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Riverwest Neighborhood Association Passes Motion Opposing Military Voucher School

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Riverwest neighbors packed a recent BOZA Committee meeting testify against a voucher school from locating in their neighborhood.

Riverwest neighbors packed a recent BOZA Committee meeting testify against a voucher school from locating in their neighborhood.

Riverwest residents have mobilized in the last six weeks to prevent a private voucher military school from purchasing the Centro Del Nino building, located at the corner of Center St and Holton. The resistance against such a controversial “boot camp” school locating in the neighborhood just got a big lift.

The following motion was passed at the August 10th Riverwest Neighborhood Association General Membership Meeting:

“The Riverwest Neighborhood Association (RNA) is opposed to the Right Step organization’s purchase and use of the former Holton Street State Bank building, 500 East Center Street. For a myriad of reasons a military style boot camp it is not the best utilization of this building.

Motion: Larry “Spike” Bandy, RNA Chair Emeritus
Second: Doug Lueck, RNA Board Member Emeritus

The push back from neighbors has already successfully delayed the school from occupying the building at the beginning of the coming school 2016-17 year, but the school leaders do have a contested hearing in front of September 8th Building and Zoning Appeals Committee (BOZA) hearing, where public testimony from neighbors will be taken.

The school is currently part of an ongoing F.B.I investigation into child abuse allegations and employs a controversial “no excuses” model that has been called racist and harmful to at risk youth. The school’s proposed site also provide numerous safety issues because of its unique corner location on a very busy intersection. This is significant because the school must switch its current zoning status to allow for a school.

This case is a Special Use appeal. They will only consider testimony that addresses any of the four (especially the first three) criteria listed on their webpage,

If you apply for a Special Use, you must file a statement with you application that addresses each of the following criteria:

  • Protection of Public Health Safety and Welfare. The use will be designed, located and operated in a manner so that the public health, safety and welfare are protected. A geographic concentration of establishments of this type may be evidence, in certain circumstances, that the public health, safety and welfare will not be protected.
  • Protection of Property. The use, value and enjoyment of other property in the neighborhood will not be substantially impaired or diminished by the establishment, maintenance or operation of the special use. A geographic concentration of establishments of this type may be evidence, in certain circumstances, that the proposed use will substantially impair or diminish property values.
  • Traffic and Pedestrian Safety. Adequate measures have been or will be taken to provide safe pedestrian and vehicular access.
  • Consistency with Comprehensive Plan. The special use will be designed, located and operated in a manner consistent with the City’s comprehensive plan.

FYI: The Board of Zoning Appeals members have been appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by Common Council.



Beat Back the Right Wing’s Attack on MPS “Black Lives Matter” Resolution

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Leave it to right wing radio to attempt to destroy any progress towards improving the situation for people of color in Milwaukee, the most segregated city in America. Milwaukee students need you to show up at Tuesday night’s MPS School Board meeting to defend a recently passed “Black Lives Matter” resolution.

In 2015,  a much-needed Black Lives Matter resolution was passed by the MPS School Board.

Black Lives Matter, Milwaukee Public Schools Resolution 1516R-001 April 28, 2015

WHEREAS, The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948) boldly declared that, “Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship…”; and

WHEREAS, As a public school district, we are facilitators of the limitless growth potential of human beings. Our charge is to pour every ounce of creativity and energy that we have into the task of helping young people find and achieve their purpose. Our purpose must be guided by the belief that every human being deserves to live with dignity and that each of our students can leave his or her communities better than he or she found them; and

WHEREAS, The killing of unarmed Black men and women has left young people searching for answers to incredibly complicated and infuriating questions; and

WHEREAS, The extrajudicial killing of Black people in this country has deep roots in the dehumanizing system of white supremacy that once defined Black bodies as property and persisted in the form of lynchings during the 100 years of Jim Crow. The mob and the whip have been replaced by government sponsored “programs” like COINTELPRO, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, unjust policing, and structural policies that maintain racial segregation (redlining, urban renewal, and more) that exploit and oppress poor communities. Because these tragedies are not new and have lasting negative consequences for our communities, cities, and nation, we need to assert, over and over again, that the lives of Black people matter; and

WHEREAS, As WEB Du Bois stated, “The teachers of Black youth must believe in them. They must have faith in them and their community. They must trust them and encourage them and defend them.” Right now that means affirming that we are committed to the emotional and physical safety of Black students. It means that our schools and classrooms must be safe spaces for dialogue and support on the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement and the efforts to reverse the school-to-prison pipeline; and

