Milwaukee Conservative Weblog

Conservative Discussions on Politics (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and U.S.) – Among other things….

Milwaukee and the ‘City-gentsia’

Milwaukee is my hometown.  I grew up there, lived in the city for 90% of my life, have seen a tremendous renaissance over the past 15-20 years, and will go to bat for her at almost every turn….but, there is an element in Milwaukee that is growing, and slowly but surely getting under my skin.  Now this element has been there, probably since the city was founded, but because of the internet, blogs, and social media, the people who make up this element are becoming louder and louder, and more annoying as the years pass.  They are a faction of politicians, activist groups, community “leaders”, pundits, and to a lesser extent, some residents that either look down their noses at those people who live in the suburbs, (be it, Waukesha, Franklin, Mequon, Wauwatosa, or Brookfield), or have such irrational animosity towards suburbanites that it boggles the mind.  I refer to said element as The “City-gentsia”.  Now I know this isn’t a revolutionary writing term here, but the people who make up this group need to be labeled as such. 

It is a group that takes on this “we’re MILWAUKEE, and all the rest of you, out there in the ‘burbs, are a bunch of hicks!”  Now, that may be a large umbrella that I am using, but the tone is nothing short of that.  Here a couple of hypothetical conversations: “Hey Brookfield resident, we Milwaukee leaders think that to make MILWAUKEE a better city, we should build a light rail line, and we want you to help pay for it.  Oh, we also want a trolley that goes 1.8 miles around the downtown (side note: don’t take a drink of anything while you’re looking at the route, you may just laugh it out your nose – but I digress).  What?  They have to re-route phone and data lines?  Sure, make AT&T and WE Energies pay for it and raise their rates to the suburbs! Huh?  You don’t want to pay for things that downtown Milwaukee  people use?  WHAT?  You don’t want to pay 10’s of millions of dollars for a rail line in a community that has one of the shortest commute times in the country????  Why you guys out there in Waukesha County are a bunch of racist hicks!!!”  I would like to say THAT is an exaggerated example, but after reading comments on JSOnline, local blogs, online articles from Pro-Milwaukee publications, and the like, it unfortunately, is not.  These are the same people that look down their noses at Waukesha County when they get pricing for Lake Michigan water from both Milwaukee and Oak Creek, and surprise/surprise, Milwaukee rates are higher.  What does Milwaukee do????  They choose to fight with Waukesha, while pulling out their City-gentsia persona. 

The lecturing, the arrogance, and the inability (or unwillingness) to work with others outside their boundaries is staggering.  It’s bad enough that they can’t play in the same sandbox as the suburbs, but their constant need to label those that don’t agree with their ideas and politics, as racists or hicks, just adds more fuel to the animosity Milwaukee has built up.  This animosity doesn’t just reside in the local suburbs, it extends into most of the state of Wisconsin.  That reputation is just plain sad.  Is that because the rest of the state is wrong, or is Milwaukee THAT blind to its perception.  I know the Eastside elitist’s will say “Ah, don’t worry about it, it’s just those rubes up in Antigo.” or “What does Three Rivers know about culture??? I bet they’ve never even step foot in Milwaukee!”  Problem is, Milwaukee has been around for a long time and MANY Wisconsinites have visited and know exactly what Milwaukee is about.  Is there a racial component to some of the opinions?!?!?  Of course, there’s always a hint of that when a predominantly white, out-state populous visit a diverse large city, but that doesn’t detract from the poor perception Milwaukee has throughout this state.  Now, that’s not saying this is a lost cause – it’s not!  There are many people who realize that Milwaukee’s success is important on many levels.  But to be successful and grow in the immediate and long-term future, Milwaukee AND the Suburbs have to work together.  That means that the snarky little pundits in Milwaukee need to either go away, or the leaders and cooler heads need to be a more powerful force in this fight, and it also means the mayors of Waukesha, Mequon, Brookfield, Oak Creek, even Racine, West Bend, and Delafield need to realize that a strong, vibrant Milwaukee will help them and this region prosper with more jobs.  More jobs means more people, more people mean more money flowing through the region, etc, etc, etc. 

