Sunday, November 19th, 2017

Comments and friends


I’ve been receiving a lot of positive feedback off-line on this column in the Waukesha Freeman and on this blog post.  Thanks.  I really appreciate it.

I don’t want you to miss this comment from Alderman Randy Radish, who wrote in part,

You are correct about the tunnel comment. The same is true for the comment about possibly closing some streets around the college. Sure lets dead end East Ave, at College Ave. Its is only a gateway to the city from the south. I have spent a good year working with the College trying to find a solution that will work for everyone. There are problems there and the college has been working with us on this issue.

This issue about the Hotel shows that Mr. Scrima is clueless about a TIF and how a TIF works. The developer guaranteed the assessment on that buidling and the assessment runs with the land, meaning that if someone else takes over the hotel or if it would go into default and a lender would take it back, the city will still receive it’s taxes. And if they are late in paying those taxes, we collect 1.5% per month interest.

I think nobody will confuse Jessica McBride with being a fan of Mayor Larry Nelson.  On Nelson’s style, she wrote,

Nelson’s penchant for the decidedly unattractive and unprofessional footwear, not to mention his “Miami Vice” polo shirts, and his aversion to ties, has provoked some unflattering news coverage. Not to mention a few hysterical pictures.

I suppose it’s all about the image Waukesha wants to present. A Croc-wearing, poloshirt clad mayor sort of makes us look rinkydink. On the other hand, I find it somewhat refreshing when a politician dares to show a little individuality. This has been a pinstriped blue suit-red tie wearing community for way too long.

So, I couldn’t care less what Nelson puts on his feet. I do care about the overt partisanship he has brought to the post, and what he’s done to the tax climate. I care about the overall direction he’s taken Waukesha. I don’t think he’s been awful, but he could be better.

McBride then turns her focus on Scrima,

Scrima says some of the right things on taxes and the business climate, generally speaking. I like that he wants to preserve Waukesha’s identity. But, as my fellow columnist James Wigderson has well documented, he also has a disturbing habit of making goofy comments that he then runs from. And that’s worse than wearing goofy shoes.

For example, Wigderson says that Scrima suggested building tunnels under a Waukesha street so Carroll students can get to the other side safely. Scrima denies it. I believe Wigderson that Scrima suggested building a Waukesha “Chunnel.” It’s completely bizarre. What if he was mayor and proposed doing this kind of stuff ? Is Scrima, as some supporters suggest, just young and unseasoned and prone to shooting his mouth off ? Maybe, but it’s hardly a quality I want in a mayor.

If there was another candidate in the race, I’d suggest that Scrima get more seasoning. Unfortunately, it’s a choice between Nelson and Scrima.

Thanks Jessica.  She concludes,

I have no problem with Waukesha working cooperatively with Milwaukee on some issues, as long as Waukesha isn’t giving up too much. And now it comes out that Scrima is open to getting Lake Michigan water for Waukesha, as long as there aren’t strings attached. So, exactly how does his position differ from Nelson’s then, anyway? Scrima is right to raise questions about water issues. But when he says that Nelson has been “advocating” to be “one” with Milwaukee from day one, his rhetoric seems to overreach.

Scrima attacks Nelson for taking his full $70,000 salary. Scrima, who works in real estate, pledges not to take the full amount. I don’t hold it against Nelson for taking his full salary, which I don’t think is exorbitant considering the position (although Waukesha might renew the debate about whether it also needs a city administrator). Not everyone is personally wealthy enough to forgo a salary. People should get paid for the jobs they do.

But then Nelson accuses Scrima of being unfit for mayor because he hasn’t attended basically every city meeting since the beginning of time (slight exaggeration here). How many plan commission meetings did Nelson attend before he became mayor? Another red herring.

What does matter: Nelson could have done a better job controlling spending and taxes. Scrima says he would do more. Unfortunately, we have only his word to take for it.

His plan so far seems to be finding generic efficiencies and cutting his own salary. It almost makes you long for red Crocs.

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