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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The final countdown

Among the end of year and decade countdowns -- richest people, best sports plays, worst crimes, funniest cat videos, ... -- let's include the climate crisis.

In 1959, Dr. Edward Teller warned the American Petroleum Institute (API), along with government officials attending his speech, that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels would cause temperatures to warm, polar ice to melt, and coastal cities to flood.

In 1969, a Stanford Research Institute report for the API, warned that carbon dioxide was a serious problem. “There seems to be no doubt that the potential damage to our environment could be severe.”

In 1988, Dr. James Hansen's U.S. Senate testimony warned of human-caused climate change.

In 2006, Vice President Al Gore's Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, laid out the indisputable science behind “global warming.”

In 2008, climate activist Bill McKibben founded 350.org, the group's name a reminder that carbon in our atmosphere needed to remain below 350 parts per million to ensure a livable planet for future generations. (It's now more than 415 ppm.)

In 2015, world governments pledged carbon emissions reductions to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius. (Only a few countries are on target to meet their goals. The Supreme Court of the Netherlands recently ruled that the whole country must cut emissions by 25% by the end of 2020 to meet their emissions reduction goals.)

In 2017, David Wallace-Wells wrote The Uninhabitable Earth describing what will happen to our planet if we don't stop burning fossil fuels.

Last year, UN climate scientists said we have twelve years to make drastic changes or life as we know it will not survive. Other experts said greenhouse gas emissions must peak no later than 2020.

This month, the UN climate conference failed.

The Correspondent's climate reporter, Eric Holthaus, advises: grieve, revisit the science, and get political. Realize politicians will not save us. Understand climate science facts are not going away. Holthaus writes, “It's not constructive to continue to pretend that polite compromise and incremental changes will save us.”


We didn't start changing all those years ago when it would have been relatively easy. Now, drastic immediate changes are needed.

Most Wisconsin electricity still comes from burning coal and gas, so we have to stop wasting  electricity and go all in on renewables. Utilities must abandon plans for new fossil-fueled plants and we must end subsidies for fossil fuel infrastructure. We must switch to electric transportation. We must heat our homes and businesses without fossil fuels. And we must ensure the people affected by these changes are given support and new opportunities in a clean energy future.


I urge everyone to get political. Assess your carbon footprint, investments, habits, and spending. Demand that our cities, counties, schools and universities, businesses, and services create and follow strong community-wide plans to immediately reduce carbon emissions and switch to renewables. Expect that climate-saving is the top priority. Lobby state government to promote and support major changes. Insist that financial institutions divest from fossil fuel systems. 
Raise this issue with every person you know and meet. Vote for candidates who understand the dire threat and need for immediate action.

Passing resolutions and changing light bulbs is not enough. 

The countdown is over. 

We have to act now.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Back to work

The first votes in the 2020 election will be held in February, just a few weeks away. Iowa primaries are on Tuesday, February 3 followed by more early states' votes and March 3 Super Tuesday, this time with California. The spring is about to be sprung.

Now is the time for volunteers to ramp it up - make more phone calls, send texts, donate, head to an Iowa town to spend an afternoon canvassing.

If we want a habitable climate and a more just society, then we need to ensure a climate, people-focused candidate goes into early primary elections strong.

If Bernie's your candidate, visit https://www.mobilize.us/sandersia/ to sign up for canvassing. Take a car load. To work from home, sign up to call (https://berniesanders.com/call/) or text bank (https://berniesanders.com/text/).

UPDATE: Two Bernie phonebanks in La Crosse - Dec. 22 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and on Dec. 29 from noon to 2 pm. Sign up at links!


Please do not nit-pick us into Joe Biden or "Mayor Pete" et al by bringing up a thirty year old article or spin on an old speech, or worse, a rw troll's lie that taints your pure progressive bubble and poisons you against anybody but. We can't afford it. 

Several progressive leaders, from Robert Reich to Naomi Klein to Norman Solomon have reminded us to keep our eyes on the prize and our focus on the overall goal. I'm with them.

