Some become more conservative as they age. I did not.

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 that of Conservatives'. For Conservatives that sense of community only extends as far as their own interests. Progressives view our community as global.

Eilene Stevens 3932.60pc

Eilene Stevens

Eilene Stevens's activity stream

  • published What's REALLY happening in Newsletter 2023-03-21 17:06:36 -0500

    What's REALLY happening

    So much excitement! So much anticipation!! So when will this indictment and arrest finally happen? Apparently not on TFG's timetable. But the April 4 election IS happening NOW. Today is the first day of early in person voting. If you live in the suburbs or Ozaukee County, you can consult our early voting page to find out where to go and the hours the office is open. The page includes phone numbers you can use to double check the information. Early voting in these locations will be available through Friday, March 31. If you live in Milwaukee, you can find the sites, days and hours for early voting at the Milwaukee Election Commission site. In the city, early voting continues on Saturday, April 1. But note that you cannot register at an early voting site on that Saturday.

    As you probably know by now, your ballot will pose two questions about amending the state constitution. As presented on your ballot, the questions are pretty deliberately anodyne. But they're not. Here's what David Liners, Executive Director of the WISDOM Action Network has to say about them.

    Your ballot will ... include a couple of very confusing-looking questions about whether to amend the State Constitution around the question of "cash bail."  Please know that currently judges have the power to hold people who are a serious danger to themselves or others for a high bail amount, or even without bail. The proposed amendment does not change that. All the amendment does is to create a very vague standard that is open to abuse. The effect would only be felt by people without much money -- the wealthy and well-connected would get to await their trial from home, while the poor would wait in jail. The "Bail Amendment" does no good, and it opens the door to a lot of harm, all to give an appearance of being "tough on crime."

    For more information about these proposed amendments, visit the League of Women Voters toolkit explaining the April 2023 Bail Amendment. The League is also providing the Bail Amendment Advocacy Session tonight from 6-7pm. You can read both the language you will find on your ballot as well as the actual legislative language for these proposed amendments on our site. Grassroots North Shore recommends voting NO on Question 1 and Question 2.

    And in case you missed it, Judge Janet Protasiewicz and Dan Kelly debated today on Channel 3000. You can see the whole thing on YouTube. The debate actually begins around the 4-minute mark.

    There things other than our election to talk about. While we await some shoe, any shoe at all, to fall in the numerous investigations into TRE45ON'S crimes, we don't want to forget about the Dominion defamation case accusing Fox News of spreading lies that seriously damaged its voting machine business. In the shadow of that legal action comes ANOTHER SUIT, this one from a Fox news producer claiming the company is making her a scapegoat in Dominion lawsuit.

    Meanwhile, as Stephen Colbert would say, one of E. Jean Carroll's two defamation cases is still alive. The first one has been delayed indefinitely — over the question about whether a sitting president can be sued for defamatory comments he made at a press conference while he was in office — but the second one — "for battery and defamation based on statements the former president made about Carroll after he left office" — will begin on April 25. So we're in for lakes of newsprint ink featuring our least favorite character. Read about the pre-trial skirmishing at We're going to have criminal investigations and defamation lawsuits as far as the eye can see, it seems.

    And in other *rump-related news, The Guardian's Andy Wong roots for Janet Protasiewicz to prevail, declaring that "This Wisconsin judicial election could decide the next US president". Here's the nut graph, as they say in the news biz:

    Typically, this type of judicial election would barely register as a blip in Wisconsin, let alone gain this much national attention. But the stakes in this battleground state are sky-high, not only because Wisconsin’s future hangs in the balance when it comes to abortion, voting rights, redistricting and elections policy, but also because the judicial seat could be crucial to ensuring a fair presidential election outcome in 2024.

    It's all on the line. Let's make sure we're reaching out to every voter we can. Call, text or email five people you know who might not vote in this election. Our future, our rights and freedoms are on the ballot!


    We're in the final stretch of Get Out the Vote activity. So it's really time to sign up to canvass with the Neighborhood Team nearest you.

    Another way to make a difference: Souls to the Polls is looking for volunteers to take calls from voters who need rides during early voting and on election day. They also need people who will drive others to polling places. You can volunteer here.


    Read and pass along a Guide to the 2023 Supreme Court Race from The Guide includes

    • a section on why your vote in this race matters;
    • a section providing an overview of the candidates's qualifications and positions on key issues like abortion and redistricting/gerrymandering;
    • a section on how to register and vote in this election, with dates and deadlines.

    You can download a pdf or the Guide in English and En Español.

    For additional information about the candidates and the races in your community, visit our 2023 Elections pages. The index page has links to each community where you will find the names of candidates for each office and links to the online information we've been able to gather for each candidate.

    The Democratic Party of Milwaukee County has Judge Janet Protasiewicz signs at the Office. You can stop in to pick one up! Location: 2999 S Delaware St, Milwaukee, WI 53221. Hours: Monday - Wednesday, 10:00am - 2:00pm. Thursday - Sunday: CLOSED. Office Phone: (414) 269-9287; Office Email: [email protected]. To make sure some are available, it's wise to call ahead.

    Grassroots North Shore is distributing signs for Janet Protasiewicz and Jodi Habush Sinikin while supplies last. Contact the person nearest you to make arrangements.


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  • published Referedums and other questions in Newsletter 2023-03-14 15:51:19 -0500

    Referedums and other questions

    Grassroots North Shore's RESCUE LADY JUSTICE event this past Sunday was a wonderful chance to hear from and ask questions of several candidates. If you missed it, you will be able to watch a video of it in a few days. As a result of that event, Grassroots North Shore is announcing its endorsements. You can read the rationals for these choices on our website:

    I'd like to say a bit more about the referendums. The first two questions will appear on all Wisconsin ballots and are the proposed amendments to the Wisconsin constitution. Both hinge on a phrase found in the legislative language but not in the language presented on the ballot. In Question 1, the current constitutional text reads that a judge can impose pre-conviction conditions "that are designed to protect members of the community from serious bodily harm." But the legislative language of the amendment would strike the word "bodily" and add the key phrase "as defined by the legislature by law."

    In Question 2, the key phrase appears as part of a long proposed addition that provides copious detail about when a judge can impose cash bail. It adds language specifying that cash bail can be imposed "if the person is accused of a violent crime as defined by the legislature by law." In both cases, the key phrase specifies that the legislature has the power to define both what constitutes "harm" (in Question 1) and what counts as a violent crime (in Question 2).

    So it is that phrase — "as defined by the legislature by law" — that gives the legislature new power, power that is currently part of a judge's discretion. The ballot language fails to include this crucial information about what the amendments would actually accomplish. And that's a key reason why we are leaning toward a "NO" vote on both questions.

    In addition to Questions 1 and 2, all voters in Wisconsin will see Question 3. Although the difference between the effect of Question 3 and the first two questions is not apparent, at least on my sample ballot, it is simply advisory. In other words, the question appears on the ballot to encourage a people with a somewhat punitive view of those who receive welfare benefits to vote in this rather low turnout election. It asks whether "able-bodied childless adults [should] be required to look for work in order to receive taxpayer-funded welfare benefits." Wisconsin already has a requirement that they look for work in order to receive unemployment insurance. A similar requirement for Wisconsin Foodshare has been waived during the coronavirus pandemic.

    In Milwaukee County, a 4th question — also simply an advisory one — appears on the ballot. (Other jurisdictions may also have additional advisory questions on their ballots.) Question 4 asks whether "Wisconsin Statute 940.04, which bans abortion at any stage of pregnancy without exception for rape, incest, or health of the patient, [should] be repealed to allow legal access to abortion care." It is clearly designed to attract voters who believe women should be free to receive reproductive health care without interference from the state.

    Turning to the race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, you should save the date. On March 21, Judge Janet Protasiewicz and Dan Kelly are set to debate for the first and only time. Sponsored by the State Bar of Wisconsin, WISC-TV and WisPolitics, it will be televised live. Judge Protasiewicz is being attacked for declining to engage in additional debates. When she was asked why at the Grassroots North Shore's RESCUE LADY JUSTICE event, she gave a perfectly reasonable response. She is campaigning for the seat on the Supreme Court while she continues to work at her current, full-time job. So time constraints, rather than some other objection, underlies her choice. According to a post by WisPolitics, "The March 21 debate will be livestreamed by It will then be replayed at 4 p.m. by WISC-TV and WKBT-TV."

    Absentee ballots that have already been requested will begin to be mailed today. If you have not already requested one, the time to do it is NOW and the place to do it is While you're there, you should also check your sample ballot so you will know exactly what will be on it. Prepare to fill out your absentee ballot as soon as you receive it. In the February primary, unfortunately, 75 otherwise valid ballots were delivered to the Glendale municipal clerk the day after the election and therefore could not be counted. There are just two ways to return an absentee ballot:

    1. Put it in the US Mail.
    2. Hand deliver it to your municipal clerk during regular business hours.

    A word of caution about both methods. Legally, all voters must mail their ballots themselves (although it would be hard for anyone to know who placed the ballot in a mailbox). The same holds true for taking a ballot to the municipal clerk. The clerk will refuse to accept a ballot delivered by someone other than the voter of the ballot!

    And a word about our digital presence. Grassroots North Shore is expanding its digital presence. In addition to our website, our Facebook page, and our Twitter page, we now have a spiffy new Instagram page. You really should check it out!

    Finally, ahead of this vital election, I have changed the way I list some events. So you will see a special section devoted to canvassing and phoning voters. Some people, like me, can no longer canvass. But we can buddy up with someone who can and drive them through the turf they're working. It saves the canvasser a lot of time. And you can phone voters, an activity many people dislike. But I always say, like an eye doctor, "is it better 1 or 2." Is it better to grit your teeth and phone or lose the election? You know what the right answer is. When the future of the state and perhaps of the nation at stake, each of us must do as much as we can to win this election! The links allow you to sign up for several canvasses or phone banks. So get busy.


    Canvassing is probably the most important way you can help secure victories for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Janet Protasiewicz, Senate District 8 candidate Jodi Habush Sinykin, and Milwaukee Appellate Court candidate Sara Geenen. We've organized into Neighborhood Action Teams. Here are the links to sign up for the one that's most convenient for you. Each sign-up page has multiple day and shift options.

    Join the WisDems for a phone bank! We will be calling voters to talk about the importance of voting in the State Supreme Court race and encouraging voters to make a plan to vote! Phoning takes place on many days and at many times. Go to a comprehensive listing and sign up.


    Write letters for the Wisconsin Supreme Court election with Vote Forward. We're sending the letters out on Tuesday, March 28. Overview: Help encourage Democratic-leaning voters to vote in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election by April 4, 2023. Background: The next Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice will rule on important issues that affect everyone in Wisconsin. Our letters can help provide more information about the candidates and motivate Democratic-leaning voters to participate in this critical election.Targeting: Fellow citizens who are unlikely to vote but likely to vote for Democrats when they do cast a ballot. Goal: This campaign seeks to increase voter turnout. This is a project of Vote Forward. Sign up.

