Sunday, September 24, 2006

Nobody home

And that is how I know,
When I try to get through,
On the telephone to you,
There'll be nobody home.
- Pink Floyd "Nobody Home"
I know my regular readers have been waiting impatiently for me to comment on the September 19th column by Laurel Walker. Truthfully, I missed it until someone sent it to me.

In the column, we learn that not only is State Representative Scott Newcomer still homeless within his own district, but Menomonee Falls Village President Richard Rechlicz is living in Sussex.

It's just amazing to me how they get away with it.

Apparently, when I made my trip out to Delafield to visit the future La Casa Newcomer, the house was not as far along as I thought. Newcomer nows tells Walker he will not be able to move into his home until mid-November, conveniently after the election.

So really, the 33rd Assembly district has been absent of representation since last October, while Elm Grove has had the good fortune of having two state representatives.

I know what some people will say, Newcomer clearly intends on moving into the district. After all, his kids are now attending school near the new house. So, should inner-city parents with their kids in the chapter 220 program start running for office in Brookfield?

What's particularly galling is the timidity of the opposition party, the Democrats. Newcomer has been defending himself with an opinion issued by State Elections Board counsel George Dunst (who was given a false timetable by Newcomer). Dunst's opinions have now been overruled so often the State Elections Board should institute instant replay. The Democrats have never tried to have the full elections board (which they control) rule on the issue. The only explanation is that they don't like to live among the people they represent, either.

Given the number of Realtor and Homebuilder lobbyists and PACs, you would think that one of them might tell Scott Newcomer about a place he can rent in the district while the house is being built.

Meanwhile in Menomonee Falls, Village President Richard Rechlicz isn't. He's in Sussex. The State Attorney General's office is reviewing the matter. Walker wrote,
Rechlicz told me after I found somebody else last week living in his former home on Ravine Drive. He moved out in June and has been renting an apartment in Sussex after his home sold more quickly than he expected.

He didn't make a big deal about it - but didn't hide it, either, he said - after he got the go-ahead from Village Attorney Michael Morse, who consulted an outside attorney, John Macy, about the residency question. Macy said the temporary relocation didn't affect Rechlicz's official status since he intends to continue living in Menomonee Falls as he has done for the past 26 years or so.

Next Monday, Rechlicz said, he expects to close on and immediately move into a newly built condominium in Menomonee Falls, in the Prairie Walk complex at Marcy Road and Silver Spring Drive.

Why didn't he just find a rental place in his hometown to start with?

In retrospect, he said, he wishes he had.
Why wouldn't it have occurred to him before a newspaper columnist asked, or even before a citizens group complained?

Walker treats it all like "politics as usual" (the standard level of cynicism at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), but constituents have the right to expect their government leaders to live among them. And if their representatives choose not to, then surely the citizens should choose someone who does.