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

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Do endorsers really believe what they say?

Seems like many "officials" are jumping on the endorsement bandwagon for Brookfield’s upcoming mayoral election.

I received a letter from Senator Ted Kanavas, endorsing Ann Nischke for mayor of Waukesha. His reasons? “Your state government is filled with elected officials who are quick to forget who’s the boss…it’s you, the taxpayer. I’ve always believed that my job was clearly defined by the taxpayers, and that’s to hold the line on government spending. Whether it be big spending liberals, or well funded special interests, I believe the hard work of protecting the taxpayer is never-ending.”

He went on to state how “there is only one candidate that shares my belief that the taxpayers are the boss, and that the number one job of an elected official is to hold the line on taxes.” He states that he and Ann have, “fought the liberal spenders and special interests that infest government. While it may sound simple, Ann truly understands that government should work for the taxpayers,”

Kanavas then cites the increase in property taxes as another reason to vote for Ann. He chides the opponent as being "against anything placing the taxpayers first and big-spending special interests second. That is not what the City of Waukesha needs." (Brookfield either)

With all that he said, I expected to see Ted Kanavas endorse Cindy Kilkenny for mayor of Brookfield. (Both of our mayoral candidates are members of the same political party, so it is not about partisanship.) Kilkenny has pointed out that our taxes have risen by 16% during the mayor’s term, and that is well above the 9% rate of inflation for our area. The mayor insists he has kept taxes low.

Cindy Kilkenny has refused developer donations to remove any possible connection of being swayed by special interest groups. The mayor doesn’t see the nearly $8,000 of development related donations as a conflict of interest at all. In fact he says, almost proudly, “Will I take their (developers) money? Absolutely.”

In an election, it all boils down to who the voters are endorsing. Judging from the Brookfield News letters to the editor from citizens in favor of Kilkenny vs the very few for the incumbent, I would say all these official endorsements are missing the mark.

Ted Kanavas endorsing our current mayor for the next 4 year term makes me wonder, does Ted really believe what he said in that letter about Ann Nischke about taxes and special interests? Or is something else afoot here?

Links: Mayoral current campaign related news
Aldermanic races district 6 & 7:
Comments or questions to

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Dollars and Sense: Campaign Finance Reports

According to the MJS article, Campaign Finance Reports show Kilkenny raised $5,720 and Speaker raised $3,258 during this last month and a half cycle. Kilkenny donors: 66, Speaker donors: 30.

Speaker outspent Kilkenny, $7,048 to $2,710.

The article reported that Speaker said he would spend, "Whatever it takes to get the message out". Contrast that with the fact that, Kilkenny said last summer that she planned to run a "thorough but fugal campaign". The article went on to quote Kilkenny, "I stayed within my budget, I think it's a wonderful example of how I know how to make a dollar stretch further."

Links: Mayoral current campaign related news and updates:
Mayoral Campaign:
Aldermanic races district 6 & 7:
Comments or questions to

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Why is he taking all that developer money?

The first question from the Chamber of Commerce debate on Monday was about Brookfield having the 3rd highest tax base. The answer from Speaker was unexpected.

Kilkenny commented that, We have been sold a myth: that development saves you money. Because of that high tax base, the taxpayers end up supporting other places because of revenue sharing. (We send tax dollars to Wisconsin and get a smaller amount in return to support our schools because we have that high tax base. In other words we are subsidizing other poorer communities' schools with our wealth.) She emphasised we need to control spending from the top down.

Speaker made a point of saying, something about our secure commercial base and ensure our tax base.

And then he went on to say something that I thought had little to do with the question: I have taken money from developers. When you have been a police officer for your career, you don't have a lot of money to put into your own campaign. I am taking that money to get my message out.

I may have bought that argument for his first election, but he has had a $90,000 [about] job for the past 4 years. Assuming that he earns far more now than as a police officer, he could throw a bit into his own campaign and forget the developer donations. In 2002, he raised $19,643 and contributed $1,185 of his own money. Jakus raised $53,356 including $22,540 of his own money. But Kilkenny is hardly at Jakus' level in her loan amount, which is around twice as much as Speaker threw in in 2002. (We will have to wait for the campaign finance reports.)

