Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw is the Program Director for both 1410 WIZM and 580 WKTY.   He's currently the morning news anchor on 1410 WIZM, Z93 and 95-7 The Rock.  He joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting as a reporter/anchor in 1989 and served as News Director from 1990-2015.   He's been the winner of several Wisconsin Broadcaster's Association awards for Best Editorial in Wisconsin.  He enjoys traveling, bicycling and cooking.

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Thursday - April 20, 2017 9:23 am

La Crosse County's lame logo

Branding can be important for a business. It can help them stand out from their competitors. But is it important for government as well? La Crosse County apparently thinks so, spending $60,000 on a new branding campaign that includes a new logo and tagline. But, boy, is it boring. Even a number of members on the county board voted against the new logo, calling it nondescript and unexciting. The new logo features a square with the letters “LC” next to another square which reads “1851” a reference to the year La Crosse County was founded. Beneath the logo is the tagline, “Exceptional services. Extraordinary places.” Huh? According to the dictionary, a logo is defined as a graphic representation or symbol of a company often uniquely designed for ready recognition. This $60,000 logo is hardly uniquely designed, or readily recognizable. Shouldn't the words La Crosse County appear in the new logo somewhere? Perhaps a picture of the bridge or the bluff, or the river, something that screams La Crosse? As one board member points out, 'If you showed this logo to a passerby, they would have no idea what it is to represent.' That makes it a bad logo, and in the case of La Crosse County, a rather expensive one.

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Wednesday - April 19, 2017 10:19 am

Beer summit needed between La Crosse courts, cops

It is the type of thing they tend to talk about only among themselves, perhaps over coffee or beers. But some top La Crosse police are now being openly critical of the La Crosse County judicial system. Assistant Police Chief Rob Abraham calls it “ridiculous” that people are being arrested, pampered by the courts, set free with a slap on the wrist, who then go on to commit more crimes. We have seen evidence of that in two recent La Crosse shootings, allegedly committed by people who have been in trouble before, but let off with much less than the maximum penalty. Police are frustrated, and no longer staying silent about it. Their concerns are understandable, as we all want a safe community. The criticism seems to be that judges are soft on crime. But there is more to the story than that. Many times deals are made between prosecutors and defense attorneys, where people plea to a lesser crime in exchange for avoiding a trial, which can be costly to taxpayers. Judges are also bound by state-imposed sentencing guidelines, so even if they wanted to lock someone away for life, they may not be able. It is important that our law enforcement and judicial system work together to keep La Crosse a safe place to live. But it is more than just our judges being soft. There are a lot of issues in play. We suggest that local police and court officials sit down, perhaps over beers, and work to find common ground, or at least a better understanding of the other's role. Because we want to make sure that only those who truly deserve them get second chances.

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Tuesday - April 18, 2017 9:23 am

Local taxpayers know best how to fund schools

It is clear that Wisconsin citizens value a good public education. We see that in the number of referendums voters statewide have approved to provide the money needed to educate our children. Since 1990, Wisconsin school districts have approved more than 1600 school referendums worth more than $12 billion. That comes in the face of declining state aid for public schools. But some lawmakers in Madison want to severely restrict when school districts can go to voters in a referendum. This is unneeded, and unnecessarily punitive. The bills would not only limit when and how often local school referendums can be held. And school districts which convince voters of the need for more money for education would be penalized by the state. If this legislation is approved, if voters in the La Crosse school district approved a $5 million referendum, they would lose $1 million in state aid. Sponsors of this legislation say they would use that money to reward other Wisconsin school districts which are able to live within their means. Wisconsin schools shouldn't be punished for following the will of their citizens. If people in a school district agree to provide more money for education, because they want good schools, they shouldn't be penalized for that. Local voters know best, and should make their own choices about what is best for their schools and their tax dollars.

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Monday - April 17, 2017 9:51 am

Don't make it harder to force recounts

Do you recall the recount? Republicans in Madison do, and they want it to remain a distant memory. Some lawmakers are pushing legislation that would make it harder for losing candidates to force a recount after an election. You can probably thank Jill Stein for that. The Green Party candidate captured just one percent of the vote in Wisconsin, yet was able to force a recount of all of the presidential ballots cast in the state. It seemed trivial. After all, there was no way the recount was going to show Stein the winner. But state law allows losing candidates to force a recall, if they pay for the costs of doing so. That was more than a million dollars in Wisconsin. Stein raised the money, and paid the bill. It didn't cost taxpayers a dime. Still, some want to make recounts harder, allowing only second place finishers, within one percent of the winner's total. That would be a mistake. Recounts can restore faith in our system of voting, important especially after the last election with claims of rigging and illegal voting. If the state makes recalls harder, minority political parties, typically not a first or second place finisher, would be discriminated against. It may have seemed trivial to force a recount in the recent election, but Stein was in her right to do so, and other losing candidates should continue to have that same right.

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Friday - April 14, 2017 9:10 am

Judges should be held to higher standards

Wisconsin's public records laws are among the strongest in the nation. Basically, they say that governments and elected officials have to keep records of their actions and share them with the public, except under very specific circumstances. But that doesn't seem to be the case for the Wisconsin court system. In fact, judicial conduct remains almost entirely secret in the Badger state. Right now, complaints filed against judges are heard by the Wisconsin Judicial Commission. Those complaints are never made public, unless some form of public discipline is handed down. Wisconsin's Director of State Courts insists the public should not be able to see complaints filed against elected judges, saying “judges occupy a unique position of trust and authority in our system of government.” It seems to Bill Lueders, President of Wisconsin's Freedom of Information Council, that for that reason our judges should be subject to high standards of openness and accountability. He argues that currently complaints against a garbage collector or bus driver are subject to a greater degree of openness in Wisconsin than complaints against an elected judge. Keep in mind, judges aren't subject to performance evaluations, and if complaints are filed against them that don't lead to a public rebuke, the public never knows about it. Judges should be held to at least the same standards as bus drivers, but right now that is not the case in Wisconsin.

