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Diary of A Mad Recall Petitioner

What it's really like collecting signatures to recall Scott Walker.

Part of me wishes I really did need to "Get a f****** job" like so many right-wingers have been screaming at me for the past two weeks - then I would have more time to volunteer and collect signatures to remove Walker from his perch. But work and family come first, and since my kids were suffering from strep throat the ENTIRE Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I could not get out as much as I wanted to. When I do make it outside however, I try squeeze every signature out of every person with at least a little bit of common sense left in Milwaukee. (In other words, people who don't listen to 620 WTMJ or watch Fox News)

I pack my little Hyundai full of signs, signs that have to be held, signs that lean against poles, signs that have to be hung around necks, signs that can be taped to tables, signs that reflect light, signs that get heavy after three hours of holding them, signs that smell like paint and give me a damn headache, signs that are made of cheap particle board and give me slivers . . . you get the picture.

I usually meet a mother and daughter team that "have been working the corners together" as a team since the days of the Senator Mary Lazich recall. They are angels and troopers and are out EVERY SINGLE day. We have fold-able tables, more clipboards than you can count, big rocks to hold the clip boards down in the wind, pockets full of those orange hand-warmers and kleenex to wipe our constantly runny noses. We drink hot chocolate and coffee, rotate out for potty-breaks and take turns holding signs and waving and instructing citizens how to fill out the petitions.

We change locations based upon police interference or signing traffic. We scout the area for busy intersections with good parking and public areas for our signs and tables. We are fluid and mobile. We set up in minutes and often collect more than 100 signatures in three hours.

Personally, I have found the city to be much more hospitable - there are many, many "This is what democracy looks like" car honks, very few middle finger waves and almost never does anyone shout anything negative out of a passing car.

In the suburbs of Greendale and Franklin it is a much different story: As you may be aware, , we can't go two minutes without someone in a $40,000 foreign car rolling down the window and telling us that "Teachers are greedy" or "Get a life" or "F*ck off!" And to be truthful, most of these comments have come from women (they must have a thing for Sean Hannity).

Occasionally someone has the audacity to get out of their car and harass us in person. They park their Lexus or their Cadillac SUV right near us, walk over and lecture us on what a great job Walker has done in Wisconsin "balancing the budget." And when we confront them and tell them that he "balanced the budget" on the backs of the working-class and lower-class people of the state and that Wisconsin led the nation in job losses last month (10,000) they stutter, and mumble something about greedy teachers again, give the old finger wave and head back into their foreign car with the leather seats and turn on Charlie Sykes and let their blood pressure rise as they listen to the hate spewing from their Infinity speaker system.

Then there is the guy in his hunting overalls in the beat-up red truck who signed the recall petitions, "Let him stay" and "Let her stay". When Sara snapped his picture, wrote down his plate number and informed him of the $10,000 fine and felony conviction coming his way he actually, literally started to cry and beg not to be turned in - turns out he has been out of work for two years and is just "really upset" and only likes Walker because now he can carry a concealed gun and protect his home under the "castle doctrine". Looks like he could have used some work, say in the light-rail industry that Walker let walk away.

We never turned him in.

I remember way back (like 5 years ago) when if someone said they were a teacher, the usual response was "God bless you, you have a tough job" or "It is a shame what we pay our teachers" was the usual response. Now all of a sudden teachers are greedy bastards for demanding such things as affordable health care and a decent retirement package after dedicating 30 years to educating our children.

How dare they? Teachers have it easy - paying their own college loans off on a low salary, then paying their own way through a master's degree (in order to keep their license) and then renegotiating contracts every two years to give up salary to compensate for affordable health care. What thiefs, what leeches, what greedy sons-of-bitches right? B.S.!

