Wednesday, September 27, 2006

County Board does end-run around citizen activist group in cutting board size

Whether you think the size of the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors at 38 members is too large, too small, or just right, what the majority of those board members did last night was deplorable.

An offshoot of Progress Oshkosh – a citizen activist group calling itself Citizens Unite to Transform the County Board, or CUT – had begun a petition drive one week ago to place a referendum on the April 2007 ballot, asking voters to decide “yes” or “no” on cutting the size of the board in half, to 19.

Ideas by opponents of such a measure were floated at the Progress Oshkosh meeting on Sept. 20 and last night county board supervisors considered three separate resolutions to reduce the board size: one to 36 members; one to 32 members; and one to 25 members.

After citizen input and much discussion of the floor, supervisors voted 22-13 to cut the board size by a mere two members, meaning that in 2008 – when all county board seats come up for re-election – the board will be reduced to 36 members.

I have favored a smaller county board for some time but, like many people, was not sure what that magical number should be. I don’t necessarily know that 19 was the best number in the world to come up with, but for the board to cut itself by two just to stave off efforts by CUT, was nothing short of arrogance on its part. With their vote last night, board members who rarely are challenged for their seats essentially thumbed their noses at voters by disenfranchising them from having a say in how large or small the board should be.

State law allows a county board, or citizens through a referendum, to reduce the size of the board once between each 10-year U.S. Census period. So, by cutting the size on its own, the board has prevented any other individual or group, including CUT, to bring forth an effort to reduce the size until the next U.S. Census is taken in 2010. Rep. Gregg Underheim, who helped draft that board size-reduction legislation, believes that county executive Mark Harris should veto the board’s vote. And because there may be some redistricting issues with 36 members, CUT and Progress Oshkosh may be contemplating legal action against the county board.

As well they should, in my opinion. The supervisors were brazen with some of their comments. Harvey Rengstorf, for example – who also serves on the county’s Judiciary Committee – actually said, “We’re in a bind here…It’s to stop the others from doing what they are doing.” He and those who voted with him should be ashamed of themselves. They may have effectively stopped voters from having a say in this matter for another four years. But one good turn deserves another and in 2008 voters can, if they so choose, take away the voice of those good-old-boys and -girls who voted for this disingenuous, and meaningless, attempt at board size reduction.

Here’s how the county board supervisors voted…

Voted IN FAVOR OF Reducing Board Size to 36
David Albrecht, Steve Arne, Nancy Barker, Patrick Brennand, Connie Drexler, Bernard Egan, Thomas Ellis, Ben Farrell, Chuck Farrey, Donald Griesbach, Joe Hotynski, James Koziczkowski, Susan Locke, James Lauson, Donna Lohry, Joseph Maehl, Patrick O’Brien, Harvey Rengstorf, John Schaidler, Joanne Sievert, Robert Warnke and Tom Widener.

Voted AGAINST Reducing Board Size to 36
Kenneth Anderson, Jef Hall, Alfred Jacobsen, Stan Kline, Kathleen Lennon, Michael Norton, William Pollnow, Shiloh Ramos, Kenneth Robl, Arlene Schmuhl, Claud Thompson, Forrest Weber and Bill Wingren.

Paul Eisen abstained from voting

Jerold Finch and Jeanette Diakoff were not present at the meeting.

Governor Doyle Announces Four UW Campuses to Be Energy Independent By 2012

[from Gov. Doyle's office]

Governor Jim Doyle today announced that the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh, UW-River Falls and UW-Stevens Point will take part in a pilot program to make their campuses completely energy independent within the next five years. Upon completion, the schools will be the first state-owned facilities capable of acquiring or producing renewable energy equivalent to their consumption.

"With ongoing increases in the cost of energy, now is the time for Wisconsin to take control of our energy future," Governor Doyle said. "By committing four of our campuses to energy independence by 2012 we are tapping into the ingenuity of the UW System and laying the groundwork for a cleaner, more energy independent future in Wisconsin."

The campuses will work with the Department of Administration's Division of State Facilities to identify and implement technologies capable of replacing external power supplies currently serving their locations. Possible replacements include the use of solar or wind power, fuel cells, a greater emphasis on renewable fuels, and a switch to biomass. The project will also emphasize energy conservation strategies to curtail overall energy demand. Currently all four campuses produce their own heating and cooling by burning fossil fuels.

By conservative estimates, converting the four campuses to renewable fuels will save 260,000 tons of coal over a decade - equivalent to a train loaded with coal 30 miles long. It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 676,000 tons and improve the energy efficiency of campuses - saving taxpayers money.

Energy use on college campuses has increased dramatically over time as the proliferation of computer technology and high-end equipment has taken on a larger role in day-to-day campus life. Adding to that demand is an ongoing surge in the number of electronic devices students bring to campus such as laptops, cell phones, iPods and televisions.

Kevin Reilly, President of the University of Wisconsin System, commended the project, saying it holds great promise for not only the pilot campuses but also Wisconsin residents.

"At the heart of the Wisconsin Idea is the belief that what starts on one or two campuses can radiate out and provide benefits to the entire state," Reilly said. "This is an exciting project because it gives our faculty, students and staff an opportunity to find innovative solutions to our energy challenges and a chance to participate in the implementation of those solutions."

Earlier this week, the Governor unveiled plans to grow Bioindustry in Wisconsin through a $450 million public/private investment strategy - including nearly $80 million from the state - in biopower, biofuels and bioproducts. The Governor's proposal, which will be included in his budget next year, is expected to create 17,000 jobs in Wisconsin. The plan includes financial incentives such as bonds, tax credits, loans, and grants for companies to invest in and develop new technologies and renewable energy.

In July, Governor Doyle launched Wisconsin's "Declaration of Energy Independence," setting three broad goals for the state:

  • To generate 25 percent of our electricity and 25 percent of our transportation fuel from renewable fuels by 2025.

  • To capture 10 percent of the market share for the production of renewable energy sources by 2030, helping America kick its addiction to foreign fossil fuels and bringing tens of thousands of new jobs to our citizens. Achieving this goal would bring $13.5 billion annually to Wisconsin's economy by 2030.

  • To become a national leader in groundbreaking research that will make alternative energies more affordable and available to all - and to turn those discoveries into new, high paying jobs right here in Wisconsin.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Winnebago County executive rolls out web site to explain sales tax proposal

In an effort to fully explain the rebirth of his sales tax proposal, Winnebago County executive Mark Harris has rolled out a new web site called Cut Winnebago Property Tax.

As proposed last year – though it failed at the county board level – Harris is again proposing a half-percent sales tax, saying it will capture several million dollars in revenue, much of which will come from tourists, and all of which will go toward providing some level of property tax relief for county residents, in one way or another.

This is especially important for city of Oshkosh residents as we talk about possible cuts in services and/or the possibility of a tax increase, should the referendum to exceed the property tax levy be approved. According to Harris, besides an overall property tax reduction based on where you live, what you spend your disposable income on, how much you spend, where you spend it, etc., a percentage of the dollars generated by the additional sales tax would come directly back to the city, presumably benefiting city taxpayers even further.

This evening Harris presented his proposal, in the form of a Power Point presentation, to members of the county board. That same presentation can be found online at the Cut Winnebago Property Tax web site. (* please note that you do not need to have a Power Point program installed on your computer in order to review the presentation.)

When visiting the web site – which Harris has paid for on his own (he also plans to run radio ads and/or other forms of advertising paid for out of his own pocket because he believes so strongly in the need for and benefit of this proposed sales tax) – viewers will find four sections about the sales tax proposal: Why Change Is Necessary; How It Works; a Savings Calculator; and how to Contact Your County Board Supervisor.

People are encouraged to review Harris’ proposal, use the calculator and either contact him (at 920-236-4896) or their own county board supervisor (see directory on Harris' web site) with additional questions or to voice their support for or concerns with the proposed sales tax.

Mr. Harris will be appearing on Eye on Oshkosh in early November to discuss the sales tax proposal. Anyone who has any questions they would like us to ask for them, should email them to us or post them here and we will be happy to ask them of Mr. Harris when he appears on the show.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Letter writer questions Julie Pung Leschke's ability to relate to constituents

[Editor's Note: We received the following letter today from James Genisio concerning candidate for the 54th Assembly District, Julie Pung Leschke, and her ability to relate to at least a portion of her constituency and where she stands on the issues. It is actually a copy of a letter that was sent to Alex Hummel at the Oshkosh Northwestern and is reprinted here verbatim.]

Alex Hummel,

Another good editorial 9-17-06. Good questions. I think I know some if not most of (Gordon) Hintz's answers.

I received a lot of literature from Julie Pung Leschke before the primary. She must have spent a record amount of money for the 54th District Primary.

But all the literature I received, the last one four large pages, tells me very little as to where she stands on the issues or answers any of the questions you asked in your editorial.

I understand that a few years ago Julie Pung Leschke won the Miss Oshkosh contest. It seems to me from her literature that she is running for Mrs. Oshkosh or perhaps Mother of the Year.

Perhaps you might ask Julie Pung Leschke what experience she has and what she would do for the married couple or single mother who has four children and is working at jobs that pay below the poverty level with little or no benefits.

It is one thing to raise children with an above average income. It is another to raise children and live in poverty.

What would Julie Pung Leschke do for the poor; for those way too poor to contribute to her campaign?

James A. Genisio
(phone number withheld from publication on this web site)

Is DA candidate Joe Manske hiding from the tough questions or is he just camera-shy?

The November election is only about six weeks away and, needless to say, there is a lot riding on it – not only for the candidates, but for us as taxpayers and citizens as well.

One of those elections will be for a new district attorney in Winnebago County. The two candidates seeking the position are Christian Gossett (R) and Joe Manske (D). Christian Gossett is currently in the district attorney’s office and has been for at least three years now. Prior to that he was with the DA’s office in Waukesha County.

I couldn’t tell you anything about Mr. Manske. He is an attorney whose family has been practicing law in the community for a number of years, but that’s where my knowledge of him stops. Others I’ve spoken with know little to nothing about him either. That may be the case right up to the election.

