Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Comments way too close to home

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Waukesha Freeman 03/20/2014, Page A06

Comments way too close to home

Critics should respect family homestead

We’re going to take a pause for a purely personal message. When I read the Waukesha Freeman’s letter on Tuesday from Chris Wiesmueller, all I could think of was Michael Corleone in “The Godfather II” yelling at Frank Pentangeli, “IN MY HOME! IN MY BEDROOM! Where my wife sleeps … and my children play with their toys.”

What kind of sick person digs into my wife’s voting record, drives to my home to check out my yard, and sends a letter to the newspaper with my home address for other sick people to follow? What kind of lowlife would place my family, my wife, my minor children, at risk like that?

Truthfully, when Wiesmueller lost the election for city attorney, I thought we had heard the last of him. His record as a disgraced attorney surely ended his public life, a public life that never should have started.

What kind of sick animal goes to my home, not to talk to me man-to-man, but to spy on me and my family, “where my wife sleeps and my children play with their toys?”

It’s not hard to see the motivation. This is the third week in a row that someone has called me “a bully.” There is an effort, if not to shut me up, to try to intimidate me. They also hope to make me the issue instead of Mayor Jeff Scrima’s record.

This actually has been ongoing since I first reported four years ago that Scrima said he wanted to dig a tunnel under East Avenue to help college kids cross a road. As I’ve called out the mayor’s record on issue after issue after issue, there has been an attempt by some to kill my column.

Sometimes they’re not even subtle about it. When my wife went to court over an expired license plate, I received an anonymous email the same day: “I heard your wife’s name called in court today.”

Yes, that should creep you out. It creeped us out.

The newspaper has received anonymous attacks on my personal life, too, including about whether I pay my water bill on time. (Note to that stalker, I pay out of my escrow account.) It’s gotten to the point where my wife and I joke about expecting to see a letter to the editor if I’m a bad tipper in a restaurant.

But I never dreamed that someone would actually drive to my home to spy on me, or get my address published in the newspaper, “where my wife sleeps and my children play with their toys.”

And these people have the nerve to call me a bully?

I can take it. When these supposed Christians (who apparently wear that label because it came with their nice clothes) call me a bully, I just laugh it off. When they attack me in the newspaper, I’m fine. I’m a big person. To quote another line from the movie, “this is the business we’ve chosen.”

But even the Mafia understands that our wives, and our children, are off-limits.

What’s worse, Wiesmueller didn’t even get his facts straight. I don’t know where he got his information or if he just made it up. Quite frankly, the editors of this newspaper should have checked his facts because he couldn’t be trusted to get his facts right during the campaign, either.

My wife, the Lovely Doreen from Waukesha, is quite the regular voter. Those yard signs in our yard are hers. The campaign contribution she made to the Shawn Reilly campaign was hers.

My wife is a good, honest and decent person who has put up with a lot since I started writing this column. She deserves better than to have some creep come to our home just so he can see what yard signs she put up. Our home, “where my wife sleeps and my children play with their toys.”

Doreen and I now have to explain to our kids they need to be extra careful watching for strangers. We’re going to have to add to our security measures. We’re going to have to talk to our neighbors and ask them to watch for creepy people like Wiesmueller.

If they thought their recent campaign to intimidate me and my family worked, I suppose in a way it has. Instead of talking about Scrima’s abysmal record, I am spending precious column space with this personal note.

But let me be clear. On the Thursday after the election, regardless of the outcome, my column will still appear in this newspaper. And the Thursday after that, and for as long as this newspaper is willing to publish my column.

*** Correction: Last week I wrote, “Scrima and his supporters use Les Paul’s body to raise money for GuitarTown but none of it goes to the permanent tribute to the man.” What I should have written was, “Scrima and his supporters use Les Paul’s body to raise money for GuitarTown but none of it currently goes to the permanent tribute to the man.” There was a donation in 2012 but no donation (despite all the fundraising using the Les Paul name) in 2013. I deeply regret the error.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at http://www.wigderson.com and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

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