Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Mark Neumann, Common Man

If you've seen the latest Neumann TV ad you probably think his campaign couldn't possibly produce anything more lame or contrived.

You would be wrong.

Neumann's new documentary,"A Common Man" makes the Stepford Wife commercial staged in a spotless barn with red,white, and blue bunting look authentic by comparison.

The nearly seven minute documentary begins with the self described global explorer and investigative journalist, Jon Helminiak, pulling his white SUV into the driveway of Neumann's pillared mansion on Moose Lake.

Once inside the Neumann's kitchen, Helminiak asks Mark and Sue Neumann if it would be OK if they didn't talk business or politics for the day.

The documentary then proceeds to lay out Neumann's resume from his college graduation through his tenure in the U.S. Congress. Peppered in between the biographical narrative are heartwarming scenes of Mark and Sue fishing in their backyard, playing with the family dog, and taking their expensive pontoon boat out for a spin. Nothing screams common man like a mansion on the lake. The gold Rolex watch on Neumann's wrist is nice touch too.

While on the boat ride, we are again treated to the story of the Neumann family trip to Washington, D.C. The trip that changed the Neumann's lives forever.

Of course no common man story would be complete without a close up of antlers from the deer Neumann and his sons have killed over the years. I must say they really make the two story foyer.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

No Money Down

Mark Neumann's latest scheme would allow homeowners to spend the money in their 2011 escrow accounts and then make 12 monthly property tax payments the following year. After 2012, homeowners could go back to escrowing their property taxes or continue making monthly payments to municipalities.

Neumann calls it the biggest one-year tax cut in state history, saving homeowners about $4,500 each. The truth is Neumann's plan wouldn't save homeowners a dime. It would simply put off the payments, spreading them out over 12 months. Arguably, it would cost tax payers more as local governments borrow money to cover the funds lost through Neumann's scheme.

Neumann also fails to address the fact that escrow checks are generally made payable to the municipality and the homeowner, making it impossible for the homeowner to just cash the check and use it to stimulate the economy.

But the biggest problem with Neumann's installment plan is that not everyone is responsible enough to set aside the monthly payment and make it themselves. That’s why most banks won't allow homeowners to opt out of escrowing until they have a certain amount of equity in their homes. This is one of the ways lenders manage their risk.

And what happens when homeowners realize that they can't afford to pay their property taxes and make their monthly mortgage payments? The same thing that happened when people were given government backed loans to purchase homes they could never afford on their own: the rest of us will have to pick up the tab.

Not surprisingly, Neumann was all in on that scheme too.

I get a headache just thinking about the added administrative burden on government to collect the monthly payments, and a migraine when I contemplate Neumann’s idea for a new state software program to automate payments.

Maybe Neumann should stop worrying about how the rest of us pay our taxes and focus on paying his own taxes in full and on time.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Barrett the Bi-Partisan?

It's funny how partisan liberals like Barack Obama and Tom Barrett only preach the need for bipartisanship during an election or when they think they're about to lose power. Both motivations seem to be driving Tom Barrett's plan to take control of redistricting away from the legislature and give it to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board whose members he would appoint if elected Governor.

Barrett has no history of bipartisanship. In fact in Congress, Barrett voted with Democrats 92% of the time and earned the label of hard core liberal for his far left positions on taxing, spending, and government run healthcare.

Nor has Barrett ever had an original idea. Barrett introduced his "bipartisan" plan for redistricting the day after several opinion pieces authored by liberals appeared in newspapers calling for the same.

Funny how that happens.

Neumann's Vanishing Credibility

Once regarded as one of the state’s leading conservatives, former Congressman Mark Neumann has diminished himself so completely that even conservative commentators who once encouraged his candidacy for statewide office no longer take anything he says at face value.

To his credit, I suppose, Neumann is unaffected by his critics, persevering through a humiliating defeat for the state Republican Party endorsement, to polls showing him consistently trailing his Republican rival Scott Walker by anywhere from 20-39 points. All of this despite spending seven figures of his own money on radio, TV, internet and direct mail advertising.

