The Monona Rag

Dealing the Dish on Monona, Wisconsin

Tag: Mayor

Q&A with Monona mayoral candidate Bob Miller

Monona mayoral candidate Bob Miller agreed to do a Q&A with the Rag. We have not edited any of Mr. Miller’s answers. We hope his opponent, Jeff Wiswell, will also participate in the near future.

Q. Why do you want to be mayor of Monona?
The main reason is I greatly appreciate the autonomy and overall quality of life in Monona and want to repay some of what I have benefited from as a 22 year Monona resident.  I believe my business, governmental and volunteer experience can help me be an effective mayor.

Q. Who was the person that taught you most in life? And how?
Both of my parents served as strong role models. My mother, however, has been truly inspirational.  She taught me about respect and helping others while growing up on an Indian reservation in northern Wisconsin. I learned much about public service from her. She served on the Lac du Flambeau board of education and after raising her five children, returned to school and was commissioned as a Presbyterian minister.  She retired from serving her last church several months ago at age 78.

Q. What is your favorite restaurant in Monona?
I enjoy Monona Garden, Fraboni’s, Angelo’s, Pizza Oven and Cousins Subs, but the Green Forest restaurant on Broadway near Menards is a favorite. Nick and Nancy, along with their entire family are some of the friendliest and hardest working people you will ever meet.  I recommend their steak and eggs special on Sunday morning.  You can usually find me there around 9am.

Q. Why does Monona Drive have so many street lights?
I have served on the ad hoc Monona Drive committee for several years.  The lighting choice was both an engineering and aesthetic decision. The committee along with the plan commission wanted a design that was visually pleasing and continued the look of the Broadway lighting corridor.  This meant the choice of the shepard’s crook design.  Technically, the design followed official lighting guidelines, using a light level of 1.0 foot-candles, which is appropriate for high traffic commercial areas. However, such lighting levels may not be needed for residential areas.  The final design for the second and third phases, although not finalized, will probably be of similar design as phase one but with greater spacing between the lights.  I would also add that phase one of Monona Drive recently was awarded its third major design award from the state and is in the running for two national design awards.

Q. What is the one thing you do really well that will help lead Monona if you are elected mayor?
I have the ability to bring people with divergent opinions and styles together to find consensus on issues in a timely manner.

Q. If you had a one-time use magic wand, what project would you implement?
I would wave it over the empty and under-utilized buildings along Monona Drive and fill them with thriving retail and office tenants.

Q. If you could start a brewpub in Monona, what would you name it?
As an investor in the Great Dane Pub and Brewing Company, I obviously am loyal to those brewpubs. But, as an Irish wanna-be, I would love to own a small Irish pub in Monona, perhaps called O’Millers.

Q. If zombies attacked Monona, where would you rally residents to make a final stand?
Nichols School. It sits on high ground with good views and is solidly built.  Plus, it has plenty of parking to stage the Monona city militia.

Q. In your time serving as a city councilman, what is the thing you are most proud of accomplishing?
Monona Drive phase one construction. Although not completed during my term on the council, I was directly involved in property and right-away acquisition as a member of the personnel and finance committee.  I continued working with the Monona Drive project on a volunteer basis to help market the businesses that were affected by construction. The Monona Moola currency pumped over $85,000 directly into Monona businesses. Construction started with 90 businesses operating in the construction zone and we ended up with 91 at the end of the 1 ½ year project.  A fact we should be proud of.

Q. What was your first car?
A 1973 maroon Chevy Nova.

Q. What is the single most important issue facing our city over the next few years?
Maintaining our strong fiscal position without reducing important city services like police, fire, emergency, recycling, senior, park, recreation and public transportation services.  With the proposed state budget and its substantial reductions, this will be an even more challenging process for the mayor and city council.

Q. What’s your favorite Monona community event?
I always enjoy and am impressed with the turnout for the Memorial Day Parade.

Thanks to Bob Miller for participating in our Q&A. You can learn more about him on his website.

