Organizers of the in Wauwatosa's have taken steps to ensure that the event will not turn into a shouting match with opponents.
Co-coordinator Meghan Duffey said Wednesday that the grass-roots groups putting on the rally have taken out a permit and rented much of Hart Park for the day, and that barrier fences will be in place around the entire rally site, between North 68th and North 70th streets.
While the general public is invited and there is no admission charged, that gives Celebrate Walker the effect of being legally a private event, allowing organizers to exclude or expel anyone openly opposing their cause.
"We've rented out almost the entire park, and it will be barricaded," Duffey said. "If there are any issues (with protesters), we would ask them very nicely to leave."
"That doesn't mean you can't come in, as long as you're respectful and there to listen," she said. "I would put up with buttons. I won't have people waving signs."
UPDATE: Protesters are expected at Saturday's rally, but pro-Walker organizers have taken even more steps to keep them at bay. See related story, "."
Duffey said group leaders met Wednesday morning with and clarified the ground rules.
"If anyone caused trouble or refused to leave, they would be trespassing," Duffey said. "We can ask the police to escort them out."
Wauwatosa Police Lt. James Mastrocola confirmed that was the case. As for anyone protesting outside the fences, he said, their rights would be respected as well, as long as they weren't breaking any laws.
"We're not working for the pro-Walker people or the anti-Walker people," he said. "We're just there to keep the peace."
Mastrocola said that given the distance of the Rotary Pavilion, where the rally is centered, from public ways, it would be difficult for any disturbance outside the fences to be heard.
"Whether by accident or intention," he said, "I think (rally organizers) picked the perfect spot."
Duffey said that besides a police presence, there will be private 20 security specialists inside the fences for people to turn to.
"They will be our 'go-to' people should there be any concerns," she said. "They will be wearing yellow vests."
Snow to be cleared, shuttle buses will run
Duffey also said that snow — some 5 to 7 inches is predicted to fall Friday — and parking should not be worries for anyone wanting to attend.
"The snow we have on the ground and any more snow we get, that will all be cleared," she said. "So definitely, come."
The organizers have also rented two shuttle buses that will run between the Park and Ride lot on Watertown Plank Road just west of Highway 45 and Hart Park, and attendees are encouraged to use them.
"We don't want to intrude on the people of Wauwatosa," she said. "We don't want to congest the streets with traffic and parked cars."
The shuttles will run from noon to 2 p.m. to bring people to the event, and again from 4 to 6 p.m. to get them back to their cars, Duffey said.
The organizers will have an on-the-ground security review with Tosa police at 10 a.m. Saturday, Duffey said. Plans are laid to handle a crowd of at least 1,000.
"We're very confident now of getting 1,000 or more," she said.
Duffey said the security measures being taken are precautionary but she really expects no trouble.
"This is a celebration of Gov. Walker, period," she said. "It's going to be very positive."
Duffey said there would baked goods, coffee, hot cider and hot chocolate, all for the price of a donation.
"We have 30 women baking for us, fresh-baked goods. It's kind of like a family affair. We really want to boost Wauwatosa."
Here is the scheduled order of events and speakers for Celebrate Walker, subject to change, beginning at 1 p.m., with speakers tentatively scheduled about every 15 minutes after 1:10 p.m.:
- Welcome – Pledge of Allegiance – National Anthem
- State Sen. Leah Vukmir
- Jerrid Madden, Mukwonago High School Student
- State Sen. Alberta Darling
- State Sen. Van Wangard
- State Rep. David Craig
- State Rep. Jeff Stone
- State Rep. Robin Vos
- Hispanic Chamber Board Member Perfecto Rivera
- Kim Simac
- State Sen. Glenn Grothman
- Dr. Tim Nerenz
- State Treasurer Kurt Schuller
- Former U.S. Congressman Mark Neumann, candidate for U.S. Senate
- State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, candidate for U.S. Senate
- Former Gov. Tommy Thompson
The weather forecast for the day is now for partly sunny skies with a high temperature of 26 degrees and low chance of snow.