Support media reform
Proposed Shorewood proclamation
How Shepherd Express subverted progressive, independent, alternative press in Milwaukee
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

Sensenbrenner monitors Hearst monopolies

Even blue-collar, working class folks can do better than this . . .

For educator Eckman, Ph.Duh., an F in civics
Ellen, dear, you can't whine defamation when you urge everyone to look at what is said about you.

Trustee Ellen Eckman, the educator, the Ph.D., the better historian and note taker than others, asks the DA to "monitor" this site, apparently ignorant of the difference between a criminal and civil complaint. But more important, to what end should this site be monitored, Ellen, Dear, to boost our hits? Thank you, and please have the AARP and US Army also monitor us. Story


Or so he assumes . . .

Shorewood Village Attorney Ray Pollen decides Shorewood employees can provide special favors to 'the press' and give them Village property for free in the 'public interest'

SHOREWOOD, WI. (AUGUST 1, 2004) -- The Supreme Court has long held that the Constitution provides no greater access, rights or privileges to "the press" than those guaranteed to all Americans. But Ray Pollen seems to differ.
-- story



Staff recommends fixing 'fully functional' e-mail system

SHOREWOOD, WI. (July 31, 2004) – In settling a public records lawsuit last spring, the village agreed to establish by June 1, 2004 an e-mail server so that official correspondence could be archived for public access under the Wisconsin public records act.

On Monday night, trustees will revisit the e-mail issue because although the government has provided “” e-mail addresses to elected officials, trustees frequently have been unable to access correspondence or attachments through the official system.  More


CORRECTION incorrectly reported the trend in legal fees billed by Village Attorney Ray Pollen and his firm. The trend remains downward since 2001, but if the average amount billed over the past three months continues, the amount for the year ending April 2005 would be the highest this millennium.

Legal costs up for past year

SHOREWOOD, WI. (July 22, 2004) -- Village Attorney Ray Pollen and his firm charged taxpayers $26,657.68 in legal fees since May 26, 2004.
If that three-month amount were averaged out to 12 months, it would total $106,000 annually. For the year ended July 20, 2004, Pollen's firm billed $60,301.

Full-size 12-month chart

Pollen's firm, Crivello, Carlson $ Mentkowski, refuses to break down its bills in a way that makes it possible to analyze where much of the money is going. Pollen says his firm does not retain the slips supposedly filled out for each matter, presenting to the village instead bills clumping many "matters" together.

Full size monthly average chart

May 2004 legal fees bill       June 2004 legal fees bill      July 2004 legal fees bill


Hanewall's recount tantrum cost villagers at least $1,831

SHOREWOOD, WI. (July 25, 2004) -- Vanquished yet intransigent, trustee wannabe Jeff Hanewall's refusal to take the voters' "no" for an answer in the April 6 village elections cost taxpayers at least $1,831.25 in legal fees alone, records obtained by show. Story


BID-sponsored July 15 bike race shuts down Oakland Avenue

Gook B. Han, at Capitol Cleaners, 2101 E. Capitol Dr., says he had no business because of the race and that when he tried to go home the streets were blocked off. "I didn't like it," he said.
No parking for Walgreen's customers; lot was filled with observers' cars; police overtime, DPW costs not tallied yet. Journal Sentinel story

But the kids had fun

Village attorney turns economics on its head; offers free legal information to anyone at all

Got a legal question about how to beat a ticket? Want to know what records are public? Concerned that a group of officials is meeting unlawfully? Are you a reporter comparing the way your municipality deals with unleashed dogs?

Hey, what's going on?
Village Attorney Ray Pollen
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (July 15, 2004) -- Because Shorewood has no policy about who can get legal information from the village attorney, you can help Ray Pollen increase his billing to taxpayers while you obtain complicated legal opinions at no cost. You don't even have to be a village resident. Just call Village Attorney Ray Pollen at his law firm, Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski and say you want to discuss a municipal law matter with Shorewood's village attorney. Remember, you cannot be refused this government service by any arbitrary reason decided by Mr. Pollen because there is no policy. The number to call is (414) 271-7722. Or you can fax your questions to Mr. Pollen at (414) 271-4438. Mr. Pollen's e-mail address is A word of caution: the advice may not be accurate so we suggest you get a second opinion.

