Page 1 of Flyer
We have just learned that the anonymous and potentially defamatory (SOS) flyer sent last week to all recipients in the 54547 zip code was authorized by school board clerk Denise Thompson.
In our phone interview the post master verified signing of the papers by Thompson and that the senders were the SOS committee. It is not known at this time whether Thompson was acting on her own behalf, as a member of a registered political committee or as a representative of the school board.
We are wondering why the school officials thought that they could remain anonymous and would not take credit for their statements.
The flyer, in itself, is illegal under Wisconsin Chapter 11.30 since it is not permissible to mail anonymous political literature:
11.30 Attribution of political contributions, disbursements and communications.(1) No disbursement may be made or obligation incurred anonymously, and no contribution or disbursement may be made or obligation incurred in a fictitious name or by one person or organization in the name of another for any political purpose.
(a) The source of every printed advertisement, billboard, handbill, sample ballot, television or radio advertisement or other communication which is paid for by or through any contribution, disbursement or incurred obligation shall clearly appear thereon. This paragraph does not apply to communications for which reporting is not required under s. 11.06 (2).
(b) Every such communication the cost of which is paid for or reimbursed by a committee or group, or for which a committee or group assumes responsibility, whether by the acceptance of a contribution or by the making of a disbursement, shall be identified by the words "Paid for by" followed by the name of the committee or group making the payment or reimbursement or assuming responsibility for the communication and the name of the treasurer or other authorized agent of such committee or group.
(c) Every such communication which is directly paid for or reimbursed by an individual, including a candidate without a personal campaign committee who is serving as his or her own treasurer, or for which an individual assumes responsibility, whether by the acceptance of a contribution or by the making of a disbursement, shall be identified by the words "Paid for by" followed by the name of the candidate or other individual making the payment or reimbursement or assuming responsibility for the communication. No abbreviation may be used in identifying the name of a committee or group under this paragraph.
(d) In addition to the requirements of pars. (a) to (c), a committee or individual required to file an oath under s. 11.06 (7) shall also in every communication in support of or in opposition to any clearly identified candidate or candidates include the words "Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's agent or committee".
Further the mailer violates section 1.28 of the state's campaign finance rules which states that all campaign literature must clearly show its
A communication is susceptible of no other reasonable interpretation if it is made during the period beginning on the 60th day preceding a general, special, or spring election and ending on the date of that election or during the period beginning on the 30th day preceding a primary election and ending on the date of that election and that includes a reference to or depiction of a clearly identified candidate and:
The entire text of Rule 1.28 is available on the G.A.B. website.
Government Accountability Board Chair and General Counsel, Kevin J. Kennedy states that, “The focus of this rule has always been to carry out the Legislature’s intent to ensure the public’s right to know the sources of campaign advertising,”
Whether the SOS committee is properly registered under GAB rules is not known at this time.
It is also illegal for anyone to use school equipment (computers, copiers), supplies, or facilities to influence a school board election. It is not known at this time how and where the pamphlet was produced, or who makes up the Save Our School committee.
Page 2 of Flyer
Deanna Pierpont, Mercer School Board treasurer has requested that we reproduce the flyer sent to Mercer residents by candidate Paul Juske. It appears below.
Posted 18th February by Woodsperson
- AnonymousFebruary 18, 2014 at 5:29 PM
Can someone see how many phone calls Mr. Torkelson has made to the school attorney, for the School Board Clerk, now that the Clerk has realized that this flyer is not legal? The school district is charged for every phone call that is made to the attorney and returned by the attorney. More wasted tax money that will not be used for the school children. With the misspelling on this flyer and the flyer from last fall from the school regarding the tax hike, it is very likely that the same person who typed out that flyer also typed out this one - more than likely on a school computer, the school printer, and paper from the school? ! This is really uncalled for - perhaps the School Board Clerk should resign?
AnonymousFebruary 18, 2014 at 6:07 PM
Not just the school board clerk resign but the entire board. They are all blantantly involved in this entire illegal affair. There is certainly complete justification and ammunition for a recall.
AnonymousFebruary 21, 2014 at 9:18 AM
OK, so Thompson broke the law and needs to be arrested and fined. But, who wrote and printed the SOS flyer? The typeface (font) is identical to several documents prepared and printed in the school disictrict office. Is someone going to investigate these similarities?
AnonymousFebruary 18, 2014 at 5:29 PM
What needs to be done to bring these people to justice? Who needs to investigate and file charges?
