Today I tell a little tale of a concerned homeowner who thought she was confiding in her elected alderman but got outed for her un-progressive views.
She lives in the Prairie Hills neighborhood just west of Meadowood. I have her full name and her permission to use this material but at her request I use only the initials "G.S."
On Saturday, December 4, G.S. e-mailed her alderman to describe her first-hand impressions of witnessing a drug bust in her neighborhood that attracted 16 police squad cars, a fire truck and a battering ram. She directed her e-mail to Thuy Pham-Remmele at her Common Council e-mail address.
The resident concluded her e-mail with this reference:
... My property taxes are going up while my neighborhood is being ghettoized. It's sickening. You know, back when I was friends with the Veldrans, they moved over to Tottenham, between McKenna and Frisch for awhile .... I'd like to see them live there now!! Let's just say, it AIN'T "paradise"!
Imagine G.S.'s surprise when she received a response from one of the Veldrans mentioned in her e-mail to Thuy!
Lisa M. Veldran is something of a power broker, hereabouts. For one thing, she is the spouse of liberal County Supervisor Matt Veldran. (Who -- full disclosure -- deposed your scribe in that elected position.)
Lisa Veldran is president of the Meadowood neighborhood association and a staunch ally of Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. In September, the mayor stood next to Lisa Veldran to announce his capital budget at the Meadowood shopping center's neighborhood center. The area's alderman, Thuy Pham-Remmele, was not invited. But flanking the mayor at the photo-op was his hand-picked candidate to replace her, Matt Phair.
Adding to the incestuousness, he is husband of Connie Phair, the mayor's personal secretary. Oh, and Matt Phair is Matt Veldran's campaign treasurer.
Coming full circle, Lisa Veldran is also the office administrator of the Madison Common Council. So, when that e-mail came into the city council office on the fourth floor of the City-County Building, Lisa Veldran had access to it.
No secrets from Big Sister
Very alertly, Lisa Veldran noted that the e-mail from G.S. was written on a UW-Madison e-mail account. (The resident explained that she did not have a home computer.) Lisa Veldran responded (from her personal e-mail account, it must be said) to the e-mail, although she was not personally addressed, and copied her response to one of the faculty members G.S. works with at the University.
The perplexed constituent asked:
Why did this get to Lisa Veldran with that part I wrote about her and Matt at the end of it? And now she has copied one of the PROFESSORS IN THE LAB THAT I WORK FOR?! Probably to show that I am writing this while I'm here at work. ... I don't know what Lisa is doing copying my professor.
Be careful what you say
Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele responded:
It's very scary & difficult working at City Hall these days. I openly copied Alder Jed Sanborn (due to Alder courtesy)! ALL CORRESPONDENCE TO CITY EMAIL ADDRESSES ARE SUBJECT TO OPEN RECORDS.
City Hall exercises damage control & does everything to intimidate different voices. And, as you can see this snake has access to EVERYTHING, including ALL ALDERS emails & beyond!
In a follow-up e-mail, G.S. asked Lisa Veldran why she copied G.S.'s boss but received no answer.
I asked Lisa M. Veldran these three questions on December 6:
1. Why did you intercept G.S.'s e-mail to Ald. Thuy?
2. Why did you copy G.S.'s boss at the UW-Madison?
3. Do you copy the mayor's office on e-mails directed to the alders?
A week later, I await her response. But I have heard from more than one alder that they do not trust their own employee.
NEXT: G.S. details life in the SW Madison war zone in the year 2010.
It's for the members
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel calls out teachers unions. Even another teachers union official from out of state thinks WEAC is an anachronism.
When it comes to assessing and improving teacher quality, the most powerful voice in Wisconsin - and perhaps the biggest obstacle - could be the teachers union. [MJS: 12-11-2010]
Today's Wall Street Journal makes a good point about liberal politicians who "negotiate" with government employee unions -- they working both sides of the bargaining table:
Representing taxpayers in negotiations with the unions while seeking union cash and endorsements when running for re-election. [WSJ: Badger Rebellion]
Here is Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on "Government unions vs taxpayers."
Platinum subscriber stuff
I hope you got a chance to see CBS-TV's 60 Minutes Sunday night. Lesley Stahl interviewed House Speaker-presumptive John Boehner who, sure enough, teared up. We saw the family tavern in Cincinnati where he worked growing up, his 11 siblings, and a man's love of family, God, and country.
Still looking for a few good men or women out there. Make a difference: Run for local elective office. In the Madison school district, teachers' union pawn Marj Passman is up. You have until January 4 to file papers.