    Be a Poll Observer: the Voter Protection Project needs a lot more poll observers. It is our duty to remain diligent and protect our democracy. That’s why we’ve been building a team of poll observers to ensure every precinct’s voting process is smooth, fair, and equitable. Poll observers are the eyes and ears for our voter protection team at critical polling locations across the state. Without poll observers, we can’t rapidly respond to important issues at polling places as they arise. There are 3 Election Day poll observer shift options: All-Day (6:30am-8:30pm - this is our greatest need), AM (6:30am-1:30pm), or PM (1:30pm-8:30pm). You will have plenty of opportunities for breaks and meals throughout the day, and a place to sit down. Sign up.


    Read and pass along a Guide to the 2023 Supreme Court Race from The Guide includes

    • a section on why your vote in this race matters;
    • a section providing an overview of the candidates's qualifications and positions on key issues like abortion and redistricting/gerrymandering;
    • a section on how to register and vote in this election, with dates and deadlines.

    You can download a pdf or the Guide in English and En Español.

    For additional information about the state candidates and the races in your community, visit our 2023 Elections pages. The index page has links to each community where you will find the names of candidates for each office and links to the online information we've been able to gather for each candidate.

    The Democratic Party of Milwaukee County has Judge Janet Protasiewicz signs at the Office. Please stop in to pick one up! Location: 2999 S Delaware St, Milwaukee, WI 53221. Hours: Monday - Wednesday, 10:00am - 2:00pm. Thursday - Sunday: CLOSED. Office Phone: (414) 269-9287; Office Email: [email protected]. To make sure some are available, it's wise to call ahead.

    Grassroots North Shore will also be distributing signs for Janet Protasiewicz and Jodi Habush Sinikin. I will let you know how to get them as soon as I know.

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  • published lessons we've just learned in Newsletter 2023-03-08 09:03:34 -0600

    lessons we've just learned

    This Sunday, Grassroots North Shore will present RESCUE LADY JUSTICE with featured speakers Judge Janet Protasiewicz (candidate for Supreme Court), Jodi Habush Sinykin (candidate for WI senator from Senate District 8), and Deb Andraca (Assembly Representative in AD 23) at the North Shore Presbyterian Church (4048 N. Bartlett Ave. Shorewood). We are meeting in person indoors for the first time in THREE YEARS! And it will be especially wonderful to see everyone up close and personal. Still COVID-19 has not gone away. So we recommend that you act prudently and wear a mask when you can. We will have some masks available for you at the sign-in table. So RSVP and enjoy the first day of daylight saving time with your Grassroots North Shore friends! (And don't forget to set your clocks one hour ahead before you hop into bed Saturday night.)

    Last week I shared some maps of Wisconsin to show the counties that candidates won and the counties where the aggregate of the two liberal candidates prevailed. Here's more, and more expert, analysis of the outcomes. In the podcast (about 34 minutes long) Charles Franklin, the director of the Marquette Law School poll, talks about the primary and some election trends in the state. You'll find it here.

    I promised I would have something to say about the two referendums to amend the state's constitution that will appear on you ballot. So here goes. To amend the state constitution, the exact same legislative language must pass two consecutive sessions of the legislature and THEN be offered to the voters via a ballot referendum. That's what is happening now. The issues these amendments address are complex and there are a number of different views about them. But precisely because they change our foundational document, we should take a bit more care to understand fully what each proposed amendment does.

    So far there has been little discussion or analysis of them in the media or anywhere else I've been able to find. And it is a little curious that the Republican dominated legislature is choosing to put these amendments to the voters in an extremely low-turnout spring election. So Grassroots North Shore is suggesting that in the absence of strong supporting arguments with evidence, we vote NO on each of them for the following reasons.

    1. The proposed amendments would transfer power to the legislature from the judicial and from the executive branches of government.

    2. The legislature is using the constitutional amendment process for these matters, instead of simply passing laws to alter the way judges can proceed, in order to get around a gubernatorial veto. In short the majority in the legislature is gaming the system to get the results they want.

    You should, however, take a few minutes to read the texts and then make up your own minds. You can read both the language that will be on your ballot and the actual legislative language on the Grassroots North Shore website.

    Two warnings about absentee ballots have come to my attention this week. First, some people in Wisconsin are receiving "misleading mailers from a Washington, D.C.-based group that have incorrect information" on pre-filled absentee ballot application forms, according to an AP story on the These mailers are coming from the Center for Voter Information, a group that has worked to register voters and elect Democrats across the country. The Center has admitted the mistakes but "was unable to say how widespread its mailing was." But voters are confused.

    Second, in the primary we just held 75 mailed-in ballots were delivered in Glendale the day after the election — too late to count. This sort of problem happens in a lot of communities but the number of late ballots is usually very small. In this case, Mayor Brian Kennedy said that although the 75 ballots could not have changed the outcome of any race, they made up 2% of the ballots cast. In fact, the only contested primary on the Glendale ballot in February was the Supreme Court race. And Judge Protasiewicz won that primary with a whopping vote total of 63%. Because the Monday before the Tuesday election was a federal holiday, the post offices were closed, possibly adding to the problem. But in one case a voter in San Diego mailed a ballot on February 8, two weeks before election day!

    The moral of the story: people voting by absentee ballot should take their ballots in person to their municipal clerk's office ahead of the election whenever possible. That advice, though, won't help people who mail absentee ballots because they are nowhere near their municipality. In that case, people who have to cast an absentee ballot should return the ballot as soon as it arrives and should check its status on a few days after it has been mailed. If the ballot has not been received with at least 10 days to election day, voters should call their municipal clerk for advice on what to do. Contact for municipal clerks is provided by the MyVote site.

    And a final announcement: The Democratic Party of Milwaukee County will give anyone who completes 2 canvassing shifts in Milwaukee County a 50% discount on the price of tickets to the County Party Awards dinner on March 26th. The event will be held at the Italian Community Center at 5:30pm for drinks and 6:30pm for dinner. The party will announce the recipients of a number of awards, including Democrat of the Year Mandela Barnes. And Judge Janet Protasiewicz will be the gala's special speaker. So please find an opportunity (or 2!) to knock doors and talk to your neighbors. The events list has plenty of canvasses in a location near you for the three weekends before the election. Tickets for the gala, titled "Defenders of Democracy," are available now.

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  • published Five weeks and counting! in Newsletter 2023-02-28 20:11:24 -0600

    Five weeks and counting!

    What a great Tuesday night we had last week! Judge Janet Protasiewicz received 46% of the statewide vote in a smashing victory for her. She of course did even better in our North Shore communities. In Shorewood and Bayside, she received over 70% of the vote. Glendale and Whitefish Bay awarded her more than 60% and River Hills came in with 54%. Only in Brown Deer did her vote total fall below 50%. But combined with the vote share for her liberal opponent, we can be pleased with the outcome: 67%! In Thiensville, she won 46%, the highest share of the vote. In Grafton, Cedarburg, Port Washington and Mequon she also won the most votes, 38%, 43%, 45% and 45% respectively. You can see all the county-by-county results online at the New York Times. And for a great appraisal of the outcome, you can't do better than to read Ben Wikler's piece on Daily Kos today.

    Here's a map showing the winner of each county by color. (Click here for a larger version.) Note that Protasiewicz actually won Ozaukee County, while Dorow came first in Washington and Waukesha. Since the voters did not favor her opponent, it's possible that at least some of them might prefer Protasiewicz in the April election. To get a clearer picture of the split between liberal and conservative candidates in the aggregate, here's a map showing the aggregate vote totals by county. (For a larger map, click here.) That is, if you add the vote totals of Protasiewicz and Mitchell together and compare the result to the sum of Kelly and Dorow's votes, you approximate the vote total of the liberal candidate in the April 4 election. The result is an astonishing winning margin of nearly 8 points.

    What the data show is that we can win this WI Supreme Court seat if we work hard to get like-minded people out to vote. Grassroots North Shore is sending out about 3500 postcards this week and next, to be followed up with phone calls. We have flyers to distribute in walkable places like Glendale, Shorewood, White Fish Bay, Fox Point and Bayside. We're working on putting together a smaller handout to give students on campuses in Milwaukee County. And of course we're canvassing like crazy. Go to our volunteer page to sign up to participate. In the events listings below you'll find oodles of opportunities to volunteer to canvass with the Neighborhood Team nearest you. In essence the whole five weeks to Election Day (April 4) is a Get Out the Vote effort. Please pitch in!

    And join us on Sunday, March 12, for a chance to meet and hear from Judge Janet Protasiewicz, Jodi Habush Sinykin, and Deb Andraca. We're celebrating Grassroots North Shore's 19th anniversary! The event will be held at the North Shore Presbyterian Church (4048 N Bartlett, Shorewood) from 4 - 6pm. Since it is an indoor event and COVID doesn't seem to be done with us yet, we recommend that people wear masks and we will have some at the door in case you forget yours. RSVP.

    Another way to help is to volunteer with the WisDems Voter Protection Team and become a Poll Observer with the Voter Protection Team in the Spring Election. Poll observers are the eyes and ears for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s Voter Protection Team inside polling locations across the state. You will be the last line of defense against any problems voters might face in trying to cast their ballot, which makes poll observing the single most important thing you can do (other than casting a ballot yourself) to ensure a strong, healthy democracy. Poll observers will be trained by the Voter Protection Team and supported by our staff throughout the process.

    Now that we're focused on the April election, don't forget about the referendums for constitutional amendments that will be on everyone's ballots. Grassroots North Shore has not yet taken a position on either of them, although that may change as we learn more about what's at stake. But you should at least read them — they're quite short — and also the actual legislative language. You can find them on our website.

    There is a lot going on in international and national news right now. There's the situation in Ukraine and the situation with TFG in Georgia, in New York, and in DC. And then there's the Dominion defamation suit seeking $1.6 billion in damages. With possible punitive damages on top of that. If you haven't been following the twists and turns in the latest Dominion filing — for a summary judgment no less — have a look at the story at CNN online. One of the best bits is Rupert Murdoch's answer to a question about why Carlson kept giving air time to Mike Lindell — you know, the pillow guy: "It is not red or blue. It's green." In short, lying about the election results was a business decision. So shocking, isn't it. This is what CNN's analyst Oliver Darcy concludes: "at its core, Fox News is not a news network. News networks work hard to deliver the truth to their viewers. These documents reveal that Fox News executives and hosts knew the truth and yet they peddled election lies to the audience."

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  • published hair on fire in Newsletter 2023-02-21 07:35:39 -0600

    Hair on fire

    Your hair should be on fire right now! Election Day is tomorrow. We have to work our fannies off to get a progressive jurist on the ballot in the April 4 election for the open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Lots and lots of people we've run across don't really seem all that aware of this election and its importance. We won't have another chance to remake the direction of this court until 2026! To finish tomorrow's primary with enough votes to claim a spot on the April 4 ballot, Democrats and Grassroots North Shore are continuing to Get Out The Vote on Election Day. So sign up for a shift either with the Fox Point Team or the Glendale Team. Shifts are 11am, 2pm and 5pm. I don't need to tell you how important it is to get out every last vote. So bring a friend. Knock some doors. And feel good while doing good.

    The primary for the Wisconsin Supreme Court seat has received oodles of national coverage, for which we should be thankful. Here are just a few of the recent posts on Daily Kos:

    And here are some national news outlets on the WI Supreme Court beat:

    If you have not yet voted, tomorrow is your last chance. Check your polling place and see your sample ballot at In a few areas, there are other races on the ballot. Vote in every race. If you need information about candidates on your ballot, you can find some by visiting our election pages. Just follow the link for your community. You will also find information about the referendums and an advisory question that will be on your ballot on April 4. After the primary tomorrow, I will have more to say about those.