If teaching is so easy and it pays so well, why doesn't everybody become a teacher and take on what is apparently the world's easiest, best-paying job? Because it is none of the above. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Try it some time, then you might understand why 50% of all teachers quit within the first 3 years.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Stormy Weather December 04, 2011 at 08:27 AM
Bren - Nice job throwing your father & other private union members under the bus, so that you can justify public employees not having to step up and contribute!
enicar333 December 04, 2011 at 02:44 PM
What a skewed view of the world. Seniors are losing their homes over rising property taxes - which funds the Teachers. Property tax is done at the point of a gun and is a wealth re-distribution scheme. If you are TRULY concerned you will demand that property and income taxes be abolished and that Government funds itself with VAT and consumption taxes. Restoring and protecting personal property rights must become a priority, as well as changing the tax structure. A Tobin tax and the re-instituting Glass- Stegall would be enormously beneficial. You present fine union talking points and positions - but you are intelectually dishonest with your claims - at best.
J. B. Schmidt December 04, 2011 at 02:49 PM
@Seriously Concerned So I assume you were proud of Doyle's ability to ram through whatever legislation he wanted because he had control of both state houses. Legislation that the Republicans disagreed with. You are just a liberal sad to see your progressive ways being defeated by a public not interested in them and your only response is a recall. This recall is all about power. The justice you wish, is to have only liberal policy pushed through the Wisconsin Legislature. You are trying to silence the republican voter.
enicar333 December 04, 2011 at 03:06 PM
There is NEVER a need to argue the FACTUAL basis of Teachers salaries. I always go directly to the source - the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction - just like you should. http://dpi.wi.gov/lbstat/newasr.html From the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Milwaukee Teachers salaries: LOW: $15,080; HI: $98,871; AVERAGE: $57,602 FRINGE (AVG) $36,040. A school year is about 180 days. 180 days X 8 hours = 1,440 hours. For people in PRIVATE business, a work year is 260 days X 8 hours + 2,080 hours. Avg. Salary ($57,602) + Avg. Fringe ($36,040) = $93,642. Teachers are: Underworked, overpaid, overcompensated, and retire too early with too much. "Jason Richwine and Andrew Biggs, researchers at the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, two leading conservative think tanks, argue in a new report that the country's 3.2 million teachers may be overpaid by over 50 percent or more, given their salary, benefits, job security, and intellectual ability." http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2011/11/04/teachers-are-actually-overpaid-says-report/?icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl7%7Csec1_lnk2%7C110490
caledoniagirl December 04, 2011 at 03:57 PM
Oh gosh, this article made me laugh. My husband and I are both unemployed and drive vehicles that need a lot of work - but we still have enough sense to know that Walker is doing everything he has to do to keep WI afloat. All of the energy being wasted on the recall (not to mention money) could be used for better 'liberal' purposes - volunteering and helping people in our community.
oak creek resident December 04, 2011 at 06:58 PM
Bren, as usual, you cannot argue against my facts so you right away play the "ohh you are being mean" card. This is the extent of the liberals thought process - irrational emotional response takes precedent over thoughtful intelligent decision making. Thanks for proving my point.
oak creek resident December 04, 2011 at 06:59 PM
Stormy Weather - Bren cannot see the difference between public and private sectors. The fact that he cannot differentiate between two extremely different things proves his lack of intelligence and ability to see the world for what it is. Hence, his liberal ideology and ease of brainwashing.
oak creek resident December 04, 2011 at 07:00 PM
Bren, if I am hiding behind internet anonymity so are you then. Post your full name and address, hypocrite.
oak creek resident December 04, 2011 at 07:02 PM
Jason Putzfahl is quiet, guess he's looking into his AFL CIO supplied idiotbook to try to find a reply to my arguements. I am guessing "big oil" and "big business" will be in his answer somewhere to try to redirect the issue. LOL soooo predictable.
oak creek resident December 04, 2011 at 07:06 PM
SOOO some guy wrote down "let him stay" and the union goons threatened to call the cops. These are the same union goons though who are encouraging their side to write down names of dead people on the recall petitions. Here's the evidence: http://lmliberty.us/2011/11/16/proof-democrat-party-of-wisconsin-plans-to-use-dead-people-in-recall-walker-effort/##axzz1faujif9S Such hypocrisy and bullying from the union uneducated left - surprised anyone?
clearthinker December 04, 2011 at 07:08 PM
Jason, please let the board know if you are going to be in the Waukesha area so that I can come by and tell you and your greedy public union buddies to "f" off.
