THIS FALLS INTO THE CATEGORY “YOU SHOULD HAVE READ THIS ON THE JOURNAL COMMUNICATIONS WEBSITE THAT COVERS FRANKLIN NEWS BECAUSE BY GOLLY THIS IS NEWS, BUT YOU DIDN’T.”
ALSO, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A FRANKLIN RESIDENT TO APPRECIATE WHAT YOU’RE ABOUT TO READ. STAY WITH US.
The beginning of every Franklin Common Council meeting includes a Citizen Comment Period. Anyone, not just Franklin residents, is allowed to speak on any issue, generally for up to 3 minutes.
I’ve heard many of these citizen comments, mostly by listening to the tapes of the meetings the city posts on its official website. They’ve been silly, stupid, uninformed, and some are thoughtful, respectful, insightful, spot on.
Unfortunately too many as of the past year or two have been downright rude, but nothing as bad as what took place at the September 6th meeting of the Council that involved an elderly professional, someone you’d expect to handle herself in a more educated, respectful manner. It didn’t happen.
It must be noted that everyone who spoke during the comment period that lasted about one hour spoke about the Ballpark Commons project at the Rock. Most came to rip it. That’s fine. It’s a public comment opportunity. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to seize on this opportunity.
The first few folks who spoke sang the same old refrain with one of them lecturing the Council members about a favorite complaint of the naysayers, as if the aldermen/women didn’t know.
Did you know the site is landfill? A dump? Methane gas? Balls of flame? What do you tell the young soccer players? Don’t worry about those flames…we’re just burning off methane gas.
OK. Nothing new. Heard it all before.
But then, up to the microphone stepped Franklin resident Nancy Cervenansky who happens to live very close to the Rock. She didn’t know what she was about to do and it certainly wasn’t her intent. But Cervenansky was about to become a living, walking, talking case study on How Not To Fight City Hall.
The audio of the meeting has just been released allowing me to hear what occurred and I can tell you anyone who listens to the recording will know immediately that Cervenansky came loaded for bear.
Suffice to say that Cervenansky is opposed to Ballpark Commons, or as she put it, “The Rock Project or whatever you call it.”
She wanted to know who she could call if there was ever an issue (pertaining to the Rock I assume).
Mayor Steve Olson said, “Depends what the issue is. It’s hard to answer a hypothetical.”
Let the games begin.
“It’s not a hypothetical,” snapped Cervenansky who then launched into a tirade about a recent event at the Rock that included, according to her, “tons and tons of cars and people invading our street.”
My goodness. We can’t possibly have ticking hearts, actual breathing signs of life in Franklin. We must maintain symbols and signs of non-existence at all times.
One of those signs of life on the night the Rock was no doubt jumping with excitement (something rare in Franklin) was again, according to Cervenansky, a man “tattooed to the nth degree” who was walking between her property and the neighbor’s.
“What in the hell do you think you’re doing?” she asked the tattooed man and then mocked his answer.
“Well ahm going to the Rock.”
“Over my dead body. Get the hell off my property” she fired back. Brave or incredibly dumb. The woman’s a senior citizen after all.
Cars parked up and down her street, she moaned. Apparently she prefers tumbleweed.
She continued on. The Rock will bring chaos. It’s a nightmare. Dreams will be destroyed.
Cervenansky accused her alderman, Dan Mayer of refusing to return her three phone calls. Three calls to Mayor Olson. None returned until she persuaded a city staffer to get him to acknowledge.
Also a target of her ire was Alderman Steve Taylor. If you follow Cervenansky’s illogical thinking, Taylor had struck out.
First, he’s a city alderman.
Second, he’s a county supervisor.
Third, he’s a friend of Mike Zimmerman who wants to build Ballpark Commons (Taylor took a campaign donation from Zimmerman, completely legal, and a First Amendment right on the part of Zimmerman I might add).
Thus, Taylor shouldn’t be allowed to vote on any Ballpark Commons item.
Taylor responded he would not recuse himself, citing state statute in his favor.
Throughout her rant Cervenansky was allowed to go on and on, never interrupted by the Mayor or any Council member who easily could have lost his/her cool or patience.
When she was done Mayor Olson told Cervenansky he suggested over the phone to her that she request her street be a temporary no parking zone for events that draw large Rock crowds.
Cervenansky interrupted. She told Olson he hadn’t said that, that he said that in his dreams.
She said the mayor wasn’t doing a good job of conveying what was said in their phone conversation.
She thought Olson was losing his hearing.
She kept asking who she was supposed to contact when she had an issue. The mayor said to call the police.
She said the mayor didn’t understand.
The insults kept coming. So did the interruptions.
They came as her alderman, Dan Mayer tried to explain the accusation of phone calls not returned. He wasn’t home at the time but his wife took Cervenansky’s calls where she tried to explain she was not the elected official. Mayer said Cervenansky read his wife the “riot act.”
Mayer called her interruptions snarky. Cervenansky just kept it up.
When Olson tried to jump in during one of Cervenansky’s repeated interruptions by correctly beginning with, “Nancy,” Nancy quickly stopped him short with, “That’s Dr. Nancy Cervenansky to you.”
Just who the hell does she think she is? (She happens to be Dean, School of Nursing, Cardinal Stritch University College of Nursing. Apparently that gives her carte blanche to be horrible).
While Mayer was trying to speak it’s clearly audible that Cervenansky is reacting to what’s been said by yelling out, “lies.”
Mayer tried to explain he took care of Cervenansky’s concerns with the Franklin police even before he heard her complaint.
More calls for order. More interruptions by the good doctor.
Then it got interesting. This blog doesn’t do it justice. To hear how rude and sarcastic Cervenansky became you have to listen to the audio.
Cervenansky interrupted so often and with such ugliness and disrespect that Mayor Olson threatened to have her removed. Every time he did, she objected, refused to be quiet. Every time.
Cervenansky was never removed, but the self-inflicted damage had been done. She had totally torpedoed the anti-Ballpark Commons cause.
Look. You hate the idea of Zimmerman’s proposal? Then bring facts and logical arguments void of sarcasm. Leave arrogance, rudeness, and insults at the door. I’ve reported on and attended a million of these meetings. The kind of unprofessional and disrespectful attitude Cervenansky displayed gets NOWHERE.
So consider this blog a lesson in civics.
And also consider in this world of incivility that incivility doesn’t have to show its ugly head all the time.
Listen to the meeting’s citizen comment period including the material mentioned above. Cervenansky’s remarks begin at 10:07 into the recording.
We certainly can get frustrated with our elected officials. I do all the time. Treating them like garbage is never appropriate.
It’s clear. As the deliberations continue about Ballpark Commons opponents will resort to any vicious, arrogant, rude, scare-mongering, and I’ll add false tactics to try to kill this project. Franklin residents, don’t fall for it. Do your diligence and capture the facts, not the fact-free rhetoric.
And Cervenansky’s asinine behavior at a public meeting is news. The public needs to be aware. Mysouthnow.com is out to provide sugar-coated, white bread suburban news. That is a disservice to residents.
As for Cervenansky’s ridiculous view that Alderman Steve Taylor should recuse himself from any Ballpark Commons vote, I offer this.