Every day until New Year’s Day I’m selecting tunes or carols you won’t hear on FM Radio but they are certainly deserving of airplay.Because the Christmas season continues.
August of 1998. I was moonlighting with some friends, working backstage security at the Main Stage at the Wisconsin State Fair.
The night Chicago performed was ungodly hot. In the 90’s.
At one point images of large snowflakes flashed on a screen behind the band as a promotion for their upcoming album. Famous for using numbers to title their LPs (Chicago V was their 5th album, Chicago VI was their 6th, etc., etc.) Chicago XXV would be the group’s first Christmas album.
What did Chicago play that hot August night to cheers from the crowd?
One of my favorite writers is Heather Mac Donald, the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of “The Diversity Delusion.” Back in April she wrote:
The public health establishment is fighting desperately to maintain this degree of hysteria in the populace, in order to prolong its newfound power over almost every aspect of American life.
Death will erupt if the lockdowns are lifted, the experts warn every few minutes on the cable news networks, to the angry approbation of the anchors. ‘It’s going to backfire,’ Dr Anthony Fauci warned on April 20. Even as evidence keeps mounting that the virus is magnitudes less deadly than was advertised, the public health professionals are hardening their economy-killing prescriptions, rather than loosening them. David Kessler, a former head of the FDA, claims that Americans will need to eliminate two-thirds of their social contacts for a year or more until a vaccine is developed. The federal government should commandeer private factories to produce the millions of test kits that will be required on a daily basis before anyone can be ‘fully free’, he says.
To cancel most of the country’s economy for a problem, however tragic, that is highly localized was a devastating policy blunder that must be immediately corrected.
In 2020 Franklin was cancellation city.
The first week of June Franklin’s Civic Celebration Commission voted 5-3 to cancel this year’s Independence Day festivities (The vote technically was 5-1. The chair included the opinions of members-emeritus who were in the room. Only 6 members were eligible to vote).
Seems this wasn’t a “sky is falling” decision. An adequate number of volunteers was lacking. Not enough money for the parade. Ditto for fireworks, complicated by not being able to sell tickets.
The commission’s recommendation then went to the full Common Council where the celebration was almost certain to die since everything else in America had been called off at that point. I couldn’t resist being sarcastic.
“Too bad , especially when the Franklin Independence Day Celebration parade with all its cavernous gaps between units would be by far the best example of compliance with social distancing in the entire state.”
The Franklin Common Council held a special meeting on June 4th. The following is an excerpt from the minutes of that meeting:
Civic Celebrations Committee Chair John Bergner appeared before the Common Council to discuss the Committee’s recommendation. Alderwoman Hanneman then moved to cancel all currently contemplated Independence Day activities including the parade, Legend Park fireworks and Civic Center Festival. Seconded by Alderman Barber. All voted Aye; motion carried.
Posted on the city website:
Due to a number of factors surrounding the Covid 19 Pandemic, the Common Council and the Civic Celebrations Commission regrettably CANCEL all Independence Day Celebration activities scheduled for 2020 including the parade and fireworks on July 4th and the festival that was to be held July 3rd thru July 5th. The Council and Commission hope that the community gathers with their families and friends to celebrate the independence and freedoms of our Country and we look forward to a bigger and better celebration in 2021.
Clearly the Common Council members had their minds made up even before they walked in the door for the June 4th meeting.
Director of Health and Human Services Courtney Day told the council that surrounding areas had already canceled their activities creating the potential of Franklin being “the only game in town” that would impose a “large strain on the health of the (Franklin) community and our police department.”
Day added, “I couldn’t find a path forward” to endorse holding a celebration.
Franklin Alderman Dan Mayer then asked Day, “Your recommendation based on your knowledge, skills, ability and experience as a health director is to cancel this?”
“Yes it is,” Day replied.
Day had instantly taken the council off the hook.
“We owe it to our health officer and to our (Civic Celebrations) Commission to fully support their difficult decision,” said Mayer, who has a reputation of saying NO to anything decent in Franklin.
Franklin’s Common Council isn’t known for its creativity, innovation, vision, or independent thinking. In lemming-like fashion without offering any alternative or opinion to the contrary, the council voted 6-0 to skip this year’s celebration honoring America, and that was that. The special meeting was over in less than 20 minutes.
