Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Help Bernie Stop Trump & Build Our Revolution 

Keith Ellison is the right person to be the next leader of the Democratic Party, and tonight Our Revolution is hosting a livestream event featuring Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison to outline Keith's vision for the party.

If Democrats are going to win power to help advance a progressive agenda, we need a leader who will prioritize young people and grassroots organizing for the future of the Democratic Party. That's why the livestream event this Wednesday with Keith Ellison is something you need to see.

RSVP to watch this Wednesday's livestream event with Keith Ellison to talk about his platform for the Democratic Party's future.

Our Revolution Livestream with Keith Ellison and Bernie Sanders
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
8:00pm ET

We want to organize a campiagn in the next three days to contact and meet with all 538 electors to try to convince 36 not to vote for Trump! We need your help so pelase donate to set this up in the next 24 hours.

Monday, December 12, 2016

12/9 Potluck Review

Thanks to everyone who made it out the potluck this past Friday, and thanks to you all who read and keep up with the info on them even if you didn't make it. Without further ado, a brief summary of the topics we talked about and are working on.

1 - The Big Read - UWL and the public library have earned a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to bring this program to town and start La Crosse Reads. It is providing thousands of copies of the book A Lesson Before Dying to citizens for free in an effort to get everyone to read and talk about the book and the issues therein. It is a book about Jim Crow era racism among other things, and they are hoping to help raise awareness for causes around fighting racism. There will also be multiple speakers coming to town, including authors and activists. Check out their website or stop by the public library for more info.

2 - Community members are working to plan another progressive state of the union. Now more than ever, we need to get together and make sure that we are ready to work hard against the injustices in the world. More info to come on this. if you are interested in helping to plan the event, please contact RoZ.

3 - Join the La Crosse County Democratic Party. Some of you might not be in love with the idea, especially given past grievances with the party. However, there are some things we have to do through the 2 party system, and there are great candidates in the party. It is our job to find and support them, and work within the broad base of Democrats who have woken up and are ready to fight and change. Email Peter for more info.

4 - The Injustice Boycott - Join the ongoing boycott of major cities in our country in protest of rampant, unchecked, and unapologetic police brutality. This is the modern civil rights movement, and we need to keep making it grow. It is mostly simple daily action to help with publicity at this point, and it will ultimately be being more careful with where we put our money. Please get on board.

5 - Showing Up For Racial Justice - SURJ is an organization for white people to learn how to do the work of supporting people of color in their continuing battle for justice and equity. It is committed to taking action regularly in addition to analyzing racism and our own understanding (and misunderstandings) of race. Right now there is a newly formed La Crosse chapter. Check out La Crosse Area SURJ on facebook for more info. There will be an off Facebook presence which is still being developed. More to come on that at future events.

6 - Hmong Language Course 'Cancellation' Conflict at UWL - UWL has decided not to offer an in person taught MLG 304 class this Spring, despite the fact that the teacher and students worked hard to make sure they could get adequate enrollment. I encourage you to email the administrators below and request that the class be reinstated for Spring 2017.

Department Chair: Marie Moeller <>, Dean: Julia Johnson <>, Provost: Betsy Morgan <>, Chancellor: Jow Gow <>
While it seems like there are some valid issues that the university needs to resolve, there has also been significant acts of institutional racism against the Hmong students via oversight, lack of attention, lack of consideration, and little effort to right this situation.

Regardless of administrative, budgetary, or personnel issues, the Hmong students at UW-L need and deserve an in-person professor teaching the MLG 304 class in the Spring of 2017. Please reinstate the class with a teacher physically in the classroom for students who only have this chance to take the class. Please reach out to Peter if you want more information on this topic.

That covers everything that we can remember enough about to do a write up on. We hope everyone has a good December. With all the holiday events, we are going to call it a month and work on figuring out a date in January for the next potluck. As always, if you want to have time to speak let us know and we will get you on the agenda.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Reminder: Potluck TONIGHT

TONIGHT! Please attend the Coulee Progressives potluck starting at 6 pm at 140 S. 23rd Street. All welcome. We'll talk about plans for the upcoming year including a possible state of the union event, possible action on polling places, and other interesting and progressive stuff.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Indigenous Peoples' Day at Standing Rock

from RoZ:
I want to share the story about today’s dinner, served to the Water Protectors at Standing Rock in North Dakota. These are the people who are trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline DAPL from happening. This dinner was put together by people in the food world, and others from all over the country, to feed all the people who have gathered at Standing Rock. We honor and support this effort to stop the pipeline from destroying their sacred water and land, plus burial sites of their ancestors.

I’m not sure about the whole timeline of everything that happened to pull it all together, but I can tell you what I’ve read and done, along with a lot of other people, to help make it happen. Like many people, I’ve been staying informed about what’s happening to stop the DAPL and donated warm things for people who are staying out there all winter.