    Our next big event (on Sunday, March 12 from 4 - 6 pm) will — finally — be held in person at the North Shore Presbyterian Church (4048 N. Bartlett Ave. Shorewood). The event aims to RESCUE LADY JUSTICE. Speakers include our fantastic candidate for state Senate District 8, Jodi Habush Sinykin, and our equally fantastic 23rd Assembly District representative, Deb Andraca. And the icing on the cake? The progressive winner of tomorrow's referendum. So sign up! (We recommend that you wear a mask and will have some on hand if you no longer keep any at home.)

    The April 4 election will be here before we know it. And again, Grassroots North Shore will be flooding the mails, heating up the phone lines, and pounding the pavement. We'll be starting the next round of projects next week. So please, please, please sign up for something.

    One terrific way to get engaged is to help register eligible high school students with the League of Women Voters. Milwaukee Public School District has asked the League of Women Voters to work with them to conduct voter registration events at each of their 24 high schools during the open enrollment period, February 22 to March 15, for the April election. To cover that many schools, the LWV will need many volunteers! LWVMC members who would like to participate in the high school events should access the training materials. If you sign up on the Google form at the end of the training, your name will be placed on the high school volunteer list. New volunteers will be paired with experienced volunteers. If you have any questions about this please contact [email protected].

    There's always an election cycle in Wisconsin, or so it seems. This year, though, we won't have another election after April until February, 2024. So we'll be able to think about other things that are important to us, our state and our nation. Stay tuned.

    Because I want to get this version of the newsletter out a day early, so that you have time to sign up for canvassing on the final day, I am including only a few events. If others come to my attention later this week, I'll send an events-only email to you.


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  • published the final push is here in Newsletter 2023-02-14 19:22:34 -0600

    the final push is here

    As we turn our attention to the general election on April 4, please save the date for Grassroots North Shore's program "Rescue Lady Justice." It will be held Sunday, March 12 from 4:00pm - 6pm at the North Shore Presbyterian Church (4048 N. Bartlett Ave. in Shorewood). Jodi Habush Sinykin the Democratic candidate for Senate District 8, and Deb Andraca, Representative for the 23rd Assembly District, will be two of our featured speakers. But the main attraction will be the progressive candidate on the ballot for the Supreme Court seat. Who is that? We'll know in a week. It's never too early to SIGN UP! And by the way, if you are one of those people who fret about two MAGA judges winning the primary, I have just the balm for you. Ben Wikler, chair of WisDems, has published a crystal clear piece on just why that outcome is so very unlikely. He's done the math so you don't have to. And he's shown his work in pie charts. Check it out.

    Meanwhile, the double-edged sword that is Daniel Bice has brought us the news that a sentence Judge Jennifer Dorow issued last year has been overturned by the Appeals Court because the sentence was too lenient and did not meet the legal requirements for the offense. Former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly declined to comment on the matter but he or his allies have been attacking her for being "soft on crime." Dorow's been hitting back at Judge Grogan — who wrote the unanimous Appeals Court decision — by posting in their entirety the comments of the "conservative" radio, Mark Belling, who is supporting Dorow. Belling attacked Judge Grogan, who (according to Bice) is backing Dan Kelly. Bice writes, "in an article on his website, Belling wrote that Grogan was calling local lawyers to 'mock' Dorow and 'crow' about the appellate court ruling."

    While we're looking ahead to the April election, Grassroots North Shore is offering many projects to inform voters about the elections and to get out the vote. So of course we need your help both right now and for the April 4 general election. Here are some of the things you can do by contacting the person who is leading each project or by volunteering on our website:

    • Go to local university and college campuses to talk to students about the importance of the spring elections. Contact Norma Gilson or call 414-588-1241.
    • Phone strong Democratic women in our North Shore communities and Ozaukee County. Contact Nancy Kaplan (443-465-1920).
    • Canvass with our Neighborhood Action Teams: see the Events List for Saturday, February 18, and Sunday, February 19. There will also be canvasses on Monday, February 20, and Election Day. And the whole process will begin again after the primary. So start now and continue into spring!
    • Write postcards to strong Democrats in Ozaukee and Washington Counties ahead of the April 4 election. Contact Norma Gilson or call 414-588-1241.
    • Deliver Grassroots North Shore leaflets to our North Shore neighbors ahead of the April 4 election. Contact Norma Gilson or call 414-588-1241.

    You can also volunteer with the Voter Protection Team: Join the Ballot Cure Program! WisDems are thrilled to announce the return of their ballot cure program for the April election! Ballot cure is a process whereby we contact voters whose absentee ballots are at risk of rejection and walk them through their options to make sure their vote will count. It's concrete, gratifying work that has a tangible impact on the lives of voters across Wisconsin and serves as a critical voter education opportunity for future elections. Unlike the fall, trainings will run for just one week, so be sure to sign up here to get involved! The same page will provide you with an opportunity to sign up as a Poll Observer, Voter Protection Phonebanker, and/or Poll Worker.

    We're just a week away from the primary. So I hope everyone has already voted by absentee ballot, plans to vote early in-person, or has a plan to vote on Election Day. In Milwaukee early in-person voting began on February 7 and ends on Saturday, February 18, at a number of locations throughout the city. See specific information on the Milwaukee Election Commission site. In Ozaukee County and in the North Shore suburbs, early in person voting ends on Friday, February 17. For information specific to your municipality, see the information on GRNS' website.

    If you don't yet know enough about the progressive candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, you can find anything you need online. Here are some ways to get up to speed.

    To be as prepared as possible, you should look up a sample of your ballot at Those of you who live in Wisconsin Senate District 8, will find an extra primary on your ballot. Unlike the primary for Supreme Court, municipal elections, and school board elections, this special primary is a PARTISAN one. And it's confusing. There are three candidates vying to be the Republican nominee but only one Democrat. Because Wisconsin has an open primary system for partisan elections, you can choose to vote in any party's primary. There's a spot to fill in your choice. But you can vote in only one. If you choose to vote in the Democratic primary, cast your ballot for Jodi Habush Sinykin. You can find information about her on our elections website. The links to her online information are available on the page for each community that is within Senate District 8.

    Those of you who live in Milwaukee will see contested primary races for city council in Districts 1, 5, and 9. The League of Women Voters Milwaukee County has posted candidates' responses to their questionnaire. So be an informed voter and don't skip these "down ballot" races.

    The Milwaukee Public School Board has recently passed a resolution to develop a specific plan and timeline to increase voter registration and actual voting by eligible high school students! It's about time. So there will be several voter registration opportunities at select DMVs and at city high schools. I'll have more information for you next week since online registration does not begin again until after the primary. It will run from February 22 until March 15.

    I'm a little apologetic about using the newsletter so exclusively for information about voting. But only a little. So let me end with some analysis of important national news. As you probably know, Jack Smith, the Department of Justice Special Counsel in charge of the investigations into the Jan. 6 events and the Mar-a-lago documents scandal, has subpoenaed former Vice President Pence. Today's news is that Pence plans to challenge the subpoena, not on the grounds of executive privilege, but on the grounds that being compelled to testify would violate the "speech or debate" clause of the US Constitution. A truly novel claim. Read about it in this piece by Laura Clawson at Daily Kos.

    The multitude of efforts by TFG to overturn the 2020 election can get to be pretty confusing. But Talking Point Memo's Josh Kovensky has put together a cogent explanation in his article How The Fake Electors Scheme Explains Everything About Trump’s Attempt To Steal The 2020 Election. He has persuaded me that everything, including the Insurrection, hinged on getting fraudulent electors to displace the certified ones on January 6. It's really worth reading.

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  • published We have lots of work to do in Newsletter 2023-02-07 17:33:51 -0600

    We have lots of work to do

    Today marks just two weeks until the critical spring primary. So what's on the ballot? Many people will have only the Supreme Court race to consider. That was the case for my husband and me. People in parts of Ozaukee County and Washington County, however, will also see a PARTISAN primary for the candidates vying for the nomination for the 8th Senate District. You'll have to choose whether to vote in the GOP primary, where there are several candidates, or in the Democrat's primary, where only Jodi Habush Sinykin is running.

    Municipal clerks began mailing out absentee ballots on January 31. So the window to request one with a realistic chance that it will be delivered to you and then make it back to your municipal clerk by election day is quickly closing. Remember: you cannot use a drop box to return your ballot. You must put it in the mail yourself or you must personally return it to your municipal clerk. If you have not yet requested an absentee ballot and would like to do so, today is the day to go to You can also see a sample ballot for your location, get contact information for your municipal clerk, look up information about early in-person voting, and find out where your polling place will be. Grassroots North Shore also offers information about early in-person voting.

    If you have not yet met the progressive candidates for the Supreme Court seat or learned about their views, there are several ways you can do so.

    1. Watch the video of A Supreme Opportunity, available on our YouTube channel in 3-5 days. You'll learn a bit about the way the current WI Supreme Court has ruled in crucial election law cases and hear from both of the progressive candidates — Judge Janet Janet Protasiewicz (pronounced pro-tuh-SAY-witz) and Judge Everett Mitchell.
    2. Visit our Elections page devoted to the Supreme Court race. That page includes links to our questionnaire for each candidate as well as links to their websites and other social media.
    3. Assuming that either Judge Protasiewicz or Judge Mitchell will be on the April 4 ballot, you will have a chance to meet him or her on March 12 at the Grassroots North Shore's RESCUE LADY JUSTICE event. Here's the page to RSVP. You will also get a chance to meet Jodi Habush Sinykin who will flip the 8th Senate District and block a Republican legislative supermajority, and Deb Andraca, the State Representative for the 23rd Assembly District, who showed us how that district-flipping thing works!

    Now the pitch: we need more volunteers NOW, ahead of the primary. So go to our volunteer page to sign up for handing out flyers, canvassing, phoning, and more. Right now we're in need of people to go to local university and college campuses to talk to students about the importance of this primary election. In addition to signing up through our website, email Norma Gilson or call 414-588-1241. Norma will provide you with talking points and flyers. It takes about 1.5 hours of your time, weekdays from 11:15-12:30. We also need people to phone strong Democratic women in our North Shore communities and Ozaukee County. Contact Nancy Kaplan (443-465-1920), who is organizing the phoning. You'll receive a set of instructions, phone and voicemail scripts, and a call list of about 45 names. Phone from home on your own time over the next two weeks to try to drive turnout.

    You can be a better-informed voter by visiting our page on the elections where we list races and provide information about candidates, organized by county and community. The page also has information about the two proposed amendments to the Wisconsin constitution as well as an advisory referendum that will appear on the April ballot. For the primary, we have information about the contested races for Alderpersons in Districts 1, 5, and 9 of Milwaukee with links to candidates' social media pages. There is a primary in each of these races. More candidate information will be available as we get closer to the April 4 election.

    Now for the news. Tonight, President Biden will deliver this year's State of the Union address. There are many ways to watch it so be sure you do. And tomorrow he will be in the Madison area to tout his economic successes and plan for the future. I could not find any details about this event, making it impossible for people in the Milwaukee area to attend. It's the first time the president has visited Wisconsin since he spoke in Milwaukee on Labor Day last fall.