Morninmist Same December 04, 2011 at 09:01 PM
@Ben H Walker caused this instability you decry-by his LIES, and dishonesty. And you know that state workers were ready to give on the withholding of party of their retirement and headcare, yet Walker gleefully; went and demolished collective bargaining except that we could negotiate for cost of living wage.--A month ago he took that away by freezing salaries for 2 years. And the Republicans in our Legislature are just as slimy in the way they tried to push through the budget bill quickly and with little notice related to oru open meeting laws. http://thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com/2011/09/beware-walker-20.html "Came home from the Super Bowl...had all of my cabinet over...it was kind of the last hurrah before we dropped the bomb." (the bomb was to take away collective bargaining) {Scott Walker}
Morninmist Same December 04, 2011 at 09:36 PM
Hi Jason You are a kindred spirit. In many ways I do what what you do in my spare time since the Recalls have begun. I met up with one friend--sometimes another person comes by for a small time to allow us rest breaks but not often. But we have set up in several small towns with our home made signs and clipboards. We have been on city owned parks or land. Many people are so appreciative we are available for them with our clipboards. We have had the finger from some but most give us the thumbs up. Only a very few have stopped to argue with us. We have had people from all walks of life and of all ages. It is not a baby boomer phenomena as some posters claim. We have been fortunate enough to be near post offices in these small towns --its the "high traffic" area in these small town--especially on Saturday:-). I tuned in several pages (all three petitions for Walker, Kleefisch and the Senator) last evening after being in one small town for several hours yesterday. It was a good day. Keep well and keep up the good work. BTW--loved your story.
Stormy Weather December 04, 2011 at 09:37 PM
I have a feeling that Bren and Jason are out twisting arms, trying to get more signatures!
Morninmist Same December 04, 2011 at 11:32 PM
If the job is union affiliated then move on if you do not want to join the union. Stop LYING. It makes you look stupid which you are if you think people are forcing others to join a union.
Chris MS December 05, 2011 at 12:29 AM
I just cannot believe how misinformed and how disrespectful people are in the state I was born and raised in but left when I was 25. It really was not like this from what I remember. To all of the people who despise teachers as wealthy money-suckers. Why don't you stay at home and home school your kids? You do realize that is an option, right? It just amazes me. Or, as many mention, if teaching is SO easy and SO well paid, why don't you become a teacher? I never hear an answer to that question. I love being a teacher and have been one for the past 14 years--but IN AUSTRALIA. Thank God people here believe that EVERYONE should have affordable healthcare (EVERYONE pays 1.5% of their salaries) and that teachers should be (and ARE) RESPECTED. What would happen to society if all public workers disappeared? Total anarchy. You would have to take all your garbage to the dump, clean your sewers, put out your own fires, defend yourself from foreign and domestic violence, teach your children, etc... It would be scary. If I could, I would help in the recall efforts. I still vote via my last American address in the US (in Wisconsin) but because i am no longer resident, I can only vote in federal elections. Good luck. Governor Walker was democratically elected and will be democratically recalled. Isn't that what's great about democracy in the USA?
Eric Puddy December 05, 2011 at 03:26 AM
@CowDung GE paid no federal taxes, bad example. Maybe you don't hear of such things where you get your news. Laws passed by people like Walker make this possible. @GearHead Does a "gearhead" usually spell words like "behavor" using "The Queens English"? This is the US where we have a right to redress our grievances. Unalienable rights seem bothersome to you. I suggest moving back to England about 250 years ago. Disturbing the peace is collecting signatures on public property? Maybe- if he was in the middle of the road. Disturbing the peace is often use to silence expression that is not agreed with.
J. B. Schmidt December 05, 2011 at 04:25 AM
@Chris MS You sound very familiar. The teachers in the states fail see the forest through the trees also. Your health system might be nice and you only pay 1.5%; however, it appears to be under funded and as your baby boomers get older and the amount of people supplying is not able to supply the number taking. Hence, either your taxes will steadily climb or your service will go down. As for your public schools, the quality is declining and more and more students are going to the private schools vs public schools in Australia. In fact, recently Australia's public school numbers declined below those of private schools. Of course as we in the US hear, the teachers union in Australia is saying they are under funded. Yet, Australia pays over 12K per public student against only about 7k for private education. Public employees think they are not replaceable. Based on your response you feel entitled to something. Teach in the private sector education then tell me you are under appreciated.
