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Elmbrook School Board At-Large Candidate Forum: Tuesday, Feb. 2

Education, Elmbrook, Elections, Special events

Just a reminder that tomorrow, Tuesday, February 2nd, is the only chance to compare all 6 candidates running for the 2 At-Large positions on the School Board.

The At-Large Candidate Forum will be held in the Elmbrook Administrative Office Board Room at the Central Offices from 7 - 9 pm, 13780 Hope Street, in Brookfield. (Hope Street is a few blocks north of Capitol Drive.)

Funding and increasing the school budget will be an important topic at the forum. Keep in mind that increasing funding often goes hand in hand with raising taxes. Example: adding 4K does increase the money coming into Elmbrook but as an additional expense to the taxpayers of Elmbrook and Wisconsin.

The top 4 candidates that make it through the primary on Feb. 16th will advance to the April 6th ballot.

After the primary, there will be another School Board Candidate Forum that will include the top 4 At-Large candidates and the Area II candidates: Board member Glen Allgaier and challenger Ilse Frayer. This one will also be at Elmbrook's Administrative Offices on March 16th, 7-9pm.
Both forums are sponsored by the Elmbrook Parent Leadership Council.

All Elmbrook residents vote for ALL of the school board candidates.

Hope you can make it to both events. If not, if you have cable TV, they will be broadcast on the district's channel after the 2nd and 16th.


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On Face Value


Packaged in this TWO OZ. JAR,

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Focus on Continuing Education Scholarships

The Elmbrook Education Foundation was founded by volunteers back in 1958 to support the community's value on continuing education.  To date, close to $1,000,000 has been awarded in scholarships to assist our graduates attend institutions of higher learning.  The Foundation's scholarship program now provides between 20-28 $1,500 scholarships each and every year making it the single largest community based scholarship program in the region.  Most scholarships are sponsored by area businesses, civic organizations and honorary/memorial funds.  The Foundation administers the program on their behalf at no cost in an effort to honor the most graduating seniors each and every year.  Without the Foundation to administer the program, many of these scholarships would all go to the same few students.  Recipients are matched to donor criteria and are awarded to students planning to attend both universities and technical schools.  Some awards are based on financial need.  Since the Foundation receives a large pool of applications, it is easier to find just the right recipient for each scholarship.  Recipients are held confidential until Seniors Honors nights in May.  The scholarships are awarded in the donor's name and are recognized throughout the District in a variety of publicity mediums.

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The Short End of the Poll

election 2010, mayor

The Brookfield mayor’s race is in full swing. There are four candidates running, so a primary will be held on Tuesday, February 16 to narrow that down to two. The general election will be held on April 6.  Polls are open from 7:00am to 8:00pm.

One new aspect of this election is the greatly expanded role of the Brookfield News (BN). They have the usual coverage of campaign events, but they are trying several new things like video interviews with the four candidates, asking each candidate for comments on community issues and sponsoring a community forum. Throughout it all, I believe BN has maintained its thoroughness and neutrality, which is harder than you might think.   I have been a little disappointed that BN has not done much fact checking to compare candidate replies to past votes, provide links to relevant past news articles, etc.  Just click the link on the home page to get to the one page that links to everything else.

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A Life Worth Reading?


I daily publish each edition,

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The Debates End. Ponto Leads

The debates for Mayor ended last evening and Steve Ponto leads by a wide margin.

I was there and personally observed the ability of the candidates to field a variety of questions and form an intelligent and comprehensive response.

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Can't say I came away from mayoral forum with, That's the one!

City of Brookfield, Elections, TAXES, WISCONSIN

Last night I attended the 3rd City of Brookfield Mayoral Forum. I am pleased to report the event was well attended by an audience of about 120 AND all 4 mayoral candidates!

There really weren't any surprises for me except a little tension between David Marcello and Steve Ponto with the what would your top priority as mayor be question. This was a forum format, not a debate, but even so, there was a little attempt at back and forth between Marcello and Ponto.

Candidate Marcello stated taxes were a key issue--we needed to return to a 1.5% of assessed value rate, that all of our taxing entities have to work together [to achieve this]. We need someone focused on it [low taxes] who won't buy into raising just a little each year. The reality is we can't support high taxes anymore.

Candidate Steve Ponto said his priority would be to maintain our level of services without raising taxes and do it through shared services. Regarding the 1.5 rate, he said he discussed it with Robert Scott, then added that the city couldn't function at that rate, it would reduce city revenue by $12 million and [the city] might lose its AAA bond rating.

Voters always like to hear about candidates who are interested in lowering taxes, but with our mayoral candidate selection, they all have been in local government and haven't exactly bucked the system to knock out spending. For example, although I am not sure about Schellinger's position, the other 3 candidates all supported the $62.2 million high school referendum--certainly a tax raising, not a tax cutting decision.

