Monday, October 27, 2008

Lit drop needs to go back to school

Ruth Page Jones' volunteers were out again in our neighborhood do a lit drop but they headed for the hills when the rain/snow started. They were dropping off the misleading "Education" hit piece I mentioned in last week's Waukesha Freeman column.

Aside from the ridiculous statement about virtual schools, Jones' literature tells some absolute whoppers. For example, the statement that Bill Kramer did nothing while the state took $400,000 from Waukesha to give Elmbrook $2 million is absolutely false. Blaming Kramer for that is like blaming Larry Nelson for muggings in Milwaukee. What the hit piece does not mention is that the legislature was tied up in knots because Ruth Page Jones' allies in the State Senate were trying to pass the largest tax increase in state history for their "Healthy Wisconsin" plan, a plan about which the worst Jones has ever said is that she didn't think Waukesha residents would support it. This legislative mess is the cause of the rebate to Elmbrook. If Jones had a problem with it, tell her to call the governor and the Democrats in the state senate.

Jones promises to overhaul the state school funding formula to benefit Waukesha. Again, what a whopper. She should sell used cars. She must have fallen asleep when State Representative Sondy Pope Roberts (Dem) would not reveal her secret plan for changing school financing but readily conceded that any change that would have the support of the Democrats would mean Waukesha taxed more and receiving less.

Jones also claims Kramer has no solutions for Waukesha's spending problems. Never mind that the school board and the district administration have run the district so incompetently they have sunk themselves into a black hole of an investment scheme. Never mind that the district still has not closed a school despite a recommended plan to do so. Never mind that Jones displays prominently the endorsement of the former school board president who was ousted just this last spring, and in his endorsement he actually makes the false claims the classrooms are overcrowded.

Where was Ruth Page Jones when Kramer was in Madison fighting for a change in the QEO that would allow school districts to offer equivalent insurance if the school district could find it at a lower price than what the union charged? Where was Jones, despite her claims that over 80% of the district's costs are the result of personnel costs?

But hey, Bill Baumgart, former president of the Waukesha School Board, says Bill Kramer should go. Baumgart, who if he had any self-respect would resign from the board, says Bill Kramer should go.

Kramer is endorsed by the current school board president Dan Warren, who replaced Baumgart. I wouldn't accept either endorsement, but if I had to choose one?


Speaking of endorsements, Ruth Page Jones received the endorsement of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Shocking, I know. Still, I'm not sure we'll be seeing the endorsement on anyone's doorknobs or in the mailboxes anytime soon.

In a very close call, we think Democrat challenger Ruth Page Jones deserves election based on her positions on such issues as the importance of regionalism and improving education in Waukesha and Milwaukee.

Specifically, what do they mean?

Among other issues, she supports a regional transit system and public financing of Supreme Court races.

In other words, pet causes far removed from the interests of Waukesha. At worst, her support of "regional transit" would mean, again, more taxes from Waukesha to pay for projects elsewhere such as light rail in Milwaukee. Instead of answering the question, who would be the better representative for Waukesha? The editors of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looked for who from Waukesha would better represent them. Gee thanks.

At least we have an example of why newspapers should not issue endorsements.