Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

Fox River in Waukesha, the next Lourdes?


So former judge Richard Congdon says that when I attended the artist unveiling at Key Westconsin, all I ever asked anybody was, “‘Where’s the mayor?’ and ‘Can I have more shrimp?’ ”

My friends, the former judge must have witnessed a miracle that day.

There was a time I could eat more shrimp than Bubba Blue. Then one afternoon twenty years ago I got violently ill from eating shrimp. Haven’t been able to eat shrimp ever since. Just makes my stomach turn worse than recovering from a tequila and Jagermeister binge.

I’m glad he was there to witness the miracle because I don’t remember it. Let’s all write the Pope and get the Fox River declared a holy shrine before Congdon changes his recollection of events. It’ll be great for tourism.

Now what I remember from that afternoon is that, yes, I did ask Congdon when the mayor was coming. That’s probably because the judge is the chairman of the Steering Committee throwing the event, appointed to the position by Mayor Jeff Scrima. The judge is also the mayor’s appointment to the planning committee. Did I also mention Congdon sits on the board of Scrima’s New Day Fund? You would think that if anyone knew where the mayor was, it would be Congdon, especially if the event was organized properly.

This may also shock the former judge, but I write a political column for the Waukesha Freeman. I don’t write for the arts section. I don’t have the time. Too many things to write about in my own beat.

If I did write for the arts section, I would have written about Shay Johnson’s plans for the guitar he is decorating for GuitarTown. Johnson is going with a leather theme, and was even hoping that he could redo the case for the guitar as well and put that on display. He told me that at the artist reveal where Congdon said I didn’t talk to any of the artists.

I was also introduced to the public relations representative from Clear Verve. I asked for the list of artists and, as we get closer to the unveiling, I have something in mind for that list. Still waiting on the press release.

I was even the person in the room that started the round of applause for the artists after they were introduced. I couldn’t take the awkward silence.

I also remember meeting Congdon. Congdon would not answer any questions about the mayor. He also could not answer any questions about who made the decision to funnel the New Day Fund money through the BID or when it was made. He didn’t want to answer questions about the period of time when he was on vacation or before he joined the project because he said he wasn’t there to know. He did mention the banners and that they were probably too expensive. (If they’ve changed their minds on that, he has my phone number.)

I even suggested a place where they could possibly get the guitars weatherproofed.

You’ll notice that Congdon conveniently still does not answer any of the questions I have raised or that others have raised. If you ask any questions, then you’re just being a silly blogger. Never mind that everything that I wrote in my last column was meticulously researched and sourced.

I’m not the only one asking questions. So is City Attorney Curt Meitz at the behest of Aldermen Kathleen Cummings and Paul Ybarra. So are others.

Congdon’s attempt to justify keeping all the secrets to the Steering Committee is more damaging to the GuitarTown Project than any questions that have been raised. Congdon says that he learned “honesty” as a paperboy. Honesty isn’t public officials hiding their actions, telling other public officials not to talk to journalists, and berating those public officials that dare answer questions. If this is what Congdon thinks of as “honesty,” then the voters of Waukesha should sleep soundly knowing they made the right decision when they threw him off the bench.

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