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Which candidates will Easter Bunny reward?

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Which candidates will Easter Bunny reward?

Waukesha Freeman March 28, 2013 Page A8 Opinion Capture

Don’t tell me you don’t believe in the Easter Bunny. After what I’ve seen for local politicians, I’m ready to believe almost anything.

Locally our attention is drawn to the New Berlin race for mayor. New Berlin is the gold standard for having contentious local politics and the election pits Alderman Dave Ament against the incumbent, Jack Chiovetero. Ament is the candidate endorsed by local conservatives.

Chiovatero is known for pushing through an unpopular apartment development in an area that was supposed to be set aside for more upscale projects. When the locals naturally objected, Chiovatero said city residents were racist.

It will be interesting to see if New Berlin voters will stand for being called racist by their own mayor.

I suspect not.

The Town of Waukesha is trying to surpass the reputation of New Berlin for dysfunctional politics.

At one meeting of the Town Board, the fighting between the factions caused the town clerk to break down in tears. It was the first time I ever witnessed anything like it.

Businessman John Marek is taking on incumbent Angie Van Sycoc for town chairman. Under Van Sycoc’s leadership, the town has almost racked up more legal bills than Walt Disney defending its trademarks.

Under Van Sycoc, the town has held over 70 closed-door sessions. A Town Board member actually had to sue to get an open records request fulfilled. That’s not a track record of open government and simply unacceptable for a town like Waukesha.

Van Sycoc opposed the town being included in the city of Waukesha potential service area at the same time she approached city of Waukesha Water Utility to see if it was possible to get city water for the Town Hall.

City water is good enough for the town residents but too good for the town, apparently.

Her short-sightedness has already caused the Waukesha School District to seek city annexation for land the district owns. Town residents should pray the day never comes they wished they followed suit. As a recent disaster in Jackson reminds us, accidental contamination of well water is a real possibility.

In the city of Waukesha there are a number of aldermanic races, but attention has to be on the race downtown between Lenny Miller and the incumbent, Alderman Roger Patton.

It would be unfair to put at the feet of Patton all of the problems of downtown Waukesha, but it is worth noting many of the recent incidents. There is an investigation into possible vote fraud in the aldermanic primary election. The owner of Poppin’ on Broadway has expressed concern about the finances of the Downtown Business Association. Shortly after that, her business’ door was allegedly sealed with duct tape, an incident currently under investigation. A pair of downtown residents who run a community forum website have been allegedly threatened, along with their website developer.

Meanwhile the property owners downtown are dissolving the Business Improvement District after what they saw was a cash grab by some business owners to promote their events.

This is after Patton’s involvement in an effort to shut down the BID to try to stop the airing of “dirty laundry” (Patton’s words) after the resignation of Executive Director Meghan Sprager, who alleged a “hostile work environment.” Patton also put himself into the odd story of how Meghan Sprager’s car tires were allegedly slashed saying he was the one who asked where her car was parked.

If that were not enough, Patton was deleting emails he received (public records) until I discovered this when he was unable to fulfill an open records request. Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel may have felt that Patton should escape punishment, but that’s too low of a standard for the voters in Patton’s district.

Finally, if we didn’t have enough reasons to question Patton’s judgment, he signed the recall petition for Gov. Scott Walker.

His opponent, Lenny Miller, is a sales representative and has worked with the parks department for years. He presented himself well during a recent candidate forum and would appear to be a respectable alternative to the incumbent.

So expect the Easter Bunny to leave the good jelly beans for Miller, Marek and Ament, and stale peeps for Van Sycoc, Chiovatero and Patton. The Easter Bunny has tough standards.

(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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