Uncategorized06 Nov 2012 10:13 pm

State Reps. Evan Wynn (R-Whitewater) and Andy Jorgensen (D-Fort Atkinson) represented the 43rd Wisconsin Assembly District Tuesday night in a debate on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus.

UW-Witewater’s Timmerman Auditorium held the debate, and it was sponsored by the Whitewater League of Women Voters and the University’s Student Government.

The two candidates debated mainly on education issues, as well as other hot topics of discussion.  Each incumbent was given two minutes to speak on each question asked by audience members.

When asked about increased tuition and keeping higher education affordable for students, Jorgensen said education “took hits over $500 million” under Wynn’s direction the past two years.

“Education is important to me,” said Wynn. “As a U-W Whitewater graduate and a person with a degree in education, I understand the importance in getting a good-paying job”.

Wynn believes there should be a 5% tuition cap for middle class students.  This is because middle class students typically don’t qualify for financial aid because their parents make too much money.

When healthcare was brought into discussion, both candidates were in favor of having affordable health care for the people of Wisconsin.

Rep. Wynn showed concern with passing the Affordable Care Act too fast.  “I do support that we take our time and do it right,” said Rep. Wynn.

Rep. Jorgensen showed his concern with how the Affordable Care Act has continued to be pushed back. “That’s not taking your time,” said Jorgensen.

Another issue discussed at the debate was legislators being bullied by the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC). WEAC is a teachers union, representing public education employees, and is responsible for over 800,000 public school students.

 

Jorgensen said “we need to get money out of politics and have regular people run for jobs, instead of having whoever is the richest one that can run and raise the most money, as that isn’t good for any of us”.

Wynn agreed with Jorgensen; however, he noted how Jorgensen has roughly $23,000 in hand compared to Wynn’s $7,000.  Wynn believes that  there needs to be a closed account to limit government spending to help the state move forward.

When the candidates were asked how they would handle the divide that’s driven Wisconsin apart, Rep. Wynn immediately brought up a story that involved Jorgensen screaming in the face of Rep. Stephen Nass on the assembly floor. Wynn stated that he conducted himself as a professional, unlike his opponent.

Rep, Jorgensen admitted to Wynn’s story being accurate and explained his frustrations when things are not done when and how they’re supposed to be done.

Jorgensen continued by explaining his view on partisanship on a certain bills. “I saw past the partisanship, I wanted to get that law passed,” said Rep. Jorgensen. “I’m honored to have been part of that, and to have done it together.”

Wynn agreed, saying “getting something done requires us all to work together.” However, he reminded the audience that we must pull our emotions aside, allotting to his previous story about Jorgensen.

The Voter I.D. Law was also a topic of discussion.  Rep. Wynn stood for supporting the legislation.  “I do believe that you have to prove who you are to be able to vote,” said Wynn.  He then brought up the fact that Jorgensen voted for an earlier adaptation of a voter I.D. law on 2007.

Rep. Jorgensen agreed with Wynn; however, he noted that the bill in 2007 version was “a much different bill.” He explained his view that the more recent version is too extreme and disenfranchises some voters.

Abortion was of course of topic of discussion, as it is in most debates.  Both assemblymen agreed that abortion is bad.  Rep. Wynn stood firm in his pro-life stance.  However, Rep. Jorgensen stated that he supports preventative measures of unwanted pregnancies.  His main defense was that if a female were to be raped and become pregnant, she should have the option to abort the fetus.

Jorgensen and Wynn are both in favor of funding Stem Cell Research.  “This is something that, if it’s done responsibly and with a conscience, it can be something our state could be a leader on,” said Jorgensen.

 

Taylor Chobanian

Uncategorized16 Oct 2012 09:57 pm

Tuesday night’s Common Council meeting involved some controversial debates.  A main topic discussed was the “Old Countryside Home” property located on County Highway W, and whether or not it should be the location for a new highway department facility.

Nineteen of the 28 County Board members approved the new location on site C in Jefferson County.  County Board Chairman John Molinaro said that he agreed with the voting results concerning the highway department facility.

The Old countryside Home has been unoccupied since 2002 when a county nursing home was under construction.  The nursing home was eventually sold to private operators to continue developments to the property; however, those efforts were unsuccessful.

Board members decided to demolish the unfinished nursing home and buy back the property on site C.  There is about $500,000 in the highway department budget.  $200,000 of the budget will be used for the purchasing of the facility, and the other $300,000 will be used for design expenses.