The fact that he has accepted so much developer money, yet denies it influences his vote or the setting of the agenda for the plan commission shows how little he understands the process. Money talks; people listen.

There may be no real connection between the donations and the plans coming before the plan commission, but the perception that there is a connection, sure is there.

This is an issue at the Federal level and State level. I recently received a letter from my state senator and in it there was this information. "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."

Many of us in Brookfield think far too many projects passed in Brookfield that favor the top campaign contributors!

Remember VK and associates contributed $750 and mall owners $1,500 to this mayor's campaign. Capitol Heights was passed over vehement neighborhood protests and Calhoun south expansion that will benefit VK is in the works. Don't forget that city staff was looking for ways to assist VK in the Swanson Swap too. The mall is part of TIF 3, which will cause the taxpayers of Brookfield to miss out on additional tax levies for about 20 years.

Even IF there is no real connection between the donors and approvals, the money represents Developer support for the favorable way things have been going for them. So, while it may not have directly bought them influence, it is a measure of their preferential treatment and their wish to see that treatment continue.

Kilkenny's special interest group is the voters. I have no problem with her being beholding to us! Remember the MJS quote,"There's one thing I won't do,' Kilkenny said. 'I won't move into the inner circle and dump the voters that brought me to the dance."

Links: Mayoral current campaign related news and updates:
Aldermanic races district 6 & 7:
Comments or questions to

Monday, March 20, 2006

Great Freeman article today - Finally on the issues! If he can't control where we are, who can?

Linda McAlpine wrote a great article contrasting the views of the two mayoral candidates. Read it for yourself at the library or purchase a copy. (Because of copyright laws, I cannot post it.)

Speaker sizes our city's situation up like this: " 'Brookfield is in an urban, suburban setting,' said Speaker, who is seeking a second term as mayor. 'We can't control where we are. We're part of a growing region. It's tough sometimes because not everyone likes or wants change, but I do think we need to be prepared for it,' Speaker said. 'The mayor's job is to make it so that it isn't too unbearable for the citizens.' "

Kilkenny sees our situation as, " 'I think we are at a crossroads. If we turn left, we'll become urban. Turn right, and we'll be a suburb.' 'I don't see the need for Brookfield to be an urban center with a stand-alone economy,' 'The city is in transition. It used to be totally suburban, almost rural. I'd like to see it be a trend-setting suburb, where we are setting the standard for other suburbs,' she said. "

The mayor's position is really a passive, our suburb is turning into a city, what can you do? stance. He is just trying to make it "not too unbearable" for us! Not too unbearable? Does that mean that unbearable is ok, just not too unbearable?

Kilkenny correctly identifies the role of the mayor, "she thinks city residents 'should understand that the next mayor will set the fate of Brookfield.' 'The mayor, as chairman of the city's plan commission, sets the agenda and basically controls development in Brookfield,' she said", in the Freeman article.

This lack of leadership is what has lead us to the place we are today. We are in a tail wagging the dog scenario of 'We can't control where we are". That statement is where the problem lies; the mayor is the one in control, he just doesn't use the control he has! Developers and the City's Community Development Authority have been leading our city down this urban path. That is one reason people are so upset that the mayor is accepting all those development related donations.

The mayor is in charge of setting the agenda of the plan commission and he controls the budget for the city. To say that he is helpless to change or regulate what our city does shows his lack of understanding of his position as mayor. The mayor in effect is the CEO of the multi-million dollar corporation (our city). CEOs LEAD their companies to seek out beneficial changes and opportunities that will enhance their corporations and increase their efficiency. Stockholders will settle for nothing less.

We shouldn't either.

Links: Mayoral current campaign related news and updates:
Aldermanic races district 6 & 7:
Comments or questions to

The real unedited Letters to the Brookfield News

This is the first of unedited letters to the Public Forum of the Brookfield News. Unfortunately, the paper has taken to editing letters people send in. When they do that, the letter ceases to carry the same meaning as the original.

It is my opinion, that if a letter meets guidlines of 400 words or less, and does not contain any inaccuracies, it should be printed as written. Space was not a problem, other letters from outside our community were included.

