Thursday, February 28, 2008
The City of Oshkosh adopts the Wisconsin State Statutes regulating the licensing and distribution of alcohol beverages. While some additional information may be required, based upon our conversations with the Gallery Walk representatives it would appear that the Gallery Walk organization would qualify for a temporary "Class B" license. However, state law limits the number of special "Class B" licenses for dispensing wine to two (2) in a year per organization. Because of this limit, Gallery Walk would either need to seek a change in state law removing this limit for wine service (special "Class B" licenses for beer are not limited in this same manner) or would need to find other non-profit organizations willing to take out a license for the other ten (10) Gallery Walk events held each year. In our conversations with the state licensing enforcement people, they were not certain why the limitation had been included as to wine events.
In order to properly operate, in addition to licensing, there are several other requirements that will need to be met. For example, all wine must be purchased from a wholesaler. All dispensing of alcohol must be done under the supervision of a licensed bartender. This would require the presence of a licensed bartender at each establishment serving alcohol. The organizers would need to determine whether there would be a single or multiple locations dispensing wine and whether multiple locations would be covered under a single or multiple licenses for the event. If the establishments serving wine are relatively contiguous and the license is for a single event, a single license may be issued to cover all locations. Again, this would require some additional information to be provided to the City when the license is applied for. As a side note, different locations could be included or excluded for each monthly event. If a multiple location license were applied for we would require a listing of addresses and map depicting serving locations for each event to assist us in evaluating the license application.
The program is hosted by Joy Cardin.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Whenever I mention Buckley as an influence, my lefty and righty leaning friends raise an eyebrow. The influence has little to do with Buckley's actual political positions--most of which I grew to recognize as a species of shallow nationalism beefed up by an inflated and sometimes pretentious vocabulary.
The influence instead has to do with Buckley's television show "Firing Line," which I used to watch religiously as a teenager in the 1970s. So much was I into that program that (a.) I'm convinced my parents thought I was a strange kid and (b.) back then I actually bought written transcripts of the episodes (those were the pre-YouTube, pre-podcast days).
"Firing Line" has been the role model for just about every public affairs media program I've ever been involved with. Note in the clips below that rather than just mock or simply ignore left intellectual Noam Chomsky, Buckley actually engages him in a serious dialogue. That kind of political discourse has virtually disappeared from American media, replaced on both the right and left with one-sided gab fests that at best preach to the choir in a semi-intelligent manner, but usually are content to assault nefarious straw men and women constructed by the host.
Thank you Bill Buckley. If in my media work I can do half as much as you did to encourage people to engage in civil and thoughtful dialogue, I'll be pleased.
Ken Bender and Bryan Bain raised the possibility of extending the no wake zone to include the entire Fox River through Oshkosh. Currently, we have what former Oshkosh Chief of Police David Erickson called a "giant barbell" pattern on the river. That is, we have no wake zones on two ends of the river but a huge stretch running through the city of Oshkosh that allows boating at any speed.
I voted "no" not because I was necessarily opposed to no waking the Leach site, but because I thought the issue raised by Bender and Bain is a legitimate safety concern that should be addressed sooner rather than later. I thought that a majority "no" vote would force that discussion. We did not get that vote, and so I suspect we will not have that discussion unless we get substantial citizen feedback or (let's hope not) we have some kind of terrible accident on the river that is linked to the giant barbell.
Certainly many power boaters would oppose no waking the Fox through Oshkosh; they and other boaters would raise legitimate concerns about time, fuel use, and other issues. Kayakers, paddle boaters, and others might welcome the change. Bottom line: With the great increase in boat traffic and recreational use of the river over the last 10 years I don't think it's in the city's best interest to put off this discussion.
What are your thoughts on no waking the entire Fox through Oshkosh? You can post here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 235-1116.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Meanwhile the "unreasonable man" still sounds reasonable after all these years:
Friday, February 22, 2008
- The unique aspects of the community.
- Experience & training requirements for the position.
- Management style/personal traits & characteristics desired in a new city manager.
- Short term goals, challenges, opportunities (first 6 months to a year): internal/organizational and external.