My first clue about the dinner was a story in our local paper about a woman, who is starting a new restaurant in the area. Someone that Adrian knows in Indiana, also in the restaurant world, mentioned that she was making soup to take out to Standing Rock for a Thanksgiving dinner. The woman was concerned about traveling out there with perishable ingredients to make the soup for 500-1000 people. She didn’t have refrigeration and it would be a long drive. Since she was coming through the area on her way there, Adrian offered not only space in the walk-ins overnight, but put the word out that she would ask the community to come help make dinner rolls for 1,000 people. I read about this last week and made the call to volunteer to come make rolls on Tuesday.

When I arrived I saw a couple other Berniecrats who were helping, too. There were probably about two dozen people working at one time. Several people were mixing the dough. There were three stainless tables where four people per table were making dinner rolls and putting them on a tray. Several people moved trays from these tables to the ovens, A couple more people worked the ovens. Adrian washed utensils in the sink while keeping an eye on the whole thing. There was a little background music, but it didn’t intrude on the great conversations that were going on. What a great way to build community and help the cause.

That evening I heard a story on NPR about a woman in Philadelphia, Judy Wicks, the founder of the White Dog Cafe, an early Farm to Table restaurant. She organized a 50-person brigade to provide a hearty Thanksgiving dinnerfor the water protectors, although she wasn’t sure if the Thanksgiving meal offer would be accepted since lots of native people consider it a day of mourning. She was reassured by a former Standing Rock tribal chairman that “everyone is welcome to be among us.” What began as one woman’s plan to feed about 500 people turned into a larger number of chefs and celebrities that are involved in the Wopila Feast (Wopila means thank you in Lakota). They are hoping to feed up to 10,000 people during the holiday weekend. That’s when I realized that those of making those dinner rolls were part of a movement to feed these wonderful people who are taking a stand to defend our Mother Earth.

There is another aspect to Standing Rock that also needs to be shared. While doing research online I came across this story about the building of MakagiOti – the Brown Earth Lodge. This is a straw bale structure that is being built as a community center and kitchen. The plan was to have it finished by this weekend for the feast, as a temporary structure until it is converted to a permanent structure in the spring.

Stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is important, and we need to thank these people who are literally putting their lives on the line to protect their sacred water, ancestors and land.

Please check out the links above and below, especially Ways to Help Standing Rock Water Protectors fight the good fight.

Stop the war on peaceful protestors

This plea for your money, outrage, and action from Mark Taylor of the (late) Daily Call:

Dear Friends:

As people gather for the Thanksgiving holiday there is a brutal obscenity being carried out in our name at the Standing Rock protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project in North Dakota.

Police forces have ramped up their brutality by dousing land and water protectors in streams of water in 22-degree temperatures, targeting people's faces with "non lethal" plastic bullets and intentionally targeting the testicles of men with the plastic bullets. Sadism has now overtaken the "law" enforcement drones doing the bidding of their corporate bosses in the oil industry.

Earlier this week a police fragmentation grenade nearly took off the lower arm of a 21 year-old young woman at the demonstrations. Police blocked ambulances from reaching those injured at the site (one could consider this a war crime). It took over 6 hours to get that grievously wounded young woman to medical care and despite the care she has received she may yet lose her arm.

The non-tribal police forces at Standing Rock have been clearly infected with a kind of mass evil - Native Americans refer to such a thing as Wetiko. (You can learn more about this phenomenon in a book by Paul Levy.)

The brutal irony of this state sanctioned violence on behalf of corporate interests during this week of the annual Thanksgiving celebration of the first gathering of Pilgrims and Native Americans is the height of national hypocrisy. (The Pilgrims would have starved to death but for the generosity of nearby tribes.)

Please consider making a donation to the Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund to make it possible for some level of representation and sliver of justice for our brothers and sisters who are facing the state-sponsored brutality being carried out in our name.

If your local law enforcement agency is participating in the genocidal abuses in North Dakota make it known you do not approve of your tax money being used for oppression of fellow citizens. 

To local, state and federal law enforcement officials involved in this ongoing travesty know that we recognize your abusive behavior as the fascism it is. What you are doing and the sickness in which you act has nothing to do with "protecting and serving" the citizens you have taken an oath to protect. You have aligned yourself with criminals; you do the work of criminals. You bring shame on your departments, defile our Constitution and we citizens see you for what you are: the forces of fascism.

For an update on the situation in North Dakota and a powerful interview with the father of that maimed young woman go to:

Please pass this appeal on to your contacts.

Please, friends, do not compound the injustice being perpetrated this holiday weekend by ignoring what is happening; we cannot turn away. An injustice to one is injustice to all and silence in the face of injustice is consent. 