    In case you haven't heard, legal jeopardy for The Former Guy continues to increase. Zach Schonfeld recently published this piece in The Hill: "Prospects rise for NY charges against Trump in Stormy Daniels case." In it, he notes that

    "New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s latest moves suggest prosecutors are nearing a decision about charging former President Trump in connection with a $130,000 hush payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election. The Manhattan district attorney’s office this week escalated the fight by empaneling another grand jury in the case and presenting witnesses."

    We've heard something similar about the investigation in Georgia, where a couple of weeks ago DA Fani Willis said that charging decisions were "imminent." All I hear, though, is crickets. Of course there's plenty of other litigation targeting him. The US Department of Justice is working on some things, the Attorney General of New York has brought a civil suit (which is scheduled to go to trial in the fall), and a judge has ruled that the E. Jean Carroll rape and defamation cases against the philanderer-in-chief can go forward. At least one of these cases will go to trial in April. I can't wait!

    The events list is suddenly a lot longer than it has been in a while. There are lots and lots of opportunities to volunteer there. So sign up for something.

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  • published newsletter 01/31/2023 in Newsletter 2023-02-01 07:36:36 -0600


    Dear {{recipient.first_name_or_friend}} — 

    With just three weeks until the primary (February 21), here's what you need to do:

    2. Check your registration, polling place, sample ballot, and request an absentee ballot at
    3. Find information about the candidates who are on the February 21 ballot at our Elections page.
    4. Find early voting times and places for your community on our early in-person voting page.
    5. Ask five friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to vote in this super low turnout election.

    On my ballot for the primary, there is only one race: to determine which two candidates will be on the April 4 ballot for Supreme Court Justice. This phenomenon is likely to be the case in many municipalities across the state. In the seven north shore communities and in Ozaukee County there are hardly any contested races in the primary. But this primary is on EVERY BALLOT IN THE STATE. Don't you dare miss it.

    The candidates are not shown as affiliated with any political party because this election is supposedly nonpartisan. But we all know that is not the case. There are two progressive judges running: Judge Janet Protasiewicz (pronounced pro-tuh-SAY-witz) and Judge Everett Mitchell. Visit our page devoted to this office for links to the candidates' responses to our questionnaire, their websites and other online information. And vote for ONE of them!

    There are a lot of other resources you might want to consult. In his column Murphy's Law in Urban Milwaukee, Bruce Murphy details The Radical Views of Kelly and Dorow, the two "conservatives" running in this primary. The piece delves into Regent University's law school where Kelly and Dorow both got their law degrees, exploring the school's principles and its standing among law schools in the US. He also notes that Kelly — a Scott Walker appointee on the Wisconsin Supreme Court but who lost his election for a full 10-year term in 2020 — "wrote a book, in 2014, with strikingly unorthodox views on the law, declaring that that 'all authority' comes not from the U.S. Constitution but from God." As for Dorow, Murphy cites her letter applying to Walker for a vacant seat on a Wisconsin Circuit Court: "her application for the judgeship condemned the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision by the U.S. Supreme Court as the 'worst Wisconsin or U.S. Supreme Court decision.' The 6-3 ruling cited the Due Process clause of the 14th amendment to strike down the sodomy law in Texas." He goes on to say that "press accounts of her debate performance [on january 9, 2023] raised questions about her knowledge of the issues. 'Dorow spent most of the time during her answers referencing a plastic binder of notes in front of her,' PBS Wisconsin reported. 'On most questions, Dorow read from a prepared script and did not answer fully,' the Journal Sentinel observed."

    The Wisconsin Examiner, in a piece by Henry Redman, exposes the views the two "conservatives" espoused at a December 6, 2022, event held by the Republican Women of Waukesha County for “celebrating conservatives in law.” It provides insights into more than judicial "philosophy" and is well worth the few minutes it takes to read.

    John Nichols, associate editor of the Capital Times, published a piece in early January setting the background for this race and rightly demonstrating that Justice Roggensack, whose resignation creates this judicial opening, led a Court that has been highly partisan: "In recent years, Roggensack has been part of a conservative majority than has turned the Supreme Court into a national embarrassment. With her fellow conservative judicial activist colleagues, Roggensack undermined public health measures during the coronavirus pandemic, eroded nonpartisan oversight of elections and embraced gerrymandering of legislative districts to favor the conservative majority's Republican allies." And he points out that "since 2018, conservatives have lost two places on the high court bench with the easy elections of a pair of mainstream progressive jurists. Justice Rebecca Dallet won in 2018 by a 56-44 margin, and Justice Jill Karofsky won by a 55-45 margin in 2020." He concludes "For progressives, the question is which contender would be the strongest in an April general election against a conservative. If voters bet right, and if Roggensack’s seat is taken by a progressive, the court will be able to revisit the issues it got wrong during Roggensack’s tenure."

    Spencer Black, a regular columnist for The Capitol Times, has a January 24 piece, From elections to drinking water — court election could seal Wisconsin's fate, discussed the race and, like Nichols, urged voters to "support the strongest candidate." Only he does make a choice. Black has a deep knowledge of politics in this state. As he's been talking to "politically knowledgeable folks around the state," he finds that, despite the fact that Judge Everett Mitchell's "rulings on key issues as a justice would likely be very similar to those of Judge Protasiewicz," those he consulted shared the "unanimous opinion is that Protasiewicz is far and away the strongest progressive candidate." Grassroots North Shore does not endorse a candidate when there is more than one progressive running in a single race, as there is in this one. So you should read Black's piece with an open mind.

    PBS Wisconsin has a good summary of the January 9, 2023, debate with the four candidates. And you can watch interviews with Dan Kelly and Judge Everett Mitchell online. And as you talk about this election, be sure to follow the advice of Wisconsin Conservation Voices' Messaging Guidance for 2023 Supreme Court Race. The advice is sound political messaging regardless of the topic — for example, in the current election "center our shared values of freedom in your messaging. Offer specific examples of court cases that relate to people’s real-life concerns, be clear that power lies in the hands of the people, and that this will have impacts on our state for decades." And "use hopeful, unifying words that are clear and easy to understand." As examples, the document lists "For All; Freedom, fair, accessible, unbiased; voting maps that represent our communities."

    Finally, a small diversion into national news. Apparently George Santos has recused himself from his House committee assignments. See the coverage on the Washington Post site or on Daily Kos. He-who-shall-not-be-named may be facing criminal charges at long last. The potential charges stem from his hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, according to NBC News. And CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) declares Fani Willis is going to indict Trump soon. Here’s what that looks like." Fani Willis, of course, is the Fulton County District Attorney who recently wrapped up a special purpose grand jury investigation of potential criminality in TFG's effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. At the January 24 hearing about the matter, she argued that the report the grand jury submitted should not be made public until charging decisions are made, decisions she said were "imminent."

    Now the nag: yes it is cold outside but the work still needs to get done. In the Events list below, you will find that canvassing season has begun. Turn out to canvass! Help ensure that we get at least one progressive for Supreme Court Justice on the ballot in the April 4 election. The Glendale Team, the Fox Point Team, the Brown Deer folks and others will be hosting these events throughout this election season. Bundle up and join in.


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  • published alarms are ringing in Newsletter 2023-01-24 14:00:02 -0600

    alarms are ringing

    The elections this year — both the primary and the general — are matters of some urgency. In fact, we should be hearing alarm bells! Two really vital matters will be on the primary ballot: a slate of four candidates for Supreme Court justice and, for those living in Wisconsin Senate District 8, a special election to fill the vacancy created when Alberta Darling retired from her seat. And assuming at least one of the Supreme Court candidates who share our views wins enough votes to appear on the April 4 ballot, we need to pull out all the stops to get that person elected. If we manage to elect Jodi Habush Sinykin to the state Senate, we will prevent the GOP from having a supermajority with the ability to impeach and convict any state officer they choose. And if we can elect a progressive to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, we can change the direction of the state!

    As I mentioned in last week's newsletter, Grassroots North Shore is presenting A Supreme Opportunity, an online program featuring renowned election law expert Nicholas Stephanopoulos — you can read about his work here — and the two progressive candidates on the primary ballot for the Wisconsin Supreme Court nomination. This is your opportunity to hear from these great candidates — Judge Everett Mitchell and Judge Janet Protasiewicz (pronounced “pro-tuh-SAY-witz”). Both graduated from highly reputable law schools (unlike their MAGA opponents) and both have considerable judicial experience. Judge Protasiewicz received her law degree from Marquette University and presides over a branch of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Judge Mitchell presides over the Juvenile Division in Branch Four in Dane County. He received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School. He has also earned a degree form the Princeton Theological Seminary.

    Please sign up to attend this webinar and to donate online or by check (Grassroots North Shore, PO Box 170684, Milwaukee, WI 53217-8056 — Please write "fundraiser" on the memo line). We're suggesting donations of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, and $1000 but a donation of any amount will be gratefully received. The funds we raise will allow us to continue or work through the 2024 elections (all FOUR of them). As you know Grassroots North Shore is an all-volunteer organization. But even though we don't pay any staff, we do have expenses: for our website, for our communications, and especially for our work on elections (postcards and postage, phone lists, flyers, and posters all cost money to print). [Please note that contributions to Grassroots North Shore are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes.]

    The Supreme Court seat primary will be on the ballot everywhere in the state. It is, as Politico deemed it, "The most important election nobody's ever heard of." As the Politico article points out, "Voters must first navigate an unusual primary before choosing the new justice. There are four judges running for the position, which is technically nonpartisan, with two on either side of the ideological divide." In other words four candidates are running in the February 21 primary for the two available slots on the April 4 ballot. The first and second place finishers in the primary will go on to the April 4 election. So it is certainly possible that we could face — not a choice between a judge who shares our values and a judge who does not — but a "choice" between two judges who definitely do not share our values. An article in the Isthmus explains how this horrendous outcome could happen.

    As the Politico article points out, "Control of the Wisconsin state Supreme Court is on the ballot this spring, and the contest could decide the fate of abortion rights, redistricting and more in the critical swing state." A loss would cement conservative control, and the fate of our freedoms and futures, for many years to come. Alarm bells are truly ringing. So we must do our darndest to get people to vote in both elections for this seat this year.

    Republicans are hoping to stimulate greater turnout than these off-year, nonpartisan elections usually generate. In addition to the dark money pouring in, the egregiously gerrymandered legislature plans to put four referendums to amend the state constitution on the April ballot. These measures have already been passed by two different sessions of the legislature. So the referendums on the April 4 ballot will determine whether the constitution will be amended. The League of Women Voters of Dane County held a terrific forum on these proposed amendments and has also posted a great resource explaining what each proposed amendment would actually do. You can read the Resource Guide here. Let's make sure that the Republican attempt to juice its base turnout for the April election backfires and revs up turnout on our side instead!

    I'll cover the specifics of these issues in a future newsletter. But right now, the important thing is making a plan to vote, both in the February 21 primary (so that we don't end up with a choice between two unacceptable judges for our Supreme Court) and in the April 4 election. There are three ways to vote in Wisconsin elections: with an absentee ballot, during early in-person absentee voting, and on election day.