WHEREAS, We believe deeply that the lives of all people matter. As a school district and as educators our lives are constructed around this fact. Shouting loudly that “Black Lives Matter” does not negate our commitment to ALL of our students. In fact, we believe that challenging all of our students and colleagues to recognize the innate value of Black lives will help them grow and that the quality of life for all who live in our communities will improve when we value the lives of everyone. Since so many of our Black students struggle to trust that our society values them, we must affirm that their lives, specifically, matter; and

WHEREAS, Historically, when Black people have fought for a more democratic society, the lives of all people have improved. Each time barriers to Black people’s potential have been erected, our whole society has suffered; and
WHEREAS, Educators knows that each of our students has different needs and that none of their lives end at our classroom doors. When our students are hungry or struggle emotionally, they don’t learn as well as they otherwise could. When our students witness or experience violence, they suffer emotionally and physically. To maximize student potential, our school system must meet the needs of our students in different ways. Right now, it is especially important for Black students to know that we value them, no matter what the legal system and police actions tell them; and

WHEREAS, Problems in our schools mirror those in our society. Society is plagued with poverty, growing inequality, gun culture, and violence. For our schools to be safe and centers of respect for the educational process, students, staff, parents and community must all come together for the betterment of our students’ future now; and

WHEREAS, The problems mirrored in schools can only be fully addressed with a united effort of community and school coming together; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That our district and schools and classrooms create safe space for dialog and support on issues faced in communities and schools related to policing, the educational process, and improving school safety; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That quality restorative justice practices be expanded and deepened district-wide, with the goal of training all staff in those practices; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the district create an advisory council — comprising community, parents, educators, and students — to assist in reviewing, strengthening, and creating curriculum and policy related to the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement, the efforts to derail the school-to-prison pipeline, the broader historical experience of the Black community, and present schooling experience; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the above advisory council shall assist in implementing policy and curriculum and establishing quality dialog with staff, parents, students and community; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That student leaders of all types be called on to participate in advancing this discussion and implementation; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the effort include discussions of biases, racial micro-aggressions, school-wide
data on race and discipline, fears, cultural ignorance, and stereotypes of Black youth; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That these discussions lead to training of school staffs in methods of de-escalation, mindfulness, creating a culture of trust, and cultural relevance; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That one of the goals of this process be to strengthen bringing community into our schools and to strengthen schools as centers of support for communities; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the district review its programs that may be contributing to unfair, unequal power relationships with community and school policing.

According to the author of the resolution, School Board Director Larry Miller:

Since its adoption, a group of community educators, parents, MPS teachers, principals and administrators have been meeting and preparing to implement the work, starting this summer. While the resolution calls for a broad reach in implementing the lessons of the Black Lives Matter movement, the working group is focusing on teaching and learning, along with restorative practices. Professional development training is being planned to be carried out this summer to prepare for implementing in classrooms and schools for this Fall.

This resolution squarely takes aim at the school-to-prison pipeline in Milwaukee, allocating $471,073 to implement restorative justice programs across the district, as well as creates ethnic studies positions. In a city that incarcerates more African Americans than anywhere in the world and that has been dubbed “the worst place to raise a young African American boy,” among other dubious worst-of lists, these measures do not go nearly far enough to address these problems for people of color, but they both represent progress. As with any attempt to improve the climate in Milwaukee, the right wing stands stubbornly in the way. Right wing talkers Charlie Sykes and Mark Belling have asked their listeners to show up to Tuesday night’s MPS school board meeting to speak against this resolution. Please be in attendance to drown out their hate and speak in favor of it.

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Facebook event page

Where: MPS Central Offices (5225 W Vliet St, Milwaukee, WI 53208)

When: Tuesday, May 24th at 6:30pm



Look What Happened When Scott Walker Announced He Was Dropping Out of the Presidential Race

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Scott Walker just announced he was dropping out of the race for president, but you’ll fall over laughing when you see what happened at his press conference immediately after he announced. Watch.



Walker Drops Out!0% Walker has officially dropped out!For some reason I was the only one clapping at this press conference.

Posted by Shit Scott Walker Is Doing To My State on Monday, September 21, 2015


Milwaukee Transit Drivers & Mechanics Begin 3-Day Work Stoppage

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Milwaukee transit workers held this Overpass Light Brigade message at Wednesday night's work stoppage rally at MCTS headquarters (photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Milwaukee transit workers held this Overpass Light Brigade message at Wednesday night’s work stoppage rally at MCTS headquarters (photo credit: Joe Brusky).

“What you’re seeing here is a middle finger in the face of “right to work” a middle finger at “Act 10″ and anything that tells workers that you don’t have a right to a voice on your job and I love it! I’m proud of it.

