Waukesha School Board member Steve Edlund threatened the Waukesha Common Council Sunday night that if they didn’t do what he said, he would organize a grass-roots effort to reduce the Common Council to seven members.
Edlund needs to get a grip on reality.
The last time anyone proposed reducing the number of aldermen in the city of Waukesha was when former State Representative Ann Nischke ran for mayor against Larry Nelson. Nischke’s trial balloon crashed and burned like the Hindenburg, despite the popularity at the time of shrinking the size of the county board in Waukesha.
People like their alderman. They have a neighborhood connection with their alderman. They like to know they don’t have to go very far to talk to their alderman. They want their alderman to be responsive in their neighborhood.
If there was any lesson to be learned in the recall of Peggy Bull, it was the effective way her opponents claimed she was unresponsive. The public doesn’t want less representation at city hall. If anything, they want more.
Edlund also needs to remember how hard it was to reduce the size of the Waukesha County Board. That had the advantage of some popularity, but it had the disadvantage of not being the most pressing issue on the minds of residents. While the petition drive would have gotten enough signatures, it was starting to slow down. It slowed just long enough for the County Board to take matters into their own hands.
Let’s also remember that Edlund is living in a fantasy world if he believes that there are more than a few people who are really exercised about the Common Council deciding to remove the mayor from any supervisory role over Lori Luther. Let’s add that Edlund is probably not going to inspire too many more to join his cause, either.
The great irony in all this is that Edlund sits on a board that is very dependent on a strong, professional administrator, the very concept he so abhors at the city. The school board in Waukesha is very lucky to have the services of Todd Gray as superintendent. I am not sure anyone can say the same about having Edlund serve on the school board.
By the way, has anyone told Edlund he can’t collect petition signatures anonymously?