Monday, August 18, 2014

News In Freeman's Waukesha Water Diversion Update

I don't have a working link, but I will pull out a few interesting things from a Freeman piece from Saturday the 16th about the city's stalled Lake Michigan water diversion application - - a stall that is now into its 53rd month, with its credibility eroding daily because Waukesha officials have repeatedly set deadlines on reviews and other actions that evaporate without any consequence.

Here is a summary of the delays and related matters from multiple posts and news stories, for your files.

Back to the Freeman story:

*  For one thing, Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak acknowledged that water levels are rising in the main deep underground supply that the city wants to replace with the diversion.

That is a point raised recently by the Michigan-based science and journalism website Circle of Blue and it raised fundamental questions about the application's data and overall need.

Duchniak said the Circle of Blue was not taking the proper, longer view, but he did not argue the data's accuracy.

For another thing, the DNR is taking that water level data into consideration and is projecting further application delays - - again undercutting Waukesha's years of setting deadlines that are allowed to come and go.
Jill Jones, director of the DNR’s Bureau of Drinking/ Groundwater, said the department is not prepared to make any conclusions regarding the recent water level increase.

“We are aware of the rising water levels in the aquifer,” she said. “We are including this in the present review — the technical review — we are completing right now on Waukesha’s application.”

Jones said that review would likely not be completed for several months.


Max B. said...

It would indeed be foolish of Duchniak to argue the accuracy of the data, as the data came from the Water Utility itself, under an open records request that took nearly five months to fulfill.

Two points that may be lost on the casual observer:

1. City and Water Utility officials used dropping water levels as a threat to frighten residents and the herd of Aldersheep into supporting the "need" for the application. The 2010 application cited "falling water levels." They knew this was patently false because their own studies showed that water levels had been stabilizing or increasing since the late '90s. So whatever excuses Duchniak is raising now, they're all diversionary tactics to focus attention away from the fact that they knowingly lied to the DNR and the Utility's customers.

2. The Waukesha Freeman, if they were really interested in a balanced report, could have very easily printed excerpts from the Circle of Blue article, or printed the graph which visually demonstrates the rising water levels quite dramatically, or simply asked Duchniak why he misled the public on such a critical subject, which may have opened the door to other uncomfortable topics such as "what else haven't you been totally truthful about?"

Anonymous said...

"Open records" and Waukesha County are a contradiction in terms as evidenced by their secret meetings on the Town of Waukesha: "Town of Waukesha - In a community where voter dissatisfaction swept out the old guard in a 2010 recall election, the new Waukesha Town Board has been governing this town of 9,000 with a large measure of secrecy.

In December, the board conducted 26 hours of meetings behind closed doors, away from the public eye. It met for 50 minutes in public on its usual meeting night.

In January, there were nearly 30 hours of closed-door meetings but just a single publicly attended, two-hour informational meeting on contesting an attempt by the Town of Brookfield to incorporate as a village, swallowing up some Town of Waukesha territory.

In February, 10 hours of closed meetings stacked up against 98 minutes open to the public.

Many of the closed-door meetings - 28 in 2011 and already 13 in the first 11 weeks of 2012 - have focused on multiple lawsuits tended by several $150- to $415-per-hour attorneys. Their fees boosted last year's legal bills to about $190,000, more than twice the budget and three times the $64,500 spent in 2010.

Waukesha Town Chairwoman Angie Van Scyoc, who says operations and services are getting more efficient and cost-effective, doesn't apologize for the board's record of meetings." J/S March 18, 2012 and Nickolaus's past blatant refusal to be "open" with the GAB. These are just 2 examples that demonstrate a culture of being above the law. I really feel that Waukesha has no idea what it's like to live responsibly and openly.

Boxer said...

To Anonymous 7:55 a.m.

What are you talking about? You need to specify some dates: which Jan? which Feb? which December?

Angie Van Scyoc hasn't been chairman of the Town of Waukesha since April 2013. Are you really saying that the new Town Board, led by Angryman John Marek is more open? He and the other town supervisors communicate by private e-mail--they don't use the Town of Waukesha e-mail system provided to conduct the town's business.

Marek doesn't respond in a timely way to open records requests and his campaign finance reports appear to be incomplete--not including some known donors.

Marek and Supervisor Brian Tom Fischer participated in secret meetings with the City of Waukesha --before Marek was even elected to the board--to discuss and agree to become part of the City's water service area and water diversion application, even though it was a highly controversial issue, one that many Town residents thought should not happen, and the existing Town board had voted against.

The City and Water Utility have their own open meetings violations, as evidenced by the record of the Utility Commission meeting as often in closed session as it meets in open session.

Open records and open meetings are not enforced in Waukesha County--as you point out--because our "Top Cop", a Mr. Brad Shimel, can't prosecute anyone because 1) he knows them, 2) he's their friend, 3) they're Republicans, 4) he doesn't have the "resources"--Take your pick of excuses and watch for him to decline to prosecute any Republicans if he gets elected to AG. Shimel, however, has plenty of time, motivation, and "resources" to prosecute two 12-year old girls as adults and to "the full extent of the law [as applied to adults]". Message: if you're a Republican and breaking any laws, just say you disagree with the law, or attend a Shimel fundraiser, or become a "Friend of Brad" and you can just keep on keepin' on. If you're a 12-year old girl with mental health issues, he's gunnin' for ya.

So Anonymouse, why don't you cite the source and date of your post, update it to include what's going on currently and be sure to tell us how that is so much better than the Evil Van Scyoc or . . . . just get over yourself. You can't continue to blame everything on someone who's no longer there.