DeForest Area Progressives (DeForest Area Action Team?)
Meeting notes for October 12, 2015
Next meeting: Monday, October 19, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.
There were six people at the October 12th meeting. Announcements included
- Blues for Bernie Fundraiser at the Brinks Lounge,701 Washington Ave., Madison, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., October 20th
- Robert Reich speaking at the downtown Madison Library October 24th
- Party to watch the Democratic candidates debate on October 13th at the Rodeside Grill in Windsor; there will be a cake, a trivia contest, and order off the menu for dinner; hosted by Dawn Fish
- Dane County’s multi-jurisdiction Special Registration Deputy training has been rescheduled to Wednesday, October 14. This event will be held in the Oak Hall of Fitchburg City Hall, 5520 Lacy Road. Registration will take place between 4 and 5 p.m. The Dane County Clerk’s Office will offer a voter registration training session from 5 to 6:30 p.m. And participants will be able to receive Special Registration Deputy appointments from many Dane County clerks between 6:30 and 8 p.m.
- Legislative hearing on the Government Accountability Board changes, State Capitol, October 13
We had a lengthy round robin critique on last meeting’s conversation with DeForest Police Chief Bob Henze. Marcia thought it was valuable. She learned a lot and was especially interested in the Citizens Police Academy. She was impressed and thankful that the DeForest police force feels the support of its community. Dawn thought it was great! She liked picking the chief’s brain on gun legislation and mental health. Ginny thought the mental health discussion stood out. She related our discussion on mental health to the fact that County Executive Joe Parisi is reported to be including more resources related to mental health in his 2016 budget proposal. Having been critical of DeForest police harassment of kids in past discussion, Ginny was impressed with the description of the police-school district liaison officer’s work. She knew one of the liaison officers, Joe VanVoorhis, when she worked with disabled kids in the school system and praised his attitude and work with kids. She thought that Officer VanVoorhis listened to kids and helped them. John St. criticized the discussion, because he thought the DAP meeting time could be put to better use on more important things. He said that in his experience, kids were often targeted unfairly by local police officers. He disagreed with Chief Henze’s comment about guns not killing people. John did not think we covered the subject of the militarization of police well enough – why wear riot gear when policing peaceful protesters? JohnSki thought the evening was successful, and he particularly liked the references to drunk driver enforcement. Craig thought that although there was some fluff in the presentation, he was particularly impressed with Chief Henze’s description of the handling of the Yahara School threat incident. Craig thought the chief downplayed the DeForest drug situation too much, and he was disappointed that we did not spend more time on the gang problem in Dane County.
John St. reported on the last meeting of the South Central Grassroots Alliance (SCGA) at the Fitchburg Library. The steering committee asked DeForest Area Progressives to come up with “leverage points” to affect legislation that we all oppose. One idea is to boycott stores and businesses. JohnSki thought the techniques promoted by Saul Alinsky might be worth looking into. Faith organizations are tired of being dominated on issues by their fundamentalist counterparts. Leverage points should seek to change minds, influence decision-makers, lobbyists, and elected officials. Dawn thought small items in local newspapers might work. Marcia suggested we generate a list of methods and next week consolidate the list and prioritize it.
Marcia reported on the Madison Institute session she attended last Saturday morning at the Madison Sequoya Library. It was a discussion of the current legislation attacking the Government Accountability Board (GAB). Among the speakers were Judge Gerald Nichols and Kevin Kennedy. Generally, the discussion had to do with what is going to happen if the GAB is dissolved and partisan bodies take its place. Marcia referred us to a Legislative Reference Bureau newsletter, “Spotlight,” that highlights legislation weekly. Currently of interest, besides the GAB bill, are bills having to do with limiting voter registration and campaign finance expansion. There are other shocking things happening in the Capitol now, and they are happening very quickly. Legislator Dale Schultz said that relationships count. Form relationships with your legislators and cultivate them. Senator Mark Miller agreed, saying he is always impressed by people who make appointments and meet with him in his office. Both Schultz and Miller said don’t back away. There can be swing votes by “bi-conceptual” people who can be influenced. We must go and be heard. Otherwise we are “just giving it away.” Dawn said we need to get other, fresh faces involved. Marcia has an appointment with Representative John Jagler. Other Dap-pers volunteered to go with her to develop that relationship with Rep. Jagler. We must reach people at the heart level. George Lakoff teaches us that listening is physical, creating pathways in the brain.
What local elections are coming up in the next year or two? JohnSki was assigned to find out.
The regular DAP meeting was adjourned and followed by Bernie for President activities.