include fruit, vegetable, dairy, or sweets.  Items are to be plated and ready to serve.  If interested, please email Kathy Golden at

Hope to see you there.


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Work Rewarded: More Work to Come

Rebecca Dallet was not our only win last week. The voters of Wisconsin rejected a Constitutional Amendment to eliminate the State Treasurer that would further weaken our checks and balances on the State Budget. On a local level, we sent a message to Chris Abele, the Milwaukee County Exec., about using his money to pack the County Board with hand-picked, rubber stamps.

None of this happened without hard work.  At GRNS we made calls, knocked doors, and wrote postcards.  We were not alone in our efforts. New groups are popping up and sharing the effort. Among those that added their voices and resources to the cause were The League of Progressive Seniors, River West Team, East Side Action, Southside Freedom League,  Grassroots South Shore, Greendale Grassroots SW, and Midtown Action all joined the effort.

Campaign work is, however, expensive. We bought two cell phones, printed, stamped, and sent over 1000 postcards. If you are able, we could use some financial help to keep it all going.  A Blue Wave will not happen without boots on the ground, lawn signs, phone calls, and events to meet the candidates.  Please, if you can, offer your financial support at Act Blue.

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Election Edition

First, before anything else, get ready to vote on Wednesday, April 3. 

  • Check for your polling location and confirm your registration status. You can even check out what is on your ballot.
  • Decide when you will vote and how you will get there.
  • Have a backup plan.  This is, after all, Wisconsin. We could have a snow storm or sweltering heat.  Be prepared.
  • Make note of these numbers in case you experience any problems:  If you need help voting or see problems at the polls, call one of these free, nonpartisan hotlines to get the assistance you need:
    • 866-OUR-VOTE - English
    • 888-VE-Y-VOTA - Spanish
    • 1-844-418-1682 - Arabic
    • 888-API-VOTE - Asian/Pacific Islander languages

Know for whom you will vote. We have two recommendations:

Rebecca Dallet for State Supreme Court. If you want a judge who is fair, experienced, and independent, Rebecca Dallet is the only choice.   Read our full endorsement. 

If you live in Milwaukee County's first District, we recommend Theo Lipscomb.  Even without the controversy about Chris Abele's Super PAC and the $500,000 he spending on some very expensive rubber stamps, Lipscomb would still be our choice. He has served his constituents well.  Read our full endorsement.

Finally, please remember to vote no on the Statewide Referendum to eliminate the position of State Treasurer.  Do not allow another watchdog to be silenced!

See you at the polls.

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Beware the Plutocrat

Spring elections, for the most part, are low-keyed events and they should be. These races are largely local and should come down to shoe leather campaigning and not floods of expensive direct mail. But now, thanks to Citizens United, money is flowing into several of these races in Milwaukee form a single source and a bad precedent is being set. We firmly believe that these municipal and county races should be very much about issues around filling potholes, keeping up the quality of our schools and maintaining fair and efficient courts. This is why we are taking a stand against County Executive Chris Abele’s massive infusion of cash into selected races.
First, we do not want to impune any legitimate candidates who may have inadvertently gotten caught up in this. To the best of our knowledge, however, none of them has spoken out against Leadership Mke, Abele's PAC that is spending more than $500,0000 in their support. Here is what we do know:
  • Chris Abele asked someone to run against Theo Lipscomb.  He told the woman that she would not have to worry about finances. She shared these details the day after she received the call.  She turned him down.
  • Another person shared that she has received two calls where the caller claimed to be conducting a survey funded by and on behalf of the County Board of Supervisors. "When I told him that I intend to vote for Lipscomb he launched into a long list of Lipscomb's faults.  According to this guy, Lipscomb is self-serving, costing us money, cutting care and services, etc.  His opponent, of course, he described as stellar."

If these kinds of tactics scare you as much as they scare us, join us tomorrow, March 28, 2018, to let Leadership Mke and Chris Abele know that we stand against his attempt to buy himself a County Board that will be his rubber stamp.  In a Democracy, dissent is vital.  We have seen all too graphically what happens when one party buys itself both the Executive and Legislative Branches of Government.  Don't let Milwaukee County go the way of Madison and Washington. Let's show them what Democracy Looks Likes.

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We're Making Waves

Before anything else we must apologize to The League of Women Voters for misrepresenting their position.  Please read the full statement here.

