On April 4th I will wholeheartedly and enthusiastically vote for incumbent mayor Steve Olson over his flawed opponent.
I realize, of course, that not everyone concurs with yours truly. They have their reasons. That includes those brainiacs on the ‘We Hate Franklin’ Facebook page and others. How about we examine why some voters by their own admission aren’t choosing Olson next month.
1) He’s not nice.
2) Because he’s not nice we don’t like him.
3) Because he’s not nice and because we don’t like him we’re not voting for him.
4) He interrupted me at a meeting.
5) He weighs too much.
6) Looks like Boss Hogg (Clever? Try juvenile).
7) He threw something at a meeting.
8) He doesn’t like people.
9) He’s like Justin Trudeau.
10) He’s like Vladimir Putin.
11) He won’t let me speak at a meeting beyond my allotted three minutes.
12) He’s full of s*** (yes, someone actually said that a public meeting).
13) He’s stealing his opponent’s yard signs. WE HAVE NO PROOF! Aww hell, we’ll print that anyway.
And one of the latest, and a brand new favorite of mine:
14) He didn’t put two spaces after periods in his campaign literature. Yep, someone actually said that. Now there’s a real deal-killer! (It’s hogwash BTW. Look it up on Grammarly).
These folks live here. They think this junk. And they vote.
Let’s be real. No one is doing cartwheels over the recent announcement that Northwestern Mutual is planning to move out of Franklin in a few years and head to the city of Milwaukee.
There are two simple reactions that can be made.
1) We can get through this and the potential is there to do so, or…
2) OMG. Woe is us. The sky is falling.
Those who prescribe to #1 take the Ronald Reagan approach. The disciples of #2 are of the Jimmy Carter mindsight.
Consider this from a recent column by Clay Jenkinson, the editor-at-large of the website Governing:
On July 15, 1979, (Jimmy Carter) delivered one of the most pessimistic (and perhaps tone deaf) presidential speeches in American history. In doing so, he permanently damaged his political standing and his legacy. Carter failed to understand one of the deepest truths about the American presidency. Successful presidents sing the Song of America — abundance, optimism, boundlessness, opportunity, the best is yet to come.
In 1979, our most earnest president believed that we could not overcome our challenges without a national spiritual renewal. Eighteen months later, the American people sent him packing and elected one of the nation’s most reassuring presidents (Ronald Reagan) in his place.
And now let’s bring in Franklin.
Following the surprising announcementfrom NM, as if on cue, the naysayers erupted.
Outgoing Franklin alderman John (Oh I just can’t wait to be mayor) Nelson brought on the gloom and doom, quoted in the Journal Sentinel:
“No matter how this could possibly be spun this is terrible for Franklin. It’s terrible.”
Well, it’s certainly not peaches and cream. But I don’t see or hear any leadership in those remarks.
As Nelson sits on the lap of his chief confidant with his hand firmly in Nelson’s back, Milwaukee County Supervisor Steve Taylor just couldn’t control himself when approached by the Journal Sentinel:
“M7 supported and endorsed the poaching of a major employer, proving they will always choose the city of Milwaukee over any other municipality in Milwaukee County.”
Nice going Steve!
Way to alienate yourself from a huge business and employer. I’m told they were very unhappy with your ‘shoot first and think about them later comments.’
But hey. What do I know?
NM’s announcement caught everyone by surprise, including Mayor Olson.
“Northwestern Mutual’s tagline is ‘the quiet company.’ They never talked to us.”
In an interview with the Milwaukee Business Journal did Olson take the Nelson/Taylor gloom and doom attitude?
“The downside is anytime an employer leaves a community it leaves a big hole,” said Olson. “There’s a huge opportunity for any larger concern who is interested in a great quality of life for its workforce and a really nice building location in a central location. Financially, there’s no risk to the city on Northwestern Mutual’s move. It’s a matter of image and making sure the property value of that building stays constant or improves.”
