Tag Archives: opposition

Public record: majority opposes Waukesha quest to divert water

More than 99 percent of those who registered comments in a regional review explicitly opposed or expressed concern over Waukesha’s request to divert Great Lakes water.

More than 11,200 public comments were submitted to the Regional Body and Compact Council on the issue and many opposed the proposal, according to a review of the comments completed by a coalition of environmental groups — the Compact Implementation Coalition consists of River Alliance of Wisconsin, National Wildlife Federation, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Midwest Environmental Advocates and Clean Wisconsin.

The coalition said of the 315 tribes, First Nations, governments, elected leaders, organizations and associations that submitted or signed on to comments regarding Waukesha’s application, 256 explicitly opposed, expressed concern or had unanswered questions about the city of Waukesha’s application.

Also, in six of the eight Great Lakes states and both Canadian provinces, not a single tribe, First Nation, government, elected leader, organization or association submitted or signed on to a comment explicitly supporting Waukesha’s application.

“Anyone paying attention to the polarized nature of today’s political climate knows this level of agreement across political divides and international boundaries is nothing short of astounding,” said Jodi Habush Sinykin of Midwest Environmental Advocates. “The extent of public concern and outcry shown, speaks to how important this first-of-its-kind regional decision will be seen by citizens throughout the Great Lakes region.”

Waukesha, located about 17 miles west of Lake Michigan, wants to divert water from Lake Michigan. To do so, the Milwaukee suburb needs an exception from the Great Lakes compact and agreement that restrict diversions outside the Great Lakes Basin. The city lies outside the Great Lakes basin but is in a county that straddles the basin.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources completed its review of the city’s application earlier this year and sent the issue on to the Great Lakes states and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec for consideration.

A regional public comment period on the application review closed in mid-March.

Next the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin Regional Body and Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin Compact Council — composed of the eight Great Lakes governors and two Canadian premiers — will meet to reach a decision on the application.

The meeting is expected in April. The eight Great Lakes governors are allowed to vote. The council could approve, deny or approve with conditions the application. Only one “no” vote is required to deny the application.

“The public has definitely spoken on this topic, and we feel strongly those voices need to be heard,” said Jennifer Bolger Breceda of Milwaukee Riverkeeper. “We hope this outpouring signals to the Regional Body and Compact Council that they need to take these many, many concerns into consideration while reviewing this flawed proposal and deny Waukesha’s diversion request.”

On the Web

For more information about the application, visit www.protectourgreatlakes.org and http://www.waukeshadiversion.org.

Public hearing on Bucks arena plan set for July 2

A public hearing will be held next month on a plan for the city of Milwaukee to spend $47 million as part of the $250 million public financing package for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena.

Mayor Tom Barrett tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the city plan won’t be implemented without the Legislature’s approval of the state’s larger share of that public financing package for the $500 million arena. Bipartisan opposition has stalled that state proposal.

But he said it’s important for the city proposal to undergo public review. The first hearing is July 2.

Under the plan, the city would spend $35 million to develop a parking structure downtown and $12 million for public improvements near the arena, including a plaza space.

Poll shows strong public opposition to key areas of Scott Walker’s budget

A new poll shows strong opposition to key provisions of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget.

The Marquette University Law School poll released Thursday found 70 percent oppose Walker’s proposal to cut University of Wisconsin funding by $300 million, while 26 percent support it. The poll found 78 percent oppose Walker’s plan cutting funding for K-12 schools by $127 million, while 18 support it.

It also shows 51 percent support borrowing $1.3 billion to pay for roads, with 44 percent against. Sixty percent oppose making the Department of Natural Resources an advisory board only, while 30 percent support it.

Also, 54 percent oppose Walker’s plan eliminating enrollment limits in the private school voucher program.

The poll of 803 registered voters between April 7 and April 10 had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

Little public outcry over gay marriage in New Mexico, even from Catholic Church

New Mexico’s three bishops issued a statement reiterating their belief that marriage is a unique institution between a man and a woman, saying Ellins’ action was “a significant matter that affects society at large and as such is one that is best decided through the legislative branch of government.”

Andrew Chesnut, a Catholic scholar at Virginia Commonwealth University, said he believes the bishops were following the lead of Pope Francis, who despite fervent opposition to same-sex marriage while archbishop in Argentina has now “been mostly mute on this subject.”

The last time the state was embroiled in the gay marriage issue was in 2004, when then-Sandoval County Clerk Victoria Dunlap began to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state’s attorney general at the time, a Democrat, ordered her to stop and she didn’t run for re-election.

