All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bloomberg's endorsement shows her true "blue state" colors?

A friend called me to get my reaction to the Bloomberg/Urban endorsement on Brookfieldnow, for the Democrat candidate for the 5th State Senate District seat. Since I had not seen it, my first reaction was of disbelief. I thought, how could any real conservative throw their support to a very liberal senate candidate over a truly conservative candidate like Republican State Senator Tom Reynolds?

Of course, I had answered my own question: Bloomberg, and Urban for that matter, are not real conservatives. Their endorsement seems pretty RINOesk. Out here in Republican Party stronghold territory, otherwise known as Waukesha County, if you want to hold office, you really have to be a Republican—even if that means you are a Republican in name only. If memory serves me correctly, our current mayor first joined the Republicans when he moved to Brookfield. (His spending is very RINOesk, too.)

It is said that politics makes strange bedfellows. I learned from talking to and working with many of you, that with very local issues like saving Swanson School, trying to slow down the rampant development, or scaling back over-kill road projects, these back yard issues know no political party affiliations. These very local issues truly unite us whether we “are conservative, liberal or somewhere in between”. I am as socially and fiscally conservative at every level of government--local, state, and federal--as some of you are liberal. Yet, we are able to unite and work toward a common good.

But the Brookfieldnow posting cited that in Bloomberg and Urban’s opinion, the Democrat they are endorsing is running to serve and represent the people of the 5th district effectively, “whether they are conservative, liberal, or somewhere in between”. Think about that. How is that even possible? On every major issue, I disagree STRONGLY with that candidate’s position. How is it I would be satisfied with his representing me? How could a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, believer in lower taxes, (how could I forget pro voter photo ID, anti benefits to illegal aliens), fiscal conservative like me ever be represented by someone whose platform is pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, opposed to voter photo ID, opposed to requiring welfare recipients to prove their legal US status, and pro-taxation? Any Republican espousing those liberal values would be an "embarrassment" to the Republican Party. But then, I asked myself, how well did Mayor Kate reflect my values? Not very well. So, why would I give any credence to her endorsement now?

I believe Senator Tom Reynolds has done a good job representing the people of his district. He worked to cut government waste and get the automatic gas tax increase stopped (*no wonder the road builders want him out of there!) He has voted consistently with his party. Our problem in Madison (and Washington) is not that representatives like Reynolds and Grothman are too conservative; our problem is that too may Republicans are RINOs! Tom Reynolds is someone who is not influenced by lobbyists, or public opinion for that matter. In “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” style, he votes his conscience. I like that.

* Last spring, I received a newsletter from Senator Reynolds warning of the influence lobbyist’s contributions were having on state spending. He wrote, "According to a Jan. 15th Associated Press news article, 'Contributions from road interests to state candidates tripled, from about $150,000 in 1994 to nearly $475,000 in 2002. During that period, legislators boosted state funding to the annual road construction budget by 44%.' There are far too many bills passed in Madison that favor the top campaign contributors."
You may wish to check out too. It looks like blogger Matt Thomas will touch on Brookfield, county, and state issues from time to time

Did you know the Bible does not say, Thou shalt not kill?

Now, here is an interesting flip-flop. More Republicans favor a death penalty than Democrats. Republicans are pro-life, Democrats are pro-abortion--even up to full term. Liberal democrats frequently quote the Bible and say, "Thou shalt not kill". (Yes, that is ironic.) To help you understand why pro-lifers are sometimes also pro-death penalty, it may help to know that the Bible does not say, "Thou shalt not kill". The actual translation is, Thou shalt not MURDER.

If you think about all the wars the Jews fought in Old Testament times under God's direction, the commandment to not kill would not make sense. David, the hero in David vs Goliath, would be breaking a commandment if the rule was not to kill.
The Jews were told by God to use stoning as their method of capitol punishment. Murder on the other hand is premeditated, something done out of anger. I think most people are conflicted about this one, even if they know it says thou shalt not murder.
The other problem with the Death Penalty is that there is such a time lag between the verdict and the execution. That delay diminishes its effectiveness as a deterrent. It is not a make or break issue for me.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Connectivity will make neighborhood streets a racetrack!

Attendance at the Oct. 23, 124th Street and Bluemound Road Neighborhood Plan presentation and Public Comment session was high. Fifteen of the thirty-eight attendees spoke on various issues. All fifteen emphatically urged the Plan Commission: DON’T ALLOW THE NEW DEVELOPMENT TRAFFIC TO INVADE THEIR PEACEFUL COLUMBIA GARDENS SUBDIVISION NEIGHBORHOOD! Residents frequently used the term “racetrack” to refer to traffic already using Nelson and Golf roads as a shortcut. They don’t want to see that happen to all of their narrow, 20 foot wide streets.

Surprisingly, the residents stated they were in favor of the property being redeveloped. Those who spoke, echoed many of the same concerns. Number 1 was to restrict new development traffic from entering their narrow residential streets, #2 keep the berm on Columbia, #3 preference to condo development over apartments, and #4 fear that the retail will remain vacant due to the glut in the retail space already available in Brookfield. Various other concerns were put to the Plan Commission: that the condos would turn into low income housing, that the new development needed a city water source—not use private wells, and many questions regarding the traffic study (sound familiar?).

