Jefferson Davis is a longtime resident of Menomonee Falls. He is the proud parent of two wonderful boys. He enjoys singing, volunteering, reading, gardening, politics, antiques, history, guitar, violin, piano, officiating, helping neighbors and yard work. He served as Village President of Menomonee Falls from 2003-05. He is a member of Northbrook Church and serves on the Advisory Council for the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center. He is an independent registered representative practicing in the areas of insurance, investments and retirement.
We promised to bring you updates on various issues until they get resolved to our satisfaction. Our posting this week will be on voter fraud in Menomonee Falls and what can be done to protect us against these vicious and illegal tactics by some that severely compromise what our forefathers bled and died for giving us the privilege to vote for the candidate of our choice.
Before we get there, some quick updates.
How about that Governor Palin? Doesn't she make you feel good about being an American again? She may be just what John McCain needs to win. For the sake of our great country, let's hope so. This will now give us a reason to vote for John McCain.
More importantly, she has made The Vanguard's position on the $42 million garbage financial debacle of the Village Board from 2000-03, that has unknowingly haunted our community for years, perfectly clear with what she was able to do in Alaska with corporate oil companies that we can and must do with the Village Board in Menomonee Falls before it's too late with Waste Management negotiations.
The Village Board falsely promised our community in 1994 and again from 2000-03 with Joe Greco, Jim Jeskewitz, Mike McDonald and Jeff Steliga leading the way, that they had struck it rich with Waste Management to put a dump in our backyard and that we would stand to make millions for many years to come at no "cost" to the taxpayers.
We could take those millions and spend it until the cows came home instead of using it for tax relief because the Village Board said it didn't "cost" us anything.
The millions that taxpayers were promised by the Village Board from Waste Management actually went from the taxpayers to Waste Management for picking up our garbage.
The only problem is, we weren't told the truth by the Village Board about the agreement with Waste Management. The problem is not with Waste Management. They are a private corporation trying to make as much money as they can in a capitalist free market economy.
The problem is with the Village Board and their false promises that they knew they could not keep costing the taxpayers at least a $17 million shortfall in debt service (http://blogs.menomoneefallsnow.com/the_vanguard/archive/tags/garbage+debate/default.aspx) which will go on the property tax rolls starting as early as 2015 if not sooner for an average cost to every homeowner of some $800-$900 in new taxes above and beyond their regular property tax bill to make up for the shortfall of the $42 million bill for the new library, village hall and police station.
The Vanguard is asking the Village Board to come clean with the $42 million Municipal Facilities Fund so we don't have to pay for this debt service starting in 2015 or sooner on our property tax bill that we were promised by the Village Board was going to be paid for by Waste Management to take care of the new library, village hall and police station.
The Vanguard also wants an annual minimum $85.00 dividend per household for free garbage pick up from the Village Board with Waste Management until they leave town when the dump is closed because our community will be left with the aesthetic, environmental, legal and lost tax revenue issues when Waste Management is gone.
Where is Waste Management going to go to get a new dump?
Just like oil companies, where are they going to go drill for new oil?
The taxpayers have an incredibly strong bargaining position. Let's have the Village Board take advantage of it.
Who wants a dump in their backyard today besides the Menomonee Falls Village Board?
Governor Palin did it in Alaska requiring oil companies to pay every resident a $1,654.00 dividend in 2007 that will be $3,200.00 in 2008 (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2008/09/03/EDAR12MTTR.DTL) (http://money.cnn.com/ scroll down to click on Palin's Economic Record video).
For a family of four (4), that's $12,800 in tax relief and money to spend, save or invest.
Many other communities across America (http://blogs.menomoneefallsnow.com/the_vanguard/archive/2008/08/31/quot-excuse-me-could-you-tell-me-how-to-get-to-the-high-school-quot.aspx) have had their local elected officials make similar dividend and royalty agreements with various companies and we can do it in Menomonee Falls if the citizens will only collectively rise up and contact their Village Board (http://www.menomonee-falls.org/index.asp?nid=292) to let them know this is what they want with Waste Management paying the entire $42 million Municipal Facilities Fund and picking up our garbage for free giving every homeowner a minimum $85.00 dividend annually to lower our property taxes.
Police Department Failed Computer Programs
The Vanguard is making some progress with the Police Chief to get the requested information about The Phoenix and Enforcer Computer Programs that taxpayers have paid tens of thousands of dollars for that have apparently failed miserably according to the reports given to us.
We will keep asking for the information to share with you until it is received. Should be interesting.
Village Manager Sitting on Numerous Requests for Public Records and Answers to Questions
The Vanguard has been asking questions and for various Village documents for over a year now from the Village Manager's Office that will reveal some very interesting information about tens of millions of dollars of the taxpayer's money and how it is being used.
