In A World of Liars—The Truth starts here.

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It takes a tragedy to identify a problem

The Franklin Independent Journal recently posted a story about trying to help a family in need. Some people are focusing on criticism rather than assistance because it affects their candidate. Clearly we can all agree there is a problem and it needs to get fixed before it happens to another family.

The city of Franklin can spend hundred of thousands of dollars for surveys, but it can't take a kind Christian hand and help a family in need at a tragic moment in their life. Apparently there is a city policy in place when an employee passes away, their family's heath insurance is terminated at the end of the month. But the policy does not have common sense. In this case, Detective Liermann passed on March 25. His family's health insurance ended on the day of his funeral, March 31. This tragedy helped to identify a fault in the system.

If we close our eyes to problems, they never go away. They will come back to surface another day. Some would prefer to ignore the problem and others want to criticize that a problem was identified rather than fix the issue or extend a helping hand.


Franklin police detective's family needs your help

We received this message, "I don't know if this a story you would be interested in or not, but I hope it is something you can look into. I do not work for the City of Franklin. However it disgusts me to know that the current Mayor has chosen to focus on his upcoming election instead of supporting the family of Franklin Detective Liermann who tragically passed away last week after having served 17 years for the Franklin Police Department. The City leaders including the Mayor have choose to let the families insurance benefits lapse today, the day of he funeral. The Mayor stated to the Chief that he didn't want to get involved and do something that could be used against him in the election. The Chief asked for an extension of health insurance benefits for a period of 1 year which was denied. They then asked for just 2 months so the family could get back on their feet and they again said no. I understand that legally they don't have to cover the family now that Det Liermann is no longer an employee, but this is an epic fail on the part of the city leaders and the current Mayor." 

We will not disclose the author. We feel it is important for you to know the reason and urgency of the matter and why you are reaching out to the family.

A GoFundMe acccount has been set up for Franklin Detective Liermann:

We hope you find it in your heart to contribute. 


Franklin candidate forum cancelled

A candidate forum sponsored by Franklin First and moderated by the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County was scheduled for March 25 at the Franklin Library. The forum was to feature mayoral candidates Basil Ryan and Steve Olson. Basil Ryan signed the candidate letter of agreement and was scheduled to appear.

Mayor Olson refused the offer and gave no explanation.

Forums such as these give residents the opportunity to listen and learn about candidates, view their leadership style and hear about their goals to make Franklin a great place to live.

With so many businesses leaving Franklin for surrounding communities, stagnant development, and out of control spending, residents have a right to ask leadership how they plan to turn this trend around.

Another disappointment for Franklin voters.


Franklin Library in the red again

One of Franklin's most popular and prized buildings for residents of all ages is facing problems of its own. Their problems may be one of Mayor Olson's best kept secrets.

According to the City of Franklin proposed 2017 budget, "This is the third year in a row that the library fund operated at a deficit. With a projected end-of-2017 fund balance of around $300,000, the net expenditure level is not sustainable. The library has expressed concerns that the classification and compensation study implementation has impacted their operations more extensively."

In plain English, the city hired a company to undertake a study at a taxpayer cost of $30,000 to determine that city staff was underpaid. As a result of that study, library staff were given considerably large pay increases, even though they were not asking for them. The Library board did not budget for increases. But other city staff employees were asking for the big raises, forcing the Library board to go along with the study results.

The proposed 2017 budget stated, "The result is that the 2017 budget reflects an anticipated reduction in the fund balance of $60,271."

Is the library's problem another example of citywide problems? We already have businesses that are leaving the city creating empty vacant retail space as a result of stagnant economic development. 


Franklin Police Statement on Shooting

The Franklin Police just released information on the report of gunshots on Sycamore Street. As I get more information, I will post it. 




$24.6 million hidden asset is a red flag

The city of Franklin constructed a $24.6 million sanitary interceptor sewer with the thought of stimulating economic growth. It was completed in 2014 in the far southwest portion of Franklin. The only economic growth that has occurred was for Waukesha County residents and businesses. Typically, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) handles those projects, not local government.

