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Emotions Run High in First Days of Walker Recall

While politicians on both sides craft talking points, Wisconsin residents speak out on the reforms that have passed in Walker's first year in office.

For years, Tom Scheer has stood on the political sidelines, but all that changed this year after Republican Gov. Scott Walker took office and introduced controversial limitations to collective bargaining, a bill allowing the concealed carry of weapons and a voter identification bill.

Scheer was one of hundreds of people across the state who signed petitions to recall Walker Tuesday. He said Walker never talked about collective bargaining restrictions in his campaign, which to Scheer is representative of a larger silencing of the voice of people in Wisconsin.

"Virtually everything he's done when he's been in office has been something that was not talked about during his campaign, and what the people have wanted since he was elected has been totally irrelevant to him. His campaign was a fraud on the state of Wisconsin," said Scheer, a recently retired attorney living in Whitefish Bay.

Scheer also took issue with concealed carry legislation and the voter ID bill, which he said restricts voting access for low-income populations and students.

"Every time I turn around, I see a gross violation of representative democracy," he said.

Roughly 75 grassroot groups across the state hit the streets Tuesday, against Walker and Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. If the recall effort is successful, it will be the third recall against a governor in the nation's history.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has set up recall offices around the state, one of which is located on Green Bay Avenue in Glendale, where a slow but steady stream of people came through the door to sign the recall petition, sign up to volunteer and give money to the cause on Tuesday.

While volunteering at the Glendale recall office, Martha Pincus of Fox Point said she feels the concealed carry legislation, the voter ID bill and the collective bargaining restrictions are a "mean-spirited" move toward the extreme right wing.

"I don't think it's ethical to balance the budget on the backs of those that can least afford it, such as the disabled and the elderly," she said. "Do I want a recall? No. Do I think it's necessary? Yes. I don't think Wisconsin can afford to see what happens if he carries out the rest of his term."

At another office, at 7984 W. Appleton Ave., volunteer Doris Black of Milwaukee said the office has seen a flurry of activity.

"You can tell that people in the city, that people in the state are upset, and they want to see Scott Walker out," she said.

At the West Allis office, Mary Jo Randall of Wauwatosa signed the petition and said she plans to volunteer a few hours each week at the office and independently circulate petitions in her neighborhood.

Randall said she is most concerned about FamilyCare, which provides in-home care and services to the elderly. The program allowed her mother a “measure of independence” before she passed away because she could live at home and receive services such as meals and social worker visits.

Under Walker, the number of people eligible is capped, so people once receiving FamilyCare “end up in hospitals and nursing homes, which costs more for us.”

“What are we going to do with our elderly people who need just a little bit?” asked Randall.

Republican strongholds stand ground

Walker enjoyed a healthy majority of the vote when he was elected in 2010, especially in traditional Republican strongholds of Waukesha County.

And in that area he has plenty of supporters, including 39-year-old Paul Bellou of Sussex, who said he thinks a recall is unwarranted.

Bellou, who has been a member of the painters union for more than eight years, said the recall effort is a waste of money and believes that money should be spent on more important things.

"Everybody elected him for a reason and I don't understand why people are turning their back on him," he said.

Ed Kull, 69, of Hartland, said he doesn't vote down party lines and didn't vote in governor's race in 2010, but he supports Walker. He said the governor needs more time in office to be effective — just like President Barack Obama, whom Kull also supports.

"He's a good governor. We just gotta give him time," he said. "I don't want to see anybody lose their job, you know? You can't down a guy for trying to do a good job; it just takes time. Just like Obama, he got all the crap from the other presidents to take care of and it just takes time."

Sixty-year-old Nancy Farmer of Sussex also doesn't support Walker, but she thinks voters should live with the consequences of last year's election.

"He did what he said he was going to," she said. "You can't recall a man because he did what he said he was going to do."

Taking to the streets

While recall supporters signed petitions in recall offices, cafes and public events, some people have downloaded their own petitions to take up the effort independently.

In Greenfield,

"I can't think of a more important thing to do that to defend democracy," she said as she sat on a blue cooler and leaned on a table where clipboards held blank petition forms ready to be signed by passersby Tuesday morning.