Nelson and Taylor seemed dangerously close to Jimmy Carter.
In Division 1, Sectional 4, the Journal Sentinel reports:
No. 2 Franklin (18-8) vs. No. 6 Mukwonago (13-13)
If Mukwonago wants to pull the upset in a rematch of a 85-72 loss to Franklin on Feb. 11, it will have to protect the ball better than it did last month. Sixteen team turnovers cost Mukwonago dearly in that first meeting with the Sabers, a number which cannot be that high if Mukwonago expects to remain competitive. One thing going for Mukwonago in its two WIAA postseason games thus far has been its ability to make halftime adjustments. A 42-point second half against No. 11 Badger helped Mukwonago pull away in a 70-47 win, before a 48-point second half against No. 3 Muskego proved pivotal in a 63-55 win in the regional final. Senior Will Gardner has been relied upon heavily by the Sabers, with 58 points across their two wins of 90-65 over No. 15 Racine Horlick and 62-55 over No. 10 Janesville Craig. Gardner had 28 points in the first meeting with Mukwonago, as his Sabers outscored Mukwonago 51-38 after halftime.
Franklin (18-8) vs. Mukwonago (13-13), at Oak Creek, Thursday, March 9, 7:00
Journal Sentinelprediction: Franklin,66-58
—Journal Sentinel, 3/07/2023
If Franklin wins Thursday it would play the winner of Thursday’s Kettle Moraine-Kenosha Indian Trail game Saturday at Kettle Moraine, 1:00.
Journal Sentinel Sectional final prediction: Franklin, 74-69
I have to share that I laugh when petty critics of Franklin Mayor Steve Olson insist that I’m his ‘campaign manager.’ (Olson is running for re-election this spring and I wholeheartedly support him.)
Such a ridiculous statement about me being a ‘campaign manager’ is not surprising coming from people who have no idea what the hell they’re talking about.
No, I’m not Olson’s campaign manager. Haven’t been paid to speak out on his behalf. Never. Not once. I’m just a lowly volunteer.
But I can tell you who is Olson’s campaign manager.
Honest and truly.
Are you ready?
Olson’s campaign manager is …NOBODY.
HE DOESN’T HAVE ONE!
It ain’t me, babe. In fact Olson and I don’t always concur.
Case in point: the ongoing court fight in Wisconsin over so-called dark stores.
The Council of State Governments wrote last October:
Dark store theory is championed by many “big box” stores like Walmart and Meijer, asserting that for tax assessment open, bustling stores are equivalent to ones that failed and closed. This means that during the assessment process, a commercial property should be compared to a shuttered warehouse rather than an open store. Companies justify this approach by arguing that stores are designed in such a specialized way that the property will lose much of its value as soon as the company leaves. They argue that these properties should be appraised according to how the next occupant may use it.
This dispute involves assessing stores built under contract by third-party developers and then leased by retail stores. Walgreens maintained two locations with 60-year leases which obligated the company—rather than the developer/owner—to pay property taxes. The city of Madison considered Walgreens’ lease payments as a form of income (i.e., “income approach”). Walgreens argued those payments significantly exceeded market value because the lease payments reflected additional expenses associated with the initial sale-lease transaction including construction, land purchase and financing.
Lower courts decided in the city’s favor, but the Supreme Court of Wisconsin reversed. The court referred to Section 70.32(1) of the Wisconsin Statutes which stated properties should be assessed “in the manner specified in the Wisconsin property assessment manual.” This manual states the assessors should use market rent rather than contract rent. The justices concluded that the power to determine the appropriate methodology for valuing property for taxation purposes lies with the legislature.
In the past I have blogged:
Kudos to the Racine Journal Times, that while I believe leans in favor of closing the loophole, still had the principles, unlike the local tax and spenders, to give readers the chance to consider two rather than one viewpoint. “While no one wants homeowners to have to pay more in taxes, we also don’t want to scare away businesses because of taxes.”
