The Monona Rag

Dealing the Dish on Monona, Wisconsin

Category: Elections

Vote, Assholes

Jesus Christ, stop whining about everything and just go friggin’ vote on Tuesday.

Who should you vote for? How the hell should I know? I not friggin’ you. Figure it out yourself. If you haven’t by now, stay away from me and my family. I don’t want you dating my kids if you can’t figure out the difference in the candidates.

But vote.

  • Don’t be an asshole and say there’s no differences in the candidates.
  • Don’t be an asshole and say it doesn’t matter.
  • Don’t be an asshole and say you don’t have time.

So don’t be an asshole.


PS – be nice to your poll workers. Monona has the nicest poll workers I’ve ever interacted with.

Where have all the white Protestants gone?

I must say, the American electoral system is archaic and confusing. But over the decades I could count on good white protestants to ascend to the top of the system.

John Kennedy, the Catholic son of a New England bootlegger, was an aberration. An anomaly. Once he tragically passed on, the American people went back to what they knew best: white Protestants.

2008 brought us Barack Obama. Not a white man, but a Protestant (despite what conspiracy nincompoops like to say). I thought to myself, ‘My Lord Gladstone, another aberration. We’ll fix things up next time.’

So what do we get in 2012. A man named Mitt. A man named after an American baseball glove. The kings and queens of the British Empire would roll over in their graves. But, me being a man of strong moral character and open mind, decided to look beyond his idiotic name. After all, he is a handsome and distinguished white man of industry. So what do I find?

A Morman. Not a Protestant. A Morman. I gnash my teeth. What is happening to America? At least he only has one wife. I look more and see Mr. Romney (I can’t bear to call him ‘Mitt’) has a fine looking young man as his vice presidential candidate. Paul Ryan is his name and I groaned upon hearing that news. An Irishman. I inspect his biography and discover he is a Catholic.

What choices America offers? 600 million people and no worthy white Protestants are on the bill for this election. Why can’t race and religion guide me?

With no obvious choice, I consider the alternatives. And after careful deliberation, I decide I am going to research each of the candidates, and select the one that I think is going run the Colonies in the best manner available.

Thus, on election day, I will have my chauffeur, Chauncey, drive me to the polls and cast my ballot for the best man.

God bless the Queen! God bless the United States of America!

Robb Kahl’s Assembly Bid

Robb Kahl is making a bid for the Wisconsin assembly in the newly restructured 47th district. The move isn’t a shocker, but many were surprised that Kahl is running as a democrat. In Kahl’s time as Monona’s mayor, he worked to avoid saying what ‘party’ he was part of. But many saw him as a moderate conservative. There were rumors he was trying to land a job with the Walker administration. He donated money to republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. But a few rumors and contributions don’t necessarily paint a full picture. Thus, Kahl is running as a democrat and pulling in lots of endorsements from local party leaders (Monona Mayor Bob Miller, former Madison Mayor Dave Cieselwicz, and Senator John Erpenbach – to name a few).

One interesting holdout, however, is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL- CIO (AFSCME). The powerful AFSCME union is reportedly balking with regard to endorsing Kahl at this time – perhaps waiting to see if someone more appealing emerges. Dane County board member Patrick Miles, of McFarland, has recently announced his candidacy for the democratic nomination as well. I don’t know if anyone else has announced – or will announce – their candidacy.

AFSCME’s support would be a huge feather for any candidate in the Dane County area. No county was probably more affected by the cuts to state workers – and they will come out in droves – the majority (I’m guessing) against Walker – and other republicans running for office. Perhaps Kahl’s previously ‘undeclared’ loyalty has made AFSCME wary of him. We shall see. No matter what democrat wins, the union will support that person over any republican challenger.

City council race veers toward meaningless

The withdrawal of Jeff Wiswell from the city council race (on the heels of Dennis Kugle’s withdrawal) all but makes the upcoming election meaningless.

Mary O’Connor, Kathy Thomas and Brian Holmquist are now running for three seats – making them all shoo ins for a 2-year term.

I was surprised that Wiswell decided to file for re-election last December. I thought his defeat in the mayoral race would seal his time in Monona politics. It turns out it was only a two-month delay. Wiswell’s decision to pull out of the race is awkward, but I’m still not surprised.

