Sunday, December 19, 2010

Transitions and tribulations

By Bill Kraus

The Walker administration is in the midst of the ultimate political torture test. It's called the transition. It translates into 59 days in which the new administration must staff a governor's office, hire a cabinet, and put together a budget for this huge, complex, multi-billion dollar state enterprise. Madness.

The first priority is the urgent (as contrasted with important) one of dealing with the high profile issues and promises--the train, the state employees contracts, etc.--that come out of the campaign or are on the top of the pile on the governor's desk.

These will be pushed aside as the need to fund the really expensive stuff--medicaid, prisons, education, local governments--takes its rightful place on the top of the to-do agenda along with the ideas needed to deal with the gorilla in the room: jobs.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Campaign finance follies

By Bill Kraus

Let’s assume that there are no election statutes or rules. Let’s further assume that a bill is introduced which:

1. Requires candidates to reveal any and all contributions to their campaigns.

2. Limits the amount of money any contributor can give candidates, but not the total amount that can be collected and spent.

3. Authorizes Political Action Committees for people with common interests which can contribute up to a specified amount to candidates.

4. Allows candidates to contribute an unlimited amount to their own campaigns.

5. Allows corporations, unions, and other organizations to mount parallel campaigns for or against candidates.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Elect v. Appoint: making the case

By Bill Kraus

Arguments for appointing judges:

1. Most judges are appointed at first anyway to fill seats that open up due to death or resignation.

2. The panel of experts which is a part of the appointment process and whose role is to recommend a list of candidates the governor must choose from screens out the un- and under-qualified who might slip by a lightly informed electorate.

3. Judicial elections are not immune from the misleading, superficial, special interest-financed campaigns that are the current bane of partisan campaigns.

4. If an unworthy appointee does slip through the rigid nominating, screening, pre-appointment process, there is a retention election in the system which will correct any appointment mistakes.