These will be posted in alphabetical order.

Dear Public Forum-
There are numerous excellent reasons to vote for Lisa Mellone for District 7 Alderman. I have the privilege of knowing Lisa for over 3 years. She is a neighbor, fellow public school parent, and fellow church member. Lisa is bright and ambitious and has chaired and served on various committees at Swanson Elementary School, Elmbrook Church, and Elmbrook School District. She is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee with a B.A. in Business Administration - Finance.

Lisa is trustworthy and reliable. She says what she means and means what she says. We trust Lisa with our son when the children play and we trust her with our home while we are out of town. Lisa recognizes a need for better citizen representation in our 7th aldermanic district and, since last fall, has immersed herself in the issues affecting District 7 and the city of Brookfield as a whole. Lisa's goal is to effectively communicate these important issues to residents so we can develop well-informed opinions on the direction we would like our city to go.

Currently, our Common Council seems to enjoy decision-making in a dusk-like atmosphere, frequently ignoring the voiced wishes of citizens. Lisa, in contrast, seeks to shine a light on these issues so citizens will have knowledge of issues as well as the process, and, ultimately, have our opinions represented through her on the Common Council. What a refreshing idea - Democratic Government in action! Thank you Lisa for taking a stand for better representation and accountability in District 7 and our City Government.

Sincerely, Eileen M. Bastin

Who does the City of Brookfield belong to?

At the January 17,2006 Public Hearing at City Hall, a young woman from Brookfield asked the Mayor ansd Council, "To whom does the City of Brookfield belong, the citizens or the developers?" "Sadly, from what citizens have witnessed in the past few years, City Hall does not speak for citizens. Developers prevail. Officials are supposed to listen. Why do citizens keep losing? How did developers get so much power over our local government?"

Rest assured, Alderman Kilkenny was one of a few supporters of residents, not only in her 2nd district, but also of those in districts who were not served by their representatives.

Residents are not opposed to development, however, we have been forced to accept high-density development that threatens the integrity of our community. Alderman Kilkenny has worked tirelessly to try to obtain compromises, reduce density and encroachment on established neighborhoods. If she does not prevail in her bid for Mayor, you can bet the developers and speculators will be lined up at City Hall on April 5th with requests for zoning changes to PDDs (affording greater density) and TIFs (requesting city financial help for their projects).

Something better can happen. Your vote for Cindy Kilkenny will insure reasonable growth and the best interests of citizens and Brookfield will be served.
Joan Carnell

The misinformation campaign is in full swing.

Cindy Kilkenny is not against development but she does oppose ill-conceived, irresponsible high-density development and an unfair share of costs being born by the residents of Brookfield. She does support the rights of citizens to be heard in more than a pro-forma way. Citizens of Imperial Estates know what it is to be ignored and have plans railroaded through the Council. She listened, she took our concerns to the Council, she defended our rights as citizens and taxpayers. Asking for responsible leadership and fair play for all citizens should be regarded as a virtue, not a sin in this community. Isn’t it time that the citizens have someone representing them in the Mayor’s office who appreciates the years they have “invested” in supporting the schools, churches, and civic organizations and who views them as valuable “developers” who support the “tax base"? Where was Jeff Speaker when we asked the tough questions about this development? He told a group of us that he couldn’t oppose it because “…you know why.” Yes, we do know why and we haven’t forgotten.

Fran Luebke

Lisa Mellone will work for us
We first became acquainted with Lisa Mellone during our effort to save Swanson School. She expressed in a letter to the school board how the Swanson Swap threatened our community. That letter closed with , "our quality of life is not for sale".

Since then, we found we shared many opinions about other important issues in Brookfield: respecting residents in rezoning and development decisions , keeping taxes low, protecting property values, stopping developer subsidies through taxpayer funded infrastructure and TIFs, avoiding traffic problems, and preserving green space.

Lisa Mellone will work for us with a vigor and enthusiasm we have not seen in the 20 years we have lived here. Her business degree and involvement in the community add to her qualifications , but her greatest asset is her passion to represent us.

We endorse Lisa Mellone for district 7 alderman; she will make an excellent alderman. It will be refreshing to have an alderman who will work hard for us during the next 4 years , not just during the campaign season.