I was more surprised by Dennis Kugle’s withdrawal from the race. It’s known that some people had targeted Kugle since he had donated money to Scott Walker. Perhaps Kugle felt that we were headed toward another ‘blue wave’ – like last April – when left-of-center voters came out in massive numbers to express their displeasure with Governor Walker via the supreme court race. Monona was blanketed with JoAnne Kloppenburg signs – and it was no surprise that many of those same yards sported Bob Miller, Chad Speight and Doug Wood signs. All three of those men rode a strong turnout to wins in the mayoral and city council races, respectively.

Both Kugle and Wiswell, who are the two of the three more conservative council members (the other being Jim Busse), may have both felt the anti-Walker wrath from Monona voters had they stayed in the race. However, there is no polarizing race this April – as there was in 2011 – so I don’t feel any such sentiment would be overwhelming.

The most difficult thing about Wiswell’s and Kugle’s bailing from the race is that it doesn’t create any sort of debate or conversation. And more importantly, it kept others from running. If Kugle and Wiswell had not filed to run in the first place, other candidates may have stepped forward, as opposed to the remaining three. Sadly, we don’t know.

No matter the reasons for Wiswell’s and Kugle’s departures, the moves will leave us with very new city council come April.

First, we’ll have two women (I don’t know when was the last time that happened). Second, two of the three will be newcomers to the council (the third is former alderwoman Kathy Thomas).

Finally, the council will be a solidly left leaning group going forward. Last year it was Chad Speight replacing Mike Veserat. Now we have two of the remaining three ‘conservative’ alders being replaced by more moderate/liberal individuals.

What does a more liberal city council mean? Probably not that much. There is not a lot of leeway in the city budget. There is the possibility the city could borrow money if they want to begin some larger projects. This was probably less likely under the previous administrations. But some projects that have been stalled may emerge – such as bringing Madison Metro into Monona.

With Wiswell and Kugle gone, the city administration should be more unified and be able to push through projects more aggressively. The only danger for them is that they will have no one to blame but themselves if they fail.

The final question – should Super Friendly Horse run for city council?

John Doe investigation leads to arrest of 46 Monona Grove school kids

The latest in the state’s secret John Doe investigation has led to the arrest of 46 school kids at Glacial Drumlin School in Cottage Grove. The 46 children are accused of working on the ‘Recall Walker’ campaign while they were supposed to be doing school work and attending class.

The kids, ranging in age from 10-14, were recruited by ‘union thug teachers’, said an insider at the school. In return for a passing grade in their classes, the students spent their school hours posting thousands of moronic and repetitive anti-Walker comments to counter the thousands of moronic and repetitive anti-union comments being posted by Walker supporters.

Daniel Owens, who headed up the investigation in Dane County, said the kids were instructed to by their teachers to go onto sites with message boards, such as, and attack any posters who tried to bash the union or who supported Governor Walker.

“It was pretty easy,” said one student. “You just copy and paste a bunch of the same stuff, switch around the words a little, and submit. That simple.”

“I liked the funny ones,” said a 12 year old girl, who’s name will remain anonymous. “Things like ‘Walker is a Dick’ and ‘Walker is a weasel, not a Badger’. Things like that. That was pretty cool.”

Another student indicated that he was given an ‘A’ in several of his classes in exchange for the work.

“It’s clearly a violation of the state campaign rules,” said Owens. “Kids are supposed to be learning. Not trolling around websites, posting falsehoods, making up lies, and calling people names. That kind of thing is for adults.”

“It’s appalling,” said Walker spokesperson Randy Shadar. “It’s like slave labor. And it takes jobs away from adults in this state. At least we pay our people to flood message boards with our crap.”

Another source inside the Walker camp said the incident is not a total loss. They said that the kids involved would be tracked and monitored, and upon turning 18, would be offered state, county and city positions, where they can continue using their new found skills for one of the state’s various political parties.

Mr. Owens said the fraud was discovered when the quality of the grammar improved dramatically on political message boards. “We especially noticed the lack of ALL CAP POSTINGS. Kids realize only a raving idiot or your grandparents uses all caps when posting messages on the web. The lack of all caps postings – not to mentioned the much better grammar in general – tipped us off that something was amiss.”

Q&A with Mayor Bob

Monona Mayor Bob Miller has been on the job for about half a year now. We thought we’d check in with Mayor Bob and have a short Q&A. We thank Mayor Miller for participating. Please note that all responses are unedited. We compliment Bob on his ability to spell/use spellcheck. Well done.