A possible explanation for Neumann’s consistently abysmal performance in the polls is the influence of conservative talk radio hosts like Charlie Sykes and Mark Belling. Sykes and Belling along Vicki McKenna, Jay Weber, Jerry Bader and Jeff Wagner have shown Neumann no mercy whenever he takes indefensible positions on issues or cheap shots at his opponent Scott Walker.

So it really comes as no surprise that the sleazy push polling firm Venture Data has been engaged on behalf of the Neumann campaign to determine exactly how much weight primary voters give to what these professional talkers say. Venture Data has strong ties to Neumann’s polling firm, Public Opinion Strategies (POS). In fact, POS helped found Venture Data and has sub-contracted push polling work to the firm in the past.

According to Wisconsin residents who received the polling calls last weekend, Venture Data refused to identify who was paying for the calls even though state law requires it.

Neumann’s campaign made similar push polling calls in April without identifying who was paying for the calls and dozens of complaints against Neumann’s campaign are pending with the Government Accountability Board as a result.

The Government Accountability Board should investigate both sets of phone calls and issue sanctions against the appropriate players right now or expect to be deluged with complaints of even more egregious campaign violations as we draw closer to the September primary and November general elections.

If the polling firms involved in the nefarious activity won’t divulge who’s paying their bills, the GAB should fine them until their eyes fall out.

As for Neumann, the only thing vanishing faster than his credibility is the cash he keeps pouring into his campaign.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shut Up and Carry a Big Gun

Last Thursday Mark Neumann traveled the state with a big old rifle and a brand new NRA cap to prove that he's the 2nd Amendiest candidate in the race for governor.

Two days later, Neumann shot the First Amendment right in the head. The assault wasn't subtle or unintentional, and it was quite clear from the gleam in his eyes and smile on his face that Neumann was enjoying every minute of the kill.

The open shot came at the Democratic convention in Middleton when a reporter asked Neumann what he thought about the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United. The ruling says government can't ban corporations from spending money in elections.

"I think they should shut down every outside source of information in campaigns except the candidates themselves..."

"Whether that's not constitutional so we obviously can't do that. But if Mark Neumann got to have what he wished, that's what would happen sir."

Here's what the NRA had to say about the Citizens United case and Congress' attempt to shut down outside sources of information in campaigns:

"That kind of arrogant disregard for the free speech of Americans is something the NRA will stand against just as we stand against the erosion of the Second Amendment liberty of all Americans. In the end, each right exists to protect the other."

And in response to the Supreme Court's decision in Wisconsin Right to Life v FEC, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said:

"The decision will have a major impact on the NRA's ability to reach the American people with our public policy messages about firearm rights."

Neumann arrogantly disregards lots of things, like the right of disabled people to fish on his lake. When it comes to the NRA, I guess Neumann just signed up for the cool hat.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Moose Lake Revisted

In a recent post, I referenced Milwaukee Journal Sentinel articles regarding Mark Neumann's efforts to stop the DNR from providing public, handicapped access to Moose Lake in Waukesha County.

Neumann would like us to believe that he tried to stop the DNR from purchasing property on Moose Lake simply because he wanted to save the taxpayers’ money. In a recent interview with WTDY Radio in Madison, Neumann tries to discredit the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's account of the events that took place from 2001-2002.

"The people on the lake wanted to provide a public boat launch at no cost to the taxpayers and then charge a small fee for the maintenance and upkeep of the boat launch. So what was going to happen is there was going to be a boat launch there but instead of spending nearly a million dollars of the taxpayers' money on it, people on the lake were going to do it and open it to the public."

The facts support the newspaper's account which said:

"But surrounding homeowners objected to the perceived intrusion in their neighborhood. After first trying unsuccessfully to orchestrate their own purchase of the property, homeowners lobbied state lawmakers to block funding for the project."