David and Kyle Prast

Why people support Kilkenny for Mayor

Who is supporting the mayoral candidates? Just drive down the streets of Brookfield and you will see that the majority of signs for the incumbent are on commercial properties, while a majority of the Kilkenny signs are on residential properties.

Look at the contributors to the mayoral candidates and the picture becomes clearer. Follow the money. The mayor received more than half of his $17,000 war chest from developers. Kilkenny has declined developer donations. It’s not surprising that developers like VK and the owners of Brookfield Square contribute heavily toward the mayor’s reelection campaign. They have a lot at stake. He supports the TIF—developer welfare, eminent domain—the forced sale of private property benefiting a new developer, and other taxpayer subsidies for their high density projects. These developers know they are getting a good deal at the taxpayers expense, and so they support the incumbent. So who is supporting Kilkenny for mayor? The Brookfield citizens who want a listening ear in city government back her wholeheartedly. She has consistently been an advocate of neighborhoods throughout the city. After all, they not only built this city, but they pay the majority of taxes too.

The smaller businessmen and residents who want to feel secure that eminent domain will not take away our homes and livelihood support Kilkenny. She believes property rights are a core American value, and so she opposes the use of eminent domain for profit. The thousands of people who opposed the Swanson Swap support Kilkenny. They saw the swap was a bad deal for Brookfield and only a good deal for VK. The people of Brookfield deserve a mayor who will act on behalf of the average taxpayer, a leader who will put citizen needs before developer wants. I encourage you to vote Kilkenny for mayor; we need a leader for a change.

Brigid Riordan

Topic: Blank checks vs Votes for a better Brookfield

When a candidate for mayor, who is known for listening to constituents and representing their concerns is criticized by the developer/lawyer who threatened to sue the city over the controversial Shire subdivision , shouldn't we all consider the source?

Many of us are impressed with the problem solving skills and sound judgment of candidates like: Cindy Kilkenny for mayor, Lisa Mellone for alderman , and Barbara Roncke for County Supervisor. They all share our vision of what would make a better Brookfield.

It is pathetic that those responsible for the failed "Swanson Swap" are still trying to put a positive spin on the secrecy and subterfuge surrounding that fiasco. Were you among the thousands of taxpayers who attended that November 2004 meeting looking for straight answers? When leadership was needed most, cooperation and openness between our representatives was sadly lacking. Sadly, the finger pointing still continues, with unanswered questions regarding Mayor Speaker's role and lack of accountability in the whole affair.

We have only lived here 12 years and realize we are junior to the many taxpayers who grew this city and school district to its former prestigious status. We say "former" because many people are concerned that our city's rank has slipped. Many question why the relationship between constituents and those they elect has turned adversarial. Why are taxpayers now compelled to stop their representatives from carrying out more unwanted invasions ? Why must we fight City Hall's development proposals, shouldn't who you elect strive to protect our quality of life and protect our property values?

How comfortable are you that Mr. Speaker and candidate Schellinger refused to participate in the pre-primary mayoral debate? And what that about the loser of the primary now endorsing a Speaker-repeat , with the reciprocal endorsement for a continued council position for Schellinger? Haven't you also had enough of the systematic "good ole boys club" ?

Didn't you vote for a change in the last mayoral election? Did you get the mayor you elected? Did the mayor you elected keep his promises, or has he become part of the problem? You can vote for real change in leadership that will make for a better Brookfield on April 4th. Elect representatives like Kilkenny, Mellone, and Roncke that will work for you, or please share any questions ?

Marcy & David Schmidt

Links: Mayoral current campaign related news and updates:
Mayoral Campaign:
Aldermanic races district 6 & 7:
Comments or questions to

Friday, March 17, 2006

Brookfield News Public Forum: 7 pro Kilkenny letters - how many were edited?

There was a treasure-trove of pro Kilkenny and pro Kilkenny message letters in the March 16th edition of the Brookfield News. Seems like people from all over the city wrote promoting their candidate of choice.

Jerry Mellone - district 6 received a letter of endorsement from a resident; district 7 candidate, Lisa Mellone had 2. County Supervisor Barbara Roncke received one too.