New Mexico has no law explicitly legalizing or banning same-sex marriage.

Because of that Ellins, a lawyer, said he began looking closely at state laws after several lawsuits were filed this year seeking to force county clerks in Santa Fe and the state’s largest county, Bernalillo, to issue the licenses. Seeing that the legal process was doomed to drag on, he said, “I said, `Enough is enough. It’s time to move forward.'”

Unlike 2004, the Democratic attorney general made no attempt to intervene this time. When asked for comment, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez said it is a matter that should be decided by voters.

A week later, a state district judge, in Albuquerque ruled same-sex marriage was legal. Shortly thereafter, several other county clerks also began issuing licenses. At the request of county clerks, the Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing next month to decide if same-sex marriage is legal under the state’s constitution.

One billboard opposing same-sex marriage was spotted recently at an evangelical church in Espanola. But the Catholic Church has said little beyond one statement after Ellins began issuing licenses.

Chestnut said the response of church officials in New Mexico isn’t all that surprising, given that places around the world with sizeable Catholic populations – such as countries in Latin America – have led the way on gay marriage. Likewise, he said, Hispanics in the U.S. tend to be more approving of same-sex marriage than the overall population.

Allen Sanchez, spokesman for the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, denied a shift or softening in the church’s position. And he pointed to the pope’s recent call for compassion and tolerance for gays.

The difference to the response and lack of public action in New Mexico, he said, “is the difference between legislative and legal strategy. Had this been up for a legislative vote, you would have seen a much different process.”

France pushes ahead on gay marriage

President Francois Hollande’s Cabinet pushed ahead with a controversial French bill on Nov. 7 that could see gay marriage legalized early next year, defying vocal opposition in the majority Catholic country from religious leaders, the rural heartland and the conservative opposition.

The French leader’s top ministers approved the bill legalizing marriage and adoption for same-sex couples, sending it to the legislature for debate, only one day after three American states, Maine, Washington and Maryland, became the first in the U.S. to approve same-sex marriage in a popular vote.

Gay marriage has become a contentious issue in France, where Hollande made it a liberal cornerstone of his campaign, hoping it would create a clean break from his conservative predecessor. At the time, it appeared to have the backing of a majority of the population, but it has since turned into a politically sensitive issue.

Though France would become the 12th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage if the bill passes, the country of 60 million people would become the biggest so far in terms of economic and diplomatic influence.

Polls show a majority of French support gay marriage, but it has divided the country’s left and right, with lawmakers from the conservative UMP denouncing the Cabinet approval Wednesday.

“It’s the end of the family, the end of children’s development, the end of education. It’s an enormous danger to the nation,” UMP Senator Serge Dassault said on the radio show “France Culture.”

In France, a prominent conservative and former prime minister, Francois Fillon, has opposed any gay marriage legislation, and he plans to run in this month’s election for the UMP leadership.

Amid the clamoring, the Socialists have decided to delay the parliamentary debate about the bill until January, knowing that it risks being modified or diluted by legislators.

Elsewhere in Europe, gay politics has also come to the fore this week.

On Tuesday, Spain’s Constitutional Court upheld the legality of the country’s gay marriage law, which was approved in 2005 when the country’s parliament was Socialist controlled.

The court rejected an appeal contending that marriage in the constitution means only the union of a man and woman. The county’s top court voted 8-3 to dismiss the appeal filed by the conservative Popular Party.

The Popular Party took power late last year after the Socialists were ousted over their handling of the country’s economic crisis.

Wisconsinites still narrowly oppose same-sex marriage

While New York now provides full marriage equality for gays and lesbians and public opinion polls show acceptance of same-sex marriage is growing nationwide, Wisconsin lags behind.

A Public Policy Polling survey of Wisconsin last month found that citizens of the Badger State still oppose same-sex nuptials by a slight margin. Forty-two percent of Wisconsinites favor legal gay marriage, while 46 percent oppose it.

Support for legal gay marriage is lower in Wisconsin than in neighboring Minnesota, where 46 percent of the population approves it and 45 percent oppose it.

Still, the narrow margin of disapproval in Wisconsin represents a great improvement compared with results from 2006, when the state voted to ban both gay marriage and civil unions by a solid 19-point majority.

In Wisconsin, as elsewhere, there is a strong age and gender gap on the same-sex marriage issue. Young people aged18 to 29 support legal gay marriage by a 21-percent majority, while those older than 65 are in opposition by a 25-percent majority.

Women in Wisconsin support legal gay marriage 49 to 37 percent, while men oppose it 55 to 34 percent.