Wednesday, December 31, 2008

C'mon big eight. Baby New Year needs a new pair of shoes

Let’s take a last look back at 2008 at the eight events that shaped Wisconsin and Waukesha.

Waukesha’s Big Eight:
1. The Flood. How often does a city emergency come up where a city handles it well?
2. The Great Lakes Water Compact passes, complete with a process for Waukesha to apply for a diversion. Speaking of water, you can never have enough. Where do we stick the $50 million straw?
3. Todd Gray becomes Waukesha Schools Superintendent. Already we’re seeing the changes. But do we have to have four-year-old kindergarten? Gray has ended talk of referendums and has moved the debate to reforms.
4. The great Frame Park baseball stadium debate. Compared to other cities, when we argue, we argue nicely. Unfortunately, the home team lost. But I predict we have not heard the last of some of the people involved in the argument, and this city will be better for it.
5. Bill Kramer defeating Ruth Page Jones after her squeaker victory over Steve Schmuki. It’s official. The seat is mostly safe for Republicans, especially if the Republican works hard to keep it.
6. The passing of Governor Lee Sherman Dreyfus. An institution.
7. Chris Lufter steps down as head of the Waukesha Taxpayers League. Great work is done by great people.
8. Evil genius Lori Luther takes over as the new city administrator. She sends the other guy to funerals, ribbon cuttings, and to buy lunch occasionally.

Wisconsin’s Big Eight:
1. The Flood. Governor goes golfing with contributors while parts of the state are washed away. Lake Delton still recovering. Golf course got free advertising.
2. Hillary Clinton bypasses the Wisconsin primary. What? Is she lactose intolerant?
3. The state assembly falls to the Democrats. You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!
4. Judge Gableman defeats Justice Louis Butler. State Supreme Court race still stirs political rancor and sets the stage for the Koschnick – Abrahamson battle.
5. Great Lakes Water Compact passes. I know some on the right disagreed, but a generation from now we’ll be thankful it passed.
6. Rose Fernandez leads coalition of virtual school parents and teachers to Madison. WEAC, Democrats back down and virtual schools are saved.
7. General Motors announces closure of Janesville plant. Ripple effects just beginning. Look at Paul Ryan’s support for the auto bailout.
8. Tommy Thompson’s presidential ambitions end in the cornfields of Iowa. I never did understand the logic behind his campaign.