In this instance Day, Franklin’s health director, had substantial influence. Personally, I was hoping Franklin went ahead with an entire or limited program. This past summer I acknowledged at that time that Day was acting in a manner she thought was completely responsible.
The larger issue was that suddenly local health directors had significant power the likes they never really had before. As a result, in some areas in America they came under greater scrutiny and criticism. Witness Andrea Palm, Governor Evers’ Secretary-designee of the Department of Health Services. Palm was taken to the woodshed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court for her abuse of power where the court called her decision to lock down the state “unlawful.”
Un-elected public health officers with no voting power (and that’s a problem) offered guidance during the pandemic (considered extreme by many). America was slowly re-opening and elected officials recognized folks were anxious to get back to some semblance of normal. That put health directors in a box who sensed going back on their very own recommendations could have compromised the safety of residents.
The pressure was getting to them as reported in Stateline:
Four months into the pandemic, some governors and local officials are sidelining public health professionals in a rush to reboot their state economies, even as infections and hospitalizations increase in many areas of the country.
Shunted to the background, and often ignored, public health professionals at the state and local levels who have been working long hours with few breaks are starting to burn out and lose momentum. Many have left office; a number of them were pushed out, either by their bosses or in the face of vehement public opposition.
BTW, the article only ripped GOP officials and not surprisingly blamed President Trump. No mention of the WI debacle and Andrea Palm.
One can argue these public health officials in some cases were being treated horribly. Did they bring it on themselves? Isn’t this part of the territory for a political appointee? Angry phone calls, maybe. Physical threats, however, can never be tolerated.
But how about the media doing an expose or analysis about the overzealous and unreasonable decisions many made?
Also on the city of Franklin website:
We look forward to a bigger and better celebration in 2021.
There have been so many cancellations where that always seems to be part of the ‘not gonna happen’ announcement that it sounds perfunctory. Insincere. Half-hearted.
This offhand blanket statement is intended to quickly and automatically remove any sting or dissatisfaction. Makes you feel so much better. NOT.
A bigger and better Franklin festival in 2021. Really? Will it be longer? Will there be an additional night of fireworks? Don’t know.
July 4th is on a Sunday next year. Will the celebration also be held on July 5th? An official at the June 4th Common Council meeting said that will be a tear down day.
Naturally, lots of people, including me, are disappointed. Not an easy decision, granted. But did everyone involved who claim they worked so hard work hard enough to come up with even an abbreviated less costly celebration? If people felt unsafe they wouldn’t have to come. They could, as suggested at the June 4th meeting listen to the national anthem or watch virtual fireworks (Like that’s the same).
All I heard listening to the June 4th meeting on tape was how we can’t, we can’t, we can’t, we can’t. Everybody else has canceled so we can’t be the only game in town. That would bring lots of people into Franklin. God forbid that would happen.
Next door Greendale did a fireworks display and it was terrific.
Franklin delivered a double sucker punch when the Fair Commission and the Common Council did a Lizzie Borden number on the annual St. Martin’s Fair on Labor Day.
Franklin’s public health director hands down orders, advice
In early July Courtney Day sent an e-mail to Mayor Steve Olson and members of the Franklin Common Council:
It’s been a long weekend in the world of COVID-19 in Franklin. As is the case in the rest of the State and the Country, Franklin has seen a tremendous uptick in cases since the middle of last week (37 new cases since July 2). This has put a tremendous taxation on my staff, many of which are part time employees, to transition back to COVID as our full time work. You will see in the Council packet tomorrow my finalized request to bring on additional staff through a contract with a temp agency to assist us with the COVID follow-up work using the money we received from the CARES Act funds.
As we have been doing our contact tracing over the weekend, we have discovered several clusters within this newest group of cases. And while it can not be pinpointed with 100% certainty that bars are where individuals contracted the virus, bars are a common theme in the movement of many of our cases while they were infectious and in particular bars that have had live music seem to be the biggest draw. Today I will be issuing orders to the Umbrella Bar, Croatian Beer Garden, and Polonia Beer Garden to cease all live music and entertainment until further notice.
