Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Log Cabin Republicans

Log Cabin Republicans -Wisconsin, which advocates for gays and lesbians within the Republican Party, issued a very strong anti-Tom Reynolds statement in its new election endorsement newsletter. Reynolds (R-West Allis) is seeking re-election to his 5th District State Senate seat. He is opposed by Wauwatosa Ald. Jim Sullivan, a Democrat.

Here's what LCR had to say:

LCR-WI is issuing a very strong NO ENDORSEMENT of Senator Tom Reynolds, who represents all of Wauwatosa, all of West Allis, parts of Milwaukee north and south of Wauwatosa, West Milwaukee, and part of Brookfield and Elm Grove. While we agree with his efforts to rein in taxes and spending, he continues to be extremist in his views on lesbian/gay issues. He attended a conference on homosexuality organized by anti-gay groups in which a speaker called for lesbians and gays to be shot. In the past, he has spread disgusting and malicious misinformation about lesbians and gays in conversations with his campaign workers, such as claiming that the average gay man has over 300 sexual partners in a year, and that most gay men enjoy eating feces.

The newsletter said it could not endorse a Democrat for office, then concluded with this: "We urge members who live in this district not to cast a vote for Senator Reynolds."

One Big Difference

The JS reports today that the biggest spender on the anti-Mark Green side of independent groups is the Greater Wisconsin Committee, and the biggest spender on the anti-Doyle side is All Children Matter.

One big, big difference the paper didn't mention, but should have: the Greater Wisconsin Committee is a Wisconsin organization trying to influence Wisconsinites; All Children Matter is a Michigan group trying to influence Wisconsinites.

That difference matters.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Republicans for Jim Sullivan

Two prominent Waukesha County Republicans -- former Brookfield Mayor Kate Bloomberg and hubby Frank Urban, a former state legislator -- are endorsing Democrat Jim Sullivan for the 5th District Senate Seat.

They went so far as to call incumbent Republican State Sen. Tom Reynolds "an embarrassment," according to BrookfieldNOW.com:

The Brookfield couple called Reynolds an "embarrassment to our communities" who "puts his own shortsighted, obsolete views before the interests of his constituents and Wisconsin."

They got that right.

The story continues:

"Jim Sullivan is running for the right reason - to serve and represent the people of this district effectively - whether they are conservative, liberal or somewhere in between," said Bloomberg in a letter circulated to 5th District residents on Friday that urged residents to vote for the Democrat.

Reynolds says the endorsements show that Sullivan is desperate. Yah, right. Don't think so, Tom.

Bloomberg said she and her husband have signs in their front yard supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Green, 14th Assembly District Republican candidate Leah Vukmir and Sullivan.

Here's an idea, Tom: threaten to sue Bloomberg and Urban because you don't like their yard sign arrangement.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tom Reynolds, courtesy of the Greater Wisconsin PAC

Here is the text of a radio ad about State Sen. Tom Reynolds (R-West Allis) that began running this week. The ad was paid for by the Greater Wisconsin PAC.

How extreme is State Senator Tom Reynolds?

So extreme that Reynolds voted to make a promising form of stem cell research illegal in Wisconsin -- to stop research to find cures for diseases afflicting thousands of Wisconsin families.

So extreme that Reynolds not only fought against raising the minimum wage, but says there shouldn’t be any minimum wage at all.

Tom Reynolds wants to allow people to carry concealed weapons in their cars, on the street, in shopping malls, theaters, daycare centers and playgrounds.

He’s asked prospective employees about their sexual histories and religious beliefs. He refused to hire any female staffers, and even fired his entire legislative staff just days before Christmas.

No wonder The Journal Sentinel says Reynolds’ ‘”bizarre behavior” and “outlandish ideas” make him “a poor fit for public service.”

Reynolds is just too extreme.

Paid for by Greater Wisconsin PAC, David Cross, Treasurer. Not authorized by any candidate, candidate's agent or committee.

Cheney and water-boarding

Vice President Dick Cheney gave a thumbs up to water-boarding, the practice of making people believe they are drowning.

"It's a no-brainer for me," he said.

Aren't "Cheney" and "no-brainer" just a tad redundant?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Both sides of his mouth

County Executive Scott Walker shows one face to the general public and another to the red meat crowd he courts at election time.

Walker's Oct. 20 "Executive Update" lauded the leadership of the County Board on fiscal issues:

I want to give credit to the County Board Chairman Holloway and Finance and Audit Committee Chairman Nyklewicz for their leadership this week in warning others about the finance situation of the county. As mentioned, we have a nearly $90 million budget hole and the most that the tax levy can increase under state law is well under $10 million. Without help in controlling health care costs, that means that the members of the county board will have to consider the majority of the spending reductions. While we may disagree about the ultimate level of the tax levy (I want no increase), it is important that we work together to address the real financial concerns of the county.

But in an early-month fund-raising appeal, Walker took the County Board to task, as the JS reported.

In it, he rips the board as "tax-and-spend liberals" and asks for donations of up to $500 to help defend his budget plan and proposed tax-levy freeze.

The letter notes the support on the board for a sales tax increase, which Walker opposes.

Translation: Please send me $500 so I can stop the board from raising your taxes much less than that to preserve county services.

Trying to kill the Great Lakes, part 85

Waukesha and a lot of other places would like to drain water from the Great Lakes. The US Coast Guard thinks the lakes are a good place to turn into a live fire shooting field. And now a Canadian company wants to put a radioactive dump less than a mile from Lake Huron (which sort of touches Lake Michigan). John Flesher of the Canadian Press wrote that officials of Ontario Power Generation Inc., the company that wants the dump, says that only low-level radioactive waste would be dumped at the site, but not everyone believes that.

