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Armory Park Project Update

Armory Park

Many have asked about the status of the Amory Park project. Last week, I contacted John Kearns, one of the leaders of the project and he sent me a status update:

We are writing to update you on the grassroots effort to honor the sacrifice made by local veterans of our armed services.

Two successful mail campaigns in 2006 & 2007 generated contributions and a tree planting ceremony was conducted in November 2007. Since that time we have sought additional personal and corporate funds and our balance continues to grow. As of June 2009 we are heading into the final stages of fund raising with the target date of construction by the end of 2009.

The Veterans’ monument and memorial gardens at Whitefish Bay Armory Park is designed as a place of education, a place of healing and hope, a place of peace, serenity and beauty. Features will include benches encircling a flag pole, memorial gardens and donor plaques on walls constructed from bricks reclaimed from the former armory. The project has been designed by local architect Jim French and is representative of the 32nd Red Arrow Division.

Nearly 240 current and former residents of Whitefish Bay have already made significant contributions to the Memorial at Armory Park. Now is the time for everyone in the community to join in and support this worthy project before it’s construction this fall. All gifts are tax deductible and can be made to The Friends of Armory Park, LLC. Contributions will be used to complete the Memorial Project as well as establish an endowment fund to maintain the Memorial.

Please take the time today to visit the website www.ArmoryPark.Org and click on the Contribute tab for your gift, in memory of a special friend or family member, or in honor of all of those who have served our Nation defending freedom at home and abroad.

Thank you for your generous support!

It's clear that raising money during this recession has been a challenge. Hopefully, this last push for donations will get the project to its final stage.

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Glendale Days

 Just wanted to post a quick note about Glendale Days, guys.  

This year it begins on Thursday and ends on Sunday.  We're looking forward to tons of food and fun.

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The United States of America was founded by men who were unknown in most of the world.  To be sure, they were all white, male landowners.  The new nation announced lofty ideals committed to democracy, as long as these goals were for white men who owned land.  Nevertheless this new nation experienced a leap forward in establishing democracy drawn up by an amazingly talented and brilliant group of men.

What percentage of this effort was an altruistic desire to found a republic of the people, and what percentage was to get these landowners and businessmen free of the yoke of British taxes will always be a topic of debate.  What eventually evolved through amendments and dramatic demands by women and people of color is a building-block in the march of democracy.  We are proud to celebrate this march that began in the 18th century and followed a bumpy road of reluctant democratic inclusion, greed-capitalism, bigotry, militarism, selfish lobbying, insensitivity for the underserved, imperialistic-like foreign policies, ad infinitum. 

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The Failures of the Celebrity

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

America often does not know what direction it wants to go. It needs leadership. It needs strong leadership to take it to a stronger tomorrow. Every four years we elect a president to take us in the direction in which the country needs to go. In 2008, we clearly missed the mark.

Barack Obama was elected as a celebrity politician. All the president said we have had relabeled leaders, leader of the free world. Well, I believe leadership is more situational than titular. A definition of leadership that I have recently heard goes as follows: a good leader would like his followers to think more of him. An excellent leader would like his followers to think more of themselves. Obama has proven himself to be more of the former than the latter.

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WFB Festivities

Whitefish Bay Civic Foundation, , Trustees, Silver Spring, Parks

Just a few notes from WFB's 4th of July festivities:

  • While I enjoyed walking in my first parade, I sure missed watching the parade with my family.
  • Anecdotally, one Trustee, a veteran of many WFB parades, thought the attendance was much higher this year.
  • I did not run out of candy. Apparently, 4,300 pieces of candy is exactly the right amount. Maybe even too much. I had a ton left when I was a couple blocks away from Klode, so I had to start tossing it out quicker. -- And, parents, please keep your kids off the street. There were some pockets where the kids were 10-15 feet off the curb and it gets pretty crazy.
  • The folks at the WFB Civic Foundation are awesome. They give up so much time in preparation and execution of Whitefish Bay's biggest party, it's not even funny.

    I had the honor of volunteering for a couple hours at the beer tent, but that paled in comparison to the dozens of hours that each of them put in to preparing for the parade, the food, drink, games, and fireworks, time spent away from their own families on the 4th of July.

    So, to Greg Ramirez, Dana Serrano, Ann Pasterski, Jay Kuehn, Crystal Luehne, Bob Kuesel, Paul Dryden, Lynn Short, Carol Cochran, Tracy Rothman, Amy Lukas, Doug Weber, Mike Bortolotti .. THANK YOU. You put on a hell of a show yesterday.

    (I hope I got everyone in that list.)

    Hey, here's a thought. Did you like the parade? The picnic and games and fireworks? All that stuff costs a ton of money. That's not your tax dollars at work, the Civic Foundation depends entirely on donations from fellow villagers and local sponsors.