    1. Request absentee ballots online at
      • An absentee ballot will be mailed to the address you specify during the request process about 21 days ahead of the election. So if you are going somewhere warm and sunny for the February primary and/or the April general election, be sure you request that your ballot be sent to where you're going to be.
      • Be sure to leave plenty of time for the US Postal Service to get your completed ballot back to your municipal clerk before 8pm on election day! (You cannot use a drop box to return a ballot in these elections!) We recommend mailing it back to your municipality by February 14 if possible.
      • Also be sure you have an eligible Wisconsin elector witness your ballot envelope. He or she or they do not have to be registered to vote but does have to be eligible to vote in Wisconsin. Also, the witness does have to fill out a complete address (no abbreviations): street number, unit number (if applicable), municipality, state and zip code.
    2. Vote early in-person at your municipal clerk's office on weekdays from February 7 to February 17 for the primary and March 21 to March 31 for the general election.
      • Our website has early voting details for almost every municipality in the North Shore suburbs of Milwaukee and in Ozaukee County. The information includes a phone number for the clerk's office. You should plan to check the policies around in-person early voting with that office before you go.
      • You can register to vote online or by mail until February 1. After that you can register when you vote early in-person or at the polls on election day.
    3. Vote on election day: February 21 for the primary and April 4 for the general election. Check your polling place and review a sample ballot for your area at


    In addition to making your own plan to vote, you can help register voters with Supermarket Legends at two DMV locations. You will be working in a warm inside office environs at the N. Teutonia Avenue or 74th and Mill Road DMV locations. Sign up for a 2 hour shift whenever you are free and any time six days a week. All training and materials are provided. Contact James Balk.

    And now for some news. In case you missed it, last Sunday was the annual Women's March. Although there were marches in dozens of cities, this year the main event for the National Women's March took place in Madison to focus national attention on the upcoming Supreme Court race here. More than 1000 people marched to the state capitol and into the rotunda. See the coverage in the New York Times and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Cheryl Maranto, co-chair of Grassroots North Shore, organized a delegation of our supporters and produced signs for them to carry during the program. We're proud to have been represented at the event and to show our support for women's rights.

    In insurrection news, "Bigo" Barnett was convicted on all eight counts, four felonies and four misdemeanors in all. He's the guy made famous in a photo of him with his feet on a desk in then Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. The jury took only two hours to reach these verdicts, so open-and-shut was the case against him. His lawyer wants to appeal on the grounds that the jury members weren't really his peers — apparently because they didn't come from Arkansas. He will be sentenced in May. You can read more details in a post on Daily Kos.

    In even more important insurrection news, four more Oath Keepers were convicted of seditious conspiracy, among other charges, bringing the total to six convicted on this most serious charge. A number of Proud Boys are currently on trial for seditious conspiracy also. But so far at least, none of the Very Important People who instigated and financed the insurrection have been held accountable or even indicted.

    Finally, in the Dominion defamation suit against Fox News, NPR reports that "Fox News' defense in defamation suit invokes debunked election-fraud claims." The defense of Fox News seems to depend on something the lawyers call "'omitted context' for the seemingly incendiary remarks by such hosts as Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo, as well as their featured guests, including Trump and his former campaign attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell." The context is relevant because, they argue, the debunked statements were newsworthy and therefore "an appropriate journalistic response to stark claims about the functioning of American democracy." In short, the argument goes, the organization can repeat and amplify any ridiculous, and dangerous, nonsense it likes as long as it's also being spouted by so-called Respectable and Important People who the organization can contend are newsworthy. Let's hope this kind of argument does not hold up in court.

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  • published It's an emergency! in Newsletter 2023-01-18 09:58:24 -0600

    It's an emergency!

    The spring elections — a primary on February 21 and a general election on April 4 — will be upon us before you know it. And despite the fact that nonpartisan elections are little noticed with low, low turnout, this year's so-called nonpartisan contests will define the state of democracy in Wisconsin for the foreseeable future. I kid you not!

    First and foremost, there is an election for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Two progressive candidates will be on the primary ballot — Judge Janet Protasiewic and Judge Everett Mitchell — along with two "conservative" (by which we mean MAGA) candidates. The two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary will advance to the April 4 election. And that means if we fail to turn out, we could find ourselves with no progressive candidate to vote for. Both Judge Mitchell and Judge Protasiewic support voting rights, fair election maps, and a woman's right to make decisions about her own body. Neither of the "conservative candidates" do. Please read the candidates' responses to our Grassroots North Shore questionnaire, visit the links to the candidates' online information, and plan to attend our Supreme Opportunity Annual Fundraiser on February 5 from 7:00 — 8:30 (on Zoom). Judge Mitchell and Judge Protasiewic will introduce themselves to you at that event. (More about the program anon.)

    Just as important is the special election in state Senate District 8. Until the day Alberta Darling resigned her state Senate seat, the Republicans held a supermajority in that body. And that meant they could impeach and remove any state officer they pleased without a single vote from any Democrat. It works like this: a majority vote in the Assembly impeaches a civil officer of the state. The Senate then holds a trial. If 2/3 of the senators present vote to convict, the impeached officer is removed from office. Fortunately the legislature was not in session in November and December, 2022. And because they are currently down a seat, they won't be able to act on such grave matters as impeachments until a new State Senator is seated after the special election. If Senate District 8 is once again represented by a Republican, Robin Vos has already declared their intentions. And that's just part of the reason this special election is so, well, special.

    Jodi Habush Sinykin, a Wisconsin native and environmental lawyer, is running for the 8th WI Senate District, which includes Bayside, part of Brown Deer, Fox Point, River Hills, Whitefish Bay, Thiensville, Mequon, Cedarburg, Grafton, then westward to Germantown, Richfield, some of Menomonee Falls and Sussex. You can and should read about her life and passions on her website and keep up with her activities on her Facebook page and Twitter account. Endorsed by the UAW and by Daily Kos, among many other organizations, she will be a tremendous asset to her constituents and to the future of our state. If you live in Senate District 8, you MUST vote for her in the special election primary on February 21 AND IN THE GENERAL ELECTION ON APRIL 4.

    If you don't live in SD8, you can still volunteer with the campaign and you can donate funds through her Act Blue page. Bonnie and Leon Joseph will be hosting a fundraiser for Habush Sinykin on Sunday, January 22, from 2:00 — 4:00pm, at their home (see the address on the donation page). Or you can go and donate any amount at the door. No doubt there will be oodles of dark money sloshing around this campaign — which is why every dollar you can give can help elect her. The recent special election of a Democrat for a Virginia state Senate seat in a Republican-leaning district should give us hope. But remember: hope is not a plan. It will take real work to get this job done. And that means YOU.

    On that note, let me pitch making phone calls to strong Democratic women ahead of the primary and the general election. We were very successful with our phone campaign for the 2022 elections, reaching over 6200 women. The results — a BIG shift from Republican to Democratic votes in Ozaukee County — speak volumes about what grassroots activities can help produce. Governor Evers even WON Port Washington and Thiensville! I'm organizing the phone effort now and would really appreciate hearing from you at [email protected]. We will begin calling and leaving voicemail messages around January 30. Once you contact me to let me know that you will volunteer, I will send you a list of people and phone numbers to call, some brief instructions, a script you can use, and another, shorter, script you may be able to use to send text messages or leave short voicemails.


    Sunday, January 22

    National Women's March in Madison, 11:30am – 1:30pm
    Wisconsin State Capitol

    The National Women’s March has chosen Madison as its primary site in order to highlight the critical role that the Wisconsin Supreme Court (SCOWI) race (primary Feb. 21, election April 4) will play in advancing reproductive health care after SCOTUS overturned Roe. Gov. Evers’ challenge to the oppressive and misogynistic 1849 abortion ban is currently in the courts and will inevitably end up before SCOWI. Flipping this seat will flip the balance of the Court from conservative to progressive, enabling both fair relitigation of our outrageously partisan gerrymandered voting maps and striking down the abortion ban under our state constitution.

    We will have leaflets available for distribution to attendees. Cheryl Maranto – 414 429-1583, [email protected] – will coordinate leaflet distribution and act as a clearing house for carpooling. Since the March is THIS SUNDAY, please contact her ASAP if you plan to attend.

    Sunday, February 5

    A Supreme Opportunity, 7:00 – 8:30pm

    The annual GRNS fundraiser will showcase the two Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates we support in the February 21st primary, and will feature Professor Nick Stephanopoulos, the Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and frequently contributes to Election Law Blog, as our primary speaker. Please join us online to hear from Professor Stephanopoulos and from our two great WI Supreme Court candidates, Judge Everett Mitchell and Judge Janet Protasiewicz. RSVP here. Even if you can't attend, consider donating to support the work we do.

    If you need yet another reason to get engaged in the spring elections, you should know that voter suppression is alive and working in Wisconsin. Don't just take my word for it. An Urban Milwaukee exposé documented that Bob Spindell, the chair of the 4th Congressional District Republican Party and a fraudulent elector from 2020, emailed his supporters bragging that “we can be especially proud of the City of Milwaukee (80.2% Dem Vote) casting 37,000 less votes than cast in the 2018 election with the major reduction happening in the overwhelming Black and Hispanic areas.” The Spindell email goes on to gloat that “…this great and important decrease in Democrat votes in the City” was due to a “well thought out multi-faceted plan.”

    Finally, the League of Women Voters Wisconsin is holding voter registration drives at the DMV on Mill Road (7301 W. Mill Rd., Milwaukee). They're looking for volunteers for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from January 11-February 1 and February 22-March 15, 11:00am-1:30pm. Sign up to help fight voter suppression by making sure all eligible voters are registered!

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  • published As we start the new year ... in Newsletter 2023-01-06 15:14:37 -0600

    As we start the new year ...

    year of our political dreams!

    Let's begin with a little look ahead. We will have two regular elections, for nonpartisan offices including an extremely important seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, on February 21 (a primary) and April 4 (general). Grassroots North Shore will soon put up the names of progressive candidates together with links to their online information. Our Elections page currently displays which offices are going to be on ballots in our area. Check it out.

    You can find out more about the two progressive candidates — Everett Mitchell and Janet Protasiewicz plus three "conservatives" — at a forum sponsored by Citizen Action on Wednesday, January 11, at 7:00pm in a Zoom webinar. Sign up here.

    We also have two special elections to fill vacant seats. One is in Mequon on Tuesday, January 10, to fill a seat for Alderman District 8. Nancy Urbani is a candidate. The second special election will fill the vacant Wisconsin State Senate District 8, formerly filled by Alberta Darling. Jodi Habush Sinykin is the only progressive in the race. You can visit her Twitter account and donate to her effort. If you live in Assembly Districts 22, 23, or 24, she will be on you ballot, both on February 21 and April 4. Even if you're not, she needs your help, and she needs your financial support.

    We highly recommend that you sign up for absentee ballots for all elections in 2023. The weather is unpredictable in February and even in April. Some of you have plans to abscond to a sunny spot for the winter. And some may have shorter vacations planned that include one or the other election days. But voting in these 2023 elections is critical if we hope to have a Wisconsin Supreme Court that can review the radically gerrymandered voting maps and can rule on whether the 1849 law banning abortion is still legal. Voting absentee is absolutely secure. You can track when your ballot has been sent to you and when it is received at the clerk's office with (To return your absentee ballot, you can either drop it in the mail or take it to your municipal clerk's office. Drop boxes are not available for voting!)