Congrats to whoever left a thoughtful comment on the Eau Claire Leader Telegram website (the paper inexplicably doesn’t identify him/her). The unknown writer calls ripping retailers that try to work to their own advantage “misplaced frustration.”
The comment continues, “Real frustration should be directed at the state level, where Republicans have refused to allow a vote on closing the so-called dark-store tax loophole.”
Here’s where I give the writer (who wants the Legislature to ultimately settle this) huge credit:
“Until then, it would be good for local governments to consider reducing their expenses rather than passing any additional tax burden onto homeowners or small business. Those who take every opportunity to reduce personal or business taxes should be celebrated, not attacked.”
And here’s more from the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce:
There is no loophole. Local governments argue that the so-called “dark stores loophole” allows businesses to lower their property tax assessment by comparing newly constructed occupied properties with vacant dilapidated properties. This is a myth because this type of comparison is already illegal. Advocates of the legislation are looking to tax business value. They argue occupancy (i.e. business value) makes a property worth more and that value should be taxed.
There is no tax shift to homeowners. The shift has actually gone in the opposite direction. Over the last decade, commercial and manufacturing property owners in Wisconsin have seen over a two percent increase in their share of the property tax burden statewide, while homeowners have seen a reduction.
This bill will double tax businesses. The property tax is meant to tax real property – the land and building – not income. However, this bill would transform Wisconsin’s property taxation system into a local income tax because it will allow business value and intangible assets like financing agreements to be taxed through the property tax in addition to the fair market value of the land and building.
Fast forward to today (February 21,2023) and the latest:
If your read careully this is not a slam dunk, pop open the champagne ruling foir local units of government. Franklin’s Steve Olson contends it’s a huge win for taxpayers. I foresee more cases ending up in court.
I repeat what that Eau Claire letter to the editor wrote:
“…it would be good for local governments to consider reducing their expenses rather than passing any additional tax burden onto homeowners or small business. Those who take every opportunity to reduce personal or business taxes should be celebrated, not attacked.”
Amen, whoever you are.
So Steve Olson and I disagree.
I’m still enthusiastically voting for him come April.
We’re all aware of the less than attractive motels situated up and down S. 27th Street.
Latoya Dennis came to their defense on WUWM in 2019, quoting Vaso Dragicevic, the longtime owner of Traveler’s Motel on South 27th Street.
Vaso says he understands that motels often get a bad rap. Some people associate them with drugs and prostitution but Vaso says don’t believe the rumors or at least realize that not all motels are bad.
“When people talk, you can’t close people’s mouth. People always can talk but you want to listen to the people, you want to see the facts. You want to see the people that use the places, the people that come and visit the places, then they can tell you the truth,” Vaso says.
While Vaso and his wife have put money into their motel, including a complete reconstruction, he says some people have not — and it shows.
I’ll bet most residents in Franklin if surveyed would love to see those eyesores immediately disappear.
One of my astute readers posed an interesting question:
“What would the community think if we got rid of the motels on 27th St and replaced them with 2 story (or maybe 3) apartments? That the one-bedroom rents went for maybe $850/mo?”
The writer contended there’s not much tax reveue from the motels that draw questionable patrons. So why not bring in apartments that offer assessed value and on-site management?
One would think that after Northwestern Mutual’ s rather abrupt announcement that it plans to leave Franklin that official representatives of Franklin, including Steve Taylor who represents the district including Northwestern Mutual on the Milwaukee County Board, would work positively to find a proper new tenant for the site.
Apparently not, especially in an election year.
Seems Taylor is attempting to use the company’s planned exit to political advantage for his buddy, flawed alderman John Nelson who is running to replace incumbent Mayor Steve Olson. Taylor has stated Olson’s leadership has been atrocious.
