A homeowner in Waukesha for 20 years, Steve is president of the Waukesha Dog Parks Organization and enjoys motorcycling, fishing and staying on top of politics.
When The Journal Sentinel announced that they were launching the PolitiFact Wisconsin feature, I was skeptical. After all, like the parable about the scorpion and the turtle, people have a basic nature which can be difficult to change. Knowing that, I often find PolitiFact conclusions which I believe are not accurate, usually erring to the liberal side. Notice that I said usually. Sometimes they nail a liberal just to think that they are being "fair and balanced". Maybe they will honor me with a PolitiFact check of my statement!
During supper last night, I got a recorded phone call from Joe-The-Plumber. Remember Joe? He was the fellow that then campaigning Obama walked up to and started a conversation. It is when Obama responded, "We need to, you know, spread the wealth around". It got me to thinking. The teachers and other public figures have gotten more than their share of "the wealth". Let's face it, pay and benefits have been and likely will be based on percentages. These protesters have it much better, percentage wise, than the people who pay for same. It is time for them to spread their wealth around by coming back to earth.
As I have family that are public school teachers and being a taxpayer, I have an interest in the protests going on around the state. Peaceful assembly and protesting is a cherished Constitutional right. However it often shows the nature of those protesting.
Perhaps the proponents of Doyle's biomass boilers in Madison failed to explain the process adequately. As I understand it, and I'm in the boiler and fuel business, Biomass consists of grass clippings, wood chips and other organic matter. Uh, isn't that garbage? Oh, I also read that we can GROW stuff to burn in a biomass boiler. Sure, right between the rows of corn that is being grown for ethanol.
While driving back from the new Walmart on West Avenue, I was on Saint Paul Avenue when I saw activity around the fire station. I thought a drill was going on until I realized that they were indeed fighting a fire, nearly right behind the station. As I understand it, a mattress caught fire and spread. I would have liked to have found out more but bloggers don't have the same privileges that the full press have. I continued driving rather than add to the commotion.
Recently I had a fellow dog park user approach me. They wanted to differ in opinion on some of my views, particularly the Public Library System. For review, I have taken the position that the Library is an institution that should be examined as to it's place in this age of the Internet Information Highway. I would support it if it were self supporting. But the person's main argument is that it is free and that they can save the cost of a computer by using the ones at the Library. Hmm. Yes, their taxes are contributing to them. But so is mine and I never use them. I also have numerous books that I have paid for. These but a few of my arguements why The Library is an expense that can be reduced.
Recently I blogged about what I felt was an excessive amount of money being spent on our county airport security. You can read the blog by clicking on "Common Ground" and my previous blogs will be listed. I invited a response from anyone knowledgeable about the issue from the county. Here is a reply from Airport Commissioner Michael Crowley.
Lately, I've been more concerned about my personal budget than the city's. I have looked over some of the items that are of particular interest to me, namely, the library and transit system.
I was away on business when using my iPod's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel application, I read the news story about Waukesha County receiving federal and state money. It read; "The Federal Aviation Administration is providing $719,458 while the state and Waukesha County are each paying $18,930 toward the project." The money is for increased security at Dale and Dean Crites Airport.
I saw some news about the budget proposal and was pleased that it didn’t have a tax increase, but disappointed that there was not a tax cut. I had replied to the call for public input with some areas that I felt user fees should be added or increased because of the small group of people that they benefit, though some would argue that the majority enjoy indirect benefits from some services. There is room for discussion.
J.B. Van Hollan, whom I supported, has issued an OPINION that municipalities cannot require construction businesses to have more education or experience than the State requires.
During a lull at work, I was catching up on trade periodicals. In one magazine encompassing the building trades, a survey of 1,200 contractors around the country was done. It asked if road and traffic conditions were affecting their business.
WaukeshaNow is about what is going on in Waukesha. Having said that, nowhere is the controversy about our water situation so heated as on the op-ed pages of the Waukesha Freeman. That is not to say that JSOnline does not have it share of information and comments about the situation either.
One man does not a race make. Historically, several people running for a single office is a good thing until it degrades to negatives and exaggerations. In my perfect world, a candidate is kept in a vacuum from knowing their fellow candidates, puts forth their best arguments for their election and is judged on those merits.