We are working closely with the Milwaukee Milkmen regarding the positive cases identified within their organization. In partnership with the Milkmen, Ascension, Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital, FHD will ensure the rules of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball as well as the guidelines from CDC and Wisconsin Department of Health Services are now fully adhered to moving forward.
I’ve attached an updated letter for the community reinforcing the need for people to increase their own personal responsibilities related to COVID transmission especially if they are venturing out in the public more frequently. As always feel free to reach out to me with questions or concerns.
Courtney Day, RN, BSN Director of Health and Human Services/Health Officer Franklin Health Department email@example.com 414-425-9101
July 6, 2020
To all that work, live, and play in Franklin:
Summer is in full swing as we pass through another holiday weekend. Typically summer in Wisconsin is marked with picnics, backyard parties, sporting events, and festivals, but 2020 and the threat of COVID-19 has changed or cancelled many of our summer plans. I am proud that the Franklin Health Department has had the opportunity to work with so many local businesses in every sector of our community to put COVID-19 safety plans in place to protect workers, patrons, and the general public. The hard work and dedication of these businesses and our residents have allowed us to begin to enjoy some of the activities we missed earlier this year.
However, with an increase in opportunities outside the home comes an increase in the risk for contracting and transmitting COVID-19. In many areas of the country and our own State the numbers of those testing positive for COVID-19 have begun to trend upwards. Unfortunately, over the last week, we are now starting to see this trend creep into Franklin as well proving that COVID-19 is still very present in our area. So, while the warm weather may be calling us to venture out in Franklin or other parts of the State, it is even more important than ever that we all play our role in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
If you’ve decided to leave your home for recreational opportunities, (going to dinner, catching that movie, firing up the grill for a backyard barbeque, or participating in group gatherings) please note Franklin Health Department still strongly recommends the following before going out to protect your family, friends, and neighbors:
• Stay home if you are feeling ill. • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available). • Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow. • Maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet between people not from your household. • When possible, use a mask or face covering in public settings especially when you cannot ensure 6 feet of physical distancing.
More information can be found on the City of Franklin website (www.franklinwi.gov) and the Franklin Health Department Facebook Page, or call us during regular business hours at 414- 425-9101.
Courtney Day, RN, BSN Director of Health and Human Services/Health Officer City of Franklin Health Department
At a Franklin Common Council meeting, Mayor Steve Olson threw flaming poo, saying Trick or Treat would give Franklin a chance to see rising COVID-19 numbers rise even faster. Olson promised the city would “issue lots of guidelines.”
The council approved Trick or Treating this year to be held on October 31st from 4-7 pm.
Several reliable sources informed me that behind the scenes Franklin alderwoman Kristen Wilhelm worked to try to, if not cancel, at least seriously restrict Halloween. She disrespectfully scoffed at me as she usually does. Wilhelm was exposed and Halloween was just fine.
The annual Veterans Day ceremony? It went virtual.
Tree lighting at the Historical Society? Forget about it.
For reopening, Franklin mayor insults some (actually many) residents
At a Common Council meeting in May a city health department official reported positive news. As of that day, 90 cases of the virus out of 894 have tested positive. That’s a measly 10%.
In Franklin, the rate of positivity which used to be 12-13% was 10%.
Despite that, Franklin Alderman Daniel Mayer, who was not at present at the meeting, said the virus is still here and residents needed to be vigilant. Mayor Olson made similar comments later.
Olson complimented his health staff but his honor couldn’t smartly just stop there. He had to hit the send button with his mouth before thinking and stopping.
“Those who say open now, in my view, would have been very irresponsible.”
In mere seconds the mayor proceeded to insult hundreds. This is a highly sensitive issue on two sides. And in an instant, he took a side.
Olson contradicted himself.
The previous week Franklin joined with other Milwaukee County suburbs to issue a collaborative order in reaction to the state Supreme Court ruling on the stay-at-home order. Here’s that information. Basically the suburbs were still shut down for about a week.
On his program WISN’s Mark Belling said the order that was agreed to by the health directors of all the Milwaukee County suburbs was illegal. There was no public meeting. There was no public notice of any meeting. There was no public input. There was no action taken by elected officials. Belling had a point. He submitted the various unelected health officials acted essentially the way Andrea Palm did.
I’ve been around enough government stuff to know Belling was right. Olson knew it.