AnonymousFebruary 18, 2014 at 7:22 PM
Can we e-mail or send this flyer and the information that WoodsPerson has obtained, regarding the School Board Clerk, to the WASB (Wisconsin Association of School Boards) and perhaps the District Attorney or even the State Attorney General?
AnonymousFebruary 19, 2014 at 11:35 AM
Good idea. The WASB might take an interest and start a criminal action.
AnonymousFebruary 19, 2014 at 6:27 AM
I would think that besides taxpayers contacting the D.A. regarding the violation of the law regarding this mailing being sent anonymously, that Juske will take civil action toward Denise Thompson, who is as successful owner of the local cafe and can pay damages to this wronged individual.
AnonymousFebruary 19, 2014 at 9:08 AM
I enjoy this sleight of hand that was done in the post. Instead of focusing on what the flyer has to say and its counter points the post was redirected toward a technicality. Plus, potentially defamatory that is a huge stretch. For the last page of the flyer to be defamatory it has to state false information or retaliate against groundless criticism.
If these blog postings are designed to provide facts and information to help votes determine what is best for the Mercer school district then both sides should be represented. Why don’t we see Juske flyer, and allow to make comments. Plus, if I remember correctly Juske also left “Paid for by” on his flyer. If I am incorrect, then post his flyer along with this one so people can properly compare the information provided.
AnonymousFebruary 19, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Violating state election law is hardly a "technicality." State and federal law makes it clear that the public has a right to know who pays for any campaign materials.
AnonymousFebruary 19, 2014 at 11:42 AM
I looked at the Juske flyer and in two places it left no doubt that he was the author and paid for it. So what's Anonymous 9:08 am's problem?
AnonymousFebruary 19, 2014 at 9:39 PM
Hardly "sleight of hand" as Anonymous 9:08 AM claims. The purpose of this post, as I see it, was to expose the mailing by SOS for what it really was, illegal. Anonymous 9:08 AM's attempt to redirect from that subject matter is the real sleight of hand. If you have a problem with Juske's flyer and whether or not it was technically legal, by all means, start a blog and have at it. I find it very interesting that the school board clerk is accused of being involved in mailing out the SOS flyer. The possibility raises so many other questions in my mind about who else might be involved and what laws might have been broken.
AnonymousFebruary 19, 2014 at 12:35 PM
Please have the Juske flyer posted and show the section "Paid for by" followed by the name of the candidate as outlined in Wisconsin Chapter 11.30 section C. If it was done properly then there is no concern about Juske flyer related to chapter 11.30.
The term technicality was properly used “The term legal technicality is a casual or colloquial phrase referring to a technical aspect of law.” My comment reaffirms my previous statement “Instead of focusing on what the flyer has to say and its counter points the post was redirected toward a technicality.”
AnonymousFebruary 19, 2014 at 9:08 PM
It's a technicality if there is no doubt as to whom the author of the literature is and he or she simply forgot the "paid for by" line on his materials. It's a violation of the intent and spirit of the law if there is no place in the literature where the authors or persons responsible for the content can be identified. That's a no no. You can't anonymously spend money and circulate ads attacking a particular candidate.
Sorry, I don't have a copy of the Juske flyer. BTW, I made the same mistake on my first mailer. The difference is not "just a technicality." In my case my name was on the flyer in at least 4 places, my address, phone number and email address also appeared AND my flyer was not an attack on another person. As far as the content of the SOS flyer; it is inaccurate, irrelevant, childish, amateurish, and worst of all, wildly inappropriate for a school board clerk to have any part of it. Anonymous comments, blogs, flyers, and letters are all chicken shit!
If you believe in something, stand up, be recognized and say it. If not, just crawl back in your hole.
AnonymousFebruary 19, 2014 at 3:00 PM
As far as the content of the SOS flyer; “it is inaccurate, irrelevant, childish, amateurish”. Can you provide greater details on those points? I am having a hard time finding false information. From what I have read the 2014/15 taxes is forecasted to go down next year. Fund 80 is used by the community, and users have donated funds to student scholarships. Mercer students invest community service hours to help the community. Are the recognition awards false, and the GPA is lower than printed? Has enrollment gone down and not up? How many years did they go back for the 10% graduation rate from a 4 years school? My class has over 10%. Was Juske and family former employees of Mercer, and he was not renewed after one year? And at last did he not say “The Mercer School has created a powerful enemy”?
The reason for Anonymous comments is proven by your very own comments “chicken shit, crawl back in your hole.” Without anonymity the comments would be become personal attacks compared to constructive dialog.
AnonymousFebruary 19, 2014 at 3:11 PM
Woodsperson, why do you allow the ravings of this maniac to appear as comments on your respectable blog? His statements betray him for who he is.