Mr. Manske was called a number of times about appearing on Eye on Oshkosh. The first two or three times he did not return a phone call. I eventually caught him in the office and spoke with him on two separate occasions about appearing on the show. He stalled me each time, saying he wasn’t sure if he wanted to or not, but he asked plenty of questions about who else would be appearing on the show between then and the election.

Last Thursday he left a message for me saying he was not going to appear. He said he has nothing against me or the show – “in fact, I think it’s great,’ he said – but indicated he was "handling his campaign a little differently." I’m not sure what that difference might be, but I have a sneaking suspicion how it may end up. I also know that his choice to not appear on the show seems to be in direct conflict with his own press release issued the very day before he called me.

On Sept. 20, Mr. Manske issued a press release stating among other things that “now that the primary is over, and his opponent is known, it is time to speak out on the major issues of that office which have been brought into the open recently by the Oshkosh Northwestern;” and that “he intends to have an open door policy for the press, and regular contact with the public by open forums or radio addresses.”

I don’t know what open door policy for the press Mr. Manske might be referring to, nor do I know what he considers regular contact with the public and when he intends to have such contact. But clearly the time to talk to people is now. Mr. Manske was given an opportunity to talk with the press for an hour on a widely watched program and he chose not to take it. That’s fine and neither Tony nor I suffer hurt feelings by his decision to take his campaign in a different direction and not appear. But we DO see this is as us extending an invitation to him for free publicity and his electing not to take it, presumably because he does not want to answer difficult questions. So be it.

Mr. Gossett, on the other hand, was not only gracious and savvy enough to grab free publicity when he could before the primary, we are pleased to be hosting him for another hour before the November general election. We invite your questions in advance of that interview being taped and I can at least assure viewers that while they may know very little about candidate Manske, they will know everything they need to about Christian Gossett in order to go to the polls and cast their vote for our next DA.

On a side note, I am personally proud to support Christian Gossett for that position now and on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Town Hall meeting announced


I am announcing to all that I will be having another TOWN HALL
MEETING with the public to be held on MONDAY OCTOBER 9, 2006 from 6 :
00 PM TO 7 : 30 PM in the COURTHOUSE LOUNGE located in the basement of





Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Note for next council elections...

Contributed by: Anonymous
Regarding who to vote for when their terms are up.


These four cast their votes tonight to in-effect give the council the ability to raise your property taxes by 2.3 million beyond state limits if a referendum passes.

Please remember their vote when it comes time for you to cast your vote

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

Note for next council elections...
Authored by: admin on Tuesday, September 19 2006 @ 08:33 PM MDT
Let's be very clear about what they did with their vote tonight. They voted to put something on the November ballot. That's it. The electorate will have the final decision on whether or not taxes get raised. If the anti-referendum crowd is so convinced it will get voted down, they will be no worse off no matter how many councilors voted in favor of the referendum.

But, as we heard tonight, if the referendum is approved by voters, taxes may not end up being increased to the maximum as set forth in the referendum. Though I will say that Paul Esslinger and Burk Tower made accurate assessments about the wording of the referendum being questionable, and it seems to me the words "up to" could and should be added to make things more clear and help ease everyone's comfort level. But even if the levy is exceeded by the limit, it will add $53 to the city tax bill on a $100,000 property; this, as opposed to a garbage/recycling fee of $120.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy about paying more, but as I said in an earlier post, though there are cuts to be made we still need to have additional revenue and I'd much rather it be on my property tax bill than not. And I think we'd all rather pay less than more.

The majority of our council, including the four mentioned by "anonymous," have targets on their backs with a certain segment in this community, and "anonymous" knows it and will use it to his/her advantage. These "anonymous" folks are the very people who will say that these councilors should be voted out for approving this referendum; but they would also say to vote them out if the referendum fails and the garbage fee ordinance remains on the books. At the same time, if both fail and services are dramatically cut, they’ll say we should vote them out because we are suffering so with these horrible cuts. "Anonymous" and those like him/her are not being reasonable or fair.

I might also add that Paul Esslinger, for all his chest-thumping about this issue, is partly to blame for our current predicament. He has, after all, served multiple terms on various councils that have continued to approve budgets containing contracts for city employees that set wages and benefits that many of us, including him, are today complaining about (though he may not have voted to approve every one of those budgets). All past councilors, especially multiple-term councilors, must share in the blame for this mess.

Remember also, that Esslinger actually argued FOR the garbage fee for several months last year and as late as May of this year, when - in the 11th hour - he conveniently changed his mind (though much too late), saying "the people don't want it." Well the people NEVER wanted it, yet Mr. Esslinger kept saying while it was the worst of two evils, it was still better than what we'd had.

Well, at this stage of the game, exceeding the levy instead of having a garbage fee may be the LESSER of two evils.

Bottom line: Let's make the cuts we need to and stop frittering money away on luxuries. But at the same time, let's be realistic instead of pig-headed and realize that if push comes to shove, we either do away with services as we now know them or pay the price. I, for one, am not willing to sacrifice most of what we have and would rather pay a smaller amount than a larger one to ensure our keeping it.

- Cheryl

Who's really to blame for the financial fix we're in?

Every time there's a conversation these days about the city budget, there is an equally loud conversation in which the participants are complaining about the current city council. The two seem to automatically go hand-in-hand, as if they were conjoined twins.

Like many, I believe this council has not been the most fiscally responsible. In fact, the majority of the current council has spent millions on "wants" instead of "needs." But they are not the biggest problem when we speak of salaries and benefits for city employees.

When that conversation is held, we better make sure to give past councils, especially multiple-term councilors, a large "thank you" for the bind we're in. After all, it is they who continued to approve budgets that included contracts paying the wages so many think are too high, work schedules as they are and the so-called "gold-plated" benefits plan. (Same goes for current and past school boards, by the way.)

Granted, times may have been better then. But be that as it may, we cannot turn back the hands of time and we cannot expect one city council to undo what previous councils have done.

We also have to continually remember that our legislators in Madison are to blame for a large portion of the problem - and, unfortunately, most of them continue to enjoy re-election every two years. Why have we not yet sent them a message at the ballot box and when will we? Or WILL we?

I agree there are cuts to be made, but I am unconvinced they are substantial enough to get us where we need to be budgetarily to avoid what City Hall tells us is inevitable- higher taxes or new fees. I also agree that the unions should be willing to bargain reasonably and fairly, particularly in the area of benefits. But the law and the deals that have been struck with them in previous years only allow so much room for new negotiation today.

Bottom line: the current council needs to make reasonable budget cuts where it can and be more fiscally responsible with our money in the future, and the unions need to make some concessions where it can. But while fingers are being pointed, it's only fair to also point at those in Madison and at our previous city councils, as well as the current one. It is both unreasonable and unfair to expect the current council to fix all the problems others helped create.

- Cheryl

Can newspapers succeed at journalism and as a business entity?

In the last few years the Oshkosh Northwestern has been the subject of many citizens in the community who have assaulted their journalism tactics, criticized them for their bias, found fault with and poked fun at their frequent mistakes, and Lord knows what else.

The powers that be at the Oshkosh Northwestern have admitted that they've lost readership, but then again, so have many newspapers with the increasing popularity of the Internet and its online publications and so-called community journalists and bloggers. The Northwestern has also tried a variety of different things in order to keep abreast with the ever-changing technology, including its most recent effort, an online discussion board called Oshkonversation.

But can a newspaper do good journalism and be a successful, profitable business at the same time? That's the issue being examined by this Fox News piece in light of recent events at the Los Angeles Times.

Check it out and decide for yourself if a paper can be a money-making interest, or is it merely a public trust with public interests?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fair Wisconsin Releases New Ad

Statewide Focus on Real Families Hurt by the Civil Unions & Marriage Ban

For Immediate Release: Monday, Sept. 18th, 2006

Madison -- Fair Wisconsin debuted a new statewide ad today that focuses on the real-life story of a Wisconsin family who would be hurt by the civil unions and marriage ban.

To view the ad, visit:

“The goal of the ad is to help voters understand how families in Wisconsin—like Lynn, Jean, and Katy—would be hurt because the constitutional ban denies them basic rights,” said Fair Wisconsin campaign manager Mike Tate. “This is not an abstract debate about the 'definition of marriage.' We’re talking about how we should treat our friends, families, coworkers, and neighbors.”

The ban would outlaw basic rights that come with civil unions or marriage, such as hospital visits, medical decisions, shared pensions, or bereavement leave in the case of a death in the family.

Fair Wisconsin has been running ads for several weeks. The first ads introduced the civil unions and marriage ban to voters and featured actual "people on the street" reacting to the amendment’s far-reaching second sentence.

The new ad explains the story of Lynn and Jean, and their daughter Katy. After being together for 15 years, Jean was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Because Lynn was not legally recognized as Jean’s next of kin, they faced obstacles beyond what any family faces when a loved one has cancer. Even after paying lawyers to put together the few, limited protections available, the family faced significant financial worries and uncertainty over whether Lynn would be allowed to see Jean in the hospital or make critical medical decisions.

Hundreds of legal experts, former Wisconsin Bar Association presidents, the Wisconsin Medical Society, former governors, business leaders, advocates for the elderly, and labor groups agree that the amendment will not only outlaw civil unions but could also overturn existing protections for unmarried couples, including powers of attorney and domestic partner health care benefits. This could mean families in Lynn and Jean's situation could have an even more difficult time, if the ban passes.

“There are thousands of gay families who live in every part of Wisconsin. They are minding their own business, taking care of one another, and contributing to their communities like everyone else,” said Tate. “It’s wrong to deny basic rights to a family that has been together for 10, 15, or 20 years. Once voters understand the human impact of the ban, they will vote no.”

Fair Wisconsin maintains a Story Collection Project to help explain these families’ lives and the way they will be harmed by the civil unions and marriage ban. To learn more visit:

Public Sector Unions

Contributed by: Anonymous
It was reported on WOSH AM 1490 radio today that Wisconsin teachers have the 2nd - 3rd BEST benefit plan of all states in the United States.

Wisconsin teachers rank 26th in wages.

We are about average with wages, BUT have a GOLD PLATED benefit plan for our teachers. 2nd or 3rd BEST IN THE NATION!!!!

