Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Weigh in on Senior Centers

We all have a desire to become senior citizens I think.  So each of us has an interest in how our community treats and invests in its seniors.  One way to tell what is really valued is to look at how the money is budgeted.  Who (or what) is most important often is at the top of the budget list and gets a large portion of public resources. (Yes, this is editorializing.)

Here is your chance to let the city know where seniors should be in the budget ranking.  Currently the two centers need some sprucing up at the very least. Who should help to pay for these community centers?

This is from the Mayor's office and GENA:
The Mayor and members of the Senior Center Sub-Committee want public input on the future of La Crosse’s Senior Centers. They are asking La Crosse residents to participate in an online Senior Center Survey, available on the city's website: or access it directly here
La Crosse currently has two facilities- the Harry J. Olson Center and the La Crosse Senior Citizens Multiple Service Center (“the Southside Senior Center”). They have both been in existence for decades, and the buildings in which they operate are in need of substantial repairs. About a year ago, the Board of Public works decided these centers would be too expensive to continue to maintain. The Senior Center Sub-Committee then formed to try to find a better option--one that wouldn’t displace senior services but still be sustainable over the long term.

"I know there is a solution out there and the public can help us find it. This survey is also a great opportunity for citizens to have their voices heard," said Council Member Doug Happel, the chair of the Committee.

The Senior Center Survey will ask citizens for their opinion on the following community issues:

  • Where should senior center facilities be located? Do we need senior center facilities?
  • What offerings do you think a senior center should provide?
  • What is an ideal Senior Center? 
La Crosse’s 55-and-over population is expected to grow substantially in the next decade. By gathering input from all ages, the Committee is trying to meet the needs of senior citizens for years to come.

This survey will be available until February 9. Recommendations will be drafted from the results of this survey and presented to the sub-committee at the end of February. In addition to being available online, a printed copy of the surveys will be available at the Senior Centers.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

We need a candidate!

From City Hall:

1/25/2018 - 5th District Council Member Vacancy
Due to a vacancy, the City of La Crosse is accepting applications for candidates for the 5th District Council Member position.  A candidate will be appointed by the Common Council on March 8, 2018, for the period ending April 16, 2019.

Anyone appointed to fill the vacancy in the 5th District must be a qualified elector of the district at the time of the appointment.

Persons interested in serving as Council Member for the 5th District should send a letter of application stating their desire and qualifications to the City Clerk’s Office, 400 La Crosse Street, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601.  Applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. Friday, February 16, 2018.

This notice is pursuant to Wisconsin State Statutes, sec. 17.23, and at the direction of Council President Martin Gaul.

                                                                                                                Teri Lehrke, WCPC
                                                                                                                City Clerk

The Fifth District is the UWL district bordered by La Crosse Street on the north, West Ave, State Street (roughly - there are a couple of jogs here and there), then Campbell Road to that little road that takes you by the old tennis courts (in other words another little jog). See the map. This is a great opportunity!

Another bad mine

This comes from Our Wisconsin Revolution - Wisconsin:

Are you sick of our government and corporations putting corporate profit ahead of the healthy of our families, communities, and environment? What about the continuing disrespect and disregard for Native Indigenous sovereignty?

There is still time to join with the Menominee Nation and the Wolf River OWR Chapter in their fight against the Back 40 Mine in Michigan. (Read more at NOBack40 - ed).

Please take a few minutes to submit a comment against the wetlands permit for the Aquila Back 40 mine. Go to this link and click "add comment!"

Please fill in your name and contact information. You are welcome to include any information about the Back 40 that you feel comfortable sharing. At the state level, we are concerned with the pollution of the wetlands and Menominee River (every open pit sulfide mine ever in operation HAS polluted the nearby environment). That's right, there's never been a "clean" open pit sulfide mine. That probably makes intuitive sense to you! There is also conflicting and inadequate information about pollution and dust sediment in Aquila's applications.

You can read up about the project and why the Menominee Nation and others are in opposition. Please go here for more information.