Michael Keegan, chairman of the Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes, said he feared the facility wouldn't always be limited to low-or intermediate-level waste.

"I think this is the camel's nose under the tent," said Keegan, of Monroe. "Once they get this deed done, look for the high-level waste."

Isn't the idea supposed to be to protect the Great Lakes?

Reynolds, at home in his headquarters

From the Oct. 11, 1996 issue of the The Business Journal. Yeah, this is 10 years ago and Reynolds could have moved his headquarters, but interesting nonetheless....

Candidate Reynolds: printer for Christ

Republican congressional candidate Tom Reynolds is frequently described in new
reports as "a West Allis printer."

But just what kind of printing business does Reynolds operate?

An interview with Reynolds at his homespun print shop fleshes out several themes
about his business, including "mom and pop," "church before profit" and even
"printer for Christ."

Reynolds, who is seeking to unseat 4th District Congressman Gerald Kleczka, a
Milwaukee Democrat, in November, has blue ink stains on his hands during an
interview about his business. His work and his politics are closely linked these
days as he is using his garage-based printing shop to print millions of his campaign
flyers. [emphasis added]

Reynolds has been spending a lot of time in the shop since he won the GOP nomination
in September, defeating J. Mac Davis of Waukesha, a moderate Republican who has
served as a Circuit Court judge and state legislator. But the shop has been his
family's primary source of income for much longer than that -- 12 years to be exact.

Reynolds isn't the typical entrepreneur, however. He's never placed a high priority
on maximizing profits.

Reynolds, 39, doesn't try to compete with Kinko's or Econoprint. He doesn't invest
in high-tech equipment. He rarely makes sales calls. And his business, Endeavor
Press, isn't even listed in the Yellow Pages.

"It just perpetuates itself and I don't have to give it much concern," Reynolds said
while sitting with his wife, Sandy, in the kitchen of his West Allis home, 9430 W.
Schlinger Ave., which doubles as his campaign headquarters. (emphasis added)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Feckless Frenn response #2

Mr. Thomas Frenn
Petrie & Stocking
111 E. Wisconsin Ave.
Suite 1500
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Oct. 22, 2006

Dear Mr. Frenn,

I have received your latest missive.

I understand that you and Mr. Reynolds now contend that Mr. Reynolds' campaign paid utility bills for the building at or behind 9500 W. Schlinger Ave. I have posted those assertions on the milwaukeerising blog in the past when they have been made and will continue to do so.

This latest contention, however, is different than the one you made last week, when you wrote:

"Tom Reynolds has his campaign office on the same property as his home, which is equipped with those items to run his campaign including printing presses."

Could you please clarify for me whether you actually meant to say Mr. Reynolds' home is equipped with those items?

Mr. Reynolds has not included on his campaign finance statements any rent or in-kind contribution of the rental value for the 9500 W. Schlinger Ave. property. Could you please tell me why this is so? Mr. Reynolds told the Journal Sentinel the building is used almost exclusively for campaign purposes. It is somewhat alarming that the campaign is paying utility costs on a building without acknowledging the value of that building to the campaign, especially since it is a building in which Mr. Reynolds may also have a commercial interest (he is a printer and the building contains printing presses).

The storyhill.net story on the utility issue simply says that Mr. Reynolds lists his home as his campaign headquarters, which Mr. Reynolds acknowledges to be true. I have, however, updated the story to include Mr. Reynolds' assertion that the utility payments were for the 9500 W. Schlinger property, and to include the changing nature of your explanations.

I have another question about Mr. Reynolds' campaign finance report as well.

Mr. Reynolds reported a $10,750 in-kind contribution on Aug. 28, 2006. The amount matches an Aug. 26 in-kind expenditure for Mr. Reynolds' printing services. Wisconsin Stats. 11.06 (4)(b) requires that "unless it is returned or donated within 15 days of receipt, a contribution must be reported as received and accepted on the date received." Please identify the specifics of the $10,750 Aug. 28 in-kind printing contribution, and how that value of the contribution was determined. Please include any hourly rates that Mr. Reynolds used to determine the value of the contribution.

In the meantime, stop misrepresenting my statements. I did not, as you put it, admit in comments to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that I was wrong. You falsely accused me of alleging that Mr. Reynolds broke the law, which I did not do. You then disseminated your false accusations to the Story Hill Neighborhood Association, which is not involved in this matter. You also distributed your latest letter to the Story Hill Neighborhood Association.

Please explain to me why you are copying SHNA on your correspondence to me. I will expect your explanation to change once or twice, as that seems to be par for the course.

Your intimidation tactics will not work. They do not no credit to you or the Petrie & Stocking law firm.

I await your prompt replies to my inquiries. I would appreciate it if you would have someone proofread and correct your response before you send it to me.


Sincerely,



Gretchen Schuldt

Feckless Frenn again

I got a letter yesterday from State Sen. Tom Reynolds' attorney, Tom Frenn, that very laughably says:


I am glad you are admitting in your quote to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that you were wrong.

What?!! No, I did not. Let me make sure you heard me, Tom and Tom (Team T-T -- I like it):

No, I did not.

Here is what Annysa Johnson reported and she got it exactly right:

Milwaukee Rising blogger Gretchen Schuldt said Thursday that she "never accused" Reynolds of using campaign funds to heat his house but "raised questions and said he needed to explain it."

Schuldt said she received a letter Thursday from Reynolds' attorney threatening to sue her for libel, slander and defamation if she does not post a retraction.

"This is an attempt to intimidate a constituent," said Schuldt of Milwaukee, who lives in the 5th District.

