Written on March 10, 2011
I hope you are following the news about what has happened in the state of Wisconsin. It is eerily similar to what took place in Onamia, Minnesota four years ago when city attorney Bob Ruppe and the Onamia City Council manipulated the laws which should have kept Jim D'Angelo and the Nexus Corporation from building an unlocked juvenile sex offender facility in my residential neighborhood. Government take-overs aren't pretty. In both cases, the government had its own agenda. In both cases, nothing would stop them from achieving their goal; not even the law.
Yesterday in Wisconsin, a group of Republican senators called an impromptu meeting to quickly pass a controversial bill (concerning Unions and the right to collective bargaining), despite the lack of a quorum and in clear violation of the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law. Some of you might remember when the Onamia City Council used similar tactics in the Nexus controversy. You might have heard that a group of Wisconsin Democrats fled the state as a matter of principle - in order to thwart the passing of this bill by refusing to form the required quorum. In Onamia we had Councilman Jerome Kryzer and Mickey Carter the Zoning Guy fleeing the state because they prefer a warmer climate and don't actually live in Onamia for months during the winter. Add to the scanty attendance record of then councilman, now mayor Bob Mickus and oh what the hell - Quorum Schmorum - let's pass the stuff anyway... (that seemed to be their plan until they were challenged by citizens. (see my videos) Had we not been there to stop them??? In Onamia, they postponed the vote until they had a quorum. In Wisconsin, they bulldozed ahead without one.)
Open Meeting Law violations were prevalent in both Onamia, Minnesota as well as in Wisconsin. The Cheeseheads voted their Aye Aye Aye Ayes amidst shouts of "This is illegal!!!!" In Onamia, we not only told the city council it was illegal, we provided copies of laws, including MN. Statute 462.357 which states that juvenile sex offender treatment centers shall not be permitted in a R1 zoned residential area. However, nothing we said, nothing we did made a difference. Because? Because they did what they wanted! The Onamia City Council: Bob Mickus, Bill Hill Jr., Mark Loch, Jerome Kryzer, and led by Mayor Larry Milton did whatever it took to pass whatever it took to assure that Nexus would succeed in forcing convicted sex offenders next to day care and little old ladies. There was no discussion. All votes were unanimous.
But there are differences between the Wisconsin government takeover and the Onamia government takeover. The good people in Wisconsin had the courage, the wisdom and the GUMPTION to protest the outrageous acts of a corrupt government run amuck as it threw Democracy out the window. Folks recognized safety in numbers; the power of the people. For the most part, the good people in Onamia remained silently complacent, or complacently silent as they stood on the sidelines watching their corrupt government represent and support a rich corporation while selling the Rights of citizens, including themselves. And yes, the council threw Democracy out the window.
I think it's safe to say that no one received quite as much punishment as I did, for my part of the protest. For my dedicated efforts to inform and persuade the Onamia government that the location of the sex offender institution was a bad choice, I was SLAPPed with not one but TWO lawsuits - which, of course, pretty much destroyed me. In Freeman/D'Angelo, Nexus CEO Jim D'Angelo sued me for embarrassment because I called him "Poopsie" and said he was arrogant, egotistical etc. Nexus board member Peter Freeman sued me, claiming I also embarrassed him. In the second lawsuit, Nexus sued me because I used the idiom "getting away with murder." But, of course, the real reason to sue me was to pressure me to stop writing the Bradbury Buzzz, (Didn't work...) and use me as an example of what happens to people who just say no to Nexus...
What happened to me personally will probably not take place in Wisconsin. It's easy to launch two lawsuits against one citizen activist. Not so easy to sue thousands and thousands of citizen activists standing up against a government gone awry. Only a handful of citizens had the courage to oppose the Onamia city council's handling of their Nexus project - and when I was sued, everyone "went away". Had the people united against bad government back then, things might be different today. The city council doesn't have the money for lawsuits. Even Nexus could not have sued us all. Unfortunately, most citizens saw only the issue at hand and not the principles at stake.
Activist Michael Moore showed up at a Wisconsin Rally to support the working people protesting the stripping of the unions. Last night, on national television, he made a comment that sparked my attention. In referring to the Wisconsin Republican legislators, Mr. Moore said, "They're getting away with murder!" Now, if he calls Governor Walker "Poopsie", Michael Moore just might be in trouble.