- Longer term goals, challenges, and opportunities (2 to 5 plus years): internal/organizational and external.
I was not provided the outline in advance of the meeting, so I did not end up addressing every item in as much depth as I would have liked. Essentially, I told Karl the following:
I would prefer that we directly elect our executive, but if we cannot do that then we need appointed executive level leadership that is innovative, understands that we cannot continue to keep doing business the way we have and expect the city to progress to its potential, and runs a government that is transparent and accountable. I told Karl that some specific qualities I would like to see from a chief executive include:
- an understanding of sustainable development and the ability to take the lead on "greening" the city.
- transparency and accountability as core elements of his or her leadership style.
- actively taking on the role of change agent in the organization (even if that ruffles feathers with bureaucrats, the council, and the public at-large).
- respect for collective bargaining and active engagement in negotiations wit the city's represented employees.
- someone who will be a strong, articulate advocate for the need to support public sector services.
- a "town/gown" orientation that engages and invites members of the university community to become active participants in formulating and evaluating public policy options.
- an ability not only to take critical feedback, but to solicit it actively.
- setting clear expectations for subordinates and demanding accountability from department heads.
- someone who takes responsibility for his or her actions and does not "pass the buck" to the council, the bureaucrats, the press, or the public.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Mayor Frank Tower and the Oshkosh Common Council will hold Community Input Sessions on:
Monday, March 3, 2008 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Oshkosh Public Library, 106 Washington Avenue, Lower Level Meeting Room
PARTICIPATION IN DISCUSSION OF THE CITY MANAGER PROFILE
The Oshkosh Common Council may observe and/or participate in these sessions.
These sessions will be videotaped and replayed on OCMS CitiCable 10.
City of Oshkosh
Pamela R. Ubrig
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the State of the City address because of a prior commitment. Last year, before the Address was scheduled, the Appleton Public Library asked me to serve as a discussion facilitator for a free Feb. 28, 2008 screening of "The Ground Truth." If you do not plan to attend the State of the City Address, or live outside of Oshkosh and are looking for something to do or have an interest, please join us at the Appleton Public Library on that evening. The movie (which is 118 minutes long) will start at 6:30 p.m. and a discussion will follow afterwards.
"The Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends" is a 2006 documentary directed by Patricia Foulkrod. According to the Internet Movie Database:
The filmmaker's subjects are patriotic young Americans - ordinary men and women who heeded the call for military service in Iraq - as they experience recruitment and training, combat, homecoming, and the struggle to reintegrate with families and communities. The terrible conflict in Iraq is a prelude for the even more challenging battles fought by the soldiers returning home - with personal demons, an uncomprehending public, and an indifferent government. As these battles take shape, each soldier becomes a new kind of hero, bearing witness and giving support to other veterans, and learning to fearlessly wield the most powerful weapon of all - the truth.
The film can be seen on Google video. Here it is:
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Hello Council Members,
After talking with Mayor Tower and Karl Nollenberger from the PAR Group, I have been asked to schedule individual interviews with council members and Mr. Nollenberger on Thursday February 21, 2008. Karl is flexible and willing to accommodate day or evening appointments. Please call me to schedule.I will certainly call to schedule. Are there questions or comments you would like me to forward on to Mr. Nollenberger? Post them here or email me at email@example.com or call me at 235-1116.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
That video, of course, is a take off on "Yes, We Can" which is now at almost 4 million views(!):
And what would a post like this be without a Hillary video?:
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
As I understand it, Congressman Paul says that we are bankrupting the country and losing our freedoms in the name of empire. Last night I focused on the "losing our freedoms" part. The Air National Guard does not need the permission of local government to run the attacks, and the ANG reps told us that if we voted NO they might or might not still run them. In other words, a No vote would not have the force of "No." As one citizen in the audience suggested, the council was being asked to participate in a public relations exercise (I think she used the word "propaganda").