Question: With regard to your position as mayor, what has surprised you the most about the job?

There haven’t been any major surprises.  A pleasant aspect of the position has been how friendly and responsive people are to you.  Anywhere I go in Monona people go out of their way to chat with the mayor.

Q: What’s the status of the Monona Drive construction?

Phase II is completely designed and we are about 82% through the right-of-way acquisition process.  The acquisition process should be done in the next month or so.  Phase III is nearly designed and we will begin land acquisition in December for a spring 2013 construction start.

Q: Aside from the road construction on Monona Drive, what things will the city be doing to improve the road? What are some things we aren’t doing that you’d like see done?

Most improvements are for safety of the drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.  We are also working on the aesthetics similar to Phase I.  Phase I recently was awarded a national gold medal by the American Concrete Pavement Association along with a state award from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.  I would have liked to see concrete paving used through all three phases but Phase II will be asphalt due to cost considerations.

Q: Who is the best smelling alderman on the council?

Generally, the council is seems to have a mix of Brut and Grey Flannel with an occasional waft of Axe for Men.

Q: Will we ever get a brewpub on or near Monona Drive?

I sure hope so, or at least a tavern of the style of the Malt House.  As an investor in the Great Dane Pub and Brewing Co., I am often asked about a Monona Great Dane.  There are currently no plans for a Great Dane as we are allowed by law to only have one more in the state of Wisconsin.  I am aware of several possible restaurants that are looking at Monona and may fit the bill.  Cross your fingers.

Q: What is the thing Monona really needs to do – but finances just won’t allow?

The fire department could really use a new and better located station.  I want to work with the department to begin the process of determining where is the best location and the type of facility that best suits the city’s fire safety needs.  The current fire station’s location is far less than ideal situated next to an elementary school, park and library.  The downhill curve of Nichols Road can be dangerous for emergency vehicles leaving the station also.

Q: What’s the best thing Monona is working on or will be working on that no one really knows about?

I am not in a position to share information about all commercial developments but can say there are at least a half dozen opportunities currently being considered for Monona.  (And no, Nichols School is not one of them.)

Q: Will the urinal in the Fireman’s Park bathroom really be made of solid gold?

Nothing but the best for our park users. Seriously, I recently appointed an ad hoc facilities committee made up of Monona engineering and construction professionals to help guide the city and our other committees and departments to make fiscally prudent design and facility decisions.

Q: What’s the best thing about being mayor?

Easily, the best thing is making new friends in the community.  I thought I knew a lot of people before being elected mayor, but I have greatly expanded my friendships and contacts since the election.

Q: How did your Sunday morning sessions at the Farmers Market work out? Will you them continue next year?

The Farmer’s Market mayor’s office turned into a much busier event than I ever expected.  What was intended to be an occasional meeting for an hour or two turned into every Sunday from 10 to noon from April through October.  I missed a couple weekends in July because of vacation and returned to letters, phone calls and emails from people telling me in no certain terms to get back to the Sunday office.  When the media picked up on the story, many more more people began to come out to join me.  Here is a link to the Channel 3 story about the mayor with the best office in Dane County.

Q: What’s your favorite candy bar?

I have always enjoyed Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Q: What will be the big issues in next spring’s city council and school board elections?

A lot can happen between now and April so I am cautious to forecast the big issues.  For the city council, the challenge will continue to be how to provide the best services residents can and should expect in a financially prudent manner.  I do not envy the Monona Grove school board members who will again face daunting budget constraints next year and face even greater cuts than this year.  I am concerned about the long term effects of these continued cuts and their impact on our children and community.  I would expect to hear discussions about a possible referendum as part of the spring school board elections.

10 signs Bob Miller is letting power go to his head

Bob Miller recently became Monona’s newest mayor. While winning an elected office can change some people, there are whispers that Miller’s already become a bit crazy with power.

Here’s a list of 10 items proposed by Bob Miller that show that power has gone to this head:

  • Remove bump outs on Winnequah and replace them with high speed rail
  • Attempted to have Jeff Wiswell declared blighted
  • City-sponsored pub crawls
  • Hired U2 to play beer tent at 4th of July festival
  • Plans to wear nothing but a fishnet shirt in Memorial Day Parade
  • Said Chad Speight wasn’t ‘radical enough’ for Monona
  • Plans to personally water every Monona resident’s lawn at least once this summer
  • Handed out hash-laced cookies at recent Senior Center gathering
  • Claimed he was part of the strike force that killed Osama Bin Laden
  • Wants to add a big mustache to our water towers

Photo courtesy of Monona Parks and Rec Facebook page.