Please join me in making a donation of any amount you can afford to the Standing Rock legal defense fund.

My thanks to all of you.

In solidarity,

Mark L. Taylor

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Last night, some local Dems became upset when some other local Dems tried to elect a board that was slightly different from the old board. The "new" Dems' slate included four people who are already on the board, one person who was on the board last year, two people who are long time Dems and Dem canvassers, and one "new" Dem, articulate and experienced in environmental and social justice campaigns, who was elected to be a delegate at the national convention in July.

This slate was hardly a nudge from the status quo, but, while the old Dems say they understand the need to "reach out" to others, apparently what they mean is that they will seek new ways to market top down ideas to those who have dropped off the bandwagon, but they do not want to make changes in the leadership that has been driving people off the wagon in the first place. We'll reach out. You stay over there.

My opinion.

What if instead of having parties for every occasion, the party went to, listened to, learned from, and invited current non-party voters to join? If people are invested in a group - are important parts of the process whose experiences and ideas are respected and listened to, and who are welcomed to help plan and lead - then no amount of Koch brothers' money can turn them into against-their-interests voters.

What if people from the diverse communities of the county were invited to JOIN the party and help shape the programs, platforms, and agendas instead of just invited as speakers?

What if the party supported and facilitated community forums so people could voice their greatest concerns and suggest ways to equitably address them? And those plans could become part of the party's platform and part of candidates' priorities?

Last night's meeting seemed like a very minor attempt to slightly adjust the bent and focus of the local leadership to begin to address some of the issues identified at every level of the Dem party.  (See Paul Soglin's analysis, for example).

If we must be hostages on a party bus (and apparently we must as anyone who runs as or votes for a "third party" candidate quickly learns), and if both are driving toward the cliff, isn't it imperative for the captive passengers to try influencing the speed and trajectory of the bus they're on?

Here is a very good article about including people (even seeming to include people) and the consequences of not.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Dec. 1 at Wells Fargo

In case you missed it, private contractors related to Blackwater and "law enforcement" officers attacked peaceful protestors on unceded Sioux land with water cannons, rubber bullets, and mace in sub-freezing weather today.

Amy Goodman has it covered on Democracy Now!


Dear fellow DAPL protestors,

Another protest is being organized for Thursday, December 1 at Wells Fargo Bank in downtown La Crosse.  Please see event information below and RSVP if you can attend.  Please share event link with your friends and on Social Media!  Thank YOU!

On November 20, the police violently attacked peaceful water protectors at Standing Rock. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, sound grenades, and sprayed them with water cannons in subfreezing conditions. Hundreds of people were injured.

In response a coalition of groups at Standing Rock are calling a Global Day of Action on December 1st.  The main targets are financiers of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the police departments that have been brought in from across the Midwest to brutalize water protectors.

The financial footing of the Dakota Access Pipeline is in jeopardy if they do not complete the project by January 1st. If this deadline is missed, a majority of the stakeholders with contracts to ship oil through the pipeline will be able to renegotiate or cancel their contracts. This could be devastating to Energy Transfer Partners and the other pipeline companies behind DAPL.

With its vulnerabilities exposed, our solidarity efforts are needed now more than ever.

#NoDAPL #DivestFromDAPL

Please note:
Due to the short amount of time to organize this will not be a programmed protest with speakers. We will gather and take part in a walking protest with signage and pass out informational fliers to Wells Fargo customers and pedestrians.  It would be great to have people sign up for shifts so we can stage an all-day protest from 9am - 5pm.  Please indicate which time period you'll be attending on your RSVP.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Bernie on Thom Hartmann

Bernie will be a guest on the Thom Hartmann show for 1/2 - 1 hour Wednesday morning. Thom’s show runs from 11am-2pm CT, and he’s been telling listeners that Bernie would be on during the first hour.

For many years, Thom hosted a “Brunch With Bernie” segment every Friday at 11, where Bernie would take calls and answer questions from listeners. This is how we (and many other people) became familiar with Bernie. 

This will be Bernie’s first appearance on Thom’s show since (AFAIK) before the conventions.

“Listen live” page is here:

Monday, November 14, 2016


Last week, several of us attended a local conference on community resiliency. While the focus of the conference was a little broad (it began with a sustainability slant but seemed to end as more of a disaster preparedness workshop), organizers invited participants to imagine challenges that would threaten a family's, community's and country's resilience.

All manner of threats were listed from exploding oil trains to severe weather events, but, aside from a joke made at one of the round tables, I don't think anyone actually expected a real life Zombie Apocalypse to be the most imminent threat to our community.

As Donald Trump's administration begins to take shape (even as the Clinton popular vote lead continues to grow) it appears to resurrect the ultimate Greatest Hits of the very worst villains from the past thirty years.