During his program Belling said he called Franklin Mayor Steve Olson and bawled him out. Olson responded saying Franklin was not going to enforce the suburbs’ order.
So Olson told a talk show host on a 50,000 watt radio station he would no longer enforce a stay at home order, period. But suddenly at the council meeting, if anyone else supported the end of the order and the immediate reopening of the city, they were “irresponsible.”
Milwaukee County-wide mask mandate
Breaking news in July: Franklin Mayor Steve Olson informed me that when the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council of Milwaukee County meets he intended to vote NO on an agenda item recommending a mask mandate throughout Milwaukee County.
(The Intergovernmental Cooperation Council (ICC) includes the mayor, village president or administrator from each of the 19 municipalities inside Milwaukee County. The ICC meets to share best practices in delivery of public services, to discuss ways in which to save tax money and enhance services through cooperative efforts, and to discuss and advocate for change in state and federal law that are of common interest to ICC members).
The meeting agenda included this item: Discussion on whether to make mask wearing mandatory in public places
Mayor Olson told me he was inclined to vote YES on the resolution:
“The Health Departments and Health Officers in Milwaukee County support the recommendation of wearing masks in public places and in areas where individuals cannot practice physical distancing.”
However, the agenda was changed. The resolution now read in conformance with the proposal being considered by the city of Milwaukee:
“The Health Departments and Health Officers in Milwaukee County support the recommendation of wearing masks in public places and in areas where individuals cannot practice physical distancing. In addition, we would support the local elected officials pursuing a local ordinance that would require the wearing of masks.”
Given the change Mayor Olson informed he would vote NO.
To be clear:
The ICC has NO authority.
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley has NO authority.
The County has NO authority.
Steve Olson has NO authority.
But the ICC vote was far from meaningless as it sent a loud signal to the horrendous Milwaukee County Board and Milwaukee County suburbs how to move forward.
I thanked Mayor Olson for the update and for his stance and encouraged folks to contact Olson and give their thanks as well.
UPDATE @ 8:40 PM 07/11/20:
I will be voting NO on the proposed resolution that is on the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council agenda for Monday’s meeting. Please understand that the item may change. My reasons include:
The ICC is advisory only and has no authority to mandate mask usage
The ICC has not studied the science of the matter nor taken recommendations
The mayors and village presidents individually have no authority to put into place such mandates (nor does the county executive or the county board)
It is unknown at this point how the item has been placed on the agenda or by whom or for what purpose.
There is no proposed enforcement or penalty or model ordinance
Any action would be political only, advisory only and carry no legal weight
Enacting a restriction on personal liberty must be done carefully and with substantial public discussion and input and debate. None of that has taken place by local elected leaders. Any mandate of this type must be initiated by health professionals and supported by local elected officials legally.
Steve Olson Mayor City of Franklin
The Intergovernmental Cooperation Council (ICC) of Milwaukee County did not vote at their meeting on a the recommendation for a county-wide mask mandate.
As ICC chair, city of Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy was moving the meeting to a vote when some ICC members raised a point of order claiming the agenda item about a mask mandate was only scheduled for “discussion,” and that it was not an “action item.”
Kennedy agreed and promised better clarification of agenda items for future meetings. During the half hour spent on the mandate item Kennedy said he supported a county-wide mask mandate, but also said he believed the state Supreme Court would shoot down any such plan.
There were some sparks at the very start of the discussion provided by Franklin Mayor Steve Olson. Eleven municipal health directors had collaborated on the meeting agenda. Olson said after he spoke with his health director he felt there would be no harm in supporting the proposed resolution which said the communities should encourage the use of masks. But then the resolution was amended with the addition of a sentence calling for the county-wide mask mandate.
Olson rather sternly asked how the change came about and who was responsible.
The resolution Olson said, went from “a valuable message to a political point that ruined the message.”
Chair Kennedy then asked Olson if his health director didn’t share all information with him. Olson quickly snapped at Kennedy.
“I resent that,” barked Olson. “My health director has always been honest with me.”
One concern raised at the ICC meeting was how any mask mandate would or could be enforced.