“The next step is to determine the cost of tearing down the Old Countryside Home,” Molinaro said after the Common Council meeting.  The deconstruction could cost anywhere between $720,000 and $880,000.  The county board will be able to determine the exact cost to tear down the Old Countryside Home as well as the cost and size of the new highway facility within the next six to eight months.

Some County Board members expressed concerns with the excessive construction expenses.  They debated whether or not it was worth spending almost $1 million now when the money could be saved and construction could commence at a later date.  They raised the idea that a new highway facility could be built within the site C property without tearing down the home, as it does reside on about 60 acres of land.

Molinaro said the purchasing of the site C property will never happen without demolishing the Old Countryside Home; “I’ve been told, quite definitively by the City of Jefferson that tearing it down will not happen. They will go to court for a tear down order if we don’t follow with taking that building down.”

The proposed highway facility is meant to include showers, locker rooms, administrative offices, and a lunch room.  However, the new building must be able to adapt to any changes over the next 30 years.

Other Topics discussed at the Common Council meeting included:

  • A resolution was approved by the County Board to support legislation requiring online-only retailers to remit and collect Wisconsin sales tax.
  • Jefferson County administrator Gary Petre explained the 2012-2013 county budget plan which plans on Jefferson County becoming debt free by April 15, 2013.
  • County Board voted in favor to change the speed limit on County Highway “J” from 55 mph  to 45 and 35 mph zones.

 

Taylor Chobanian

Uncategorized25 Sep 2012 09:25 pm

The new parking meters on campus were a hot topic discussed at Wednesday night’s common council meeting.  City Council Rep. Stephanie Abbott spoke out against UW-Whitewater putting parking meters along Prairie and Prince Streets because of an agreement the city and the university made in June.

Abbott’s main concern was the clarity of the original agreement made on June 7 between the city and the university regarding making the parking on these streets primarily student parking.  Abbott stated that she was surprised how as time went on both of the streets became completely lined with parking meters and not a single permit parking spot.

The memorandum did not state that the parking had to be specifically metered parking or permit parking; however, at the previous council meeting it was stated that it would be permanent parking.  Abbott believes there to be concern in that what was intended to be permanent parking is now entirely metered parking.  “It has really changed the dynamic of parking on campus,” Abbott said.

Vice President Lynn Binnie spoke after Abbott countering her clarity concern stating that the impression the head of UWW parking services, Robert Brecklin, left them with was clearly that both Prairie and Prince Streets would be metered.

Abbott then raised concern that students will likely park further away in residential areas rather than pay for metered parking.  Alderman Jim Olsen stated that the main reason students are not taking full advantage of the parking on Prince Street is because the street is currently under construction.

“There was not enough permit parking in the lots closer to the academic buildings for the professors to park at so this was an opportunity for the university to help satisfy their staff creating more permit parking within their lots, and put the peripheral parking as meter parking,” Olsen said.

While Prairie Street is currently open, Olsen pointed out that meters on Prairie Street are $1 per hour while the meters on Prince Street are 25 cents per hour.  He believes that once the street is open more students will take advantage of the more inexpensive meters.

Many of the metered stalls which are now along Prairie and Prince Streets were originally on campus.  In total the number of meters on campus did go down; however, the number of permit stalls on campus did increase.  There are now 147 additional permit stalls on campus made to service commuting students and professors.

Following the council meeting, Abbott shared her thoughts on the outcome; “I must express some disappointment that some of my fellow council members did not recognize as I did the information presented during the June 7, 2012 council meeting differed greatly from the actions later taken UW-Whitewater and Parking Services specifically.  I do not anticipate further council action unless the university should somehow fail on its part to uphold the memorandum of understanding.”

Other topics discussed at the council meeting included:

  • The repairing of Unit C (heating vent) over the Whitewater Police Department.
  • The invasion of Emerald Ash.
  • The “Pig in the Park” event on Saturday.
  • The approval of the 2013 fire department contracts.
  • The effect construction in Whitewater is having on parking.

Council President Patrick Singer also made note of the forum that will be held on Friday at the UWW Innovation Center where the public is invited to meet the five finalists for the city manager position from 4 to 5:30 p.m.  A question-and-answer period between citizens and the candidates will follow in the city’s municipal building community room at 6:30 p.m.

Taylor Chobanian

Uncategorized24 Sep 2012 01:58 pm

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