Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Scrima’s really bad week

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Scrima’s really bad week

Fallout from Obama no-show continues to spread

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The first yard signs of spring are out. To heck with what the groundhog says. State Rep. Joel Kleefisch wants to legalize hunting it anyway. Shadow or not, it’s spring election time.

Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima had a bad week last week. After what he went through, he could really use some Obamacare.

Scrima was criticized across the political spectrum for refusing to attend the presidential visit at a major Waukesha employer. Ironically, it was Scrima who made the point of telling the media that he was not attending the presidential visit.

Scrima made matters worse with every explanation he gave. His campaign hit bottom when he called Gov. Scott Walker an extremist in an effort to justify avoiding attending visits involving state and national figures. Scrima then expressed regret over the one event he did attend with Walker.

Insulting a governor that got nearly 20,000 votes in the city during the recall election was not a smart move. It also prompted sharp criticism of Scrima by the area’s local radio talk show hosts.

WTMJ radio host Charlie Sykes did multiple segments about Scrima’s blunder, each one ridiculing the mayor. Sykes even said, “Scrima’s elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top.”

WISN morning host Jay Weber, who also did a segment on his show, said on Twitter that Scrima was a disappointment and urged Waukesha voters to choose one of the other three candidates.

WISN radio personality and fellow Waukesha Freeman columnist Mark Belling’s criticism of Scrima was the most dramatic because he was a defender of Scrima until last week. Belling declared on-air that he wants a “divorce” and will never defend Scrima again.

By becoming an ex-Scrima supporter, Belling joins one of the larger clubs in Waukesha politics.

Enter Council President and mayoral candidate Terry Thieme. Thieme seized the moment by getting himself invited to the presidential visit, making sure the city of Waukesha was represented. Not only did it save face for the city, Thieme’s campaign got needed publicity.

The Scrima campaign tried on social media to get people to “move on” to other issues. When that didn’t work, some Scrima supporters even said the future of Freeman Friday Night Live is threatened if Scrima is not reelected. Of course, there is not a candidate running that wants to kill Freeman Friday Night Live. The weekly entertainment series started before Scrima and it will continue after he’s gone. The biggest threat to Freeman Friday Night Live is Scrima and his supporters who keep disrupting the business community downtown.

Scrima won four years ago partly because people questioned the professionalism of former Mayor Larry Nelson. He wore Crocs and didn’t like to wear a tie.

Scrima’s behavior last week reminded the voters that someone can be appropriately dressed and still embarrass the city. Maybe Scrima should buy a Crocs tie.

Now some people are questioning whether Scrima can even get through the primary. I still think it’s likely, but he didn’t do himself any favors.

*** The week ended as badly as the week began for the Scrima campaign. The first set of campaign finance numbers came out on Friday. Local attorney Shawn Reilly raised nearly $14,000 by the end of last year. That fundraising total makes Reilly the most likely challenger to Scrima. Reilly’s fundraising total will only go higher in the next campaign finance report that is due Monday.

In contrast, Scrima did not raise any money for his own re-election last year. It’s unknown how much Scrima raised since the beginning of the year, but it’s clear he’s playing catch-up. *** It’s especially outrageous to go to the Facebook pages for Freeman Friday Night Live and the Farmers Market to see endorsements posted for Scrima.

The Farmers Market is a city asset given the Downtown Business Association to run since the Business Improvement District was run into the gutter by Scrima’s allies. Using that Web page to promote the mayor may not only be wrong, but illegal.

As for the Freeman Friday Night Live, I doubt the sponsors were consulted before the endorsement of Scrima was posted. Given the amount of public goodwill needed for that event’s survival, embroiling it in politics is not in the event’s interests, nor in the interests of the event’s sponsors.

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