Sparks fly as Franklin Common Council rejects plan to extend Marquette Avenue to nearby school

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Who could possibly have issues with a project like extending a road to an elementary school located in a residential area in the interest of public safety? Franklin Alderwoman Kristen Wilhelm has shepherded this effort, even recruiting young Boy Scouts to attend meetings and plead with city leaders to approve extending Marquette Avenue to Pleasant View Elementary School.

In a recent e-newsletter Wilhelm wrote “Since the school was built, many subdivisions have surrounded the school, creating additional traffic into the once-calm neighborhoods.” Early in the Franklin Common Council’s debate on the matter on Monday Mayor Steve Olson interjected.

“This is precisely why you just don’t go ahead with it. We have no clue what it’s going to cost and what we’re going to do. Once we get that together then we can make a decision. But this is not a good way to spend taxpayers’ money,” said Olson. Aldermen Mark Dandrea and Dan Mayer also expressed concern about the lack of specifics regarding cost and project components.

The council voted 4-2 to kill a motion by Wilhelm to move ahead with the road project that included some angry discussion. Wilhelm and John Nelson voted in support. Aldermen Dandrea and Mayer along with Steve Taylor and Mike Barber voted no.

Wilhelm accused the council of doing anything it could to pick the project apart. Addressing the audience Wilhelm referred to Kayla’s Playground, Franklin’s very popular all-inclusive park, asserting it was built in three months at a cost of more than $1 million.

“And now we can’t provide you access to take traffic out of your neighborhoods?”

Before the council vote Mayor Olson again brought up the issue of financing.

“I spent almost 40 minutes on the phone at the Dallas airport with Alderwoman Wilhelm telling me how the city ought to pay a third of it and now all of sudden we’re doing 100%,” said Olson.

Wilhelm immediately objected, calling Olson’s comments “misleading” to a roomful of citizens.

“You just don’t want to help the people that you represent. This is wrong,” said Wilhelm.

A clearly agitated Alderman Steve Taylor said Wilhelm was being “insulting” and criticized Wilhelm’s tactics.

“Not once, not once going back to 2008 have I ever had to have people show up on my behalf on an issue,” said Taylor. “I never had to pull up Scouts to speak on my behalf. I never played these type of political games, to play these games, which everybody knows it. You want to ram something down here instead of let’s figure this out.”

Things got so testy Wilhelm stormed out of the room thinking her request for a recess had been in order. It was not. She returned shortly saying she needed to speak to constituents and get a drink.

The council did agree to await the decision on the city’s request for a government grant to help fund the project. When the decision is made the council could revisit this issue at that time.

Franklin 3-way aldermanic race is, seriously, just a 2-way race

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I don’t live in Franklin’s 4th aldermanic district. However I’m very interested in the outcome of their election for a new alderman.

Current officeholder Steve Taylor is not running again, and three candidates have emerged. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in traditional newspaper fashion, asked the candidates to respond to simple questions on pertinent issues. Let’s take a look.

1) Former Franklin School Board Member Alan Alexsandrowicz. From the newspaper:

“Alexsandrowicz was on vacation and unavailable to provide answers to any of the questions before this story’s deadline.”

That’s not going to help Alexsandrowicz, missing out on some free publicity. But even if he had supplied answers he’s demonstrated he’s not qualified. Read why here. I think he’s dead meat.

2) Current Franklin School Board Member Larry Gamble.

Good guy. Former small business owner. Military veteran. From the newspaper:

What new perspective or skills can you bring to the council?​

Gamble: For the past three years, I’ve served on the Franklin School Board where we have maintained high academic achievement, built a new middle school, and done so while lessening the tax burden on Franklin property owners.

Sorry, but that’s just wrong.

BTW, In February 2017 Gamble was appointed, not elected, appointed by the Franklin School Board to fill a vacant seat on the board. Then in 2018 Gamble along with newcomer Claude Lewis were the only ones to file for election and were elected unopposed.

How sweet for Gamble. Nice deal if you can get it.

