Monday, December 5th, 2016

Some thoughts on the mayoral race thus far

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Since I am not doing my Waukesha Freeman column this week on the mayoral race, some thoughts for the week:

You’ll want to read Pete Kennedy’s column from Saturday’s Waukesha Freeman if you haven’t already. Kennedy is a little more pleased overall about Mayor Larry Nelson’s record than me, but I think his analysis of the race and Nelson’s weaknesses is pretty accurate. And I’m not just saying it because Kennedy credits me with breaking the Carroll University tunnels and bridges story.

You’ll also want to read Mayor Nelson’s response on the water issue. He’s right on most points, but I don’t know if it will change the debate. The problem is that some people are buying the idea that it’s Nelson pushing for Lake Michigan water, and this might only feed that impression.

But as I’ve written before, the water issue is not a new issue, and regardless of who gets elected mayor the Common Council is going to vote two days after the election on whether to pursue applying for a diversion of Lake Michigan water. Guess what? IT’S GOING TO PASS. It will be Mayor Nelson presiding over the meeting, but it wouldn’t matter if Scrima was sitting in the chair. There are only going to be a couple of votes against the application. I can almost guarantee it. The aldermen are not going to start ignoring the advice of the staff now after many years of looking at this problem.

Which brings us to the next issue, jobs. Who is going to do anything to bring jobs to the city? So far, I’ve heard very little from either candidate on the subject, and I’ve had other sharp observers tell me the same thing. The candidate that can talk effectively about that issue in the next couple of weeks can win this thing, unless they pull a Scrima* and promise something completely outrageous. By the way, the water issue is tied to jobs. Just ask those outside Waukesha who do not want Milwaukee to sell us water.

I also wonder if anyone is going to mention our city’s resident evil genius, Lori Luther, City Administrator. Either she makes Nelson look smarter than he is, or else she’s the smartest decision he made, or both. She certainly does not make him look worse. She’s also been a much better City Administrator for Waukesha than her predecessor, Jim Payne. Scrima should be asked (maybe by Sarah Millard of the Waukesha Freeman who has been doing a great job covering the race, well worth the 50 cents) if he wants Luther to stay, or if he thinks he can find someone better for the position.

Finally, I see on the list of events Mayor Nelson is holding a fundraiser at one of my family’s favorite restaurants, La Estacion, Sunday March 21st from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Wait a second. Late afternoon on a Sunday? But, but… Dammit, we want the brunch! The fresh-squeezed orange juice, the cinnamon coffee, the perfectly done bacon, the tequila shrimp, the fresh bakery (love them churros), the waffles, the different Mexican items in the buffet every week. Guess we’ll just have to go to the brunch and skip the fundraiser.

Next week Tuesday is the candidate forum, which times well with writing my Waukesha Freeman column. (I write on Tuesdays for Thursday’s edition.) Then for the following week I am working on a story that, had I not been ill last week, would be running this week. However, I will have it ready for the Thursday before the election. It promises to be fun. After that is Election Tuesday, and I’ll probably have a wrap up on the mayor’s race and the victory speeches and what they mean for Waukesha, etc.

In the meantime, watch this space for the occasional update, too.

(*Yes, Scrima has become a metaphor in local political circles.)

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