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, December 25, 2006

UPDATED -2 meetings on Jan. 10: Fire Station #2 & #3 relocation to Calhoun Rd. information meeting + 124th and Blue Mound Neighborhood Plan Task Force

Be sure to read Robert Flessas' blog post from Sat. Non-Elected Officials and Fire Stations: Part 1, before you go to the information meeting. I don't really know who isn't talking to whom, but it is certainly worth asking the powers that be about.
City of Brookfield residents are invited to a City Information Meeting regarding the relocation of fire stations #2 and #3. This meeting will be to be held on Wednesday, January 10, 2007, 7:00 to 8:30 P.M. in the Courtroom of the Safety Building. Fire Station #2 is currently located at 3945 N. Lilly Road; Fire Station #3 is in District 7, at 1000 S. Moorland Road.

There will be a presentation of the relocation to Calhoun Road plan and an opportunity to submit your questions and comments to the Common Council.

District 7 Alderman Lisa Mellone requests that you send your comments and questions to her, so that she will know your opinion on this subject, whether you are able to attend the information meeting or not. There is more information on this subject on her website: betterbrookfield where she also includes her concerns about this proposal.

In Addition: The final 124th and Blue Mound Road Neighborhood Plan Task Force meeting is also on Jan. 10, but at 6pm, at City Hall.

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.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Keep sending out those 4K emails, calls, and letters

Did you contact the school board? Did any of them reply? Contact them again!

I sent out an email to the entire school board via the feedback system, but I wonder if they all received it--I only heard back from one member. Andy Smith, the Community Relations & Marketing Director, seems to be busy replying to email though.

Consider calling each school board member or writing a letter. If writing, request a reply. I believe each member should know how much the cost is per student and how much the state will reimburse our district for each resident, open enrollment and 220 student. They should also know how implimenting 4K will affect the high school renovation plans. We have been told our high schools are a top priority, but now the board is diverting its attention and resources to expanding 4K. Why?

Be on the lookout! More Brookfield break-ins

Just this morning I heard of 2 more incidents: One from my area on Kinsey Park Drive. A neighbor's car, parked in the driveway in FRONT of the house, was rifled through. The car was inadvertently left unlocked. (You know how it is, you think you are coming back outside, and then don't.)

The other incident, an anonymous comment about Tis the season of BURGLARIES: The burlary issue continues to be a problem. Two homes on 165th St, south of Bluemound and one on Golf Parkway can be added to the statistics over this past week. Everyone needs to be vigilant, look out for your neighbors. Inform the police of any unusual things occurring around your area. We need to stop these thefts now! I should know because our house was added to this list over the last week!!

The police want to hear about any suspicious activity. Call 262-787-3700 (non-emergency), 911 (emergency).

The following is an alert I received from both Aldermen Jerry Mellone and Alderman Lisa Mellone:


There were three more break-ins Friday in the same areas as the one on Thursday (Rubywood subdivision located behind Brookfield Square). The burglars entered the homes by breaking in doors and windows with bricks etc. They also cut screens. Break-ins are occurring during daylight hours. These break-ins have not only happened in our neighborhood, but also throughout the city.

Please secure your valuables, fire arms, check books, credit cards, money etc. Turn lights on in front and back yards. Watch for strange vehicles (white vans in particular) driving through neighborhoods and parked in areas where they can observe our homes. If you are home during the day, watch activity in your area. BE VIGILANT! If you see anything suspicious, please report it to the police at once. Emergency dial 911. The non-emergency police number is 262-787-3700.

This notice is not to alarm you, but to empower you. Let’s work together to secure our neighborhoods.

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.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Open your mouth now, or prepare to open your wallet forever

This Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 7 pm, while you busily get ready for Christmas, your Elmbrook School Board begins discussion on a hot button issue: expanding 4 year old kindergarten.

The question of should we have 4-K will not go to referendum, instead our school board will vote on the 4-K decision soon. The time to contact our board members is NOW! Ask them about the cost in wages and benefits for 5 new teachers, the use of the $685,000 reserve for 4-K instead of for improvements or repairs, how much will each 4-K student receive from the state, etc.

Speak up at the meeting; go before the school board. It is a great way of communicating your opinions not only to the board, but also to the cable TV broadcast viewers.

There are so many reasons I am against the idea of 4K, I hardly know where to start, so I will narrow my scope to the more practical side: funding and long term impact. (These two aspects will be addressed in more detail in the days to come.)

First, the financial impact: According to the Brookfield News, “Elmbrook panel urges 4-K plan”, the cost per year “is $685,570, which would be paid from the district’s reserves.” This reserve, by the way, is a perfect example of what I referred to as using a stash of cash to fund an unpopular expenditure.

The panel assures this reserve would be replenished in 4 years with anticipated additional state revenues because of the increased enrollment! In other words, if we enroll more students, we get more state money. The school district portrays this state aid money as free money. WRONG: WE pay that money to the state and the state gives SOME of it back. It is not a winning arrangement.