Resident John Corbin, who just happens to be a traffic engineer, said he spent the weekend going over the 37 page traffic study. He said those trip generation reports can be very widely interpreted. For example: the 633 trips projected per day would balloon to 15,000 per day if more retail were included in the mixed use development. Approximately 37% to 47% of that traffic could go to Columbia Blvd. and all would go to Nelson. He urged that Kent, once a through street to Bluemound, not be reopened, and he cautioned that even at conservative estimates, traffic on Columbia and Nelson could double to 1 vehicle per minute at times.

Kurt VanDyke, the broker for Quebecor (the former printing company), told the commission that the developers the printer has been talking to have not had much interest in connecting the new roads to the existing neighborhood. He also cautioned that to make this city proposed mixed use redevelopment it needed to be “of financial interest to Quebecor”. In other words, the density must be high enough (translate: more money making units per acre). Otherwise, his company would just look for another industrial type buyer.

Resident John Nooney, who is also a developer, agreed with the Quebecor representative, that from a developer’s perspective, there is NO NEED to connect to the neighborhood’s roads.

There you have it. The residents are all solidly against adding any connecting streets to the new development--they don’t want the additional traffic. The broker for Quebecor said the developers were not overly concerned with access to the neighborhood, and the resident developer affirmed that from a developer’s perspective, access would not be necessary.

Connectivity seems to be the buzz word at City Hall these days, but not every connection is a good thing. As one resident stated, these new connections only benefit the new development and they harm the neighborhood. Will the Plan Commission listen to these people?

District 7 Alderman, Lisa Mellone, would like to hear from you regarding this developement. Please email her at

LINKS: and
You may wish to check out too. It looks like blogger Matt Thomas will touch on Brookfield, county, and state issues from time to time.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hang onto your wallets; it’s going to be a bumpy ride

In August, we all got those dreaded letters from the city assessor--those letters that shockingly alerted us to how much our property increased in value. Mine initially increased about 39%. But not to worry about my taxes going up significantly, because, “The revaluation will result in a higher tax base and a proportionately reduced tax rate.” the assessor’s letter stated. The letter goes on to say, “A revaluation is an equalization process used to establish uniformity in assessments throughout the community. It is done to eliminate inequities that may exist and to insure that you are only paying your fair share of the costs of operating the City, County, Technical College and the School District. The budgets for most taxing jurisdictions will not be established until later in the year, so it is not possible at this time to project the tax rate that will be applied to the new valuations.”

Well, isn’t that convenient? No tax rate numbers available at the time of the new assessment notice. No hint as to what our new assessment will mean come Dec. 31st when taxes are due. We are led to believe, since everyone is reassessed, that there will not be much of difference in our total tax bill. But now the budget numbers are trickling in , and I am getting a sick feeling in my stomach (or should I say wallet?).

Cindy Kilkenny just posted what these new budget numbers will mean to us*. No matter how the mayor tries to spin this one (Matt, did I find a RINO?); we are going to be paying a lot more in taxes. Why? Because we are spending too much! (I know how we could save $18 million, just eliminate Calhoun’s widening and keep the fire stations where they are! I can’t even think about the high schools.) Notice that all that development is not saving us any money; it just costs us in increased taxes and decreased quality of life. (See last third of posting--I was one of the 40%, Shawn.)
* Since my home is of similar value to the mayors, as my intuition suggested I will need the Pepto-Bismol come Dec. 31st. The argument that a higher assessment is good for increased resale values does not hold for people like me, who plan on staying in their homes until the nursing home. As it looks now, my tax bill is close to equaling my mortgage payment. This does not bode well for someone wanting to retire here.

LINKS: and
You may wish to check out too. It looks like blogger Matt Thomas will touch on Brookfield, county, and state issues from time to time.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Now, here is a shocker: the Plan Commission approved the Brookhollow Condominium Development

On Monday, Oct. 9, the Plan Commission approved the controversial Brookhollow Condominium project. The next step is for the project to go before the Common Council on Tuesday, Oct 17th, for final approval or, dare I hope, rejection? You may speak up about this project during the Public Comment session at the beginning of that Council meeting starting at 7:45pm.

Brookhollow, to me, represents all that is wrong with the development process in Brookfield. The zoning was changed from single family to also allow multi-family IF the property had its own access to Moorland Road. Because of some oversight, the phrase requiring Moorland access was not included into the minutes of the meeting. The result? That direct access requirement was not binding. All of that new condo traffic will now be using Hackberry Lane as their access road—the only way into and out of that entire neighborhood.

Alderman and Plan Commissioner Mark Nelson did request a decrease in the density. (From what I have seen, Mark Nelson frequently does have sympathy for the neighborhoods involved near proposed projects.) Of course, the developer, Thomson Corp. opposed that.