I wonder how municiple employees would fair in a similar survey. Most-likely Oshkosh and Winnebago County would have results similar to the teachers unions.

Public sector unions (City, County, School System) are a burden to the average American middleclass taxpayer.

Gas prices dramatically lower; still higher in Oshkosh than most of northern Valley

According to an article in today's Oshkosh Northwestern the American Automobile Association says Wisconsin’s average price of self-service regular gasoline is down more than 65 cents a gallon since setting a new all-time record high last month.

It's a relief to see the lower prices at the pump, but I still don't understand why Oshkosh service stations continue to be anywhere from 3- to 5-cents more per gallon than stations in Neenah, Menasha, Appleton, etc. Needless to say, since members of my household are in those communities on a regular basis, we patronize stations there and not in Oshkosh. I hear the same from a lot of people who commute to the northern part of the county for work or pleasure. It wouldn't necessarily make sense to drive there ONLY to get gas, but as long as one is driving there anyway, may as well shop at the stations that offer a beter price. You'd think Oshkosh stations would get the message that lower prices will bring you more customers. Or did they learn nothing from the "gas wars?"

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pay differences: Same job, 10 different cities

With salaries and benefits being at the forefront of negotiations between our local governmental bodies and the various labor unions to which most of our city, county and school district employees belong, and since so many in the community are discussing the wages and benefits earned by public sector employees, the following article might be of interest to you...

According to the above piece at, "The cost of living and the cost of labor vary from city to city, so it's no surprise that a company may pay different amounts for the same position depending on where it's located." The writer is correct in that this probably isn't much of a surprise to most of us. But the article goes on to say that "in theory, a higher salary in one city may be expected to afford the job-holder the same quality of life as she could expect in the same position in a less expensive city. But it often doesn't due to the effect of taxes and local inflation rates."

You can also find out what and where some of the top-paying 6-figure jobs are by going to and learn if you're being paid what you're worth by visiting

Open Letter To All Council Members

Contributed by: Anonymous

Council Members:
These are some random observations after watching the recent budget work shop –

1)I am appalled at the concept promoted by the Water Department Supervisor and approved and supported by the City Manager to re-classify two meter reader positions as “Valve Turners” when the new water meter system is installed. We allow for these two new positions and yet consider staff reductions in public service. That is simply wrong thinking.When it originally asked whether the new system would lead to any employee downsizing, both the City Manager and City Water Supervisor said no. The two employees who current read meters would be re-classified to new positions as valve turners. The reasoning was that no one currently performs these duties and they would be crucial positions currently not performed by anyone in the water department. In the follow-up meeting held last Tuesday, again the question was posed. This time further clarification was given that each of these two employees only read meter 20 hours each week. The other half of their week they perform other duties.I am truly skeptical here. If the two positions in question only are required to be out checking meters for 20 hours each week, it would seem to me that on occasion, the other remaining 20 hours could have been used for valve turning and avoided the extreme jeopardy we are facing per the Managers comments.My bottom line is I do not believe this. I think that when pushed to justify the two positions to be eliminated, the Manager then back-peddled and tried to sell you on the positions are used for other duties beyond meter reading.

2)When discussing staffing reductions, the number of 9 police positions was the number offered. When pushed for more detailed information, it was discovered that some number like 6 of those 9 positions are not currently filled. Only 3 actual employees would be affected by the layoff.This all seems a bit like the old “Shell game”. When a number is offered as to positions affected by layoffs, most people would assume that employees currently hold those positions, not that they are open spots on a table of organization. When dealing with layoffs, you’re considering peoples livelihoods! Accurate numbers need to be given.I am apposed to any fee for garbage pick-up. I am apposed to any additional property tax in place of the fee. I feel there are countless areas in our City Departments to absorb cuts. I would also support layoffs and lesser services in some areas if required.

Specific areas for consideration –
1)Outsource all general janitorial duties.
2)Combine all vehicle maintenance duties to the central garage and run multiple shifts.
3)Eliminate the Forestry Dept and when needed, outsource these services.
4)Eliminate the City Sign Shop and outsource when needed.
5)Consider the sale of the Municipal Golf course.
6)Down size our bus fleet with smaller busses.
7)Reduce the service area and schedule of bus service.
8)Make all special events pay for police security (overtime) if needed.
9)Consider outfitting garbage trucks to be able to plow snow.
10)Look into the Sanitation Department employee scheduling and routes.
11)Consider a secretarial pool for City Hall general secretaries.
12)Evaluate whether parking meter maintenance and attendant labor is offset by revenue income. If not, consider eliminating parking meters altogether.
13)Offer incentives to those that pay bills by electronic methods verses at the bill collection area at City Hall.
14)Eliminate the 24/7 schedule on the complaint desk at OPD.

These are just a few ideas. Without question, the most important factor is the current negotiation sessions with the various bargaining units representing city employees. The city negotiation team must be willing and able to put forth a stern demand to the bargaining units for dramatic wage and benefit concessions. I would support taking an austere offer to arbitration and making my case to the arbitration body that the taxpayers in Oshkosh have set the tone to be far more frugal with wages and benefits for city employees.

Don't accept the easy way out and just pass the problem to the taxpayers with higher property taxes.You must DEMAND that the City Manager and his Supervisors give you far more, well thought out options...options to reduce, eliminate or consolidate positions and services within the City Government. People are truly upset at this entire series of events. We expect you as elected councilors to represent the taxpayers of this community, not the city staff and department administrators and bureaucrats. Please listen to us and demand cuts before you consider any added property taxes.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

2006 Wisconsin Great Lakes Chronicle Now Available

2006 Wisconsin Great Lakes Chronicle Now Available; Publication Details Issues Affecting Lakes Michigan and Superior

In conjunction with Governor Jim Doyle's proclamation of September as Coastal Awareness Month, the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program (WCMP) today announced the publication of the 2006 Wisconsin Great Lakes Chronicle. An annual publication covering significant initiatives and emerging issues affecting Wisconsin's coasts, the Chronicle is presented in an easy-to-read style that makes it accessible to all readers no matter what their knowledge of the Great Lakes.

"Life in Wisconsin is greatly enhanced by our ties to Lake Michigan and Lake Superior," said Governor Doyle. "By looking at important issues affecting those lakes, the Wisconsin Great Lakes Chronicle is helping both government and the general public better understand the important stewardship role we all play in caring for the lakes so that they may be enjoyed by future generations."

Protecting the Great Lakes has been a priority for the Doyle Administration. As chairman of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, Governor Doyle led the effort to sign ANNEX 2001- an agreement to promote water conservation and protect the Great Lakes waters from diversion to places like Arizona or Las Vegas. He has also led the fight against invasive species, and used his veto pen to protect grant dollars used by coastal communities to guide future growth in a way that protects and enhances the Great Lakes coasts.

This year's edition of the Wisconsin Great Lakes Chronicle features articles on:

  • Great Lakes water diversion and the Annex 2001 agreement
  • Stormwater pollution control efforts in the City of Superior
  • Milwaukee Public Library's "ShipShape" historic marine vessel information project
  • Bad River Band of Chippewa Indians' work restoring native cranberries
  • National Estuarine Research Reserve initiative for Lake Superior's south shore
  • Milwaukee Urban Water Trail
  • Coastal Community Planning

Authors published in the Wisconsin Great Lakes Chronicle include WCMP staff, state agency and local government partners.

The Wisconsin Great Lakes Chronicle is distributed yearly to public policy and opinion leaders, public schools and libraries in the fifteen Great Lakes coastal counties, and the general public. Copies of the 2006 Wisconsin Great Lakes Chronicle may be requested by calling 608-267-7982 or e-mailing

Doyle Campaign: Wisconsin Teachers Endorse Governor Doyle

[the following is a press release from Gov. Doyle's deputy press secretary]

Wisconsin Teachers Endorse Governor Doyle

WEAC’s President Stan Johnson: ‘It is Truly Frightening to Think About Where Public Education Would be in Wisconsin Today Without Jim Doyle as Our Governor’

MADISON – The Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) – Wisconsin’s largest association of education employees – today endorsed Governor Jim Doyle’s bid for re-election, citing his steadfast commitment over the last four years to ensuring that every Wisconsin child can get a great education.

“Great education starts with great teachers. The First Lady is a teacher, I have stood with teachers my entire career, and I’m proud to stand with them today,” Governor Doyle said.

Governor Doyle’s commitment to public education has been unwavering. Faced with a $3.2 billion budget deficit when he took office, Governor Doyle was able to get Wisconsin’s fiscal house back in order, while protecting our public schools. The Governor balanced two straight budgets without raising taxes, and still made an historic investment in public education – making sure our schools and teachers have the resources they need and lowering the burden on the state’s property taxpayers.

“It is truly frightening to think about where public education would be in Wisconsin today without Jim Doyle as our Governor over the last four years,” said Stan Johnson, President of WEAC. “He has been a true friend of public schools and Wisconsin’s communities and families. For all of these reasons, I will be pleased to formally announce WEAC’s recommendation of Jim Doyle for Governor.”

Governor Doyle has a record of investing in our children’s education.

