[UDPATE: The meeting happened Thursday June 17. Jason Haas put these items at the very end of the 31-item agenda, requiring everyone who wanted to testify to wait on the phone 7 hours for the chance. Only Ryan Clancy’s proposed right to council for eviction defense had as many public testimonies, Haas scheduled that as item 25. It passed. Haas also tried to invoke parliamentary rules to silence Clancy on the CART program. When that failed, he invented new rules. Willie Johnson Jr took over chair duties during the discussion of sheriff overtime. He refused to acknowledge at least one of the submitted eComments because it brought up the spurious origin of Ted Chisholm’s position as MCSO chief of staff. We’d counter that Chisholm gaining his position through nepotism and cronyism seems directly related to his inability to write an acceptable report.
The votes: – For CART, only Clancy and Sequanna Taylor voted against creating three new sheriff positions. Chisholm brought in sheriff Lucas and Michael Lappen from BHD, who convinced the rest of the board that CART could not happen without giving MCSO $300,000 to add three deputy sheriff FTEs to the list of vacant deputy sheriff positions they cannot fill because so few people want to be deputy sheriffs.
-For overspending, Chisholm’s report was again rejected because the only “solution” to overtime overspending he proposed was everyone giving them more money. The vote was close: Clancy, Taylor, Liz Sumner, and Joseph Czarneski were in favor of rejecting the report. Haas, Johnson Jr, and Shawn Rolland wanted to let Ted Chisholm and MCSO off the hook.]
The people of Milwaukee want less of our money going to law enforcement, but county officials are letting sheriff Earnell Lucas rake it in. Unsatisfied with their generous budget, the Milwaukee county sheriff’s office (MCSO) has a habit of overspending on overtime. They’ve also worked to take in money allocated for mental health and tried to control the shift to more humane and effective approaches to public safety. Amidst all this resource-hoarding, Lucas is also working to silence his most vocal critic on the county board.
This article is part four of a series on legislation to create snitch houses, also known as “COP houses” across Wisconsin.
While advocating for snitch houses, senator Taylor made backroom deals with the republican establishment. She says she’s looking for community houses that provide wrap-around services, but what’s actually happening is police are taking control of resources and services, while expanding their role in society.
In early May, SB124 and AB258 were amended to remove the appropriation of grant funding, expand eligibility requirements to include smaller cities, and add a few usage specifications. Kelda Roys was the sole vote against this amendment in the senate committee, but she ultimately ended up voting in favor of the bill. During the May 18 assembly committee hearing, Mark Spreitzer asked the senators, “why [they] took the money out of the bill […] is it going to be a two year thing, or ongoing?
This article is part three in our series on legislation to create snitch houses, also known as “COP houses” across Wisconsin.
In the last article we showed how putting a snitch house in a targeted area reduces crime in that specific area, but increases economic and emotional strain for targeted residents. People experiencing stress are more likely to resort to crime, they just go somewhere further from police presence to do it.
At the May 18 hearing, committee member Sue S Conley, a democrat whose district borders zigzag tightly around Janesville, making the neighboring districts more solidly republican, recognized this dynamic. “You come into a neighborhood,” she said, “you establish the house […] did the problem just shift to another neighborhood?” Van Wanggaard’s response was a gleeful “sometimes,” but Taylor cut him off with a more diplomatic response that acknowledged the real problem. She went onto a tangent about drug dealers operating out of their cars rather than drug houses to be more mobile. Her statement reinforced, rather than allaying, Conley’s concern. Then Wanggaard burst back in with a great real-life example.
This is part two of our series on the legislation to create snitch houses, also known as “COP houses” across Wisconsin.
At the May 18 hearing, senator Van Wanggaard introduced the snitch house bill by portraying it as an attempt at police reform. “The police cannot be an occupying force in an area,” he emphatically stated. But, throughout his testimony, when describing how snitch houses work, his reformist mask slipped. He described police using snitch houses to “take over” and “gain control” of areas, exactly as an occupying force would. The reality that he, a former cop, cannot grapple with, is that police are always an occupying force in the neighborhoods they target. The houses AB258 seeks to fund are simply the first bulwarks of this occupation.
Senator Taylor joined in, describing the impact snitch houses have on the areas they target, but she relied heavily on some questionable statistics. She repeatedly cited a story about “20% of people causing 80% of the chaos.” If you look up this stat, the first thing you’ll likely find is quotes from pop-economist Malcolm Gladwell, a sure sign that it’s dubious and exaggerated. Digging deeper, we found the actual source, a study from Duke University where researchers were looking to prove the “Pareto Principle,” a quirky theory that the 20/80 rule applies to many aspects of life and social phenomenon.
During the May 18 public hearing on the Snitch House bill (SB124/AB258 also known as COP house bill) Lena Taylor and Van Wanggaard revealed that their co-authored, pro-cop legislation is everything we fear, and worse. We already have a long article detailing snitch houses (bootlickers call them COP houses) but, the more we learn and reflect on supporter’s statements at the hearings, the more we have to say.
There is so much to unpack from Taylor and Wanggaard’s introduction that we are going to put out a three part series, starting this week. The bill gets its first assembly committee vote on Wednesday, June 2. Please call or email the democratic members of the committee before Wednesday!
When the Joint Finance Committee went to Rhinelander to hear public testimony, extended special invitations to guards who abuse children at the Lincoln Hills / Copper Lake youth prisons. Here’s a video of their testimony, with some reactions and responses from regular people who don’t abuse children and try to justify it.
Wisconsin is currently going through its biennial budget process, and both political parties have agreed to expand the prison system. Wisconsin already incarcerates an alarming portion of its population. Many states with higher prison populations, like Louisianna, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, and California have enacted policies to reduce their prison systems. Wisconsin is on the opposite track.
Over the last year the DOC population has declined to the lowest point in two decades. Unfortunately, that decline is a temporary response to the pandemic, and is mostly caused by delays in the courts. When Wisconsin “bounces back” and the economy reopens, we should expect the prison system’s maw to reopen as well.
The budget proposed by Governor Evers has been characterized as a liberal wish-list, but that list doesn’t include decarceration. Indeed, his capital budget spends $119 million expanding prison. Meanwhile, we should expect the Republican budget to include a much larger expansion, including the construction of a new maximum security facility.
Lena Taylor has teamed up with Van Wanggaard and some other death cult Republicans to sell a handful of “reform” bills that empower, fund, and legitimize the police. Oh, and there’s one that says cops shouldn’t rape the people they kidnap.
The rest of these are trash.
The public hearing on these bills will be, unexpectedly in Milwaukee at the UWM Fireside lounge on Thursday March 18th, at 10AM. Spending time in a room full of cops and gross anti-masking politicians is probably a bad idea, but anyone who wants to risk it, here’s the information.
Or, you can contact Senator Lena Taylor and tell her to withdraw support from the bills, especially SB117 and SB 124: Sen.Taylor@legis.wisconsin.gov 414-342-7176
In the meantime, we looked through Lena’s trash bills so you won’t have to. Here they are in order from “totally fucked” to “wait, how is that not already a law?”