Milwaukee has proven they can get some development things done within the city, but they have shown a less than stellar resume on working with their neighbors.  The owness truly falls on Milwaukee to start the positive discussions – it is their responsibility to create an environment that is a destination and not an island of crummudeons.  If they honestly extend an olive branch of working together, I am confident the surrounding areas will respond positively.  It will take a miracle, but it’s possible.

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Marquette Basketball vs Indiana Basketball

Tom Crean, the once supported, EX-Marquette Men’s Basketball coach, is currently (I know, I know, it’s been a few years) coaching Indiana University’s Men’s Basketball Program. Crean, in his infinite wisdom, decided to leave a team, in Marquette, that was as successful, if not more so than it’s in state rival, Wisconsin; including a Conference Title and Final Four in 2003, four NCAA Tournament appearances, five 20 win seasons, and a 190-96 record (.664 winning percentage) for Indiana University?  Last I checked, that program had, prior to Crean taking the job, scandals and sanctions (because of Kelvin Sampson), the sheen on the Bobby Knight days completely lost, and competition within the conference from the likes of Bo Ryan, and others – making the Indiana job, well less than stellar.  I find this year’s record of 15-12 more indicative of Indiana University’s impact on college basketball, and it reaffirms my confusion as to why he left a program that was at the least, equal with the prestige of Indiana, maybe better – especially looking into the future. 

Now, I’m not complaining that Tom Crean left (I found him to be a sub-par coach, and an arrogant wind bag); what I am complaining about is the program he left Marquette FOR.  I was preached to, that Indiana was a step UP – which it is not…..It’s departure’s like that, that make the MU program weaker.  I know that program will never have the panache that a Duke, UNC, Kansas, or Kentucky would have, but if you’re going to leave a program like MU, you better get a job at UCLA, Syracuse, or hell, even Texas – not some backwater @ss program like Indiana.  I am glad, as a Wisconsin and MU fan, that Crean is sucking.  His limited success at IU was dependant on Cody Zeller – now that he’s gone, it’s back to the average IU Basketball program…..that’s good for Bo Ryan and the Badgers, and its sweet viewing by MU fans to see that Crean is LESS successful than he would have been, had he stayed at MU.  Nice job – makes sense that he’s part of the Harbaugh family, the arrogance fits in well.

Cafe Bavaria – Wauwatosa

Cafe BavariaSo this morning/early afternoon was my first visit to the new Café Bavaria in the downtown portion of the Village of Wauwatosa, and I can say it was a nice, if not an expensive visit. Now, before I get into the details of the restaurant, I need to inform everyone that I am a bit biased towards the group (The Lowlands Group) that owns Café Bavaria.  They own several restaurants around the area – Café Hollander on the eastside of Milwaukee, Café Hollander next to Café Bavaria in ‘Tosa, Café Bennelux in the Third Ward of Milwaukee, Café Centraal in Bayview, and Trocadero near downtown Milwaukee, all of which I thoroughly enjoy.  This new restaurant had me, when it was first announced, VERY intrigued, simply because it was a slight diversion from its other Dutch-centric places and the building it was going in was MADE FOR this style of restaurant.  That, and it’s close to my house and Milwaukee is missing a good, comfortable, German restaurant families can come to and really enjoy.

So, now for the critique: as always, you have to start with the hostess, and how you are greeted.  As I have experienced at every Lowland Group’s locations, the front of the house has always been warm, professional and inviting.  Admittedly it was less than busy, but they were engaging when we arrived, conversed with my two younger sons (even jokingly offering them a kids menu, not because they were young, but to have something to “pass the time”), and seated us right away.  Next thing I noticed was the ambience.  As always, the Lowlands Group did not disappoint.  The outside of the building, as I mentioned before, was tailor-made for this type of restaurant, and they did a fine job inside as well.  From the sports paraphernalia  (a futbol player painting), to the obligatory ‘Sound of Music’ posters (wonderfully in German), a knight suit, the exposed ceiling beams, the “old school” light fixtures, large family style table settings, and the warm and inviting fireplace with benches and table surrounding it.  So far so good, right?!?