    Grassroots North Shore will hold our annual fundraiser on Sunday, February 5, 7:00 — 8:30pm with Nicholas Stephanopoulos, professor of law at Harvard University whose research and numerous public appearances focus on election and constitutional law, and with presentations by Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates Janet Protasiewicz and Everett Mitchell. Our Fundraiser is the kick-off of our Spring days of action. We will be doing our best to elect a new WI Supreme Court Justice AND a Democrat for the State Senate in District 8 (and thwart the GOP supermajority). Sign up here.

    I apologize for the early and short newsletter this week. I've been traveling to visit family and friends in Baltimore and Ocean City, Maryland. But I'll be back at my desk by mid-week and beginning to recruit volunteers for the various tasks we'll be undertaking for the February primary. Meanwhile, I've been enjoying the crazy clown show going on this week in the US House of Representatives. Perhaps you have been too. The serious crazy, though, comes next. Hang on.

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  • published Heading toward justice in Newsletter 2022-12-21 12:29:09 -0600

    Heading toward justice

    Yesterday was historic as the House Select Committee wound down its work and issued four criminal referrals recommending that the Department of Justice charge the ex-president for inciting an insurrection, obstructing an official proceeding, conspiring to make false statements (this is about the fake electors scheme), and conspiring to defraud the United States. All the national news outlets, of course, covered the story but many — like the New York Times and the Washington Post — are behind paywalls. So here are a few free discussions of the executive summary (which you can download here): Daily Kos, Axios, CNN, and MSNBC.

    Stories about the January 6 Select Committee have, however, been eclipsed already by a flood of news coming out of Congress and the White House. If you only read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, however, you'll be pretty much in the dark. I can find no account of the Select Committee's meeting yesterday. There is, however, a startling and welcome article about how voting patterns in the suburbs have shifted a lot over the last four election cycles. As a subhead in the piece by Daniel Bice shows, "There have been huge voting shifts away from Republican Party in the Milwaukee suburbs." Apparently that shift is apparent in the suburbs around Madison too. In the Ozaukee city of Mequon, for example, this last election saw a "22-point swing (from plus 22.3 Republican to plus 0.8 Republican)." It may still be red-ish, but just barely. Even places like Elm Grove, while still in the GOP win column, are shifting significantly: "a 21-point swing (from plus 25.9 Republican to plus 4.8 Republican)."

    The shifts Bice notes are encouraging but we cannot afford to overlook supposedly nonpartisan issues. For example, I could not find much coverage of two Wisconsin constitutional amendments that may be passed in time to be placed on the ballot for the April 4 election. Both have to do with elections and both were passed once (first consideration) in the 2021 legislative session. They need to be passed again (second consideration), in the 2023 legislative session after which they are to be ratified by the registered voters in the state.

    The first one prohibits "the use of a donation or grant of private resources for purposes of election administration." It is aimed squarely at the so-called "Zuck bucks" that provided funds to some election administrations throughout the state and the nation in 2020. Get an explanation of Mark Zuckerburg's grants to election administration here. You can read the full text of the proposed amendment here.

    The second proposed amendment is more concerning because it seeks to further tighten the restrictions on who can vote in the state. Here's the Legislative Reference Bureau's analysis of what it would do:

    Currently, the constitution provides that every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in Wisconsin is a qualified elector of that district. A qualified elector is an individual who is eligible to vote in Wisconsin, subject to requirements established by law, such as voter registration.

    This constitutional amendment, proposed to the 2021 legislature on first consideration, provides that only a person who is a qualified elector may vote in an election for national, state, or local office or at a statewide or local referendum.

    The actual language of the amendment, available here, changes the wording to read "only a United States citizen age 18 or older" and strikes the language "every United States citizen age 18 or older." The revision may seem trivial to non-grammarians but its intent is to be more restrictive and perhaps to pave the way to require proof of US citizenship in order to register to vote. Or to prevent any Wisconsin municipality from allowing non-citizens to vote in, say, school board elections, as some areas around the country have recently done.

    Both amendments have to pass the new legislature (called second consideration) and then be ratified by the people. The actual language that will be on the ballot will be "simplified" and probably written so as to obfuscate the actual meaning of the amendments. We'll discuss this issue in greater detail if it appears that these amendments will be on our ballots on April 4.

    A basic elections page is now available at Grassroots North Shore so you can see what offices will be on the ballot in various municipalities. Some information is still missing, though. In Milwaukee County, there will be an election for Appeals Court District 1. Sara Geenen is running against incumbent William Brash. If you live in the county, you can sign her nomination papers. We won't be able to fill in candidate names and online resources until we know who has qualified for the ballot in each race, probably not until the end of the first week in January 2023.

    There appear to be no events listed for the next week or so on the Milwaukee County Democratic website. The organization is discarding its current web presence and moving to a new one on a new platform. I will link to it when it is ready. Stand for Peace, however will be operating as usual on Saturday, December 24, from noon to 1:00pm, at Silver Spring and Port Washington and on Saturday, December 31, from noon to 1:00pm, at King and North Streets. Visit the upcoming calendar for future locations. And the Democratic Party of Ozaukee County is holding its monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 21, at 7:00pm, both online and in person. The calendar on their website directs interested parties to their Facebook page for information. The office is located at 1930 Wisconsin Ave , Grafton, 53024.

    other important links

    Become a Member of Grassroots North Shore

    Milwaukee County Democratic Party

    Support Grassroots North Shore


    Ozaukee County Democratic Party

    Visit Grassroots North Shore on Facebook and Like Us!

    like Grassroots North Shore


  • published elections in our future, again! in Newsletter 2022-12-15 08:14:14 -0600

    elections in our future, again!

    Well that hybernation stuff didn't last long! The race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court is heating up fast. Two "conservatives" — Dan Kelly (who was appointed to the Court by Scott Walker and then defeated in a 2020 election by Justice Jill Karofsky) and Jennifer Dorow (who was the presiding judge in the trial of Darrell Brooks, the man who killed six people at the Waukesha Christmas parade a year ago). And there are two progressives running: Everett Mitchel (who presides over the Juvenile Division in Branch 4 of the Dane County Circuit Court) and Janet Protasiewicz (who has been on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court bench for 25 years).

    Just in case you're wondering why electing a progressive Supreme Court Justice is so important, let me point you to a report the non-profit law firm Law Forward published recently. Called Undermining Democracy, it looks at three trends in the Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions in its 2021 term: direct attacks on democracy, consolidating power at the legislature, and results-oriented judging. The report exemplifies each theme with specific cases and shows how these cases interact with each other to undermine democracy in our state. It's not light or quick reading, but it is well worth your time. And it lays out quite clearly the imperative to vote in the primary on February 21 and the general election on April 4.

    The first order of business is to make sure candidates acquire enough signatures to get on the ballot for the February 21 primary. Download the nomination papers for Everett Mitchell OR for Janet Protasiewicz, BUT NOT BOTH. Each comes with a set of instructions: follow them carefully! (You might also consider making a donation through their websites, linked above: remember that "early money is like yeast.")

    In preparation for endorsing one candidate, Citizen Action is holding a forum for Janet Prostasiewicz and Everett Mitchell on Wednesday, January 11, at 7pm on Zoom. You can sign up now and a link will be sent to you ahead of the event.

    There will also be a special election — on Tuesday, April 4 — for a new Wisconsin Senator in Senate District 8. Alberta Darling, who has represented SD8 since 1992, resigned right after Thanksgiving, providing only a week of notice. Jodi Habush Sinykin, a lawyer living in Whitefish Bay, announced her candidacy a few days ago. If you live in Whitefish Bay, Brown Deer, River Hills, Bayside, parts of Ozaukee County, Washington County, or a sliver of Waukesha County, she will be on your ballot on April 4. (Something like FIVE Republicans have announced a run for this office, so there will be a Republican primary on February 21. But unless another Democrat announces, there will not be a Democratic primary for this office.)

    You should download and circulate her nomination papers (if you live in the district). To check which Senate District last year's redistricting placed you in, you can go to or to the lookup page for the Wisconsin legislature. However, anyone and everyone can donate to the campaign! Here's the ActBlue page.

    Nomination papers both for the Wisconsin Supreme Court and for Senate District 8 are due in Madison on January 3, but need to be signed and returned to the candidate much sooner than that. In fact, ASAP. So please don't procrastinate!

    Support our Election Activities


    We try not to ask for money frequently, but with these critical elections just around the corner, we need to get going. We will be sending out postcards, following up with phoning, printing and distributing flyers, and canvassing for the spring elections. Some people contribute by volunteering to write postcards, make phone calls, and/or canvass. If you're not someone who can volunteer directly, please consider a donation.

    Right now, postcard stamps cost $.44 but the price will go up in January! To make our dollars go farther, we need to purchase stamps and postcards now.

    Please help by underwriting our election activities: reaching voters and motivating them to turn out!

    It's a bit too early right now, but plan ahead to get absentee ballots when the request becomes available after New Year's Day at You never know what the weather is going to be like in February, or in April, for that matter. And if you're planning a trip this winter, you'll need to vote by mail from wherever you are. Be sure to figure out where the ballot should be sent — to your permanent home in Wisconsin or to the warm and sunny place you plan to be! And give yourself plenty of time to return your ballots by mail.

    In a repeat from last week's newsletter, you still have opportunities to get trained to assist the UWM's Mapping Racism and Resistance Project to identify and document discriminatory covenants — once-legal clauses embedded in property deeds that barred people who were not white from buying or occupying land — in various communities. The project seeks to answer key questions: "How common were these restrictions? What areas of our community were reserved for white people only? How much land was restricted in this way? When were they put into place? What did they say? What are the legacies of these practices today?" Volunteer training will take place on the following Wednesdays:

    • December 14, 12 - 1pm
    • December 21, 7 - 8pm
    • January 4, 7 - 8pm
    • January 18, 7 - 8pm

    As will undoubtedly be the case until the new year, the Events list is pretty small. But here's an opportunity to support Governor Evers's inauguration. There will be a Kids Gala on December 31, from 10am - 12pm, and Evers's staff is looking for 10-15 volunteers to take a variety of roles. If you're interested and want more details (including where the event will be held!), email Chastity Duffey.


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  • published Catching up during the lull in Newsletter 2022-12-06 14:11:28 -0600

    Catching up during the lull

    We're in the hybernation phase of the year, I'm afraid. You'll see that there's almost nothing on the events list. And the next elections won't happen until February 21 (for the primary) and April 4. But there are a host of issues that have kind of languished while we've been working so hard for the fall 2022 elections. So while we await the results of the Senate run-off in Georgia today, I thought I'd look at some of what the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is working on.

    On Monday, SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a religious bigotry case masquerading as a free speech issue. Joan McCarter at Daily Kos has a good summary of the arguments in "Supreme Court hears another pro-bigotry, anti-LGBTQ case and again proves its illegitimacy." The case is a bit weird because the plaintiff is a business that does not yet exist. The issue is whether the web designer would be required to build a wedding website for a gay couple, since she believes same-sex marriage contradicts Scripture. "Justice Sonia Sotomayor went to the crux of the threat this case poses: 'What if a wedding website maker doesn’t believe in interracial marriage or letting disabled people get married?'" Could the designer refuse disabled people? When the lawyer for the non-existant business agreed that the designer could, Justice Sotomayor concluded, "So there is no line on race, there is no line on disability, ethnicity, none of the protected categories." The New York Times covered the arguments here and the Washington Post here. Both conclude SCOTUS seems likely to back the bigot.