- Milwaukee activist and former MCTS driver Angela Walker

Workers in Wisconsin are beginning to wake up to the fact that the only way they can fight back against the attack on labor is through collective action. On Wednesday morning ATU Local 998 workers began what will be a 3-day work stoppage unless their demands are met.

The drivers and mechanics walked off the job at 3:00am after County Executive Chris Abele refused to budge on ATU Local 998′s demands.

ATU 998 workers began their work stoppage at 3:00am at the Kinnickinnic MCTS facility (photo credit: Joe Brusky).

ATU 998 workers began their work stoppage at 3:00am at the Kinnickinnic MCTS facility (photo credit: Joe Brusky).

The workers demands are simple:

After pickets at individual transit facilities during the day union president James Macon rallied hundreds of workers at the MCTS administration building to end the first day of action.

ATU 998 President James Macon speaks to workers gathered  outside of MCYS headquarters Wednesday night (photo credit: Joe Brusky).

ATU 998 President James Macon speaks to workers gathered outside of MCYS headquarters Wednesday night (photo credit: Joe Brusky).

MCTS workers march around MCTS headquarters (photo credit: Joe Brusky).

MCTS workers march around MCTS headquarters (photo credit: Joe Brusky).

The drivers and mechanics represented by ATU 998 will continue the work stoppage until the Fourth of July, when they return to work.

Watch the video below shot and edited by Milwaukee videographer Erik Ljung from Wednesday night’s gathering outside MCTS headquarters.

July 1, 2015 – Milwaukee County Bus Drivers and Mechanics on Work Stoppage from Erik Ljung on Vimeo.

Join workers on Thursday night at 5:00pm for another large rally at the Milwaukee County Courthouse.


UWM Students Sit-In to Demand Action from Administration on Walker Budget

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“They say cutback, we say fightback!”

University of Wisconsin students wanted a meeting with their chancellor. On Thursday afternoon, they walked into the chancellor’s office and sat down until they got a meeting with him. The students’ demands focused on Governor Walker’s budget cuts and what they considered to be a weak response from the university over the massive $300 million cut to the entire pubic UW System. By going outside the normal channels of communication they achieved their goal.

The student’s arrived at the chancellor’s office in Chapman Hall and asked to speak to Chancellor Mone.


The secretary mentioned that the chancellor had just left the office for a meeting. The students stated that they’d take a seat until he came back. The secretary continued that Chancellor Mone would not be back in the office that day and that they’d have to make an appointment to speak to him.

The students sat down and said they’d wait.

A UWM security guard showed up.


After some time passed, the secretary asked the students what their demands were. One of the students read them aloud.

1. Publicly and Unequivocally Oppose the Proposed Budget as Harmful, Unnecessary, and Political in Nature.

2. Cut Administrative Positions and Salaries Before Cutting Academics and Student Services and Before Laying Off Faculty and Staff

As the students were reading their demands several UWM police officers enter the room.

The first officer in immediately told the students that they needed to leave. The students didn’t budge and repeated their desire to speak with Chancellor Mone directly. The officer left the room. As he was leaving a report came over his radio of “other students.” arriving. That’s when you could hear the chanting outside. The students sitting-in sprang up and rushed to the window to see fellow students rallying in support outside.

Next came in another university official arrived holding a piece of paper. He told the students that they would need to fill out the form in order to schedule a meeting with the chancellor. The students repeated their request to see the chancellor.

Next, a man in a university shirt walked in. He was pleasant and stated that he was the Dean of Students. He spoke with the students in a comfortable manner and asked them what he could do to remedy the situation. The student reiterated their desire to speak with Mone. After some more conversation, the Dean left.

Another 20 minutes later the Dean of Students returned. He said he had a possible solution. He stated that the students could head over to the Faculty Senate to speak with Mone and other faculty governance, who collectively agreed to hear the student out. The students huddled and discussed the dean’s proposal. They agreed to send a representative while the rest of them remained in the office.

After some time the student representative returned. He stated that the chancellor and faculty had listened to the students’ demands. He also stated that Chancellor Mone was willing to set up a future meeting to further discuss the demands.

The students left the office after two hours of sitting-in content that they had been heard and that a future opportunity existed for dialogue. They received a warm welcome from the support rally outside.

As the students were discussing their next steps, Chancellor Mone walked up.

Mone was respectful and gave the students time to speak. He stated that although he agreed the cuts were wrong for UWM, he could not support their demands. After some back and forth contact information was finally exchanged with Mone’s word to meet with student representatives soon.


All photos were taken by Joe Brusky.