Last week saw another red district turn blue with Connor Lamb's election in Pennsylvania. His win would not have happened if a lot of people had not worked very hard. We can only do this if everyone out there works. We have momentum but that alone is not enough. There is a rule of thumb in campaigning that it takes five touches to be certain someone will vote and touches are interactive, not static.  An ad doesn't count. A Facebook post does not count. A touch is a conversation, a personal connection.  If we want to make sure that Rebecca Dallet wins on April 3, we have to put in some time. Please, help us make sure that Rebecca Dallet is elected to the State Supreme Court.  Here are the things that you can do:

  • Call five friends.  Talk to them about Dallet and ask them to call five more people. If you don't feel like you know enough, that is easily remedied. 
  • We are making calls and writing postcards. Sign up to help with that effort.
  • Make sure everyone you know is registered to vote.  If someone isn't, help them register here.
  • On April 3, become really obnoxious about making sure that everyone votes. We Dems have a horrible voting record for anything other than the Presidential election. We must change that.

Save the Date for Our Next Event, Sunday, April 29

Focus on Immigration

“What then is the American, this new man? I could point out to you a man whose grandfather was an Englishman, whose wife was Dutch, whose son married a French woman, and whose present four sons have now four wives of different nations….The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles…. This is an American.”  Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur (1770, approx.)

Find out how to affect the national conversation about immigration and immigrants who depend on receiving the same opportunities offered to our forefathers. Join us on Sunday, April 29th at 4:30 for a night focusing on the past and present of immigration in the United States.

  • Hear knowledgeable speakers – Professor Rachel Duff (History Department, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee); Ms. Kelly Fortier (Immigration Lawyer), and a representative from Voces de la Frontera.
  • Bring and share an ethnic finger food (savory or sweet) as we contemplate how much poorer life would be without the different cultures that comprise the United States.
  • Connect your personal immigration story with the national crisis to see where we have been, where we might go, and how immigration affects us all.
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We Apologize to League of Women Voters

The March 13th edition of the Grassroots North Shore (GRNS) Newsletter included an item titled DID YOU KNOW? The material was to inform readers about the referendum question on the April 3rd ballot that seeks the removal of the State Treasurer position. The article used educational material regarding the Referendum that was developed by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin (LWV WI) that was intended for use in the voter and candidate guides prepared by local Leagues. It was not clear to us that this information was meant for limited use.   Also, the article was structured in such a way that the distinction between the LWV WI's language and that of GRNS was not clear and easily could have led readers to misinterpret the position of LWV WI. On Saturday, January 20, 2018, The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin’s Board of Directors voted to not take a position: LWV WI is not advocating for or against this referendum. The writer apologizes to the League for the inappropriate use of their material and any confusion the article may have caused regarding their stance on the referendum. An apology is also extended to the Newsletter's readers and to the membership of GRNS. Pat Slutske



Did you know?


Over the past several years our current state administration has quietly been stripping away the duties of the State Treasurer. Now, following a familiar playbook, they are saying that the position of Treasurer no longer has enough official duties to warrant its existence, and, therefore, should be eliminated. The end result would be to further concentrate power and give top members of the Walker administration even more control. To that end, they have put a Referendum Question on the April 3rd ballot.

 The League of Women Voters provides the following information regarding that referendum.

Wisconsin Constitutional Amendment - Elimination of state treasurer

What it will say on the ballot

At the April 3 Spring Election, all Wisconsin voters will be asked to vote on the question:

Elimination of state treasurer. Shall sections 1 and 3 of article VI and sections 7 and 8 of article X of the constitution be amended, and section 17 of article XIV of the constitution be created, to eliminate the office of state treasurer from the constitution and to replace the state treasurer with lieutenant governor as a member of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands?

What the state treasurer does

The state treasurer is a partisan office. The current duties prescribed by WI law include signing certain checks and financial instruments and helping publicize the state's unclaimed property program (the program is managed and advertised by the Department of Revenue). Per the constitution, the treasurer serves along with the attorney general and secretary of state on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

The Board manages the state's remaining trust lands (more than 77,000 acres of forest), manages trust funds (more than $1 billion) primarily for the benefit of public education, and maintains the state's archive of 19th-century land survey and land sales records.

What this referendum vote would do

This amendment would complete the transfer of financial duties from an independent elected official to agencies under the control of the governor. Supporters of the amendment contend that there are no remaining responsibilities that justify a separate office. Opponents are concerned about the consolidation of power in the executive branch.

Two successive legislatures voted to put this question to voters (as required by the Wisconsin Constitution). The decision made by voters on April 3rd is binding.

What a Yes or No vote means

"Yes" vote means the voter agrees that the constitutional position of state treasurer should be abolished.

"No" vote means the voter wants to retain the constitutional position of state treasurer.

Show the administration we know what they are up to: vote NO.

On March 24, 2018, the students from the Marjorie Stoneman-Douglas High School in Parkland Florida are staging a march in Washington, D.C.:  they call it a March for Our Lives.  Students from across the country will be massing to stage similar events in support of that effort.  Here in Wisconsin, they will be gathering in Madison, and then marching fifty (50) miles to Paul Ryans home in Janesville.  To learn more, go to their


Many thanks to Pat Slutske for this week's content

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