While I do think a society has an obligation to educate, I hardly think 4K qualifies as education. It is daycare. You may be able to make the argument that early education is beneficial for inner city children, whose crack addicted mother may be passed out on the couch. But in the Elmbrook school district, I hardly think that is the case.

Parents are the primary teachers of young children. Good parents expose their children to a variety of activities: games, reading, music, crafts, playground, play groups, cooking, nature get the idea. All the things mentioned that we taxpayers provided for in the pilot program.

4-K will increase future facility needs. We are in a declining enrollment period right now, but even with that decline Joe Schroeder, Elmbrook’s assistant superintendent for educational services stated that, "We don't have enough space in our facilities to offer it (4-K) strictly as a district program." Remember that Elmbrook recently changed to all day 5- year old Kindergarten, thus doubling the classroom space needed. When enrollments increase again, where are we going to put that increase if 4 year olds are occupying 5-K classroom space? Do you want to build more schools?

We are all busy—especially this time of year—but this issue is too important to ignore. Once 4-K is fully implemented, it is safe to say there will be no going back. So, take a few moments and send those emails or make some phone calls to our school board representatives. You may contact the entire board at

JSOnline is conducting a poll on Brookfieldnow. Look for 4-year-old kindergarten may expand on left hand side. The poll is: Should the Elmbrook School District expand its 4-year-old kindergarten program? At the time of this writing it was 76.5% No, to 23.5% Yes, from 34 votes. Of course this is rather unscientific, but weigh in and then see what the totals are after you vote. I would expect that most older residents, who would be against 4K, are not even on the internet and so will not be participating in the poll.
Two of the board seats are up for election this spring. If you are thinking of running for school board, your nomination papers (200 signatures) are due 5pm, Jan. 2, 2007.

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, December 07, 2006

Journal link

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."

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Community Watch: City/Town cooperation still considered

This blog entry from Community Watch is posted here for link purposes
SEE: City/town cooperation still considered
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 24, 2007, 10:36 p.m.By Brandon Lorenz, for the Journal Sentinel

Community Watch: Town asks to discuss shared services

This is posted for link purposes.
See: Town asks to discuss shared services
Community Watch: MONDAY, Jan. 22, 2007, 10:44 p.m.
By Alan Hamari

Can Public Pressure Ever Influence Government's decisions?

Government entities are not immune to the influence of public outcry, despite what you might think, based on the way Brookfield responds to citizen input.

On the state level, look at the ethanol bill and the repeal of the automatic gas tax increase last year. Citizens flooded the switchboards of their elected state officials and our representatives listened.

Currently, some legislators are changing their stance on the controversial sick leave benefit. But the key to ever influencing decisions is to get many people to call, write or email.

In Brookfield, the public has lost heart. When public information meetings were held for the widening of Calhoun Road south, residents from all areas of the city did show up and voice their opinions. Approximately 50 residents filled out public comment forms AGAINST the widening. Only 3 left positive comments. Did our Engineers and City heed those against? I think we know the answer to that one.

Last Tuesday, Dec. 5, there was a Public Hearing regarding the 2020 Master Plan. There were only 3 people in the audience—I think only one spoke. Reason? People feel, what is the use?

I firmly believe we CAN make a difference—even in Brookfield and Elmbrook, but it will take EFFORT. None of us have a surplus of free time; all of us are extremely busy, but there are issues in the works that will change the complexion of our beloved community forever. If we do not speak up, these plans will become reality. The easiest way to voice your opinion is via email like the AFA alert/action system highlighted in the previous blog entry.

People, you still have a voice. Use it, or roll over and resign yourself to living with and paying for Brookfield’s new interchange, fire stations and Elmbrook’s 4 year old kindergarten and 2 new high schools!

Coming up next:
4-K is coming , UNLESS you contact all of the school board members and tell them 4-K should not be a taxpayer expense. (Board will start discussing 4-K on Dec. 12.)

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.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Strength in numbers translates to policy changes or When people/money talk, companies listen

Ordinary people still can make a difference when they join together.

Most people say “What’s the use of trying to change things—no one will listen”. At times, I lose heart too and despair of ever reversing a decision or changing an outcome of something I find offensive. But, TAKE HEART! The power of a united voice still is an affective tool! The secret is to get all those voices united, you know, the old strength in numbers idea. The internet has made this much easier than it used to be.

Here are a few examples:

I receive email alerts from a conservative organization called American Family Association. Their alert and action system is quite impressive—it would be great if we could get something like it going in Brookfield. The AFA organized an email alert system that notifies members about important issues. Included in this email is background information on the issue, contact information, and most importantly: a pre-written email message to the decision makers involved in the issue. (The sender can send as is or write their own.) They also send follow up information, which informs the recipient of the results of their actions. It has proven to be very effective.

Last month, two outcomes changed for the better, because of this public pressure. The first, a NBC Madonna special that was to have included the rock star hanging on a cross in a mock crucifixion scene music number. At first NBC would not budge on censoring that offensive number from her special. After 750,000 AFA supporters emailed NBC, the network decided to cancel the scene. Fearing a potential $25 million dollar loss helped to persuade the network to do the right thing. “We were effective because we stuck together and combined our voices. Our supporters not only emailed NBC, but they also called their local NBC stations. Those stations contacted NBC and the network listened. The scene is gone!”, AFA reported.

