Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Town of Waukesha politics just odd

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Waukesha Freeman Page A5 Opinion

Town of Waukesha politics just odd

Welcome to the bizarre world of Town of Waukesha politics. To steal a line from a past column, never have so many fought so hard over so little.

Town Board Chairman Jhn Marek is being challenged by resident Wayne Krzyzanowski. Also running for the Town Board is Milette Krzyzanowski who is challenging board member Brian Fischer. Board member Larry Wolf is being challenged by Ryan Licht.

The Kryzanowskis and Wolf are on one team and thought to be allies of former Town Chairman Angie Van Scyoc who is (surprisingly) not running this time. Licht would be on the same team as Fischer and Marek.

Normally in a town like Waukesha, when the town actually cuts taxes, lowers spending, reduces the acrimony and even cuts their legal bills, the town chairman can expect an easy reelection. However, this is the Town of Waukesha and everyone behaves like Ken Kesey tampered with the water supply.

So far this election has been peppered with false rumors that there is a secret plan to put the whole town on city water. Someone actually posted a video going through Marek’s land purchases and sales to prove that he’s a developer. Shocking, I know.

Town politics took another strange turn with the recent conflict between Town Clerk Kathy Nickolaus and Waukesha County Clerk Kathleen Novack. Since Nickolaus is the former county clerk, some friction could be expected.

That friction apparently heated to boiling when Nickolaus asked Novack to make a change to the database of registered voters. Novack, who is just begging for a primary challenger when she is up for re-election, bizarrely told Nickolaus, “We will get to these things when we get to these things.”

Novack then told Nickolaus, “Inactive voters on your poll list is really not a problem. They just won’t be voting.”

When a county clerk is not interested in cleaning up the poll lists to prevent vote fraud, she should just resign. Like I said, Novack is just begging for a primary opponent.

Nickolaus went around Novack and contacted the Government Accountability Board (GAB) instead. The GAB finally did something right and made the change.

Novack then threw a fit complaining the database is corrupted, threatened to end the Memo of Understanding between the town and the county, and actually complained in an email Nickolaus’ actions left “a negative impression with GAB staff as to the county’s program.”

For the first time in history, the GAB staff and I may agree on something.

But this isn’t the bizarre part. When Nickolaus was hired by the town, she was thrust upon them by former Supervisor Joe Banske, a Van Scyoc faction ally. Everyone in that faction thought hiring Nickolaus was just a great idea because of her experience, while Marek pointed out Nickolaus “screwed up” two elections.

Most of us on the outside, who remember more than just two incidents, wondered what was the town thinking? But the town hired her anyway and then extended her contract.

Now that the town is running relatively smooth, Van Scyoc and her video henchman Sandy Hamm have seized upon the controversy with the county to attack Nickolaus with social media posts claiming, “Kathy Nickolaus Corrupts Voting System.”

Hamm wrote on Facebook, “And rather than remove Nickolaus to prevent her from throwing another election into question, Marek continues to leave Nickolaus in charge of the town’s election process and the town’s voter registration system.”

Of course, Nickolaus didn’t even touch the database. It was the GAB that made the changes. If there are any problems with the database, they did it. I’m not a fan of Nickolaus but she did nothing wrong here.

If Van Scyoc and Hamm can stir up any controversy just to get at Marek, they won’t let the truth stop them. They probably won’t lose any sleep over how they’re wrongfully maligning Nickolaus’ reputation, but the voters should not reward them but putting Van Scyoc’s allies on the Town Board.

When the Town of Waukesha voters wisely chose to put Van Scyoc out of office, and then put Banske out of office, it was a strong statement of sanity in local politics. Now is not the time to backslide.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at http://www.wigderson.com and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

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