Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Board’s, Stephany’s attitudes height of arrogance

As most of you know a fishing pier donated to the city last summer has caused a flurry of debate among residents, many of whom are neighbors to the Miller’s Bay area where the pier is scheduled to be built next year.

Many oppose the location, but the other reason this has become such a controversial issue is because many feel the public was not given time to voice its concern on the project, nor did the city council have ample time to consider it. The parks advisory board voted on the issue on a Monday (in a meeting that lasted 20-some minutes and included other items on the agenda) and the very next evening it was before the city council for a decision.

The issue of the pier’s intended location is still being debated and fought through various legal channels, but City Councilor Bryan Bain, who also serves on the parks board as its council representative, has recommended that the board’s monthly meetings be scheduled on alternate weeks from city council meetings. That way this kind of thing will hopefully not happen again and more time for review and consideration will be added to the process.

But his suggestion has now been met with arrogance and defiance by board members and parks director Tom Stephany alike, who basically have said “There is no need to change the way we do things. Things work fine just the way they are.”

Clearly, folks, they do not. If they did much of this firestorm over the pier could, and likely would have, been avoided. But this is even more indicative of the fact that Stephany seems to possess an attitude that the parks are his and he can do with him what he and his cronies want. He seems to forget that the parks belong to the people of this community. That’s why they’re called public parks.

The city has some problems:
First, it has a parks board that has a member of the Otter Street Fishing Club on it. This is the very group which donated the pier and member Terry Wohler voted on it. Certainly that gives the image of a conflict of interest.

Second, we have a parks director who wants to defy a city council member who is trying to improve things so problems like this do not come up again. And let’s not forget this is the same parks director who stumbled and stammered all over the place when he tried explaining to the city council how he decides who will be notified of impending parks projects and who won’t. I know some people have written letters to the local newspaper praising Stephany for all he does for our parks. Granted most of our parks are beautiful. But he has destroyed Menominee Park and this pier will not help improve that situation. Moreover, let’s not act as though Mr. Stephany is so benevolent in his efforts to make our parks looking nice; after all taking care of the parks is his job, a job he is paid handsomely for.

Third, at the time this all happened, the city council talked about finding out what other cities do to notify residents of prospective park projects. What is happening with that? Councilor Meredith Scheuermann said at the time that even if other cities did not have a formal notification policy there was no reason Oshkosh could not be a leader in that area. We need to make sure our city council stays on top of that.

Additionally, it seems Bryan Bain should now draft a change, put it on the council meeting agenda and shut Stephany out of the process as he seems to want to do in certain cases with citizens. The council then needs to approve Bain’s recommendation. If Stephany and certain parks board members don’t like it they can either live with it or move on. But clearly the council needs to help rein in Mr. Stephany because our city manager doesn’t seem to have a good handle on the situation.

- Cheryl Hentz

The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.

Board’s, Stephany’s attitudes height of arrogance
Authored by: Jim B. on Tuesday, December 13 2005 @ 01:49 PM MST
Don't plan on the "Good ol boy network" ending any time soon! What bothers me about this as much as Stephany, is in the article in the Northwestern two other "Board" members took the same approach. That it is basically the Councils job to table these issues if they require more information or thought. Now this may be true, but how about cleaning your own house before you rip someone elses? Could it possible hurt to at least be open to a change in timing?

The arrogance that this is "not our problem", and, "this is the way we have always done it" astounds me. Are these people living in the same century as us?

Thank you Brian for standing up, and don't let this one go! I am sure you will have the support of the citizens on this issue!

Jim B.

Board's, Stephany's attitudes height of arrogance
Authored by: admin on Tuesday, December 13 2005 @ 02:12 PM MST
Jim I couldn't agree with you more. Bryan Bain will be taping a show with us soon and I will be sure to ask him how he feels about this latest "stunt" and what he plans to do about it, if anything. People like Tom Stephany, right along with these parks board members, need a wake-up call as to who pays the bills and who is the boss in this city.

- Cheryl Hentz

P.S. Now, if Bryan can only get enough council members on his side to do the right thing on this issue.

Board's, Stephany's attitudes height of arrogance
Authored by: got it on Tuesday, December 13 2005 @ 04:41 PM MST
Just curiously, Cheryl, how did Tom Stephany ruin Menominie Park? I don't get there too much; just curious what your opinion is on how things have been poorly done.


Board's, Stephany's attitudes height of arrogance
Authored by: admin on Tuesday, December 13 2005 @ 06:09 PM MST
A wolf exhibit that has destroyed a beautiful view of the lake through the park (by the way, how often do the wolves really come out where they can be seen by people?); an elk exhibit that I believe was just approved this year; and he wants to put a bear exhibit in the park in the near future. Garbage cans have also been removed from the park, which he cited good reasons for doing but if you talk to people it is a pain in the rear-end and seems ridiculous. Those are just a few of the shining examples. Unless someone has lived here many years, they may not be able to appreciate the lost view because of the exhibits with their stockade fencing. Is the park still a nice park? Yes. But that portion of it now looks like something straight out of "F Troop" and looks extremely tacky.

