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Bob is a retired education administrator who was an academic administrator for a local university for 28 years and spent almost 10 years as an administrator/manager at an educational association in Brookfield. He and his wife now run a small consulting business called DeRoche Consulting LLC.

Electing Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices

Supreme Court

In the spring elections Wisconsin voters went to the polls to elect state and local officials. One of the state choices was for a Wisconsin Supreme Court judge - one an incumbent and one a challenger. This brings up a question for me: Should Wisconsin appoint its Supreme Court judges rather than elect them? Twenty-four states use bipartisan commissions to help choose supreme court justices. I think it is demeaning to require a sitting state supreme court justice and the challenger, who is usually a lower court judge, to campaign. This means he/she has to raise money to create media advertising to get the public's attention. Many of the election advertisements are muckraking and not something you would expect of someone at this level. At election time these judges have to act like politicians which they are not. These people are professionals at the highest level who should not have to run campaigns. So I think Wisconsin should abandon electing Supreme Court judges and go to the bipartisan commission approach. The commission would submit a slate of candidates to the governor who in turn would choose from the list. This system is known as "merit selection" and also as the "Missouri Plan", in honor of Missouri which first adopted a commission system in 1940. Of course, the trick here is to make sure the commission is bipartisan. Let's get this on the next ballot so the people of Wisconsin can determine if this is a better way to select our Supreme Court Justices.

Random Thoughts: Streetcar, GNDL Visitors Center, NOW Print Copy, Ice Rink

Ramdom Thoughts

Light Rail - I wish the Milwaukee media would stop using the term "streetcar" in describing the proposed new transportation for the east side and downtown. "Streetcar" seems like an archaic term. What we are really talking about is an modern "light rail" system. Greendale Visitors Center - If you were visiting Greendale and had never been to Greendale, you might think the sign that says "Greendale Visitors Center" means that the Center is operated by the Village of Greendale to welcome visitors, highlight the history of the Village, and show them how to take walking tours, where to eat, and where to shop. However, that is not what the Center is all about. Greendale NOW - Those who subscribe to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel receive a supplement on Thursdays called NOW. The NOW section in our area covers the communities of Greendale, Franklin, Oak Creek and Hales Corners. There isn't much in these print versions when it comes to local news unless you like police reports, high school sports, and advertisements. The online version is better. Greendale Ice Rink - The other day I was talking to a Mother with her two children at the ice rink in the Village Center. She was telling me how much she liked/appreciated the ice rink. This is another example of what I have been talking about recently - doing something for the residents that draws them to the Village Center. In the future, perhaps children and adults using the rink can stop in at the Hose Tower building to warm-up and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.

Diversity And The Greendale TIF District Proposal

TIF District

If you value diversity in residential housing in our community as I do, then the TIF District Proposal from the Village government should alarm you. Greendale managed to become a little more diverse in the last ten years. Comparing the 2000 census with the 2010 census we find that Greendale went from 96.18% white to 92.8% white. African American population increased from 0.28% to 1.2% and those identifying as Hispanic/Latino increased from 2.36% to 4.7%. Our total population as reported in the 2010 census was 14,046. Look up the definition of diversity. It is "the condition of having or being composed of differing elements: especially the inclusion of different types of people in a group or organization". So what does this have to do with the TIF Proposal? Just as we are beginning to become a little more diverse as a community, the Proposal, with regard to residential housing, would take us backwards. I have read the Proposal on-line and in literature the Village government mailed to residents (I was not able to attend the information sessions). I hope most residents have read it. What the Proposal says is: "By offering TIF financing for the development of new, high-end market rate apartments, the Village will have the tools to attract developers ........." What it doesn't say is that there is no open land for these high-end apartments. If you look at the TIF map, these high-end apartments would be built on land currently occupied by the Crocus Court Apartments (behind the Post Office and the middle school). If we do this, are we saying to the people who currently reside in the Crocus Court Apartments: "We don't want you here anymore. We would prefer people who can afford high-end market rate apartments."? Is this what we want as a Village that welcomed moderate income urban families from Milwaukee when it was created by the federal government in 1938? I don't think so. The TIF District Proposal may be good in the other areas it covers, but the residential portion should be removed or revised. It is not in the best interest of Greendale as I interpret what we are about as a community.

Safe Parks and Playgrounds


7-23-14 Sierra Guyton was buried yesterday. If you don't know who she is, you've been living in a bubble for the last two months. She's the 10 year old girl would was hit by a stray bullet on May 21 as she played with her sister on the Clarke Street School playground in Milwaukee. I find the entire incident depressing. How can an innocent life be taken on a playground in Milwaukee? Our city is supposed to be better and safer than some other large cities. I keep wondering if Sierra's parents were ever able to think about living somewhere in the metro area other than in their current zip code. The Journal reported that her Father works at Southgate Mall. This is not far from some nice suburbs - like Greendale. We have many parks and playgrounds in Greendale and they are safe. The reality is this: If Sierra Guyton had lived in Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners or some other suburb or even in some other part of Milwaukee, she would be alive today.

Greendale Middle School Vehicle Traffic

Greendale Middle School

I don't know if Greendale Middle School drop-off and pick-up traffic in the Village Center is currently an issue. I think it was brought up last year by the Ad Hoc Committee studying the Village Center. For the sake of discussion, let's say that it is an issue. Perhaps there are parents, citizens, school administrators, and Village officials who are concerned about traffic around the Village Center in the morning and afternoon during the school year and some traffic during summer session. I would like to propose one solution. One way to solve the traffic issue would be to take the baseball/softball field in back of the building (west) and turn three quarters of it into a parking lot and roadway. This is a terrible field. The dirt and grass are like concrete. I know because my daughter played softball on that field and I've walked it. A circle road could be built around the new parking lot for cars or buses picking up students. With the space available, a way could be found to separate cars and buses if that were necessary. A quarter of the field could be left for playground and recess activity for the school. Traffic would enter the area from several "E" Section streets and stop/finish times could be coordinated with Canterbury School to avoid conflict with other traffic. If possible, an extension road could be cut from one of the" "E" streets directly to the new circle road. Student drop-off and pick-up would be similar to or better than what currently happens at Highland View and College Park Schools. In summary the proposal is this: - convert the baseball field into a parking lot, - build a circle roadway around the lot, - leave some of the field for a playground, - traffic would enter the area through "E" streets, - extend one of the "E" street roads to the new circle road (optional). This is just one proposal. I am sure there will be others if this is an issue. In the meantime, think about it.

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