oak creek resident December 05, 2011 at 04:35 AM
Chris MS, just how is it fair that teachers get 4 months vacation a year and can retire in their 50s, when those very people who pay those teacher's wages have to work well into the 60s? Figure it out and get back to me.
oak creek resident December 05, 2011 at 04:37 AM
Jason is the kind of limp wrist lib who likes to post extreme statements that piss people off, then runs away when logical arguments come his way. Some people never grow up do they.
Morninmist Same December 05, 2011 at 01:37 PM
@oak Jealousy is not a good trait to show off on comment boards. So,--why didn't you go into the profession of teaching?
Morninmist Same December 05, 2011 at 01:38 PM
@oak Why would you write this comment? ............. oak creek resident 10:37 pm on Sunday, December 4, 2011 "Diary of a Mad Black Lesbian Woman"
James R Hoffa December 05, 2011 at 07:17 PM
@Jason Patzfahl - "Public sidewalks and parkways are NOT private property. We ALL pay taxes (besides large corporations, of course) so this land belongs to us all . . . even you." Actually, you are WRONG!!! If you own real property that fronts a public street, check the legal description on the deed to your property and you'll find out that in all reality, you actually own the land to the center of the public street that fronts your property, including the land that the sidewalk is built upon. The state/public at large merely has a usage easement over the private property in question. And, depending upon how that easement is worded (whether statutory or publicly recorded), it probably doesn't actually include solicitation as an authorized public usage. So, before perpetuating even more LIES learned from Elizabeth Warren, you may want to get your facts straight on private vs public ownership of land and how easements and real covenants work. Just a suggestion if you actually want to learn THE TRUTH.
CowDung December 07, 2011 at 01:56 AM
Eric: Yes, GE had no federal tax liability last year. So many people (like Jason) like to point to that and falsely claim that large companies like GE never pay any taxes, and it usually ends up being blamed on Walker. Even though GE had no federal tax liability last year, GE still paid millions of dollars in state and local taxes, and they have paid billions in federal taxes over the past several years. As far as I know, Walker has little control over the tax policies of the federal government, so I'm not sure why anyone tries to blame him for companies not paying federal taxes...
Bren December 09, 2011 at 07:43 PM
Personally, I believe $100K/annum salary is acceptable for an individual with an advanced degree.
Bren December 09, 2011 at 07:48 PM
Stormy, how does stating facts translate into throwing private union employees under the bus in your brain? I honestly would appreciate knowing how you got there. If an individual enters a profession with a union/guild, they know and often identify with that association. Some folks seem to have a really hard time wrapping their head around the concept of "compensation package" despite the fact that they may also receive additional compensation (in the form of direct deposit, health care/401K management contributions) at their own jobs. Doesn't seem all that complicated to me.
Bren December 09, 2011 at 07:52 PM
Caledoniagirl, cling to your beliefs if they give you comfort. Or if you really are interested in "helping people in our community," you could employ some time doing some objective research into what's really going on in our state. The best way to "help" people is to restore social and fiscal balance and that's not going to happen under Scott Walker. He is polarizing the state and we continue to hemorrhage jobs.
patchreader 123 December 09, 2011 at 08:25 PM
A man signs recall petition 80 times??!! http://www.wisn.com/politics/29958007/detail.html Any thoughts, Jason?
James R Hoffa December 09, 2011 at 10:00 PM
@Bren - It's the instability resultant of these protests, boycotts, recalls, etc, that have polarized the state and have caused us to hemorrhage jobs – not Walker and his policies. Is it really a coincidence that we only started hemorrhaging jobs after the senatorial recall elections were held? Are you really that ignorant while preaching to others to do “some objective research into what's really going on in our state." After all, aren't you the one who was constantly touting and perpetuating the Koch Bros conspiracy theories and linking to liberal blogs as your 'sources' of 'information?' Give it up already Bren!
James R Hoffa December 09, 2011 at 10:08 PM
@Bren - What about the acceptable salary for a college, or even a high school drop out that has a great idea and possesses the where-with-all to turn that idea into something huge, like let's say Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Kirk Kerkorian, etc.? Why should one's level of education have anything to do with acceptable salary quotas? If I was the world's foremost expert on dead languages and had advanced degrees up the wazoo, but there wasn't a demand for a dead languages expert, then why shouldn't I make absolutely nothing? It’s not as simple as you make it out to be, is it?

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