Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Bah humbug Scrima


Bah humbug Scrima

Christmas Parade was fun without the mayor

Waukesha Freeman 11/21/2012

What a wonderful Christmas Parade this year. It was fun to be among so many of our fellow Waukesha residents waiting for the Trinity Irish Dancers.

I think Santa Claus was there, too.

It was a switch this year for my family. My son and I, accompanied by my parents, sat on the sidelines while the Lovely Doreen from Waukesha and our daughter marched in the parade. Somehow they got much better weather than I ever experienced.

We hear so much about a shortage of parking downtown, but my dad drove downtown a half-hour before the parade, dropped off my son and my mother, and then pulled into a municipal lot. My dad and I walked nearly three blocks to our spot. The horror, the horror.

It really is a fun experience to be among so many of our friends and neighbors at the biggest civic event of the year. It’s bigger than Waukesha’s Freeman Friday Night Live and it is certainly bigger than GuitarTown (or any of its horror picture sequels).

County Executive Dan Vrakas was there. City Administrator Ed Henschel was there.

You would think Mayor Jeff Scrima would finally show up after three years. You would be wrong.

We’re told by letter writer and Scrima defender Dave Mickler that the mayor was likely off hunting with his family. What a relief to learn that “family matter” did not mean the mayor was pregnant.

Mickler then suggests that the entire city should rearrange its schedule for the convenience of His Honor and other deer hunters by moving the Christmas Parade deeper into the colder and snowier parts of the calendar.

I, of course, have a somewhat different point of view.

I would suggest that any mayor who cannot rearrange his schedule to attend the biggest civic event of the year when the schedule is known for years in advance really has little regard for the office that he holds.

I would also suggest that any mayor who cannot find his own city from any point in Wisconsin in time to attend a parade that begins at 4:00 p.m. needs to spend less time in Massachusetts spending taxpayer money on puffing his résumé and more time taking a remedial map class.

I might even suggest that given Mayor Jeff Scrima’s terrible meddling in downtown affairs, including his role in the disabling of the Business Improvement District, that he should want to be there as a responsible elected official.

I’ll grant that it is not a crisis that Scrima is not in attendance. In the grand tally of the mayor’s failures, not attending the Christmas Parade might not even scratch the top 20.

But one of the basic responsibilities of being the mayor, the one public official elected to represent the entire city, is the ceremonial function of a city leader. It isn’t a difficult responsibility. It’s a responsibility Scrima should have anticipated when he ran for the job.

Unfortunately, because it’s a minor personal inconvenience to Scrima he has chosen to ignore this responsibility. Residents can judge for themselves where the city ranks among the mayor’s priorities.

However, we are not going to let the mayor ruin our fun. We will see old friends, shop at the local stores, and eat at the local restaurants.

Downtown businesses and Waukesha residents will post pictures of the parade on Facebook. We will point out the people marching in the parade that we know and the parade floats we really liked.

It’s just a pity that the mayor will never share that experience. Oh well. There is always next year.

After that we’re likely to get a new mayor anyway.


* * * The timing of the parade always reminds me that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

This year, I’m grateful again for the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with my family, even if we are not going out to eat this year. We are going to have turkey at Grandma’s, with plenty of football on the side.

I’m also very grateful for the many readers of this column. I enjoy hearing from (nearly) all of you. Thank you so much.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

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