Daily Bread for 2.9.22: Shreddin’ and Deletin’ Vos

  Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will see occasional show showers with a high of 39.  Sunrise is 6:58 AM and sunset 5:19 PM for 10h 20m 56s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 60.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

There will be a joint meeting of the Common Council, Community Development Authority, and Plan and Architectural Review Commission Agenda at 6 PM

On this date in 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a joint resolution authorizing a National Weather Service, long a dream of Milwaukee scientist Increase Lapham: “Lapham, 19th-century Wisconsin’s premier natural scientist, proposed a national weather service after he mapped data contributed over telegraph lines in the Upper Midwest and realized that weather might be predicted in advance. He was concerned about avoiding potential disasters to Great Lakes shipping and Wisconsin farming, and his proposal was approved by Congress and authorized on this date.”

Scott Bauer writes Judge orders Vos, watchdog group to resolve records issue:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A judge on Tuesday ordered attorneys to meet and try and resolve their dispute over whether Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos turned over all requested records related to the ongoing investigation into the 2020 presidential race.

Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn again repeated her concerns that some of the records requested by the liberal watchdog group American Oversight might have been destroyed.

“This has got to stop,” the judge said. “Either these records exist or they don’t. … If they were deleted or destroyed after an open records request was made, I think that’s relevant and I think the court needs to hear that.”

Vos’ attorney, Ronald Stadler, said no records were deleted after open records requests from American Oversight were received. But American Oversight attorney Christa Westerberg argued that records could have been deleted because requests sometimes weren’t forwarded to Vos staff members for days.

In one case, Vos’s office attorney Steven Fawcett did not notify staff of an American Oversight records request for 13 days. American Oversight wants Vos to do a more extensive search to find any records that were deleted.

The Legislature is not required to retain records unless an open records request has been filed. Both Vos and Fawcett said under earlier questioning from American Oversight’s attorneys that they routinely delete emails and text messages.

American Oversight argues that Vos made no effort to determine whether records that should have been made public were instead destroyed.

Bailey-Rihn ordered both sides to meet by Feb. 15, and she said she’d schedule another hearing if they can’t resolve the issue. American Oversight wants Vos to be found in contempt of court.

Vos’s staff used a method where controversial messages could be destroyed contrary to law by counting on delays in forwarding public records requests. If the staff knew that requests under law weren’t forwarded promptly, it would buy them time (perhaps days) to review and destroy whatever they thought might be controversial. (The darker possibility is that, in fact, they were aware of public records requests but knew that a bottleneck within their own process gave them time to delete relevant requested documents and falsely claim they were unaware of those requests at the time of deletion.)

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes go to Madrid in immersive exhibition:

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