"I've not libeled anyone. If it's wrong to question what a politician does with his campaign funds, our country is in a sorry state."

We can review the facts, which are confusing because the Reynold's team keeps trying to change its version of them. Reynolds has repeatedly filed campaign registration statements listing his headquarters at home home address. Then, whoops, Reynolds said the HQ was really at another address, that he just said on his campaign finance report that it was at his home address.

Again, Thursday's JS:

Reynolds said the utility bills are for an outbuilding behind rental property he owns at 9500 W. Schlinger Ave. in West Allis that has a separate meter from those of his home and the main rental building.

The campaign address is listed as his home, he said, so his renters don't receive that mail.

Look like Frenn may have erred on Tuesday when he wrote: "Tom Reynolds has his campaign office on the same property as his home, which is equipped with those items to run his campaign including printing presses."

(Yes, I know that Frenn's last phrase actually confirms that Reynolds' home is equipped with campaign equipment. Wouldn't that make it the campaign HQ? Or is it just that Frenn has difficulty with the English language and is equipped with insufficient composition skills? More on this at the end of the post.)

Since Reynolds outed himself about his campaign HQ location, Frenn has been more circumspect. Annysa Johnson's story ran in the paper Thurday morning. Spivak and Bice have posted a letter Frenn wrote that same day to State Democratic Campaign Committee attorney Jeremy Levinson:

The website for West Allis shows that Mr. Reynolds owns the property at 9500 West Schlinger Avenue and also owns the property at 9430 West Schlinger Avenue. Both properties have residences on them and warehouse type buildings, one of which is used as a campaign headquarters. Therefore, public records DO NOT support the State Senate Democratic Committee's false statements.

But, Tom! Which address is home to the Reynolds' command post? You forgot to specify.

On Friday, he wrote again to Levinson:

In my letter of October 19, 2006, I explained to you where the utility bills were coming from. They are the utility bills for the campaign headquarters which are located on a property owned by Sen. Reynolds and his wife. What more information Do you want?

Oh, Tom, you forgot again to mention the address of that HQ property. Could it be 9500 W. Schlinger Ave.? Did Tom Reynolds misstate the address on his campaign filing statements?

And:


To prove Sen. Reynolds' assertions, I would introduce the State campaign reports, the utility bills for the campaign headquarters, photos of the campaign headquarters and the City of West Allis website's printout for the two Reynolds' properties at 9500 West Schlinger Avenue and 9430 West Schlinger Avenue, and a tour of the facilities by a judge and jury.

Golly darn, Tommie, you forgot again. Funny how those things can slip your mind, isn't it? So what specifically is the address of Reynolds' campaign headquarters?

And in the latest missive Frenn sent to me, dated Friday, he wrote:

When I reviewed Milwaukee Rising, both the article originally posted on the Story Hill website as well as the story still available as of 9:00 a.m. today, state the utility costs are for Sen. Reynolds' home. The campaign report of course states the costs are for Sen. Reynolds' campaign headquarters. If you had done, even attempted to investigate as a trained journalist such as yourself should have, you would have found the campaign headquarters is a separate building.

Again, Frenn forgot to mention the headquarters' address! What a coincidence.

Oh, Petrie & Stocking, just as an aside -- you might want to assign a proof reader to Mr. Frenn. Typos happen all the time, but nothing like the last excerpt above should be coming out of a reputable law firm. (Of course, reputable laws firms should not grossly misrepresent an individual's statements, either. See top of this post.)

Truth to tell, when I got the letter yesterday, it was so bad I thought at first that someone might have forged it on P&S stationery, but after reading the letters posted by the Spice boys, realized that wasn't the case -- it really was Frenn's finest. Wow.

Update: Oh, it isthe rental property, at least according to Tom Reynolds. Reynolds says the headquarters address listed on his campaign finance reports and to which he wants supporters to send contributions isn't the headquarters for which his campaign fund is paying utility bills. The utility bill headquarters is another place he owns, an outbuilding at 9500 W. Schlinger Ave., he says.

Reynolds says in a press release: If you would review my campaign account, you will find payments to WE Energies marked in the campaign report for utilities for the campaign headquarters. I own two properties with my wife at 9500 West Schlinger Avenue and 9430 West Schlinger Avenue, West Allis, Wisconsin. I live at the house at 9430 West Schlinger Avenue. In the back of 9500 West Schlinger Avenue there is a warehouse building which is used as a campaign headquarters. These are the WE Energy bills which are paid from my campaign treasury.

It is still weird. Rent for the site is not listed as an expenditure or in-kind contribution on his campaign finance reports. And it's totally different that what Frenn said last week. Remember?

"Tom Reynolds has his campaign office on the same property as his home, which is equipped with those items to run his campaign including printing presses."

Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

My response to Reynold's intimidation tactics

Mr. Thomas Frenn
Petrie & Stocking
Suite 1500
111 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Oct. 21, 2006

Dear Mr. Frenn,

Thank you for your letter of Oct. 17. I am assuming the letter threatening a lawsuit really is from you although it is unsigned. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

In your letter, you allege that I have accused State Sen. Tom Reynolds of “violations of the Election Law.” That is simply inaccurate, as you know.

It’s extremely unfortunate that Mr. Reynolds would use a lawyer and threats of expensive, time-consuming litigation to try to intimidate a constituent into silence. Debate – even the raucous, untidy kind – is part of the democratic process. If Mr. Reynolds can’t even explain his utility bills without getting a lawyer involved to move his lips for him, then it is no wonder that he avoids even the formal, staged debates of a campaign.

For your edification and for your files here is a rundown of what I wrote and when I wrote it.