  • Governor Doyle has made it a priority to maintain the state’s commitment to funding two-thirds of the cost of public education, ensuring that schools are allowed at least a modest increase to deal with inflation and other increased costs. [Source: 2005 Wisconsin Act 25]
  • Governor Doyle stopped Republicans in the Legislature from making a $400 million cut to education that would have put thousands of teachers out of work, forced the elimination of arts and foreign languages classes, increased class sizes, and put our children’s education at risk. [Source: 2005 Wisconsin Act 25]
  • Governor Doyle has proposed new legislation to raise standards by requiring a third year of math and science for all high school graduates so that Wisconsin kids will remain competitive with their peers across the globe. [Source: Governor Doyle 2006 State of the State Address]
  • Governor Doyle, together with the UW System and Technical College System, Wisconsin’s private colleges and universities, and the Department of Public instruction, are implementing the Wisconsin Covenant to put higher education within reach for all eighth graders. [Source: Governor Doyle Release, 9/6/06]
  • Governor Doyle has expanded Advanced Placement classes and Gifted and Talented middle school offerings around the state. [Source: 2005 Wisconsin Act 25]
    Governor Doyle protected four-year-old kindergarten from draconian Republican cuts and has sought to expand the program statewide. About one-third of school districts offered 4K programs when Governor Doyle took office. Now, nearly 55 percent of school districts offer this important program. [Source: 2003 Wisconsin Act 33, Department of Public Instruction]
  • Governor Doyle has increased funding for the SAGE small class size program, pupil transportation, special education, and educating English language learners. [2005 Wisconsin Act 25, Governor Doyle Press Release, 2/17/06]
  • Governor Doyle has sought reforms to the school funding formula to help schools facing declining enrollment, including greater revenue limit flexibility so that schools could retain more of their base revenues even as enrollment declines. The Republicans in the Legislature – many of whom represent rural schools that are declining in enrollment – voted against both of these measures. [Source: 2005 Wisconsin Assembly Bill 25
  • Governor Doyle has twice included in his budget the elimination of the inflexible and counterproductive Qualified Economic Offer, which impedes the state’s ability to attract and retain the best teachers. [Source: 2003 Wisconsin Act 33, 2005 Wisconsin Act 25]

In contrast, Congressman Mark Green has proposed a budget plan that would devastate schools, and proposed a one-size-fits-all education plan that would leave schools, especially those in rural areas, struggling to fund school nurses, school bus maintenance, and school security, and wouldn’t allow them the flexibility to react to emergencies. [Source: Green for Wisconsin Release, 8/14/06]

A national study released last November indicated that the strategy employed in Congressman Green’s education plan would do nothing to raise student achievement. And former U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige called the idea "one of the worst ideas in education,” saying it would “tie school leaders' hands at a time when they need more freedom to innovate.” [Source: Standard & Poor's, 11/22/05; New York Times Op-Ed, 6/27/06]

Congressman Green’s record in Congress shows he has been no friend to education.

  • Congressman Green voted against additional funding for special education, reading and math services for low-income students, and the Head Start program. [Source: HR3010, Vote 320, 6/24/05]
  • Congressman Green cast the deciding vote last February to slash federal student aid by more than $12 billion, the largest cut in the program's history. [Source: HRS653, Vote 4, 2/1/06]
  • Congressman Green voted against increases for Pell grants for our neediest students. [Sources: HR2863, Vote 668, 12/18/05; HR3010, Vote 573, 11/8/05; HR3010, Vote 320, 6/24/05]

County budget reveals 19 full, 4 part-time job cuts - 12 in sheriff's department

The 2007 proposed Winnebago County budget has been drafted and it reveals the county cutting approximately 23 positions. Of those, 19 are full-time, four are part-time - and 12 of them are being cut from the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department.

According to a story in today's Oshkosh Northwestern, Sheriff Mike Brooks originally presented a budget for his department which called for the elimination of 15 positions, but county executive Mark Harris felt that was too severe and left three of those positions intact by adding $200,000 back into Brook's budget. Still, even with the 12 cuts being proposed, Brooks says public safety should not be jeopardized.

You can read more about it here.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Preliminary City of Oshkosh budget revealed

This past Wednesday night, city manager Richard Wollangk presented the Oshkosh Common Council with its first glimpse into the 2007 budget during a preliminary budget workshop.

A copy of the presentation can be found by going here.

As I indicated in an email to Mr. Wollangk yesterday, I still believe there are cuts that can be made. I just don't know that, when you look at how our hands are tied, especially in areas of labor contracts, there are enough cuts that can be made to offset how we've been hurt by the levy freeze. And while some services could be altered, or even reduced, to improve efficiencies, I am not sure that we want to see services as we currently know them drastically change or be done away with in their entirety.

Mayor Castle is proposing a referendum to exceed the levy. The direct impact has been explained to me in the following way by Dick Wollangk. "For 2006 our tax levy was $24,322,868 plus we projected that we would collect $629,750 for the 4th quarter sanitation fee for a total of $24,952,618. For 2007 we have projected that our levy limit would be $25,609,686 which is $657,068 more than we collected this year. The referendum, if passed, would allow us to have a tax levy of $26,635,878 which is $1,026,192 more than the levy freeze would allow us to receive.

"The impact of this higher levy on a taxpayer would be $.53 per $1000 of assessed valuation. This means that a home assessed at $100,000 would pay an additional $53 for city taxes to put sanitation back on the taxes and would also allow us to maintain our current services. We would still have to maintain a very lean budget and make some additional cuts but we would not have to impact core services as greatly or eliminate other services completely."

We've heard a lot of good suggestions on how to become more fiscally efficient and responsible, and I encourage the city to employ as many of those suggestions as possible. But again, I don't think that, even when added all together, they're going to make the kind of difference we need to see. So if we want to have garbage picked up and some of the other things continued that we've come to expect and often take for granted, we need to find a way to pay for them. If it comes down to fees or taxes, I'll opt for the taxes because the property tax bill is deductible on our income tax returns.

I would encourage the city council to approve Mr. Castle's referendum proposal and let the citizens decide if they would prefer fees or taxes - or neither. And that includes approval even by those council members who spoke in opposition of it the other night but who always say "we need to let the people decide." I agree, let the people decide this issue.

But that being said, whether the citizens go along with Mayor Castle's referendum or not, the council needs to behave more responsibly when it comes to fiscal matters and stop spending on frivolities - no matter what "budget" it's coming out of.

Because bottom line: Whether it's the general operating budget or the capital improvements budget, it's all coming out of the same pocket - yours and mine. And many are getting tapped out on what they can afford to pay and still live a modest life.

And if the levy question does get placed on the ballot, it should (a) provide language stating by exactly how much we'd be exceeding the levy freeze and (b) a promise that the levy would NOT be exceeded at all IF the garbage fee remains in the budget for 2007.

- Cheryl

Oshkosh Northwestern launches discussion board

The Oshkosh Northwestern has launched a new discussion board called Oshkonversation. Various topics of interest to Oshkosh residents will be offered for discussion. You will need to be a registered user in order to participate.

You can reach the discussion board by going here or here.

Meanwhile, if you have an idea for a discussion topic, you can contact Editorial Page Editor Alex Hummel at (920) 426-6669 or by email at

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Election 2006

Congratulations to the winners in all races in the 2006 fall primary election. To those who ran, but did not make it, better luck next time. And to everyone who ran, thank you for giving of your time to help make our political process a democratic one.

- "Eye on Oshkosh"

Fifth Tuesday Forum

Tuesday, September 12 2006 @ 06:15 AM MDT
Contributed by: mjs

Please see........

My reply to Bryan...

Thanks for publishing your notes Bryan. You and others at the meeting obviously asked some pointed “tough” questions.

I was disappointed, but not surprised at the responses that were given by City Department Supervisors. As a citizen, when I read the replies, all I come away with is arrogance and the desire to maintain their status-quo.

I believe the only way you and your fellow city councilors will be able to serve the citizens of Oshkosh is to DEMAND, not ask, for method improvements.

It appears none of the Supervisors are TEAM players. They clearly have self serving interest at the root of their decision making process. No improvements can occur until people start thinking “out-of-the box” with regard to cost savings, downsizing, consolidation and process improvement. These Supervisors and Managers are obviously not prepared for that challenge and I submit, they need to be taken to task by our City Council as there highest level Management body!

The editorial in the 9-12-06 issue of the Northwestern was right on target Bryan. People will not tolerate status quo any longer. You have the skills and knowledge to drive this change, people support you. Time to take off your kid gloves and get this job accomplished!

[Editor's note: The spelling of Mr. Bain's first name was corrected before this editorial was published. Also, the following are comments in response to the original post as they appeared on an earlier version of Eye on Oshkosh.]

The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Fifth Tuesday Forum
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 12 2006 @ 09:42 AM MDT
I hope Bryan Bain takes the lead on this. He's one of the only people up on that table that seem to care about the average tax payer and hasn't screwed up his reputation so he can actually be effective.

Fifth Tuesday Forum
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 12 2006 @ 11:30 AM MDT
If Mayor Castle really thinks that the majority of people in Oshkosh will vote themselves more property taxes when the city hasn't really even looked into how it can cut costs, I question how he got elected Mayor.The city administration is so full of fat that significant cuts would be easy to make. They need to look at how we construct our next contract with the unions also. The city administrators have to make a better effort to share rising healthcare costs with these people. I for one really believe that the city workers have a gold plated benefit plan that I'm helping to pay for, and my family can hardly pay for our own plan. Its just not right.

Fifth Tuesday Forum
Authored by: DBCooper on Tuesday, September 12 2006 @ 07:03 PM MDT
I'm watching the City Manager's Report on channel 10 right now. Richard Wollangk is practically foaming at the mouth over the the mayors proposal to allow the city to exceed the cap. He's laying out what it means, what it will happen if they don't come up with the 1.8 million dollar shortfall, etc. I don't think I've ever seen him quite so PASSIONATE about anything before! It's too bad he can't be passionate about cutting spending and cutting services and re-organizing city government instead of taking the easy way out...

Fifth Tuesday Forum
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 14 2006 @ 04:22 PM MDT
This is the reason that Doyle put a cap on property taxes. If the city had it their way they'd just raise the levy and be done with look at cutting spending or making processes more efficient.Again, there are ways to cut spending! Look at last year's budget meeting. There were at least three proposals on the table (Bain & F Tower) and the rest of the council balked at them. Yet, there's no fat to cut? C'mon. How are some council members able to find cuts, yet other members are not willing to make the hard choices or find some cuts themselves. Please. I remember that was like the rest of the council hadn't even looked for ways to solve the problem with cuts...they had their mind made up that the fee was the way to go and that was the end of it. They didn't even consider the other alternatives. Rediculous if you ask me.And regarding the garbage? I'm a firm believer that with automation, like many of the communities in our area, would reduce costs dramatically. Not only would you eliminate one city worker (and all the benefits they receive) from each truck, you would uniform how much garbage is picked up (less trips to the county dump = less dump fee's for the city = cut in, I just found a cut!...see, that wasn't so hard!). Just think of the manpower savings! Less people, more efficiency (less time to do the same route...less wages people!). Yeah, the trucks are expensive up-front, but the savings are tremendous in the back-end.