Meeting minutes from the Moose Lake Area Association confirm that Neumann and his neighbors wanted to buy the property in order to prevent the public boat launch entirely. They were concerned that a public boat launch would negatively impact their property values and allow the wrong kinds of people to use the lake.

At no time did they express concern for taxpayers. In fact the only potential benefit they saw to the DNR plan was that the DNR would pay for their upkeep!

MLAA FALL MEETING Fall September 19, 2001 Meeting Minutes

Boat Launch – Larry Schmidt and Ray Grosch reported that Greg Jackson has given the DNR an option to buy his property that is effective through January 31, 2002. Larry and Ray approached Greg and told him they would be willing to give him $25,000 more than the DNR price, but have not received a response.

They reported that the DNR plans to develop the land, creating retention ponds, 5 car-boat trailer parking stalls, 1 handicapped stall, and 5 car stalls, adding restrooms, a handicapped access fishing pier and possibly upgrading of the boat launch itself. The launch will be unmanned, and the Town will not police it. Their concerns are:

Ø Additional boats will create an increased safety problem

Ø People coming on the lake do not “take care of” it when they are here

Ø Concern that it may affect property values

What would be good about having the DNR on the lake is that they would help us manage the lake, i.e. help with such things as Watermilfoil treatments.

Larry and Ray proposed that a group of lake residents raise the money needed to purchase the property from Greg Jackson.

  • Option 1 – buy and develop the property; maybe put a new house on it.
  • Option 2 – Buy and sell to someone else with an easement on the property to allow lake residents access to the boat launch.

A lot of discussion ensued. Mark Neumann and Tim Michelic volunteered to join the committee to work on the creation of a survey to the general membership. This survey would ask how much money each resident would be willing to contribute toward a fund to purchase the property.

The DNR will hold a Informational Meeting at the Merton Town Hall in North Lake onThursday, October 4, 2001 between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm to explain the proposed project, listen to residents concerns and answer questions. PLEASE ATTEND.

What Else You Can Do: Until the end of January 2002, you can write to the DNR secretary, the Joint Finance Committee, the Governor, and the Natural Resources Board

DNR Secretary, Darrell Bazzell, and DNR Regional Director, Gloria McCutcheon, can be reached at:
Southeast Region
2300 N. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive
PO Box 12436
Milwaukee, WI 53212-0436

Governor, Scott McCallum, can be reached at:
Office of the Governor
115 East, State Capitol
Madison, WI 53702

Joint Finance Committee can be reached at:
Joint Committee on Finance
316 South, State Capitol
Madison, WI 53702

Natural Resources Board, Trygve A. Solberg, Chair, can be reached at:
PO Box 50
Minocqua, WI 54548

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Neumann Endorses Barrett

Citing their mutual support for stimulus funds, tax credits and other government subsidies, Republican candidate for Governor Mark Neumann endorsed his Democratic rival at the state Democratic Convention in Middleton.

“My companies have made a killing off of President Obama’s stimulus package. Between the eight thousand dollar homeowner tax credit and the tax credits for solar water heaters, geothermal heat pumps and wind energy systems, the taxpayers have put hundreds of thousands into my homes. Heck, the taxpayers even paid for radio ads to promote my company.”

Neumann said Tom Barrett is the only other candidate in the race who believes that government should pick the winners and losers when it comes to helping businesses succeed.

“Thanks to the policies of Jim Doyle and Barrack Obama, I’m a winner. I know I can count on Tom Barrett to keep those tax credits and subsidies flowing so that my grandchildren will be rich enough to pump millions of dollars into their campaigns someday."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Elmer Fudd for Governor

Gubernatorial candidate Mark Neumann flew around the state today to promote his support for conceal and carry. I'm not sure how he plans to conceal that thing, but he's a dead ringer for Elmer Fudd.

Wonder if that's the same gun he used in 1995 when he blew off the most important vote of his congressional career to go hunting.