The project has had its share of problems since its inception, including no economic growth for Franklin. Franklin residents opposed it from the beginning because it benefited Waukesha County residents and businesses.  Some of the Franklin residents and businesses, who were the last remaining property owners outside of MMSD, were being forced into the district as part of a condition that MMSD demanded. The residents had to begin paying for sewer to MMSD, even though this project could not deliver sewer service to them. Residents were told MMSD would own the sewer.

Now its been discovered the city of Franklin is the sewer owner, not MMSD. It is quite clear the city did not want to acknowledge they owned the sewer and refused to put it on the city's financial records as an asset, even though it was warned about it in 2012. Franklin's new accounting firm, Baker Tilly, recommends that the project be listed as a contributed asset, and depreciated over the term of the loan. They do not agree with the current city treatment of this transaction. 

Franklin residents were told that MMSD owned the sewer and that's why they had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes to MMSD. Now the residents are learning that their city owns, constructed, operates and maintains the sewer. Why are their taxes going toward another government agency (MMSD) when the city of Franklin residents are on the hook for everything? These Franklin residents are paying twice for no sewer service or economic development. The only one benefiting is Waukesha County residents and businesses at the expense of Franklin.

Franklin residents are asking: Why did Mayor Olson vote for this deal? Why is Franklin supplementing economic development in another county?


Let's use their talents 

The Franklin Economic Development Committee (EDC) met last night. The EDC consists of professional business people with a variety of talents that Mayor Olson isn't utilizing. The members spent the majority of time trying to define their roles and how they can help the city. This is all occurring while Franklin is facing stagnant development.

The city has a large problem with empty buildings. It would be nice if Olson would ask EDC to look into the problem by meeting with property managers and owners to determine what assistance the city could provide.

Olson's philosophy is that the empty buildings pay taxes. However, empty buildings create a negative image and bring down property values. Once that image is painted in a city, it's difficult to clean up. Maybe that's why Franklin is losing quality businesses to surrounding communities and new businesses don't want to invest in Franklin.


Mayor Olson and common council clash

Last night's common council meeting clearly showed there is a problem at Franklin city hall and it starts with Mayor Olson. The common council scolded the mayor about his comment, "I've been prohibited by the common council to encourage any development outside the Rawson/Loomis area." It was clear the aldermen were upset that Olson would insinuate they had taken any kind of action to preclude him and his staff from getting and keeping businesses in Franklin. The council vigorously denied Olson's claim, except Alderman Andrea (Olson's 2017 campaign manager).

Former Mayor Tom Taylor was in the audience to voice his concerns about Olson's ridiculous comments. The controversy was over a document that former Mayor Tom Taylor drafted and was submitted to the common council by former alderman Doug Schmitt. Taylor confronted Mayor Olson by saying nowhere in the document he refers to did it say it restricts the mayor and his staff from doing development in Franklin. Taylor was upset that he was being blamed for the lack of development in Franklin. The line of people being blamed by Mayor Olson continues to grow.

Alderman Barber, who circulated 2017 nomination papers for Olson, expressed his concerns about the numerous calls he's getting from constituents on the lack of economic development and businesses leaving Franklin for Oak Creek. Barber was quoted as saying, "Oak Creek is handing us our lunch." He went on to state that Franklin must do something about this. Was he saying that Olson is the problem, not the solution?

The common council made it cear that Olson was introducing politics in his bid for re-election by blaming everyone but himself for the poor economic development in Franklin over the past 25 years.


Mayor Olson shifts the blame

At the 6:30 p.m. common council meeting at city hall, the council will take up item 15 -- the issue of who is responsible for economic development failure in Franklin. Mayor Olson has recently been quoted as saying, “I’ve been prohibited by the Common Council to encourage any development outside of the Rawson/Loomis area.” Several council members deny his ridiculous claim. It's apparent he is trying to blame the common council for his failure.

They stated all you need to do is look at the common council agenda to see the mayor and staff are working outside the Rawson/Loomis area, but have no results to show for their work. Franklin is structured as a cabinet form of government, meaning all department heads report to the mayor. It is apparent Franklin is lacking in development compared to surrounding communities.

Franklin Independent Journal recently published a story titled, "Basil Ryan speaks out about businesses leaving Franklin."