Don't forget the sorry state of formerly progressive Wisconsin where the new normal is that people who may not read all their mail (or, if you live in my neighborhood, where your mail carrier regularly delivers your mail to someone else and someone else's mail to you) are suddenly ineligible to vote because some for-profit vendor paid for by our tax dollars (mis)identifies them as having moved.

There's a Supreme Court primary in February that needs our attention. As Wisconsin Republicans continue seeking ways to disenfranchise voters (funny how the constitutional right to vote is now no more secure, apparently, than a pile of Kohl's cash), the Wisconsin Democratic Party has vowed to ensure as many as possible are registered, re-registered, and able to vote.

Sign up to help your fellow citizens by calling and canvassing locally. Contact the local DPW organizer, PeterK-at-wisdems-dot-org. Sign up to help other environment and social justice groups canvass and educate voters. 

One impeachment vote (thank you, Ron Kind) does not bring us back to whatever normal might have been or might never have been for a large number of our neighbors. Now we need to double down on calling, donating, writing, canvassing, and working. Our "leaders" are still supporting obscene military spending, institutional racism, guns>ppl, illegal treatment of immigrants, big pharma, big insurance, big banks, big business, and the murder of our future by forced fossil fuel addiction.

The theater of impeachment plays out on top of the everyday injustice, violence, greed, and corruption. That has to change. "We just wanna party." This is America




Saturday, December 14, 2019

Impeachment Rally Tuesday

In La Crosse: 5:30 p.m. in Cameron ParkA gathering to show support for a vote to impeach Donald Trump. Bring signs, flashlights, horns, whistles, flags, etc. Speakers are invited.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Friday Climate Strike

From Fridays For Future:

The Strike Map lists La Crosse - Fourth St N outside City Hall. If you can come to support strong climate action, the students and indigenous participants kicked out of COP 25 while sponsoring polluters remain, a habitable future, etc, please show up.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Socials support local activism

As the year winds down, several local organizations will host social affairs, opportunities for friends and members to discuss the ending year's challenges and accomplishments and start to focus on the coming year. These gathetrings are also good places for potential new members to get more information and try out the community before officially joining.

We know if three such events coming up later this month. All are free and open to everyone. Consider attending one or more to show support, mingle with members, and learn about getting more involved in the new year.

On December 15, The Center-7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection hosts its annual Holiday Open House Arts & Crafts Bake Sale from noon to 4 p.m.

On December 16, the La Crosse County Democratic Party invites friends and members to its annual Holiday Social from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Big Al's Party Room, 115 Third Street South.

On Tuesday, December 17, the Coulee Region Sierra Club will hold it's annual Holiday Gathering, a potluck, at a local home beginning at 6:00 p.m.. All are invited - members and friends.

Are there more? Please submit other events and we'll update the calendar!

And, watch for an impeachment rally coming soon to a space near us.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Reminder- Climate Action needs YOU!

Let's hope we have better participation for our December climate action!

The Strike CONTINUES!

STRIKE for our FUTURE

Friday, September 20 was our first strike. Led by the Fridays for Future, La Crosse chapter, we joined millions around the world to highlight the extreme crisis we face and called out elected "leaders" who are not doing nearly enough. More than 300 constituents signed a letter to US Rep. Ron Kind urging him to co-sponsor and support five specific bills. So far, he has not taken any action to cosponsor crucial climate legislation nor provided a date for a promised meeting with youth.
>> Please share <<

Print & post our flyer for December 6.
Use this,one December 6 - on social media.


If you missed the NOVEMBER 29 group action, you can still make a commitment to take your own personal actions.

PLEDGE TO TAKE PERSONAL ACTION. Use our list of suggested actions below or come up with your own. Please pledge to take at least one action on this day in solidarity with Fridays for Future, Sunrise Movement, 350.org, Sierra Club, and more below.

DECEMBER 6


Please join us in another crucial push to make our U.S. elected officials pay attention to the climate crisis during the next global climate summit in Madrid from December 2 - 13 (a.k.a. COP25 at https://unfccc.int/cop25).