Next is the review of the menu.  I’ve seen many a menu put forth by the Lowlands Group, and this menu has many of the styling’s of their other menus, with a German flair.  It was a broader menu than other Lowland restaurants (a lot of which was because of the addition of the brunch menu), but the variety of appetizers, breakfast items, sandwiches, and lunch entrees was good.  This menu could be considered a bit ‘large’, but I believe it gives the consumer a fantastic opportunity to try (over multiple visits) a myriad of different German dishes, and some American cuisine, with a German twist.  It works well for the average American, and could make the German ‘tourist’ feel at home.  For my visit, I ordered the Summit Breakfast, which included: Three eggs (your way), jalapeño cheddarwurst, thick cut bacon, Bavarian ham, smashed potatoes, 9 grain toast.  Overall, it was a large amount of food (3 eggs, 3 pieces of meat, and a good portion of ‘smashed potatoes’), but considering the lack of customers, the quality of the plate (specifically the look, and temperature), was somewhat disappointing.  My wife had the Black Forest Omelet, which included Bavarian ham, Wisconsin Weisslacker cheese, Wisconsin Butterkäse cheese, herbed cheese, smashed potatoes, 9 grain toast.  Again, a tremendous amount of food and by all accounts no complaints.  My boys split the Zwei (2 Sausage) portion of the Eins, Zwei, Drei sausage entrée which included:  Your choice of 1, 2, or 3 of our house recipe wurst, smashed potatoes, Düsseldorf mustard, red cabbage, apple bacon slaw, Bavarian sauerkraut.  Once delivered I realized the actual sausages were not nearly as close to what I, and other Wisconsinites, make at home.  I know it’s difficult, but when you’re a German restaurant, in Wisconsin, you need to, at the very least, meet home expectations.  The sausages were dry, and in my estimation, that is probably the easiest thing to combat for mass orders.  The taste, I will admit, was OK, but not worth the $9.00/sausage (order).  As for drinks, I ordered a freshly squeezed orange juice, a water, and a Wurst Bloody Mary.  I don’t order freshly squeezed OJ very often, but thought I’d give Bavaria a chance, and for my like (little to no pulp), I was pleasantly surprised.  Reasonable and tasty, I will probably order this drink again when we come back for brunch.  The Wurst Bloody Mary was properly spiced, with a mass of toppings (pickle, bacon, sausage “chunk”, lemon, lime, olive, and a brussell sprout).  Lastly, I did not try any of the items off this menu, but if you’re looking for a Gluten free menu, Bavaria has that as well.

All in all the brunch was enjoyable, but I would suggest a few improvements: 1) plates need to be a bit neater (ie: less oil on the eggs and cleaner presentation) 2) proper temperature of all meals and 3) being that it’s a German restaurant, I would figure out a way to keep the sausages moist.  As for the flavors of the food, the waitstaff, and ambience, Café Bavaria just needs to keep doing what their group’s cousins are doing, and they’ll be fine.  I will be back (many times) for lunch, dinner, and most certainly for a boot (or two), so I am sure I’ll be blogging about how good the Schnitzel was, and the multitude of good German biers on tap that I was able to enjoy.  For those out there reading this, I highly suggest you visit Downtown Wauwatosa, or as I like to call it “Little Europe”, and stop in for a litre of great bier, or if you’re in “a mood”, a Shotski while watching a futbol game.

Prost!

My Outlet – Veering Away from Facebook

 

I was told, recently, that I am a “controversial” poster on Facebook.  I ardently disagree, knowing what I’ve specifically posted over the past several months (albeit 1 or 2 side instances).  I have been accused of such things in the past, and although there were times, especially early on in my Facebook “life”, that I went on some rants, my overall tone (especially recently) has been friendly, jovial pictures and posts.  This last discussion regarding my Facebook entries has, for the moment, soured me on the social media site.  The other thing that is moving me away from that tool is the black and white rhetoric being thrown around – and these are my “friends”.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still check out my friend’s and family’s posts, but my life of actively posting statuses, pictures and the like have been put on hold.  That leaves me with somewhat of a hole in my desire to vent and share my feelings.  I figure resurrecting my blog to a limited, but hopefully growing audience, will be a better outlet for my opinions and subsequent debate that goes along with it.  I also am looking to expand my topics from just politics and sports.  Recent trips/vacations, past, present and future will be included along with day to day thoughts that pop into my head (that I would normally post on Facebook, but now will blog about it).  I hope to blog as often as I can since I find sharing my thoughts and feelings and hearing the thoughts and feelings of others, therapeutic.    Hope to hear from a few out there in the internet world, but if not, at least I can get my thoughts down instead of bouncing around my head.