Fifth Tuesday Forum
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 14 2006 @ 08:04 PM MDT
Just as long as the garbage employees would be cut, and not like in the water department make meter readers into valve twisters, and cut no one!

Fifth Tuesday Forum
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 14 2006 @ 08:29 PM MDT
Just now questioning the Castle for Mayor. Boy, even a blind person could see this coming. Spending 12 to get elected to the Mayor position that he didn't even want and we wonder how effective he'll be. Silver spoon syndrome. Don't blame me thou, I voted for Paul Eslinger!

Fifth Tuesday Forum
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 14 2006 @ 08:47 PM MDT
Too bad for you. You were in the minority voting for that clown. He acts too big for his britches. That electton shoulda knocked him down a peg. But's he not smart enough to see people didn't want him for mayor. We'll send the same message if he runs again.

Fifth Tuesday Forum
Authored by: Zoff B. on Tuesday, September 12 2006 @ 06:49 PM MDT
After reading Bryan Bains notes I was overwhelming left with the impression of how arrogant and evasive the responses by the city staff sounded. Why should I be surprised, it's just same type of comments given to the council by the staff at the city council meetings.I was especially struck by the comment that the city would not look into using garbage trucks for snow removal because, while saving costs, it would reduce the current service. How strange that the city manager and police chief have no prolem going on the local news and threatening reduced fire and police service if the garbage refurendum passes.I hope Mr. Bain steps up and starts demanding accountabliity and ANSWERS to his questions

Fifth Tuesday Forum
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, September 14 2006 @ 08:26 PM MDT
Why would Bryan start with accountability now when his poor votes helped create this mess. How about Bryan has another town hall meeting and then listen to the voters but then, say we shouldn't change in the eleventh hour. Another scrawny politician whose shoulders are narrower than his shoes. Problem is the losers run for office and the hard working citizens are too busy paying for their mistakes.

Remember to go vote today

Today is primary election day. It may not be as important in your mind as the general election day, but it should be. The list of candidates is whittled down to one candidate from each party in a partisan primary contest. In some cases, where there is no challenger in another party, a primary election is actually the deciding factor. Such is the case in some races today; in our immediate area, the state assembly race for the 53rd district.

The one difference about today's election - one which many don't understand and even more of us don't like - is that you can't cross party lines. So if you are voting for a Democrat in one race, you cannot then vote for a Republican, Green or Independent in another. You don't have to vote for all candidates in one party, but you cannot change parties midstream. If you do, your entire ballot is voided.

This creates a dilemma for many because they have interest in different races and candidates in those races may be from different parties. For example, you may want to vote in the Democratic race for Attorney General, but also have a strong interest in the Republican primary race for Winnebago County District Attorney.

My advice to you is pick the race that you think might be the closest and cast your ballot for the candidate of your choice. Then hope for the best.Remember also, today marks the debut of touch screen voting machines - one at each polling place. You do not have to use the touch screen machine and, given the history of problems with these machines in other states, you might be better off not. But if you do, please pay close attention to the directions for use, and if you have questions about how to use them before you actually proceed to the machine, ask one of the poll workers. They can answer general questions before you begin the voting process.

Whichever machine you use and whoever you vote for, the most important thing is to exercise your privilege to vote by going to the polls, and making your voice heard in one of the most democratic ways possible.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Oshkosh Area LWV to Hold Voting Rights Meeting

A close look at voting rights and changes is the theme of the Oshkosh Area League of Women Voters open meeting on September 20 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Oshkosh Public Library.

After the LWV—Wisconsin’s two year study on voting rights in Wisconsin, it is time for local leagues to learn about and discuss changes in Wisconsin’s voting procedures. The state leagues will take consensus on five voting rights questions this winter. The election changes have been prompted by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) that sought to correct problems that surfaced in the 2000 presidential election, especially the problems Florida voters faced.

The League has as its guests for the September meeting Winnebago County clerk Sue Ertmer and Oshkosh City Clerk Pam Ubrig to answer questions on how towns and the city are complying with HAVA and the new state elections law. Primarily the league wants to know what changes have been brought about due to the switch to statewide voter lists and procedures for registering new voters.

The League is also looking into the rise in absentee voting and whether new plans for dealing with early voters are necessary, selection of election officials (poll workers), and deputy registrars. League members have assisted as deputy registrars for past elections.

The League of Women Voters is an outgrowth of the women’s suffrage movement that led to the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gave women the right to vote. As such the League’s major concern is stated in its national position on voting: The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that voting is a fundamental citizen right that must be guaranteed.

This September meeting is open to all interested voters. Just a note that it will adhere to the League’s current study items which do not include touch screen voting machines.

A history of the World Trade Center and its Twin Towers

As it was for those of us old enough to remember where we were or what we were doing when President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, most of us can recall what we were doing five years ago today when we first heard of the terrorist attacks in NYC, on the Pentagon, and as a fourth plane commandeered by terrorists crashed in a field outside of Shanksville, Penn.

On this fifth anniversary of the WTC attacks, many bloggers across the Internet are asking people to post their memories and thoughts about the events they watched unfold in 2001. Indeed, we should never forget the horror of that day, the lives that were tragically snatched from our midst, nor our own vulnerability as a nation knowing it could happen again, at any time. It is a very cathartic thing for people to express themselves in this way. It also helps build community in a cyber world where most will never meet, but whose lives touch others and become entwined, if through no other means than mere words on a screen.

But in an effort to not overdo what so many are doing or take away from their efforts, I thought readers might appreciate
a history of the World Trade Center, as well as several other links to information about 9/11

But, however you remember today, let us never forget...

- Cheryl

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tips for effectively managing ideas

How often has an idea hit you just as you were about to fall asleep and you told yourself "I've got to write that down first thing in the morning," but then when morning finally came, you'd completely forgotten it?

One way to keep that from happening is to keep a small notepad and pen or pencil on the nightstand next to your bed. Others find it useful to keep a tape recorder next to the bed so they can easily record those last minute thoughts before drifting off to slumber.

There are plenty of ways to manage ideas and here are a few (actually the author of this particular article calls it "7 Idea Dumping Tips (How To Manage Diarrhea of the Brain)." Give it a read and see if there's not something there that will help you manage your ideas better.

Live ads coming to video games? You bet!

Over the weekend, I received a story by email from someone about video games that in the near future will feature live streaming video of commercials. I thought it was an interesting news item so here it is for those of you who may not have heard about it and are interested.

It's interesting because I think most of us want to watch as few ads as possible - unless they're really compelling or clever (the Geico spots immediately come to mind). We videotape programs, then fast forward through the commercials or use that time to go do a quick errand in the house or run to the restroom. But most of us certainly don't pay as much attention to the commercials as advertisers probably wish we would.

Still, we can't get away from them, and because advertisers no longer have a captive audience with the TV viewers - for the very reason mentioned above - they are finding other, more enterprising ways to hawk their products. When we buy or rent a video, it has other movies previewed up front. These are commercials in and of themselves. When we go to the movies, there the commercials are, right before the 10 minutes of previews. We go to many places on the Internet and the ads pop up at us, unless we have the pop-up blocker turned on. In that case, it's true we don't have to see the ad but we also don't get to see the material we tried accessing in the first place.

Indeed, advertising is everywhere and now it appears it will be on certain video games as well. I'm sure few will mind as long as they can fast forward or skip over them. But for anyone paying $50 or more for a video game, I doubt too many people are going to be happy to see more ads if they can't skip them somehow.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Lack of respect shown at high school game

Like many in Oshkosh, I attended the football game between city high school rivals Oshkosh West and Oshkosh North earlier this evening. Congratulations to the Spartans on their victory and better luck next time to the Wildcats. Though I am a West alumnus, my disappointment goes beyond the outcome of the game. Indeed, it extends to the lack of common courtesy shown by so many of the students in attendance and even some of the adults.

My party and I were seated in the second tier of bleaches, where many people throughout the stadium found themselves having to stand during the entire game in order to see because those in the lower tiers remained standing from the time the players first took the field to the final whistle being blown. In response to the frustration expressed by us and several others around us, one woman said “It’s like this at every game. The only way to avoid it is to sit higher up.” While that may sound like good advice, it's hardly practical. After all, everyone who attends a game at the stadium can’t sit high up. There would not be enough bleachers "high up" to accommodate everyone. And doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having bleachers throughout the entire stadium in the first place?

I understand that crowds often tend to rise to their feet during certain plays. Most of us could live with that, I think. But why these people, mostly students, found it necessary to stand for the entire game is beyond me. Stadium seating is specifically designed to allow everyone an equal opportunity to see.

This is not meant to be an alternative suggestion, but I think some people could have even dealt with the standing IF the kids had stood on the cement area in front of their seats. But, no, they all stood on the actual bleacher seats themselves, essentially forcing everyone else behind them to stand for the entire game if they wanted to see anything at all. And the students near us weren’t even paying much, if any, attention to the game. How could they, after all? They were much too busy goofing around with each other, talking on their cell phones and looking around to see who of their friends were there and so forth.

I asked a couple of Oshkosh Auxiliary police officers if they could ask the announcer to please make an announcement asking that people be courteous and sit down. Without missing a beat, one replied with what seemed to be a standard phrase of “That’s not going to happen, maam. They’re kids and they’ll just keep right on standing.” Well, thanks for trying, officer. I can see you’ve done everything humanly possible to help out. As people continued complaining to each other while becoming more and more frustrated, a gentleman nearby our group actually went to the press box and asked if such an announcement could be made. He returned frustrated, saying he was told “It won’t do any good. And really, the games are for the kids anyway.” Is that so? If that’s the case why are tickets being sold? After all, the students get in free. The rest of us are paying to see the game, but what we end up seeing instead is not a bunch of kids standing in front of us blocking our vision.

It may be a futile effort to ask kids to remain in their seats, but you won't know unless you try. I think most kids are decent and would respond favorably if asked to sit down so others can see. But if no one tells them what should be obvious - that their behavior is discourteous - they likely are thinking nothing about it. As I said in the beginning, this comes down to a simple lack of common respect and consideration for other people. And if everyone stays in their seats, everyone can see.