PRIOR TO THE ICC MEETING, Franklin’s Director of Health and Human Services Courtney Day said the following at a meeting of the Franklin Common Council:
“Masks by themselves do not prevent anything. The best practice is to make sure you’re washing your hands and staying physically distant from someone. Masks can certainly help. If you are asymptomatic and you might have the chance of impacting somebody else by being too close to them. Certainly they can help but this is not the only way this can spread and it’s not the only way to prevent spreading it.
“By and large there are far, far, far many things that people do that are a little bit riskier when they’re wearing masks because they forget about washing their hands or they get hot so they pull it down or pull it up, or they wear it around their ear or take it off with their hands and then lick their hand, all sorts of things that you’re not thinking about because you think the mask keeps me safe.”
Lots of people complain about Franklin. I know. I’m one of them.
Personally, I submit that I don’t grouse about Franklin all that much, roughly on less than five fingers on the issues I do. And when I am pessimistic it’s because I want to somehow persuade others to work to improve our city.
There’s another faction in our city, however, that is just a bunch of busybodies that loves to complain for the sake of complaining.
It’s no surprise Supervisor John Weishan (who doesn’t live or represent or anywhere near Franklin) is throwing thumb tacks in the road at Franklin’s Ballpark Commons. In June of 2017 at a County Board meeting he offered an 11-page amendment filled with all kinds of obstacles designed to kill Ballpark Commons. It failed.
Now Weishan wants to cause more trouble. The police have been out to Ballpark Commons many times and the development has always complied with Franklin’s ordinance on noise levels. A study at the time I wrote would be a waste of time. Now it’s September 3, 2020
When the six members of the Franklin Common Council pulled into the parking lot of City Hall Tuesday night for their regularly scheduled meeting, their minds were made up on a Milky Way Drive-In Theater item on the agenda. Franklin’s miserable business climate, the future of a popular business attraction led by a loyal hometown corporate citizen be damned.
Their hearts and hip pockets were reserved for a small minority of loud, rude, arrogant, demanding NIMBYs that spoke only for themselves and not for the city as a whole that the Common Council is supposed to represent.
At issue was changing the way ROC Ventures operated the drive-in theater in the parking lot at Ballpark Commons. The noise and at times offensive language from the movies had neighbors up in arms, claiming their lives were being destroyed but no one would listen.
What’s that old saying? The squeaky wheel gets the grease? This was no longer a squeaky wheel. The drama had now escalated to whining, screaming, attacking, threatening (criminal charges and recalls?). So much so that a weak Franklin Common Council found itself at their own personal breaking point. We give up. Uncle. Another Franklin business bites it. Here’s the local news report, which is OK. But this news source strays from the hard-hitting stuff. It would never publish what I submit. The Franklin Common Council Tuesday night didn’t give a damn about a local business or the local businessman that runs it.
There are two reasons why.
1) They don’t care.
2) They lack any understanding of business and how important it is to our community. They will arrogantly dismiss my assertion. Trust me. I’ve lived here since 1992. When it comes to the local economy, businesses, and economic development, Franklin flunks big time, and the people in charge have themselves to blame, even though their egos are in the highest level of denial.
Mike Zimmerman who runs Roc Ventures and the Milky Way Theater tried his best with calm reserve to explain to the Common Council his business operation. You’d think it was nuclear physics.
Confining the audio of movies at the drive-in theater to just AM-FM Radio in cars and not allowing set-up speakers which is what the six economic geniuses on the Council approved did not fit Mike Zimmerman’s “business model.” It was as if Zimmerman was speaking in Swahili.
Zimmerman nicely, calmly, slowly, respectfully tried to inform the council that his business model of the Milky Way was not just a theater. It was designed for revenue-streaming corporate events that yes, in 2020, required, guess what? A PA SYSTEM!
To continue the drive-in, a concept that has caught on like wildfire all across America, Zimmerman has invested $750,000 in essentially rented equipment and must make good on that investment. What he wants to do comes with a cost he said.
Zimmerman told the council the Milky Way is NOT a traditional drive-in. Why? Because traditional drive-ins are no longer in operation because that business model is OLD.
The council either wasn’t listening, didn’t understand, didn’t care, or all of the above.
At some point Zimmerman offered a brilliant suggestion. If that’s a bit too much for some readers, then it was definitely dripping in common sense.
Are you ready?