Talk soon!

Quick Hit – Scott Walker Recall Petition

As if I needed more motivation to help in the “re-election” of Scott Walker, today’s announcement of signatures received for the recall has put me over the edge.  I am now, in No Limit Poker terms, “All In” for keeping him in office.  If the obvious lack of leadership in the City of Milwaukee, for last 30 years is any indication, putting Tom Barrett in charge (or David Obey for that matter) would put our state back into the cesspool we lived in under Diamond Jim Doyle.  The next 5 months are going to be absolutely annoying, and unfortunately I have to be in the group that annoys.  Not because I want to, but because I now feel like I HAVE TO.  This most recent Democrat tactic of recalling politicians because they have a different ideological view is not only irresponsible, it’s abhorent.  Thank you Democrats for widening the schism.

Milwaukee Lakefront – Blank Canvas

When I think about Milwaukee, one of the first things that pops into my head (from a positive standpoint) is the 10+ miles of shoreline, courtesy of Lake Michigan. While driving down said lakefront, via Lincoln Memorial Drive, all I see, for the 3 miles from The Calatrava to Lake Park Bistro (especially in the winter), is desolation. Oh, there’s McKinley Marina, Alterra Coffee, and the Northpoint Snack Shack, but other than that, its snow-covered flat space with an occasional tennis court thrown in. What a freakin’ travesty. Not only do we pollute one of Wisconsin’s greatest natural resources during heavy storms in the summer, we fight, tooth and nail, any sort of development, and the ability to create a world-class destination for Southeastern Wisconsin residents, and beyond.

What to do, what to do?!?! The first order of business is to raze the tennis courts on Lincoln Memorial Drive and E. Lafayette Hill Road and bid out, to a handful of developers, the ability to develop a commercial property in the same vain as Trocadero, Cafe Hollander, and Brocach (ie: a restaurant/bar overlooking the lake/marina year round). Then I’d go north and take a look at the Bradford Beach House. Now, this venture has been tweaked within the last 3 years or so, but (and this is a common theme) the DNR won’t allow “true” restaurants on Lake Michigan – there in lies the problem(s). The DNR is a joke, and this type of barrier to progress is exactly why. They are the “leaders” in blocking development, and in my opinion, their time has come. The Governor and the State of Wisconsin need to wake up and realize that this entity is hurting more than they are helping and they need to be stopped. Can you imagine going to lunch at a restaurant (overlooking the marina/Lake Michigan), on E. Lafayette Hill Road, than walking across the street to a pub in Veterans Park for a drink or two, followed by a walk down a vibrant Lincoln Memorial Drive to Summerfest, or a walk through the Art Museum/Calatrava? NOW all you have is the ability to grab a quick coffee (quick being a relative term considering Alterra is the only commercial property around the area, so it’s always packed), then jumping back into your car, find another parking spot around the Art Museum, then drive home – sound like a destination to you? As for other development, there are acres of land north of Bradford Beach (Northpoint Tower area, Lake Park Bistro/Lake Park Golf Course) that could be reviewed and zoned for commercial use, but I will leave that to your imagination….