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Who knew a magazine could be so controversial? Probably not Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In his budget proposal to the legislature, Walker called for eliminating a state-run nature magazine produced by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine is produced six times per year. It has been published by the DNR since 1919. It offers its many readers information about hunting and fishing opportunities in the state, as well as environmental issues. But Governor Walker argues the state should not be in the publishing business, and that publishing a magazine no longer fits the agency's core mission. Never mind that the state publishes lots of publications, and that more than 80,000 readers of this beloved magazine entirely fund its costs. This would not save taxpayers a penny. Never mind that part of the core mission of the DNR is to keep the public informed about environmental issues. The Governor's decision is at its core a continuation of the battle between Governor Walker, the DNR, and science. Under Walker's administration, environmental regulations have been pulled back, DNR funding has been slashed, and reference's to climate change have been pulled from state websites. Governor Walker clearly has a problem with science. But stopping publishing a magazine does nothing to change the facts, other than making it more difficult for people to find those facts.

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Wednesday - April 12, 2017 9:59 am

Finally, policy items removed from WI budget

The sudden shift toward good government in Madison is hard to overstate. Republican leadership in the legislature has done something that is quite rare. They removed all non-fiscal items from the state budget Governor Walker has proposed. It has become commonplace in Madison for Governors to insert their pet projects into a budget. That is a safe move politically, because budgets are voted up or down. An idea, like the one Governor Walker proposed to reduce the time students have to spend in the classroom, does not belong in a budget document. But Governors like to put things like that there, because then they are not subject to public hearings as they would if they had to stand on their own merits. Stripping the budget of non-fiscal items hasn't happened in Madison in 14 years. And at that time, republican legislators pulled the items from the budget proposed by a Democratic governor. That was a power play. This is good public policy. If they don't relate to spending our tax dollars, they don't belong in a state budget. If the ideas the Governor has proposed are so good, they should be able to withstand public debate and public hearings. This was a bold move by Republican leadership, and we hope it will be the new standard for future budgets in Madison.

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Tuesday - April 11, 2017 9:01 am

More evidence of error in dumping GAB

It is looking more and more like a big mistake. Wisconsin lawmakers disbanded the former Government Accountability Board two years ago in favor of separate ethics and elections commissions. They claimed the GAB had become partisan. So they dumped the board made up entirely of retired judges in favor of partisan appointees. It hasn't been a smooth ride so far. Last December, Ethics Commission member Robert Kinney resigned from the newly created board, calling the commission ineffective and paralyzed by gridlocks. Some may suggest that is what happens when you appoint partisan members. Now, the chairwoman of the Ethics Commission, former Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager has abruptly submitted her resignation. She didn't elaborate on her decision to step down, but did call on the Governor and lawmakers to “recognize the importance of the work of the commission.” The commission was created to oversee and enforce ethics requirements for public officials. But clearly it isn't working. Wisconsin should return to the days when Wisconsin was a leader in ethics requirements for its public officials, and allow those who are truly independent, not partisan appointees, to decide when our lawmakers are behaving badly.

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Monday - April 10, 2017 9:59 am

Wisconsin Republicans show real backbone

It doesn't happen often. Almost never in fact. So it is certainly notable that our politicians finally stopped marching in lockstep and actually showed they can think for themselves. It happened in Madison, where the Republican-controlled legislature told their boss what to do with his budget plan. The powerful Budget Committee didn't just tweak Governor Walker's budget, they eviscerated it. Walker's plan for borrowing more money to pay for roads? Gone. Walker's idea to eliminate minimum classroom time for our public schools? Gone. Making college professors spend more time in the classroom and less time in the research lab? Gone. In fact, nearly every policy item, not dealing with state spending, was stripped from Walker's budget. This sets up quite a showdown between top Republicans in the legislature and Walker, who seems certain to seek a third term. He is no lame-duck. But republican leaders showed real backbone, demonstrating that non-spending items belong on the floor for debate, not tucked into the budget, where they are protected from public input. What will be next will certainly be interesting, but it is encouraging that finally, some politicians stood up for what is right, not just what their powerful bosses want them to do.

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Friday - April 7, 2017 8:41 am

Keep local control on school referendums

It is clear that people in Wisconsin value public education. That is evident in the wake of Tuesday's election, when a majority of school referendum were approved across the state. Voters approved more than 62% of the requests for additional money for education in Tuesday's vote. Voters agreed to boost school spending by an additional $700 million statewide. That included requests for new schools, or for operating expenses. In rapidly growing Verona, Wisconsin, voters approved one of the largest bonding requests in state history, providing an additional $162 million to build a new high school and make other renovations. Despite the size of the referendum, it was approved by 73% of Verona voters. But some lawmakers think Wisconsin's school districts should have more restrictions on when they can conduct referendums for more money for education. Rep. Duey Strobel's bill would restrict how often schools could ask voters for money, and schools which win voter approval could lose state education aid from the state. That makes no sense. Clearly, voters value a quality education, and are willing to pay for it, even if the state will not. Local school boards should be free to make their own decisions about how to best provide a quality education, without interference from the state. Lawmakers would be better to simply boost state education spending, rather than forcing districts to go to voters with their hands out.

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