Back to the newspaper. Gamble claims he has served on the school board “while lessening the tax burden on Franklin property owners.”

False. Absolutely false. The Franklin school property tax levies approved in 2017, 2018, and 2019 while Gamble has served on the school board all went up, albeit by less 2%. Still, those increases increased the tax burden on Franklin property owners. They didn’t lessen the tax burden because Franklin’s burden went up, not down.

Gamble was not truthful and was misleading in his response to the newspaper. For me, that’s an automatic disqualifier. Plus, I don’t want an individual serving on two entities with tax and spending authority.

3) Shari Hanneman.

I’ve actually collaborated with Hanneman and have first-hand knowledge of her qualifications and abilities. It happened when I was an aide to then-state Senator Mary Lazich who represented all of Franklin. Hanneman was one of the leaders of a Franklin group fighting efforts to dump multiple sexual predators in a single housing unit in Franklin. With Hanneman’s efforts, Lazich was able to draft legislation signed by the Governor to prevent the housing to be built in Franklin.

I’m generally wary of local candidates who swear they’ll hold the line on taxing and spending. But I trust Hanneman.

If I could vote in the 4th district this coming Tuesday it would be for Hanneman, and then again in April in the general election.  I believe she and Gamble will advance.

Here are Hanneman and Gamble’s responses to questions from the newspaper.

And Franklin keeps electing her

She’s a member of the Franklin School Board.

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Debbie Larson, Board Clerk

Term expires April 2022

Debbie has served the Franklin School Board from 2003-present

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Bet you didn’t know this.

According to ballotpedia.org:

Larson missed the most board votes in meetings between April 26, 2017, and February 14, 2018. She was absent from 31.5 percent of the board’s votes.

31.5 %. One out of every three votes.

Franklin alderwoman not forthright about a pet project

Franklin alderman/woman/person Kristen Wilhelm has issued her latest e-newsletter that includes an idea she’s been pushing hard to extend Marquette Avenue. The proposal certainly has merit. Everyone supports public safety. Everyone wants kids and pedestrians near a school not to be at risk. But in the newsletter Wilhelm is not completely honest about her motivations, and has chosen to use children for what can be considered an unethical purpose.

In the newsletter and in her public statements about Marquette Avenue Wilhelm NEVER mentions that one of the project developers standing to gain economically is one of her former campaign officials. I believe the taxpaying public needs to know the ENTIRE truth about this item.

To repeat, the project has benefit to the community. However, I agree with Franklin Mayor Steve Olson who stated at a recent Franklin Common Council meeting that it must be addressed and executed properly.

 

 

 

 

Franklin mayor scolds ‘rude’ Franklin alderman

My utter dissatisfaction with my Franklin alderman/woman/person/entity/representative, whatever, Kristen Wilhelm is well-documented.  She is useless to me and my family. Why? For the most part, Wilhelm is unresponsive. In the past on the occasions I e-mailed her to express how we wanted her to vote on an item I got a) no response and b) a vote just the opposite of what we requested.

Wilhelm would like the world to think she’s this sweet, kind, innocent, loving, caring, pure individual when in reality as a Common Council member she’s rather difficult, especially when she doesn’t get her way.

During this past Tuesday’s Franklin Common Council meeting, when discussion ensued about item #19,  a pet project of Wilhelm’s (design plans at Pleasant View park), without getting into the various details and minutiae, Wilhelm was getting everything she wanted. But Wilhelm suffers from diarrhea of the mouth. She argued and argued for more, to the point where Franklin Mayor Steve Olson said to Wilhelm, and it’s a beauty, that she “wouldn’t take ‘yes’ for answer.” No, Wilhelm just had to bloviate and alienate.

Here’s the best part. When Mayor Olson was attempting to discuss the item, the omnipotent Wilhelm (she’s never wrong) interrupted. Then she did it again. And again, and again.

That was enough.