I have a simple question and suggestion about the escalating divide that seems to be tearing our city apart. Ok, granted that having Lake Michigan water is the surest solution to our supply and quality woes. But what good does all this planning do if the governing bodies of the great lakes does not approve our application? Further, is OUR DNR working with us or against us?
The news media reported that the common council unanimously voted to have the city administrator report and be reviewed by the council rather than by the mayor. This is an unusual move and one that needs explanation to the voters.
Eric Holder, our country's Attorney General blurted out that he was against the Arizona illegal immigrant law but admitted that he had not read the bill. A Milwaukee County Supervisor, speaking in favor of Milwaukee boycotting Arizona, stands and babbles that she cannot understand the need for the Arizona bill because Arizona is far removed from the Mexican boarder. Uh, you DO know that it does, I hope.
It’s amazing how news goes from hot to cold. Heard much about high speed rail lately?
In media both printed and electronic, I have seen pre-election-like criticism of Mayor Scrima. It is apparent that many of these people will criticize for any reason, be it unfair or trivial. I believe them to be ideologues of the Nelson administration who remind me of President Clinton’s staff vandalizing the White House prior to President George Bush taking residence. I want to be clear that I am in no way implying that Mayor Nelson has any connection with this. I see it as groupies or paparazzi which the person of focus has no control over.
Harley Davidson is in trouble. Either every old coot who's going to buy one has done so or those that have passed along without wrecking theirs has caused the used motorcycle market to be glutted with them so new sales have tanked. I say this with affection as I somewhat fit into that category. I now have three motorcycles in the garage myself. One is brand spanking new....but not a Harley.
I admit that my headline is a trap. However, the community has made it clear that they'd rather not have any sex offenders here at all. We keep track of them pretty well. We also keep pretty good track of others that have had criminal pasts. When it comes to criminals, we don't have much of a forgive and forget attitude, do we?
While Tuesday’s election wasn’t a 7.0 on the Richter scale of political earthquakes, it was a tremor warning of big things in the future.
I wrote before the Mayoral primary elections that I promoted Darryl Enriquez for Mayor, but held an interest in Jeff Scrima. Now that the race has been narrowed to Jeff Scrima and Larry Nelson, a hard decision needs to be made. I’ve decided to support Jeff Scrima and I hope that you will consider my reasons.
My least favorite branch of the federal government is the Supreme Court. I don't profess to know all the ins or outs of the federal government, but I'm trying. Many have said that much of what the legislative branch does is unconstitutional. It seems to me that the Supreme Court isn't doing it's job of deciding what is Constitutional and what isn't. It shouldn't take a lawsuit and hot shot lawyers to decide. I think the document is pretty much clear and doesn't need much, if any, interpretation.
One wants water from Lake Michigan. One wants every quarry and pothole in the ground used as water reservoirs. Two very different extremes, but neither really mattering as it is overlooked that our Aldermen are really the ones who make the decision.
I looked forward to seeing the slate of mayoral candidates and have not made a selection until just a few days ago. Mayor Nelson has not been a bad mayor. My contacts with him have been favorable, his door open and he has called me personally to appraise me of an issue that I was involved with when it would have been easy to let it pass. In politics it is often a small thing or a perception that can be favorable or unfavorable to a candidate. In the present political climate, there is an anti-incumbent and anti-liberal movement occurring. Mayor Nelson's open support of the candidate and now president Obama has not worked to his favor. It is time for a change.
Last night a meeting was made at the parks department which escaped my attention. It was regarding the flooding situation in the Grandview Park area. The proposal was to build a water retention pond on the south side of the park which would capture excess water that has been flooding basements and intersections in the area for many years.
No society has taxed itself into prosperity. In Saturday's Journal editorial page, the Journal's editors choose an editorial cartoon that implied that if you believe this to be true, you have either no brains or a lack of them. You see, that statement is one made by Rush Limbaugh in one of his 35 undeniable truths. Some seem outrageous, to liberals, but when thought through, there is truth to each one.
