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Lets Take Emotion Out Of The Elections


I've stated in the past that many elections are more of a beauty contest than an election of a person with the best resume'. I was dwelling on that one day when a friend emailed me a link to a "rate the candidate" website.  You mark off the importance of various issues to you and then the candidates are given a ranking based on your thoughts without being swayed by partisanship or rhetoric.  I was surprised when my candidate of choice ranked below one that I'd thought did not fit my views as well. It has forced me to re-evaluate my thinking.

Too often we hear "man (person) on the street interviews" where when asked why they support someone, little or no good reason can be thought of.  Want to see how your favorite candidate does when a blind, emotionless appraisal is done of how they match up to your ideals? Visit and see how your's does.

"Affordable" Housing Costs - Another looming crisis for Waukesha?

Kelly, my oldest, graduated last Spring and has a stimulating, professional job which challenges her while giving her occasional glimpses into career satisfaction. With rents set extremely high for a single occupant, we jointly agreed that she embark on a mission of saving for a down payment on a home.

We started by balancing her "net" against expenses including monthly mortgage, tax escrow, insurance, utility, car, food, entertainment (not much left for that..) and misc. expenses. I then offered the tax advantages she would receive from interest and taxes paid after she survived her first year. Ultimately, we ran these scenarios and put together a range of what she could afford now for housing.

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Citizens should appoint their own alderman


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!

As it is, having the council voting to add one to their group can be looked at two ways.  One way is that they can recognize political genius that will benefit all of Waukesha. The other way is that some may vote for the person least likely to make a fuss for a while and get in the way of progress. It probably is something between those extremes, but I wonder....

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locked out of my own house

Once again Sir Fido awoke me to take him out a half hour before it was time to get up. I saw the rabbit in the snow a few feet away from the door and knew he'd soon be scaring it away. A couple barks after the door was shut and I knew the rabbit would be on it's way. But the minor "there's a rabbit in the yard" barking turned to his frenzied "the paper guy is here" barking and I had to get back out before he woke the neighborhood.

So what did I do first to keep him from waking the family? Shut the door behind me. The locked door. It's before 6:00 a.m., I'm in bare feet and PJs, the door's locked, and did I mention the family's still asleep? You do know why Sir Fido wakes me instead of the others? Because they all sleep so soundly - not the attribute I was hoping for as my thumb pressed the door bell. 

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this is bull


Alderwoman Peggy Bull reminds us in yesterday's Freeman that with the coming spring thaw some of us with pets may be facing a mess in the yard and what a problem it could be for our health and waterways. The article went on to say that the city issued around 2000 dog licenses last year. I'll tell you right now there's far more than 2000 dogs in Waukesha and probably several times that.

The article then points out an obscure ordinance no one with pets would know: "By ordinance, the owner ... of the property is to pick up any dog waste within 24 hours. Even if it wasn't left by your dog, but by someone walking their dog who hasn't picked up after it, it's the property owner's responsibility to clean it up." When the ordinance was drafted it was probably copied from a community with the law already in place. A warm-weather community. 

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Harley Party - Ok Idea But Poor Location

Motorcycle, Politics-Local

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. 

This proposed Harley Party has all the appearances of trying to highlight a certain business that got rammed down the taxpayer's throat and a whole bunch of people are resentful of. Putting that aside, I've got no argument against hosting a Harley Party, but downtown is not the place to do it. The County Expo grounds is the place to hold such a function.  That is why it is there.

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Air Force Tanker Deal Needs Further Review


Two major companies were bidding for the replacement ship to replace the aging fleet of current tankers. The bid was won by the European Airbus company. The Airbus proposal was deemed to be a superior plane versus the Boeing bid.  I can't fault the Air Force for wanting to get the most for their money.

I have to question some things about this and I think the award should be held up until it is better thought out. I have two concerns. First is that all things being equal, money spent by the government within the country is much better spent than money going out of the country.  Even if more is spent, it still is money that creates jobs, tax revenue and a more robust economy. Second, the product needs to be adequate and meet the specifications of the bid. When the bid is between competing American companies, that is one thing. But when it is a choice between money staying in the country or exiting it, every aid to see that the American product meets the specifications should be given to the American company. In this case Boeing.

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Tales from the West Side

If sitting in the dark for a couple of hours with no heat on a brutally cold winter night isn’t enough excitement for downtown Waukesha, then almost being blown to bits by a gas leak may do the trick.

Last Friday, around 5PM or so, a small section of downtown near Clinton and Main was evacuated for a short time until the fire department, along with help from WE Energies, was able to quell a hissing gas main.

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Arbitrary Ramblings: David Schmidt-Jim Doepke-Mayor Larry Nelson-Mexico and more

Community Happenings, County News, Family, Observations


Are the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates collecting money, re-grouping, and catching a spirited 2'nd wind for the home stretch? (Or has everyone, including the press, lost complete interest because they all are starting to sound the same?)

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8) my favorite things

One of my favorite downtown stores reopened yesterday after a several week closure due to water leaks.  The closure made me realize how dependent I am on Plowshare for unique gifts. When I tried to find the right gift at the next best thing, a store in Westbrook Shopping Center, I found that they had closed a while ago.