This isn’t rocket science.
What did Zimmerman suggest that was totally dismissed by the Fortune 500 wizards on our council?
“Try to work on a solution where everybody’s happy.”
In other words, by all means do not dismiss the concerns of the residents. But let’s arrive at the BEST alternative.
Simple. Easy. Again, common sense.
Our omnipotent council would have none of it.
Zimmerman said don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Do not shut this opportunity out (the drive-in). Radio audio only restricts his business
The council was close-minded.
I’ve lived here since 1992 and have followed local politics ever since. It’s ironic that Franklin historically drags its feet whenever a remotely important issue arises. And yet Alderwoman Wilhelm badgered Zimmerman the other night on not addressing this issue in a timely matter. She’s been waiting all summer she whined for a solution from ROC Ventures. Good grief.
And newly-elected Alderwoman Shari Hanneman also complained to Zimmerman that she expected him to have all kinds of specifics ready for Tuesday’s meeting and, by the way, what exactly did he mean that the problem was being worked on with progress being made?
Franklin wants answers right now? Where I live the neighbors are just learning the Twist. If it wasn’t so serious it would be laughable. These council people telling Zimmerman how best to run his business. What a joke.
Finally, this point from Zimmerman at the meeting. And it’s a beauty.
“The council should think bigger and more strategically.”
Let that sink in a bit.
“The council should think bigger and more strategically.”
Mike, nice try, but what Zimmerman asked for was basically…
October of 2020 Franklin Alderman Dan Mayer suddenly emerged as an authority, on sound engineering? Really? Truly?
It’s not easy being the mayor of Franklin these days. Steve Olson must deal with a below average Common Council (that’s being diplomatic) whose members operate under the false notion that they’re experts on policymaking, business and industry, public safety, public health, city planning, design, architecture, job creation, job retention, environmental protection, and now the latest, sound engineering.
For some time the sound emanating from Franklin Field has been problematic. The Franklin Common Council at its meeting Tuesday night had an opportunity to, as Mayor Olson put it, “fix the problem, not study it.”
Olson requested authorization for the city to contract with Shen Milsom Wilke to perform an analysis of the Franklin Field sound system. Olson, who has a wealth of personal work experience on sound, called Shen Milsom Wilke “world renowned experts in sound and audio.”
When the item came up on Tuesday’s agenda Franklin Alderman Dan Mayer who with Kristen Wilhelm are the two worst aldermen on the council immediately moved to kill Olson’s suggestion (seconded by Wilhelm) and order city staff to develop a comprehensive plan to resolve sound issues at the site.
During discussion Mayer took a direct jab at Mayor Olson when he remarked, “I think it’s up to staff and not just some contact we met at Walmart.”
Maybe Mayer’s sarcasm was a futile attempt at humor. Regardless, he said it, on the record, for all to hear. Stupid doesn’t come close to describing Mayer’s comment. Try asinine. Absurd. Illogical. Preposterous.
Shen Milsom & Wilke was started in 1986 and has grown to become an international company with a worldwide staff of over 230. From their website:
We identify potential acoustical issues at the earliest point possible and bring forth all available options for team review, discussion, & coordination.
Our projects range from extremely sensitive environments, such as studios, performance spaces, laboratories; to the corporate and learning environment involving boardrooms, executive offices, collaboration spaces, open plan areas, classrooms, etc. Solutions have to work within the framework of a project and team.
Our Acoustical services include:
Mechanical Noise & Vibration Control
Performing Arts Acoustics
Community & Industrial Noise Control
Open Plan Offices
Environmental Acoustics Modeling
At one point during the meeting a city official acknowledged he didn’t believe city staff had the expertise to provide what the aldermen were considering.
Didn’t matter. The council voted 6-0 to approve Mayer’s motion.
Mayer’s mentality and that of his colleagues should be appalling and frightening to Franklin residents. The aldermen firmly believe everything is all about them, that they are the experts. Truth be told, they’re not experts on anything. —October 7, 2020
November 10, 2020
On Monday the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors approved a $1.18 billion 2021 budget. The vote in favor was 14-4. Supervisors Ryan Clancy, Patti Logsdon, Anthony Staskunas and John F. Weishan Jr. voted against.