Check out the letter written by Alderman Chris Blackburn. His letter accurately summed up 2 misconceptions: development always saves taxpayers money and TIF districts are good for taxpayers. This happens to be the same thing Kilkenny (and many of us) have been saying for years.

The newly approved district 6 condo project is a good example of how development doesn't always pay its way. The council approved it even though the city would be putting in the cul-de-sac. Too bad we don't get that same deal when we put in our driveways!

Speaker only received one support letter, and it was from Alderman Rick Owen. There also was a letter criticizing Owen for being pro-development.

Jim Heinrich received one support letter from Alderman Gary Mahkorn

The 9 council members endorsement of the mayor did not sit well with one resident, and another suggested the mayor "Just say, 'No thank you'" to developer donations.

There was a great letter commenting about the council endorsements of the mayor (this would apply to aldermen endorsing aldermen too). It gave the definintion of the "Old-boy network (old boi) n. - An informal, exclusive system of mutual assistance and friendship through which men belong to a particular group exchange favors and connection, as in politics or business."

By the way, my letter endorsing Lisa Mellone was edited, which makes me wonder how many others were too. I doesn't seem space is the problem, since there again was a letter submitted from Elm Grove endorsing a village trustee. (Elm Grove has their own paper.)

Pick up a copy and see for yourself.

Links: Mayoral current campaign related news and updates:
Aldermanic races district 6 & 7:
Comments or questions to

MJS Online Forum, a novel idea

Last night was the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online forum. A moderator asked the questions, the usual taxes, development, and consensus questions, then candidates Kilkenny and Speaker typed the answers. They also could ask each other questions.

Both versions appear online: the original transcript and the Lisa Sink article based on that transcript.

The section concerning voter support was interesting. The following is quoted from the Lisa Sink article.

"'There's one thing I won't do,' Kilkenny said. 'I won't move into the inner circle and dump the voters that brought me to the dance.' "

"Kilkenny has accused Speaker of straying from the grass-roots support that in 2002 led Speaker, then a police officer, to defeat a City Hall insider, veteran Ald. Mike Jakus."

"Some residents who said they voted for Speaker in 2002 say they are backing Kilkenny this time because she is more closely following neighborhood wishes."

"Speaker has said he is the 'same Jeff' as always and has remained true to his desire to do what's best for city residents."

How did you vote last time?

I voted for Speaker in the last election, because I wanted a change from the Bloomberg "brickfield" or "Vincefield" perception.

Seems like we really didn't have a choice last time; this time we do!

Links: Mayoral current campaign related news and updates:
Mayoral Campaign:
Aldermanic races district 6 & 7:
Comments or questions to

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mystery money heads to the library

No one has stepped forward to claim the $200 anonymous donation to the Kilkenny campaign, so The Friends of the Library will be the recipient of $190 from that contribution. Kilkenny received 10 twenty dollar bills (in an envelope in her mailbox) on Friday, March 3rd. Many theories have been tossed around concerning the origins of the anonymous $200 donation to the Kilkenny campaign.

I have my own theory; I think it was from someone who did not think they could afford to be seen as a contributor to the Kilkenny campaign. Donor names appear on the campaign finance statements. People who work for companies that do work for the city might be reluctant to publicly support Kilkenny's candidacy. While they support Kilkenny and say they will vote for her on April 4th, they do not feel they can make public statements.

Thankfully, the great thing about America is that no one knows how you vote when you are in the voting booth!

The rules concerning campaign contributions are not as well known as you may think. I believe that once money is received, it must be deposited into the campaign account. I am sure whoever gave it thought they were doing a service to the campaign, and certainly it would have helped, but the donor must not have wanted to come forward to claim it publicly. (After all, it was given anonymously in the first place.)

The rule is: anonymous donations are limited to $10. That does not stop someone from sending in multiple $10 donations, but they each need to be sent separately. Why, a child could send one in! As long as it is separately given it is legal.

These laws might seem burdensome, but they are in place to protect the public. Don't you want to know that CBL (the mall owners) have contributed $1,500 and VK Corp. members contributed $750 to Speaker?

