Odds & ends from last night
Just a few things left over from last night’s Waukesha Common Council meeting concerning the city’s water application, which resulted in the Council pressing ahead with the application with only one alderman voting no. These are all things I couldn’t cram into my column.
Odd: When Mayor Jeff Scrima pressed Water Utility Manager Dan Duchniak about the costs of bringing the entire projected service area into the city limits territorially. Does the mayor understand the functions of the city staff? Last I checked, Dan Duchniak was not in charge of city development. I almost felt embarrassed for the mayor when Duchniak had to patiently explain that any mergers between Waukesha and another community would have to be approved by the council at the time they are actually proposed.
Painful: Watching the mayor chair a meeting. I think a weekend watching the high school model United Nations might do Scrima more good than any time spent at some business seminar.
Bizarre: The mayor explaining that he understands that getting water from Oak Creek and Racine would be more expensive than getting the water from Milwaukee because he drove to Oak Creek (that was far) and Racine (that was really far). That and an overnight stay in a Holiday Inn will make him a water expert, I guess.
Geography Lesson: When it was mentioned that the precious quarries the mayor would like to use for our water supply are actually outside the city, Scrima responded Lake Michigan is outside the city limits, too. Yes, Jeff, that is correct, but we don’t have to acquire Lake Michigan to get the water.
Sorry: I’m sorry I couldn’t spend more time talking with George, who has an excellent take on the vote’s aftermath.
Apathy: Steve Mackie of Soft Water tried pointing out that the response to the Chamber of Commerce’s campaign to support the application has been less than stellar. I agree with him. I also think the other side, for all that’s been written about the issue, doesn’t have broad support either. Compared to the Frame Park stadium debate, the water issue has been relatively quiet. No rallies, no protests, no lines of people standing in the hall waiting for their chance to speak. One alderman told me he doesn’t get any reaction from his constituents on the water issue, even when he brings it up.
Mackie complained about the number of people outside the community trying to influence the council. I’m waiting for Mackie to wake up Jim Rowen at the next meeting and tell him he’s not welcome in Waukesha. Jim could probably use a more comfortable chair for his nap anyway.
Honest suggestion: A commenter at my site, Jeff, suggests changing the rule to allow the mayor to speak from the chair. It’s a pretty simple rule that Scrima would have to yield the chair to speak, but apparently that rule is too much for the mayor. (Didn’t he see The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance?) Allowing him to retain the chair my be a nice gesture from the council. At the same time, I really do think the mayor should continue to be restricted from speaking until all the aldermen have been heard, especially if he is going to remain as chairman of the meeting.
Finally: I understand Alderman Eric Payne’s desire to have more public meetings now that the public is engaged in the issue somewhat. However, the Council really doesn’t have the time to burn. I strongly suggest the aldermen, especially those that were silent Tuesday night like Hernandez, go out into the community and explain their votes directly to the voters. Do not think the issue is over just because every alderman supports the application. (Payne supports the application but just wanted more time to educate the public.) The mayor is probably not done yet trying to screw this up, and there are still many more steps in this long process.