Included in the approved budget was an amendment approved unanimously by the County Board’s Finance Committee for the county to issue Request for Proposals (RFP) to hire an expert to conduct a comprehensive sound study at the ROCK Sports Complex in Franklin.
The cost will be $50,000 that in essence will be transferred from one county fund to another. Co-sponsors of the amendment included Logsdon, a longtime opponent of Ballpark Commons, along with Staskunas and Joe Czarnezki. All three co-sponsors represent a portion of the city of Franklin.
BTW, a county document claims this budget amendment will have 0% impact on the county property tax levy. I just love the rationale government-ese used by bureaucrats. Their reasoning is there’s no tax impact because the money was already budgeted for and was just being transferred from one pot to another pot. Hell, that money didn’t come from elves in some county backyard. It’s tax money.
This entire noise issue has been around for a long time. There are enough folks who want to make life miserable for the Rock and its owner. Supervisor Logsdon is one of them. Her list of accomplishments since taking office is a blank sheet of paper.
The entire Ballpark Commons development has been a God-send for Franklin, the city’s most attractive and popular destination. From Business View Magazine:
Ballpark Commons is a mixed-use destination development started by ROC Ventures in 2012. Mike Zimmerman, President of ROC Ventures and owner of the Milwaukee Wave soccer team, created The Rock Sports Complex on a closed and failing landfill with six major league baseball replica fields, a large outdoor Umbrella Bar with food truck rallies and live music series, a regional Halloween attraction, The Hills Has Eyes, and The Snow Park ski and tubing hill. Encouraged by 125,000 annual visitors, ROC Ventures expanded The Rock with assistance from Franklin in the form of $29M in TID funding for public infrastructure improvements, transforming the development into the 200-acre Ballpark Commons development. With this public-private partnership came rapid private investment to the tune of more than $200M once all projects are built out. To date, BPC includes Franklin Field, a 4,000-seat stadium for the Milwaukee Milkmen, the 2020 champions in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball (now also a Partner League with Major League Baseball).
“The stadium became the linchpin for additional development, including the Milky Way Drive-In, a three-story 46,000 sf office and retail building, New Perspectives Senior Living with 150 units, and Velo Village, a 265-unit, five-building high-end apartment complex,” says (Franklin Economic Development Director Callie) Berg. “The Performance Sports Village is currently under construction, permits have been pulled for Luxe Golf, which is comparable to Top Golf, and will include two unique restaurants and a beer garden; and a Holiday Inn Express breaks ground in the spring.” Franklin is still seeking additional private development for a proposed brew pub as well as two additional retail/commercial buildings.
Why the constant effort to second guess this project and obstruct its progress? I don’t understand what kind of warped satisfaction there is in badgering and hounding this community gem. Has the ballpark not conformed to all city ordinances and regulations? Has it not been a fine corporate and community neighbor?
Apparently it’s nice to just willy-nilly authorize spending tax dollars on studies when it’s not your money.
More news came on December 1
The noise issue at Ballpark Commons in Franklin is back on the agenda at tonight’s meeting of the Franklin Common Council. Many details, but in a nutshell:
City of Franklin “Staff believes a sound analysis would result in a generally faster means to reduce noise; however, if a more comprehensive approach is required, then the Council should authorize a comprehensive outdoor sound study, in terms of scope and budget of up to $50,000.”
This is the council caving to Alderman Dan Mayer instead of moving forward with a solution offered by Mayor Olson and Rock owner Mike Zimmerman. The council has opted not to fix the problem, but study it to death, in part because they think they know more about sound than the expert Olson suggested.
No need to study the Umbrella Bar. Just implement better management of the bands that play there.
Umbrella Bar concerts can be fixed with better management of the bands. No need for a study of that component.
And as I blogged not too long ago, Milwaukee County has budgeted $50-thousand for a 2021 study. Therefore no need to have ANOTHER study. What part of that doesn’t the council understand?
UPDATE: Even a blind squirrel finds a nut. Alderman Mayer moved we delay any action on a city study and find out what the county finds and have the county report back to Franklin at that time. No need to have two studies. Alderman Barber seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
“Rock Sports Complex Noise a Puzzle”
That’s the headline of a report on UrbanMilwaukee.com.