BID Director consults lawyer following request to inspect records:

Will business owners have to pay Carl Templer's legal bills?

Shorewood Rainmaker and Go To Guy Carl TemplerSHOREWOOD, Wis. (July 14, 2004) -- On July 2, we faxed a request to inspect public records to Business Improvement District Director Carl Templer in response to questions from local establishments concerned over the quality of service by Templer Communications, which has been paid about $35,000 a year to administer the program. On July 12, Templer responded that "Your request for records has been received and currently conversations with the respective boards and counsel are underway. Records are being researched. You will be advised as to next steps shortly. Thank you." Story


Here's what you can do

Nader, Dean, Kerry-Edwards and Bush-Cheney ignore media reform

Scardy politicats
Ralph Nader and Howard Dean
At their Friday Washington, D.C. debate, Howard Dean, left, and Ralph Nader did not touch on the issue that destroyed Dean's presidential aspirations

It's our democracy, not theirs.

Howard Dean was the front-running Democratic candidate for his party's presidential nomination until he said he wanted media reform. Then, The Scream was replayed on broadcast stations until he was destroyed. Are the candidates afraid to discuss this issue because the media will destroy them? Isn't it time to take back the media? The media have silenced our leaders on an issue that threatens our political system.

From Samuel J. Harris, a reader who disagrees on the media issue

Subject:  Who is they?
From:  "Samuel J. Harris" <>
Date:  Mon, Jul 12, 2004 7:58 am

You wrote:

"Howard Dean was the front-running Democratic candidate for his party's presidential nomination until he said he wanted media reform. Then, The Scream was replayed on broadcast stations until he was destroyed. Are the candidates afraid to discuss this issue because the media will destroy them? Isn't it time to take back the media? The media have silenced our leaders on an issue that threatens our political system.

It's our democracy, not theirs. "

1.   We do not have a democracy.  The U.S. of A. is a republic albeit based on democratic principles. 

2.  Who is they?

3.  Why isn't the democracy "theirs" as well as "ours"?  Do you lose citizenship simply by being a member of the media?

4.  Dean was pummeled by a free press but he gave the media plenty of ammunition.  In fact he self-destructed.  The Scream occurred after he was finished; after he lost big time in Iowa. 

5.  If a person lacks the guts to stand up on an issue then they simply will not have what it takes to be President.  I do believe Bush-Cheney spoke out against the mainstream media in 2000.  Adam Clymer of the New York Times was recognized by that campaign as an "asshole - big time." 

6.  Media Reform sounds like some leftist fantasy that "THEY" meaning liberals in government know what is best for all of us.  Yeah I want reform for the press so the people in power can set things right (sarcasm warning in case you are not swift on the uptake or have spent to much time in Rio Linda).  Freedom means freedom.  Yes big media is influential but so is little media as I witnessed with the Pit and your current endeavor.   You sound as if you lack faith in the American people.  If you see through the problem, what makes you think others do not?  I recognize that many people are naive idiots but Abraham Lincoln said best when he pointed out you can't fool all of us idiots all of the time. 

7.  In the end I am simply left wondering who this bogeyman you call "the media" is. 

I DARE YOU TO PRINT THIS ENTIRE RESPONSE ON THE FRONT OF SHOREWOODVILLAGE.COM.  Or are you afraid to discuss the issue openly?  If so, then you are part of the media censorship problem not the solution. 


For those readers who complain that we are too angry, please welcome . . .

The Complacent Village Muckraker

Coming this week . . .