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration,

Our Wisconsin Revolution

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Badgercare for All

Ralph writes:

When I was a kid in the 50s, I learned that health insurance was  non-profit,  which my parents explained, was the way everybody chipped in money to help pay for the unlucky few who might need expensive medical care at any time. It made sense to me: it was another way that grown-ups worked together to take care of each other. It also helped me feel secure and free of  worry. We all took care of each other, like we should. So...what happened?

Blue Cross and Blue Shield were “community-rated” non-profit insurance plans in the 50s. Such insurance companies estimated cost of claims for the next year, and set the premium price to cover costs by simply dividing it evenly among all premium purchasers. Healthy people paid more for the needs of those less healthy when they needed it, and had security and reassurance that they’d be covered if they needed it, too. There were no “high risk groups.” We were all equally into it together for the long run.  

During the late 50s, for-profit health insurance companies started selling cheaper insurance premiums to only younger, healthy people, whose claims would also be low (at least for a number of years until they got older). By appealing to healthy peoples’ interest for short-term cost-savings, for-profit insurance  pocketed some profit for itself. When healthier people abandoned the community-rated non-profit plans to buy this  for-profit insurance, Blue Cross/Blue Shield was left with fewer healthy people in their pool to help pay claims for  older,  sicker patients, so they had to raise premiums. Eventually, all insurance plans were forced to  charge different rates based on age and health history, just to keep enough healthy people in their plans as well.

What we now have is a system created by the marketplace and defined by for-profit insurance; where patient risk groups and premium charges are decided by insurance to be sure that profits are made at each step by dividing up a selected under-65 population of mostly employed folks. The much more costly older, unemployed and chronically ill population is covered by Medicare and Medicaid tax dollars, (which we all pay into and eventually benefit from in different ways).  

Private insurance’s main mission is to create profit with each premium sold (AND CLAIM DENIED) to benefit stockholders and the board of directors; not to serve the larger  community’s health needs. This is the exact opposite of what made “community-rated” non-profit insurance work for a diverse population. We’ve gone from taking care of each other in need... to every man for himself, if he can afford it.

Today’s health insurance adds nothing to quality of care, care provider efficiency, availability or improved communication or advocacy for patients. It  has wormed its way into our health system as a parasitic middle-man,  which manipulates and  profits from the fact that we will all age and eventually need more health care...for which we will then pay a higher premium. Administrative costs are twice as high in as in other non-profit  national health systems. The dysfunction and drain on our resources has become unsustainable.  

A national movement to establish Medicare for All is underway, which could lead to restoration of a non-profit community-rated alternative to the for-profit system.

Here in Wisconsin, we have the option of creating a Badgercare for All (as proposed by Mike McCabe) as a state model , which would offer a lower cost non-profit health insurance to all Badgers. Such health insurance would be a state-sponsored service for many, not a corporate profit industry for a few.  Hospitals, doctors and care institutions would remain private and independent, giving patients freedom to choose. 

Universal, state-wide Badgercare expansion would expose the inflated costs, manipulations and inefficiencies that for-profit insurance has inflicted on the public. For-profit insurance would need to compete to provide better service at lower cost. The public knows that affordable health insurance is needed community-wide, and needs a seat at the table through our state government.     

Walker’s recent change to support  Obamacare in Wisconsin is evidence that he’s now feeling public pressure to protect health options; not only  for-profit insurance.  However, Walker’s shell game to finance Obamacare for the middle class by cutting Badgercare funds and generate “Medicaid savings” to cut Badgercare funds to create “Medicaid savings” is clearly designed for short-term political gain.  Weakening Badgercare at the expense of our most vulnerable and needy is no solution to the problem of how we best care for each other at times of crisis and need.    

Contact your state representative and senator to oppose Walker’s proposed raid on Badgercare funding, and then mention Badgercare for all Badgers as a better Wisconsin idea.  

