The Appleton Post-Crescent recently sifted through more than 1,000 proclamations issued by Governor Jim Doyle since he took office in 2003. Most are silly but perfectly harmless and a few are downright hilarious, but one in particular caught our attention. Doyle proclaimed June 4, 2004 Paul La Schiazza Day. On May 10, 2004 La Schiazza made a $1,000 contribution to Doyle's re-election campaign. La Schiazza is president of telecommunications giant SBC Wisconsin.
During the 2002 election campaign for governor, La Schiazza supported Scott McCallum. But La Schiazza and other top brass at SBC took a sudden interest in Doyle once he became governor. The company certainly has been rewarded for its attention to political detail. Among the wishes granted are corporate tax breaks, business deregulation legislation, a lucrative state contract to provide high-speed Internet access to state public and private schools, libraries and the technical college system, and now an obscure budget item allowing the Public Service Commission to increase the penalties SBC can impose for some late payments by customers that will pad the company's bottom line to the tune of $1.7 million.
An official Paul La Schiazza Day pales in comparison to those goodies. And besides, Doyle seems...well, let's say...undiscriminating whens it comes to handing out proclamations. A couple of weeks after La Schiazza was recognized, Doyle named June 17, 2004 Heat Awareness Day. This year, the week of May 7 was proclaimed Emu Week. May 11 was Root Canal Awareness Day. The week of May 21 was Tinnitus Awareness Week.
You have to wonder who thought it would be a good idea to make October 2004 the Month of the Young Adolescent and Pornography Awareness Month. But then again, last October was a month to remember for a dizzying array of causes. Doyle also proclaimed it Childhood Emergency Care Injury Prevention Month, Brain Injury Awareness Month, Respite and Crisis Care Awareness Month, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month, Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month, Nieman-Pick Disease Awareness Month, Physical Therapy Month, United Way Month and Cranberry Month.
Since proclamation fever is running high in the Capitol's east wing and the governor and his people obviously are scraping the bottom of the barrel for stuff to recognize, a little help from the citizenry appears to be in order. Nominations anyone?