Friday, August 23, 2019

Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum

If you don't know about Democracy Now!, a daily independent award-winning news program with Amy Goodman, you are missing out on the best news program in the country. Much of Thursday's episode shows what a real news program should be and what a real candidate forum should be. 

Have you heard about the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum in Sioux City, Iowa? The commercial news channels focus endlessly on the madness of the *resident, but the real issues faced by the real people rarely get national media attention. And real news about Native Americans and the racist genocidal history and current policies of our government is never on "the news."  

The forum was a two day event. Candidates answered questions from a panelists including youth, elders, and tribal leaders on issues including treaty rights, adoptions of Native children, tribal sovereignty, environmental racism, voter suppression, and the epidemic of murders of Native American women. What is particularly striking, if you've watched the commercial media's circus-like presidential "debates," is the difference in the quality of questions and questioners.

Please watch this half hour story including issues background; interviews with Native leaders, politicians, and organizers; and real discussions. You should watch. It's only half an hour. Here's part 1. (You can also find these at the website.)

And here's part 2:

Then you can learn more about it at Indian Country Today's event site.

Monday, August 19, 2019


If you haven't yet, please email Wisconsin's DNC members and ask them to vote yes on the Podlodowski resolution at this week's DNC meeting in California. Be aware that DNC chair, Tom Perez has introduced a competing toothless resolution. Read more at Huffington Post. (Unfortunately, this is just business as usual for Perez.) Two Wisconsin DNC members are already on board. Thank you Andrew Werthmann and Khary Penebaker. The others are Martha LoveJanet BewleyBen WiklerMahlon Mitchell, and Felesia Martin.

On Tuesday, 8/20, State Senator Jennifer Shilling is hosting a birthday fundraiser. If you can attend, do. If not, consider a donation and, coming up, volunteering. Shilling won her last election by a very slim margin last time. State Republicans are hoping to gain enough seats in 2020 to provide a "veto proof" majority. We can only imagine what that might mean for the ghost of progressive Wisconsin.

On Thursday, Kevin Kane will meet with La Crosse area folks interested in organizing a Citizen Action co-op in our region. If interested, sign up at the FB event page.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

City will consider new "special events" permits

From the city's web site:

The City of La Crosse is proposing updated policies and procedures for permitting special events held within the City beginning January 1, 2020.

The City’s goal is to encourage and help coordinate special community events, while regulating these events in a positive manner to ensure the health and safety of participants at the event, efficient management of City services and the protection of public lands and facilities.

The proposal will be discussed at the Board of Public Works meeting on Monday, August 12, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. in the 5th Floor Conference Room.  The proposed legislation is expected to then be presented to the Judiciary & Administration Committee and Common Council in the September 2019 cycle of meetings.

Below are links to documents detailing the proposed policies and procedures:
If you have questions or seek additional information, please contact Nikki in the City Clerk’s Office at (608) 789-7555 or email at (Note:  I will be out of the office August 5 - 9, 2019.)

Does this mean that a demonstration or vigil or group visibility event needs a permit with an application 60 days in advance and proof of insurance? Do city permit regulations interfere with First Amendment rights?

The ACLU says,
"Do I need a permit before I engage in free speech activity?   
Not usually. However, certain types of events require permits. Generally, these  events are:
• A march or parade that does not stay on the sidewalk, and other events
that require blocking traffic or street closure
• A large rally requiring the use of sound amplifying devices; or
• A rally at certain designated parks or plazas
Many permit procedures require that the application be filed several weeks in  advance of the event. However, the First Amendment prohibits such an advance  notice requirement from being used to prevent rallies or demonstrations that are
rapid responses to unforeseeable and recent events. Also, many permit ordinances give a lot of discretion to the police or city officials to impose
conditions on the event, such as the route of a march or the sound levels of  amplification equipment. Such restrictions may violate the First Amendment if  they are unnecessary for traffic control or public safety, or if they interfere
significantly with effective communication with the intended audience. A permit  cannot be denied because the event is controversial or will express unpopular views. 
If organizers have not obtained a permit, where can a march take place? 
If marchers stay on the sidewalks and obey traffic and pedestrian signals, their activity is constitutionally protected even without a permit. Marchers may be  required to allow enough space on the sidewalk for normal pedestrian traffic and
may not maliciously obstruct or detain passers-by.
May I distribute leaflets and other literature on public sidewalks? 
Yes. You may approach pedestrians on public sidewalks with leaflets, newspapers, petitions and solicitations for donations without a permit. Tables may also be set up on sidewalks for these purposes if sufficient room is left for  pedestrians to pass. These types of free speech activities are legal as long as  entrances to buildings are not blocked and passers-by are not physically and
maliciously detained. However, a permit may be required to set up a table.
Do I have a right to picket on public sidewalks?Yes, and this is also an activity for which a permit is not required. However, picketing must be done in an orderly, non-disruptive fashion so that pedestrians can pass by and entrances to buildings are not blocked.
Read more at the ACLU's site.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

PeopleFest and more

Sunday marks the second annual PEOPLEFest in La Crosse. Sponsored by a long list of great community groups, the gathering will highlight our community's growing diversity and welcome everyone to our big family. The FREE event runs  from noon to 5 p.m. at Riverside Park.

Performing groups include the Enduring Families Project, Group Cabana, Irish and Hmong dancers and more.

There will be food there, too (but be sure to bring your WATER BOTTLE) so we can reduce or eliminate bottled water!

On Monday, August 5, the Wisconsin Public Education Network hosts its Fifth Annual Summer Summit at Central High School. Governor Tony Evers will be the featured speaker at the day-long event that includes workshops, advocacy training, networking and more. You don't have to be a teacher to attend! WPEN is, "a grassroots, nonpartisan coalition to support our public schools made up of parents, educators, board members, administrators, school districts, and groups around the state." Visit the event site for registration and schedule details.