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tonight: Medicare for All ONLINE Town Hall

First, congratulations, La Crosse County Democratic Party, for passing a resolution in support of single payer healthcare for all!

Tonight at 6 p.m. Central Time, you can watch a livestream of a national Town Hall on the Medicare for All bills currently before Congress hosted by Senator Bernie Sanders. (See links below plus YouTube will stream.)

For the first time, leading digital outlets will come together to do what cable channels and network news will not – engage in an in-depth conversation about one of the issues that matter most to Americans, their health care. The event will be streamed live across Sanders', NowThis', ATTN:'s and The Young Turks' social media channels.

Sanders and leading health care experts will take questions about Medicare for all from people around the country, discuss what it means to practice medicine in America when patients cannot afford the health care they need, talk about the economic and business impact of single payer and hear international perspectives on how universal health care can be achieved.

Monday, January 22, 2018

This week's events (Jan. 22-28)

First, please make sure you are REGISTERED TO VOTE. If you are not or if you need to do an address and/or name change, please visit MYVote Wisconsin. If you have the right documents, you can complete your registration online. Otherwise, you may need to print and mail or take your form to your clerk's office with supporting documents. Find out what you need, how to do it, where you vote, what's on your ballot and more at MyVote Wisconsin.

Next, if you missed the incredible people's conference in Boscobel on Saturday on INDUSTRIAL AG in the Driftless - How do we protect our communities? the panel, speakers and more are available to view online. Check the event page for sponsoring organizations and more details.

LAST DAY TO REGISTER for the UWL continuing ed course, Hear Here: Public History in Theory and Practice. If you are age 60+ you may be able to audit this course free of charge.

6:00 p.m.  Bluffside Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at the First Congregational Church, Losey & Main

6:30 p.m.  La Crosse County Democrats hold their monthly meeting at the Ho-Chunk Three Rivers House, 8th & Main. Guest speaker is Shaundell Spivey. You need not be a member to attend (but if you usually vote for Dem candidates, please join so your voice will be counted when candidates are put forward).

6:00 p.m.  FILM: Milwaukee 53206 presented by Western Technical College Community Conversations program as part of their Make Change film series in WTC's Integrated Tech Center.

6:00 p.m.  LIVESTREAM: Medicare for All Townhall with Senator Bernie Sanders hosted by The Young Turks.

6:00 p.m.  Washburn Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at St. Paul's Lutheran Church

6:00 p.m.  Upper Northside Logan Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church.

7:00 p.m.  Our Wisconsin Revolution monthly meeting at Ho-Chunk House.

6:00 p.m.  Lower Northside and Depot Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at the Black River Beach Neighborhood Center.

5:45 p.m.  FRIENDS OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS Soup Supper (please RSVP at link) at 1405 Main Street

6:00 p.m.  FAKE NEWS - Do we really want to know the truth? a public forum with Scott Rada of the La Crosse Tribune at Hackberry's Bistro, 315 Fifth Ave S.

4:30 p.m.  SURJ SOCIAL at Dim Sum Tea House

9:00 p.m.  THE CENTER - 7 RIVERS LGBTQ CONNECTION annual meeting (RSVP required) at 1509 King Street

2:00 p.m.  Medicare For All Forum at 120 North Rusk, Viroqua (This is BIG! Go if you can!)

2:00 p.m.  McCabe for Governor campaign meeting (email for details)

Please send us your events or use the form! The better we spread the word, the more and stronger connections we can make.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Updates on February events!

Hope you can join us for the 2018 Progresstival, 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 3. We are excited to welcome and welcome back many local organizations working on issues of social justice, sustainability, voting rights, human rights, and more. This year, for the first time, we will also have short workshops on organizing and the importance of people power in our area. There will also be appetizers and beverages.

Our keynote speaker, Paul Cienfuegos, is a national organizer and trainer in the community rights movement. Community rights and the related rights of nature movement reject the corporaate system we currently live in and encourage activists to make laws and systems work for the people and natural systems that sustain us all. Following the event at the Concordia, those interested are encourged to continue the conversation over pub food and drinks at the Brickhouse with our speaker, event organizers, and others.