Overcrowding at Kayla's Park causes safety concerns

Many people took advantage of the unusually high temperatures today and were out enjoying the spring-like weather. But it looks like they all ended up in the same place. Kayla's Park, located at 35th and Puetz, is new to the Franklin park system. It was built in 2016 at a cost of $1.4 million on the existing Franklin Nature Center land using funds set aside for Franklin's community center.

Many of the local residents were upset their quiet neighborhood park was destroyed in favor of a regional park. The neighbors were so upset they pushed the blame on their Alderwoman Janet Evans and they recalled her. The park was always Mayor Olson's idea and at a recent meeting he was heard to say that Kayla's Park will be his legacy.

As a result of overcrowding at the park today, DPW workers were called into work to relieve chaos in the parking lot. Some vehicle owners disregarded the caution tape set up by DPW. But that wasn't the only problem.

Once the parking lot reached capacity, people were observed parking on the grass area, sidewalks, and even spilling onto the local streets, creating an unsafe environment for families. Restroom facilities were closed and children were observed urinating in the park. Neighbors never experienced this type of traffic volume when it was considered a local neighborhood park. They question why a regional park was placed in their neighborhood, causing overcrowding and unsafe conditions.

Children have a habit of darting in and out of traffic. If the mayor does not take action to deal with the overcrowding at the park, a serious accident will occur. Many residents will remember the woman that was killed by a motorist less than a block away from the park. When you have parked cars on streets, cars and bikes driving both ways, deep ditches, and no sidewalks which force families to walk in the street, you have to shake your head and pray that nothing happens.



Basil Ryan speaks out about businesses leaving Franklin

Three Cellars and Zund America Inc. are two more Franklin companies who recently announced they are moving to Oak Creek.

Three Cellars is a craft beer and wine shop and lounge located at 7133 South 76 Street. The 40-seat Franklin store, which opened in 2006, will be moving to the former Rafters Restaurant building which closed in 2010. They expect the move to be completed by March 31.

Zund America Inc., which makes die-cutting equipment and supplies, is located at 5068 Ashland Way in the Franklin Business Park. They plan to develop a building on about 40,000 to 50,000 square feet on a vacant site on Oakfield Drive just west of Woodman's Food Market, said Chris Nicholson, company vice president. Nicholson stated, "It's important for us to be close to hotels an restaurants." They plan to move to Oak Creek in early 2018 if the project is approved by Oak Creek officials.

"Maybe the mayor, along with his new economic development director who earns $93,840.03 plus benefits, should be talking with Nicholson to try to keep them in Franklin. At the same time working on attracting amenties that will keep businesses in Franklin. If I was mayor, I would," stated Ryan.


Basil Ryan, Franklin mayoral candidate, speaks out

Basil Ryan, a candidate for Franklin mayor, stated, "Franklin needs an optimistic future." He stated: "Clearly Franklin needs a plan for development. The goal of 70/30 (70% business/30% residential) is a slogan without a plan. Mayor Olson's leadership lacks the direction to reach 70/30. The current method takes any open space and drops something on it without a community vision. Thinking something is better than nothing is not a plan, it's desperation."

Ryan acknowledged Olson pushes for TIF districts throughout Franklin, using the phrase, 'build it and they will come.' He doesn't inform or bring residents in early enough and listen to their valid concerns before he commits to developers. He is then met with resident opposition when the zoning changes degrade their home values. Olson has continued his same strategy since the 1990's, which has left Franklin behind in comparison to neighboring Oak Creek, Muskego, Greenfield and Greendale. Ryan points out the businesses are leaving Franklin for the surrounding communities. Ryan believes Franklin won't attract new business if it can't keep the businesses it has.


Basil Ryan fights for Franklin Senior Travel Program

Over the past several months, Basil Ryan has appeared at numerous Franklin common council meetings attempting to keep the Franklin Senior Travel Program alive. When then Alderman Basil Ryan introduced the Franklin Senior Travel Program in 2002, it started with a $10,000 budget. In 2016 it still has the same $10,000 budget. What the program is experiencing is increased costs over the past 15 years. In 2002 the Franklin Senior Travel Program could schedule 19 bus trips with $10,000. In 2015, only 11 trips could be taken with the same $10,000. In 2016, 10 trips. Without the common council adding additional money to the Franklin Senior Travel Program, it will continue to lose quality bus trips. Mayor Olson stated he didn't care if the Senior Travel Program went on 19 trips or one trip. He was only going to budget $10,000.