Super Friendly Horse comes in 3rd in hotly contested school board race

Super Friendly Horse came in 3rd in the recent school board race.

According to our friend, Sunny, SFH had two votes, beating out John K. Doe, Mickey Mouse, Sue Manning and Joe Blow.

Super Friendly Horse’s two votes weren’t quite enough to win a spot on the school board. Those went to Sue Fox and Dean Bowles, who had 11 and 7 votes, respectively.

Also, SFH managed to place 5th in the Monona city council race, garnering 3 votes. SFH beat out Bob Hope, Bob Miller, Joe Parisi and Mari Ann Lichtfeld.

While we wish SFH had received more votes, we realize that certain events took over the state during the campaign cycle, and we did not do enough to promote SFH’s candidacy. Perhaps in our next election we can muster a better campaign for Super Friendly Horse.

Mayor-elect Bob Miller announces a ‘Greener, Brighter, Bluer, Liberaler, Democraticer’ Monona

Mayor-elect Bob Miller wasted little time outlining his future agenda for Monona. Standing beside just elected alders Chad Speight and Doug Wood, Miller promised a ‘Greener, Brighter, Bluer, Liberaler, Democraticor’ Monona.

“Your worst nightmares have come true!” Miller shouted at a press conference surrounded by cheering supporters, who feasted on foie gras, wine coolers and gluten free craft beers.

Miller quickly went through a list of some initiatives he plans to implement over the next few months:

  • All police vehicles – except the hybrid – will be replaced by scooters to save on gas costs and fuel emissions.
  • Energy generating windmills will be installed in the backyard of every third home.
  • All city streets will have extra wide sidewalks installed on them.
  • Police night sticks will be replaced by eco-friendly bamboo sticks.
  • The city will purchase Maywood School, tear it down, and build a $230 million biomass recycling plant.
  • Chickens will be allowed to live ‘free and safe’ in Monona without threat of expulsion or being eaten.
  • Madison Metro Buses will service every road in Monona, coming every 15 minutes between 5:00 a.m. and midnight.
  • All businesses north of Nichols Road on Monona Drive will be declared blighted and burned to the ground – with the exception of the Hawaiian Tan building. The burning will coincide with the new ‘Monona Drive is on Fire’ campaign.
  • All men are required to grow mustaches.
  • Will exercise the ‘Mayor’s stop sign’ rule and move the stop sign at Maywood and Winnequah to in front of his own home.
  • Declare Super Friendly Horse official Monona mascot.
  • More pub crawls!
  • A special Zombie-proof bunker will be constructed at Nichols School.
  • Monona Moola will be back. Spend $20 and get $100 in Monona Moola.
  • No tax increases.

After the announcement, Miller and his supporters celebrated the occasion by playing polo and croquet in Winnequah park.

Miller scores huge win in mayoral race

Bob Miller is da man in Monona.

Miller put the hurt on Jeff Wiswell, capturing almost 64% of the vote in today’s election.

Over 4,000 ballots were cast.

My initial thoughts about Miller’s victory are that Bob did a good job generating early buzz for his candidacy, he kept it up (lots of yard signs, advertising, interviews, campaigning, etc.), and he didn’t let up. He created a strong message that played to his strengths and stayed on target. The results speak for themselves. Kudos to Bob for the big win.

For Wiswell, it looks like he wasn’t able to generate enthusiasm beyond his core base.

As we discussed in a previous article, the anti-Walker vote may have helped Miller (at least a little). But it certainly wasn’t the deciding factor as the numbers were decidedly in Miller’s favor.

In the other race, city council, Chad Speight gets a measure of revenge against Mike Veserat, defeating the incumbent by almost 300 votes. Speight had lost two years ago to Veserat by a single vote. We thought a strong turnout for Miller would help Speight, and that has proven to be true.

The elections move the city government more ‘blue’ – but not overwhelmingly so.

It’s been an interesting election cycle. Thanks to everyone – candidates, posters, and readers – who participated.