Numerous letters and communications from the Village Manager's Office over the last year, one 40 pages in length, appear to be doing everything they can to sit on public information that citizens have a legal right to know.
We're hoping to get the information before another year goes by. It would be nice to know what the Village's debt service numbers are, what the taxpayer's surplus account is, how much health care premiums are, what we're paying the City of Milwaukee in taxes each year and what the quality of our water is to mention a few items before another year goes by.
School District Personnel Problems
Mark Belling, WISN Talk Show Host, broke a story last week involving a very peculiar and uncomfortable situation with a student and her parents at the high school with a veteran administrator that apparently was ignored by the high school principal when the matter was brought to his attention during the fall of last year's school year requiring the parents to ultimately involve the superintendent.
The Vanguard has asked the school superintendent to verify this information along with several other similar matters recently involving other staff members in the district with similar issues. Parents have a right to know what is going on in their district that they pay well over $50 million for in taxes.
We will share the information with you once the superintendent responds to our request.
Protecting Against Voter Fraud in Menomonee Falls
With recent numerous reports of massive voter fraud and illegal voter registration in southeastern Wisconsin, particularly in the City of Milwaukee (http://www.jsonline.com/watch/?watch=1&date=8/27/2008&id=45347), a reader asked The Vanguard to look into how the election and registration process is done in Menomonee Falls to protect us from potential voter fraud.
The Vanguard contacted the Village Clerk's Office seeking basic information and they did not respond to our request. In order to have accurate information for this posting, we had no other option but to contact the State Elections Board.
The State Elections Board Staff were extremely helpful, professional, informative and polite. However, they were only able to answer a limited number of questions and referred us to the Clerk's Office for the remainder of our questions.
Honest and legal voting in elections is very important because not only is it the right thing to do, but President Bush was within 5,708 votes in 2000 and 11,384 votes in 2004 of winning the State of Wisconsin in the Presidential Election which could have made a huge difference in the Electoral College Vote.
Numerous Voter Registration and Voting Irregularities Reported in Menomonee Falls in 2004
The Vanguard is aware of many documented attempted voting and voter registration irregularities in the September and November 2004 Elections in Menomonee Falls.
The first example was when the Clerk's Office gave out some 60-80 wrong ballots at a south side precinct for the Lehman/Pridemore Republican Assembly Primary in September of 2004 until the voters called the State Elections Board to get confirmation of receiving incorrect ballots and then notified the Clerk's Office of their error.
The voters were unfortunately and incorrectly given ballots by the Clerk's Office for Representative Jeskewitz's Assembly District when she wasn't even their representative.
As a result, the incumbent Lehman lost the primary to the challenger Pridemore by 184 votes for the entire assembly district and could have asked for a recount and for the voters who were disenfranchised by the Clerk's Office a chance to perhaps vote again. Lehman didn't ask for a recount. He let the results stand as they were.
Unfortunately, these voters were disenfranchised and according to the State Elections Board Staff, were not allowed to vote over because the Village's scanning voting machine does not number the ballots and therefore there would be no way of knowing the identification of an individual ballot that was handed out incorrectly by the Clerk's Office.
Numerous Voter Registration Organizations Uncovered in Menomonee Falls
The Vanguard is personally aware of numerous potential irregularities committed by what appears to be the A.C.O.R.N. (www.acorn.org), Women's Voices Women Vote (http://www.wvwv.org/) and New Voters Project (www.newvotersproject.org) organizations in 2004.
Some examples are as follows:
One registration address was for a person who didn't exist and didn't have a phone.
A father contacted a Village Board Member at the time to inform them of his daughter's name being used to register when she didn't and her signature was forged.
Two other registrations were returned because the voter didn't exist.
A campaign volunteer was going door to door on the Village's East Central Side when he discovered from his voter registration list that his neighbor had someone registered to vote at his house that didn't exist and obviously didn't live there with a Madison phone number.
Another citizen shared concerns with the Village Board about the New Voters Project and their illegal voter registration tactics for deputized registrars.
Another alleged illegal voter on Shady Lane was sent a letter asking for identification because it was not included with voter registration documents received at Village Hall which is required by State Election Law.
One resident, who was already registered to vote, received a mailing from an organization in California requesting that they register to vote with forms they attached to their mailing.
The State Elections Board, through State Election Law, requires municipal clerks to immediately report any suspicious activity of this nature to the District Attorney's Office for possible prosecution. These types of violations can carry a felony charge (http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=788738).
The Vanguard asked the Clerk's Office if they have reported any type of this activity to the DA's Office or if they are aware of the efforts of these voter registration organizations for this year's elections and they refused to respond to our inquiries as to whether or not our voting process in the Falls is protected from this type of illegal activity.