In an interview with the Journal Sentinel Taylor sang like a canary at the opportunity to not only rip Olson and Northwestern Mutual but also M7, a critically important partner with the city of Franklin. From M7’s website:
The Milwaukee 7, launched in September 2005, is the regional, cooperative economic development platform for the seven counties of southeastern Wisconsin: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha. Its mission is to attract, retain and grow diverse businesses and talent.
The Milwaukee 7 continues to build the region’s capacity and accelerate economic growth. To date, M7 has managed corporate expansion and attraction projects that account for more than 25,000 pledged jobs created or retained in the region – with an average wage of $60,000 (20% above the regional average) – and $3.7 billion in capital investment. Milwaukee 7 markets the region to companies looking to expand operations or relocate – from across the state line to around the globe. M7 provides the tools and the project management to guide companies from their first visit through the opening of their new plant or office.
In an article just published by the Journal Sentinel Taylor threw mud at M7, saying they helped poach (steal) Northwestern Mutual from Franklin.
Look, it’s well-documented that Taylor can’t stand Olson and is working hard to get him removed, even forming an alliance with Nelson’s campaign treasurer Kristen Wilhelm whom he belittled in the past more than once. But there are times when it’s imperative that the community comes first (Hey Supervisor Taylor, remember the fight for Ballpark Commons?). All hands on deck should be Franklin’s MO on making the most of this situation. That, unfortunately, doesn’t look promising.
Franklin officials are ‘disappointed’ with Northwestern Mutual’s move to Milwaukee, calling it a ‘poaching’ of a major employer
While Franklin’s mayor and a city alderman discussed the pragmatism of the plan, Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Steve Taylor called the move a “poaching of a major employer.”
The $500 million redevelopment investment was announced Feb. 2 and will transition about 2,000 jobs currently at 1 Northwestern Mutual Way in Franklin to a renovated building set to resemble the company’s newest crystal skyscraper near the Milwaukee lakefront.
Franklin is one of many municipalities that are part of a regional economic development partnership referred to as M7. The initiative launched in 2005 with seven southeastern Wisconsin counties including Milwaukee, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha, to “attract, retain and grow diverse businesses and talent.”
Taylor said it struck him that neither Northwestern Mutual nor M7 seemed worried about how the move could affect Franklin.
“M7 supported and endorsed the poaching of a major employer,” Taylor said, “proving they will always choose the city of Milwaukee over any other municipality in Milwaukee County.”
Northwestern Mutual told Franklin officials about the move at the 11th hour, sources say
Northwestern Mutual, Taylor and Franklin Mayor Steve Olson said, waited to inform Franklin officials of the plan until the day before the company announced it while it had been sharing details with Milwaukee officials for months.
“This doesn’t give me much confidence that they are worried about how this exodus affects us,” Taylor said. “No way is this a positive for the city of Franklin and anyone who says this is (is) trying to spin it politically.”
Olson offered a more measured response, but acknowledged some uncertainty about the long-term future for the Franklin campus.
“I’m not going to second guess their decision to wait until 3 o’clock the night before to talk to us,” he said. “I’m certain they had their reasons and whatever those reasons are are their business.”
In a news release, Olson said he is looking forward to working with Northwestern Mutual to find a new use for the campus, adding it “may be a quick transition.”
However, the timeline for such a move remains unclear as no interested parties have presented themselves. “There is nothing pending that I’m aware of,” Olson told the Journal Sentinel.
Ald. Shari Hanneman, whose district includes the Northwestern Mutual campus, was “certainly disappointed, but not entirely surprised” about the company’s move, especially given the recent shift toward remote work environments, she said.
“I understand Northwestern Mutual has to do what is best for its long-term success,” she said. “Much can change in the next three-five years, and we will have to be patient as they work through the process. I’m hopeful that in the length of time it will take for the company to fully transition out of the (Franklin) campus, a new occupant will emerge to take over the buildings and they will not remain vacant for long.”
Many people like to live near where they work, but Olson isn’t overly concerned Northwestern Mutual employees living in Franklin will follow their employer downtown.