We still have a couple of half-table spaces available so if your groups would like to display, sign up, and network, please email. We are also looking for a space for Mr. Cienfuegos to stay while he's in town (possibly Friday evening and/or Sunday evening). If you can offer a space (cat free) for him, please email.

The event is open to all. Donations at the door will help pay for event costs. The Progresstival will get your active new year off to a great start. Connect and network with the many groups working on important issues and sign up to help make good changes happen!

Please help get the word out by sharing and posting flyers:

On the following afternoon, Sunday, February 4, Paul Cienfuegos will present a three hour Introduction to Community Rights from 2 to 5 p.m. In the upstairs Community Room of the People's Food Co-op, 315 Fifth Avenue South, La Crosse. The event is open to all and free (though donations at the door will help pay for the event. Please register in advance if possible at

Look for a flyer soon. But in the meantime, please share this info!
Did you know that it's illegal for a city, town, or county government to pass laws that protect the health and welfare of a community from destructive corporate activities? No wonder it's so difficult to stop corporate mines, pipelines, and factory farms, even when an entire community opposes such activities. There are fascinating historical reasons why communities are not allowed to pass such laws, but these reasons make no sense as they violate We the People's right of self-government that our ancestors fought and died for in the American Revolution.
Paul Cienfuegos' introductory workshop will share some of this history, introduce the Community Rights movement, and outline how We the People can breathe new live into civic engagement by reclaiming the structures of law that have made real democracy impossible until now.
Since 1999, 200 communities in nine states have passed legally groundbreaking locally-enforceable Community Rights laws which have banned fracking and oil drilling, water withdrawal for bottling, toxic sludge dumping on farmland, corporate-managed infrastructure, unsustainable energy development, and more. 95% of these laws have never been challenged in court.
“We the People” must exercise our RIGHT to pass laws that protect our community's health and welfare. Let's get organized!

No previous experience or knowledge is necessary to attend this three hour introductory workshop.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Your action requested

Want to forward this message to a friend? Help us spread the word by using this form instead of your email system.
Public input needed on rules for areas vulnerable to groundwater contamination and on DNR property master planning at NRB meeting Wednesday, Jan. 24

Revised rules to protect sensitive areas in northeast WI from agricultural pollution - NR 151

Next week, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will ask the state Natural Resources Board to approve its final rules to protect groundwater in sensitive areas from manure spreading in NR 151 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code. This rule revision is the result of years of work by advocates in northeast Wisconsin who are living with drinking water contaminated with nitrates, bacteria, and parasites.

Midwest Environmental Advocates advocated for more stringent drinking water protections, but ultimately supports a compromise that will provide modest additional protections for residents of the northeast part of the state. For more, visit MEA’s webpage on this rule proposal.

Though advocates, experts and the public have worked for years to shape this compromise, powerful special interest groups are already opposingthe very modest public health protections in the proposed rule.

Take action – testimony and comments needed: residents concerned about clean drinking water can testify before the NRB on this rule proposal. The NRB and legislators need to hear from those struggling with polluted drinking water about why these very basic protections must stay in the proposed rule.

We encourage residents of southwest WI who also have groundwater vulnerable to contamination to testify about why DNR needs to do more to implement existing rules and assess the extent of contamination in southwest WI. Send written comments to the NRB via email to by Friday, January 19th at 11:00 a.m.
DNR request to revise master plans for DNR properties without following classifications in NR 44

The Department of Natural Resources is also asking the state Natural Resources Board to allow it to revise some of its master plans for DNR properties without following certain rules for master planning, contained in NR 44. DNR says it would still follow public participation requirements, but wouldn’t update the plans to be consistent with the land and recreational use classifications that are currently required by rule.

This request would only affect master plans for state parks and other properties written before the rule was in place in 1996. However most planswere created before this date.