So I have to ask, how sincere are they about lowering taxes? I can't help but think if they had a finite dollar amount to work with, rather than waving the magic tax levy rate wand, they would be able to find programs or services to cut?

I'm afraid I still did not come away with any strong sense of who to vote for on Feb. 16th.

How about you?

Afterward, there was time for a little political schmoozing. There were a number of aldermen in the audience as well as candidates for aldermen. I happened to sit behind Sheila Buechel during the mayor Q&A. I noticed Sheila because she was taking notes during the forum, and I wondered if she might be a reporter. When we got up to leave, I noted she was wearing a button that stated her name and candidacy for District 5, so I introduced myself. I found out she is running against Gary Mahkorn.

State Assembly District 14 Candidates David Coon and Dale Kooyenga, both Brookfield residents, were also there. I've met with both David and Dale and like their platforms, so their faces were familiar. Chris Slinker, another 14th Assembly District candidate, (Tosa resident) introduced himself to me. Like I said, it was schmooze time.

I caught school board members Tom Gehl and Glen Allgiaer on my way out. As I mentioned before, Glen Allgaier has my enthusiastic support for the Area II school board race. (All of Elmbrook votes for all of the school board candidates, regardless of which area they are from.)

Enough of schmoozing; it was time for snoozing!

BrookfieldNOW Live Blog of Feb. 4th Forum


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Keepers of the Flame


It's ON again!  Now, who's to blame?

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High Speed Rail and 1.5%

election 2010, Budget, High Speed Rail, mayor

The recent mayoral candidate debates identified many issues facing the new mayor.  Here is some background information on a couple of them.

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And...To Top it Off...


Some will squirt a squiggle;  some, a straightened line.

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Flood Info Meeting Thursday 2/11 @ 7pm in Courtroom

Flooding, Budget, election 2010

Flooding has been a huge issue in Brookfield, especially in the last decade.  The city is holding a meeting to inform residents and to solicit comments.  I'm surprised flooding hasn't been more of a campaign issue since it greatly affects quality of life, is affected by many policy decisions and solutions are tremendously expensive.  Please join me in attending.  Your comments are vital to shaping upcoming city policy and budgets.  You might even get to meet a few candidates for mayor and hear what they think.

This press release was sent out January 12 by Tom Grisa, Director of Public Works for the City of Brookfield, 796-6644.

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Call NOW: We can't afford Doyle's AB 649 Global Warming/Clean Energy Jobs Act

Alert, Energy, Global Warming/Climate Change, Going Green, Legislation, TAXES, WISCONSIN


How ironic. The State Senate Public Hearings for Governor Doyle's Global Warming Clean Energy Jobs Act are scheduled for today and tomorrow, Feb. 10th and 11th, just after one of our biggest blizzards of the year. There is one more Assembly hearing on Feb 15th. (By the way, if you can go to Madison, you don't have to stay to state your opposition. You can just fill out and submit a form, and it will be counted as testimony. Hearings are held at 10am in room 412 or 411 south.)

And all of this job killing, expensive nonsense is based on what? "...a glut of ongoing recent discoveries of systematic [global warming data]fraud has rocked the foundation, and the entire man-made global warming house of cards is not teetering on the verge of complete collapse."

Yet Governor Doyle and most of the State Democrats are still pushing full steam ahead on the Clean Energy Jobs Act AB 649.

In reality, AB 649 is just a reheated leftover of Governor Doyle's Global Warming Bill. It came about from his Global Warming Task Force that did not take into account the cost of their drastic measures, nor did it factor in jobs lost in Wisconsin due to its implementation.

The Governor just can't let go of the idea that Global Warming is man made or that his Don Quixote attempt to single handily tilt at windmills, or should I say mandate windmills, is not going to change the temperature of the planet by one degree. So like so many other unwanted ideas, we rename them as a jobs bill. Trouble is, this is a jobs killer bill.

You may have heard the 2 radio ads running regarding Governor Doyle's Global Warming Clean Energy Jobs Act, AB 649 / S 450. The ad against AB 649 from the WMC is straight forward, stating how it will raise energy prices for the average family by $1,000/year and kill jobs in Wisconsin.

The pro version by the Potawatomi sounds more like a fairy tale, talking about a factory in Wisconsin Rapids building wind propellers and biomass plant in Wausau. It ends with "protect Mother Earth so she can provide for all of us." Nauseating.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act calls for reducing CO2 emissions by 75% by 2050. (Is that even possible?) Plus a 25% renewable fuel mandate by 2025. (For Wisconsin, primarily it's wind.) That means increasing the amount of renewable energy by more than 20% in just 15 years. Is there even enough land available for all those windmills to meet the standards? They require such a huge landmass, and most people don't want to live near wind farms.