Bottomline, things need to change. Milwaukee is dying a slow death and our outright refusal to utilize and market our lakefront, commercially, is contributing greatly to that death. The thought or belief that parks and green space retain, or better yet, attract people to your city is a complete and utter myth. What attracts people to your city is vibrancy, coupled with a sense of safety. Having a lakefront that is highlighted, solely, by a coffee shop in the middle of Lincoln Memorial Drive does little to nothing to create excitement. You want people to visit your city, you want people to feel compelled to spend money in your city, and you can only do that by giving them a compelling reason to come to your city. And to clarify, I’m not strictly talking about conventions, and people from outside the state, I’m talking more about those people who have left the city for one reason or another, or those that have lived in the far west, north and south suburbs so long, making a trip into Milwaukee is the exception rather than the rule. I have family and friends that do not live in Milwaukee County, and have absolutely no inclination to come into Milwaukee. The shortsightedness of the City of Milwaukee has given surrounding cities the opportunity to build up their downtown areas (see downtown Waukesha), giving Milwaukee less and less people to frequent restaurants, shops, bars, even parks…..Leaders, whether they be public or private, need to constantly look at their product and come up with the most effective way of promoting their product, utilizing all tools available. Milwaukee’s greatest tool to attract residents (new and old), visitors, and businesses is the lakefront. To ignore that fact is to allow your “business” (and in this case the City of Milwaukee is the business) to fail. Saying that, I also challenge non-Milwaukeeans to take up this fight as well, because if Milwaukee fails, so does the state. Whether you like it or not, Milwaukee is the largest city in this state and if you, as a state, let your largest “customer” crumble, so goes the rest of the state.

Our desire, heck obsession, to follow the policies of 1950’s government will create a Detroit in Wisconsin and I fear, within the next 15-20 years, Milwaukee will be an afterthought. We will be a city without a sports team (yes, once the Bucks leave, the Brewers will not be far behind), our arts community will be whittled down to nothing, any sort of commercial development will be a pipe dream and the downtown area will become a wasteland. These factors, amongst others, will cause more and more people to migrate farther out of the city, delving us further into obscurity. It WILL happen if we continue on this path of apathy around our lakefront, but it can be reversed if we choose to be proactive in and around our lakefront instead of kowtowing to the DNR and others.

The Grading Of NFL Quarterbacks – 2011

OK, so I prefer, on this blog, to comment on politics, but considering this year’s NFL season and “The Year Of The Quarterback” I thought I’d lend my opinion(s) on the current crop of quarterbacks.  It’s especially interesting considering the weird Tim Tebow phenomenon and the record number of 5,000 yard passers – so here we go:

A’s

  • Aaron Rodgers – Packers
  • Drew Brees – Saints
  • Peyton Manning – Colts
  • Tom Brady – Patriots

B’s

  • Eli Manning (plus) – Giants
  • Ben Roethlisberger (plus) – Steelers
  • Matthew Stafford – Lions
  • Matt Ryan – Falcons
  • Tony Romo (minus) – Cowboys
  • Matt Schaub (minus) – Texans

C’s

  • Jay Cutler (plus) – Bears
  • Cam Newton (plus) – Panthers
  • Joe Flacco (plus) – Ravens
  • Michael Vick – Eagles
  • Alex Smith – 49ers
  • Sam Bradford – Rams
  • Andy Dalton – Bengals
  • Mark Sanchez – Jets
  • Carson Palmer- Raiders
  • Philip Rivers – Chargers
  • Rex Grossman (minus) – Redskins
  • Kyle Orton (minus) – Chiefs

D’s

  • Matt Hasselbeck (plus) – Titans
  • Tim Tebow (plus) – Broncos
  • Kevin Kolb – Cardinals
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick – Bills
  • Christian Ponder (minus) – Vikings
  • Josh Freeman (minus) – Buccaneers

F’s

  • Tavaris Jackson – Seahawks
  • Colt McCoy – Browns
  • Blaine Gabbert – Jaguars
  • Matt Moore – Dolphins

Now this is by no means scientific or even statistically relevant – just my own little opinion on who ROCKS the NFL (at the QB position) and who DOESN’T.  I do have, for most of these guys, a fairly well thought out reason(s) for my selection, but I will leave it to you to spur the discussion.