A judge recently rejected DNR’s attempt to amend a master plan for Blue Mound State Park without following the classification system in NR 44. The judge concluded that because DNR didn’t follow the NR 44 classification system, the agency didn’t adequately consider whether authorized park uses, including a proposed snowmobile trail, were compatible.  The DNR is attempting to persuade the NRB to give it blanket authorization to disregard the classification rules for a broad category of parks and other property.

Take action – testimony and comments needed:  residents who care about public lands, long-term planning and public participation, and who have invested their own time and expertise in protecting land with conservation and recreational value can testify at the NRB meeting or contact the NRB with their concerns. Send written comments to the NRB via email to by Friday, January 19th at 11:00 a.m.
Visit DNR’s webpage for this NRB meeting, which provides instructions for commenting and registering to testify at the NRB meeting on Wednesday, January 24th. The deadline to send written comments or register to testify is 11:00 am on Friday, January 19th.
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Monday, January 15, 2018

Coming up

Today is our national holiday honoring the courage, vision, and service of the Reverand Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thank goodness the day hasn't yet been turned into an opportunity to hold another appliance sale. The movement to make it a day of service is fine, but we should also remember that Dr. King was an activist. His marches, his speeches, his organizing, his coordinatinng with other groups, his lobbying, ... all these actions, many done in very difficult circumstances and under threat of death, led millions to a new understanding of the power of the people.

Being an activist is serving others. We can give people food and we can fight to change the system that keeps people hungry. We can march for funding for medical research and we can work for a  society where drug company executives do not earn million dollar bonuses for raising the prices of vital life-saving drugs. We can donate school supplies for children whose families can't afford them and we can work to elect leaders who working to make the gap between rich and poor narrower not wider.

So, please attend tonight's tribune to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at 7 p.m. at Viterbo University's Fine Arts Center and then plan to work on the many other important issues facing our community and our world.

9:00 a.m.  Get training to help people do their taxes through the AARP tax assistance program. Training for intake volunteers and for tax helpers will be at the La Crosse Public Library.

6:00 p.m.  Washburn Neighborhood Assn monthly meeting at Lincoln Middle School. They'll be talking about a possible painted bike path on Jackson Street.

6:30 p.m.  GENA monthly meetint at Emerson Elementary School.

noon  Values vs. Conventional Wisdom a talk with lunch hosted by local interfaith leaders at the English Lutheran Church (16th & King). Please RSVP at link for free lunch.

4:30 p.m.  La Crosse Area Planning Commission annual public meeting where you get a chance to have input and network with decision-makers. The meeting and after-meeting social hour will be at the Two Beagles Brewpub, 910 Second Avenue North, Onalaska

6:00 p.m. La Crosse Bar Association offers free legal assistance on a walk-in basis at First Baptist Church, West Ave. & Main

6:45 p.m. Powell-Poage-Hamilton Neighborhood Assn meeting to talk about the plans for a Jackson Street bike lane.

6:30 p.m. La Crosse Citizens' Climate Lobby monthly meeting will be at 401 West Ave South. 

6:00 p.m.  La Crosse Area Freethought Society holds its monthly Think & Drink at JavaVino.

1:00 p.m.  INDUSTRIAL AG IN THE DRIFTLESS - How do we protect our communities? is a citizens' conference to address the environmental, economic, and community destruction caused by industrial size ag operations in local rural areas. This event is in Boscobel but it's super important to learn what's happening as large animal feeding operations pollute our wells and trout streams, ruin our roads, pollute our air, and threaten our economies. Keynoter, Dr. John Ikerd, professor emeritus at University of Missouri will talk about Defending against rural colonization. 

2:30 p.m.  Hillview Urban Agriculture Vermiculture Tour at 921 Ferry Street.