I listened to the tape of the meeting. It was at this point Olson told the self-imposed Queen Bee of the Franklin Common Council that she repeatedly likes to accuse him of being rude to her, and that the accusation is repeated on Facebook by her minions. Brilliant because that’s exactly the truth. The minions kneel to the Queen Bee in complete adoration, right or wrong.

Olson informed Wilhelm she had interrupted him four times. To Olson’s credit, he maintained the floor, kept speaking, and put the arrogant Wilhelm in her place. Good for Olson. Wilhelm will never admit her inappropriate behavior because as a liberal she thinks it’s just fine, and wouldn’t understand anyway.

Here’s the deal Franklin. Wilhelm is a gregarious tax and spender. She will do whatever it takes, casting herself as Joan of Arc, to hide her true motivations and ideologies to pull one over on Franklin residents/voters. I’ve not fallen for it, and won’t support her, ever.

Oh, BTW, don’t expect to read this on the suburban community web site run by Journal Communications. They’re probably in love with the liberal Wilhelm, too.

BTW, this isn’t the first time Olson has taken it to Wilhelm.

From my blog of April 19, 2016:

When it appeared at the April 4, 2016, meeting of the Franklin Common Council that some aldermen wanted movement on the barn project,  Franklin mayor Steve Olson felt the need to interject.

It just might have been my favorite portion of that marathon meeting.

The mayor reiterated that there is no site plan for the barn project. Thus, the Council could not move forward. Cue the mayor.

“There is no site plan. Just as a point. There is no site plan for this, and we’ve had some substantial discussions about site plans and approvals for construction (projects).

“I’m just pointing out to the Council.  I’ve heard it on a number of occasions. No site plan, no vote for city projects. No site plan, no vote, no action.  I’ve heard it a hundred times, for city-related projects.

“You can have your pet projects, go ahead, but just know you’re not being consistent.”

Now it gets good. Really good.

“Understand my perspective here comes from Kayla’s Playground where you Alderwoman (Kristen) Wilhelm….several discussions about how there’s no site plan, how can I vote on something where there’s no site plan.

“We ran Kayla’s Krew through the mill, but here comes a pet project from somebody else and the rules  get thrown aside. And it (Kayla’s Playground) got held up by a lot of people throwing roadblocks in the way. All I’m telling you. You be consistent.  You screw one project, you screw ‘em all.”

BRAVO!

At times during the mayor’s discussion Alderwoman Wilhelm and Alderman Dan Mayer, two charter members of the anti-mayor, anti-growth in Franklin cabal interrupted and tried to divert the discussion away from what the mayor wanted to demonstrate.  They failed.

For new readers there’s a history that backs up what the mayor asserted about obstacles for Kayla’s Playground, forged by the ringleader Kristen Wilhelm (Barn? Yes! Playground for disabled kids? Where’s that monkey wrench?)

This Just In…, April 19, 2016

Look who wants to be a Franklin alderman

Alan Aleksandrowicz.

We’ll get to his bid for alderman shortly.

Nomination papers for the spring elections have been turned in.

For the Franklin School Board two candidates are running for two available seats. That means the two candidates will automatically get those positions. I understand that’s just how the cookie crumbles, but I don’t have to like it, and I don’t.

This April incumbent school board member Linda Witkowski will be joined on the ballot by Alan Aleksandrowicz. Incumbent Tim Nielson is not running again.

So Witkowski and Aleksandrowicz are shoo-ins.

But Aleksandrowicz wants more of the public trough. He’s running for 4th District Alderman along with Larry Gamble and Sherri Hanneman. When it comes to being fiscally responsible Aleksandrowicz is reckless and would be a very poor choice for alderman.

Here’s a great example.

Shari Hanneman raises a terrific point. Do we really want one individual serving two tax and spending bodies at the same time?

No.

Suddenly my alderman wants ME to help HER?

My alderman here in Franklin is Kristen Wilhelm. Nice person. Lousy alderman.

The fact is that during most of her aldermanic career she has essentially ignored us and rarely has voted the way we have requested.  I’ll never forget when she informed me that I’m not the only constituent of hers. However, she’s a bleeding heart liberal who represents a conservative district. There are far more others who agree with me than disagree.