If that weren't bad enough, many hate group watchdogs are pointing out that Trump's advisors will include many with strong ties to white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups. "President-elect Donald Trump's decision to appoint Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist in the White House has drawn a sharp rebuke from political strategists who see in Bannon a controversial figure too closely associated with the “alt-right” movement, which white nationalists have embraced."

The bad news goes on and on. And, unlike the Brits who have a last minute chance to pull out of their rash Brexit vote, unless something very unusual happens between now and the certification of the electoral college vote in January, we are going to need to shore up our resilience.

Resilience: ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

For a community, to me, this means having duplicate or backup systems in case of disruption (food, transportation, health care, education, etc). It means having plans to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us and watching out for and stopping, blocking, or removing continuing or new threats.

So, how can we prepare for the coming Trumpstorm? With an even stronger Republican fist around the throat of our state government, what systems are likely to be at risk? Public education? Transportation? Health insurance? What can we do to build parallel systems that are not dependent upon unreliable ideologues looking to win in a contest to slash the social "safety net?"

Who are are vulnerable populations? With the rise in hate crimes against everyone who is not white, straight, and male, how can we all come together to ensure the safety of everyone in our community? How will we respond to incidents of hate speech (obviously, these have not just magically started happening with the election or even the candidacy of Donald Trump) or worse? Some have suggested wearing a safety pin, following the lead of anti-Brexit Brits who want people to know they stand against racism and hate.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (if you are not a member, why not!?) has published a guide we all should brush up on: Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. And the ACLU (again - member? if not, why?) is ready to fight a rights-busting Trump administration at every turn. 

During last night's 60 Minutes interview, Donald Trump seemed surprised that his candidacy and election seem to have sparked an explosion of harassment, threats, and violence. He told people to stop. Not very convincing.

I think we need to continue pressing for every Trump supporter, including the two rich guys in La Crosse (who owe some of their success to taxpayer subsidies) who have donated to and raised money for Trump, to repudiate all acts of hate, racism, and violence done by Trump supporters.

There's more. What are your thoughts and ideas? Come to the potluck on Thursday. Let's talk.

But really, join those groups, wear a pin, work with others to make sure we are all safe, don't let the bullies win.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Thanks to the thousands of you that tuned in on Friday, and for all the hopeful and insights comments shared.
The session tackled questions like:
  • How does our work across movements change under a Trump Presidency?
  • How do we relate to people who supported Trump?
  • What's one clear next step for people listening to this call?
Huge thanks to the speakers for making this a conversation to remember. It means so much that leaders across movements for climate justice, for Black lives, for immigrant justice, for Muslim communities, for economic justice, and more could join together in this moment. Find out more about their work and ways to plug in here:
With Trump as President-Elect, there's no denying that our jobs are harder now. It's tough to grasp fully what the coming months will bring, but I think Friday’s conversation was an important step toward understanding where we are, and imagining a new path that we can -- and will -- blaze together.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Important meeting coming up

City of La Crosse, Wisconsin                                       
Meeting Agenda 
Sustainable La Crosse Commission

3rd Floor Conference Room
City Hall, 400 La Crosse Street    
Thursday, November 17, 2016                                             
4:30 PM

Special Meeting

Call to Order, Roll Call

1            16‑1119           Approval of October 20, 2016 Minutes

                                                       Attachments:  Hyperlink

2           Public Comment

Agenda Items:

3           Update on filling citizen committee member vacancy (business

4           Proposed work group for deciding how to prepare the 2017 indicator
                   report ‑ Nichols and Tyser

5           Work group breakout planning session

               ‑ Confirm members:1) Alternative transportation (Giese, Gaul, Lenard, Johnson); 2)
                  Waste/recycling (Cornforth, Thompson, Bertrand, Tyser)
                 ‑ Review goals/schedule for spring 2017
                 ‑ Review tasks: Identify leader, specific topic(s) of interest, 1‑2 presenters
                  ‑ Review ideas, finalize spring schedule

Next Meeting Date/Agenda Items


Notice is further given that members of other governmental bodies may be present at the above
scheduled meeting to gather information about a subject over which they have decision‑making

Requests from persons with a disability who need assistance to participate in this meeting should call
the City Clerk's office at (608) 789‑7510 or send an email to, with as much advance notice as possible.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Our job is not to accommodate the corporate state ...

Here's a very great Chris Hedges speech given this past weekend at a Jill Stein event.

"Our job is not to accommodate the corporate state, our job is to destroy it."

Here's with some great analysis.

Here is Fusion's Trumpland. Here is Michael Moore on DemocracyNow! talking about his show, Michael Moore in Trumpland. (You can watch his film at iTunes.)
What next? In Wisconsin, we continue the Republican "trifecta" and the fight against the trifecta. Nationallyy, is hosting a conference call on November 11. Sign up here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Potluck 11/3/16

We had another fun potluck dinner last Thursday. Good discussion and food all around as always. There are two things I wanted to recap on local politics and policy.