"That is what this is. A right to vote, the importance of an educated citizenry is core central to how a democracy works," she said as she instructed the first signer on how to correctly fill out the petition form. "This is where the fight for democracy stands right now in the state of Wisconsin."

Patch's Carl Engelking, Rory Linnane, Jared Halverson, Brendan O'Brien and Marit Harm contributed to this report.

Jenny Heyden November 16, 2011 at 05:33 PM
Milwaukee Journal Editorial Board would beg very much to differ with it being called a "Left Wing Rag." Please google Milwaukee Journal Editorial Board.
JGK November 16, 2011 at 07:03 PM
WALKER LIED:....he said he would balance our budget and cure the deficit..Based on the comments in here I'm sure he didnt do that.......or did he ??? JGK Shorewood (River West Annex)
Greg November 16, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Yep...
Michael Pyter November 16, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Terry, you misread my comments. The unions want Walker recalled because his success will expose their hipocracy and obsolesence. There's no connection to the "occupy" movements except their pointless rhetoric. I think ALL Wisconsinites as ALL Americans should be concerned by this growing polarization of the parties, the brewing class war and a left wing acceptance of truly socialistic ideals introduced by our unions and their puppet President of the USA. Do we want a Democracy or Socialism for our children?
Michael Pyter November 16, 2011 at 09:36 PM
Jenny, I stand corrected, The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel Sports, Cue, Ads, and Food sections show no political bias whatsoever.
Michael Pyter November 16, 2011 at 09:52 PM
Steve..just what is an "extreme right wing social agenda?" Allowing school districts to manage their own budgets and employees without union interference and threats of a walk out? Is accountability for ones own performance without an overwhelmingly powerful union at their backs what frightens the left? Not raising taxes? I realize thats a foreign concept for the left (especially Doyle supporters). Balancing the budget and living within our means during a national recession? Is that too "extreme?" Creating a tax friendly environment to draw business and jobs to Wisconsin...is that too extreme too? Walker has been in office for one year. He has worked to better the State for us all. He has broken no laws...the recall effort is groundless and is an "extreme left wing social agenda."
Sara Conrad November 16, 2011 at 10:09 PM
Out of state right wing money doesn't try to buy elections with frivolous recalls.
JGK November 16, 2011 at 10:44 PM
Did these people at Walkers house take a day of vacation, get a slip from the nurse, a note from Mom (or union rep) or are they just out of work....or, better yet...getting paid for the day...Those unions are great... JGK River West Annex (Shorewood)
Keith Schmitz November 16, 2011 at 10:55 PM
Frivolous?
Keith Schmitz November 16, 2011 at 11:00 PM
Here's a handy guide why we need this recall -- http://tinyurl.com/779cgb2 Walkers "tools" are not sustainable. It is obvious that we are loosing jobs, and even Walker has abandoned his 250,000 jobs pledge. With rising unemployment, there will be another drop in state revenue, leading to the need to cut further. You cannot go to public employees and ask for more cuts. Further, these cuts in the form of payment for benefits is a significant decrease in purchasing power. Meanwhile, the so-called "jobs session" yielded no substantive programs. What Walker is doing is not sustainable, along with the fact that he doesn't know what he is doing. It was bad enough that he was incapable of handling the job he had in Milwaukee county.
Keith Schmitz November 16, 2011 at 11:04 PM
Hardly pointless. We are seeing rising inequality which is a major league threat to democracy in this country and that is what the movement is all about. None of us are calling for socialism. Our real worry should be fuedalism
Keith Schmitz November 17, 2011 at 12:00 AM
Where are your politics coming from? The Journal Sentinel is light years from being liberal. The publisher is in the tank for Walker. Are you from out of state?
Sara Conrad November 17, 2011 at 02:06 AM
Pretty sure I didn't stutter.
Keith Schmitz November 17, 2011 at 02:14 AM
Surely you don't, but help us out here. Are you saying massive right wing money from vulture capitalists will be buying this recall?
Bob McBride November 17, 2011 at 02:35 AM
And linda, it's ALEC, not ALEX. For G-d's sake learn to copy and paste from the daily mailings you get like the rest of your ilk. Free typing just isn't your thing.
Ima Hippee November 17, 2011 at 08:00 PM
Steve - not bad. Took about three sentences before the term "extreme" right wing social agenda was proffered. I am disappointed that it took till the end of your rant that you offered up the Koch reference. BTW - to say the Democrats structurally can't compete in elections is absurd.
