Here is a brief note to keep in mind as the coming weeks bring plenty of local debate about the April 1st referenda relating to the Confluence Project. Remember that the largest chunk of money for the project comes through state approval, and part of that approval will come via the Wisconsin Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee. A year ago, the chair of the committee, Rep. Stephen Nass, said he opposed the project and would go so far as to fight inclusion of the money in coming state budgets, terming the Confluence Project a "white elephant."
While Nass is one of 13 members on the Assembly panel (Rep. Dana Wachs does, as well), the panel has 8 Republicans, and all indications are that the GOP will hold control of the Assembly after this year's elections -- and, therefore, control of the committee, likely with Nass still in the head spot. You have to imagine he will hold a fair amount of sway with what is likely to be a conservative majority on the panel that will be skeptical of public money for this project. Simply put, to me the entire Confluence Project could be at the hands of a person who absolutely does not want state funding included.
We'll argue back and forth in Eau Claire, both the city and the county. Yet our arguing may be but a waste of time, because of the opinion of some legislators scattered throughout the state. The Confluence Project may have been over before all the shouting began.