“Frankly, if people were interested in that environment they’d live there now,” he said. “The issue I have is the welfare of the people who are now forced to go downtown as part of their employment. … There’s a lot of people that have commented to me that they’re not happy.”
What is the future of Northwestern Mutual’s Franklin campus?
The Franklin campus opened, in part, as a backup computer center for the company. Two six-story office buildings opened in 2004 and 2008, respectively, and rest on about 80 acres with 16 acres available for more development.
The suburban space is expected to be sold or leased once the transition is complete, which is expected to take a few years. Whether one tenant/owner or many will occupy the space remains to be seen.
Olson expressed some concern the layout of the campus could present challenges to multiple users because the two buildings are connected and share several functions.
“However, it only takes money and engineering to change that,” he added. “Given that they’re willing to put half a billion dollars into a 25-year-old building to make it work, this one (in Franklin) would be a relatively quick fix I would think.”
Another key concern is tax dollars.
Northwestern Mutual is Franklin’s largest taxpayer, Olson said, and he wants that value to stay with the building. To that end, he’s asked for a guarantee from the company of the property value going forward.
He said he’s still waiting to have that conversation.
I get a lot of crap because of positions I take. And I don’t really care all that much. I’ve become used to it in my long career, having received death threats and all kinds of garbage directed at even my beautiful family.
I do draw the line when lied about. That I will never stand for and will speak out against every time.
Recently on what I call the “We Hate Franklin” Facebook page, officially entitled “Franklin Community Debate and Discussion” page that is chock full of hateful hard leftists a comment was made about police officers. It was outrageous.
Please follow the bouncing ball.
On Jan 30, 2023, Franklin resident Dylan Emerson posted on the Franklin Community Debate and Discussion page:
“ACAB” (That stands for “All Cops Are Bastards).
Emerson was immediately challenged on the same page.
“ACAB? So every single one? There’s never been one good one?”
The response from the police hater…
“Nope. The profession itself, the training and the culture are that of a gang and a protection racket. They protect property, not people and enforce the laws of a system that criminalizes poverty and marginalized communities. Also, if 999 good cops don’t call out and hold accountable one bad cop, you have 1000 bad cops. They only effectively prevent 2% of all major crime so I doubt they’d be there when I do. They are there to protect the property of capitalists.”
I posted the following on the Franklin Community Forum in response. Of course it’s garbage, common on that site. But when one of the moderators who has police in his family was pushed on why the site would allow what I call garbage, the limp wrist response…
“ everyone is allowed their own opinion. That’s one thing that makes this country great as it always has been.”
Ridiculous, because on that site not everyone is allowed a chance to express opinions. But ACAB got through. Revealing.
The moderator I was referring to was Michael Paradise. Today (Thursday) he demonstrated what a vile, disgusting individual he truly is when he sent me the following:
You are a f**kucking moron!!! I never defended the idiot about the cops. My family is full of police officers and dispatchers. My nephew was on the scene when that officer was killed the other day. You really need to get your news from someplace else. I may be contacting a lawyer for your damn lies you moron.
Now anyone who read the above and has the IQ of a 5th grader can fully discern that I couldn’t believe the asinine comments about all police being bastards were allowed to be posted for all the world to see. So I told the scumbag Paradise…
I was critical of your comment defending the person’s right to posting his opinion on the police in general and your decision to keep it on your site. Please read again. Personally, if I had the family you have ( I actually have a cousin in MPD and friends who are officers) I would never have allowed those comments to see the light of day on your page.
So let me explain it so that even a pea brain like Paradise can understand. No I never wrote or even suggested that he thinks all police are bastards. But HE went on the record and wrote that any such comment was fine to be posted as far as he was concerned. What a colossal jerk. I would have hit the delete button faster than Superman.
My understanding is that he continues to lie about this. He’s lied about me and misquoted me many, many times so I’m not surprised.