I made the point that our men and women are in Iraq and Afghanistan are allegedly fighting for democracy. Are public relations style votes by elected representatives the kind of democracy they are fighting for? PR votes are what they used to have in the old Russian Duma during the Cold War; party apparatchiks would give their "blessing" to the Kremlin's desires and No votes were meaningless. Ron Paul (not to mention Dwight Eisenhower) would agree, I am sure, that civilian government as PR flak for the military represents a real and troubling loss of freedom.
The dry attack presented the Paulaholics with a good opportunity to come to the Council and make the case for freedom. I didn't see any; perhaps they were busy making YouTube clips.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Subject: MEDIA ADVISORY: Air National Guard training demonstration in Menasha
Lt. Col. Tim Donovan Director, Public Affairs
Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard
To: News media in Winnebago, Fond du Lac, Outagamie, Brown counties
NEWS MEDIA ADVISORY
The Wisconsin Air National Guard is proposing to begin limited Close Air Support (CAS) and Time Sensitive Targeting (TST) training in several communities along the west side of Lake Winnebago that underlie long-established military Special Use Airspace. Proposed training would consist of controllers on the ground working within the city while they communicate with aircraft orbiting overhead. The aircraft would conduct simulated "attacks" against select "targets" in these areas. This training will not involve anything actually released from aircraft and no hazardous activities will take place.
WHO: Wisconsin Air National Guard
WHAT: Demonstration of typical Urban Close Air Support (Urban CAS) training event WHEN: 2 p.m. Tuesday, February 12, 2008
WHERE: Across the street from the Menasha City Hall (140 Main Street) Menasha, Wis.
WHY: To demonstrate to public officials and general public the limited effect this training will have on communities where training is proposed to take place. Aircraft will operate at altitudes above 18,000 ft. and activity on the ground will generally be limited to a few personnel in one or two vehicles. This training will not involve anything actually being released from the aircraft and no hazardous activities will take place.
Background: Based on experiences relayed from air and ground personnel recently returned from Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom deployments, the Wisconsin Air National Guard has identified the need to provide training in urban areas for Close Air Support (CAS) and Time Sensitive Targeting (TST), both of which routinely occur in large and dense urban areas.
Urban environments under the low altitude portions of the Volk Field airspace complex are not large or dense enough to support the realistic training required as pilots prepare for combat missions. This training is essential to prepare controllers and pilots to conduct effective Close Air Support and Time Sensitive Targeting that minimizes collateral damage and the risk to innocent civilians in combat zones. Effective air operations also reduce the requirement to conduct dangerous ground operations and reduce the risk to U.S. and coalition service members on the ground. It is important to note that thousands of Wisconsin men and women who serve in the U.S. armed forces have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and have benefited from the availability of Close Air Support.
The expected scope of proposed training is:
*10-15 days of use per year, 3-4 hrs per day of use
*1-2 military vehicles per period of use
* Participants will comply with all local, state, and federal laws
*Aircraft will remain above 18,000 feet in existing military airspace
*Communities proposed for this training are Menasha, Neenah, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac
The demonstration planned for Menasha on Feb. 11 will involve two F-16 aircraft from the Iowa Air National Guard's 132nd Fighter Wing, Des Moines, Iowa. The ground controllers, called Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACS), will be from the 194th Air Support Operations Group, Washington Air National Guard, Tacoma, Wash.
News media will be able to observe aircraft (to the extent they can be seen from the ground), listen to communications from the ground controller to the pilots, and get a general sense of the effect, if any, of this training to communities involved.
News media may interview the Wisconsin National Guard's director of public affairs (Lt. Col. Tim Donovan) and Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center's director of operations (Lt. Col. Brendan Smith). Both officers will be on the ground in Menasha during the entire event and as long afterward as needed to provide additional information.
Lt. Col. Tim Donovan Director, Public Affairs Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard
Sunday, February 10, 2008
The campaign’s other most potent form of currency remains its thick deck of race cards. This was all too apparent in the Hallmark show. In its carefully calibrated cross section of geographically and demographically diverse cast members — young, old, one gay man, one vet, two union members — African-Americans were reduced to also-rans. One black woman, the former TV correspondent Carole Simpson, was given the servile role of the meeting’s nominal moderator, Ed McMahon to Mrs. Clinton’s top banana. Scattered black faces could be seen in the audience. But in the entire televised hour, there was not a single African-American questioner, whether to toss a softball or ask about the Clintons’ own recent misadventures in racial politics.