Lewis talked about Participatory budgeting and its history in the city of La Crosse. I don’t want to get into a lot of detail as it can be complex, but the simple explanation is that the city sets aside a chunk of money each year to be spent in neighborhoods in La Crosse, and the neighborhood decides how to spend it. The neighborhood is in charge of organizing and planning the projects with help from the city officials and workers. This sounds like a great way to get our community involved in what is happening in La Crosse and harness political will. Participatory budgeting is already set up in La Cross through 2017, with 1.5 million dollars split between 2 neighborhoods. If we want to see this practice continued, we are going to have to push at city hall to make sure they know that it is wanted.

Which brings me to my second point: Running for local office. All 13 chairs of the common council are up for election in this April. I myself am planning to run for the council, and I am going to need help from this community in canvassing and getting the word out. If anyone else wants to run, don’t hesitate to do it now. There will never be a good or easy time to start filling these offices up with trustworthy people, and with the elections wrapping up today there will be a big void in media that we can fill in.

This Saturday, there is a workshop from 9 to noon on how to run for local office with Jess Thill and Patrick Barlow at the Main Street library. If you have ever thought of running for office, or if you want to learn how to best support another community member in a local race, come out and learn more. You don’t have to commit to running, but this is valuable information that you can pass on to others as well.

The next potluck will be November 17, starting at 6:00 pm. This potluck will feature a Citizen’s Climate Lobby meeting starting at 6:30. The meeting should be about an hour, and there are about a half dozen of us who regularly show up. If you aren’t interested in the CCL meeting, you can probably sit in the other room and socialize separately for an hour or show up late. For those of you who don’t know about CCL or have never attending the meeting, we are the biggest citizen-based lobby in the country pushing for a non-partisan carbon tax at the federal level. CCL is the epitome of a grassroots organization and has been growing rapidly since they started 9 years ago. Since they are non-partisan, some of you may feel that they don’t push far enough. However, I have learned a lot of valuable lessons from their approach, and we all need to learn to work with the conservatives and centrists in our communities if we expect to see change on a large scale. I will send out the monthly phone call they host. It is typically quite interesting, as they always have a guest speaker that is typically a skilled scientist, politician, sociologist, psychologist, or organizer.

Last but certainly not least, keep your ear to the ground for Standing Rock, and continue to stand with them in any way you can. There is a postcard send-out going on, a divestment campaign, a protest scheduled on the day of action of the 15th, and I am continuing to work on setting up a fundraiser with others in the community. This is a watershed moment, and we have the momentum, truth, and people on our side to finally put our foot down on the the fossil fuel industry and turn the tides in the fight for a clean, sustainable planet. If you really stand with Standing Rock, you need to actually get out of your chair, not just sit back and watch.

Monday, November 07, 2016

NOVEMBER 15 - NO DAPL event in La Crescent



Nov 15 #NoDAPL Day of Action at Army Corps of Engineers

10:00 AM at Army Corps of Engineers Field Office
1114 S Oak St, La Crescent, MN 55947

Indigenous leaders are calling on us to take to the streets and disrupt "business-as-usual" one week after the election to demand that President Obama’s Army Corps of Engineers and the incoming administration stop the Dakota Access Pipeline -- and all those after it.

On Tuesday, November 15th, join a massive day of action in solidarity with those at Standing Rock, and demand the Federal government and the Army Corps reject this pipeline.

The Army Corps fast-tracked the Dakota Access Pipeline without proper consultation, and as a result, bulldozers are approaching Standing Rock as we speak. But with coordinated, massive demonstrations across the country, we’ll make it clear that this powerful movement will not allow the Obama administration or the incoming President to sacrifice Indigenous rights, our water, or our climate - they must reject this pipeline.

This day of action is one of many calls for solidarity actions targeting not only the Army Corps, but stakeholders at every level -- including the banks who are funding Dakota Access and the companies building the project.

This is one of the most courageous stands against a fossil fuel project this country has ever seen. Together, our movements stopped the Keystone XL pipeline almost one-year ago today, and an even bigger movement is rising up to stop Dakota Access and all fossil fuel infrastructure.

We know that elections and individuals alone don’t create change -- movements do. That’s why we’ll continue to fight until native sovereignty is honored, indigenous rights are protected, and our communities, water, and climate matter more than fossil fuel profits.

This is a movement-led day of action, taking leadership from indigenous groups active in the Standing Rock struggle including Indigenous Environmental Network and Honor the Earth. We encourage local action organizers to reach out to indigenous and frontline leaders in your community and work together in planning and organizing, reflecting that this moment is about social, climate, environmental, and economic justice - with a centering of indigenous rights and de-colonization.

