Sometimes this stuff gets a little confusing and convoluted…but the elected officials in Wisconsin do know who they are dealing with? right? I mean Foxconn is a well know Taiwanese electronics manufacturer right? Then why did someone say something, well, like this?

At some point, special rocks were flown in from Japan and are now part of a Japanese garden outside the building.

“This is very traditional in their culture,” Lois (Claude Lois, project manager for the village of Mount Pleasant) said at the July village board meeting. “This is a big ceremony that they’ll do eventually at this site once they take full occupancy. At some point in time, I would assume yet this year, they’ll have a ceremony with this garden.”

Taiwanese culture would be related to Chinese culture…not Japanese culture…or do all? You know what I mean.

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I am not going to go into all of the fabrications, changes, blown expectations, over promises, cheated municipalities, and disappointed public officials…and of course those hoping for high tech job from an international leader.

But I am going to bring your attention to a quote from President Donald Trump at the groundbreaking for the Foxconn plant in Racine County…it’s going to be the EIGHTH wonder of the world. Well let’s put this down as a promise not kept and a wonder where it went phenomenon:

Foxconn originally proposed a Generation 10.5 facility that would be an investment of up to $10 billion and create up to 13,000 jobs. The company said it would make huge display panel screens. Foxconn then scaled down its plans to make smaller ‘Generation 6’ screens found in phones and tablets — a less-advanced technology.

Days before the state declined to give the Foxconn Technology Group tax credits for work done in 2019, officials wrote that the Mount Pleasant facility “may be better suited for demonstration purposes rather than as a viable commercial glass fabrication facility.”

The memo casting doubt on the project states the Foxconn facility “if operational, would be the smallest Generation 6 (factory) operating anywhere in the world. It is less than one-twentieth the size of the promised Generation 10.5 project and would employ, if it ever became fully operational, only a small fraction of the local residents who WEDC expected to be employed.”

emphasis mine

Smallest Gen 6 plant operating anywhere in the world…and other than one purported phone call to Foxconn after the plan changes, I don’t believe that the president has bothered to insert himself again to ‘bring manufacturing jobs’ to Wisconsin or the United States.

thankfully he didn’t dehydrate before walking out!

What are you hearing Dan?

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It has been somewhere between 180 and 200 days since the Wisconsin Legislature has met and taken any kind of action…and we are knee deep in a pandemic and sinking. So it is abundantly clear that Wisconsin doesn’t need a full time legislature. And since the institution of the biennial budget, the only heavy lifting actually occurs in odd numbered years.

So why do we have a full time legislature. I didn’t go back and research the history on the why and wherefore on how we got there, but I was surprised to find that Wisconsin is in the very small minority of states with full time legislatures…there are exactly 10 states with full time legislatures. Some aren’t that surprising as they are big population areas like New York State or California, but lightly populated states like Alaska and Hawaii are also among those ten.

So let’s go part time! I suggest that the legislature meet from January through June each year. They should be able to get their business done in that time. The current Republican majority state houses have already proven the concept. The only exceptions would be emergency situations and the governor could call the legislature back in session as he does today.

I propose that legislators be moved to half of their current salary, that their staff sizes be reduced, that pensions be replaced with 401(k)s, that health insurance be removed, and per diems be re-examined.

The savings to the state would be significant, particularly when considering pensions and costs to staff legislative offices. The article linked above, full time legislators pull down an average $82,358 per year, so Wisconsin’s $52,999 is already something of a bargain…but $26,500 would be even better. And the national average says that full time bodies have on average 1,250 staffers, while the overall national average is 684 and even lower for part time bodies. I don’t know how many staffers support our legislature in Wisconsin but I would bet it is closer to the 1,250 than the 684.

The only exceptions to this change would be the Assembly Speaker and Senate Majority roles…they may need to be full time to oversee their offices and work with the governor and the administration…but I might be wrong and maybe they should stay away for half the year as well.

Want small government? Here’s the change we need to make! Let’s be part of the 80% majority and go part time in Madison!

[snark alert] don’t think this is practical? seems to have worked for the Milwaukee County Board! [end of snark alert]

Since the original implementation of body cameras for police officers was first introduced, there have been many pro and con positions presented. Some of the pro positions include improving officer/civilian interactions, an ability for command officers to oversee rank and file officers, encouragement for officers to maintain professional standards, and civilians more comfortable when engaging with police officers. The cons include, they are expensive to acquire and implement, it is expensive to maintain a data base of recordings, it requires new skill sets in administration, new rules of engagement are required to accommodate use of the cameras, and police officers resent the intrusion and big brother implications while wearing one.

But the reality in 2020 is everyone they encounter on the street has a quality video camera in their pocket, purse, or backpack. They are skilled in using them. They are more than willing and comfortable loading their videos up to social media. And as we’ve seen in Minneapolis and Kenosha, these videos can prove very damning to police officers and can cause major social upheavals.

These videos may not always be 100% accurate or tell the complete story. They seldom have decent audio and are often filmed at some distance from the activity or at an unusual angle and they don’t see all that there is to see. And although with 2020 technology videos can be edited or enhanced to show something other than the facts, people tend to view these amateur videos as the truth.

So for an officer’s safety and to defend their side of the story, wouldn’t the best scenario be a body camera that includes the close up audio and video exactly as the officer is encountering it? Yes, it may still prove damning if the officer is acting outside of their authority or outside of approved procedures. But in many more cases it may prove enlightening to what was apparent to the officer but not necessarily to bystanders.

According to local news sources there are a lot of area police departments who don’t have body cameras. It seems that updating all of these departments with the proper equipment would improve police accountability in fact and in the eyes of the public…and protect police from inadvertent misrepresentations of their actions as viewed through third party amateur videos.

Whichever candidate wins on November 3rd, they should provide federal funds and federal guidelines for acquiring and maintaining body cams for every law enforcement agency in the nation.

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