The Clinton camp does not leave such matters to chance. This decision was a cold, political cost-benefit calculus. In October, seven months after the two candidates’ dueling church perorations in Selma, USA Today found Hillary Clinton leading Mr. Obama among African-American Democrats by a margin of 62 percent to 34 percent. But once black voters met Mr. Obama and started to gravitate toward him, Bill Clinton and the campaign’s other surrogates stopped caring about what African-Americans thought. In an effort to scare off white voters, Mr. Obama was ghettoized as a cocaine user (by the chief Clinton strategist, Mark Penn, among others), “the black candidate” (as Clinton strategists told the Associated Press) and Jesse Jackson redux (by Mr. Clinton himself).
The result? Black America has largely deserted the Clintons. In her California primary victory, Mrs. Clinton drew only 19 percent of the black vote. The campaign saw this coming and so saw no percentage in bestowing precious minutes of prime-time television on African-American queries.Too late for Maggie to be of any help in Maine. With 60 percent of the caucus vote in, Obama leads 57-42.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
The war games will indeed take place in Oshkosh. At this coming Tuesday's Common Council meeting, we are being asked to approve item #10 in the city manager's report: "URBAN CLOSE AIR SUPPORT EXERCISES: Request permission to grant approval to the Air National Guard Combat Readiness Center, located at the Volk Field Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin, to conduct Urban Close Air Support exercises in and in the airspace above the city of Oshkosh."
The Common Council was sent a memo from WI ANG Director of Operations, Lt. Col. Brendan Smith, that I don't believe is on the city website. I've scanned it on my computer and you can find page 1 here and page 2 here.
The Fox Valley Peace Coalition plans to protest the training. They will be at Menasha City Hall (140 Main St.) at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12. For more information contact Dr. Ann Frisch at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are also encouraging concerned citizens to attend the Oshkosh Common Council meeting at 6 p.m. on the 12th. Protesters will gather outside City Hall (215 Church Ave.) before the start of the meeting. Contact Dr. Frisch for more information.
How do you feel about Oshkosh being used as a military training ground? If you were on the council, what questions would you ask the representative from the WI ANG? You can post here, email me privately at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org call me at 235-1116.
Friday, February 08, 2008
As someone who has written a number of books and articles about media and journalism, I am acutely aware that newspapers are in decline. Circulation is down, and so are ad revenues. The consolidated corporations that own most newspapers may be satisfied to put out "products" that are pale shadows of the great journals of old, squeezing the last life and the last few dollars out of publications that they never valued as anything more than investments.
But for someone who values journalism, particularly the dissenting journalism of The Capital Times, the notion of managing the decline of this newspaper is appalling. Like Evjue, I want The Capital Times to roar as mightily in the 21st century as it did in the 20th. To do that, we must change.
So, beginning in April, The Capital Times will suspend publication of afternoon print editions and begin publishing a full-service, round-the-clock newspaper on the Internet. We'll still put out a weekly journal of news and opinion in print, much like the old Capital Times Monday edition that circulated statewide, and a print edition with a cultural focus.
The paper announced the changes on Thursday. John's full essay can be found here. More from editor Dave Zweifel can be found here.
In 1927 the paper's founder, William T. Evjue, wrote this:
"The Madison Capital Times was founded by a group of people who believed that there should be a journalistic voice in Madison sympathetic to the principles of government which would enhance the public good and which should be dedicated to the proposition that the public welfare transcends considerations of private profit and privilege." Today it's hard to find even one mainstream newspaper or broadcast outlet holding such principles--yet all of us can name many that are hostile to them.
When Jim Mather and I traveled to the Cap Times' office in 2002 to interview Nichols, we were in awe of the feisty and dedicated spirit of the employees. How terrible that some of those people will lose their jobs.