Noise continues to be an issue at Franklin’s Ballpark Commons. And based on this website article, little if any progress has been made.
Urban Milwaukee reports:
“Milwaukee County Parks is having trouble studying noise at a sports complex in Franklin that has plagued neighbors for years. The county parks department has now been charged with performing a sound study. As parks worked to find someone to perform the study, it looked at available sound data from measurements taken by the City of Franklin, but has been unable to analyze the data ‘due to both the large volume of data and lack of specific technical expertise,’ according to a report from the department.”
Oh, this is a beauty. The masterminds at Milwaukee County, apparently not smarter than 5th graders, are unable to figure out what the hell they’re doing. So they react the way government does. They blame someone else, in this instance, Franklin.
This isn’t surprising since our own Einsteins on the Franklin Common Council scoffed at suggestions by both Mayor Steve Olson and ROC Ventures owner Mike Zimmerman to resolve the sound dispute by using industry experts. Instead our council made the foolish decision to seek government assistance, which amounts to no help at all. Naturally the county bureaucrats are clueless.
Reminded me almost instantly of an interview done in the late 1970’s by legendary big bandleader Woody Herman, a Milwaukee native. Herman expressed frustration with some of his audience members who preferred he play onstage his recordings from the 30’s and 40’s rather than his more contemporary charts. Taking a shot, Herman said they wouldn’t know good music from their electric shavers. And some Franklin aldermen expected the county to come through?
Another thought I have is why is Urban Milwaukee so interested? In Franklin.
When I was at WHEDA one of the projects I worked on that we funded was a national award-winning multifamily development that provides supportive services that benefit individuals with mental illness who are at risk for experiencing homelessness, police encounters, and emergency hospitalizations. The success rate at turning these folks around has been impressive.
Highland Commons, just across the city of Milwaukee border in West Allis got national press. But when I pitched the story to Urban Milwaukee the reaction I got was lukewarm because, after all, this was West Allis.
But neighbor complaints in Franklin? That has Urban Milwaukee jumping. Seems the right person whispered in the right ear.
Read the article. I frequently visit this liberal site because it does, to their credit, cover a lot, and at times does a fair amount of good work when they’re not so biased. But…
Sounds like they have a predetermined template on this issue, going so far as to suggest Franklin intentionally designed Ballpark Commons so that no complaints could ever be enforced. This is not award-winning journalism, even though Franklin detractors (i.e. certain Franklin aldermen) might use it as ammo to rip a top Franklin corporate citizen.
Ballpark Commons has proven it was a super idea and is successful. Franklin can continue to grow, as long as we don’t become our own worst enemy.
Stay tuned. Will the ridiculous attack on arguably Franklin’s best corporate citizen continue?
5-year-old Mateo loves to sing. Fortunately, his boss is in the business of spreading Christmas cheer, so he’s allowed to sing while he works. Mateo is Santa’s helper. He got the job through the Make-a-Wish Foundation, CBS Sacramento reports.
Thanks for reading!
One final note. One of the reasons liberals hate Christmas? It celebrates the BIRTH of a child.
Today’s read is from Gil Gutknecht, a former Republican Congressman from Minnesota. He consults with a number of companies and organizations, including 340B Health, a non-profit association of providers participating in the 340B program. Here’s an excerpt, followed by the entire column.
Rush Limbaugh lamented on Wednesday that despite thirty years of unprecedented success on the radio, he has failed to persuade a clear majority of our countrymen of the correctness of the conservative philosophy. His introspection followed a self-described Debby Downer caller. She asked the troubling question, what have all of our efforts really accomplished? It appears all is lost.
President Trump will fight on. But Republican Congressional leaders, already waving white flags, only add to our frustration.
It would be so easy and perhaps justified to abandon the fight. With no clear path to victory, why fight on?
To hear pontificating government health officials, reporters and their editors, it’s a wonder I didn’t become violently ill at any number of New Year’s Eve celebrations in years past.
Each and every year they attempt to lecture us on how to enjoy our year-end holiday with gloom and doom warnings we’re taking gastronomical risks if we dare not cook our meat.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says eating raw beef sandwiches “poses a threat for Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter and Listeria bacteria that can make you sick.”
Well guess what? I and many others will just take our chances.