Thursday, May 28, 2009

Open Meeting Violation or Sour Grapes?

On Tuesday night the Common Council made a selection from 15 applicants to fill the seat vacated by Mayor Esslinger on April 7th. Among the applicants was County Board Supervisor Jef Hall who, for the last 2 days, has been blogging on the "legality" of a conversation that took place during a 5 minute recess on Tuesday.

The question that begs to be asked is: Was there anything that took place illegal? The answer is No. Hall alleges that the conversation constituted a "negative quorum" and that any type of discussion should have taken place in front of the microphone. The City Attorney pointed out in an article by the ONW this morning that in order for a negative quorum to exist, there would need to be enough members present to block a vote. In this case, there would have to be 3 members involved where there were only 2.

Realistically, there was absolutely no reason to have applications for this position. There was no reason that the council needed to have this meeting. Previously, when a member did not fulfil their term for whatever reason, the Mayor appointed a replacement without any of this process and the council confirmed that appointment. The application process was meant to be fair AND open in the spirit of keeping the public involved. This conversation was not illegal nor did it have any effect on the outcome of the vote. Buchholz had 3 votes confirming his selection regardless of what Poeschl voted.

[Addition: For clarification... Buchholz had enough votes to advance for a second vote. It is also clear that even if he had chosen another name, it would not have changed the "top 2" candidates with Hintz receiving 2 nominations and Buchholz 3. After the field was narrowed and some confusion on the next step, Buchholz was selected unanimously by the 6 members. Any discussion on or off camera could not have swayed the outcome.]

There were also comments made regarding an email sent by Buchholz prior to the meeting. This email was never presented to the public nor it's contents discussed beyond that all of the council members received it and some admitted to it influencing their decision to select him. There was nothing illegal nor unethical regarding such communication between the candidate and the council. Hall even suggests that the council members communicated outside the meeting about the email.

So one would need to ask themselves; is this really about a demand for openness? Or is the Chair of the Winnebago Democratic Party and a Board Supervisor simply throwing stones at some local politicians that he does not agree with politically?

Let me know what you think...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Election Day Predictions

I don't know what today will bring but here are my thoughts on how the races will shape up.

I think that this race is too close to call. Two years ago, this race came down to the final ward and had Frank edge Paul out at the end. I think that this year will be much of the same only with Paul victorious.

Palmeri, King, and Cummings. Unfortunately, there are three candidates outside the incumbents that share too many views and will likely split the vote. I personally would like to see any 3 of Palmeri, O'Day, Hinz or Poeschl. I was surprised that Jess King did not do more to get re-elected. She didn't spend any money and outside of the forums, she did not seem to campaign at all. Perhaps she isn't as serious as before now that the State seat is out of the picture.

Traska, Schneider, and Monte. There is a little bias here but my guess is realistic based on the referendum questions and voters paying ANY attention to the positions of the candidates. The referendum will go down in flames and the conservatives will win this ticket.

Question 1- Yes=30% No=70%
Question 2- Yes=48% No=52%
Question 3- Yes=48% No=52%

I am being conservative with the estimate on question 1. I think that the vote may even be more lopsided than that but 70/30 is a realistic number so I will go with it.

County Exec-
Mark Harris will win this one handily. I don't think Schroeder has done enough to unseat Mark despite his efforts to remind us about the sales tax.

Agree or disagree, that is my take on what will happen today. If you would like to put in your comments, feel free. I will try and keep up with the moderation but my days are very busy and it can be difficult to check.

Thanks to all for reading. Have a wonderful day and above all... GET OUT AND VOTE!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Election notes

I apologize for my absence. With working full time and taking a full load of college courses (12 credits) there is little time to read and post on blogs. I figured I wouldn't be missed much anyway.

On April 7th, Oshkosh has a real opportunity to make a change in leadership with both the Council and School Board. There is no doubt that the common thoughts around town are on the referendum. With good reason, it is ~$24million of our money being asked for.

Beyond the referendum, there are a few issues that the city is facing. We have several that have been brought up during various forums and some more by the ONW. There is no doubt who the ONW is supporting in this election for Mayor. Not because it is the right choice, but because they don't care for the opposition. The ONW wrote an editorial endorsing Tower for Mayor. That is fine, we all expected it. But did they really need to do the follow up this week? Was it really necessary or did they just want to twist the knife that they plunged in last week? Either way, I think that there is some clearing up that needs to take place.

The ONW pointed out what a wonderful thing was being done with the TIF in the South Shore Redevelopment area. Although I do agree that development is wonderful, was a TIF really necessary there? Oshkosh has set a precedence on granting TIF's to the point that I don't think commercial development will be done without them anymore.

The ONW is quick to point out how saying NO is horrible. Well, do we really need more TIF's? Better yet, how did the City Management and Council let those buildings get so bad that they needed to be torn down? Perhaps we should focus more on keeping our businesses in Oshkosh and then it would not be necessary to worry about replacing what was left behind when they move or leave.

These are just a few thoughts as Tuesday approaches. I must remind voters that staying at home should not be an option. There was an unbelievable turnout for the Presidential election which in the big picture means nothing to the city. Remember, the Spring election has far greater impact on you than any Presidential election. The folks that are elected make the decisions locally, not the President. Remember that next Tuesday when you think that "it doesn't make a difference, why bother?".

It really does make a difference. Take the time. VOTE on April 7th.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Let it Snow!

Welcome to Wisconsin. Where there are two seasons... Winter and Road Construction. After reading the results of the council meeting last night, I am sure glad that I live in a good neighborhood. The reason that I say that is because I never would have thought that sidewalk snow removal was a problem. After all, we all chose to live here. It snows, we shovel. But after watching a week of debate and then more at the meeting, the council took the time to change the city ordinance to 24 hours after EACH storm. I really would like to see that definition...

I have wonderful neighbors. We all clear each others sidewalks (perhaps because it is easier to turn around at a driveway rather than a property line). Seriously though, this was never coordinated but it has been that the first person out to do the snow from four houses does the sidewalk for all of them. Additionally, I have always gone to each of my neighbors after the plow has gone through and cleared that pile for them. I have never considered calling to have the city clear anything. The neighborly thing is to help out if they are not home to do it themselves.

I guess I am lucky...