The Business Journal reports that should the York Pennsylvania Harley Davidson factory close, probably hinging on union concessions, that they are presently scouting for a new locations in Tennessee, Kentucky or Indiana.
"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Sorry Lord, I consider what I'm about to write about as part of maturing. Wisdom comes with age, though my kids usual think only wrinkles and a receding hairline and gumline come with age.
Governor Doyle thinks that he's pulled enough strings to get federal money printed to pay for the whole fast rail system between Madison and Milwaukee. For the money, we get an already obsolete system that is half as fast as the international standard of 220 miles per hour. It won't go much faster than I94 traffic currently does when no police cruisers are in sight.
Many years ago I realized the power of percentages. In an early job that I had, people started at different pay levels based on the particular needs at the time rather than some structured pay scale such as unions might command. Pay raises were usually, actually always, hush hush and we were told not to tell anyone what we got. We did, however. When one thinks that they are getting paid unfairly, they will usually exchange what their pay is and what their raise was. It was then that we found that usually a fixed percent was given as a raise. This would mean that anyone making more than another, would get a bigger raise. At the time the going pay was in the $3 to $4 an hour range and over time the spread between people doing the same work widened. Things such as this are one of the things that make workers begin thinking union.
Is there anyone who disagrees that the intersections of Moreland and Whiterock is a mess? I'm sure that a little searching in the library would show that it was originally a horse path. Now, it is a dangerous intersection. Our other Five Points.
It is nearing Thursday and the icon on my Internet explorer shows a low of -21 possible. So far we have a church that has been ready for many days to provide refuge for the homeless to help the overflow from the other shelters, but they are held up by a city permit. I can see the need, but what part of EMERGENCY isn't understood by the city? Is it a thinly veiled attempt to appease the downtown BID who doesn't want the homeless scaring off business? What is really laughable about the need of a permit is the arrogance of it.
Oh boy, am I going to step in it now. As having been associated with a pet store and being president of a dog park organization, it should go without saying that I love dogs.
My work van is a leased vehicle and Firestone on Silvernail is one of the approved repair shops for it. I had dropped it off for an oil change and a set of tires. I decided to walk home but as I was walking across the street, my son happened to be driving by and gave me a ride home. As I was on a week of vacation, I wasn't in any rush to have it done. When it was done, my wife wasn't around at the time to drive me there so I decided to do something bold and new. I took the bus.
Tonight the salters came out and I felt the all wheel drive kick in on my Subaru while heading to the Minooka Dog Park. Earlier Kanook and I were at Brookfield's Mitchell Park where the northwestern sky turned dark grey and soon a blizzard of snow pellets lashed down at us. People that I met muttered something about global warming.
News item is that Municipal Judge Joseph L. Cook is asking for a reduction in tickets being written by the police due to his workload, claiming the court is understaffed. My initial reaction is, "Welcome to the private sector"! In business it means do more with less, as in overtime. There's 24 hours in a day. Six or so hours to sleep should be enough. There's also the weekend. You did campaign for the position, didn't you Your Honor?
I continue to be open-minded about the Frame Park baseball issue. I'd like to think that there is a way to make it work in harmony with the other park users and the neighborhood but I can't think of one. My biggest objection is about where to park the cars, as it is with many other taxpayers. I've heard that there is plenty of parking within 15 minutes of the park. That's acceptable? "The church is going to rent out parking space." How about church events that coincide with games? Are the church members going to appreciate working around the ballgames?
Since my daughter-in-law and granddaughters were killed by a convicted drunk driver, the flurry of action has diminished. Where I used to pass over news about another death from a drunk driver, I now carefully read it and empathize with the innocent person's survivors. My family's life has changed.
All the wriggling and squirming in city hall about who is responsible for the horns blaring from the railroad crossings is almost laughable, but only because I live on the northwest side of the city, far from the railroads. However, when I have the windows open at night, I hear the horns blowing too, so I greatly sympathize with the residents near the affected sections of town. I know that to them, this is far from a laughing matter. Enough with excuses from city hall.
A few weeks ago there was a news item that the city was spending $50,000 to contract with a consulting firm to do a survey regarding strategic planning for the next five years. If you have had enough caffeine to keep you from dozing off for a while and you have some time on your hands, check it out here. Pardon me, but for $50,000 this outfit better have a mind-reader on staff!