On Sept. 23, I wrote that the senator charged at least part of utility bills for his campaign headquarters to his campaign, and that his campaign finance report listed his home address as his headquarters. I wrote:

“Hope none of that went to keep his kiddies warm at night. That would be a lot like converting campaign funds to personal use, which would be a distinct no-no.”

I also wrote:

“It could very well be that Reynolds is not charging the full cost of his utilities to his campaign, but he needs to explain how he separates his family's utility bills from his campaign headquarters' utility bills. A guy who literally poses for holy pictures can't be keeping his family warm with campaign funds.”

There is no accusation of illegal activity. The posting received the following comments from Reynolds’ campaign adviser, Robert Dohnal, which I posted in full:

Reynolds must report any use of his printing machines as campaign expenditures. His printing machines run on electricty so that he must allocate the use for campaign literature and fundraising or he would be in violation of election laws.

***

His campaign headquarters has nothing to do with his printing machines. They are where they are and he doesn't have to list their location, but must itemize their use for campaign and fundraising materials. The left cannot debate the issues cause they lose on them so they always resort to vicious personal smears.

***

It is irrelevant where the machines are located, the electricty and use has to be logged for any campaign or fundraising for which they are used.
Since Reynolds is constantly using them for fundraisng letters, invites to other events that cannot be state business he must report that use otherwise he would get ited by the state. When these things come up he confers with the election and ethics board..Wwhenever the liberals cannot debate the real issues of education, taxes, immigration, transportation they resort to vicious personal smears.
Welcome to their club Gretchen.


I also received and posted a message that said Reynolds’ campaign headquarters really is behind 9500 W. Schlinger Ave. As the message was signed only “Anonymous,” I do not know who sent it.

On Sept. 26, I posted a graphic of Reynolds’ campaign finance report listings for his utility payments, showing that he many were for his campaign office or campaign headquarters.

I wrote:

“Here is how the Reynolds' campaign described on campaign finance reports utility bills paid with his campaign fund since 2002. His backers now say the bills were related to printing costs. Hmmm....”

On Oct. 15, after the State Democratic Campaign Committee filed an Elections Board complaint, I wrote about the topic again.

Tom Reynolds used his campaign funds to pay utility bills for the "campaign headquarters" in his home, according to Reynolds' own campaign finance filings.

Bob Dohnal, Reynolds disciple and publisher of The Conservative Digest, said the bills were for Reynolds' print shop, not for his home, despite what Reynolds said in his campaign filing (and I don't think you are supposed to fib on those).

The State Democratic Campaign Committee sent out letters to Reynolds' supporters telling them of Reynolds' creative use of their money to heat his home. Reynolds then issued a statement suggesting that the utility payments were for his home, but just for the campaign headquarters part of it:

“The State Senate Democratic Campaign Committee comprised of: Chairperson, Judy Robson, Treasurer, Mark Miller and Executive Director, Matt Swentkowfske published the attached letter. The letter, with actual knowledge of the falsity of the statement, by the authors accuse me of violating state statute by using campaign funds for paying my private utility bills. The letter acknowledges that the authors know of my use of my residential property for my campaign headquarters. However, the authors go on to say that I pay my home utility bill from my campaign account which is a violation of State law. The letter also informs the Reynolds’ supporters that I am using the hard earned money of supporters and contributors to my campaign illegally “to pad Tom Reynolds own pocket.”


Reynolds demanded an immediate retraction and apology. You're going to be waiting a while for that one, Tom.

Again, there is no accusation on my part of campaign law violations.

As for storyhill.net: the only story on the topic that appeared on that web site is a rather straightforward account of Mr. Lewis Rosser’s assertion that a complaint regarding the utility issue may be filed with the State Elections Board. The story notes that “It is illegal to use campaign funds for non-campaign purposes,” but does not accuse Reynolds of doing so. The story also contains this:

Robert Dohnal, publisher of The Conservative Digest and a close ally of Reynolds, said the payments actually were to cover the costs of electricity used to run printing equipment for campaign and other materials.

"It is irrelevant where the machines are located, the electricty (sic) and use has to be logged for any campaign or fundraising for which they are used," Dohnal wrote in an e-mail to the blog Milwaukee Rising.* "Since Reynolds is constantly using them for fundraisng (sic) letters, invites to other events that cannot be state business he must report that use otherwise he would get ited (sic) by the state. When these things come up he confers with the election and ethics board.. Wwhenever (sic) the liberals cannot debate the real issues of education, taxes, immigration, transportation they resort to vicious personal smears."

That is pretty much everything I’ve written on this topic, except for a follow-up posting after the Journal Sentinel ran a story on Oct. 20. That posting reads as follows:

So is State Sen. Tom Reynolds' campaign headquarters at his home or at his rental property? It certainly seems, from this a.m.'s story in the JS, that it is a building behind his rental property.

Reynolds, the paper says, maintains that the utility bills listed on his campaign finance report are for one of two buildings he owns next door to his home that he uses almost exclusively for campaign business.

Later, the story continues:

Reynolds said the utility bills are for an outbuilding behind rental property he owns at 9500 W. Schlinger Ave. in West Allis that has a separate meter from those of his home and the main rental building. The campaign address is listed as his home, he said, so his renters don't receive that mail.

So is Reynolds' campaign headquarters at 9430 W. Schlinger Ave., as Reynolds (R-West Allis) says on his campaign finance statements, or 9500 W. Schlinger Ave.?

The finance report that Reynolds is required to file contains this statement: "I certify that I have examined this report and to the best of my knowledge and belief it is true, correct and complete."

So, a few questions if the Reynolds' campaign headquarters really is 9500 W. Schlinger Ave.

Does not reporting the correct address of your campaign headquarters count as failing to report accurately? Is there a "it's Ok if it isn't all true" card if your campaign headquarters is near your house? Would it still be OK if it were a mile away? Two miles? If Reynolds is required to report utility costs, as his lawyer claims (he also claims the HQ and Reynolds' home are on the same property), why wouldn't he be required to claim the value of the rent for his campaign HQ?

Just wondering.

Although your allegations are clearly without merit, I am willing to videotape Mr. Reynolds’ explanations of his utility bills and his campaign headquarters address and post up to four minutes of the video, for free, on the storyhill.net web site. I am also willing to post, free of charge, the documentation that Mr. Reynolds has to support his utility bill explanation.


I am, by the way, unsure of why you copied your letter to the Story Hill Neighborhood Association, which has absolutely nothing to do with any of this. It appears that you and Mr. Reynolds would like to ensure that all members of the association know that he is willing to threaten people with lawsuits. Are you trying to intimidate an entire neighborhood, rather than just one lone individual? The dissemination of your threat letter to my neighbors is simply a cheap, shameful tactic. The residents of Story Hill, whether they be Democrats or Republicans, are unlikely to be cowed into silence by the likes of Sen. Reynolds or you.


You also accuse me, in a rather gratuitous comment, of “poor judgment and unprofessionalism.” As long as you brought it up, I feel much the same way about your performance as a member of the Milwaukee Public Museum Board as it failed to provide necessary financial oversight before scandal struck. I guess we are even on that score.


You also write: “…you are obviously doing this for the purpose of trying to defeat Mr. Reynolds in the upcoming election.” Since I am not running against Mr. Reynolds, it would be really, really hard for me to defeat him. I think Mr. Jim Sullivan is the one seeking to defeat Mr. Reynolds.


Please contact me at your earliest convenience to arrange a videotaped interview with Mr. Reynolds and to provide me with the documentation supporting Mr. Reynolds assertions re. his utility bills at 9430 W. Schlinger Ave. or 9500 W. Schlinger Ave.


Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Gretchen Schuldt

Cc: Story Hill Neighborhood Association

Friday, October 20, 2006

Questions, questions, questions about Tom Reynolds campaign HQ

So is State Sen. Tom Reynolds' campaign headquarters at his home or at his rental property? It certainly seems, from this a.m.'s story in the JS, that it is a building behind his rental property.

Reynolds, the paper says, maintains that the utility bills listed on his campaign finance report are for one of two buildings he owns next door to his home that he uses almost exclusively for campaign business.

Later, the story continues:

Reynolds said the utility bills are for an outbuilding behind rental property he owns at 9500 W. Schlinger Ave. in West Allis that has a separate meter from those of his home and the main rental building.

The campaign address is listed as his home, he said, so his renters don't receive that mail.

So is Reynolds' campaign headquarters at 9430 W. Schlinger Ave., as Reynolds (R-West Allis) says on his campaign finance statements, or 9500 W. Schlinger Ave.?

The finance reports that Reynolds is required to file contains this statement: "I certify that I have examined this report and to the best of my knowledge and belief it is true, correct and complete."

So, a few questions if the Reynolds' campaign headquarters really is 9500 W. Schlinger Ave.

Does not reporting the correct address of your campaign headquarters count as failing to report accurately? Is there a "it's Ok if it isn't all true" card if your campaign headquarters is near your house? Would it still be OK if it were a mile away? Two miles? If Reynolds is required to report utility costs, as his lawyer claims (he also claims the HQ and Reynolds' home are on the same property), why wouldn't he be required to claim the value of the rent for his campaign HQ?

Just wondering.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Reynolds turns to intimidation tactics

Received this today.... I'm assuming the letter is genuine, even though it wasn't signed. Nothing like a little intimidation and supression effort to squelch a rising controversy, eh?

Via Ordinary US Mail and
Certified Mail /Return Receipt Requested
Re: Slander of Tom Reynolds

Dear Ms. Schuldt:

Recently you have been publishing on the internet and other places a series of defamatory statements about State Senator Tom Reynolds. You are accusing Mr. Reynolds of using his campaign fund for personal utility bills. At the same time, you acknowledge and are well aware that Tom Reynolds has his campaign office on the same property as his home, which is equipped with those items to run his campaign including printing presses. As such, Mr. Reynolds is required under the Election law to charge his campaign fund for his expenses and take the expenses either as a personal contribution or take a cash reimbursement.

You accuse Mr. Reynolds in your various articles of violation of the Election Law. In doing so, you are blatantly libeling and slandering him. Your sarcasm and name calling (half-baked clown) are uncalled for and show poor judgment and unprofessionalism. While commentaries such as (half-baked clown) may be allowable under the liberal interpretation of the Election law, accusing him falsely of violating election laws is not. Your statements are in fact a violation of the Defamation Statute as well as common law libel and slander since they are made with reckless disregard of the truth and knowing them to be false.

You are a professional journalist and should know enough not to publish false statements without checking your facts and making sure the facts are correct. In your case you are obviously doing this for the purpose of trying to defeat Mr. Reynolds in the upcoming election.


Unless a retraction is published on the Story
Hill Website and in any other posted or published location of your statements, Mr. Reynolds will sue you and the owner of the website for libel and slander. Because your actions are obviously being taken with a reckless disregard of the truth and a reckless intent to harm him in the upcoming election, punitive damages will also be sought.

When you comply with the retraction(s) please notify me at once by furnishing me with a copy of the same via fax at (414) 276-0731 if you do not publish the retraction within seven days of the date of this letter a lawsuit will be started.

