We Need Consensus, Not a Political Battle

There is a political battle brewing between the Governor and the legislature. The solution to this health and economic crisis is not a political battle; rather, we need a consensual plan that we all can rally around. This afternoon, I sent this letter to Governor Evers, Senator Fitzgerald and Representative Vos and this letter to our own legislators, Senator Darling and Representative Ott.

I am not so naive as to think letters from the mayor of a small city will make a big difference. However, I do not want to let the opportunity pass, however small.

6 thoughts on “We Need Consensus, Not a Political Battle”

  1. Your communications over the past weeks have been exceptionally clear and helpful, and this letter to our leaders is spot on. Thank you!

  2. Mr. Mayor:

    Thank you for your thoughtful letters to our legislators. I do believe Governor Evers is trying to do exactly what you have asked for in your letters. Much like the thoughtful Governor of New York, our Governor is making decisions based upon facts and science.

    We have seen thousands of irresponsible Wisconsin citizens gathering in large crowds, clearly violating rules of physical distancing, and ignoring the CDC RECOMMENDATIONS to wear a face cover in public. These citizens, just like our Supreme Court which demanded an insane election this month, are exposing themselves and others to grave risk. Their voices and shouting are not based upon science and an understanding of the severity of this pandemic.

    Not only are they exposing themselves to infection, but they expose those around them and the healthcare workers who will have to care for them.

    We do need to open up our economic activities. Otherwise we are doomed in another way. However, it should be done in the measured and epidemiological way that the Governor has proposed. Our case numbers in our State are still climbing. The curves have not started to head down. May 26th may seem unrealistic, but based on where we are now, it will not be far off. Rather than fighting with the Governor, the legislature needs to sit down and work with him.

    Let’s hope they do, but it seems singularly unlikely.

    Please protect yourself and your family and fellow citizens and respect the stay at home order. Remember to wear a mask, if you must go out.

    Dr. Steven Weisman

    1. Dr. Weisman:

      Thank you for your comments. It shoud be recognized, however, that there are limits to the Governor’s authority. The statutes are fairly clear. He has an argument and he will make it to the Court. My reading of the statutes and existing law suggest he will lose. His unilateral authority only extended for 60 days (through May 11). The responsible thing would have been to have engaged the legislature before exceeding his authority.

      According to members of the legislature, they have asked and the Governor has refused to engage in any discussions. If they have asked, they certainly have not made it very public. Instead, they take potshots at the Governor.

      A careful review of the events leading to the election show that the fault there also rested on the shoulders of both the Governor and the legislature. For weeks, the Governor insisted that the election be on April 7. When his supporters asked him to postpone it, he said that he did not have the authority, He said that the state could hold the election safely. A week before the election, he finally asked the legislature to hold a special session to pass legislation to hold the election by mail. He knew that the legislature would not agree, and he knew that the Wisconsin Election Board said it was logistically impossible at that point. Then, four days before the election, he said the election should be postponed and issued his order. That was the first time he asked to postpone the election despite multiple lawsuits being filed and depsite, weeks earlier, communities throughout the state asked him to postpone it. The request to postpone was right, but it was made irresponsibly late. And the Governor had cover by blaming the Supreme Court (which ruled that he had no authority to unilaterally postpone the election, just as he had argued for weeks).

      The legislature, on the other hand, was equally irresponsible. The legislature should also have taken action weeks before the election. It could have and should have pushed for postponement even if the Governor was not leading the charge.

      Neither side is wearing the white hat in this fight. They both blame the other, knowing it will enable many of their supporters to do the same.

      Both the Governor and the legislature have used this crisis, the election, the virus and the economy as pawns in their political battle. We are all just innocent casualties.


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