How? Sign up to strike with us at the La Crosse offices of U.S. Rep. Ron Kind and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin.

Where? 205 5th Ave. South, La Crosse, WI, 54601.



We will be striking at this location in order to follow up on our petition from the last climate strike on September 20th, 2019. We wish to show our representatives that we are not only able to show up on paper, but in person as well. We are asking you to sign up for the times that you are able to attend, so that we can keep the pressure on them ALL DAY LONG. Please sign up for more than one time slot if you are able! We will wear all black, in order to symbolize the danger and death that people and many living things face due to the accelerating climate emergency. We hope that everyone will bring signs as well. We suggest that these signs have clocks or other symbols of urgency on them--in order to show that there is little time left for strong action.


Friday, November 29, 2019

RUN FOR SOMETHING - La Crosse School Board

From the La Crosse School District:

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that at an election to be held in the School District of La Crosse on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the following offices are to be elected to succeed the present incumbents listed. The term of office for school board member is three years beginning on Monday, April 27, 2020.

OFFICE - INCUMBENT
School Board Member - Laurie Cooper-Stoll
School Board Member - Dave Rudolph
School Board Member - Connie L. Troyanek

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that a Candidate Registration Statement and a Declaration of Candidacy must be filed no later than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 in the office of the School District Clerk, 807 East Avenue South, Room 105, La Crosse. The first day to circulate nomination papers is December 1, 2019 and the final day for filing nomination papers is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 in the office of the School District Clerk.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that if a primary is necessary, the primary will be held on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.

Information regarding school district boundaries can be obtained from the school district office.

More details at:
https://www.lacrosseschools.org/overview/board-of-education/

Monday, November 25, 2019

Forum for Workers' Healthcare

WORKERS' HEALTHCARE FORUM

Health care workers will join union organizers and members of the Coulee Democratic Socialists to discuss issues around rising health care costs and concerns over consolidation and cutbacks at a public forum at 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Barney Community Center, 1000 E. Montgomery Street in Sparta. 


The event is free and open to the public and anyone with an interest in our healthcare system is encouraged to attend, ask questions and share their experiences. 
Speakers will include: 
  • Sharry Neidfeldt of Sparta, President of United Electrical Workers 1161. 
  • Joni Anderson, Vice-President of United Electrical Workers 1107 and candidate for State Senate district 14. 
  • Mark Taylor, a local behavioral health counselor. 
  • Mark Neumann, retired pediatrician, Congressional candidate for CD-3, and Medicare for All advocate. 
Issues such as the proposed Gundersen/Marshfield merger, the crisis in mental health and addiction services will be discussed, as well as rising costs and deteriorating working conditions for health care workers. A group discussion will be facilitated as well. 
Between constantly rising costs, shortages of necessary services, and political uncertainty, working people are being pushed to the brink when it comes to healthcare. The first step to building a better healthcare system, one that puts peoples’ health before profits, is sharing our stories and struggles with one another. If we want real change in healthcare, working people need to come together and demand a better system. We hope this event can be a first step in that direction.
For more information, call/text 608-632-6166 or email couleedsa@gmail.com

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Climate Strikes continue!

From La Crosse Students for Climate Future:  

The Strike CONTINUES!

STRIKE for our FUTURE

Friday, September 20 was our first strike. Led by the Fridays for Future, La Crosse chapter, we joined millions around the world to highlight the extreme crisis we face and called out elected "leaders" who are not doing nearly enough. More than 300 constituents signed a letter to US Rep. Ron Kind urging him to co-sponsor and support five specific bills. So far, he has not taken any action to cosponsor crucial climate legislation nor provided a date for a promised meeting with youth.

>> Please share <<


Print & post our flyers for November 29 and December 6.
November 29 and December 6 - on social media.
 

NOVEMBER 29
1) BOYCOTT BLACK FRIDAY from 7:30 to 8:30 at the intersection of La Crosse Street and Losey Boulevard. Black Friday themed signs will be provided, but please bring your own if you can.