Unfortunately, we won't know if there has been a repeat of the apparent illegal activities of 2004 in Menomonee Falls because the Clerk's Office won't tell us.
The Vanguard remembers the Clerk's Office as appearing to be somewhat cavalier about all of these potential voting and registration irregularities in 2004 which is very unfortunate for the integrity of the election process.
The State Elections Board Staff informed The Vanguard, because the Clerk's Office refused to respond to any inquiries, of very stringent procedures that are in place with State Election Law that requires very specific voter registration information to maintain the integrity of our election process and that it is the legal responsibility and requirement of the Clerk's Office to report any type of voting and or registration irregularities to the District Attorney's Office immediately.
The State Elections Board Staff stated there is a specific verification process for voter registrants who may be suspicious when registrations are received at Village Hall and it is the responsibility of the Clerk's Office to make sure this process is completed. We don't know if this is being done by the Clerk's Office because they refuse to answer any questions.
The Clerk's Office is required to send a card out to every person who registers to vote or re-registers to vote to verify their identity. We don't know if the Clerk's Office does this or not because they refuse to answer any questions.
The State Elections Board Staff also stated that State Election Law mandates that voting lists must be purged every four (4) years.
If a voter hasn't participated in the last two (2) presidential elections and one (1) gubernatorial election or the last two (2) gubernatorial elections and one (1) presidential election, then it is the responsibility of the Clerk's Office to identify those voters by sending them a letter to see if they want to stay on the voter rolls and if a response is not received within 30 days, the voter is removed from the list.
We don't know if this state mandate is being followed by the Clerk's Office because they refuse to answer any questions.
This process would at least clean up the voter lists to remove those names that are for deceased people, people who have moved, people who may not even exist due to fraudulent registration by one of the above referenced groups or may be away at school and could possibly vote twice in the same election which is a felony.
We will never know, other than the many examples cited above, if there have been additional irregularities and if they have been reported to the DA's Office because the Clerk's Office refuses to answer any questions.
Clerk's Office Steers Village Board Away From County Uniform Voting System Costing Falls and County Taxpayers Thousands of Dollars
The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA http://www.fec.gov/hava/timeline.htm) was passed by Congress and signed by President Bush partially as a result of the 2000 Florida Presidential Election debacle.
One of the federal election reform elements of HAVA was to assist local municipalities in getting better uniform voting machines to avoid voting irregularities.
HAVA provided every municipality with $6,000 per polling place to upgrade their voting machine process. For Menomonee Falls, that meant $72,000 of the taxpayer's money for these upgrades from the federal government which really after all is us.
The County Clerk's Office, who is ultimately responsible for recording and certifying election results county wide, held a meeting for all municipal clerks in Waukesha County to see presentations from two (2) vendors (ES and S and Sequoia Group) to assist them with their recommendation to their respective governing body for their system approval decision prior to the HAVA 2006 implementation deadline for system purchases.
The County Clerk's Office is always looking for ways to streamline their operations, save the taxpayers money and to make all operations as uniform as possible instead of having every municipality in the county do "their own thing" when it comes to elections at a substantial cost to taxpayers when you "go it alone".
The County Clerk's Office, working from a consensus standpoint, had a confidential vote to see what the preference of the majority of the municipal clerks were for the purchases of the upgraded voting equipment.
The County Clerks Office wanted to give every municipal clerk a vote without bias in order to have a sense of uniformity and to save the taxpayers money for all elections.
The consensus of the municipal clerks county wide was to purchase The Edge system from the Sequoia Group, a touch screen system with a paper trail ballot that is scanned by the Opt Tech Program purchased by the County taxpayers in 1996 to help with uniformity and cost effectiveness for all elections in the county. The Sequoia Group has a staff person on hand for Waukesha County on election night and appears to be a great system (http://voterservices.montcopa.org/voterservices/cwp/view,a,1459,Q,31242.asp).
Only two (2) municipalities in a county that has over 380,000 residents voted to go against the recommendation of all of the other communities in Waukesha County for uniform voting and to save the taxpayers thousands of dollars.
Your are right, Menomonee Falls was unfortunately one of only two communities in the entire county. The other was Mukwonago whose Clerk had ties to the Menomonee Falls Village Clerk and her failed campaign for the Waukesha County Clerk Race in 2002 which she lost by a 62% to 38% margin. Fortunately, the Menomonee Falls Village Clerk has been able to start letting the 2002 Election loss go in the best interests of all taxpayers in Waukesha County after years of questionable actions. It has been learned the Clerk from Mukwonago has subsequently retired.
