Friday, December 9th, 2016

James Wigderson and his critics

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The Christmas parade edition. Jim Hahn, the Executive Director at City of Waukesha Chamber of Commerce, is upset with my Waukesha Freeman column regarding the troubles some Girl Scouts had with Christmas Parade organizers. The parade was run by the Chamber of Commerce for the first time this year after Mayor Jeff Scrima effectively led the destruction of the Waukesha Business Improvement District. He left the following comment at the Hekkers’ website:

Tom-

It would be nice to run the other editorial that was more favorable toward this year’s parade. Especially since Mr. W’s piece is so chalk full of inaccuracies and one-sided sensationalism.

I welcome legitimate feedback regarding the parade with an eye toward improving it for everyone in the future. There are certainly areas for improvement, but salacious demagoguery is neither helpful nor worth investing any energy in addressing.

Thanks.

The favorable op-ed was written by Darryl Enriquez, who noted that the size of the crowd was down from the year before, making it easier to walk on the sidewalks. I guess that’s “favorable.” And I’m not sure I would take comfort in meeting the low expectations for a group that had never organized a parade before.

I’m not going to damn the whole parade; I’m just telling the story of part of it. The Girl Scout leader with whom I spoke had an interesting story for me to tell. Hardly “salacious demagoguery” (as I did not accuse Hahn of sleeping with a Communist), but rather a sad tale of how some little girls were mistreated by parade organizers.

If Hahn has an issue with the “one-sided sensationalism” of the column, I did make two attempts to contact his organization, as I mentioned in my column. I have not received a reply to either the Facebook message or the phone message I left. Perhaps a better executive director would be more on top of returning calls from the local media rather than complaining about a story being “chalk {sic} full of inaccuracies” after it appears (although I notice he didn’t provide any examples).

Instead of being concerned with the “one-sided” story, I would advise Hahn to reach out to the Girl Scout troops and listen to their side of the story. And then he could apologize to them.

Ebenezer Scrooge redeemed himself at the end of the tale. It’s not too late for the Chamber of Commerce.

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