- Cheryl

P.S. Let's also not overlook the pristine view Mr. Stephany and the Otter Street Fishing Club want to ruin with the fishing pier in Miller's Bay at the end of New York Avenue.

Board's, Stephany's attitudes height of arrogance
Authored by: shors on Wednesday, December 14 2005 @ 04:17 AM MST
Stephany does not seem to think the OSFC nor Parks Board has done
anything wrong. According to them, their system works and the
Common Council is accountable for all actions. The Common Council
has been rubber stamping the Parks Board, trusting their expertise and
time put into projects on the table. It is disappointing to see no
movement (other than Bain's attempt to change the Parks Board
meeting time) by the Common Council.

What I don't understand is that a while back, old playground
equipment was moved from various parks because the Parks Board
and Council members were concerned that children could get hurt and
it was a liability issue. Now a childrens fishing pier with no railings will
be put up with no question? Why don't they care about safety in this
case? And to top it off, they will put a Xmas Box Statue in a park to
mourn children who have died.........yet it is ok for the Parks Board to
put up an unsafe structure for kids? Why doesn't the Parks Board put
pressure on the Common Council to retrofit the pier to safety
standards? If this is how they think, then they should be asking the
Common Council to be accountable because safety is in their hands,
not the Parks Board.

Teri Shors

Board's, Stephany's attitudes height of arrogance
Authored by: Jim B. on Wednesday, December 14 2005 @ 01:41 PM MST

I am not sure I would go so far to say Stephany has ruined the park. Being a season ticket holder to the Zoo, I take my children quite often. It is convenient and easy to get in and out. We actually see the wolves almost every visit. It really is not unlike other zoos where it depends on the time of day you are visiting. The area that houses the wolf's and future exhibits was not really used in the past anyway. I guess the fence doesnt bother me, and we should consider ourselves lucky to have a zoo like this for a city the size of Oshkosh.

As far as the garbage, this is something that irritates me. Visit any other park in the world (Golden Gate, Central Park, California beaches, etc) and they all have garbage cans. I have heard directly from Tom that people don't pick up their garbage and seagulls get into the cans. the cost to pick it up is too much! Give me a break! More people will leave there garbage lie if there is no where to put it. Also, you can't tell me there is not a can on the market that can keep out seagulls?? We have more goose poop in the park than we can deal with, but we can't pick up garbage?

I guess I should be careful, they might create a new fee to pick up garbage in Menomonee!

Jim B.

Board's, Stephany's attitudes height of arrogance
Authored by: admin on Wednesday, December 14 2005 @ 04:13 PM MST
Jim, I guess you are among the fortunate ones who gets to see the wolves practically every time you go. I've talked to a number of people who rarely see them. They are, after all, a basically shy animal.

I said earlier that I think Menominee is still a nice park but the fencing bothers plenty of people, including me. If you've not been here a long time you cannot appreciate the view that we lost as a result of this stockade fencing. That was careless and destructive, and all because Tom wanted a wolf exhibit.

Frankly the park is simply too small for the ambitious plans Mr. Stephany has - unless he wants to turn the whole thing into a zoo. He is trying to incorporate everything he had in his previous town here in Menominee Park and the plans he has for the zoo are just a little on the ridiculous side. Plus the taxpayers always seem to end up paying for some of these things, even though the zoological society said that wouldn't happen. The public misled and lied to again. What a surprise!

Again, I'm glad you enjoy the zoo. But we cannot keep stuffing 10 punds of stuff here and 10 pounds of stuff there into a 5 pound bag.

As far as the garbage cans, don't even get me started on that. It's just more silliness from Mr. Stephany.

- Cheryl

Indecent Exposure in the Park
Authored by: shors on Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 04:50 PM MST
I think a friend and I caught the first glimpse of what is to come if the
fishing pier is inserted into the NY avenue location. This past weekend,
a friend and I were walking the park and we were at the junction of
NY ave and Menominee Park. We noticed that there were ice houses in
Miller's bay--something we had not noticed in prior years. Then we
noticed two men with ice fishing gear. One sitting on a pail next to
the coniferous trees at the NY location and one man in the trees. I
asked my friend what they were doing.......she pointed out that the
one guy was urinating in the trees and indeed he was.

One of the arguments that people had in regard to this location for a
fishing pier was that it was not near facilities (which would be
especially helpful for handicapped individuals). Stephany and Engel
adamantly pointed out that it was a 2 minute walk to facilites---well--
-these able-bodied fishermen didn't do the two minute walk and it's
likely a lot of other people fishing will not either. We just caught a
glimpse of what is to come.

Does anyone know what the penalty is for indecent exposure or public
urination? Just curious. I'd be tempted to call the police if it keeps

Teri Shors

Board's, Stephany's attitudes height of arrogance
Authored by: shors on Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 04:55 PM MST
I've never seen the wolves either but I have heard them in the early
morning hours. If the zoo continues expanding, there will have to be
higher fees---or will they add a zoo fee to our property tax bill?

Teri Shors