    How about stepping up to the plate, and writing out a tax deductible donation to the WFB Civic Foundation while you are in the mood to support the 4th festivities, Ice Cream Socials, Sounds of Summer, Great Pumpkin display, etc.

    Seriously, I mean it. The CF is supported by just over a hundred donors, yet the events touch thousands on a day like today.

    Consider it your WFB party tax.


Mail to:

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OK, she just doesn't want to cheat the people of Alaska as a lame duck governor.  So resigning her governorship is kinda natural, I guess.  Sarah Palin is just trying to help the people of her state.

No matter how legitimate the questions and confusion are, Mrs. Palin will be certain to say that she is held to a different standard.  Wow, is that not true.  If she were held to a different standard, her naive comments on world affairs would have been lambasted.  Instead the press kind of gave her a pass, with only some little mention when she made the gaffs.  And those gaffs were astronomical.   "I can see Russia from Alaska."  Wow, is that insight, or what?  That definitely means she is suited for the top office in the most powerful nation in the world.

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Senator Fiengold Hears Voices

Business, climate change, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

In a recent letter to the Milwaukee Journal, Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold wrote an op-ed piece regarding his stance on the climate change bill currently going through their United States Congress. In it, he goes on to say that he is listening to the voices of his constituency in Wisconsin. And as human nature allows, his ears are perking up when he hears a reinforcing opinion that matches his, and his tuning out many of the voices of the opposition which he does not want to hear and chooses not to listen to.

The issue of climate change is a complex one. It used to be called global warming is now being lumped together with a bunch of other issues and gets bandied about like a religion. There are questions that need to be answered, and answered scientifically. Number one: is the temperature of the earth actually increasing? Number two: if so, and of course this is always assumed to be in the affirmative whether there is scientific proof or not, is the increase caused by a man? Number three: using the same assumption number two, can it be reversed? Number four: should it be reversed? Number five: can this reversal he accomplished through energy policy? Number six: can this reversal be achieved in a short period of time? Number seven: will the impact of the policy be effective only if the United States acts alone? The list goes on.

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With the passing of former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, we are again reminded of the horrible mistake the Vietnam War was.  Democratic Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson had him serve as a front man in Vietnam.  Because of his sterling leadership as head of Ford Motor Co., it was thought he would make a great leader in the Pentagon.  He served longer than any Secty. of Defense.  Decisions made in Vietnam were absolutely atrocious.  Johnson may have played a key role in keeping that war going, but McNamara must certainly at least share in the historical debacle.  We should have learned that corporate leadership does not necessarily translate into public service.  And most of all, we should have learned that the U.S. should not engage in imperialistic-like wars.

Did we learn our lesson?  Absolutely not!  Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush are Exhibit A in showing how international militarism and colonialism to force our ideas on sovereign nations are not only destined for failure, but are morally and ethically wrong.  America should be better, consider its international calling to be purer than that.  We have often and long been misled by military adventures and corporate military pay-offs.  The quagmire we are now bogged down with in Iraq and Afghanistan is corporate-military adventurism at its worst.  And it has left our economy in ruins.

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The Unfairness of Universal Coverage

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

Sure, it began as a good idea. Universal health care coverage for all Americans. Universal health care coverage for all Americans at a reasonable price area universal health care coverage for all Americans that had no out-of-pocket expenses, and everyone gets superior health care. The best intentions are not going to create the best result.

When Barack Obama was candidate Obama, he proposed health care coverage to all Americans at an affordable price which would be the same type of health care are best he got and the members of Congress also received. If universal health care coverage for all Americans is passed, do you think this will be part of the deal? I don't.

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Endlessly we go on about this and that related to health care in the U.S.  Much of the argument has been clandestinely posed for us by insurance and pharmaceutical companies who know their greedy profits may be called into question.  Health care should be a right guaranteed to all Americans ...all Americans.

It is repugnant to think that there are Americans opposing universal health care or some similar one payer system that gives every citizen a right to equal and good care.  It is shameful that we have allowed these medically-related behemoths to manipulate us into acting selfishly.  We should not be in competition with each other to receive care.  When it comes to our health, it should never be a question of whether we have access to preserving and treating it with the best this nation has to offer.  Nothing less should be acceptable.  Only in the U.S. among ALL industrial nations is bankruptcy common and caused by medical costs.  The inhumanity of it!

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Grab Bag: Trustee Meeting, Chronic Nuisance, Manikowski Sentence, State Aid, etc.

Silver Spring, Police, Crime, Trustees, Whitefish Bay Civic Foundation, Streetscaping

I wasn't able to attend the Trustee meeting on 7/6, so here's a vague summary of the highlights:

* We are working on an arrangement with MMSD to re-engineer the Fairmount road/sewer project. The long and short of it is, they believe some changes to the sewer will help backup problems, and will pay about $1m of the cost. In return, the Village will take ownership of the sewer. The unfortunate part of this, is that the project which was scheduled to kick off this summer, probably won't be completed in 2009.