I like what this "Middle Age Main St. Reublican" has to say about all this:
I've always had a soft spot for The Capital Times even though politically I'm more likely to be on the opposite side of the scrappy liberal publication. That's because the newspaper isn't a knee-jerk liberal mouthpiece but rather one born out of early 20th century populism. Along with the liberal tradition was a progressive tradition honed by founder William T. Evjue whose motto of "Let the people have the truth and the freedom to discuss it" still rings loud and clear in the soul of this former journalist.
Who knows, maybe the net version of the paper will become just as vital as the print version once was. As Nichols suggests, the challenge will be for the paper to maintain its ideals while trying to survive in the profit driven world of modern journalism.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Oshkosh, Wis. – The City of Oshkosh has selected Peggy A. Steeno as their new Finance Director. Steeno will replace Ed Nokes who retired on February 1, 2008 after 29 years of service with the City. In her new position, Steeno will oversee the Finance Department which includes the offices of Assessor, Collections, Accounting, Parking, Water, Sewer and Storm Water Utilities.
“We are very pleased Peggy Steeno has accepted the Finance Director position with the City of Oshkosh,” said Acting City Manager John Fitzpatrick. “Peggy has both a solid financial background and proven municipal experience. Her expertise and practical manner are an excellent combination for both the staff and citizens of Oshkosh.”
Steeno is currently the Business & Administrative Services Manager for the Waukesha Water Utility in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Prior to 1999, Steeno was the Finance Supervisor for the City of West Allis, Wisconsin. In 1992 Steeno began her public sector career in Madison, Wisconsin at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection as a Agricultural Auditor.
Steeno received a MBA with a double emphasis in Human Resources and Training & Technology from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. She has also earned a BA with a double major in Managerial Accounting & German from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. In addition, Steeno is a Certified Public Accountant. Her family includes her husband Paul and two children.
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to serve the City of Oshkosh,” said Steeno. “I’m looking forward to working on new challenges and feel I have much to contribute to the position and the organization.”
Steeno’s official start date is April 5, 2008 and will be introduced to the public at the 2008 State of the City Address and Open House event scheduled for Thursday, February 28 at Oshkosh Seniors Center North. For more information about the City of Oshkosh please visit www.ci.oshkosh.wi.us
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
In the February primary the 5 candidates will be narrowed to two, and then in April the Menasha citizens will elect their chief executive. Seems like a representative democratic method of choosing a leader that many people have literally died for over the years.
Contrast that with how we are choosing our chief executive in Oshkosh. We have already had:
*Closed meetings to discuss the performance of the city manager.
*A buy out of the retiring city manager.
*Thousands of dollars for an attorney to advise the city council on everything from how to handle closed session evaluations to how much money to pay the acting city manager.
*Advertising dollars for an interim city manager search that never materialized.
*A committee (that was never voted on by the common council) to recommend an executive search firm to search for the city manager.
*Who knows how many more closed meetings as the search process unfolds.
*These kinds of discussions.
Menasha's process of executive selection is transparent (candidates debating in open forum), inclusive, and accountable to the voters. Oshkosh's process is semi-transparent, only as inclusive as the search firm and (hopefully) the council decides, and not at all accountable to the voters.
Menasha, Appleton, Neenah, and Green Bay elect their executive level leadership. Does anyone honestly think that those cities would trade their process for what we are doing in Oshkosh?
I pledge to work hard to make sure we get the best city manager possible. But I still don't understand why we just don't let voters settle the matter at the ballot box. What are we afraid of?
Sunday, February 03, 2008
I've been a Giants fan my entire life, and was shocked that they made the playoffs this year let alone win the Super Bowl. Friends had been telling me for the last two weeks that there was no way we could beat New England, and I kept saying . . . Yes, We Can! (You knew that was coming.).
Friday, February 01, 2008
It will be interesting to see what the youth for Obama do after the elections. Will they continue to be politically active, especially in causes more important and meaningful than getting someone elected? If yes, then we can say with some confidence that the Obama campaign really did help to transform politics in this country. If no, then Barack was merely the flavor of the month, just another cult of personality. That would be very depressing.
Caroline mentions the kids at about the 1 minute mark:
Sebelius at about the 3:50 mark:
Carter at about the 1:20 mark: