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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

To do list - don't let not normal become normal

As the FBI Director confirms an ongoing investigation into potential illegal dealings between the the Donald Trump campaign and the Russian government (some MIGHT call it treason), as Donald Trump rakes in big bucks from his private deals (some might call it illegal), as Donald Trump continues to withhold tax documents (with the cooperation of Republicans), and as Trump and Republicans march forward with the Bannon "deconstruction" agenda (Make American Dickensian Again!) some Democrats continue marching along with them as if they were wearing the wrong trousers.

We have work to do.

1. Use this specific Indivisible guide page to call your Senators and demand that they NOT confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Too many Democrats are still playing nice when they should be playing just say no.

2. Vote today absentee in person. Urge, encourage, and help others to vote. Vote for the candidate who are not funded by advocates of increasing voucher schools. If you can't go today, set a date and time (M-F til March 31 OR on Tuesday, April 4) and put it on your calendar.

3. Join or donate to the ACLU. Its new People Power initiative is starting with an project to provide help for individuals, communities, and local governments to protect, serve, and defend community members' (including immigrants') legal rights. Download a Know Your Rights guide, read the Nine Model Rules, study the Guide for Faith Communities, keep an eye on the calendar for local People Power meetings and actions.

4. Be prepared. As, Yale historian Timothy Snyder notes, "Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience."  (Read his 20 lessons here). This is not a normal president. This is not a normal presidency. This is not a normal politics. Don't let local media or state lawmakers or national figures make the not normal normal. Push back (like Kevin did) when racism, sexism, fundamentalism, war mongering, hate, discrimination, greed, and just plain meanness try to be business as usual. Don't succumb to blackwhite or gaslighting. Know your values. Shake others out of their fog. Connect with allies so the push back can have more impact and connections will not be broken in case of a disaster.

Again, from historian Snyder, "5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don't fall for it."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Vote NOW, meeting notes and reminders

You may vote absentee in person starting yesterday through Friday, March 31 (M-F only.) In La Crosse, vote in the city clerk's office between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Your ballot will include the very important vote for State Superintendent of Public Schools (Tony Evers)**, a very depressing one right-wing candidate only TEN YEAR term for Wisconsin Supreme Court (though you may consider writing in JoAnne Kloppenburg who was recounted of a victory for a seat on that court in 2011), city offices including city council**, school board**, and (in La Crosse county) a vote on whether the county should impose a "Premier Resort Tax" to generate funds for county road maintenance.

If you are not a city resident, check for details specific to your polling place, ballot, registration status, and absentee in person voting hours and location.

Please remember to take voter ID (for most people, a WI driver's license - see here for other options).

Last night the La Crosse Dems had their monthly meeting. If you regularly work for, contribute to, and/or vote for Dem candidates but are not a member of the party, then you are leaving the important decisions about what are the priorities, what candidates will run for office, what will the policies and platform items be, etc. up to others. Change will start at the county level and work it's way up. Read more here.

Today, about 15 members of the La Crosse community met with the mayor to discuss the ACLU People Power initiative, Nine Model Rules and Policies to protect immigrants' rights. These non-partisan policies were compiled to make sure local law enforcement and government officials know their legal rights and responsibilities while fairly and respectfully protecting and serving the people who live in our community. More details about this initiative will be posted here including a follow up meeting when scheduled.


Tonight! March 21 - there is a City Council Candidate Forum at 7 p.m. at the Myrick Center sponsored by GENA (Grandview-Emerson Neighborhood Association). Candidates for districts 3, 4, and 5 will be at the forum which will also include an informal meet-and-greet with light snacks following. Child watch is available. All are welcome to this free event.

Tomorrow - March 22 there are two important events.

From 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. attend a fundraiser for State Superintendent of Public Schools, Tony Evers. If you can't make it, you can still donate online and volunteer.

From 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. there is a La Crosse School Board Candidate Forum co-hosted by the League of Women Voters and La Crosse Neighborhoods, Inc. at the Hogan Administrative Center, 807 East Avenue South. Two candidates familiar to Coulee Progressives are in this race, Laurie Cooper Stoll and Allen Pruitt.

There are many more important events coming up! Please check the calendar often. If you are hosting an event or action, please use the form to have it added to the calendar. If you would like to blog here, please email!

Friday, March 17, 2017

What's coming up?

First - there's a new FORM for people to submit calendar items. Please use it if you are hosting or sponsoring a speaker, event, rally, campaign, or other thing that people should be interested in supporting and attending! Or you can email info to couleeprogressive[at]hotmail. We may update this post if more events come to light. Please check back or check the calendar often.

SATURDAY, March 18 - At 10 a.m. attend a La Crosse County Premier Resort Tax Info Session (Onalaska City Hall) AND La Crosse Dems are hosting a FUNDRAISER/ST PAT'S PARTY at Earl's Grocery and Saloon (401 Third Street South) from 5 to 8 p.m. Suggested donation $10. Free beer and pop. Bring some food to share. If you regularly work for, donate to, and/or vote for Dem candidates, you need to JOIN THE PARTY (which you can do at this event!)

MONDAY, March 20 ABSENTEE IN PERSON VOTING begins. In La Crosse, go to Clerk's office (2nd floor of City Hall) between 8:30 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (3/20-3/31) Others may find details at AND 94th District Rep. Steve Doyle will host a Transportation Funding Round Table at 2 p.m. at the Onalaska Omni center AND at 6:30 p.m. you can hear more about La Crosse County's plan for a Premier Resort Tax at the West Salem Public Library AND the La Crosse Dems will hold their monthly meeting at 7 p.m. at the Ho-Chunk Three Rivers House (8th & Main). You may JOIN THE PARTY at this meeting.

TUESDAY, March 21 - at 9:30 a group of citizens (you can be one! rsvp HERE) will meet with Mayor Kabat about the ACLU's Nine Model Rules and Policies to help support, protect, and defend immigrants in our community AND at noon at the West Salem Public Library, Senator Jennifer Shilling and Rep. Steve Doyle will hold a budget listening session AND at 7 p.m. there will be a candidate forum (districts #3, 34, #5) at Myrick Center.

WEDNESDAY, March 22 - at 3:30 join local environmentalists and legislators at Myrick Center in support of World Water Day. AND, from 5 to 6:30, meet Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Schools, Tony Evers, who is running for another term as supporter and protector of public education in our state. AND at 7 p.m., attend a La Crosse School District candidate forum co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters and La Crosse Neighborhoods, Inc. at the Hogan Administrative Center (807 East Ave. S.) OR have your say at a public forum about Future Bluff and Marshland Management (also at 7 p.m.) at the Black River Beach Neighborhood Center (you can also contact Sunshine Love at 608-789-7309 to give comments if you can't attend the meeting).

THURSDAY, MARCH 23 - the 52nd Annual International Banquet at UW-La Crosse (MUST purchase tickets in advance!) AND Holocaust historian and author Rev. Patrick DesBois will talk about "Holocaust by Bullets" at Viterbo University at 7 p.m.

FRIDAY, MARCH 24 - help raise money for college student scholarships at Holler for Scholars sponsored by Coulee Region Professional Women from 5:30 to 10:30 at Pettibone Resort.

SATURDAY, MARCH 25 - wins the award for most good stuff going on at one time (YOU need a CLONE!) The League of Women Voters hosts a Legislative Breakfast, a chance to dine and speak with elected officials (rsvp by FRIDAY!) AND there's the 4th annual MAYOR'S EXPO - Living Well in the City AND there's the GRASSROOTS FEST in Mazomanie boasting an incredible progressive line up of speakers.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March 22 - LaX School Board Candidate Forum

The La Crosse League of Women Voters and La Crosse Neighborhoods, Inc. will co-host a forum for La Crosse School Board candidates on Wednesday evening, March 22 at the Hogan Administrative Center, 807 East Avenue South. The forum will begin at 7 p.m. and will include statements by the four candidates and the opportunity for audience members to ask questions. The event is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

UPDATE: Please RSVP for mayor meeting

If you plan to attend the meeting next Tuesday (9:30 a.m. City Hall) with Mayor Kabat to urge adoption and implementation of the ACLU/People Power Nine Model Rules and Policies to support, protect, and defend our immigrant family members, friends, and neighbors, please RSVP no later than Friday, March 17 at 1 p.m. so we can be sure to have the right size space. If you didn't attend the March 11 training and need a copy of the Nine Model Policies, you can grab them here.

If you are not able to attend this meeting but would like to support this initiative, please express your support in a polite email to the mayor.

Monday, March 13, 2017

People Power Meeting with Mayor Kabat

Hi all - I have  meeting with Mayor Kabat scheduled for 9:30 to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 21, in his office. Cathy has forwarded him the model rules/ordinance that ACLU provided so our discussion will be about what the current practice is regarding undocumented immigrants.

A bill has been introduced in the House by Rep. Brandtjen, AB127. It is an anti-sanctuary city bill. The bill was referred to the Committee on Local Government. You can find the names of committee members at this website, and if you click on AB127, it will take you to a page at which you can read the entire text of the bill.

SATURDAY, March 18 and A Warning

Please mark your calendar for the SATURDAY, March 18 La Crosse Dems' St. Patrick's Day fundraiser & party (not Friday.) This is a party but it's also a fundraiser and it's also a preparation. We all need to be involved.

On a more somber note, here is Yale historian, Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, reminding us (the book came out in November) that we don't have time to ditz around with worrying about what color the font on the business cards is going to be.

"[W]e have to recognize that things move fast. Nazi Germany took about a year. Hungary took about two and a half years. Poland got rid of the top-level judiciary within a year. It’s a rough historical guess, but the point is because there is an outside limit, you therefore have to act now. You have to get started early. It’s just very practical advice. It’s the meta-advice of the past: That things slip out of reach for you, psychologically very quickly, and then legally almost as quickly. It’s hard for people to act when they feel other people won’t act. It’s hard for people to act when they feel like they have to break the law to do so. So it is important to get out in front before people face those psychological and legal barriers."

Read the article: Fascism will soon be on our doorstep if you don't act immediately: Yale historian.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

People Power! and what's coming up

The first La Crosse People Power (ACLU) civil rights protection training held on Saturday, March 11 focused on an overview of our civil rights including those under attack by the current administration, with a specific emphasis on the rights of immigrants. If you missed the meeting, you can view the training video here.

The ACLU has produced nine model state and local law enforcement policies and rules that are aimed at legally defending our friends, families and neighbors from the Trump administration's mass deportation agenda; protecting their privacy; helping them obtain redress when abuses and mistakes occur; and helping ensure everyone is protected from discrimination.

After the training live stream, the group chose a next step leader to set up a meeting about these model policies with City of La Crosse officials. We will post more about this as soon as details are known.

Several groups and individuals are working on assisting immigrants in our area including the La Crosse Immigration Task Force, Catholic Charities, Centro Latino, and the Compassionate Community Faith Alliance. John David, an attorney with Catholic Charities, provided information about their work helping people complete immigration applications. He noted that the Immigrant Legal Resouce Center (ILRC) offers good information about immigrants' rights. He will answer immigration application questions if you email him. There were also people from surrounding areas who were able to connect and start planning for carrying the nine model rules into their communities.

Thanks to all who participated! Watch this space for our next step and spread the word about the ACLU and about the PeoplePower civil rights protection initiative.

Coming up this week (partial list! Please email us to add to the calendar!)

Monday, March 13: The La Crosse Board of Public Works meets at 10 am (sorry, working people!) to discuss issues including possible inclusion of bike accommodations in a repaving of part of Sixth Street, you can meet city council candidates from #4, #7, #8 at a Weigent-Hogan Neighborhood Association event, there is a Ron Kind fundraiser at Four Sisters, and the Ona School Board will meet to discuss, among many other things, their pupil non-discrimination policy.

Tuesday, March 14: The La Crosse Indivisible Groups will meet at 7 p.m. at 401 West Ave. S (they have a FB group but if you are not on FB, you cannot see anything in the group so it's kind of not very useful)

Wednesday, March 15: There is a hearing in Madison on high capacity wells; at noon at English Lutheran Church (16th & King) you can hear Mr. Wale Elegbede speak at the Community Conversations program, "My Neighbor is a Muslim," hosted by the La Crosse Interfaith Leaders Coalition (free registration requested - lunch included)

NEW! Thursday, March 16: The Sustainable La Crosse Commission will meet at 4:30. Included in their agenda is a recap of alternative transportation and recycling forums, and discussion of next steps.

NEW! Thursday, March 16: La Crosse Citizens Climate Lobby meeting at 6:30 p.m. at 401 West Ave S. They don't have a web page and their FB page is not updated with meeting info, but the climate guest for March is Devashree Saha discusses the decoupling of decarbonization and the economy, and how carbon emissions are declining despite a growing economy. She is a senior policy associate and associate fellow at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program. Her research primarily focuses on the intersection of clean energy and economic development policy, including the transition to a clean energy economy. Prior to joining Brookings, Saha worked at the National Governors Association, where her work spanned clean energy, transportation, and land use planning issues. She holds a Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s in political science from Purdue University. Email with any questions.

NEW! Friday, March 17: Tour the Hillview Urban Agriculture facilities with UWL's Learning in Retirement (don't need to be retired or a member to participate = fee charged)

SATURDAY, March 18: La Crosse Dem's St. Pat's Fundraiser Party at 5 pm Earl's Grocery and Saloon, 401 Third Street S. Suggested donation: $10 per person. Free beer & pop. Bring some food to share. Bring at least one new person to join the party! (If you regularly work for, contribute to, and/or vote for Dem candidates, then you should JOIN THE PARTY to have more say in who are the candidates and how are they chosen!)

We will update as new information comes in. [Updated St Pat's party day - thanks, Diane!]