Very truly yours,

PETRIE & STOCKINGS.C.

Thomas L. Frenn TLF/acd


cc

Story Hill Neighborhood Assoc. Inc.
Via Certified Mail and Ordinary Mail

(Please note that the storyhill.net web site is independent and not a part of the Story Hill Neighborhood Association. I'm not sure why this letter was copied to the association.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

An attempt to stifle debate

Hmm, I got this message and it appears to be from State Sen. Tom Reynolds' buddy Robert Dohnal.

Get your attorney Gretchen, liars will pay.

I am assuming it is genuine because of the tell-tale bad punctuation. The comment was sent in response to this.

Another effort to stifle debate. Well, I guess if I were on Reynolds' side, I wouldn't want people discussing the issues, either. It doesn't help his cause.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Art Museum picks on kids

The County Board's Finance Committee cut funding to the Milwaukee Art Museum by $280,0000 to fund other, smaller arts and culture groups.

The Art Museum's response? Threaten the kids.

The JS reported this morning that Museum Director David Gordon said the museum may have to cut back on student tours because of the amendment.

Bad move, David. Too cheap by far.

Santiago Calatrava ought to ask for his wings back.

It's another Bush budget massacre

President Bush is fully funding his military contractor cronies and his incompetent sycophants at the Department of Homeland Security.

So what's he going to cut in his next budget to make sure those tax breaks can be preserved for his top donors? Why, programs for children and the poor, of course!

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggests what could happen to pay for the $5.3 billion Congress added to the defense budget and to keep the budget at the president's requested level. Congress is supposed to finish work on the budget after the elections next month.

If Congress opts for across-the-board cuts to pay for the $5.3 billion on top of cuts already recommended, here's what would happen to some programs, according to CBPP:
  • Head Start would be cut by an additional $75 million, for a total cut of $221 million. The Labor-HHS-Education bill that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved would provide $6.789 billion in funding for Head Start for the 2007 program year. This is $146 million (or 2.1 percent) below the amount needed to maintain the 2006 level of funding (excluding emergency funding related to hurricane Katrina that was provided for 2006), adjusted for inflation. In other words, the funding level for Head Start contained in the Senate bill already is $146 billion below the CBO current services baseline. An additional 1.1 percent across-the-board cut would reduce funding for the program by another $75 million, bringing the total reduction to $221 million (or 3.2 percent).
  • Education for the Disadvantaged (Title I) would be cut an additional $159 million, for a total cut of $479 million. The Labor-HHS-Education bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee would provide $14.447 billion for Education for the Disadvantaged. This level of funding is $320 million (or 2.2 percent) below the amount needed to maintain the 2006 level of funding, adjusted for inflation. A further 1.1 percent reduction would cut funding for the program by an additional $159 million, bringing the total reduction to $479 million (or 3.2 percent).
  • Pell Grants would be cut by an additional $139 million, for a total cut of $864 million. The Labor-HHS-Education bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee provides $12.607 billion in funding for Pell Grants for 2007. That level of funding is $725 million (5.4 percent) below the amount that would be needed to maintain the 2006 level of funding adjusted for inflation. A further 1.1 percent reduction would reduce funding for the program by an additional $139 million, bringing the total cut below the baseline to $864 million, or 6.5 percent.
  • The National Institutes of Health would be cut by an additional $315 million, for a total cut of $666 million. The Labor-HHS-Education and Interior bills approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee provide $28.629 billion in funding for NIH for 2007. That level of funding is $351 million (1.2 percent) below the amount needed to maintain the 2006 level of funding adjusted for inflation. A further 1.1 percent reduction would reduce funding for the program by an additional $315 million, bringing the total cut below the baseline to $666 million, or 2.3 percent.

Doesn't that make you just feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Reynolds camp can't get its story straight on utility charges

Tom Reynolds used his campaign funds to pay utility bills for the "campaign headquarters" in his home, according to Reynolds' own campaign finance filings.

Bob Dohnal, Reynolds disciple and publisher of The Conservative Digest, said the bills were for Reynolds' print shop, not for his home, despite what Reynolds said in his campaign filing (and I don't think you are supposed to fib on those).

The State Democratic Campaign Committee sent out letters to Reynolds' supporters telling them of Reynolds' creative use of their money to heat his home. Reynolds then issued a statement suggesting that the utility payments were for his home, but just for the campaign headquarters part of it:

“The State Senate Democratic Campaign Committee comprised of: Chairperson, Judy Robson, Treasurer, Mark Miller and Executive Director, Matt Swentkowfske published the attached letter. The letter, with actual knowledge of the falsity of the statement, by the authors accuse me of violating state statute by using campaign funds for paying my private utility bills. The letter acknowledges that the authors know of my use of my residential property for my campaign headquarters. However, the authors go on to say that I pay my home utility bill from my campaign account which is a violation of State law. The letter also informs the Reynolds’ supporters that I am using the hard earned money of supporters and contributors to my campaign illegally “to pad Tom Reynolds own pocket.”


Reynolds demanded an immediate retraction and apology. You're going to be waiting a while for that one, Tom.

Friday, October 13, 2006

An olive branch?

The JS reported this morning that County Executive Scott Walker "offered an olive branch to the County Board" during his budget address, "saying the executive and legislative branches need to 'tear down our political differences' and rebuild county finances."

In October, the paper said, Walker changed his tune and used his awful and unrealistic budget proposal to squeeze up to $500 out of donors by calling supervisors "tax-and-spend liberals."