Needless to say, as much as I would like to support local sports, I don’t think I’ll be going back to another high school game at Titan Stadium. I’ll save my $4, listen to the game on the radio or watch the replay on OCAT. Judging from the comments I heard at the game, I won’t be alone.

P.S. Oh yes, and by the way, when the national anthem is played, one should either salute or cross their heart with their hand. But at a minimum, people should be quiet and show some respect for their country and its flag. Plenty of adults seem to have forgotten this. Given that they don’t show the proper respect, is it any wonder much of today’s youth act as they do?


[following are the comments received on the previous site]

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 09:06 AM MDT
Cheryl,I too am an alumnus of Oshkosh West. Back in the 70’s when I attended football games at Titan Stadium we all stood too. It appears that the lower student section in the grandstand is still occupied by students, and they continue to stand. It might be that is a TRADITION in Oshkosh football.I’d suggest that the bleachers at Titan are rarely ever even close to full, so it you want to be seated and still enjoy the game, either move higher, or go further to the sides, not directly in the middle.

Loosen up Cheryl, when I was a kid we didn’t have cell phones, but a lot about going to the game was socializing, not hard core football watching! Sounds like nothing has changed in almost 30 years at Titan…and that just might be OK!

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 10:36 AM MDT
Your complacent attitude in accepting this as the norm or some kind of tradition only adds to the problem. One by one we have lost manners until society will eventually have completely lost its oral compass and respect. We're pretty much there now.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 12:06 PM MDT
I agree that we should not encourage this kind of behavior just because it's the way it's always been. Lots of things have changed through history because they're no longer socially acceptable or because times have changed. One such example of how we live in a different era is that things now have to be handicap accessible. We want anyone to be able to attend anything and go anywhere but because of something being tradition we'll cavalierly suggest that if someone can't see from where they're sitting they should move higher, even if their age, health or ability won't allow them. I was at last night's game also and saw a lot of older people there wanting to cheer on what I figured were grandchildren or maybe even great grandchildren. Years ago we were taught to respect elders and even give them our seat if seats were all gone. Nowadays we think nothing of suggesting those folks climb higher into the stadium if they can't see. What a shameful, sad attitude to have.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 01:45 PM MDT
Some of you people are a joke.I'm a parent. When I was in high school I stood in the student section. And even worse, I through Confetti...OH MY.Get a life. The kids are having fun. We did it, our kids are doing it and I'll bet there kids will be standing too someday.If your too disabled or obese to climb the stairs, they have an elevator and disabled seating area especially for the disabled spectors.Worry about something more important...there's plenty of real problems for you to be whining about.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: admin on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 01:59 PM MDT
While your "sensitivity" is indeed touching, your common sense seems to be lacking as is your inability to grasp the simple principle behind the discussion.There is nothing preventing those kids from having a good time. By the same token, they are not having a better time by standing through an entire game. But the bottom line is that their right to have fun should not preclude anyone else - young or old, light or heavy, able-bodied or physically challenged - from being able to do the same.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 03:01 PM MDT
With an attitude like yours I don't think we have to wonder why kids do as they do these days. Is this the worst possible thing kids today could be doing? Certainly not. But the people complaining about the game have legitimate complaints. Just like the people have who live near the stadium and are upset about things. No one wants to do anything about those problems either. Tell us, if you're not teaching your kids how to be respectful and polite, who is? I guarantee you I'm teaching mine and they won't be standing in front of other people at games, throwing trash in people's yards, or making so much noise that they're disturbing stadium neighbors trying to relax after working all week. Too bad they'll still be disturbed, thanks to people like you and your kids.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: Spartanman on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 07:02 PM MDT
Cheryl, Go to a North-West basketball game at West. 1st., you'll have to buy a ticket in advance because the gym is only allowed so many people due to fire code. Both student sections stand up the whole game, (a tradition started by Lourdes back in the 80's) It's HOT, the bleachers are not too steady, so walking up or down, in or out is a problem. But, the action is the best you'll find anywhere. Student section of the West Wildcats was the talk of the State basketball tourney. The best ever seen at the State Tourney. Give the kids a break, its their game and their schools.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 07:30 PM MDT
Correction anonymous. The students may attend the schools but I know of no students who pay property taxes. The adults are the ones paying for them making them their schools too and everyone should be allowed to enjoy the game.This could help solve the problem. In Neenah we have sections set aside only for students. They can stand if they want but if they do they're not hurting anyone. But they're not standing on bleachers, which were meant for sitting, not standing. Also, students pay to attend the games and adults only pay $3 instead of $4. I was unaware until reading these comments that Oshkosh students get in free. No wonder people are charged more to see an Oshkosh game than anyone else in the Valley.You can say this is a lot of talk over something harmless, but one thing always leads to another. Nip problems with courtesy in the bud early and you'll not have problems later on.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 07:58 PM MDT
This is in reply to the flippant comments from Anonymous 1:45 PM. Usually I wouldn't say something like this but since you've chosen such rudeness to express yourself, you shouldn't mind a little of the same coming back to you. Instead of standing in the student section at games and throwing confetti when you attended school you would have benefited more by paying closer attention to your studies, especially spelling. Your posting contained so many errors that it's frightening to think you may be passing *those* bad habits on to your kids too.No one has mentioned anything yet about the behavior of people during the playing of the National Anthem, so I will. It is true a lot of people have forgotten what proper decorum should be during this song. It is equally appalling that an announcement has to be made asking people to remove their caps. I agree that much of society today is losing its manners, if it ever had them to begin with.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 11:34 PM MDT
My goodness, anon 1:45, what an ignorant thing to say. No one said anything about being unable to climb stairs for the reason you mentioned or any other. Stay focused on the topic if you can. Or is your ADD so severe that it's too challenging for you?

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: bigfoot on Monday, September 11 2006 @ 05:31 AM MDT
Cheryl,I think that you are nuts. You should have expected a large crowd with lots of students when there are both Oshkosh Schools playing at the same time!! If you were to go to just a West game or a North game you would see that there is not even close to the same amount of fans there. When I'm at the games I always see the OPD and the Auxiliary Police breaking up fights and dealing with kids screwing around. I think what they want is for the kids to be in the stands watching the game, and not fighting or screwing around! I know I'd rather have them standing watching the game, then seeing a group of kids beating on each other. If the worst thing they did that night was standing, then I would say it was a pretty good night.Students have stood like that since the first Oshkosh football game, and I'm sure they will stand unitl the end of time!I guess what I'm saying is, I dont think it's going to matter if you ever go back to Titan Stadium again, as the Schools have seemed to make it for alot of years without you, and I'm sure they'll make for many more with or without you!

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: admin on Monday, September 11 2006 @ 09:44 AM MDT
Hey Bigfoot, Thank you for your mental health evaluation. What talent you have to make a group diagnosis and via the Internet, no less. Does Dr. Phil know about you?

Seriously, apparently you did not read everything or you would see there are plenty of others besides me - some who were at the game, others who weren't - who share my opinion. We may be in the minority, but that does not mean our concern is any less valid. Here's a thought: Maybe if the students were sitting and watching the game there wouldn't be quite the number of fights you've witnessed. It's harder to give someone a shove or throw a punch when you're sitting down.

As to your other points: (1) they weren't even watching the game, which I don't really care if they do or don't, but they do not have the right to impede others' ability to do so, especially when others have paid for their tickets and the students haven't; (2) yes, I think we all expected a big crowd. That's why it was disappointing and frustrating for so many in and around the section we were sitting that they saw nothing, spurring some to actually leave at halftime. But hey who cares about that right? Their ticket was already paid for and the money probably securely locked up by that time; (3) yes, they have survived all these years without some of our money. I guess they'll continue to do so, but there won't be as much sympathy for them when they complain about declining revenues.

(Incidentally, instead of spouting off about the stadium surviving without our ticket prices all these years, maybe you should think about the other financial support some of us also give to local athletics. It's not just $4 every once in a while.)

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: bigfoot on Monday, September 11 2006 @ 11:09 AM MDT
Thanks for your imput on my opinion. I sure hope that you take your concern to each schools athletic director, as I was told that it is them who are in charge of everything that happens at these games. I guess my point is this...there is realy nothing else for these kids to do in Oshkosh, so the friday night football is basically it. Like I said, if the worst thing they did is stand, it should be noted as a good night.I attend games on a semi regular basis, and like I said it is the North vs West game that the standing would ever be an issue, but that should be expected with the size of the crowd.

By the way how would you enforce a sitting order? If the staff tells them to sit, the minute they turn around to go to the other end, the kids would stand back up. Thats easy to assume.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: alibi2day on Monday, September 11 2006 @ 12:51 PM MDT
STANDING is NOT the issue. The issue is RESPECT. Respect for our country's National Anthem. Respect for public property. Respect for other individuals. Respect for one human to another. Patrons of a game should be allowed to be able to see the game. Bleachers are made to SIT on. Do you stand on your desk at school or the office? Do the first rows of any theatre remain standing throughout the show? If you choose to stand at the game; fine but do so up or away from the public that chooses to sit. As a Mother, I could not sit while watching the children play so I would get to the game early, and find a seat in front of the press box. Now I do the same and watch the grandchildren play. I stand to enjoy the games and everyone around me can see and enjoy them too. MOVE THE STUDENT SECTION!In most area school districts the 40/50-yard lines are reseved for parents, relatives, and other spectators. The balance of the bleachers open to whoever else wanted to use them. Designated student sections including band members were/are at either 30-yard line. This is a suitable arrangement for over 30+ years. The fact that the STANDING (blocking the view for others) has gone on for years is no excuse. BAD MANNERS AND LACK OF RESPECT should NEVER be acceptable behavior.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: bigfoot on Monday, September 11 2006 @ 02:01 PM MDT
I totally understand and agree with what you are saying about RESPECT. However, what I am saying is if you look at the games when it is just one school either West or North the student section is not that big, but when they play each other it almost triples the attendance of not only students but the public as well. Most of those same students are there for every game, the same can NOT be said for those whom just attend the cross town rival game. It is the students team, made up of thier peers, whom they come to support. Even though there was a lot of people at the game, there was still plenty of room to move if the vision was not good in your area. I no that I found a good spot to sit, and I even moved to yet a better spot at halftime. There are alot of other bad things that these kids could have been doing....fighting, drinking, drugs, and so on. So to complain about them standing during a football game I feel is stupid!

Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 09:25 AM MDT
As an Oshkosh West Student there are some things the community should keep in mind.
1) I do not know who started the tradition of standing at the football game on the bleachers, but I do know the tradition was in place before I was a freshmen, four years ago.
2) The benefits of standing on the bleachers as opposed to the concrete are thus: students, who move around a lot, are able to move among other students without blocking other students’ views or making the students leave their seat as may be the case in a section that sits down. In addition, as a student myself and observing my friends, the standing together with other students, for whatever reason, creates a sense of community that is not matched by just sitting in the bleachers.
3) The aisle behind the student section is in constant motion of standing people walking about, especially at a North vs West game, even if the students sat down this movement would likely impede the view of the first few rows of the "adult" section.
4) The football game is a social event. It is not just about the football. It’s about both supporting our friends on the football team and meeting/socializing with friends not on the football team. If the Oshkosh community wills it that the students not socialize and talk with others at the football game, then it would likely see similar attendance from students as it does to Oshkosh High School Tennis Meets (almost nonexistent). The football players, whom the whole event is really about, would much rather have the students, their friends, there talking and looking forward to the game all week than no students at all. But this social atmosphere is not unparalleled in the adult world. When most adults have a Packer Football Party, I guarantee you not everyone is quiet while watching the game.
5) The stadium last night was not at full capacity, I saw many many seats available that where above the height of the standing students. They weren't at the 50 yrd line but they were there.

I have at times felt sorry for the people in the first few rows, knowing that they can’t see. However the logistics of getting every student to change tradition and stay sitting would require action from the administration that would cause resentment among students toward administration. The post-Columbine era of school instruction would much rather have a happy and social student body blocking the views of adults who choose to sit in a place where they cannot see than a student body that is any less social and resentful of school administration.

If enough of the Oshkosh Community is willing to ask for a change to the standing policy, I would not object to an informed debate between students, administrators, and the community.

But the time to solve this dilemma is certainly not at the game (where the announcements cannot really be heard amongst the large student body) and is not the responsibility of the auxiliary police, who are there to make sure everyone is safe not to be the “sit not stand” police.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: admin on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 10:18 AM MDT
While I appreciate your attempts at an explanation, the fact remains students are not paying for the tickets, others are (excluding senior citizens) and they certainly deserve to be able to see. It was interesting to note that as part of your explanation you included a comment about the students not wanting to block fellow students' view. They should be able to extend their consideration to all those in attendance, not just their friends and fellow students.

As for climbing to the higher bleacher seats, there are many people who have difficulty climbing steps. As one could imagine, there were a number of grandparents and people of a similar age there last night. Not only can many of them perhaps not easily climb to the higher seats, they shouldn't have to.

Finally as to the auxiliary police and what their job is, I beg to differ. Their duties extend beyond making sure people are safe. That is why you will frequently see them setting up blockades in parking lots and monitoring who is and isn't parking there during certain events (Oshkosh West High's parking lot, for example, on the day the water park opened and Richard's School of the Dance's recital was being held or during the Miss Wisconsin pageant, etc.).If the district is unwilling to even make an attempt to solve the problem, perhaps it should let everyone in free. - Cheryl

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: DRR on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 10:19 AM MDT
OCAT no longer carries high school events due to lack of funding and interest.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: alibi2day on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 11:37 AM MDT
DO Oshkosh students NOT know the correct use of a Student Section? For years OTHER school districts have set up "student sections" They have catered to the student crowd realizing that the majority are only there to socialize with their peers. The home town band is usually part of this section. Within these student sections they socialize and move around at will but they do not interfere or block the views of any of parents, adults or other viewing public. It appears the lack of respect and down right rudeness has been part of the Oshkosh culture for years. How Sad. Maybe its time to make respect and sportmanship a vital part of the education process for the students in the stands as well as some adults; not just for the athletics on the field.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 08:29 PM MDT
You're comparing a Packer Party where someone is hosting it in their home and not charging admission to a game where admission is being charged? Get real. They're not even close to being the same. You're also missing the fact that it's not just the first few rows in the adult section that can't see. The first several rows have to stand because the students are standing on the seats down below. That means if anyone behind those adults wants to see they must also stand up. It's like dominoes, except instead of being knocked down everyone is having to rise to their feet. There is no good reason for it. I liked the one person's suggestion of sticking all the students in their own area but where it doesn't block other views and I agree that you kids should be paying for your seats. Help support the team instead of showing up for free and preventing people from seeing someone they might've come to support. Team spirit goes a lot deeper than just supporting your team young person. As you age you're understand that.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 08:40 PM MDT
BLAHBLAHBLAH.....Ad Infinitum.Let the students enjoy themselves. If you don't like it too bad. You had your time when you were young. Let then have theirs now.I'm betting if a poll were taken at the Friday night games, and all adult spectators were polled on whether they wanted the students to sit down, or continue to stand as they've done for decades, the results would overwhelmingly support the students to continue the tradition.Students...STAND UP for your right to STAND UP at Titan!Now, go enjoy your evening.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 08:46 PM MDT
You're what's wrong with this country. Encourage bad behavior and be rude to people expressing their thoughts in the process. You're a nice role model.

Total lack of respect shown at high school gameSTUDENTS DO PAY
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 09:42 PM MDT
Students do not get into the games free. They are all charged at the beginning of the school year when paying for their ID cards. These ID cards work as a season pass and students are not allowed into the games without them unless they also pay admission

Total lack of respect shown at high school gameSTUDENTS DO PAY
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 10:09 PM MDT
That's getting in free. Let's face it. They need a student ID card just to attend school, even if they go to zero games. But as you said the ID entitles them to enter the games for free provided they show it. That includes middle school students too. You make it sound like they pay extra for the games they're planning to attend when they get their ID cards. That just isn't so. One price for all students per school for ID cards and with that you can attend no games or all the games.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: lakefly on Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 04:13 PM MDT
The solution to the problem is simple. Let no one go to the games but students since it's all about them anyway. When the school district and sports associations complain about the declining revenue they may decide to think about the paying fans. Until then, stick the kids in their own area where they block no one. Make it in an area not in the bleachers. Since they don't sit during games there's no reason to allow them up there unless they're with a parent or guardian.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: admin on Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 10:00 AM MDT
What in the world was I thinking? I should have known better than to think that adults could actually have a mature discussion about an issue that bothered plenty of people besides me who attended Friday night’s football game.

What began as a decent discussion for most quickly descended into the “children’s hour” for a few select people. They tried posting on the subject of respect, but instead of contributing anything meaningful, only displayed their own lack of class and respect, as well as their inability to write about something they so clearly don’t understand. Judging by some of their comments I have to wonder about their own quality and level of education.

There was also very clear disdain shown for me in a couple of the remarks and I’m sure the posters thought they would hurt, embarrass, or anger me by their making them. Sorry to disappoint, but the only emotion it evoked in me was pity for them. It has been said that criticism is a sign one’s personality has some force. The sad thing is these poor souls don’t even know how to be critical in a constructive way. They only know negativity and nastiness; and while it is flattering to know they still think about me, in the process of trying to attack me they were disrespectful to a lot of other people who attended the game and many who didn't.

Needless to say, their childish behavior has prompted me to delete some of their drivel which was repetitive or not on point and move this discussion to a page where people will now have to sign in if they want to continue the discussion on this site. They’ve shown they lack common courtesy and respect; I’m willing to bet we’ll now see that they lack guts as well. Those traits are a triad to be proud of, to be sure.
- Cheryl

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: bigfoot on Monday, September 11 2006 @ 02:16 PM MDT
Whats next????Are you going to write to the Wisconsin Badgers and have all of there students sit for there football game??If you see them on tv, you will see that it is one of the most rowdy, party like, border line out of control student sections in the NCAA. I've never heard anyone make a complaint about that, so I guess that makes a simple high school game pretty minor!

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: alibi2day on Monday, September 11 2006 @ 04:22 PM MDT
The Badger students are confined to a section of the stadiums. They do not block the view of other fans.They are NOT allowed to STAND ON THE BLEACHERS!!So YES let them have their jump around, party and enjoy. Oshkosh students could also have a section of the stadium just NOT in front of the other viewing public.and NO STANDING ON THE BLEACHERS!

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: bigfoot on Monday, September 11 2006 @ 05:22 PM MDT
I dont know what badger game your watching, but YES they do stand on the bleachers! I am an alumni of that School, so I've been to a good number of games there. The students at titan do have a student section, it just happens to be at the 50 yard line in the bleachers at field level.I guess it would be up to Joe/Jane Citizen to move to the north or south side of the bleachers if they desire a better view! Better yet watch the game on tv.

Total lack of respect shown at high school game
Authored by: DBCooper on Monday, September 11 2006 @ 10:39 PM MDT
So, Madison must be a pretty easy school to graduate from? If the students at Madison spent more time in the English department and less time standing on the bleachers, they'd know that it is "you're" not "your", and that unless they have been to the cloning lab they are an "alumnus" not an "alumni". The rest of your posts today are not much better. Gotta love the people who spent 5 figures on a degree and aren't any smarter than they were in 7th grade. Sorry. I've tried to be on my best behavior lately...

Castle to propose a referendum to exceed the levy freeze

According to a story in the online version of the Oshkosh Northwestern this afternoon, Oshkosh Mayor William Castle plans to ask his fellow city council members next week to put a referendum on the November ballot asking the voters for approval to exceed the state imposed levy freeze to help pay for city services – including garbage and recyclables pick-up costs if the controversial garbage fee is not allowed into next year's budget and goes back onto residents’ tax bills.

His reasoning is because something has to be done to come up with money or face severe cuts and he hears people saying they'd rather have their taxes increased than pay increased or new fees.

While some may be saying that - and I have been one if it is a very last resort kind of thing, because at least on the tax bill it's tax-deductible - this seems like Castle's way of putting the cart before the horse. Contract negotiations are still ongoing, no budgets have been presented to the council yet and, as a result of that, the council has not even looked at what other cuts might be possible in order to save money in the face of the levy freeze handed down from Madison.