AFA’s second victory concerned Wal-mart/Sam’s stores. AFA alerted us that Wal-mart donated $60,000 to a pro-homosexual group and called for a boycott of the Wal-mart/Sam’s stores on Black Friday weekend. Evidentially, the numbers of shoppers who electronically pledged to boycott their stores was high enough to change their corporate policy. AFA then reported, “Wal-Mart Says It Will Not Make Corporate Contributions To Support Or Oppose Controversial Issues”. These reversals of policy show that many voices and the potential monetary loss still TALK! BUT these results only come from many voices.

Other groups have been successful too. The Catholic league boycotted Wal-mart last year because of the store’s anti Christmas greetings and advertising policy. Evidentially, Wal-mart felt the pinch and this year will be using the “Christmas” word in their decorating, advertising, and customer greetings.

Two brothers, Kevin and Bob Marley started a Massachusetts group: Saving Christmas in Mass. They were fed up with their retailers’ omission of Christmas. And so, the tide is turning on “Christmas” vs “holiday” because of ordinary people joining their voices (and wallets) together.

I plan to keep track of who is using Christmas in their advertising and who is not on The Christmas & Grinch Spirit Lists in case this is an issue interests you.

Coming up next: Can public pressure influence government decisions? (I know, our city does not have a very good track record!) Master Plan manipulations

FYI: Tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 7:45 pm, the Common Council will have a Public Hearing: Request of the City of Brookfield Plan Commission regarding proposed amendments to the year 2020 Master Plan.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Did you say, Thank you?

Last week the council voted down several attempts to lower the tax levy. Aldermen Sutton, Carnell, Balzer, Blackburn, and Jerry Mellone each voted for further reductions.

The remaining council rationalized their position of not making those cuts with the old, it would be irresponsible to cut now because it may cause a jump in future years. I do understand that position to a point. If you know you need to replace a fire truck next year for nearly a half a million dollars, you need to budget for that large expense.

I just happen to think that since it is my money, it should be kept in my custody until needed. Also, those large item replacements can be staggered, ½ million next year for fire trucks, ½ million the following year for computers, ½ million in 2008 for something else. The overall cash need does not change. Isn’t that the purpose of budgeting?

But there is another reason for their tactics of steadily increasing the tax rate and having numerous stashes of funding. That way, when they need funding for an unpopular expenditure, that need would not result in any dramatic increase on your tax bill. A large increase would capture the taxpayer’s unwanted attention. I believe their motive is to fly under the radar of public scrutiny.

The city, in essence, just keeps turning up the heat, increasing your taxes g r a d u a l l y. It is the same way you cook a lobster: just keep turning up the heat and the lobster does not notice it is being killed by the increases.

Certainly, if the city were to go ahead with the extra interchange at Calhoun, this would result in a noticeable increase in your taxes. They would not want taxpayers say, we don’t want this, or why are we funding this when it should be a state expense?

Rick Owen, in his usual condescending way, in essence put down Alderman Jerry Mellone for bringing up further budget cuts. Then a remarkable thing took place: Alderman Sutton eloquently put Rick in his place by reminding the council that Jerry Mellone had every right to bring up those cuts.

Soon we will get our annual holiday greetings from the city a.k.a. tax bill. I am grateful at least the budget was lowered somewhat in committee. As for the cuts that were shot down at the council meeting, Sutton pointed out they amounted to less than 1% of the budget. Funny, the city has no problem asking me contribute that.

IF you appreciate what those 5 aldermen tried to do to provide further tax relief, please let them know. It is discouraging to try to fight the good fight. We need to support them.

Bill Carnell 781-1058

Dan Sutton 373-0173

Ron Balzer 782-1177

Jerry Mellone 786-6719

Chris Blackburn 821-5262

Tis the season of...BURGLARIES! Police Dept. says, lock, watch, report

A district 6 friend passed this alert onto me from Alderman Jerry Mellone concerning Chief of Police Daniel Tushaus' burglary warning. District 7 is not immune to burglaries either. Last year we had several during the daylight hours, so take heed.

I want to make you aware of burglaries in Brookfield. Please be vigilant. Watch for strange cars cruising the neighborhood or parked in driveways. This happened to my son this past year. We did not suspect anything and the burglar was successful. I don't want this to happen to anyone else. Please share this information with your neighbors.

Jerry MelloneAlderman 6th district

The City of Brookfield PD is investigating approximately eighteen residential burglaries in the past month. The burglaries have been reported throughout the entire City with the majority of them occurring during the daytime or early evening hours. Residents are asked to lock all windows and doors when leaving. It is especially important to lock the service door to the garage and the door from the garage to the house. Having outside lights and motion lights around the house is also a good idea. Residents are asked to inform a trusted neighbor when they will be out of town in order to have someone watch their home while they are gone. Residents are asked to work together in order to immediately report suspicious persons or activities to the police department.

Thank you!

Capt. Phil HorterCity of Brookfield PD