Frankly I was stunned last week when I received an e-mail from Wilhelm requesting I help her on an issue. Amazing. I never hear from her and now she wants my assistance?

Wilhelm wrote:

To help support the westerly extension of Marquette Avenue, I’d appreciate any sharing or action to assist Scout Troop 538

This street completion needs to happen prior to the additional home development. Without the direct route to 51st Street, added development will increase interior neighborhood traffic and decrease safety.

Email & phone messages are welcome and encouraged before Tuesday!

I did NOT get right on that.

Letters from the scouts and parents asking that the road be extended by 1,000 feet are mentioned on the agenda for tonight’s Franklin Common Council meeting.

A scout leader has written to members of the Common Council:

Each day the City delays implementation is another day of continued risk to Franklin residents who simply want to enjoy their neighborhood and have full use of their tax payer parks, schools, pedestrian ways, and bike paths.

He also referred to the project as “life-saving.”

We all support the Scouts and public safety. Certainly no one wants to see anybody die on Marquette Avenue. The scout leader says it’s the “civic duty” of the Common Council to cough up the money and Wilhelm has bought in, asking residents like me to drum up support for the spending. And then she looks good, coincidentally right at election time this April.

There’s more to this story that Wilhelm won’t tell anyone.

Currently two developers are actually teamed up to extend Marquette Ave. without cost to the city (New homes are being built in the area).

One of the developers is Wilhelm’s former campaign treasurer who by the way possesses little experience in land development. The other does have the necessary experience but does not have the same friendly relationship with Wilhelm.

There have been objections to the high cost of extending the road by at least one of the developers. Wilhelm has intervened by suggesting taxpayers pay 1/3 of the cost. Her solution to just about everything. Let the taxpayers  handle it.

City staff is now investigating how to proceed with bidding. Wilhelm is notorious for burdening city staff (whom she has criticized) with unnecessary, time-consuming tasks. Oppose her and this idea and you’ll be subjected to taunts that you want children to get hurt.

Meanwhile Wilhelm hopes to gather enough bodies at tonight’s meeting even though there is NO agenda item regarding anything to do with either developer or Marquette Avenue. This is a colossal waste of time.

Wilhelm has managed to rile up the scouts (not the other way around) and is now disgustingly utilizing young troop members to push her agenda and at the same time help an ally.

We tax and spend enough in this community thanks to Wilhelm. I hope the Common Council doesn’t cave on this matter.

UPDATE: It’s only $1200, but Franklin Common Council is poised to spend (waste) more of your tax dollars

In July of 2018 I blogged:

When the Franklin Common Council meets Tuesday night (July 17) they will almost assuredly vote overwhelmingly to approve sending $1200 to the WI League of Municipalities to (work) on behalf of cities, towns, and villages across the state including Franklin to lobby against the so-called “Dark Store Loophole.”

Essentially supporters of this lobby effort claim big outfits like Walmart aren’t paying their fair share of taxes, so local property owners must pick up the slack.

In reality this is an easy way to float a big fat excuse for big taxing and spending to voters. It’s an easy sell because the bumper sticker is pretty simple: Big companies bad. They don’t pay enough. Your taxes go up.

It’s a complex issue I’ve written extensively about. On the vote to spend money on the lobbying effort, as predicted, the Franklin Common Council voted 5-1 to allocate the $1200. Steve Taylor was the lone no vote.

Now for an update.

Ban Taxpayer Funded Lobbying

Cory Fish, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce’s General Counsel and Director of Tax, Transportation, and Legal Affairs has written a column for Right Wisconsin.

The state legislature should ban the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for contract lobbyists and third-party associations that lobby. Since local governments already have thousands of elected and appointed officials with significant access to legislators and other state officials, this ban would not reduce local governments’ ability to address state-level issues.

Read the entire column here.

And BTW, the so-called “loophole” remains in effect.