I applaud the police department for taking steps to keep within their gasoline budget for the year. As much as I hate tax increases, we need to see that our cruisers are on the road, making a presence. I like that we have some four wheel drive squads so some mobility is possible in snow storms. That being said, should we be rethinking what is used for the majority of the squad cars? Ford Crown Victorias are comfy, powerful and have roomy rear seats allowing partitions to quickly place people in the back seat and protect the officer from harm. But are they needed enough to warrant not considering smaller, more economical squads to keep on the road yet stay in budget?
In the past I've criticized new construction as putting a load on our dwindling water resource. This, even though the business that I'm in is dependent on new construction. Briefly, I don't believe that long time residents of the city or county should be put in the same boat of inconvenience to accommodate development and expansion. Those dwindling the resource should be the ones to carry the load. Water wise, this would be prohibiting watering lawns, gardens and washing cars in new developments except with water gathered from cisterns or other non-aqufier sources. On site water recycling of gray water should be included with conservation efforts.
News item: Tuesday the common council will vote to award a consultation contract for strategic planning for the next five years.
Time to spruce up Grand Avenue and other roads in preparation for the motorcycles next month.
Did you know that City of Waukesha gas stations can't sell beer? I didn't. Since people are cutting back on their driving and buying less gasoline, the walk-in business for Slim Jims and Twinkies has dwindled. Now some are asking the city to reconsider the ordinance so they can buck up some of the shrinking profits.
There is no shortage of articles about the flood. I didn't realize just how bad it was until I got out of the neighborhood, even though the intersection of Bel Ayr and Pine Street, just a few houses from me, had water that appeared as deep as four feed deep and many flooded basements in the vicinity. This is not the time to talk about it here. It'd get lost in the flow of things. Later.
It's been a year now that I've been transfered from working in Pewaukee to West Allis. I'm in the middle of the action between State Fair Park and Miller Park. Last week it was interesting as I frequently heard the roar of the race cars qualifying for the big race. Not much different than the Harley's roaring up and down in front of my house.
Having donated toward the creation of the Minooka Dog Park, both the cities of Waukesha and New Berlin must insist that the county sees if there is any connection between the bacteria killing dogs at HAWS and the seasonal pond at the dog park that consists of melted snow and run off from the higher ground and has a trash receptacle immersed in the water.
From time to time there will be a topic brought up in the council that comes from committee. If the topic is controversial sometimes there will be comments from aldermen that they have not heard from people with one side or another on the matter. I suggest that perhaps we need a change.
The city wants to join the county in the ability to have the state transfer tax refunds to the city from people who allegedly owe money to the city. I say allegedly because such process denies the person in question due process. It's a legal way of the city to zip in between the citizen and the bank teller and taking the money off the counter.
I hope that if you've read my previous blog, you noticed that I tagged it as satire. Just keep in mind that satire and stereotypes have roots in truth.
A former editor of a local newspaper has told his readers that if they don't want to contend with the big Harley party this summer, leave town for a few days. How quaint!
Whenever there is an event that closes the streets downtown, it seems that I need to get somewhere there, such as the bank or to drive though it to get somewhere else that I need to be.
Tonight someone is going to be appointed to finish out Joe LaPorte's term as Alderman. Having gone through the process myself, I'm uncomfortable with the process as it presently is. Holding an election would be the best way to do it. The people of the aldermanic precinct should vote for their representative. Oh, I know that this democracy thing requiring voting is such a hassle. After all, American Idol or Dancing With the Stars might be on that Tuesday!
I believe there is a wave of paranoia sweeping the country. Zero tolerance this, can't say that and so forth. I don't think it is any big secret that Mayor Nelson, if not a registered democrat, certainly has leanings that way.
It is probably too late because the science experts called congressmen have already destined tungsten incandescent light bulbs to extinction in a few years.
If you check out the official map of the city, you will see nestled at the corner of Northview and Merrill Hills Roads, a piece of land not of the city. It is surounded by the 14th district. In that piece of land is Pewaukee Fire Station #2. Over east of here on Northview is our fire station on Northview and Grandview.