Is this Castle's way of being proactive, knowing the budget will need to be passed later this year and not wanting the city to get caught short-handed with no means of getting a similar referendum on the ballot until spring? Or is this his way of helping the city administration once again take the easy way out instead of looking at every single thing and making cuts in areas other than automatically going to police and fire? And if the council approves such a referendum being placed on the ballot, how hard will these councilors really look at making other cuts, knowing they have a fall-back position? And, in the event they do make cuts and don't need a referendum, will they then not put it on the ballot or will they do so anyway?

I guess we'll see exactly what Castle's thought process is come next Wednesday when the council meets on a different day than normal because of the primary election on Tuesday. I just think it is asinine to consider such a proposal now and Castle's suggestion only solidifies what far too many citizens have been saying: that they are fed up and there's no leadership or acccountability coming from 215 Church Avenue.

- Cheryl


[following are comments made in response to the origianl post on the earlier site]

Castle to propose a referendum to exceed the levy freeze
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 08 2006 @ 07:21 PM MDT
His Majesty Sir William Castle has placed a decree to the entire kingdom, far and wide. His lowly serf has provided a parchment of the decree to the local town crier, Lord 1490 on-the-AM. Lord 1490 has rang the bell and gave notice…
His Majesty has pondered the imponderable until a wonderful solution came to him as he quaffed a vessel of malted beverage. In a glorious thunderstruck moment, Sir William came upon a solution to the refuse uproar brought about by the lowly peasants of Oshburgland.The answer he was searching for was found at the bottom of a vessel of malted beverage, and gave him pause to decree a mighty decree.
Lord 1490’s parchment told the tale of a pompous oaf who would suggest that the poor peasants are taxed yet another tax...yes an unheard of fee required of each dwelling for the tenants meager refuse removal.
Upon the hearing of this unholy taxation, the peasants gathered in uproar and demanded a recount by placing there blood-mark on circulated petitions.Sir William and the Pompous Oaf conferred a great conferral, and as a result of consuming great quantities of malted beverage, came upon a solution.Lord 1490 continued that Sir Castle will bring about a secondary declaration which will allow the lords and ladies of Oshburgland to cast their ballot and administer an electorial decree to allow additional taxation on all the land. This action will result in great sorrow to the lowly peasants.
All is not pleasant in Oshburgland, soon the fairies may inherit the entire village if peace is not restored!
And so was the news of the day.

Castle to propose a referendum to exceed the levy freeze
Authored by: DBCooper on Friday, September 08 2006 @ 07:47 PM MDT
"he hears people saying they'd rather have their taxes increased than pay increased or new fees"I've heard a tremendous amount of talk IRL and on-line about the garbage fee, the rumored fire pit fee, etc.Not once have I heard anybody say they want their taxes increased. Abolish fees, yes. Cut services, yes. Layoff employees and/or cut pay and benefits, yes. Raise taxes? Never.This seems like a perfect on-line poll. A referendum on the referendum so to speak.

Castle to propose a referendum to exceed the levy freeze
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 08 2006 @ 08:27 PM MDT
Mr. Cooper.You are exactly correct!LAY-OFF CITY EMPLOYEES - YES(Start with those that have the least impact on public safety)CUT SERVICES - YES(Lets not allow our city administrators to add "Valve Twister" positions on the Water Department. We don't need that!)ADDITIONAL TAXES OR FEES - NO

Castle to propose a referendum to exceed the levy freeze
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 08 2006 @ 08:39 PM MDT
Hey...08:27 PM MDT You missed the most imprtant suggestion that Cooper made: CUT WAGES AND BENEFITS TO CITY WORKERS!!!!Who the heck ever in the city is doing the negotiations with the unions better get some balls this year and make sure were not taken for a ride with big benefit and wage increases. If that happens Im betting Dick and his whole crew are gonna be looking for new jobs at WalMart cuz we're not gonna stand for those gold plated city workers benefits anymore!!!!!

Castle to propose a referendum to exceed the levy freeze
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 09:32 AM MDT
Maddox has got to go. She ads nothing to rational debate on the council. She can accomplish "Ms. Shirleys Review Of Artsy Fartsy Festivals" on a OCAT program if she wishes.Time has come for strong leaders on this Council. People that will stand-up and CHALLENGE City Administration.Currently, it appears to me that we have nothing but a COUNCIL OF COWARDS. A total vacuum..void of any leadership.Here's my challenge...prove me wrong, PLEASE! Tower, Bain, Scheuermann, Esslinger, McHugh its time to STEP UP and DO YOUR JOBS!Put Castle in his place.Don't accept the easy way out and just pass the problem to the taxpayers with higher property taxes.Get off your asses and DEMAND that the City Manager and his Supervisors give you options...options to reduce and eliminate positions and services within the City Government. These options may include reductions in Public Safety, but should NOT BE LIMITED to JUST public safety cuts.I refuse to believe public safety is the only bloated area within Oshkosh Government...and I'm lead to that conclusion as I saw Dick Wollangk support the proposal of VALVE TURNER positions for the Water Department.HOW IN GODS NAME CAN HE SUPPORT VALVE TURNERS, YET WANT REDUCTIONS IN POLICE AND FIRE!!!!This is total insanity!!

Castle to propose a referendum to exceed the levy freeze
Authored by: alibi2day on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 04:55 PM MDT
I am willing to bet after discussion and hemming and hahahaing and further review and not having all the facts. ETC The referendum passes 4 to 2. Maybe 2 referendum questions are needed to get people off their butts and to the polls. If you are not willing to excercise your right to vote you lose your right to whine and complain. Get ready to cast your vote.

Castle to propose a referendum to exceed the levy freeze
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 08:23 PM MDT
Cost saving Ideas:
1) Consolidate or outsource city vehicle maintenance:OPD is already outsourcing maintenance of there squad cars. Why do we have duplicate vehicle maintenance staffs in the city garage, city forestry, fire department, transit department? They areas are ripe for outsourcing or consolidation.
2) Downsize the size of our city bus fleet:We have many very large sized busses. I assume these are mostly purchased for the once a year EAA convention. Most of even our small busses are never even close to full, so why do we have these huge size busses running around town, burning costly fuel, an almost completely void of passengers?
3) Outfit the garbage trucks with snow plow rigs:Most large cities use their garbage trucks for plowing duty. In Oshkosh we buy additional tandem axle dump trucks for this purpose. Drive by the City garage and see how many are parked in the lot not being used. We certainly could reduce our fleet of large tandem axle trucks if we put our garbage truck fleet into service helping to plow snow. The garbage men seem to work odd half day schedules anyhow. This would allow them to work more hours during snow falls in the winter.
4) Let’s look at outsourcing our entire City Forestry Department.This Department even has its own building. They are housed in a fairly large building on Witzel Street. I see lots of fairly expensive trucks, choppers, bucket trucks, skid loaders etc etc in this building when I pass by. What do these guys do in the winter? I’m thinking maybe a National concern like Aspundh would be able to provide a competitive bid: From the Aspundh web page: Aspundh Municipal Tree Services The removal of dead or dangerous trees along public thorofares is a priority for every community. Eliminating deadwood, keeping municipal utility lines clear of branches, and correctly pruning young trees is equally important in minimizing liability and maintaining a healthy, attractive urban forest.In order to achieve these goals, it takes knowledgeable tree care professionals with the necessary experience to complete the job safely and efficiently. Since time, labor, and equipment are costly, thorough training and competent supervision are musts. If an untrained crew causes a power outage, or damage to a person and property, your municipality may be liable.One call to the Asplundh Municipal Division can eliminate the costs and problems associated with purchasing and maintaining specialized equipment, providing technical and safety training for crew personnel. This can help minimize your liability for work-related injury or property damage. In addition, we can assist municipal foresters in:- developing tree maintenance programs and writing contract specifications- presenting workshops for both Asplundh and municipal crews on various industry-related topics- providing public relations support on tree related issues- acting as a resource of information on professional standards and industry trendsAs part of the world’s largest vegetation control company, we draw on more than a century of experience in urban tree maintenance.By using local workers under the direction of our experienced supervisors, and drawing on our extensive fleet of specialized equipment, it is our goal to provide public agencies with the most reliable, efficient, and professional service at the lowest price possible.For more information, please call 1-425-318-4177, extension 4384, or e-mail:
5) The Oshkosh Lakeshore Municipal Golf Course was totally renovated in 2001. It may be time to investigate if maintaining this course is in the best interest of all taxpayers.Few municipalities maintain a city owned and operated golf course. Oshkosh and the surrounding area has many golfing opportunities that our municipal course competes with.The land alone could be sold for an extremely high value as it is waterfront property.Divesting our city of the golf course would not only reduce staff, on-going maintenance, but also provide a good source of revenew by the sale of the property.
6) The most drastic savings will be achieved when a complete 3rd party audit is conducted of each city position and department. Undoubtedly, we have a huge corporation called City of Oshkosh government. The bureaucracy, duplication of services, conducting non-core competency services of such a large corporation is almost a given.

These are the areas that need to be weeded out. When we take the time and effort to face the reality that we need to restructure our city staff and become far leaner in our hiring practices, we will then be truly serving the taxpayer.When posed with good cost savings ideas don't say "It can't be done"..Instead, figure a way to make it happen.

Castle to propose a referendum to exceed the levy freeze
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 08:31 PM MDT
These are excellent ideas. Too bad our city leaders refuse to look at them.

Castle to propose a referendum to exceed the levy freeze
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 09:46 AM MDT
Castle should be re-calledwe need leaders not girliemen

Castle to propose a referendum to exceed the levy freeze
Authored by: admin on Saturday, September 09 2006 @ 02:07 PM MDT
Good idea. I will put such a poll together. Thanks for the suggestion.

Castle to propose a referendum to exceed the levy freeze
Authored by: lakefly on Sunday, September 10 2006 @ 04:21 PM MDT
Is this man totally off his rocker? The city council and city manager are all lazy and they don't want to make the cuts they should. Got to not only protect the department heads, but create work to keep them gainfully employed. So they resort to using scare tactics of higher taxes or emergency services being cut to bully us. Hey mayor Castle, treat the city as you do your own workers. Oops that's right, no unions would be allowed then.