Participating groups include:
  • Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN)
  • Honor the Earth
  • National Nurses United
  • Hip Hop Caucus
  • BOLD Alliance
  • Greenpeace USA
  • Rainforest Action Network
  • Oil Change International
  • Our Revolution
  • Center for Popular Democracy
  • Powershift Network
  • Earthworks
  • Food and Water Watch
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Sierra Club
  • and more

Sunday, November 06, 2016

November 10 = Speak up about our community

From a friend - citizen action required! The post mentions Karen Ringstrom, a local activist who worked on electronic billboards and oil trains before she passed away last year.
I am writing to give you a nudge about a community event that is coming up on Thursday, November 10 from 6:00 - 8:00 PM at Northside Elementary School for citizen input for a master design for the Hwy 53 corridor (along the river). This is the kind of meeting that Karen would want our "billboard buddies" to attend, to remind officials to continue to regard sign control as a top priority in any planning for a visually attractive and welcoming community . . .billboard and sign control are good for business and tourism, and can detract from aesthetics, development and the local economy, etc. You surely remember!

I have personally noticed good changes from the ordinance that we put in place several years ago, such as lower and smaller signs, attractive pedestals for signs, longer hold-time durations on electronic messages (though people should be contacting the city's fire department about this and other violations they may see.(You can also use the the City's self-help portal and the fire department will investigate.) We want this slow but sure progress to continue. 

Ordinances are not self-regulating. Karen and I talked many times about how sign control will take long term vigilance. I continue to monitor what I can find about City Hall business regarding billboards and signs. (There is a committee called the Billboard Negotiating Lease Committee that has been meeting in closed session and without published minutes since April, about particular two billboard lease renewals.) I continue to rely on Charley Weeth for his expertise.

If you can, please attend the public input session on Thursday. I already purchased a ticket for the YWCA event so unfortunately I won't be there, but I have weighed in with the Chair of the steering committee, Ryan Cornett.

I think this might also be a good opportunity to talk about local road priorities that benefit La Crosse residents and neighborhoods such as proper maintenance that could even alleviate more major road building, traffic calming, sensible traffic signaling, scenic enhancements, alternative transportation, and other policy choices that are definitely timely.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

November 15 - Water Quality Listening Session

from Midwest Environmental Advocates (cross posted at

Nov 15, 2016

Listening Session with U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator Robert Kaplan

Listening Session with U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator Robert Kaplan
Tuesday, November 15, 5-7 p.m. – Eau Claire - Chippewa Valley Technical College, Room 30, Business Education Center, 620 West Clairemont Ave.

Members of the public are invited to come and share their thoughts and concerns about the implementation of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act in Wisconsin to the Administrator of US EPA’s Region V, Robert Kaplan.  Administrator Kaplan will give a brief description of the US EPA’s role in Wisconsin and their current activities in Wisconsin, and then he will hear from the public.  Depending on the number of individuals that want to speak, each person will be requested to limit their remarks to three minutes.

This event is sponsored by the Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter, Midwest Environmental Advocates, River Alliance of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Lakes Association and Clean Wisconsin

You may park in the RCU Visitor Lot (P1 on the map) or the Student Lot (P3) using the attached parking permit for each vehicle. Another option is to park in the Pay-Per-Hour Lot (P7) for a fee.

If you have any questions or concerns about parking, the Public Safety Office general phone number is 715-833-6202.

Link to RSVP:
Link to Sierra Club petition:

Friday, October 28, 2016

Sundown pipeline routes

Last night's presentation by Dr. James Loewen (Lies My Teachers Told Me, Sundown Towns) was well attended and generated a good discussion about what the La Crosse area can do to follow Dr. Loewen's three step process to change: 1. Acknowledge that we were and still have aspects of being a "sundown town" (not welcoming/purposefully excluding people of color), 2. Apologize and 3. Quit doing the bad stuff (and do the good stuff).

Thankfully, there are forces for good in our community including the City of La Crosse Human Rights Commission, the Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council, the Martin Luther King, Jr. planning committee, and SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice - link coming soon I hope) among others. While last night's conversation included good ideas and commitments for change, we also heard that often there is a major "say-do" gap - institutional support given verbally is not backed up by budgets, policies, and programming.

One way to combat racism and social justice issues in our community is to 1. Know about them and 2. Activate a network of advocates to make a noise about  problems and demand a fix. That is one way this Coulee Progressives site can help. We will try to work even harder to report on what's happening in La Crosse and what we can do to make positive changes.

To that end, we would like to work with others to create a reporting instrument so that incidents of racial and social injustice - profiling, threats, discrimination, violent acts, hate speech, etc - can be documented. While I'm sure many Coulee Progressives are aware of the constant atmosphere of racism that permeates much of our community, I'm also sure there are many white residents of our community who think there are no problems. At the very least, a report collection tool can document just how bad things are.

