Move to Amend Favored in Whitewater and Fort Atkinson

An overwhelming amount of support was shown in Whitewater and Fort Atkinson for the national Move to Amend movement to reduce election spending by special interest groups.  In Whitewater, 83 percent or 1,013 of the ballots were “yes” votes and in Fort Atkinson 76 percent or 1,312 of the ballots were “yes” votes.

“It just shows the overwhelming support that citizens have for a constitutional amendment to return control of the democracy to the citizens,” said Dan Fary of the Town of Oakland, who helped organize the Rock River affiliate of Move to Amend.

In December, more than 775 signatures were certified in both Fort Atkinson and Whitewater to put the Move to Amend referendum on the April 2 ballot.

“I am surprised and pleased by the outpouring of the average person saying enough is enough,” said James Hartwick of Whitewater.

 Move to Amend has six core values:

  • Accountability and responsibility, both personally and organizationally
  • Transparency
  • Community
  • Movement building
  • Dedication to Move to Amend mission, goals and tactics
  • Commitment to anti-oppression within ourselves, communities, work places, policies, and representation.

The referendum in both Whitewater and Fort Atkinson read: “Resolved, that ‘We the People’ of the City of Fort Atkinson (Whitewater), Wisconsin, seek to reclaim democracy from the expansion of corporate personhood rights and the corrupting influence of unregulated political contributions and spending. We stand with the Move to Amend campaign and communities across the country to support passage of an amendment to the United States Constitution stating: 1. Only human beings – not corporations, limited liability companies, unions, nonprofit organizations or similar associations and corporate entities – are endowed with constitutional rights, and, 2. Money is not speech, and therefore, regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech. Be it further resolved, that we hereby instruct our state and federal representatives to enact resolutions and legislation to advance this effort.”

Move to Amend is on a mission to establish that “money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations are persons entitled to constitutional rights.”  In January of 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons and are entitled to buy campaigns.

Move to Amend responded to this decision by stating, “We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizen’s United and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.”

Currently, there have been six Wisconsin counties and municipalities that have passed resolutions supporting this movement.  These counties and municipalities include: Eau Claire County, West Allis, Madison, Dane County, Dunn County, and the Town of West Port.

Nationally, 11 state legislatures have approved the movement toward a constitutional amendment.

 Stephen Justino of Colorado’s Move to Amend said in an interview, “Move to Amend is trying to provide people with the action step.”

As for Wisconsin, Fary said, “Our intent is to keep working until we have a State of Wisconsin resolution sent on to U.S. Congress.”

High Hopes For Field Of Dreams

Treyton’s Field of Dreams is one step closer to becoming a reality.  The Whitewater City Council met last night and discussed further details regarding the steps necessary for this field to become more than just a dream, but rather a real place for little leaguers with big dreams to play in tournaments.

Matt Amundson, Parks & Recreation Director for the city of Whitewater, spoke on behalf of the project.  He shared that once constructed, the Field of Dreams, which will be located in Starin Park, will be a four-field venue.  The Field of Dreams itself would be the main attraction.  This field would be modeled similarly to a major league diamond creating excitement for little leaguers with major league dreams.

The Kilar family along with developers hope that this would bring tournaments to Whitewater, which could mean great things for the community.  On average, it is predicted that each tournament would bring 16 teams, which breaks down to 96 athletes and 480 fans.  That would mean families of participants would be spending money on gas, restaurants, lodging, entertainment, and many other commodities Whitewater has to offer.

An item up for debate regarding the field is whether or not to build the pavilion during the first phase of construction.  Although Amundson hopes this can be done during the first phase, it is something that could possibly be postponed until after the fields are constructed.  The benefit for building the pavilion right away is the prospect for concession sales.  This would be additional revenue for the field that could go toward the maintenance and upkeep of the turf.

In 2012, a complex similar to the Field of Dreams opened in Waupun, Wis.  The complex hosted six tournaments, each of which generated between $5,000 and $5,400.

The Field of Dreams project began in 2010 after six-year-old Treyton Kilar was killed by a drunk driver.  Kilar’s love for baseball inspired his family to want to build a baseball field in his honor where children could play their little league games but feel like they are playing in the major league.

Before the field can be built, $474,000 must be raised.  According to treysfield.org, $325,000 has already been raised.  Earlier this year Golden State Foods donated $30,000 to the project and in 2011 the field won $50,000 from the Pepsi Refresh Project.

The council will meet again on February 21 at 6:30 p.m. to continue discussing the Field of Dreams project.  As of now, the project could be breaking ground as soon as this fall.