Not having heard back from Hulsey's office about the promised rescheduling, Meade dropped in today to see what was going on. I edited his video to make it very short...
First, Meade encounters the papers-on-the-floor lady. She's no longer plunked down in the center of the rotunda, but relocated off to the side. Why? "There's a blogger...." She denies that anybody ever slipped on her posters, but the blogger — me — stated that somebody slipped on papers in the rotunda — not specifically her papers. And here's the video (at 0:37). It's a big old legislator man who took a fall... and Brett Hulsey was right there when it happened.
Next, Meade goes with the woman as she walks into Hulsey's office to store her things. She doesn't speak to the office assistant or ask permission. She just makes the place her own. Unlike Meade, she is not one of Hulsey's constituents. He's simply facilitating the protests, even as he avoids Meade, who would like to talk to him about things like that.
In the office, Meade briefly encounters Hulsey, who admits he has "a beef" with Meade. Meade is told again to schedule an appointment with the office assistant, but she won't do it.
Basically, our assemblyman has cut off access. The reason that's interesting is that the protesters — to whom he gives super-access — have made a big deal about how the Republicans aren't listening to them and how democracy requires legislators to listen to everyone, even those who are their vehement opponents, even when they are not from their district. But Hulsey is resisting a man who has sought politely to speak with him, who is in his district, and who even voted for him.
Why did Meade vote for him? He had a strong challenger to his left. We live in Madison.
AND: Here's the email Meade sent to Hulsey tonight. (I had no role in drafting this letter. It's 100% Meade.)
As you know, I have tried to have a constituent/representative meeting with you for some time. I have emailed you, you have not replied; I've phoned, you have not returned my calls; I've come in in person to your office, I've been polite and friendly, left messages with Terri, and you have not responded. When I've run into you - in the rotunda (twice), on State St., outside on the Capitol grounds - you have brushed me off time and again. Meanwhile, I have witnessed numerous occasions when you have had time, time, and more time - for protesters, lobbyists, and union members. That is my beef with you - that, as my representative, you don't seem to want to give me more than 30 seconds of your time. Why?
What I want to know is: what is your beef with me? I'm not a Democrat. But neither am I a Republican. I have always, since 1972, been an independent voter. In the last election, Nov. 2010, I voted for you, I voted for Ron Johnson, and I voted for Scott Walker. I still consider all three to be good choices. I know I live in an extreme left district (30% voted for Manski) and I know you were challenged from the left and I will admit that I voted for you primarily because I viewed you as the most reasonable choice. By far the most reasonable.
I like the budget repair bill and you don't. I accept that. You are still my representative and I believe, in our free democratic system, you have an obligation to meet with me and address my concerns. You tried to school me in freedom of speech after encountering me in the rotunda two days ago. Do you remember? What about my freedom of speech? Am I not allowed to express my concerns and opinions to my elected representative, to dissent in a legal, civil manner? I know I have the constitutional right but it seems to me you are trying to block my opportunities to do so.
I have spoken with a number of Democratic senators and assemblymen over the past month. More than one has described the budget repair controversy as "war." So, Brett, I want to ask you straight out: Do you see it as "war?" And if you do - because I am in dissent with your position - do you see me as your enemy?
I am absolutely not your enemy. I am your constituent and I am a citizen.
As you know, I have also become a journalist/blogger because I want to report, as accurately as I can within my own acknowledged biases, the truth of what has recently been happening in Wisconsin government and politics.
So please consider making an effort to have a civil exchange with me. You know that I know that this is a slow time for you, deadlines notwithstanding. I expect to be treated by my elected officials with the due respect and neighborliness of a fellow Wisconsin citizen who treats them likewise.
Very truly yours,