* 6 Villagers were appointed to the Environmental Commission. Apparently, I was also appointed as the Trustee representative on for the commission, which I found out via the NOW of all places.

* A "Chronic Nuisance Ordinance" was passed. This is aimed squarely at the "drug house" issues whereby residents have repeatedly called police to report probably drug activity, yet the police had been unable to catch the dealers in action.

Speaking of Chronic Nusiance .. many Villagers may be totally unaware of the "original" bad guy in WFB.

Tim Manikowski, who lived at 4965 Berkeley, lived a block away from the more famous Matthew Laughrin, but had similar stories.

In both cases, neighbors called police repeatedly for suspicious drug activity.

In both cases, the police were unable to stop the drug sales.

In Laughrin's case, he supplied drugs to a 15 year old WFB girl who overdosed. He's in jail now with a pending case.

Manikowski supplied drugs to an adult Wauwatosa woman who overdosed. This week he was sentenced to 7 years in prison for 1st Reckless Homicide.

It really is amazing the similarities between the two cases, although I think if you asked 100 Villagers who Manikowski is, they'd have no idea. It does remind you how a cute 15 year old girl overdosing makes the news, while a 24 year old 'Tosa woman does not.

So .. here's hoping that the "Chronic Nuisance Ordinance" will help get these guys out of our communities before they deliver their final dose.

Anyone notice that WFB will be losing $1.27 million in State Aid funding for our school district? Ouch. That's gonna do wonders for our property taxes.

Last year, the school district's budget was about $30.3m, which is going up to $30.5m. The State picked up $11.1m of that. Next year, the State will pick up only $9.7m, meaning the local property tax levy will go from $19.1m to $20.9m. (Working from this report.)

If my math is correct, my guess is that the average WFB property tax bill will go up about $350, directly due to the recent budget the State of Wisconsin just passed.

Thanks, Madison.

A number of Villagers commented about the "rusty" new grates surrounding the trees on Silver Spring. I asked the Village Engineer, and his response was that the grates will eventually "oxidize" and look like a manhole casting, which I assume is a brownish/black color.


I was pleased to hear that a handful of Villagers opened up their checkbooks for the WFB Civic Foundation, as I received a few email pledges.

As a reminder, if you had a great time during the parade or Klode park festivities, please consider writing out a check for the CF. Click here for details.

A Second Stimulus?

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

Newsflash: the stimulus did not work. What's the solution? How about more of the same? If it didn't work once, the second time will surely produce the desired result.

The Democrats are going to continue underestimating the stupidity of the American people. It's what's what and office. It's what got much of their liberal agenda passed. The Democrats just cannot get enough of how elitists they are and how stupid the rest of America is. It shows in their work.

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As the right-wing continues to move the goal posts everytime Obama does something correctly, let's be honest  in how we got here...

George W. Bush lied and deceived and illegally invaded a sovereign nation, Iraq.  There is no excuse for this, and certainly not just because we don't like the leader or we want their oil.  Look around the globe and realize it is not difficult to find a horrible national leader.  And there is oil in many nations whose leaders are reprehensible.

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Pride of Prejudice

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

I am getting sick and tired of Sonya Sotomayor and the over-coverage the media is providing with it. I'm tired of the spineless Senate saying no one is going to go against the confirmation. I'm tired of the historical aspect of it. And I'm tired of seeing her homely face. Here's another accolade for her: homeliest Supreme Court Justice. She even beats out Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the ugly department.


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When the OSS morphed into the CIA in 1947 it was difficult to set up guidelines for a secret service functioning in a representative democracy.  Secrecy is what struck fear in the minds of Americans.  Lots has changed since then.  We have had ebbs and flows of secrecy and illegal actions by the CIA.  While Republican administrations seem to lean in the direction of using secrecy and manipulating the CIA to use this secrecy to advance Republican agendas, it has not been limited to GOP presidents.

A Democratic president, Lyndon B. Johnson, enlarged American involvement in Vietnam, even using lies about the Gulf of Tomkin to justify our expanded role in military operations there.  In truth, this lie was inside action to prevent the Vietnamese from holding their promised elections because Ho Chi Minh would have won handily.  And a so-called democratic nation, the USA, acted to prevent democratic elections.  And what followed in Vietnam were a long series of lies and secret operations by both Johnson and Republican President Richard M. Nixon.  Henry Kissinger, serving with Nixon, seemed to relish secret actions.

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When Conservation Does Not Work

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

When it comes to using energy, we have all been long taught not to waste. I'm not one of those climate change nuts that thinks that we're all going to boil in about 35 years, but I also am a believer in not wasting energy. If at least for one reason, it's also a waste of money to waste energy.