This could be based upon the successful UWL reporting tool for students, faculty, and staff to report hate or bias on campus which has exposed countless instances of racism and agression against non-white, non-straight students (though now apparently that is under attack by Republican legislators - who elects these people?! - requiring a disclaimer on the report form.)

But documenting bad behavior without taking action to confront, combat, and change it can be frustrating and maddening, so the second step would be to use social media to activate a network of concerned citizensh and that's another way this blog can help. Again, when we hear of things requiring action, we will help spread the word.

[Update! Fundraiser is over. Today only. Watch for coming events to support 11-15 truckload of support from La Crosse. In the meantime, drop off donations at English Lutheran Church (16th and King) or UWL Cartwright Center.]

Right now we are hearing and spreading the word about the protectors in North Dakota working to stop the fossil-fuel enabling, earth killing, precious water polluting Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). In the latest news, water protectors have set up a line on non-ceded land to block further construction (since the "requests" by the Obama administration have gone unheeded). Increasingly violent militarized police have descended on the peaceful group and have arrested hundreds.

The irony of this particular modern day iteration of the never ending resource wars that have devastated people around the globe for hundreds of years is that the publicly funded police are working with weapons and equipment provided by the US military to push the people who pay taxes (and therefore their salaries and operating expenses) from land that was never ceded to the United States - so Native American sovereign land - to benefit private oil companies which are funded and backed by multinational banks and corportions. So, it appears that sundown towns policies even work when you're on your own property.

In light of the recent aquittal of the Malheur Refuge vandals and law breakers, there is much discussion about unequal treatment by law enforcement of white criminals versus Native and black citizens peacefully exericising their constitutional rights. But, living in a racialized country, this is not new nor a surprise.

Neither of the (only) two major parties has voiced a strategy for rooting out the deep racism that drives our whole society. Neither party has made Native American rights and sovereignty an issue (Bernie Sanders did include Native issues in his discussions and speeches, but he has been absorbed into the corporate Democratic body and is little more than a promised future presidential gut ache. Barack Obama has spoken about Native American issues but he has a major "say-do" gap problem as illustrated by his administration's tepid and impotent reaction to NO DAPL activists). Neither party appears willing to remove deeply embedded Wall Street tumor from the heart of government. And while the Trump effect will undoubtedly usher in a larger, more violent, more extreme, more entitled and openly racist onslaught of white power extremists, nothing in the currently visible Democratic party team or priorities seems to indicate that countering this threat is any kind of priority. Indeed, Hillary Clinton's attitude toward those seeking immediate action on racial justice was outed in her famous dismissl of BLM activists at one of her high buck summer fundraisers has been corroborated by Wikileaks email releasesl.
"In the two-party system, both parties are multi-class and multi-sectoral structures that compete to achieve the upper hand in determining the modalities by which white privilege is dispensed and defended. They cooperate to legitimate a white consensus. Once class is no longer an issue (i.e., once any possible challenge from the white working class has been contained), the question is what then defines the state and whom does it operate for and against. The two sources of the state’s legitimation are the fear (real and imagined) of domestic unrest sparked by Blacks and the global threat, either from international communism in the past, or from anti-imperialist and anti-globalization movements or militant Islam in the present. The subtle and open message of the elite representatives of the racialized state is that it defends white privilege and whiteness against these domestic and foreign threats." - from Race and the Racialized State: A Du Boisian Interrogation

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Philo and Cultural Appropriation Meet Up

Hi everybody,

I had the pleasure to go out to the cultural appropriation event yesterday hosted at Pearl Street Brewery, and run by Philo and the Ho Chunk Youth and Learning Center, and I wanted to share with everyone a little information on Philo.

Philo is an aspiring non-profit that is working to help connect companies and institutions with other non profits, advocacy groups, and awareness raising organizations. They have been both going to businesses and been approached by businesses that are looking for tools and resources to help them integrate education on human rights and social justice into their training, practice, and operations.

They are currently working with Hamilton school in redesigning their curriculum to include information from different social and ethnic groups, and I believe they have one other big project going at the moment keeping them quite busy.

You can check out their website here. I wrote this mostly from memory after talking to the founder last night and I am sure that I am missing quite a bit. Philo is a great resource for our community, and I think everyone should know about and spread word of this resource as more businesses, institutions, etc. in town become more socially aware and are looking for ways to change.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Crock the vote

I had to share this amazing story from Indiana where state police raided a voter registration organization (for no good reason) making it likely that tens of thousands of newly registered voters, mostly black, will not be able to vote. Where is the Justice Department?