Kahl out as mayor; Bob Miller first to declare run

Robb Kahl has announced he will not run for mayor in April. It is speculated that Kahl will be getting a position in the Walker administration, but he says he has not accepted any offer ‘as of today’. So we’ll jump to a conclusion and say that something is close. No matter. Good for Robb. We thank him for his service and wish him luck.

With Kahl’s passing on another term, that will immediately open up the race.

The first person to toss their hat into the ring is former alderman Bob Miller.

Miller served one term, but bailed out of the last election after having submitted nomination papers. He eventually finished last of the five candidates.

Miller’s time on the council included spearheading the abandoned ‘Greener. Bluer. Brighter.’ campaign. Personally, I thought the slogan was off target in many ways.

Miller has a lot media experience, working for WKOW TV for many years. He worked as a Media Consultant for WPS for the past year, and now for a company called Compound Profit.

Miller is seen as a liberal, and should gather support from that base. But you have to wonder what support after calling off his last campaign at such a late juncture. I don’t believe the city has ever elected a defeated former alderman as mayor.

The big question – since Miller is a home owner on Winnequeh, will he need his own stop signs? Ha! We couldn’t pass that one up.

Along with Miller, expect at least one other candidate to announce soon – I would predict Jeff Wiswell will be in.

Please share your thoughts on Bob Miller. We’ll run something more on him in the next week.

What if Kahl doesn’t run for mayor

Monona has a mayoral race next April, and most people assume that Robb Kahl will run for re-election.

But as Sunny points out in the intrepid H-I, what if Kahl gets a cabinet position with the Walker administration?

Interesting thoughts.

The word is that Kahl is in the running to be either Secretary of Transportation or Secretary of the Department of Work Force Development.

If Kahl does move on to politics at the state level, who would emerge as the favorite in Monona?

Doug Wood? Jeff Wiswell? Kathy Thomas?


We’ve run some ‘Mayoral Aspiration’ pieces, and we’ll run more, but give us your thoughts as who you think (or should) run for mayor of Monona if Kahl does not (or even if he does run).

Q&A with Mayor Robb Kahl

In our series (hey, we have two replies, it now counts as a series), Mayor Robb Kahl has responded to the Monona Rag’s questionnaire, answering each of our hard-hitting inquiries. As with all of this series, the answers are unedited and will go without comment. Thanks to the mayor for playing along with us.

Here you go:

Q. What is your real job?
I am Executive Director and General Counsel of Construction Business Group (a joint Labor-Management group that monitors public construction projects for compliance with various laws, enforces these laws and advocates for changes to said laws when necessary).  I am also Board Chairman of Unity Bank which has two locations in western Wisconsin and 13 locations throughout Minnesota.  I am President and part-owner of Generations Title Company which is based here in Monona and operates in partnership with the other owners (10 community banks) throughout Wisconsin.  Finally, I am a board member and part owner of First Weber Group Insurance Services which is an insurance agency operating throughout Wisconsin.  I think that is it.

Q. What is your favorite restaurant in Monona?

Q. What has been your most satisfying moment as a city official?
Seeing reconstruction of Monona Drive finally commence after a decade of planning.

Q. If you could take back one vote, what would it be – and why?
Winnequah Road – the chokers do not work and it is clear that we should have built sidewalks.

Q. If you were a super hero, who would you be?
Superman – is there any other super hero?

Q. What is your favorite Monona tradition?
4th of July Festival.

Q. Name a hidden treasure of Monona – something most people don’t know about.
My wife.  Corny but true.

Q. What is the most difficult thing about being a city official?
Time demands  – getting done what you want in the city while still having a life.

Q. What is the most important and challenging issue for the city of Monona right now?
Helping the Monona Grove School District find ways to fund, maintain and improve all of our community schools here in Monona.

Q. What special thing (or two) makes Monona different than other communities?
The people.  It may be cliché but all the new roads, businesses and buildings don’t mean a thing without the people that make this community a special place to live.