2) STAND FOR CLIMATE ACTION WITH LOCAL STUDENTS from Noon to 2 p.m. on the west side of City Hall (along Third Street). People can join in whatever time they are able. BRING A SIGN if you can or use the extra signs available for anyone who needs one.

3) PLEDGE TO TAKE PERSONAL ACTION. Use our list of suggested actions below or come up with your own. Please pledge to take at least one action on this day in solidarity with Fridays for Future, Sunrise Movement, 350.org, Sierra Club, and more below. Our list will be updated as new ideas and resources are available.

 
 
DECEMBER 6

Please join us in another crucial push to make our U.S. elected officials pay attention to the climate crisis during the next global climate summit in Madrid from December 2 - 13 (a.k.a. COP25 at https://unfccc.int/cop25).

How? Sign up to strike with us at the La Crosse offices of U.S. Rep. Ron Kind and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin.
Where? 205 5th Ave. South, La Crosse, WI, 54601.

We will be striking at this location in order to follow up on our petition from the last climate strike on September 20th, 2019. We wish to show our representatives that we are not only able to show up on paper, but in person as well. We are asking you to sign up for the times that you are able to attend, so that we can keep the pressure on them ALL DAY LONG. Please sign up for more than one time slot if you are able! We will wear all black, in order to symbolize the danger and death that people and many living things face due to the accelerating climate emergency. We hope that everyone will bring signs as well. We suggest that these signs have clocks or other symbols of urgency on them--in order to show that there is little time left for strong action.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Action items for the week

This week is filled with public hearings and organizational meetings. There are many other great events happening, too, including speakers and films (see the calendar), but the events listed here are opportunities for the people to have direct interaction with the decision-makers.

November 12: 
* At 4 p.m. in the Council Chambers, City Hall, "The City of La Crosse's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program will hold a public hearing. All citizens are invited to comment on its Consolidated Plan, including community development issues and housing needs, overall CDBG performance, and impediments to Fair Housing. Draft results of the community needs survey will also be presented at this meeting and public will be invited to comment on the results of that survey. Comments can also be submitted to: City of La Crosse Planning Department (400 La Crosse Street, 3rd Floor) or on the City’s website www.cityoflacrosse.org/community."

* At 6 p.m., as noted earlier, "a Public Hearing will be held for any taxpayer on the Proposed 2020 Operating Budget of the City of La Crosse will be held in the Council Chambers, City Hall.  The proposed budget is available for inspection at City Hall Finance Department Monday through Friday from 1:00pm until 4:00pm.  Click here for a summary of the proposed General Fund Budget." This is very important - funds for an update to the city's 2009 Sustainability Plan were to have been in the 2019 budget but were pushed back to 2020. Now, we've heard that those funds will be pushed from the 2020 budget to the 2021 budget. This is unacceptable. In addition, funds for a very important greenhouse gas emissions assessment, which were to have been in the 2020 budget, are also pushed to 2021. Please attend or email our council and Mayor urging the restoration of these funds to the 2020 budget.

UPDATE: We have learned that the council will amend the budget at Thursday's common council meeting to include funds to begin the plan update and the GHG emissions survey in 2020 with the remainder of funds to be in the 2021 budget. This is great news. Thanks to those who contacted the Mayor and council!

November 13:
* At 12:30 p.m. a Town Hall Forum with Neel Kashkari, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "How does student debt affect La Crosse’s economy? How’s the job market for college grads? Why are wages low? Are we headed toward a recession? Here’s your chance to bring your questions and comments to a man in the middle of all those issues, and more." The event will be held in The Bluffs, UWL Student Union. See link for details.

November 14:
* From 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., a conference on Expanding and Strengthening Inclusive Communities, hosted by the Greater La Crosse Diversity Council, will be held at the Lunda Center, Western Technical College


* From 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., Chancellor Gow will hold an Open Forum in the Great Hall of the Cleary Center at UWL.