AnonymousFebruary 19, 2014 at 3:53 PM
Yes, I would say that this person is probably one of the SOS committee members(?) or perhaps the School District Administrator (?) -- and we all know what their agenda is -- they are getting nervous about being investigated!
AnonymousFebruary 20, 2014 at 7:33 AM
It's really sad that all this negativity is present in such a great town. Juske was non renewed (fired). That is a fact. He has no plan to reverse the tax increase (fact) as that question was asked on this blog. Mrs. Juske's wife has stated eliminating the Fund 80 "is an option" is a fact. This school is a vital mechanism in this community. It supports jobs, children, elderly. Bottom line is this school keeps the Mercer community alive. I do not believe the Board is or has acted in an inappropriate manner. All you have to do is call one of the members and they are happy to speak with any individual. I do appreciate the blog and the comments but it certainly seems very one sided. Woodsperson, do you volunteer at the school? Do you live in Iron County?
We agree about the negativity thing.
Non-renewed is not fired. One could, for example, disagree with the policies of the administration and be non-renewed. Since personnel records are not public information, we'll never know what the non-renewal reason was.
Doing a little accounting shows that Mr. Torkelson could get close to his $11/100,000 figure by eliminating fund 80 next year: $650,000-350,000-260,000=85,000. 85,000/479,000,000 = $17/100,000. Perhaps that is his intention. We don't know because he won't say how he gets to that figure.
I don't believe anyone ever said that the school doesn't do good things. The board DID DECEIVE THE PUBLIC. That is the whole reason for the negativity!
Re talking to the board members, that is total BS. Two board members have told us that they can't talk about the issue. One doesn't answer her phone. One was given the opportunity to write a positive post here and didn't respond, and the last one doesn't respond to her emails. Again, WE WILL PUBLISH ANYTHING ANYBODY SENDS US AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT CONTAIN AD HOMINEM ATTACKS.
And the answer to the last question is yes and yes and at the time of the referendum we owned property in Mercer.
AnonymousFebruary 20, 2014 at 1:16 PM
Mr. Woodsperson, I liked your response.
The posters last lines were, "Woodsperson, do you volunteer at the school? Do you live in Iron County?"
I don't think volunteering at a school has anything to do with one holding an opinion and putting it forth. The same with living in Iron County. For example, I neither volunteer at the school nor do I live in Iron County. I do own property in the Town of Mercer. And since I pay property tax I will voice my opinion on this blog. If the poster doesn't like that, that is too bad. I appreciate and like this blog. I don't always agree with everything posted here. But, I find the site informative and interesting. Thanks.
AnonymousFebruary 20, 2014 at 2:28 PM
I am not stating volunteering has anything to do with expressing an opinion. Living in the community is a lot different than owning property and residing elsewhere. Sure, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I respect that; even though, I may disagree with the view point. Giving back to the community through volunteering is what makes a community a community. Paying taxes is a requirement that is intrinsic with owning property and does not necessarily form a community.
Typically when a person(s) are non renewed it is generally because of performance whether it is personal or professional. Mr. Juske has not expressed logically why he was let go. His wife was a former teacher at Mercer school (public knowledge) as well as their daughter. I find it interesting that Mr. Juske or his wife wasn't vocal about the Board's decision making process prior to being non renewed. Seemed the Juske family was satisfied when they were receiving a paycheck from the School and fellow tax payers. Something just does not add up with the common sense check.
As far as the math goes, no one and I repeat no one can explain the numbers in detail. Even Woodsperson had a difficult time doing the math (from previous posts) even after he was provided calculations from several public sources. So, that demonstrates the complexity of the formulas. However, Mr. Juske cannot explain the numbers either. So, it must get down to who we believe.
I dont agree with the “deception” component of your argument. Nor, do I believe that any Board member will not talk with any of their Mercer tax paying citizens. The B.S. response you used is really unprofessional.
The school has accomplished several noteworthy achievements ranging from academic to volunteering to support the local community. Some may disagree but that is another fact.
And finally with respect to volunteering. Woodsperson, I can deduce you no longer are a Mercer resident. You seem very engaged in the School operating protocol but but you don’t live here. What gives? Why did you stop volunteering? Remember, it’s all about the kids. Right?
Thank you again for your response. I may not agree with everything but I respect the opinion.
I thought we explained the numbers in about as much detail as we could without writing a book. We had a hard time finding out where they came from but finally did it. Actually, the accounting turns out to be quite simple when you get all the facts.
