The Long-Lasting Effects of Redistricting in Wisconsin, October 2017
Following 2010’s Republican-friendly mid-term election and the decennial census, many states, including Wisconsin, rewrote their congressional and legislative boundaries to favor the right wing. Our state is also one in 37 in which legislatures (and by extension political parties) have final control over the maps, as opposed to special bodies. However, it had been decades since a single party had control of state government during decennial redistricting…
There’s a word for drawing districts that give a lopsided advantage to one political party – gerrymandering – and the Supreme Court ruled more than 50 years ago that it can violate the Constitution by making some votes worth less than others. But justices have fallen short of a consensus on how to measure and limit partisan gerrymandering, and attempts to get them to overturn state maps, whether drawn by Republicans or Democrats, have failed.
Can Alderman Ashanti Hamilton Rise to the Challenge?, April 2017
A year ago, Hamilton stitched together a tent big enough for a half-dozen African- American council members – and three white South Siders – to elect him Common Council president in an upset that toppled incumbent Ald. Mike Murphy, a council veteran. But more than once since then, their tent has looked ready to blow away. This past summer, the council’s public safety committee, headed by Hamilton’s pick for chair, tough-on-crime Ald. Bob Donovan, fired off a draft plan calling for more cops, more jail and “boot camps” for potential juvenile offenders.
The New Crop, July 2016
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Photo by Arnaldo Aladana.
Big farms keep getting bigger. Midsized farms keep disappearing. In the shadow of these seismic changes in the rural Wisconsin landscape, tiny farms have proliferated, fed by consumer demand for local eats and healthy choices. A look at what’s driving the supersizing, and microsizing, and what it means for the rest of us.
The Aftermath, January 2016
What has been lost, teachers say, is their voice.
“We bring a lot to the table,” says Biebel. “Our voice has always been involved in the workday. When you remove that teacher voice, you’re left with people making those decisions that don’t have immediate contact – they’ve forgotten the immediacy of being in the classroom.” Administrators “want what’s best for students,” she continues. “But they’re not the ones in the trenches.”
Membership in a union meant a degree of protection that some teachers say was good for teacher professionalism. In the current environment, “We’re a little unclear,” says Balcerak. “Does disagreement equal insubordination? For that matter, isn’t it healthy within an organization to have dissenting voices, to have some intelligent discourse? But teachers are nervous to disagree…”
Why is Children’s Court so far away from Downtown Milwaukee?, July 2015
|Photo by Beth Cortez-Neavel.
The Children’s Court’s comparatively remote location might once have been a considered a feature, not a bug. Now, though, the distance has become part of a quiet but intense conversation among professionals who work in and around the juvenile court. An emerging consensus holds that the time is approaching — has arrived, even — to move Children’s Court back Downtown from the county’s western rim, returning it to the area around the Milwaukee County Courthouse that was once its home . . .
Battle for the Hills, April 2013
Deeper than the vein of iron ore in the wooded hills of Northern Wisconsin are the divisions over mining that run through the hearts of the people who live, work, and play in the Penokee region . . .
Invisible No More, February 2013
Operating under the radar locally, District Attorney John Chisholm has quietly become a national example of a new kind of prosecutor. With a series of high-profile cases, he’s been more scrutinized than ever before — but not necessarily understood.