Basil Ryan will continue to keep Franklin seniors informed of the status of the Franklin Senior Travel Program. Watch for downloads of pictures and audio of Franklin common council meetings. The Franklin Independent Journal's goal is to keep Franklin seniors informed and educated about how their elected officials react to the needs of the community.


Shirley Bird resigns from Franklin Senior Travel Program


City of Franklin deny seniors money

At the City of Franklin Common Council meeting on November 17, 2015, the Common Council denied the Franklin Senior Travel program's request for additional money for bus transportation. At an earlier common council meeting, the council encouraged the volunteers to request more money for the buses in the 2016 budget. 

In early 2000 Alderman Basil Ryan asked Shirley Bird if she would run the Franklin Senior Travel Program. She agreed and has been running the program ever since with the same budget as she received in early 2000, even though the cost of transportation has risen. The program has cut back on the number of trips due to the costs.

The City of Franklin pays for the bus transportation, and the seniors who attend pay their own way for the trip. These trips have covered all of Wisconsin and northern Illionois and have been successful. The program has grown year to year, even though its funds remain the same and trips had be cut back.

But Franklin politics have infested themselves in the Franklin Senior Travel Program. The same program Shirley Bird made successful. The same program many Franklin seniors look forward to and enjoy.

Watch for the audio post of the November 17 meeting coming soon.


Franklin Historical Society

If you're interested in Franklin history, here's a great event for you!


Community Event:  Saturday, August 15, 2015, Franklin Public Library, 1-4 p.m.

Franklin Historical Society presents "Historic St. Martins: It's People and Buildings"

The presentation will include insights into the history of the village, share stories about the people and show past and present images of the homes and businesses. Free event.


Franklin Independent Journal is Back

We're back! We've had so many people asking us to weigh in on Franklin issues that we've decided to resume publication. Watch for stories and upcoming events happening in Franklin. We also invite residents to submit articles.




North Cape residents win round one

At tonight's Franklin common council meeting, residents affected by the North Cape Road construction were told their trees would be saved. The city informed the county that they did not want to use state money that required the widening of the road, adding curb and gutter and sidewalks. Those impovements would have changed the character of this rustic road in a rural setting.

Over 300 trees would have been destroyed. Many of the trees were several hundred years old. Residents told the common council at earlier meetings they woud prefer to live with a road in disrepair rather than loose their trees and the character of their neighborhood.

The actual reconstruction of this road now lies in the hands of county officials. The county must approve funds to go forward with road construction. Originally, the county wanted to use state funds to reconstuct North Cape Road. Now the county will have to find the funding within their own budget. So it' not a done deal yet.


The Rock Sports Complex - Special Common Council meeting

The Franklin common council has scheduled a special meeting at city hall on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 4 p.m. The topic is "Concept review for a proposed professional baseball stadium at The Rock Sports Complex, 7900 West Crystal Ridge Drive." 

It's kind of a strange time to hold a special meeting.  The majority of people are at work. There are many other important topics that would justify a special meeting like this.


North Cape Road residents speak out

At Tuesday's common council meeting, residents learned more details about the S. North Cape Road project. People who spoke to the common council were opposed to the character change of their neighboorhood and losing their mature trees. Those who spoke were opposed to sidewalks, curbs and gutters, all designed toward an urban setting.     

Residents learned that Milwaukee County was using state funding to reconstruct S. North Cape Road. It is the State of Wisconsin that was requiring the sidewalks, curbs and gutters as part of a requirement for the money.

Residents made it clear that if they had to accept the requirements of the state for the urban setting, they would prefer to leave the road in its current condition. The common council postponed the issue to February 4. The mayor and common council directed staff and the city attorney to determine if there was another way to obtain the money without the requirements the residents don't want.