And it seems like just yesterday (hey, it was just yesterday) that the JS quoted Walker as saying that supervisors did not want to lose control of Community Development Block Grant funds because the supes treat the money as "their own little private slush funds" to be doled out to their communities.

Olive branch? Not. Maybe a silver Russian olive, which has sharp thorns, is invasive and is really bad for living things around it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Another "no kidding" moment

Anyone familiar with the dominant right-wing, red meat rant dominating local radio airwaves won't be surprised by the recent freepress report, Out of the Picture: Minority & Female TV Station Ownership in the United States. Among its findings:

• Women comprise 51 percent of the entire U.S. population, but own a total of only 67
stations, or 4.97 percent of all stations.

• Minorities comprise 33 percent of the entire U.S. population, but own a total of only 44
stations, or 3.26 percent of all stations.

• Hispanics or Latinos comprise 14 percent of the entire U.S. population, but only own a total
of 15 stations, or 1.11 percent of all stations.

• Blacks or African Americans comprise 13 percent of the entire U.S. population but only
own a total of 18 stations, or 1.3 percent of all stations.

• Asians comprise 4 percent of the entire U.S. population but only own a total of 6 stations, or
0.44 percent of all stations.

• Non-Hispanic White owners controlled 1,033 stations, or 76.6 percent of the all stations.

And, the report says, the disparity will grow even larger unless something changes -- like, for instance, media ownership rules:

The FCC should seriously consider the effects on minority owners and viewers before it moves to enact policies that will lead to increased market concentration. The implications of this study
should be clear: Further industry consolidation will diminish the number of minority- and femaleowned stations. If just a handful of female and minority-owned stations were lost to consolidation, these already anemic numbers would fall precipitously.

This is maybe the second stupidest idea ever

Folkbum is right in asserting that State Rep. Frank Lasee's proposal is perhaps the Stupidest Idea Ever. I've got to wonder, though, if the military's plan to turn the Great Lakes into a live fire shooting gallery isn't maybe like the Second Stupidest Idea Ever.

Detroit - The U.S. Coast Guard’s proposal to periodically close 2,500 square miles of the Great Lakes for live machine-gun firing exercises is vital to maintaining its ability to protect the nation’s security, commanders said Tuesday.

A number of Canadian and U.S. mayors, as well as business leaders and environmentalists, have criticized the proposal, saying it could be unsafe, disruptive and unnecessary.

The Coast Guard says it has safely conducted live-fire tests in the nation’s coastal waters for years. The test zones and schedules are designed to have minimal effect on the environment and Great Lakes boat traffic, it says.

Live fire practice is an essential part of weapons training, the head of the Coast Guard’s Detroit region told reporters Tuesday.

“We need to train in the environment in which we are going to fire the weapons,” Capt. Patrick W. Brennan said from a conference room that overlooks the Detroit River and neighboring Windsor, Ontario.

Coast Guard commanders are holding media briefings in advance of seven public hearings that begin Monday in Duluth, Minn., and end Nov. 3 in Charlevoix, Mich. A public comment period extends through Nov. 13.

The training zone proposal follows the Coast Guard’s decision to mount automatic weapons on about 150 Great Lakes vessels as it did earlier with vessels on the East, West and Gulf coasts, Brennan said.

Each of the 34 “safety zones” on Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario would be closed to private vessels for four-hour spans about four to eight times a year, he said.

Yup. If you don't support destroying a large fresh water resource, you are buying into that terrorist propaganda.

Mr. Green's wall

Mark Green is hitting the illegal immigrant issue so hard, why not just take the final step and propose a wall around Wisconsin? It would create jobs, after all, and he could divert money from public education to pay for it!

Should be right up his alley.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Google, investors nuts

Google is shelling out $1.65 billion for YouTube, a site that has never made a profit and has major, major copyright problems.

That's nuts.

Google's stock rose on the news that it grossly overpaid for YouTube.

That's nuts.

I own a web site. I don't know of any associated copyright problems, and it has earned an exceedingly small amount of advertising revenue.

Bidding starts at a lousy $1 billion.

Hey, go nuts.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tom Reynolds' special interests

Tom Reynolds has repeatedly held himself out as the purest of the pure, above the reach of those nasty special interests. The JS bought his line in its pre-election story:

Reynolds said he's been miscast as a kook and a zealot as payback for refusing to sell his vote to lobbyists...."Madison politics are run by lobbyists and special-interest groups," Reynolds said. "The pressure is always on elected officials to . . . not represent the interests of their constituents.

Reynolds said pretty much the same thing in a Channel 6 story. You can watch it here.

Follow along on our fact check, as we ask the question: Does Reynolds' holier-than-thou approach hold up?

And discover the answer is: Hell, no.

Below is senator's special interest track record, as detailed by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. The list includes just PACs and committees. It omits individual contributions, like the the $3,800 that Reynolds got from the Walton family of Wal-Mart fame.

Surely the Waltons made those six June 30, 2005 contributions totaling $2,600 out of their sheer support for Tom, expecting nothing in return. And of course it is just a coincidence that Christy Walton, of Jackson,Wyoming, wrote two checks totalling $750; Jim Walton, of Bentonville, Arizona, donated $600; John Walton, of Jackson, Wyoming
wrote two checks totalling $750; and Lynn Walton, of Bentonville, Arizona, gave $500, all on the same day.

