April 30, 2009


“Chainsaws topple park trees”

That was a headline in our local paper yesterday. More than a dozen trees were removed because they were dead, dying or in danger of contracting emerald ash borer. The editorial cartoon took exception. Tree lovers are outraged.

I googled “cutting trees” and found news articles from coast to coast with similar stories. Cities and Utility Companies cut down trees for a variety of reasons and catch hell every time for doing it. It is a no win situation. After all nobody cheers a tree coming down. But, come down they do.

Let me go out on a limb (pun intended) and give my approval to such cutting.

If trees have the potential to cut off my electricity by falling on the lines they have to go.

If dying or dead trees in public areas have the potential to fall and cause bodily harm they have to go.

Does that make me a bad person?


A Sidewalk Thank You!

April 29, 2009


I don’t know of any city that hasn’t had a sidewalk battle. During street construction/reconstruction it comes up all the time. Many cities go through the angry mobs descending on the City Council every year. Including my city.

My city had another sidewalk battle last night. The sidewalks won.

The fact a sidewalk referendum passed in 2000 with over 60% of the vote does not deter citizens from objecting to the placement of sidewalks in front of  THEIR  home.

I am an unabashed supporter of sidewalks. No apologies for it. It isn’t fun chairing the meeting when the angry mobs appear, but it is a political battle well worth fighting.

I have made a note to myself to send a Thank You note to the Council members who stood up to the mob.

They have earned it.

Older … and Wiser?

April 28, 2009


It’s my birthday today. Not a special one, just another one. The Pontificator turns 58 today. While the birthday itself is not significant a couple of other years are significant.

This is the year of my 29th Wedding Anniversary. That makes half my life I have been married. She’s a saint.

It also marks over 30 years of being involved in local politics. I started as a local newspaper political cartoonist, then 25 years ago I wast elected a Mayor. I’ve been fortunate that about half of those past 30 years my full time occupation has been local politics. When not a full time occupation, a full time interest.

The great thing about local politics is you have never seen or heard it all. Every year new issues and people appear.

I’m at the age when I get the question “When you gonna retire”? 

Retire? Not in the foreseeable future that is for sure. Why would I? I have a job I love. The Realtors® Association actually pays me to go to local government meetings and participate in discussions/decisions that will have reverberations for decades to come.

The best thing I learned this year?

I learned to wear wrist supports when I type at the computer.

What would I wish for if my cheesecake had candles?

The Brewers winning the World Series.

What can you do for me for my birthday …?

How about buy my book if you haven’t already.

Now if it just gets up to at least 50 today I think I will go golfing.

Universal Problem – No Solution

April 27, 2009

Try it. I dare you.


Google the benefits of  pigeons and you can get over 1 million pages, but not one benefit.

Every city large and small has pigeons.  But, no way to legally control them.

The flocks just keep getting bigger and bigger.

Has anyone found a way to “control” pigeons?

Eliminate them?

If so, please post comment below and let the world know.


Urban Chicken Movement

April 23, 2009

chickens chickens 6 of hoffman.jpg

I don’t get it. 

Why would someone want to raise chickens in the city?

But,  I’m a dog guy.

Hopefully, they will get it right next time.

April 22, 2009

I was having coffee this morning with the normal crew.

One of the guys had surgery at the VA last year on his shoulder. He was telling us about how he has to go back to have it done over again.

He tried to explain to us what the problem was but he wasn’t sure himself. All he knew was he was in constant pain.

His parting remark was, “Hopefully, they will get it right next time.”

I thought … What a great commentary on government provided services.

What’s a Handshake?

April 21, 2009

Lots of talk about the Obama-Chavez handshake.

Good … Bad … Indifferent?

I remember years ago when I was first elected Mayor. There was a neighboring City which was a long time rival. The rivalry went back  even before they actually stole the County Seat/records in the middle of the night from my city. Long … bitter rivalry.

Their Mayor had invited me down to his City for a milking contest. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to shake his hand and I didn’t want to try to milk his damn cow. I knew it from the start I shouldn’t go. But, I went. I shook his hand. I tried and failed to milk even a drop out of the cow. I had a horrible time. Trying to get along with old time rivals isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Burying hatchets is for wimps.

I have never liked Barron.

I will never like Barron.

I wish I would have never shook his hand.