District 7 Alderman, Lisa Mellone, would like to hear from you prior to Tuesday’s meeting. (It is so refreshing to actually have an alderman INTERESTED in your opinions!) Please email her at

Contact the other aldermen too. They will be voting on the project on Tuesday.
LINKS: and www.brookfieldnow.comYou may wish to check out too. It looks like blogger Matt Thomas will touch on Brookfield, county, and state issues from time to time.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Suburb Savers evolved out of Swanson Savers, an email alert / action group back in 2004. Since then, I have used this format to contact the public regarding important city issues.

Many Suburb Savers recipients receive the alerts as a result of forwards; some of you have changed email carriers since then. It would be helpful to have everyone on an updated master list.

Please contact me to update your contact information.



Saturday, October 07, 2006

If you dig deep enough, you will find it! (Hint, it is on page 22)

Although many residents consider the issue of whether the city’s 2020 Master Plan is a binding document or not to be very important, there has been virtually no press about it. Last week’s Oct. 6th Brookfield News did carry an article about it, but you really had to hunt for it. So, to help you out, it is located on page 22--after the classified ads. (I had to look through the paper 3 times to find it.) So far, it has not been posted on .

If you have cable TV, you can view the council meeting on City Cable channel 25. The meetings are televised at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

Pay close attention to how some of the aldermen say the plan is just a general guide. Alderman Gary Mahkorn (also a member of the Plan Commission) “said he sees the Master Plan as more of a guideline”. At times, their backpedaling reminded me of the movie, The Pirates of the Caribbean, where the pirates justified breaking the Pirate’s Code by chalking it up to, Them’s just guidelines. Yet Alderman Blackburn and Alderman Jerry Mellone are able to cite numerous specifics in the Master Plan concerning Calhoun Road’s width. See what you think.

Links: and
You may wish to check out too. It looks like blogger Matt Thomas will touch on Brookfield, county, and state issues from time to time.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


For the second time in two weeks, the public was assured by an alderman that “this isn’t a done deal”. At the Sept. 19th meeting, Alderman Berg told the public that, “This is far from being a done deal”. The “this” referred to was the 2 new, $6million+, relocated fire stations. Last night, it was Alderman Owen’s turn to say, “This isn’t a done deal”. Owen’s “this” was Item 24, the prospect of a new interchange on Calhoun Road.

Last night’s discussion started with Alderman Blackburn asking that Item 24 be sent to the public hearing along with the other items identified by the Master Plan Task Force. Originally, the Master Plan said, support the efforts to locate an interchange. Blackburn pointed out that the Task Force took a step back from that original language and now recommends to gather sufficient information to see if the city should locate one... Blackburn also reminded the Council that both mayoral candidates said they did not favor the interchange prior to the election. The mayor then said, If the council wants to add this (interchange) and send to the public hearing, we can.

Alderman Mahkorn did not think it appropriate to send the interchange Item 24 to the public hearing and asked the council to reject it. If it is not included in the public hearing, you are denying the public the opportunity to weigh in, Blackburn reminded. Alderman Lisa Mellone added, by not allowing this amendment to go through public hearing, you are in affect making the decision now. You are denying their chance for due process!

(Nelson?) added, The Task Force was charged to study the Master Plan, not change it. There will be a time and place where this issue will be discussed at length, this is not the time. Lisa did not concur, I cannot think of a better time and place—when would there be a better time? Blackburn pointed out that what had changed in the past 7 years was that people see what has happened so far in the plan...they are seeing it may not be what they want.

The vote: 6 yes (Sutton, Carnell, Berg, Blackburn, Mellone, Mellone), send it to public hearing to 8 no, do not send.

Alderman Berg went on to ask, Does the vote mean that the interchange is not subject to a hearing? I want a public debate, but now that the vote is NO, it won’t be discussed? If a person would get up and want to talk about the interchange, would they be ruled out of order? The city attorney said, yes.

So, do you feel assured that this is not a done deal? The majority of aldermen do not want to let you weigh in on the issue of an additional interchange! The Task Force spent countless hours going over the Master Plan and making their recommendations, yet it is pretty clear the majority of our aldermen do not want to heed their council.

If this goes the usual way, the city will continue to study the issue, spending money on the studies, then by virtue of time and money invested in the issue, use that as grounds to justify the issue. Still, we are assured, it is not a “done deal”.

Item 24 was not the focus of the meeting; Alderman Jerry Mellone’s referral was, but that will have to wait for another posting. (It was defeated 11 to 3.)

There has been a real lack of news coverage from our local papers. Only the Brookfield News reporter was at the Council Meeting last night. (Good thing it is on cable.) I had not known about Item 24 being on the agenda (due to city website problems), but Jerry Mellone’s referral to stick to the Master Plan and stop planning Calhoun Road at its present 130/100foot widths seems to me to be very newsworthy. It was an important enough issue for the city to shop for an additional legal opinion to the tune of "less than $500". Both the Brookfield News and Journal reporter were aware of his referral at the Sept. 19 meeting, yet nothing appeared in either paper. How are people to know what is going on? Both Item 24’s defeat and the vote to not follow the Master Plan are very important issues.