    In an important elections case, Moore v. Harper, SCOTUS will hear oral arguments on Wednesday, December 7. This case asserts the independence of state legislatures in determining all kinds of election laws. At issue is whether governors and state courts have ANY role to play in setting the rules for elections. At the heart of the case is what's known as the "independent state legislature" theory (ISLT). A key issue is the role of courts in countermanding partisan gerrymandering, the sort of election map design that keeps one party in power in perpetuity. Professor of election law at the UCLA Law School, Richard Hasen has a really clear explanation of the case's basics on the SCOTUSblog podcast. (It runs for just ove 23 minutes.)

    This case, Ian MacDougall in ProPublica writes, "has major implications for ... gerrymandering." In fact it arose from a redistricting dispute in North Carolina on the grounds that the US Constitution stipulates that the "Times, Places and Manner" of congressional elections "shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof." MacDougall sums up the crux: "North Carolina Republicans want the Supreme Court to bar state courts from interfering with state legislatures when it comes to congressional elections."

    Richard Pildes, Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law, NYU School of Law, has two detailed posts about the independent state legislature theory delving into some of the key arguments, from the most conservative, to the least conservative. The first explores THE ISLT: How State Statutes and State Constitutions Differ and then applies that discussion to how the independent state legislature theory might play out at SCOTUS. The second piece, The ISLT: The Remedial Version, discusses a limited way the state legislatures could be independent of judicial review.

    Speaking of Supreme Courts, Justice Patience Roggensack's retirement from the Wisconsin Supreme Court means that we have an opportunity to elect a new justice who will make common cause with the more progressive justices: Jill Karofsky, Rebecca Dallet, and Ann Walsh Bradley. Right now it looks like there will be a primary for this office since four people have indicated that they plan to run. Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be hosting a State Supreme Court forum on January 11th, 2023, at 7pm (via Zoom) for all Democratic and progressive State Supreme Court candidates. Citizen Action plans to endorse a candidate to make the court "a liberal, pro-voting rights, anti-gerrymandering majority!" You can RSVP now and a link will be sent to you.

    On the racial justice beat, there are several initiatives in our North Shore communities to address equitable housing issues. The latest Bay Bridge newsletter includes information about training sessions for those who want to contribute to UWM's Mapping Racism and Resistance Project. The sessions will train you to assist the project team in identifying and documenting discriminatory covenants in various communities. These covenants were legal clauses embedded in property deeds that barred people who were not white from buying or occupying land. The goal of the mapping project is to answer key questions: "How common were these restrictions? What areas of our community were reserved for white people only? How much land was restricted in this way? When were they put into place? What did they say? What are the legacies of these practices today?" Volunteer training will take place on the following Wednesdays:

    • December 7, 7 - 8pm
    • December 14, 12 - 1pm
    • December 21, 7 - 8pm
    • January 4, 7 - 8pm
    • January 18, 7 - 8pm

    In addition, the North Shore Equitable Housing Coalition, with groups in Glendale and Fox Point/Bayside, is organizing to strategize approaches to village boards to repudiate racially restrictive covenants, a first step toward building awareness of intentional segregation in the North Shore. The Coalition will be meeting via Zoom on Thursday, January 12, at 7pm. I don't have a link for this meeting yet, but if you may be interested in this work, send an email to Nancy Kaplan and I'll make sure you get the link.

    An opportunity to support Governor Evers's inauguration has just arrived in my email. There will be a Kids Gala on December 31, from 10am - 12pm, and Evers's staff is looking for 10-15 volunteers to take a variety of roles. If you're interested and want more details (including where the event will be held!), email Chastity Duffey.

    Also, there will be a candlelight vigil for victims of gun violence on Saturday, December 10, from 10:30am - 1pm at the Brown Deer Event Center (8653 W. Brown Deer Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53224). The Donovan Hines Foundation of Exuberance dedicates this event to honoring and remembering all victims of violence in Milwaukee. Speakers will include Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson and Ashanti Hamilton, Director of the Office of Violence Prevention, among others. RSVP is encouraged, though not required.

    And finally, an opportunity to acquire some furniture from our Brown Deer office — FREE! We are temporarily closing the office, which we have not used since March 2020, while we figure out what our needs will be going forward. We're putting some equipment in storage but the rest of the chairs, desks and tables must go. If you are interested in any of these things, you can visit the office (5600 W Brown Deer Rd, Suite 116) on Wednesday, December 8, from noon - 2pm and from 4 - 6pm. Ginny Goode ([email protected], 414-460-5686) will make arrangements with you to pick up your selections. We ask that you arrange to move what you want out of the office by Wednesday, December 14.


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  • published Who's the Biggest Loser? in Newsletter 2022-11-17 09:06:35 -0600

    Who's the Biggest Loser?

    The events list is even shorter this week than last and may be nonexistent as we head into Thanksgiving week. So I plan to take the week off: no new newsletter on Tuesday, November 22!

    I'm sure you've heard the good news: Democrats will retain control of the US Senate. And that means judges and administration officials can be appointed over the next two years. With the body split evenly, however, appointments are likely to be slowed by the power-sharing agreement currently in place. This scheme means that every committee will have an equal number of Democrats and Republicans on it. And tie votes mean taking the issue to the full Senate for a vote on what's known as a discharge petition. Vice President Kamala Harris would then be needed to break the tie. It's a cumbersome and time-consuming process that just slows all the work of the Senate down.

    Just as important: with the House likely to be in Republican hands, the Senate could take over the January 6 investigation. With power-sharing, however, Democrats would be unable to issue subpoenas, seriously hamstringing the investigation.

    These are just two strong reasons for working hard to elect a 51st Democrat. A 51st Democratic senator would mean quicker appointments and no need for discharge petitions. It would mean investigating committees could issue subpoenas. Senator Raphael Warnock is currently campaigning in a run-off election against Herschel Walker in Georgia. We want to make sure he wins, again. The election is scheduled for December 6. So there's no time to lose! Here are four excellent ways to get involved:

    1. Donate

    2. Phone
      Fair Fight 2022 GA Runoff Election Phonebanks
      Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda
      Indivisible (Grassroots North Shore is a member organization)

    3. Text
      Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda
      Georgia Working Families Party

    4. Write postcards and/or letters
      Vote Forward

    The results in Wisconsin were a resounding success, and a BIG WIN for Grassroots North Shore. We really worked hard this election cycle and it seems to have paid off. According to the Village clerk, turnout in Shorewood was a whopping 93% of voters registered before Election Day, although as you will see below, the analysis in Urban Milwaukee has a lower number.

    In fact, turnout in the state was lower than it had been in 2018 — about 74% of voters registered before Election Day turned out four years ago while this year's turnout was probably about 63%. Nevertheless Governor Evers tripled his margin of victory! For a detailed analysis of the turnout and election results, John D. Johnson's piece in Urban Milwaukee is worth a careful read. (For another analysis of the Wisconsin results, you can watch a half hour discussion with Shawn Johnson and Matthew DeFour with WisconsinEye.) Here's a key point, though:

    Every community in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties gave Evers a higher proportion of the vote in his re-election campaign. Only one municipality in Ozaukee County and two in Washington County swung the other way. Evers flipped Greendale, Greenfield, and River Hills in Milwaukee along with Port Washington and Thiensville in Ozaukee.

    The largest shifts came in Wauwatosa (+24), River Hills (+24), Whitefish Bay (+23), Bayside (+22), Mequon (+22), Elm Grove (+21), Fox Point (+21) and Brookfield (+20).

    A lot of the blue shifts came in communities where Grassroots North Shore had extensively sent postcards, phoned, leafletted, and canvassed. According to Johnson's piece, turnout in the North Shore communities was as follows:

    • Bayside: 77%
    • Brown Deer: 73%
    • Fox Point: 84%
    • Glendale: 80%
    • River Hills: 85%
    • Shorewood: 81%
    • Whitefish Bay: 84%

    We can't take all the credit of course, but the results reinforce the message: campaigning in every imaginable way is hard work — and it pays off.

    The national results are not complete yet, but they are stunning. Not only did Democrats hold the Senate, they also picked up at least three governors: in Maryland, the first Black man, Wes Moore, was elected; in Massachusetts, the first woman, Maura Healy, was elected; and in Arizona, Katie Hobbs, the first Democrat elected as Governor since Janet Napolitano resigned in 2009, defeated her MAGA-maximun opponent! John Fetterman won his race for US Senate in Pennsylvania, picking up retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey's seat. Although Republicans have so far gained five House seats (see the coverage at the New York Times), the out party on average gains around 25-30 in midterm elections!

    So who was the BIGGEST LOSER of the midterms? Why none other than TFG (that's The Former Guy, DT) who apparently was the butt of endless jokes on Monday's late night comedy shows. He's going to announce his third run for the White House tonight, we hear. Good luck with that, I say! And in more zany news, a Russian soldier, who claims he was acting on orders, removed a llama and an irate raccoon from the Kherson zoo in Ukraine. You can read the story and watch the video at Newsweek.

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  • published FORWARD indeed! in Newsletter 2022-11-10 10:29:01 -0600

    FORWARD indeed!

    With this newsletter, Grassroots North Shore is sending an enormous THANK YOU to all the many, many Grassroots North Shore volunteers:

    • who wrote postcards and letters,
    • who distributed yard signs,
    • who phoned nearly 6300 women,
    • who delivered flyers,
    • who stood outside libraries with election signs,
    • who dropped off sample ballots in Cambridge Woods,
    • who went to UWM, MIAD, MSOE, and MATC to register young people to vote, then to encourage early voting and finally to urge them to vote on election day, and
    • who canvassed with Neighborhood Action Teams and the Ozaukee Dems.

    We worked as hard as we could right up until the polls closed last night. And it looks as if it paid off big time. Let this election be a lesson: we cannot ever afford to sleep through an election — ANY ELECTION — ever again.

    We won't know specific turnout numbers for some time yet but we do know that both statewide and locally we won a huge victory. We probably lost the race for State Treasurer but Governor Evers won re-election with a much healthier margin than he had in his first election four years ago. And despite their extreme gerrymandering of the election maps, the Republicans failed in their bid to win a veto-proof majority in the state legislature. Governor Evers can wield a veto pen whenever he needs to prevent the state legislature from enacting harmful laws!

    Attorney General Josh Kaul will also win re-election. As I write this, the Journal Sentinel has not yet called the race, but with 99% of the vote counted, Kaul leads by 1.4%. Unfortunately, Wisconsin will continue to be represented in the US Senate by the pernicious ignoramus Ron Johnson, but we can take some comfort from the fact that the young and talented Mandela Barnes kept it close. Doug LaFollette will probably be re-elected with a .3% of the vote, although there may well be a re-count of that race.

    Election results for State Senate and State Assembly can be found on the Election Results page of the online Journal Sentinel.

    Although control of the US Senate and the US House are not decided yet, Democrats racked up a huge win, in my view, simply by defying the doomsaying predictions of the pre-election pundits. Republicans were expecting a so-called "red wave." Generally in midterm elections the party that holds the White House, in this case President Joe Biden, loses a lot of seats in both the House and the Senate. Not this time! In the New York Times online, one article begins "Democrats showed up, Trump-backed candidates underperformed and inflation wasn’t the whole story." It goes on to say that "across the East Coast, in Virginia’s northern suburbs and mixed areas of Rhode Island and New Hampshire, embattled Democrats managed to hang on. They even knocked off a few Republicans here and there. In many tight races, abortion and Mr. Trump’s looming presence may have been the G.O.P.’s undoing."