Greg November 17, 2011 at 08:54 PM
Keith, As you know PR mostly involves creating an image, good or bad. Your use of the Democrat web site, for facts on Walker's reforms, reflects how much you suck at PR. I think that the thing you should worry about being "not sustainable" is your career at KRPR inc. The fact is we can not sustain ourselves, as tax payers, without the reforms. 15 trillion is what you think is a good idea? Wrong again.
Cathy E Garrison November 17, 2011 at 09:03 PM
I don't live in Wisconsin but in Seattle. I grew up in Milwaukee & attended UW-Madison before moving west. I have to weigh in on the Scott Walker issue. Those of us who view this from the outside are appalled at Walker's controversial decisions and feel his turncoat legislation and autocratic gov't is troubling. It's also out of the norm that a governor would derail union benefits vs negotiate. I'm surprised that legal entities haven't initiated lawsuits against his administration. In Washington state our Governor wouldn't do this. She did bargain with employees to reduce benefits to save jobs and are concerned about unemployed and poor people. WA state also works to bring in new industry to build our economy and create jobs. We suffer as you do in Wisconsin with budget deficits and reductions in programs. They found money for training programs and pay tuition for unemployed to return to school. Jobless rate in Seattle and State is > 9%! Washington and Seattle are generally liberal as we have some of the world's major tech and other companies who provide jobs and pay healthy taxes. We also pay high sales taxes of over 9% too. We have Republicans in Eastern Washington, but most aren't as extreme as Walker. Walker is a right-wing Republican who probably gets support from the right-wing Koch Brothers, Prosperity for America. They have tremendous influence in politics, starting the tea party and trying to get rid of Obama. I wish you luck with your efforts!
Greg November 17, 2011 at 09:39 PM
Derail union benefits, really? Your Madison education left you clueless. The benefit contributions are minor, at best, and the alternitive was layoffs and job reductions. We have a ballanced budget and no loss of services. We have local control of costs and most taxes are going down. You can have the left coast and your 15 trillion dollar federal mess.
Steve November 17, 2011 at 10:12 PM
I am the real Steve
Steve November 17, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Unemployment in Washington state is 9.1%, awesome job your liberals are producing. And then you go and bring up the Koch brothers which means you are a clueless poster that trolls in from the daily kos or huffington post. You can't negotiate with the taxpayers when you are in debt. Walker did not reduce benefits and saved thousands from losing their jobs. But you know all this, you're just a troll reading liberal talking points from another state which has an even higher unemployment rate.
Linda Binder November 18, 2011 at 05:05 PM
It appears we're not doing as well as the Walker ads proclaim. This was reported yesterday: "Wisconsin lost an estimated 9,300 private-sector jobs in October in the state's fourth consecutive month of job declines, according to the state Department of Workforce Development....Abdur Chowdhury, chairman of the economics department at Marquette University in Milwaukee, noted that Wisconsin lost private-sector jobs during the same months that the national economy added private-sector positions, albeit haltingly."
CowDung November 18, 2011 at 05:14 PM
While it is unfortunate that 9,300 private sector jobs were lost, perhaps we can look on the bright side and thank Walker that only 400 public sector jobs were lost last month...
Ima Hippee November 18, 2011 at 06:51 PM
Cathy in Seattle - that is very eloquent but based on lies, falsities and weak research. I am perplexed, baffled and mystifyed by your position (and if you graduated from UW Madison). You make it seem as if it is worse in Washington than it is in Wisconsin - public unions negotiated "reduced" benefits, sales tax >9% and reductions in programs. These are draconion plans probably put forth by their extremely left-wing deep pocket (Microsoft) leader. They have tremendous influence in politics.
Michael Pyter November 18, 2011 at 07:06 PM
