- Associated Press - Monday, January 12, 2015
Democrats say Walker distracted by presidential ambitions

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Republican Gov. Scott Walker is distracted by his exploration of a presidential run, top Wisconsin Democrats argued Monday, noting that he’s speaking at political events in Iowa and California this month when they say he should be focused on solving the state’s $2.2 billion budget shortfall.

Democrats are increasingly arguing that Walker’s acknowledged consideration of a possible 2016 presidential run is preventing him from addressing problems in Wisconsin. Walker counters that he couldn’t mount a credible run for president if things weren’t going well in his home state.

Walker is scheduled Tuesday to deliver his fifth State of the State speech, and the first of his second term. Walker said last week he will talk about some “big ideas,” including merging and consolidating certain state agencies to better serve taxpayers, but most of the details about how he’s solving the state’s budget problem will not be announced until next month.

He will submit his two-year spending plan to lawmakers on Feb. 3.

But on Monday, Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate noted that just two days after the State of the State speech, Walker is slated to give the keynote address Thursday at the annual winter meeting of the Republican National Committee in San Diego. The governor is also set to join other potential GOP White House hopefuls at a Jan. 24 summit in Des Moines, Iowa, sponsored by Citizens United and Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King.

“We know Scott Walker already has his eye off the ball in Wisconsin,” Tate said in a conference call with reporters.

Walker, who has said he won’t make a decision on a presidential run until this spring, recently hired a campaign adviser with experience running national campaigns. Walker has also urged lawmakers to act quickly on passing a budget this year. He’s giving them his plan 17 days earlier than he did two years ago.

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Man accused of spitting, spattering blood on officers

MAUSTON, Wis. (AP) - Mauston police are recommending charges of battery and substantial bodily harm against a man accused of spitting and spattering blood on officers.

Authorities say officers responded to a medical call about 9 p.m. Sunday and learned a 37-year-old man had been involved in an altercation with his girlfriend. She picked up a knife. He grabbed it away from her and sustained cuts to his hand.

WISC-TV (https://bit.ly/1BUBlQAhttps://bit.ly/1BUBlQA ) reports police say the man flicked blood on the Mauston officer who responded and later spat at a deputy or officer in the Juneau County Jail.

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Information from: WISC-TV, https://www.channel3000.comhttps://www.channel3000.com

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Madison police chief tired of blame for racial disparities

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The police chief in Wisconsin’s capital city vented his frustration with black protesters Monday, writing that he’s sick of his officers getting blamed for “everything from male pattern baldness to global warming.”

Tension between blacks and police has been high in many U.S. communities because of the high-profile killings of black men by white officers, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner in New York City and Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee. A gunman who claimed he was retaliating for Brown and Garner’s deaths shot and killed two New York officers last month.

A group called the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition has been staging occasional rallies in Madison to protest the deaths and funding for a new Dane County jail, marching in the streets and disrupting traffic. On Friday, the group sent Madison Police Chief Michael Koval a letter calling for the release of 350 black people from the Dane County jail. The group also demanded that police stay out of black neighborhoods, calling the department an occupying force.

“The relationship that we desire to have with police is simple: no interaction,” the group wrote.

Koval, who is white, responded with a lengthy blog post on Monday. He wrote that officers have done their best to protect the group’s free-speech rights during its protests, but that the group’s ultimatums “are beyond the pale” and that he doesn’t buy into the argument that Madison’s racial issues are emblematic of systemic bias within his agency.

“In fact, I’m fed up with my Department being blamed for everything from male pattern baldness to global warming. It is time for Young, Gifted and Black to look a lot deeper at the issues besetting our people of color and stop pandering to the ‘blame game’ of throwing my Department to the wolves,” he wrote. “I’m done with allowing this kind of rhetoric to go unchallenged.”

He called the group’s demand for police to stay out of black neighborhoods untenable and questioned whether the group really wants the police to ignore calls for help. Rather than leaving black people alone, he promised officers would interact with them more in an an effort to build relationships.

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Cybersecurity lab opening at research park in Madison

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A cybersecurity research lab is opening at the University Research Park in Madison.

It’s located in a building owned by the Wisconsin Security Research Consortium, which is a public and private mix of entities dedicated to improving the state’s climate for national cybersecurity research.

The building also includes the Wisconsin Technology Council. Its president Tom Still tells the State Journal (https://bit.ly/1FLunBLhttps://bit.ly/1FLunBL ) classified research done at the consortium would be owned by the federal government.

The University of Wisconsin System won approved from state Legislature last year to conduct more classified research, which it had abandoned nearly 45 years ago.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, https://www.madison.com/wsjhttps://www.madison.com/wsj

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