Windmills also require lots of wind--not too much and not too little, for they cannot generate at either extreme. Last week, Senator Glenn Grothman mentioned on Vicki McKenna's radio show that Wisconsin doesn't have enough wind to meet Doyle's requirements. Our windmills would be outsourced to North Dakota and Iowa!

If we were really interested in reducing CO2 and increasing jobs, we would repeal the moratorium on nuclear power plants. The bill does mention nuclear, but only after the renewable criteria is met.

Representative Jim Ott testified last week about the fallacies of clean, green energy helping Wisconsinites. It is worth reading. What makes Rep. Ott's testimony even more compelling is that he is a Meteorologist. He certainly knows about weather and the atmosphere!

Does Wisconsin even need additional electricity generating capacity? NO.

The Oak Creek coal fired power plant just came online. It is "a $2.3 billion colossus capable of generating enough electricity to power 1 million homes - power that even state regulators concede isn't needed now." (Oak Creek could power almost half the homes in Wisconsin alone. One third of its $2.3 B cost was for environmental controls.)

We need to stop this. I know we all hate doing it, but call, Call, CALL our State Senators and Representatives and call key Senate members who support this atrocious bill. Rep. Ott said we just need 2 Democrats to vote NO to stop this expensive job killer. You can also sign a petition: Save Jobs! Stop the Global Warming Bill!

Remind legislators that Wisconsin is home to the world's 2 largest coal mining equipment manufacturers: Joy Global and Bucyrus. How is taxing coal and promoting wind going to help them and their employees?

Senator Jim Sullivan (866) 817-6061 Remind State Senator Sullivan that he is facing a tough reelection race this fall from Rep. Leah Vukmir. When I called Sullivan's office, the young man taking calls didn't know much at all about the bill, the public hearings or that Oak Creek came online, giving us excess electricity production.

Senator Jeff Plale Co-sponsor of the bill, (608) 266-7505 Campaigned on a tax freeze and as a moderate to help blue collar workers.

Senator John Lehman (608) 266-1832 Or (866) 615-7510 Like Sullivan, he is facing a tough reelection.

Find your State Legislator

More reading: Hot Air Reports Rep. Jim Ott's Senate testimony and Assembly 

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A Rosy Day


When the skies are drab and gray,

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The Tipping Point

This post is a continuation of my last article on consumer driven health care.

The U.S. Department of Labor issued some interesting statistics last week, one of which was a graph showing the intersection of two lines.  This intersection illustrated that the number of Americans represented by public sector unions now exceeds the number of organized private sector employees.  This reveals the reality that while private sector employment is shrinking, government is a growth business, and it is a precursor to the potential of total public sector employment rivaling or exceeding that of the private sector. 

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Follow the money: Why are Potawatomis pushing Clean Energy Jobs Act?

Follow the money, Energy, Going Green, Global Warming/Climate Change, Government / Bureaucracy, Legislation, WISCONSIN

While driving home yesterday, I heard the Potawatomi's latest ad supporting the Clean Energy Jobs Act. I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but it came to me, why are they pushing this so? In other words, if we follow the money--what is in it for them? Would they maybe be leasing land for windmills?

I emailed radio talk show hosts Vicki McKenna and Jay Weber when I came home to see if they knew. (Didn't hear back.) Later on, I Googled for some info and found this surprise:

"DOE [Department of Energy] Awards $20.5 Million in Recovery Funds for Five Community Renewable Energy Projects: U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu on January 21st announced the selection of five projects to receive more than $20.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support deployment of community-based renewable energy projects, such as biomass, wind and solar installations." ...

..."Forest County Potawatomi Tribe (Forest County, WI)
The Forest County Potawatomi Tribe proposes to implement an integrated renewable energy deployment plan that will provide heating, cooling and electricity for the Tribe’s governmental buildings, displacing natural gas and propane. The renewable energy installations will include: a 1.25 MW biomass combined heat and power facility that will provide heating, cooling and electricity; a biogas digester and 150 kW generation facility; three 100 kW wind turbines (788,400 kWh/year); and three dual-axis 2.88 kW solar PV panels (14,000 kWh/yr) located at the Tribe’s Governmental Center. DOE share: $2,500,000"

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Tuesday's Primary Ballot Picks

City of Brookfield, Elections

Well, I can't put this off any longer; people are asking who I am supporting for City of Brookfield Mayor and Elmbrook School Board. The primary election is tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 16th, 7am - 8pm.

For once the City of Brookfield and Elmbrook School District have a wider field of candidates. What disappoints me is that we don't have more choices as far as ideology. But choose we must--I don't advocate sitting an election out.

One of the mayoral candidates looks good on paper to me, but a candidacy is more than just words written in campaign literature or spoken during a forum. There is the man behind the words to consider too. So of the 4 candidates running for mayor, I am considering 2: Ponto and Speaker.