Cathy...they're called workers "benefits" they're not "rights." One may have a Constitutional "right" to be part of a union with collective bargaining benefits...but an employer, like the State of Wisconsin also has a Constitutional right to decide whether they will or will not abide by that power shift in employee negotiations. Benefits can be legally recinded and/or changed by an employer at the end of a contract and if no contract exists then at free will. That is, and what has been done in the private sector for a couple decades or longer. Why is it so gosh darn hard for some on the left to realize that? Collective bargaining power was abused by the unions and finally someone stood up for the State to limit its powers. Frankly, the State could no longer afford the cycle of rasing taxes to keep pace. On jobs, personally speaking, regardless of which side of the aisle you prefer, regardless of the level of government, it IS the employers, those corporations under attack for just about everything, that create the jobs and actually HIRE people, NOT those politicians that promise those jobs to help them all get elected. Its a buzz word. So, creating a employer friendly environment to encourage the employers to hire and/or move to Wisconsin is about all Walker or any politician can do. In that regard Walker is already surpassing what Doyle did.
Morninmist Same November 21, 2011 at 12:24 AM
JCK Know your facts before you post or you will look stupid--like you just did now. The rally started at 4:30pm --AFTER WORK FOR ANY DAY SHIFT.
Morninmist Same November 21, 2011 at 12:56 AM
Hi Cathy I am glad to see your Governor was reasonable and used some commonsense and negotiated deals with workers. In the long run it will be better for all. Walker has divided our state with his power grabs. A major part of the anger is that Walker and his Republicans in our Legislature have treated Democrats as doormats--violating open meeting laws and not even allowing their Jobs bills to have a hearing. As you are aware, Wisconsin has always been proud of its open govenment. NO MORE-not sense the Republicans came to town. Steve (with the flag) believes anyone posting a progressive point of view is not worthy of posting. He and others would rather have their RepublicanTea Party choir to preach to. Thank you for coming on board with your perspective. It is always good to hear how other states are faring. In Solidarity,
Morninmist Same November 21, 2011 at 01:06 AM
I welcome this new group to the fold. Thank you. http://democurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2011/11/more-merrier-another-recall-group-hits.html Saturday, November 19, 2011 More the Merrier! Another Recall Group Hits the Streets. From Channel3000: A second group filed paperwork with state election officials on Friday aiming to seek out Republicans and independents in the effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker. The Walker Recall PAC's treasurer, Randy Bryce, of Racine, delivered the papers to the GAB late Friday. It's the second group to start a serious effort against the governor, behind United Wisconsin, which filed Tuesday. Bryce, a union ironworker, said his group will seek signatures from independents and Republicans who are upset with the governor. "We're specifically targeting independents," he said. "There are Republicans who have changed their minds since they last cast a ballot, and we're going to be reaching out to those people -- people whose doors aren't knocked on." Bryce said his small group will not be able to gather hundreds of thousands of signatures itself, but said he hoped to collaborate with United Wisconsin. "I can't see why we wouldn't," he said. "If they don't have enough and they need some more, well, here you go. It's kind of like an insurance policy."
Morninmist Same November 21, 2011 at 01:31 AM
Republicans are hypocrites. Some participated in Recalls of Democrat US Senators because of their position on abortion. Now they cry that we can not do a recall because no crime has been committed by Walker. tsk tsk!! http://thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com/2011/11/wisconsin-gop-leaders-have-loved-recall.html Sunday, November 20, 2011 Wisconsin GOP Leaders Have Loved The Recall Process ..........let's not forget that Neumann signed and spoke in favor of recall petitions in 1997 circulated unsuccessfully by abortion foes against US Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl, ,,,, 2 Senators Face Recall Effort In the Midwest. April 22, 1997|By From Tribune News Services. CEDARBURG, WISCONSIN — U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann has signed a petition to recall both of Wisconsin's senators, including one whom he likely will challenge in next year's election. Speaking at the state Lutherans for Life Convention here on the weekend, the Janesville Republican urged the audience of about 140 to sign petitions to recall Democratic U.S. Sens. Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl. .... A separate report also says Walker received money from the group after its failed effort. And, of course, Walker walked into the County Executive office in Milwaukee after a successful recall of then-incumbent Tom Ament, and even made a glitzy spot about that "extraordinary thing" for his gubernatorial campaign. See and copy it, here, before it disappears.
Morninmist Same November 21, 2011 at 06:06 AM
Michael Just remember that the MJS endorsed Walker and they have not recanted their endorsement.

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