Quick Hit: Democratic Candidate for Kohl’s Seat = Tom Barrett Running For Governor

Just some quick insight on the news that Tammy Baldwin is running as the Democratic candidate for the soon to be vacant Herb Kohl Senate seat:; two things popped in my head when I heard the news 1) I laughed, somewhat uncomfortably, considering Baldwin’s history. It’s funny that she would be a legit candidate, but not so funny if she were to actually win. 2) The “selection” of Tammy Baldwin, on the Democratic side looks eerily similar to the forced candidacy of Tom Barrett when he ran against Scott Walker in the 2010 Governors race. We’ll obviously have to wait and see how the Republican primary goes and then more importantly the campaign(s) round out for 2012, but sufficed to say, it will be interesting to watch

Liberal Milwaukee Trolley – I mean Folly

When will the left, especially in the Milwaukee area, ever learn?  Trains were breaking edge technology in the 1830’s, know what they are now?!?!?  A novelty….It’s fun to take the kids to East Troy during Christmas to see how the citizens of East Troy and surrounding areas made their way into “the Big City” for a quarter, but a funny thing happened over the past 180+ years….CARS and FREEWAYS.  Now we have to listen to the inane ramblings of our do nothing  mayor and all of his rail supporters propose stupid expenditures that help nobody.  Now I can (and will) wax poetic on the stupidity of many, if not all, of the rail proposals for Milwaukee, SE Wisconsin and surrounding areas, but the Milwaukee Trolley, I mean Folly, takes the freaking cake.

The idea in and of itself is dumb.  The beginning route is going to cost $64.6 million dollars, paid for by federal tax dollars set aside for garbage such as this, to the tune of $55 million.  The other $9 millions will be dealt with by instituting a TIF district (yeah, and THAT doesn’t hurt the tax payer).  The best part of this “project” is the proposed maintenance costs of $2.65 million (and I would argue that cost is extremely low) would be handled by fares, parking revenue (which is limited by ripping up road for trolley rail) and corporate sponsorships.  My prediction is that Northwestern Mutual, Johnson Controls and other large corporations better pony up a boat load of money because if the ridership of the bus system is any indication as to how many people will ride this debacle, the tax payers are in for a huge cost responsiblity.  Here’s another great addition to this project – that $64.6 cost I mentioned earlier?!?!  Yeah, that’s for 1.8 miles of rail line.  If I’m doing my math correctly, the base cost (not including overruns and the additional costs I’ll discuss later) is almost $36 MILLION dollars per mile.  Another quick “funny” side note to this is, they will want to expand this line (as you’ll see in the attached URL).

Now comes the best part: the Folly rail line didn’t take into account, when they were proposing this to the Common Council and the taxpayers, the fact that AT&T, WE Energies, and other utility lines would have to be moved.  You might say to yourself, “come on, how hard can it be?!?!”  Well, according to the utility companies it could cost an additional $55 million dollars or MORE to reroute…..$55 million MORE!!!!  The more I read about this, and many other rail projects around the area, the more I cringe.  If Milwaukee goes through with this, it is proof positive that Liberals and specifically Milwaukee Democrats have absolutely no concept of economics.  Milwaukee couldn’t afford this in the 90’s to the mid 2000’s, when the economy was good, what person or persons could ever justify one of the worst expenditures of money ever proposed?!?!?  Don’t answer that, Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Democrats already have.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/groups-get-involved-in-pscs-streetcar-utility-case-ss3n2hd-136917283.html

 

Quick Hit – Scott Walker Recall Efforts

A few quick observations on the Scott Walker Recall effort: 1) I’ll just start with this; The mere fact that people are organizing, capturing signatures, and mobilizing the recall of the Governor is a joke.  The recall option is out there for egregious behaviour (which I define as criminal, or darn near close to it), NOT for removing public officials because you don’t like legislation a politician puts up for vote.  To do the latter opens a Pandora’s box that I think widens the political divide even more (and that is the LAST thing we need right now).  2) If this ballot ever sees the light of day, Walker WILL win.  With that win, the public sector unions in Wisconsin and many other states will be crippled (which in my opinion is long overdue).  The unions are, in poker terms, ALL IN, and I for one am glad their arrogance and stupidity has driven them to this joke of an effort.  3) Although it is a joke, it isn’t funny.  Why you ask?  Well read the attached article and think to yourself, what could we have done with the money that is being spent to facilitate this tom foolery?  I hope we learn a valuable lesson from this – I know the unions will.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/walker-recall-would-cost-9-million-tb3n2d0-136837838.html

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