Tom Reynolds' special interest donations

AT&T Wisconsin Employee PAC (formerly SBC) Telecommunications & Computers $1,000.00
Citigroup (was Travelers Group Inc PAC) Insurance $1,000.00
Healthy Wisconsin State PAC (WI Hospital Assn) Health Services/Institutions $1,000.00
Waukesha County Republican Womens Club Political/Ideological $1,000.00
WI Credit Union Leg Action Banking & Finance $1,000.00
WI Dental PAC (WIDPAC) Health Professionals $1,000.00
WI Insurance Alliance PAC Insurance $1,000.00
WI Restaurant Assn PAC Tourism/Leisure/Entertainment $950.00
WI Concealed Carry Movement Political/Ideological $800.00
Deere & Company PAC - WI Agriculture $500.00
WI Truck Operators (Wis TON) Transportation $500.00
Community Bankers of WI PAC Banking & Finance $450.00
Alliant/WI Power & Light Energy $300.00
WI Automatic Merchandising (WAMC) Business $250.00
WI Energy Better Govt Committee Energy $250.00
Citizens for Joan Tatarsky Political/Ideological $225.00
Petroleum Marketers/Convenience (PMAW/WACS PAC) Natural Resources $200.00
WI Health Care Association Health Services/Institutions $200.00
Pro-Life WI Victory Fund Political/Ideological $150.00
Citizens for York (Local-Greenfield, WI) Political/Ideological $108.51
FONEPAC Telecommunications & Computers $100.00
Friends of Gary Drzewiecki Political/Ideological $100.00
General Electric PAC (GEPAC) Banking & Finance $100.00
Milwaukee Professional Firefighters 215 Labor Unions $100.00
School Administrators Alliance Education $100.00
TDS Telecom Telecommunications & Computers $100.00
Wisconsin Professional Police Association Labor Unions $100.00
Wisconsin Center for Economic Prosperity Political/Ideological $70.00
4th Cong Dist Repuplican Women’s Club Political/Ideological $50.00
Apartment Assn of SE WI PAC Real Estate $50.00

Bush, at election time, reminds everyone of FEMA hacks and Katrina

Does President Bush have a death wish for the Republican party?

As the election creeps closer, he goes out of his way to oppose a proposed requirement that FEMA directors have five years experience. If folks had forgotten about FEMA crony Michael Brown and Katrina, Bush's action is sure to bring them back to mind. Fom NOLA.com:

Lawmakers from both parties criticized President Bush on Friday for saying he won't comply with a homeland security law that sets minimum qualifications for future directors of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The law requires the president to nominate a FEMA director with "a demonstrated ability in and knowledge of emergency management" and "not less than five years of executive leadership." The qualifications are included in a spending bill the president signed into law Wednesday and aimed at the federal government's ineffective response to Hurricane Katrina.

That response was initially overseen by FEMA director Michael Brown, who had only limited experience in emergency management before coming to the agency in 2001, initially as the agency's attorney before being named by Bush as its top official in 2003.

In his signing statement, Bush said he also won't comply with a provision in the homeland security spending bill that authorizes the FEMA director to inform Congress about the nation's emergency management needs without first getting permission from the White House. The president has used signing statements much more than any of his predecessors to signal his intention to ignore provisions of laws he considers unconstitutional, or an infringement on executive authority.

Bush said establishing minimum standards for the director of FEMA could rule out a "large portion of those persons best qualified by experience and knowledge" to run the agency. The president, he added, has the constitutional authority to supervise the executive branch and recommendations to Congress should be subject to "appropriate executive branch review and approval before submission."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Notes from the Sullivan - Reynolds debate

The candidates began by with opening statements. Reynolds, the Republican incumbent whose body resides in West Allis while his mind lives on another planet, cited pieces of legislation he had pushed.

Number one on the list? A law that consolidated animal protection services.

Wow. Yeah, uh-huh. Golly. A heart stopper.

Sullivan, a Wauwatosa alderman, said a mail carrier told him that a lot of Reynolds' mail to constituents doesn't go to the Milwaukee area of the district.

That's OK -- neither does Reynolds.

Reynolds said species preservation ought to be done on public land, "rather than forcing the preservation on private land owners."

Sullivan noted, as he has in the past, that Reynolds was the only one in the entire Legislature who opposed the state's Clean Energy Bill, which requires that 10% of the state’s electricity be generated from renewable sources by 2015.

Said Reynolds: "If anything was a special interest piece of legislation, that would have fit the bill."

That's because investors might make money off of wind energy, which is now more expensive to produce than coal energy, he said.

(Sullivan didn't break much new ground overall -- he said pretty much the same things he said during the forum in Brookfield that Reynolds refused to attend. Videos galore here.)

Reynolds said he supported the so-called marriage amendment because "I believe that man does not have the right to redefine an institution established by God."

More on the debate here.

The most interesting point? The debate was held in Reynolds' church, as he insisted, but he didn't manage to draw much support. The turnout wasn't that great -- about 75 people -- and the audience, or at least the questioners, appeared to heavily favor Sullivan.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Prediction: Foley scandal won't be an issue in the election

People will forget about the Foley scandal by election time. Dennis Hastert will either step down or he won't, and, either way, he knew at least something about Foley's inappropriate e-mails a long time ago and did nothing. President Bush will be tarred a little bit more because of his support for Hastert, but none of this will affect the November election. So I predict.

Does anyone really believe that on Nov. 7 people will vote against Republican Mark Green in his quest for the governorship or U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls) in his bid for re-election because U.S. Rep Mark Foley (R-Florida) is a pig? There are plenty of reasons to vote against either of those two, but Foley's problems aren't among them.

(Memo to Mark: Knock it off with those drinking / priest molestation excuses. They ain't helping and they ain't credible).

A lot can happen in a month to bury this story completely: North Korea could test its nuclear device; the Middle East could further deteriorate; the last strings holding Iraq together could break; the Packers could win another game. A month is a long, long, long time.