    In the Washington Post's first analysis, Trump lost by backing flawed candidates like Mehmet Oz. And in three toss-up races yet to be decided — Blake Masters (R) vs Mark Kelly (D) in Arizona, Herschel Walker (R) vs Raphael Warnock (D) in Georgia, and Adam Laxalt (R) vs Catherine Cortez Masto (D) in Nevada — Democrats are favored in two. And Democrats also won two new governors' races: Maura Healy will replace the outgoing Republican governor in Massachusetts and Wes Moore will replace the outgoing Republican governor in Maryland. Democratic governors in Kansas (!), Michigan, New York, New Mexico, Minnesota — and let's not forget Wisconsin! — won re-election. Josh Shapiro, the current Attorney General in Pennsylvania, will retain the governorship there too, keeping that state in Democratic hands. And it looks like Kari Lake will go down to defeat in Arizona where that state's current Attorney General, Katie Hobbs, has a small lead. You can check in on the gubernatorial races at Politico.

    Finally, abortion rights won where it was on the ballot: Voters support abortion rights in all five states with ballot measures: "Voters in California, Vermont and Michigan on Tuesday approved ballot measures enshrining abortion rights into their state constitutions, while those in the traditionally red states of Montana and Kentucky rejected measures that would have restricted access to reproductive care." In Wisconsin, constitutional amendments must be initiated by the state legislature, and there's little hope that the 1849 law banning abortions here will be overturned any time soon. Alas. But the strength of this issue in the election was clearly underestimated.

    The events list this week is really short and will probably remain so as we head into the winter holidays. But I want to make you aware that in Wisconsin, we have an upcoming election (the primary on February 21 and the general election on April 4). It's vital that we pay attention: in addition to a critical race for a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat, there will be elections for city and village governance as well as for school boards. As we know, MAGA types are vowing to contest local governance at every level. We need to be strong in the fight for our values and our freedoms. More to come on when and how to prepare for these contests.

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  • published This is IT in Newsletter 2022-11-02 09:03:16 -0500

    This is IT

    ONLY ONE MORE WEEK. Let's focus on what everyone needs to do.

    • VOTE, VOTE, VOTE. Early in person voting is happening NOW. If you live in Bayside, Brown Deer, Fox Point, Glendale, River Hills, Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, or Ozaukee County, you can vote — usually at your municipal clerk's office — until Friday, November 4, at 5:00. See the exact times and locations on our website.

    • In Milwaukee, early in person voting ends on Saturday, November 5, at 3:00pm. There are a lot of early voting sites, including many city libraries, Fiserv Forum, and the UWM Student Union. See the Milwaukee Election Commission page for full details. Voting early is a fantastic thing to do. It helps make Election Day voting easier for many people, since the lines will be shorter; it means you're free to help with GOTV activities on Election Day; and it ensures that your vote will be in on time — just in case your car breaks down or an emergency happens or illness crops up at the last minute!

    • GOTV: this is absolutely the most important thing we can be doing — other than voting ourselves. In the seven North Shore communities, GOTV will take place on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Election Day (November 4-8). Sign up for one or more shifts (there are 4 each day) in one (or more) of the following staging locations:
    • Phone voters in the North Shore and Ozaukee County to add to our vote total. This election is all about TURNOUT. So the conversations we have with people are all about motivating them to vote. These ARE NOT "persuasion calls." We're phoning 30-55 year old women who we believe are strong or at least leaning Democrats, who lead busy lives, and who do not always vote in midterm elections. Getting them to the polls, either this week during early voting or on Election Day, will make the difference between having Governor Evers or Governor Michels for the next four years. Also Senator Barnes or Senator Johnson for the next six years. To help out with this important project, contact Nancy Kaplan, 443-465-1920.

    • Volunteer to hold signs at the East Library in Milwaukee. Supermarket Legends is the host for this activity. Contact Norma Gilson, 414-588-1241.

    • Donate to the candidate(s) of your choice: Tony Evers (Governor) and Sara Rodriguez (Lt Governor), Josh Kaul (Attorney General), Aaron Richardson (Treasurer), Doug LaFollette (Secretary of State), Mandela Barnes (US Senate), Gwen Moore (Congressional District 4), Deb Andraca (Assembly District 23), Dan Larsen (Assembly District 60), Darrin Madison (Assembly District 10), Bob Tatterson (Assembly District 24).

    There's a lot happening politically right now:

    • the first trial of five Oath Keepers for seditious conspiracy;
    • a heinous attack on Paul Pelosi in an apparent attempt to kidnap or kill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi;
    • a criminal trial of the Trump Organization;
    • many, many investigations of our former Prez;
    • and of course the war in Ukraine.

    What happens to the January 6 Select Committee in the House of Representatives will depend on who controls the House in the next Congress. The fate of abortion in this country depends on who controls the House and the Senate. Whether Social Security and Medicare remain intact depends on whether Democrats win this election. Whatever you're feeling about our chances, we have to believe that we can prevail. And we have to do the work. Go Team!

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  • Special GRNS Newsletter: Halloween edition

    I trust that you're enjoying the spring-like conditions this Halloween!

    I'm sending out this "special edition" of the newsletter because some events for tomorrow (Tuesday, November 1) have just popped into my email and I thought you'd like a chance to attend one or more of them. So I'm listing the events for Tuesday and Wednesday just to give you a timely heads up. The full newsletter with events through November 11 will be out tomorrow.


    Tuesday, November 1

    Mandela Barnes / Newsmaker Breakfast, 7:30 – 9:00am
    Milwaukee County War Memorial Center, 750 N Lincoln Memorial Drive, Milwaukee

    Mandela Barnes will be the featured guest at a Newsmaker event hosted by the Milwaukee Press Club,, and the Rotary Club of Milwaukee. Barnes will take questions from a panel of journalists and from the audience at the event, which will include breakfast. Registration deadline was Friday, October 28.

    Coffee with Cory Booker & Mandela Barnes, 10:00 – 11:30am
    Sam's Place Jazz Cafe, 3338 N Doctor M.L.K. Jr Dr., Milwaukee

    Drink coffee with Sen. Cory Booker and Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes! RSVP.

    Save Social Security Rally & March to the Polls, 11:00am – 1:00pm
    Social Security Building, 310 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee

    The League of Progressive Seniors and other groups will have a rally to bring out the vote to preserve Social Security! State Sen. Larson, US Rep. Gwen Moore, US Senator Tammy Baldwin, and the Raging Grannies will appear at the event. Meet at the Social Security Building for a brief rally, followed by a march to the polls to early vote at Fiserv Forum. Remember to bring your photo ID so you can vote! More information and RSVP.

    Wave Event: When Claude Got Shot, 5:00 - 6:30pm

    Join us Tuesday, November 1 at 5:00 P.M. for an online screening of When Claude Got Shot. Stay with us after the film for a discussion with Claude Motley, the film’s protagonist, and the film’s director, Brad Lichtenstein at 6:45 or tune in then if you’ve already seen the film but want to learn more from some of the folks most deeply involved in its making. Sign up.

    Boogie with Barnes and Booker, 6:30 – 8:00pm
    Allure MKE, 789 N Jefferson St., Milwaukee

    Come out and boogie with Mandela Barnes and Senator Cory Booker for a fun night in Milwaukee! RSVP.

    Wednesday, November 2

    Grass Roots South Shore Meeting, 6:00 – 8:00pm
    Cudahy Library, 3500 Library Drive, Cudahy

    Grass Roots South Shore will have meetings of the members on the first Wednesday of the month. More information.

    Living Liberally Waukesha, 6:30 – 8:30pm
    The Tap Yard, 1150 W Sunset Drive, Waukesha

    Living Liberally Waukesha meets on the first Wednesday of the month, All attendees should be vaccinated and wear masks when not eating or drinking.

  • published Voting is under way! in Newsletter 2022-10-26 22:19:07 -0500

    Voting is under way!

    Let's start with a little inspiration.

    The vast majority of Americans agree with us [progressives] on ALL the major issues — legal abortion (62%), climate crisis (75%), minimum wage (62%), paid family leave (70%), legal marijuana (91%), unions (71%), Medicare for all (69%), Equal Rights Amendment for women (78%), mass incarceration, tax the rich (80%), free college (58%), free pre-K+ (71%), stopping voter suppression, LGBTQ+ rights (71%), take money out of politics, more gun control (70%), etc. -- Michael Moore

    Now GOTV (Get Out the Vote)!!!! Visit to find events near you. I don't need to tell you how vital this election is. But I do need to remind you that TURNOUT is EVERYTHING this year.

    1. If you're able to canvass, that's the best way to turn out voters.
    2. If that's really not possible for you, then do the next best thing: phone. We're calling women in North Shore communities to remind them to vote, and to vote the entire ticket. Contact Nancy Kaplan for information and a phone list!
    3. And make sure ALL YOUR LIKE-MINDED FRIENDS AND FAMILY, no matter where they live, GET TO THE POLLS by or on Election Day, November 8.

    For those of you on the North Shore, here are links to sign up with your community's Neighborhood Action Team:

    Early in person voting is easy and flexible; it should fit anyone's schedule. It begins TODAY! Here are the dates: Tuesday, October 25 - Friday, October 28, and Monday, October 31 - Friday, November 4. Voting takes place at your village or city hall, unless you live in the City of Milwaukee. See the list of early in person voting sites, days and times for the city. The Ozaukee Dems's site says early voting begins on Wednesday, October 26, but don't believe it. You can begin voting TODAY!

    Monday, Bob Woodward released a some sound bites from his numerous interviews with TFG on the Washington Post site to go along with an op-ed explaining why he made the decision. For $45, you can buy the whole set of tapes from Amazon. (It apparently takes 11 hours and 29 minutes to listen to all of it. Frankly, I could not bear to listen to TFG for that long.) If you turn the sound on as you read Woodward's piece, you will hear them both in their own words. As he says in his article, "Much has been written about that period, including by me. But The Trump Tapes, my forthcoming audiobook of our interviews, is central to understanding Trump as he is poised to seek the presidency again." The Daily Kos piece about this article points out that it's behind a paywall. So if you don't have a subscription to the Post, you probably can't read or hear it. Which is too bad. TFG speaking the words you've already seen in print really does vividly remind you that he's a nasty, self-involved moron. Here's the piece on Daily Kos.

    Make no mistake: MAGA-ism is on the ballot this year. The Republican National Committee "says it’s staged thousands of training sessions across the country on how to monitor voting and lodge complaints about midterms." Whether the trainees will actually show up at the polls is unknown. But in Arizona vigilantes are already showing up, some of them armed, to "observe" people using legal drop boxes to return their votes. (Drop boxes ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR ABSENTEE BALLOTS in Wisconsin.) See more about the Arizona story and the subsequent lawsuit seeking an immediate injunction in an article on Axios.

    It's incumbent on each one of us to work for the state, country and world we want to live in. So what are YOU going to do over the next two weeks so that we don't end up in an increasingly fascist country?


    up for Neighborhood Action Teams to canvass in the North Shore were wrong.

    Here are the correct ones:

    Read more