4:00 p.m. Alt Truth Project presents Fahrenheit 451 at the Brickhouse

4:00 p.m AND 7:00 p.m. Awareness Through Performance Privilege Unplugged VII The mission of Awareness through Performance is to promote greater consciousness around social justice, diversity, and climate issues on the UWL campus and beyond. Using the stage as our forum, we creatively challenge systems of privilege and oppression and strive to plant seeds of social responsibility, inspire critical thought, and spark a campus-wide conversation. Privilege Unplugged XII showcases the passions, stories, and perspectives of UWL student leaders who hope to create awareness around the topics of privilege and oppression. Shows are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Advocating for Sustainable Transportation

Several opportunities are coming soon to advocate for more and better sustainability priorities and infrastructure in our area. If you can attend any of these events, please do.

Thanks to Jake, we learned that the Wisconsin DOT/City of La Crosse are planning to put bike lanes (alas, it looks like just paint at this point) on Jackson Street. Here's what he heard from the DOT about it:

*The Wisconsin Department of Transportation presented multiple alternatives to the City of La Crosse with varying facilities and provisions for parking, bicycles and vehicular traffic. From these alternatives, the City of La Crosse Board of Public Works endorsed/recommended on March 6, 2017 to remove parking on the north side of the entire corridor and to add bike lanes on both sides of the roadway as shown at this link

This recommendation was contingent on other inputs from other groups and the public as you canread in this minutes

*The City of La Crosse Engineering/Planning staff then presented this preferred typical section to the Neighborhood Revitalization Commission on December 4, 2017 and their recommendation was to have the project information presented by the City at each of the impacted Neighborhood Association monthly meetings in January. These meetings are as follows:

  • Monday, January 15 at 6 pm: Holy Trinity-Longfellow Neighborhood Association at Faith United Methodist Church (1818 Redfield St)
  • Tuesday, January 16 at 6 pm: Washburn Neighborhood Association (510 S. 9th St.)
  • Wednesday, January 17 at 6:45 pm: Powell-Poage-Hamilton Neighborhood Association (Southside Neighborhood Center at 1300 S. 6th St.)
Whether or not you live in these neighborhoods, if you bike in the city and would like to support improved bicyclilng infrastructure, please attend one or more of these events. Just to play devil's advocate, you have to wonder why we must squeeze bike lanes between moving and parked (on one side at least) traffic on one of the busiest streeets in the city when we could just as easily and with less disruption, designate a parallel, less travelled road as a "city bikeway" or something (bikes have right of way) providing better safety for cyclists.

On Thursday, January 11, the La Crosse Area Planning Committee's Advisory Committee on Transit and  Active Transportation will meet at 3 p.m. and discuss MTU goals for the coming year. While this is not a public hearing, if you have ideas or suggestions, you could contact the chair or attend the meeting and ask to have your ideas included in the discussion.

Next Wednesday, January 17, the La Crosse Area Planning Committee will hold it's annual meeting, public invited, followed by an informal idea exchange (with free appetizers). This is your chance to weigh in on sustainability issues for the region, especially transportation (see the agenda here). The meeting will begin at 4:30 at Two Beagles Brewpub, 910 2nd Ave N (STH 35) in Onalaska

Sunday, January 07, 2018

This week's events (January 8 -14)

Please send us your events! Use the form or email couleeprogressive at hotmail.

8:00 a.m.  MPower Showcase at the Sustainability Institute Lunda Center, Western TC

NOON  League of Women Voters Lunch & Learn: Online Voter Registration  (lunch $13 at 11:30 if you RSVP) Moxie's

6:30 p.m.?  There may be an Indivisible/New Directions meeting, but who can tell?

6:15 p.m.  SURJ Book Club - Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown. The groups meets every other week in the 2nd floor loft at Pearl Street Books.

4:30 p.m.  Sustainable La Crosse Commission monthly meeting open to public. What is the county doing to become more sustainable? Third floor conference room, La Crosse City Hall

6:00 p.m.  SURJ Discussion - White Supremacy and Us part 2  See link for details. 

7:00 p.m.  Our Wisconsin Revolution La Crosse meets at the Ho-Chunk Three Rivers House, 724 Main St.