At any rate, if you're thinking of checking the store out now would be a good time. Because of the closure the store is now in the middle of it's largest clearance sale ever.   Everything in the store is hand-made of natural materials and each purchase supports the artisan and their family. Plowshare Gifts is at the corner of Grand and Main. The number is 547-5188.

Matzah & Messiah

1) sound of music, 3) whiskers on kittens, 8) my favorite things, Carroll, helping, let us pray, St. William, UWW

I share this machine with two teenagers and a cat, so that could explain why I haven't been doing a lot of writing lately. Fortunately, Pepi just stays put where it's warm atop the monitor, or I'd still be waiting. Now that I have the time though, thought I'd talk about what I did last weekend.

Much of what I do on weekends I hear about first on WaukeshaNOW, and last week was no exception. I find that the site's community events description is a little more in depth and easier to access than the alternative.

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More On The Harley Party

Motorcycle, Politics-Local, Satire

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!

As I am a motorcyclist for over forty years and have taken several camping excursions into the Appalacian Mountains and attended many motorcycle rallies, Harley Davidison specific included, I believe I have a more knowledgable opinion of this than those in the city that only see $$ dollars $$ and a little rumble in the air. 

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Predicting the Future

6) when I'm feeling sad, say uncle

Today is the 18th of March. Tomorrow, the 19th, Sir Arthur C. Clarke will be dead at 90. He will die as he lived... in the future. 

My Uncle Lee once travelled to Sri Lanka to meet Mr. Clarke. They both shared a common interest. My uncle founded SCOLA to link the world by satellite for education. Arthur C. Clarke, in 1945, described in detail how satellites in geostationary orbit could be used for worldwide communication. The stationary-orbit area above earth where many satellites are positioned is now called the Clarke Belt. I'm sure my uncle and Sir Arthur had an interesting visit.

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Harley Fest

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Bring it on. Milw. Iron meets Spring City.

1) sound of music, festival, Les is more

I'm 100% in favor of opening downtown to bikes by closing streets to cars. Of course I'd probably feel different if I lived downtown or if I hated loud music or bikes. But while listening to last night's Common Council meeting, all my questions were answered and I actually let my mind imagine what a wonderful thing this party could be. The alderpeople asked a lot of difficult questions and I always heard good responses. I could feel the enthusiasm from here. The only person to vote against it was Ald. Payne, who incorrectly thought he wouldn't have a voice in determining street closures.

The only business owner to speak against the Labor Day Harley party was a lawyer from the Nelson House, adjacent to Cutler Park where most of the music and drinking will be centered. She complained she'd have to pay her staff for the four days they'd have to close because they couldn't park nice and close to the building. I guess I must be really out of touch because I thought most lawyers had Labor Day weekend off.

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We are #1

Be proud! Shout it from the top of the snowbanks! We are number one and Milwaukee is number two. Just forget for a minute that we're talking about snowfall totals for the year, not something like water quality or jobs. Forget also that Milwaukee has been keeping snowfall records longer than Waukesha has.

We can be proud of our ninety inches. It's been an interesting winter for everyone, especially those like me who spend time outdoors every day. I loved this winter. So much to deal with. Kept me active, not bored. I loved the many, many times the snow stuck to branches and everything looking so beautiful. My opinion would differ if I had to work all day in it instead of just shovel it occasionally, but then I'd probably appreciate spring more.

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Happy Easter

let us pray, St. William


Hope everyone had an enjoyable Easter. I did. Sun out. Family over for Easter turkey. It was a nice quiet day here.

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it ain't over till the fat snowman melts


I squeezed in one last crosscountry ski trip to Retzer on one of my "spring" break days off yesterday. Still snow everywhere but of varying quality. Still beautiful though. One thing some people have realized, with Retzer's rolling landscape and open fields, it can be a good place to play in the snow.out standing in their field

Seeing a pair of sandhill cranes fly over Grandview Blvd. Saturday reminded me that the Midwest Annual Crane Count is just a month away. The crane count always coincides with Earth Week. Being at Retzer Nature Center reminded me to look into the free Earth Week activities - this year between April 20th and 26th. I also signed up for the April 20th Waukesha Parks canoe outing, where we sometimes see or hear cranes, on the Fox River this year but changing location next. Register for the canoe trip before 4/14 by calling 896-8007.

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The Benefits of a "Record" Winter

Community Happenings, Observations

"It's not over till the fat lady sings..."

This winter past is a reminder that we do indeed live in Wisconsin. Several of the most recent winters often arrived late; brought out snowblowers only 2-4 times; and left early. Having had between 9' and 10' of snow, many of us are crying "Uncle".

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this is my prayer

let us pray

This is my Hope:  that Ana, Jeff, Garrett, Shannon, Krista, Michael, Mitch and Zack will continue to lead peaceful, helpful, and faith-filled lives.                                                 This is my Dream:  someday I will be there to see their children confirmed -- and maybe they will be their kids' catechists. 

This is my Question:  after years of religious instruction, are they finally ready to become adults in the Catholic Church?                                                 This is my Answer:  the candidates themselves are the only ones to know for sure, but all eight have my endorsement.

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