For Mayor of Brookfield, I am voting for Alderman Steve Ponto in the primary. Ponto was my first choice in that I felt he would be more professional in his approach to being mayor. But I was toying with voting for Mayor Jeff Speaker too, which is saying a lot, considering I fully supported Cindy Kilkenny's platform and worked on her campaign 4 years ago.

I did meet with Steve to discuss his campaign. One thing I could wholeheartedly agree with was his desire to protect the single family home's property values. He also echoed a concern of mine that multi family housing does not contribute enough in property taxes to support the school district. (There is the possibility for school age children to be living in larger apartments/condos.) Ponto also stated he does not support light rail--I don't know that any of the other candidates stated that. (They all support, to some extent, high speed rail.)

So much has changed in Brookfield since the 2006 election, and I don't believe it was for the better. We moved the fire stations and widened Calhboun Road south in preparation for VK's Percheron Square (which because of the economy didn't materialize) and I-94 interchange. The city would say we needed these changes; I would respectfully disagree. We also increased the density at Brookfield Square with the 3 out buildings.

During the last mayoral forum, we heard about the candidates' stance on low- to middle-income housing. Ponto said there were "many options" in Brookfield and that he didn't support any government-subsidized housing.

Mayor Speaker came out in favor of the Workforce Housing slated for the mixed use development next to Brookfield Square. This is housing that would be affordable for people who work in the area. He said this was not low-income housing. The workforce housing is already in the works as far as I know.

As for Elmbrook School Board, we are to choose 2 school board candidates out of the field of 6, then the top 4 advance. I am voting for Kathryn Wilson. I met with Kathryn to discuss her candidacy last month. Curriculum seems to be her strength. Kathryn is well acquainted with the needs of the struggling student as well as the gifted student.

Is she as conservative as I am? No. But I think she would look for ways to cut waste and keep valuable programs in place. I have not decided on a 2nd candidate.

School Board member Glen Allgaier will be on the April ballot for Area II. He will get my very enthusiastic vote at that time.

Am I making any predictions about Tuesday's results? No.

I do wonder if David Marcello will come out fairly strong though. His signs seem to be on more homeowner's property than what I have seen for Ponto or Speaker. This could just be because of the roads I travel in Brookfield.

Marcello's campaign contributions were higher than I expected. According to the article in BrookfieldNOW, Marcello raised $5,270 from outside sources. This is 3rd to Speaker's $6,120 and Ponto's $6,176 outside sources.

I would think Marcello's and Ponto's supporters would be more enthusiastic than Speakers? (Incumbent's supporters usually don't turn out in the same numbers as the opposition.)

Remember this? Four years ago our Kinsey Park Neighborhood Association* hosted a mayoral candidate forum before the primary. Mayor Speaker, however, declined our invitation to participate. Reason? The mayor said, "I've been advised not to by my campaign committee, after the primary, I'll do debates."

This election cycle, Mayor Speaker has participated in 3 pre-primary debates. Why the change? Last time, Speaker didn't really have to worry about not making it through the primary. This time, I think he has had to take his challengers a bit more seriously. The outcome will be interesting.

BrookfieldNOW Mayoral Info Page

Elmbrook School Board Candidates Forum live blog

City of Brookfield Voter Information

*KPNA, Kinsey Park Neighborhood Association is no longer a group

Past Posts: Can't say I came away from mayoral forum with, That's the one!
Pre-primary Mayoral Forums: 1 down, 1 today, 1 Feb. 4th

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Where's Spring?


With basement boxes tall and leaning,

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Scott Lee Cohen and the Death of Dignity

Winston Churchill was a man of penetrating insight who saw human events with a clarity possessed by few in history.  Upon evaluating a seemingly incomprehensible situation he once remarked to his wife, "Clemmie - truth is stranger than fiction".

I know of no better words to summarize the sad episode of Scott Lee Cohen, who just two weeks ago was the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, until he was incinerated by the fireball of Andy Warhol's fifteen seconds of fame.  A trio of Saturday Night Live's most brilliant satirists could not have written a skit that even approximated the debacle of Mr. Cohen.  You cannot - you simply CANNOT make this stuff up.  

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How about that? It's Speaker and Ponto!

City of Brookfield, Elections, Elmbrook

 The results are in for the mayoral primary: Speaker and Ponto advance to the April 6th election.

Here are the vote tallies:

  1. Speaker - 2,116
  2. Ponto - 1,556
  3. Marcello - 1,051
  4. Schellinger - 457

Total votes cast - 5,180

I was curious how this vote count compared to the last mayoral primary in 2006. So I looked back 4 years to Kilkenny and Speaker advance in a neck and neck race & Heinrich and Mellone advance in district 6. To my surprise, the turnout was less 4 years ago than it was today.

  1. Kilkenny - 1,706
  2. Speaker - 1,697
  3. Schellinger- 614

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