* At 5:00 p.m., a listening session with State Senator Jennifer Shilling and State Representative Steve Doyle will be held at the West Salem Public Library


November 16:
* From 10 a.m. to noon, a public interactive presentation, How Did We Get Here? The hidden impacts of racial disparity on the well-being of Wisconsin and La Crosse will be held at the English Lutheran Church, 16th and King.

Again, please check out the other events happening this week. And remember, if your event is not listed, please submit it for inclusion. If you would like to post a longer item about an event or issue you are working on, please email.





Saturday, November 02, 2019

Public comment on city budget

This is your chance! From City Hall:

11/12/2019 - Proposed 2020 Operating Budget Public Hearing
Notice is hereby given that on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 6:00pm at the Council Chambers of City Hall a Public Hearing will be held for any taxpayer on the Proposed 2020 Operating Budget of the City of La Crosse will be held. The proposed budget is available for inspection at City Hall Finance Department Monday through Friday from 1:00pm until 4:00pm.  Click here for a summary of the proposed General Fund Budget.
:
UPDATE:  It appears that funding for an update to the city's 2009 Sustainability Plan which was originally to have been in the 2019 budget but was pushed back to the 2020 budget has now been pushed from the 2020 budget to the 2021 budget! This is bad news if you believe that the climate crisis is real and we must take immediate action to address it! In addition, we hear that funds for a planned greenhouse gas emissions assessment, necessary to establishing good goals for the plan, has also been pushed to 2021. This is unacceptable. Please attend the public hearing and advocate for the 2020 funding of these important sustainability items or, if you can't attend, email the council and the mayor urging their inclusion.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

ALEC inspired bill penalizes protest

Cross-posted from Sierra Club with updates


ALEC inspired bills penalize pipeline protest

The recent passage of Assembly Bill 426, which would provide felony penalties for protests near oil and gas pipelines and other "energy provider" sites is alarming. The bill now moves to the Wisconsin Senate as SB 386. A hearing on the Senate bill was held on October 22. This is one of many such attempts around the country to prop up the fossil fuel industry and tamp down protests. Unfortunately, some Wisconsin Democrats are co-sponsoring.

According to the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law, under the ALEC-inspired legislation, "... trespass onto the property of any 'company that operates a gas, oil, petroleum, refined petroleum product, renewable fuel, water, or chemical generation, storage, transportation, or delivery system' would be a Class H felony, punishable by six years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Accordingly, protests in a range of locations could be covered, whether on land containing a pipeline or the corporate headquarters of an oil company."

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is suing to force Enbridge to remove its pipeline from tribal land (the easement expired in 2013), but this new law would potentially conflict with hunting and fishing treaty rights and criminalize treaty-guaranteed rights and tribal sovereignty. A diverse coalition of groups, including the Sierra Club and tribal governments oppose the legislation. Read their letter to Senators. Use it to make your own letter or phone call script.

A similar bill enacted in Sorth Dakota has been successfully challenged by the ACLU with the state agreeing to not enforce and to compensate plaintiffs' attorney fees.

Read about the bill and contact your state senator and Governor Evers.


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Climate (again)

Wednesday, La Crosse's chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby is hosting a pizza potluck and an overview of what area orgs are doing to educate and activate our fellow citizens about increasingly dire consequences of unaddressed carbon emissions (climate crisis). The event starts at 6 p.m. and will be at 401 West Ave. S.

There is another climate action being planned for late November/early December. If you are interested in helping with planning, please email.

If you think being concerned and liking a FB page is enough, think again. We are headed for catastrophe and it's not good and you know it. Now, it's time to make sure your electeds know you know. They cannot make the good and, in some cases, hard changes needed if most of their constituents are not making a big deal out of it. We need to call and email and talk to them - all of them, not just the ones who probably agree with us. Ask them to read the Uninhabitable Earth (now two years old). Share your concerns and your strong desire for them to do the right climate thing. Challenge slow walkers and sweet talkers. We need action and we need it now. Show up to demand it in person:

10/23 - CCL meeting

10/24 - Wisconsin DOT, straight from 1975, planning to remove trees and bowling-alleyize La Crosse Street to make it more convenient to drive fast in your private vehicle. We need more trees (read this great Tribune letter), protected bike lanes, no left turns, safer crossing for pedestrians. Public event is 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cleary Alumni Center (take the #4 bus).

