A formal complaint was filed back on August 5th with West Bend's D.A., Todd Martens concerning the referendum video that appeared biased and coercive. The video can be seen here: http://wbcommunityinfo.blogspot.com/2008/07/wb-school-board-promo-video-coerces.html
The entire letter can be read here:
A follow-up letter was sent in October since there was no response from the D.A.
Since that time, the referendum questions were pulled from the November ballot and rescheduled for spring.
A formal reply came today:
"I received your letters concerning the West Bend School District and the six-minute video presentation, which contained information about the referendum. Although I received your first letter August 5, 2008, I felt that an immediate was not particularly important since the referendum question was withdrawn prior to the November election. (So a three-month wait for an answer is appropriate? Is this the norm for a citizen complaint?) Nevertheless, I did review the script of the video (Yes, we know this already. That's the problem.) and advised the West Bend School District that I did not believe it contained express advocacy for the referendum. (Which is exactly why you refuse to watch the video now. You might have to eat your words.)
Nothing in your letters changes my opinion in that regard. I have not reviewed the video, nor do I plan to. (Whoah! So six minutes is too much to ask? How does one base their decision on this issue without watching the video? How does one determine context, setting, tone without watching the video? Reading the script is hardly the same.) 'Express advocacy' if found at all, must in my opinion be found from the words used in the video. Your concerns about 'over use' of officials, police and firefighters participating and other concerns expressed in your letter do not go toward the question of whether the words of the video expressly advocate passage of the referendum. In my opinion they do not. (And you based this on??? Watching the video? NOT. "Words" are mentioned in my letter, over and over again. This is not addressed in this letter.)
I am very familiar with the law concerning expressed advocacy State of Wisconsin. I agree with you that it is very important that school districts not use school resources for express advocacy of referendum questions. However, the words of the video in question do not expressly advocate passage of the referendum. Therefore, I decline to take any enforcement action against the District or any of its employees."
(I disagree. It seems that our elected district attorney, Attorney Martens, does not have an open ear to the voters in his community, nor does he wish to make the effort to spend six minutes in order to fulfill a citizen complaint and respond with full knowledge of the situation. He won't be getting MY vote....)