Even if they were able to vote, there's no guarantee their votes will be counted. This great Counterpunch article points out that in some cases Trump is right
So why is it so hard for liberals to accept the idea that US elections are undemocratic? Sure, it’s rather easy for liberals to proclaim from the mountaintops their opposition to discriminatory practices such as voter ID laws because those laws target primarily people of color who mostly vote Democrat. It has little to do with a concern for the truth and for the validity of elections, but is rather about anger that the other team is not playing fair.

But when it comes to doubting the entire electoral system and the results of any given election, liberals don’t want to hear that. They don’t want to discuss it. They certainly don’t want to debate it openly and honestly. Why?

And Truthout tells the sad story of voters forced to cast provisional ballots"In the 2012 election, some 2.7 million voters cast provisional ballots, about a quarter of which were disallowed. According to the Election Administration Commission, the top reasons provisional ballots are rejected nationwide are that voters aren't registered (38 percent) or vote at the wrong site (25 percent). But the likelihood that a ballot gets tossed for a particular reason can vary sharply from state to state: In Texas, 15 percent of provisional ballots were rejected for being cast in the incorrect place; in Ohio, it was 28 percent; in Indiana, it was 45 percent."

Thankfully, in Wisconsin our Republican election officials are all over the letter of the law. Witness a Green Bay city clerk who refused early voting places for UW-Green Bay students (whose spring primary voting experiences were not so great because of long lines and limited resources). Her reasoning - students are more likely to vote for Democrats.
But privately Teske gave a different reason for opposing an early-voting site at UW–Green Bay, writing that student voting would benefit the Democratic Party. “UWGB is a polling location for students and residents on Election Day but I feel by asking for this to be the site for early voting is encouraging the students to vote more than benefiting the city as a whole,” she wrote on August 26 in an e-mail to David Buerger, counsel at the Wisconsin Ethics Commission.
In another close call in Republican anti-voter Wisconsin, thousands of Wisconsin absentee ballots will be counted after all. Earlier this fall, in light of a new law requiring absentee ballots to contain witness addresses, there were questions over what exactly makes up a witness address. The Commission was set to disqualify absentee ballots where witnesses had not included zip codes, for example. "A new Wisconsin law states absentee ballots missing a witness address don't count. The law doesn't say how much address information is needed, however. State Elections Commission staff told local clerks earlier this month that they can't fill in missing elements without voter consent."

Remember - you have until Friday, October 28 (at 5 p.m. in city of La Crosse) to vote absentee in person, avoiding crowds and lines. More details at


Tonight (Wednesday) at 6:30 at Pearl St Brewery (St Andrew St) film about cultural appropriation and benefit for Ho-Chunk Youth.

Tomorrow night at 5 pm at City Council chambers (6th & La Crosse Sts) "Sundown Towns" - racism in La Crosse

(And here's a good article about presidential candidate silence on DAPL).

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Jill Stein events in WI

Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, Green Party candidates for president and vice-president, respectively, will appear at two events in Wisconsin next week. Thanks to D Buzz Davis for the heads up.
Jill Stein, the 2016 Green presidential candidate, is bringing her campaign to Wisconsin this coming week.
Jill Stein’s Green Party campaign for president is a bold, left-wing alternative with real solutions for working people. She calls for a $15 minimum wage, cancellation of student debt, single payer healthcare, and a Green New Deal to tackle climate change.
During this election – between the two most disliked presidential candidates in recent history – we have an opportunity to build a movement to challenge this political establishment. A significant vote for Jill Stein can help set the foundation for a viable new party in this country – a party of the 99%, independent of the Democrats, the Republicans, and their corporate backers. Winning 5% of the vote means the Green Party will receive up to ten million dollars to help build the infrastructure for a presidential campaign in 2020.
Unlike our opponents, the Stein / Baraka campaign is neither misogynistic nor speculating about ordering drone attacks on whistle-blowers. Jill & Ajamu have spent their lives working for social justice and creating a healthy environment for our children and grand-children.

This is a unique time in history to transform our political landscape and create a world that works for all of us. The power to do this is not in our hopes, it's not in our dreams; it's in our hands!

Madison, WI

October 27, 2016 at Noon – 2pm
Memorial Union Theater 
800 Langdon Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Facebook Event Page

Milwaukee, WI

October 27, 2016 at 7pm – 9pm
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Student Union Ballroom  
2200 E Kenwood Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53211

Facebook Event Page

We're putting People, Planet and Peace over Profit -- and we need your help.  The Stein / Baraka as a matter of political principal, does not accept corporate donations. We're dependent upon small donations from supporters, so please donate what you can.

How Students Can Help

By posting flyers on your campus, starting a chapter of Young Greens, organizing and engaging in direct actions in person and online, dialoguing with other college groups who have over lapping interests, you can get the word out to other students and youth.