Monday, July 12, 2004 -- Oh, good, Trustee Ellen Eckman has her new trustee orientation policy initiative on her Community and Business Relations Committee agenda again (6:40 p.m., Village Hall, 3930 N. Murray Ave., 2nd floor). Even though Have a day.this committee has nothing to do with internal board policy, Trustee Eckman will probably raise it before the full board because she is so popular with the other trustees who, like, respect her way totally and because she has actually shown great and awesome leadership and independence throughout her stellar incumbency. Although there were some small errors in her trustee orientation policy initiative that someone inadvertently missed when it was discussed at that meeting that was NOT illegal but only questionable, the unfortunately incorrect portion that was caught has now been fixed and so we have the opportunity to move forward with this crucial matter that should not be counted in the tally of minutes taken up by stupid, hurtful issues that are incompetently drafted and nevertheless regurgitated like spoiled raw chicken, although the trustee orientation policy initiative has managed to endure for more than eight months without resolution, showing this board does not jump to conclusions or rubber stamp items no matter how well formulated and uncontroversial. This, indeed, is good news for the other trustees, who, had they managed to end this by saying what a small minority of the earth has been thinking, would not have the pleasure of revisiting this wonderful and refreshing issue whose time has come again and again and again.

Journal Communications: Downtown and Uppity

North Shore Herald is a marketer's dream and resident's nightmare

They are not selling the paper to you -- they are selling you to the advertisers

Thanks so much (Not) to Journal Communications, or whoever the corporate parent entity they own is that repackaged Shorewood news into a North Shore Herald. Not only has the horizontally and vertically monopolistic organization forced Shorewood advertisers to now spend more to reach people in Brown Deer and Fox Point who will never patronize them, but readers have to scratch around for news they care about through the otherwise irrelevant items about the inner workings of other municipalities.

While it is the trend nationally for newspapers to merge, consolidate staffs and raise advertising costs after falsifying circulation figures, the joining of suburban Herald's into one mega-neighborhood advertising circular only tightens Journal Communication's grip on the information it thinks it can trust us with without us acting up and rebelling.

There is a way to strike back, however. The Herald is offering four free weeks to try to get you hooked on their revamped marketing product.

We suggest you call (262) 317-4254 and take advantage of the free offer, but clearly insist that the trial end with the fourth issue.

After that, you can read the three Shorewood stories or so for free at Walgreen's, Pic N Save or the gas station in less than five minutes.

Our hearts go out to Bridget Fryman and the other writers who aspire to journalism but are chained to the inverted pyramid of corporate domination. RIP.


No blood at budget hearing

  • SHOREWOOD, Wis. (June 18, 2004) -- The Budget & Finance Committee yesterday tentatively set a goal of no property tax levy increase for the coming year, but department heads will have to be creative in finding ways to hold their budgets within the constraints when employee benefits are going up 18 percent. The real punch out will not begin until October, when trustees who are in office for self-satisfaction and to gain a sense of who they are "at their core" will take on trustees who are cost-conscious and want to act responsibly. Keep an eye open for a particular trustee who may, like she did last year, whine and moan  about the hours and dates of the meeting schedule (she did not attend last night's meeting), although she brings very, very little to the table (and some of them are much better at bringing nothing to the table than others, even if it is hurtful to acknowledge. )


Clueless former Langenkamp woman honored after stepping down from government

St. Robert's Fair
Button collection

St. Robert's Fair photos 

 ©2004 Emily Davidian

More money headed Ray Pollen's way . . .

Library censor Carey continues her single minded goal of denying Web link to

SHOREWOOD, Wis. (June 5, 2004) -- In a letter apparently meant to cover her dorsal aspect while continuing to arbitrarily deny constitutionally protected expression, Shorewood's director of library services, Beth Carey, again changed the stated purpose of the library's Web site, the standards links must meet for inclusion and refused a plea to end this madness before action commences that could taint the Village's $6.1 million treasure with a Fascist stigma that will endure in law books significantly beyond her temporal reign of iron-fisted arrogance and leniency toward children of library employees involved in criminal actions. But, hey, it's not her money that will cover the legal bills. Is it so important to deny this site a link that a reasonable person would become so intransigent?    

Manufacturing Consent : The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Noam Chomsky


Now what are they up to?

The Dow Gang prepares for their next move

After complaining that good people will not seek public positions because of this Web site's attacks on incompetence and corruption, former Village President Rodney Dow was either lying or he is not a good person, because guess what . . . 