10/26 - Climate = politics. Sorry. Get political for climate. The La Crosse Dems are hosting progressive icon Matt Rothschild for a talk and lasagna dinner from 5 to 8 to raise funds to canvass, call, and GOTV in 2020. Reserve your spots online.

10/27 - Climate = politics II. Which candidates have the best climate policies and a track record of getting things done? What are you waiting for? Get active with a campaign. The La Crosse for Warren folks had a kick off last Wednesday. And the La Crosse for Bernie (@crossefor on Twitter) kick off will be on Sunday from noon to 2 p.m at the Myrick Park Center. Both candidates get it. Both have a track record of making things happen. Don't be sucked in by Twitter and FB mindf**kery

Keep up on the science and spread the word. Talk to people about this CRISIS and why we have to act now. (And, no, natural gas is not the answer.) (And, no, Xcel Energy is not going to save us, either.)

There are answers, though. Inside Climate News has a whole great section on "Middle America's Low Hanging Carbon," the quest for reducing GHG emissions and storing carbon in Midwest cities, towns, and on farms. Check this list of top ciimate crisis info sites, too.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Hate and Bias

This week we learned that the City of La Crosse's attorney considers the phrase HATE HAS NO HOME HERE to be "political" and therefore not appropriate to be displayed in a public park. At least that's what the Tribune article says. You could politely contact our city council and our Mayor to provide your opinion. Wisconsin has "hate crimes" definitions and statutes, so apparently there is legal precedent for preferring no hate, at least when crimes are committed. We need, I think, to stop the Owellian slide - black is white, crime is legal, war is peace, hate is good, etc.

[UPDATE: We've heard that the city strongly supports the message that hate has no home here and is working on updated displays to that effect that will be placed at various locations around the city by the end of the year.]

On Saturday, (from 10 to noon at English Lutheran Church), learn about unconscious bias at a program sponsored by Creating a Healthier Multicultural Community (CHMC), a program that responds to the desire of many residents of the predominantly white La Crosse region to widen their awareness, understanding, respect and empathy for the lived realities of people with a wide range of racial, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. For more information go to laxwakingupwhite.com

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Oct. 26 - Matt Rothschild speaks

The La Crosse Dems are holding a fundraiser dinner on Saturday, October 26 at the Concordia. Social hour starts at 5. Dinner is served at 6. Funds will be used to help pay for space, materials, and equipment to educate, canvass, and GOTV in 2020. The Coulee Region's Dem state electeds will be under attack as Rs have vowed to "win" a veto-proof majority. And, of course, consider *resident trump.

So, the catered lasagna dinner is for a good cause and worth your time even before you consider the great and wonderful speaker, Matt Rothschild.

Matt Rothschild was a leader (writer, editor, publisher) at The Progressive magazine for decades. In 2015, when Mike McCabe stepped away from the great public resource he founded, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Rothschild took over as its Executive Director. Both organizations have been instrumental in holding and protecting Wisconsin's progressive seeds as the Walker/Vos/Fitzgerald wildfire continues to burn decades' worth of people-centered policies and priorities.

The latest WisDC initiative has been educating about fair voting maps.

Their Five Things You Can Do list includes:
1 HELP OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED
2 SUPPORT NONPARTISAN REDISTRICTING FOR WISCONSIN
3 SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN INTEGRITY PACKAGE
4 MAKE IT EASIER, NOT HARDER, TO VOTE
5 REENFRANCHISE FELONS

Join fellow progressives on October 26 to plan, listen, and learn how we can be more effective in 2020. You need not be a party member to participate. If cost is an issue, email treasurer@laxdems.com.