The public has a right to know who is backing a campaign.

Links: Mayoral current campaign related news and updates:
Mayoral Campaign:
Aldermanic races district 6 & 7:
Comments or questions to

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Déjà vous: It seems like Swanson all over again

Remember when we all joined together to fight against VK's Swanson Swap? We leafleted the entire city, at least once (twice in some areas) to get the word out about the pitfalls of that school sale. VK of course had the money to pay for his information to be delivered to every household. We had to rely on our grassroots style get-the-word-out campaign, but our hard work paid off with our landslide victory of 2,587 to 636 .

This mayoral election reminds me very much of the Save Swanson scenario: Mayor Speaker with his huge war chest of development related donations v.s. Mayoral Candidate Kilkenny and her campaign for the people.

Ironically, VK is again a player in this election. He and his family have contributed to Mayor Speaker's campaign, $750 this election cycle plus $450 back in 2002. Mayor Speaker supported VK's Capitol Heights development, VK's Swanson Swap--city staff was involved in VK's efforts to make the swap (footnote 1), and the widening of Calhoun Road south in anticipation of VK's future development at the Ruby Farm/WTMJ site.

Cindy Kilkenny opposed the swap (footnote 2) and voted against Capitol Heights because of its height and density, and it intruded on the surrounding neighborhood. She does not support widening Calhoun Road south either because it adversely impacts the neighborhood and benefits VK's future Ruby development at taxpayer expense.

Well, it is time to roll up our sleeves again and join together to support Mayoral candidate Kilkenny. Because her campaign is not accepting developer money (footnote 3), she could use our grassroots support to help her campaign.

I believe Brookfield is at a real turning point here. Think about how many large development projects have mushroomed up during the past 4 years. Green space is fast disappearing. We need a change in leadership before it all receives extra density rezoning.

Help if you can.

(1) City Hall and staff should never have been involved like this behind closed doors in school district business! The Milwaukee Journal reported, "In November 2003, Kuttemperoor grew so frustrated with the lack of support that he turned to city Development Director Dan Ertl for advice. Ertl called Gibson to ask how Ertl "might work with Vincent (Kuttemperoor) to help meet district needs."

(2) "Ald. Cindy Kilkenny and Kinsey Park Neighborhood Association leader Kyle Prast, who also helped the opposition, said the message was that residents want less development.", the Milwaukee Journal reported.

(3) The Brookfield News last week reported on some of the developer donations the Speaker campaign has received and the correlation of those same developer's projects coming before the plan commission. Because of the perception that these donations may influence a mayor's decisions about a development project--a possible conflict of interest--Kilkenny has decided never to accept development related contributions. "It's a matter of never having that question asked of this campaign." she said. This stance has cost her money, but it makes her campaign clearly one for the people--not the developers.

Links: Mayoral Campaign:
Mayoral current campaign related news and updates:
Aldermanic races district 6 & 7:
Comments or questions to

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Now, that was inspiring

Did you get your spring newsletter from the city yet?

The cover page always contains a message from the mayor. This edition was no different, but what struck me was the content of that letter.

Basically, it had 4 paragraphs and a post script.
  • Paragraph 1 - chatter about the weather turning mild
  • Paragraph 2 - announcement of the Farmers Market opening in 2 months
  • Paragraph 3 - announcement that computer recycling has returned to the recycling center
  • Paragraph 4 - closing statement telling of what is inside: needed information, hydrant flushing, and additional activities.
  • Post Script - he tells us to disregard the first paragraph!

Now, wasn't that inspiring? All the leader of our community has to say is that it is cold and snowy, the farmers market will open in 2 months, you can recycle your computer at the dump, and inside you will find the hydrant flushing and activity schedules? Oh, and forget the first paragraph because now it is snowing again.

The information did not even fill the space. That is all our leader has to tell us? These newletters are very expensive; this is not worth the paper it is printed on (not to mention postage).

If you received a stock report with that message on it, wouldn't you be wondering what kind of CEO your company had?

The mayor is in effect the CEO of our city, which is a multi-million dollar entity. Stockholders (in our case taxpayers) usually demand that their CEO be an able leader with vision.

Brookfield should expect no less from its leader.