Dow asks to 'serve' on CDA panel

The last time he held a position, money was funneled to his law firm, Foley & Lardner. Then, he tried to get his hands on Benjamin Trust money intended for the use of our senior citizens. Then he tried to sell his public records although the Village already had agreed to do the work for him. In our opinion, regardless of whether Dow is qualified, he must be kept away from any financial transactions and his firm must not do any work related to the Community Development Authority to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Here is his application


Raymond Pollen clings to trough, come hell, high water or high court . . .

Village attorney says Public Records Act does not apply to records of him being sued for violating the Public Records Act

Time slips justifying bills are also not public

SHOREWOOD, Wis. (June 3, 2004) -- Village Attorney Raymond Pollen, of the Milwaukee Law firm of Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski, S.C., refuses to release correspondence from a lawsuit settled by the Village, citing attorney-client privilege although he and his firm were defendants. -- Letter

Bartnicki latest to reject Pollen's advice

SHOREWOOD, Wis. (June 2, 2004) – Interim Village Manager James Bartnicki today rejected Village Attorney Raymond Pollen’s advice regarding who pays how much for Village Board and committee agendas – advice in which Pollen established himself as the person who determines who gets to be "the press," apparently believing his job title trumps hundreds of years of tradition and constitutional protection from just such arbitrary exercise of power.

Pollen, praised by that former Langenkamp woman as a brilliant attorney who lectures other village attorneys statewide, has seen his advice repeatedly brushed aside recently after it has been shown to be wrong. Pollen recently settled a lawsuit naming him and his firm, Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski, for violation of the Wisconsin Public Records Act. In his latest worthless advice, pollen suggested that the term "press" applies only to some people according to unarticulated criteria that he could nevertheless fathom if "press" is indicated on their correspondence.

In response, we sent the village clerk and interim village manager the following letter.

A hour later, Mr. Bartnicki called to say the Pollen policy had been destroyed, and instructed the Village clerk to ignore Pollen's advice.

The next step seems obvious: stop calling Pollen in the first place. Let's see whether he charges the Village for the ignored counsel.


Should the Village Board cast aside better qualified newcomers seeking appointments to Village boards, commissions and foundations, and instead give preference to longtime residents with oodles of previous volunteer experience regardless of their expertise?

Yes, competence is less important than perpetuating the existing system.
No, competency and the interests of the community are more important.


Milwaukee stations not as bad as Madison, Green Bay

Wisconsin broadcasters used public airwaves to bilk campaigns, study alleges

Hanewall decries reportage

'Your lies are tearing apart the Village'

Freeloading or going under?

Delinquent property taxes show cost of Shorewood 'lifestyle'

Meanwhile, Village Librarian Beth Carey decides this Web site is not useful

Prelude to a federal civil rights lawsuit

SHOREWOOD, Wis. (May 23, 2004) – Taxpayers who footed the $5-million-plus bill for a Village library might want to know how the computers they paid for are being used. Poetry or pornography? Renaissance or racism? Sociology or sexuality? But with all the planning, legal fees, and oversight under the regime of former Village President Rodney H. Dow and his cronies, Library Director Beth Carey responded that no record “exists or ever has existed” to the following May 17, 2004 public records request:

  1. All visitor log records reporting IP addresses, library Web pages visited, frequency of visits, repeat visits, originating domain of visitors, referral domain, referral url, entry page and exit page;
  1. All logs showing to which domains, urls or external sites computers at the Shorewood Village Library have visited, including the date of visit, length of time spent on pages and overall usage statistics by each user without identifying the particular user.
  1. All inventories of computer backup tapes, disks or other media on which logs specified in No. 2 and No. 3 above were retained.

Meanwhile, Carey refused yet again to provide a link from the Library’s web site – that links to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, CNI newspapers and national publications -- to this site, which is critical of some local politicians and public officials associated with the Library and its board of directors.

For example, is it cause enough to violate the civil rights of a critic for dismissing a member of the Library Board as a crème-filled sponge cake, or for accurately reporting that the children of Library employees, using an entry code furnished by the Library employee, entered the structure twice after hours, meeting after committing property crimes across the Village?

Carey says her decision to deny a link was made after consulting with Village Attorney Raymond Pollen.


The shame of Shorewood's scarlet letter: C

Now that the Village librarian has become a politicized censor . . .

How do we get information we need?