We never were Mercer residents but owned property there. We still live in Oma (next town north) and I believe we still send some students to Mercer. At least we did, last I looked.
Our volunteering at Mercer consisted of two days of lecture on the geology of Iron County and a field trip to Copper Falls State Park. Not a big deal volunteer-wise, but I would do it again. The kids and teachers were great.
If you had read the previous posts on this subject you would know that I got involved at the request of an elderly neighbor from Mercer (we live near the Oma/Mercer line) who got an unexpected $600 hit in his property taxes at Christmas, lives on a fixed income.
For about the hundredth time: The issue is about being misled, not about the school, teachers, children, school building, or the community. People who get unexpected tax increases get angry.
Finally, please use your name or sign it if you don't have an account. Anonymity sucks!
AnonymousFebruary 20, 2014 at 4:03 PM
"Living in the community is a lot different than owning property and residing elsewhere. ....... I respect that; even though, I may disagree with the view point. Giving back to the community through volunteering is what makes a community a community. Paying taxes is a requirement that is intrinsic with owning property and does not necessarily form a community."-Poster 2/20 2:28PM
I'm 50+ years old, I've been going to Mercer since I was a young child when my Grandfather lived there. Hell, I rode the old Chicago NW train and he would pick me up at the depot. So, Mercer is in my blood so to speak.
You make non-resident property owners second class citizens. Guess my money is wanted and/or needed at tax time, Loon Days, motel stays when my wife and I come up for ice fishing. Guess the local businesses would rather have me shop in Hurley and/or Ironwood.
So when my taxes go through the roof, yes, I have an opinion. Volunteering has nothing to do with the monkey business that has been going on with the school board and administrator.
In regards to being Anonymous, I don't have/don't know what google account, live journal, word press, type pad, aim, open id, name/url. But I know I can post if I use anonymous.
But, if you want to know who I am , I'm J.E. Mead, Jr. New Auburn, WI. There ya go.
AnonymousFebruary 19, 2014 at 8:18 PM
Word has it that our County D.A., Mr. Lipske is looking into this election law violation, as well as the issue of Torkleson's failure to release Fund 80 records, another law violation. I urge people to contact the D.A. regarding these matters and ask him to pursue them.
AnonymousFebruary 20, 2014 at 8:18 PM
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
WoodspersonFebruary 20, 2014 at 9:16 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
AnonymousFebruary 23, 2014 at 3:15 PM
The poorly confused Anonymous Feb. 19, 3 p.m. and Feb. 20, 2:28 p.m., in questioning Woodsperson's right to add valuable insight into the school board scandal,said that "paying taxes is intrinsic with owning property. " Is he saying, therefore, that he does not support Tanner Hiller who owns no property and consequently pays no taxes?
He also purports to know a lot about the non-renewal of Paul Juske as a Mercer teacher. And, yet his statements prove that he knows nothing. Those who continuously attempt character assassination of Juske, who has a long history of examplary teaching with numerous commendations, repeat the veiled question but never provide an answer. It is because they don't have the answer. Mr. Juske has made his position clear in earlier blog comments and we hope we will hear more from him on this subject. What they hear may not be too flattering to Torkelson and school board members who perpetuate this distorted attempt at slander.
AnonymousMarch 1, 2014 at 10:05 PM
Tanner Hiller does a lot for the community. Just because he doesn't pay property taxes doesn't make him ineligible to become a board member. He volunteers his time to his community and I am sure that when he is out of college he will be a property owner and a taxpayer here because he cares so strongly about Mercer. Even Woodsperson can probably contest that Tanner Hiller is a genuine guy that will always look out for the taxpayers.
AnonymousMarch 3, 2014 at 11:51 AM
Between the two hillers, one already on the inside and another on the way,
could either offer even the slightest inkling of why for the 37% tax increase.
AnonymousMarch 3, 2014 at 6:44 PM
Fund-80 aint going nowheres, it be the 'cash-cow' that needs a milking, ya hey-der.
AnonymousMarch 3, 2014 at 6:49 PM
Did 'anyone' ever suggest or imply that fund-80 was going to be 'dis-continued' now or in the future?...
How and why does 'woodsperson' assume that this is the school board's answer to their mathematics.
AnonymousMarch 18, 2014 at 9:15 PM
Upon receipt of this flier in the mail, I was convinced that there is some corruption within the school board members and voted for Juske. I truly hope that he wins and that we can oust those who
sent this flier out.
AnonymousMarch 19, 2014 at 3:04 PM
I feel bad, I indirectly paid for all those materials and postage as I am a taxpayer.