Links: Mayoral Campaign:

Mayoral current campaign related news and updates:

Aldermanic races district 6 & 7:

Comments or questions to

Friday, March 10, 2006

I am tempted to write this, but would the Brookfield News edit it?

Thursday's Brookfield News public forum section contained 1 letter endorsing the current mayor, touting the many things this mayor has done for us like: 24 hour access to a live person (calls to City Hall now are forwarded to the Police Dept.) and TIF #3 which will give us NO tax relief for an estimated 20 years. He is happy with these great accomplishments. His letter closed with the inference that those who opposed him were just the "well organized and vocal minority".

I have to ask, would that be the same vocal minority who opposed the Swanson Swap?

I would submit that brief question to the Brookfield News Public Forum, but wonder if they might edit it!

Yesterday I encouraged you to write a letter to the Public Forum section, but be aware that many times the content is EDITED OUT. David Schmidt's letter was shortened by one paragraph, the most important paragraph to his letter.

If the paper is going to edit so heavily, then the letters cease to be the voice of the reader and become the paper's own editorial.

If we want good people to win; we must support them!
Mayoral Campaign:
Mayoral current campaign related news and updates:
Aldermanic races district 6 & 7:
Comments or questions to

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Mayoral Debate Dates, Public Forum Letters, and Help the Campaigns

Two Mayoral Candidate debates/forums are scheduled; the 1st needs prior registration.

The Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce sponsored debate is Monday, March 20th, 11am to 1pm, at the Brookfield Public Safety Building (just north of City Hall--2100 N. Calhoun Rd.) All are welcome, but you MUST pre-register to attend: call 786-1886 or email to (In 2002 this debate was sponsored by VK and the Chamber.)

The Brookfield League and Concerned Calhoun Community (CCC) is sponsoring the 2nd debate on Wednesday, March 22nd, at 7pm, also at the Brookfield Safety Building. There will be time for a meet and greet afterwards. All are welcome.

It is time to write those letters of endorsement for the candidates of your choice. You must include your name, address, and phone number although only your name will appear.

Deadline for the Brookfield News is noon, Tuesday, March 14 (earlier is better). You may co-write with friends or neighbors, just add all your names at the bottom of the submission. Letters must be 400 words or less. Mail to: Public Forum, P O Box 510210, New Berlin, WI 53151. Fax: 262-938-5001, or email to or and write REDIRECT in the subject line (or their spam filter will reject it). Letters will appear until the 23rd, but must be submitted earlier. Sometimes letters are heavily edited if submitted at the last minute.

The Milwaukee Journal also accepts letters of endorsement to "The Morning Mail". There is a 200 word maximum. Send to You may send a copy to Lisa Sink, the reporter for MJS Brookfield too,

Show your support for the candidates who represent your values. Request a yard sign, make a donation, offer to distribute fliers, tell others about them, support with a letter to the editor, etc.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Lessons from History: United We Stand, Divided We Get Density!

While studying the Revolutionary War with my son, I observed a parallel between Colonial America and Brookfield. In retaliation for the Boston Tea Party, England closed Boston's harbor thinking deprivation would break the colonist's spirit. But instead of cowering, other colonies rallied and sent Boston aid, which stimulated colonial unification. No longer thinking of themselves as Virginians or Pennsylvanians, they started thinking of themselves as AMERICANS. They united and worked together for liberty.

Remember their war cry? NO taxation without representation. Sound familiar? Do you feel represented?

That history lesson illustrates the importance of a united people. Four years ago 2nd district residents fought against the density of VK's Capitol Heights. They rallied and pleaded but lost. The Shire and TIF #3 were protested too but lost. Why? Because those colonies fought alone.

Then came VK's Swanson Swap. This issue grabbed the attention of most colonists. Protest signs appeared in every subdivision. People no longer thought of themselves as being from this district or that subdivision. Instead, we united and prevailed in an unprecedented victory made even more amazing considering the City's clandestine involvement with VK. The MJS informed us, that VK "grew so frustrated…. that he turned to city Development Director Dan Ertl for advice. Ertl called Gibson to ask how Ertl 'might work with Vincent to help meet district needs.'" Because we united, we were able to defeat even the combined forces of VK, the School District and City Hall.