Realizing that this decision would cost the County Clerk's Office and the taxpayers of Menomonee Falls thousands of dollars for every election and potentially severely compromising the uniformity goal of HAVA in 2002, the County Clerk's Office dispatched a representative to a Menomonee Falls Village Board Meeting in 2006 explaining the benefits of going with The Edge Program agreed to by the overwhelming majority of municipalities in Waukesha County instead of The Automark Program recommended by the Menomonee Falls Village Clerk's Office.
Unfortunately, the Village Board went against what all of the other municipalities in the county implemented and stuck the taxpayers of Menomonee Falls and Waukesha County with totally unnecessary additional taxpayer expenses and potential reporting delays by purchasing The Automark Program serviced by ES and S which does not necessarily provide the best of service to vendors according to some reports (http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:sHudXzZ__jMJ:www.votersunite.org/info/ES%26Sinthenews.pdf+ES+and+S+voting+vendors&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=5&gl=us).
Because of the Village Clerk's unfortunate costly recommendation and subsequent approval by the Village Board, to purchase The Automark Program instead of The Edge Program, the taxpayers have to pay an additional $3,000 for this year's September 9th Primary Election in order for the County Clerk's Office to contract with a vendor to reconcile the election results from Menomonee Falls with the rest of the county.
This will happen every election because of the Village Clerk's Office purchasing a voting program that requires extra work and expenses because it is not compatible with all of the other County voting programs.
When there is an election that involves the county, school district and local municipality, the costs are divided by the three (3) governmental entities.
When the election is only County driven, Waukesha County picks up 100% of the costs which ultimately is passed down to Menomonee Falls as well.
What a waste of $72,000 of the taxpayer's money by the Village Clerk's Office and Village Board for a voting system that is not compatible with the County's system that is ultimately responsible for recording and certifying election results and costs an additional minimum $3,000 alone for the September 9th primary because an outside vendor has to be hired by the County to download the election results from Menomonee Falls which would not be necessary if the Village had purchased the correct voting program as agreed to by all municipalities in the County earlier.
Can you imagine if the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County operated their election systems this way?
How long do you think Mayor Barrett and County Executive Walker would let this go on if allowed to begin at all?
What a travesty.
The County Clerk's Office is staffed by election professionals who are trained to handle these types of in house requirements and have saved, according to one outside vendor, approximately $50,000 per election for doing the work with existing staff instead of having it done by an outside vendor.
For 2008 alone, this means a savings of $200,000 to the taxpayers of Waukesha County for the four (4) elections that will be held.
Normally, when questionable policy and financial decisions are uncovered like this, the taxpayers contact their appointed and elected officials asking for accountability.
Let's hope that happens in Menomonee Falls (click here to contact the Village Board http://menomonee-falls.org/index.asp?nid=292).
Clerk's Office Refuses to Answer Basic Election Questions
The Vanguard asked the Clerk's Office very elementary questions about the election process in Menomonee Falls to make sure we are protected from voting and registration irregularities that would have taken any professional office mere minutes to answer.
Instead, the Clerk's Office had the Village Manager respond with a written letter stating the Clerk's Office is just "too busy" to respond to such inquiries and that if we wanted to we could go to the State of Wisconsin for help.
There's your tax dollars at work for maximum efficiency and use.
Voting and Registration Information and Where to Report Suspected Fraud
The representatives of the State Elections Board were extremely helpful to The Vanguard and provided a wealth of information for maintaining the integrity of our voting process in Menomonee Falls.
Unfortunately, the Clerk's Office does not have very much information on the Village's website (www.menomonee-falls.org) for this year's election which would be so easy to do and would be so helpful. The listing of a phone number on the website with election questions would be helpful too. It's not there, so we will give it to you, 532-4200.
The State Elections Board provides excellent information on their website to see if you are registered to vote and where to vote (http://vpa.wi.gov/) for your specific polling place.
The State Elections Board also provided an excellent link for frequently asked questions involving voter registration (http://elections.state.wi.us/faq_que_list.asp?fid=27&locid=47&linkid=).
If voter and registration fraud is suspected similar to what was discovered in 2004, you may contact the Clerk's Office and if they don't do anything, you may contact the DA's Office directly.
Be Sure to Vote
Our forefathers risked and sacrificed everything to come to this country to give us the honor and privilege to vote without government influence or interference.
The least we can do to show them honor and respect is to exercise that privilege.
Be sure to vote on September 9th and November 4th.
Let's hope we have a "fraud free" election.
What do you think?
Let us know what you think about the voting process in Menomonee Falls by using the comment section below to answer our questions,
Should the Village Clerk's Office follow State Election Law for reporting voting and registration irregularities and then make that information public so citizens are informed?
Should the Village web site contain user friendly voting and registration information along with a phone number to call with questions for voters?
Next Week..."Are "double dipping" contracts on their way out?"