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Liberals believe this, Liberals believe that

Republican Tactics

It started out to be a pleasant enough evening.  Spending some time with a friend, a few drinks, a good game of cribbage -- all added up to a recipe for a relaxing time.

But to the lady blathering on behind me -- shut the hell up.  The guy that's with you wasn't staying there because he was sincerely interested in talking with you.  He wanted to get into your pants.  Take a breath.  Take several.  If you're at all interested in hooking up with that guy, the most tolerant of men, you really need to learn to relax.

And no, you're not an expert on what liberals think, believe in, or act in.  I am.  I'm a liberal.  We're not out to get you.  We're not looking to destroy this country.  We're not out to bankrupt the country.  We're not looking to turn this country over to terrorists.  We're not out to do this horrible thing, or that horrible thing.  We just believe in different things.

So put your cigarette out and shut your mouth for a second.  It feels better already doesn't it?  All of a sudden the world seems a better place.

You want to know who we are and what we believe in?  (Well I'm going to pretend that you care, if just for a minute.)

We are fiercely patriotic.  We want this country to succeed.  Economically, we want everyone to at least have a chance at being successful and to at least have a chance at the pursuit of happiness.  And yes, that means we oppose discrimination.  We support our republic and our republic form of government but we also know that shared community values, many that can be learned in high school civics classes, are of a benefit.

Oh and by the way, shut up.  Just for a while.  We would lay our lives down and fight for the rights that our Constitution and our Bill of Rights give us, but we tire of those who don't know us or understand us telling us that we don't love our country.

One of those rights is free speech.  So go ahead.  Rant away.  It's you're right.  Oh, and by the way, it's your right because liberals fought for you to have that right.

Business Climate Change

climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

Last week the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an article that took issue with Gov. Jim Doyle on the business climate in Wisconsin. After years of getting used to the editorial board endorsing everything democratic, everything liberal, and it took me a surprise that they would be dissenting against their beloved Gov.

Jim Doyle has also begun running advertisements touting what good health care is available here in Wisconsin. His actions have taken a good direction in saving and preserving the health of all the children here in the state. The commercial even admits that this is been done at a time when most governments are cutting back on their budgets. Well, that's quite telling.

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WFB Recycling

Recycling, Trustees, Veolia

One of the most common comments I receive concerns WFB's recycling program. It makes sense to review:

In late 2008, WFB began a short contract with Veolia to process our recycling, where we would be paid for our waste. Unfortunately, due to economic conditions, the prices for recycled paper, glass, etc, have plummeted and we haven't received any revenue. Naturally, the Village is still ahead of the game as we no longer pay to have the recycling processed.

With Villagers increasing the amount they recycle, folks have asked about the possibility for another monthly pickup. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a free lunch. WFB has one recycling truck, in use every day each month. Those trucks are surprisingly expensive (think 6 figures) and, naturally, would require more labor costs.

Here's a question for readers: If you have overflows, how much of it is due to cardboard boxes? Generally, I can fit the paper/plastic/cans in the cart. It's our cardboard/shipping boxes that can't fit in the cart, and end up in a heap.

With the new Veolia contract, residents do not need to separate their paper from their plastics/metal. While the cart does have a divider, it no longer matters which side you put the material. (Personally, I think the volume of the container would slightly increase if the dividers were removed.) -- Also the DPW will drop off an additional blue bin (about the size of a laundry basket) upon request.

The new processor also will take more material, most importantly, plastics #1-#7. This week, the Village website was updated with all the rules.

One final note. During our annual Trustee "retreat" it was suggested I add a disclaimer to this blog, which will be posted above shortly.

While I am a WFB Trustee, this blog and the comments herein do not represent the Board as a whole (naturally.) I'll also throw in my often repeated disclaimer that while the blog is published on the NOW/Journal Sentinel site, I am not a journalist, and this is simply an opinion blog.

I am always interested and willing to receive feedback if there are inaccuracies at for blog issues, or for official business.

The Purveyor of Hope Says Things Will Only Get Worse

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, Smoking, taxes

What is President Obama thinking? He spent most of last year telling us how bad the economy is. We believed him. He convinced 52% of the electorate that he could fix it. We believed him. Earlier this year, he wanted the citizens and Congress to draft a stimulus bill that would quadruple the national deficit. He told us it was needed. We believed him. Obama said that if it was passed, the economy would begin to recover and unemployment would not rise above 8%. We believed him.

Now we are expected to listen to the old rhetoric, "we must act now, we must act quickly" to pass health care reform for the sheer political victory of the Obama administration. Nothing could be worse for America. As is the case with all of Obama's initiatives, he wants them acted on quickly and made into law before people find out what they are really doing -- ruining America as we know it.

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