Next, the Calhoun Road south expansion (another proposal benefiting VK's development). City Hall basically ignored the neighborhood's pleas stating 4-6 lanes were necessary. The Calhoun project steamrolled ahead until 750 petitioners opposing it slowed it down. Without the impending election and public pressure, I doubt any significant reductions would take place.

As one petition signer said, I'll need help when they widen Brookfield Road near my neighborhood, I'll sign. Ah, a change in thought! Instead of thinking like a colonist, she was thinking like an American. What happens to one area affects us all; this time it's your neighborhood—next time mine. We all pay the taxes that fund these projects; shouldn't we be represented?

On April 4th, you have the privilege of choosing our city's next leaders with your vote. Men fought and died to give us that right. Don't waste it. Apathy will lead to four more years of the same. Cindy Kilkenny, Jerry Mellone, and Lisa Mellone will represent us--the taxpayers--whose property taxes account for 70% of our city’s income, instead of the developers-- whose commercial property only contributes 30%.

Aren’t you tired of the battles and misinformation from City Hall? Let's work together toward a better Brookfield instead.

United we stand, divided we FAIL. Together WE make a difference.

We are Americans.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The essence of the mayor's race: Nice guy vs Substance? (Revised)

An unscientific exit poll of 40 voters was conducted at last week's primary by Lisa Sink. The results of the poll were "similar to the final vote" tally. She reported her findings: those who voted for Speaker said they did so because of his likeability factor, while those who voted for Kilkenny chose her based on the issues.

Speaker supporters did not cite "any specific thing Speaker has done as mayor or has pledged to do in a second term that they support. Their responses to the question of who they voted for and why were short, with most saying simply that Speaker has 'done a good job.' ", the MJS reported.

Kilkenny votes were cast by people who gave specific, longer, more detailed reasons as to why they chose her. The web-log stated, "They listed concerns with development, traffic, road widenings and a changing character of the city."

I think the quote from one couple was the most telling, she and her husband " 'were going to vote for Speaker and then we saw' Kilkenny's small booklet detailing her stances on issues. 'She impressed me' ".

Speaker does have that likeable, nice guy image; why, he even visits the senior center most days for his "sanity walk". When Kilkenny announced her candidacy on Jan. 13, 2005 in the Brookfield News, she acknowledged that image, "I'm running against a very likeable opponent. Jeff's a nice guy."

The exit poll revealed that Kilkenny is about issues and information; she is running a campaign of information.

Kilkenny went on to say in that Jan. 2005 article, "I'm completely aggravated by Brookfield's development position. And the only person who gets to act as gatekeeper is the mayor. He's the chairman of the Plan Commission, and as the chairman of the Plan Commission, he helps set the Plan Commission agenda." The mayor is at the helm; the development we see represents his voting record.

Speaker is running on his nice guy image, not on the issues or information. He chose not to attend a candidate forum nor did he fill out the Better Outcomes questionnaire. If you have not been following any of the issues--VK's Capitol Heights, VK's Swanson Swap, The Shire, TIF #3, or the Calhoun Rd. south expansion--how would you know what his record and platform is?

Since his supporters did not state "any specific thing Speaker has done as mayor or has pledged to do in a second term that they support", I would say he is running on his persona while his platform remains rather vague.

I was brought up to believe that actions speak louder than words. Nice guys should do nice things.

VK's overly--dense Capitol Heights was not a nice development. The Shire, potentially Brookfield's own Love Canal, is located adjacent to a toxic landfill. The Shire was neither nice nor wise. Forcing the taxpayers to finance the developer's infrastructure and profits in TIF #3 was not nice. The additional traffic generated by this additional development is not nice either. It isn't nice to parade the traffic from Brookhollow's 80 condo units through a quiet subdivision. Lastly, it's not nice to charge taxpayers for unnecessary widening costs on Calhoun Rd. south to prepare for VK's future development at the Ruby/WTMJ property.

Most people in the neighborhoods that Kilkenny has supported and assisted in their battles against these unwanted developments would agree, Kilkenny is a likeable, nice gal with substance!