5:30 p.m.  Phonebank for Patty Schachtner who is running for a seat in the Wisconsin State Senate, District 10. Sponsored by LaX Dems. Please RSVP through link. If you can't make this phone bank, you can do it yourself from your own home (visit Citizen Action link for details) 

Friday, January 05, 2018

Phone bank for Wisconsin

On January 16, there will be two special elections in Wisconsin.

In Senate District 10 (River Falls area including parts of Burnett, Polk, St. Croix and Pierce counties) voters will choose a replacement for Republican Sheila Harsdorf who resigned to head the Wisconsin Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection.

There are three candidates for the seat, a Libertarian, a Republican, and Democratic candidate Patty Schachtner, St. Croix County Medical Examiner.  Citnizen Action of Wisconsin is encouraging and facilitating phone banks to help get out the vote for Schachtner. Sign up here OR attend a local phone bank party in La Crosse on September 12.

Dennis Degenhardt is a Democrat running in the 58th Assembly District (Washington County including the city of West Bend).  The seat had been held by Republican Bob Gannon who passed away in October. In 2016, Gannon ran unopposed, but the 2014 election saw Gannon win with 51% of the vote with two opponents splitting the  remainder. In 2012, no Dem filed. I have not seen phone bank info for this candidate, but you can contact his campaign to see if you can help.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Country wide rail safety rallies tomorrow

from Jim in MN:

Minneapolis:  Event planned for 2:30 pm Friday January 5th at Canadian Consulate, 701 4th Ave. South.  Join us to show support for workers scapegoated workers in Lac-M├ęgantic and in concern of the recent Amtrack disaster in DuPont.  See below for background. (NOTE: Seattle protest is today, but Minneapolis is Friday.)       
Protest events will take place across North America and around the world this week calling for real rail safety and accountability regarding rail disasters like the 2013  Lac-M├ęgantic oil-train wreck. Railroad workers, rail safety and environmental activists will be calling upon the Canadian government to drop the charges against framed-up rail workers as the prosecution’s case against them unravels.  Canadian rail workers Tom Harding and Richard Lebrie are currently on trial for the deaths in that disaster facing a possible life sentence. The criminal trial has highlighted the connection between dangerous railroad policies and the need to hold the right people accountable for the danger created.

Thursday and Friday, rail safety activists across North America will be calling on the Canadian government to stop its diversionary prosecution of rail workers who have no control over the majority of the causes identified by government reports and independent investigations. In many cases, the causes identified are also at issue in other railroad wrecks in the last several years, yet no policy-makers are held accountable.

Amtrak train  #501 derailed on a 30 mph curve outside of DuPont, Washington Monday, December 18th, killing three and injuring  scores of others. Soon after, it came to light that the train was traveling at 78 mph, well above the prescribed speed. Coming on the heels of at least five major passenger train wrecks in the US over the course of the last decade, one questions, why do these tragedies continue to occur?

Train wrecks are no different than other disasters in that they are often the result of a constellation of factors, many hidden from view and potentially years in the making. We miss the point when we simply pin the worker who “screwed up” and fail to further scrutinize the situation.

We are calling for Safe Trains Now!

If you are not in Seattle  you can still support us!  Please help by sharing with your networks.

For anyone on Facebook, we do have an event page and here's the link (which shows the other events in the cities below.)

Do you know others in Chicago,San Francisco, Minneapolis or DC? 

 Chicago: Event at 1 PM on Thursday the 4th at the Canadian Consulate 180 N Stetson Avenue
  San Francisco: Press Conference and rally at 12 Noon on Thursday the 4th,  at the Canadian Consulate 580 California Street

  Minneapolis: Event planned for 2:30 PM on Friday the 5th, at the Canadian Consulate 701 4th Avenue South.

  WashingtonDC: Event planned from 12:30 PM to 1 PM at the Canadian Embassy on Thursday the 4th 501 Pennsylvania Ave.

In Solidarity,

Abby Brockway
RWU Solidarity member