Nichols leads charge for grassroots media reform 


MADISON, Wis. (May 21, 2004) – Are the media serving the public well enough that democracy is safe from snake-oil politicians? Consider these examples:

  • When Shorewood’s Village Board recently forgave what when granted was called a $100,000 library “loan” after some trustees explained that they never intended it to be repaid, at least one trustee called it “deceitful.”
  • When Shorewood Trustee Ellen Eckman appealed to history and equity as the standard by which Village Board committee assignments must be handed out, the words were lofty but the reality was otherwise.
  • When President George W. Bush argued that the United States needed to attack Iraq because of evidence that Saddam Hussein was developing “weapons of mass destruction,” public and political opinion was swayed on the basis of the information presented to the public through the media and to Congress by the Administration. After more than 700 American deaths, we learn that information was false.

“Democracy trusts that the best decision will be made” based on sufficient, truthful information, Meredith McGehee, executive director of the national Alliance for Better Campaigns, told about 200 activists from around the state meeting Friday at the Monona Terrace Convention Center.

Are the media giving you enough information to make intelligent decisions in this Village? Now that the Shorewood Library has become a politicized censor and filters information useful to citizens, what can you do?  Click here


Former trustee recalls . . .

The ‘historical’ method Eckman wants used for committee assignments was 'perverted'

SHOREWOOD, Wis. (May 22, 2004) – When Trustee Ellen Eckman asked that assignments to Village Board committees be based on “equity” and how assignments “historically” were handed out, we decided to investigate how the assignments were done in the past. Story


Village Judge Demet defends questionable pension defendant


'Regulate governance' surfaces as purpose

E-mail from Rod Dow to Shorewood Herald reveals goal of Eckman-Langenkamp ad hoc committee


SHOREWOOD, Wis. (May 20, 2004) -- Wonder why Trustee Eckman has blown off the incomplete and error filled handbook project and is now lobbying instead for reconfiguration of committee seats?

According to an e-mail message released by Eckman, the goal of the ad hoc committee was only secondarily to provide a handbook for new trustees. The agenda of the ad hoc committee was really, first and foremost, to "make recommendations regarding the ordinances that regulate the internal governance of the Village Board" according to an e-mail from former Village President Rodney Dow to Shorewood Herald writer Bridget Dorrycott (now Fryman). See the message here

Fryman said she never wrote a story about the issue, and took Dow's message as "information."

But the contents of Dow's message, and the reply from Eckman, reveal the behind-the-scenes action Dow is taking to twist and spin information so as to damn Village President Kohlenberg and glorify Dow's political clones, Eckman and that former Langenkamp woman, so as to increase Dow's personal influence over Village affairs, a characteristic that has, to many, resulted in Shorewood becoming the laughingstock of the North Shore.

Furthermore, with this lobbying going on from the Law offices of Foley & Lardner, the Village Board should terminate that firm and exclude Foley from future Village business as the partners clearly have a political agenda inconsistent with the canons of professional ethics.

Let's go back to how it was historically

(And some of us are better historians than others.)

In the name of equity, let's give Trustee Ellen Eckman more than she is entitled to

 SHOREWOOD, Wis. (May 19, 2004) --  Trustee Eckman wants Village Board committee assignments to take election results into account; alleges Village President Kohlenberg's assignments are not equitable; wants to break up Kohlenberg's choice of who serves on which committee while not questioning the Village president's authority to make appointments and so forth. More

In partial Village Board / Committee  action May 17, 2004:

  • Budget & Finance Committee grills Village Attorney Pollen on bills for services;

  • Trustees argue over who should be appointed to Shorewood Foundation board. Should sitting members be reappointed because the Foundation's president, Michael Schulte, already has told them they would be? Or should Mr. Schulte consider others applicants who have not already served before deciding who the best applicants are?

BID revenue & expenditures, 1st Quarter 2004


  • Independent Village Board throws off Dow's shackles

Chimney's knife cuts the strings from the puppet collection

Eckman wants Board panels reconfigured in a ploy eerily similar to one put forward last year by repudiated Rod Dow just before he was shouted down by an angry, fed up, intelligent crowd -- Story


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