Satire is protected speech, even if the object of it doesn't get it

Why, Mr. Hanewall-Pepper? Why be mediocre out of principle?
Shorewood Public Library Director Beth Carey refused to link to this photo by Allen Fredrickson when it was first published by Now that is in National Geographic, is it clear that we have librarians who JUST DON'T GET IT? Why continue to cover up for the library's failures, and then conceal the legal bills?

Travels with Larry Lorenz

Former Marquette Journalism professor blogs his experiences as a Katrina refugee while waiting to return to New Orleans

Now available

Junk Library Science

What was Shorewood Public Library Director Beth Carey lashing out at when she blocked a link to this Web site, running up thousands of dollars in legal fees along the way, and why don't we get a librarian who understands more than knitting and juvenile delinquency?

By Geoff Davidian and Project Censored Interns: Sean Arlt, Jacob Rich, Bridget Thornton, and Michele Salvail

Our investigation suggests libraries have become slackers in cataloging so-called 'non-fiction' works -- More

Jeff Hanewall-Pepper, husband of federal bankruptcy judge, hides details of legal bills

Village follows Hanewall-Pepper's lead, conceals details of
library legal bills despite state public records requirement --

Follow the money, if you can

Village continues to pay vague village attorney bills and refuses to ask for specificity -- Why?

Financial troubles threaten joint fire department

Board OKs budget as some North Shore members warn of problems

Posted: Sept. 22, 2005

River Hills - The board that oversees the North Shore Fire Department approved a 2006 budget Thursday, taking $100,000 from a reserve fund after the City of Glendale, the department's largest financial contributor, threatened to default on payments next year and force the department to dissolve in years to come.  Read the Journal Sentinel Story

Democracy rears its ugly head

How can we make the law not apply to us and the problem go away?

Village philanthropy in action

Shorewood Foundation directors say they know JS editor, a Shorewood resident, and will try to sway him to be more 'reasonable' than a North Shore Herald reporter who wants their records

Talk about a Litmus test!

Will the Journal Company back down in a public records dispute involving its law firm?

Directors agree to try to turn editors, then lawyers if necessary, against reporter

Shorewood Foundation balks at request to inspect records, but admits it can't fight a lawsuit and decides to distance itself from village government as a way to avoid disclosure (although it is perfectly willing to provide access to all of its records informally although directors have been deleting their e-mail)

Shorewood, WI. (Sept. 20, 2005) -- Based on the undemonstrated premise that Shorewood Foundation donations will dry up if some contributors' names had to be released, President Harvey 'Wild Child' Kurtz acknowledged he had a conflict but set the stage nonetheless for the journalistic castration of a reporter investigating the not-for-profit organization.

Kurtz, an attorney whose law gang, Foley & Lardner, represents in some matters the media monopoly that is being sued for circulation fraud, says answering a request to provide access to foundation records would be a burden and so he can't advise that the records be produced to Brendan O'Brien. O'Brien is a reporter for the North Shore Herald, which is owned by the company that owns the Journal Sentinel.

Instead, a delegation from the foundation will try to cut the legs out from under O'Brien, much like former Village President Rodney Dow (also of the law gang Foley & Lardner) sought to do to Journal Sentinel Reporter Marie Rohde, who wrote about an illegal meeting. More 


  Some Business Improvement Districts are more interesting than others

© 2005 Allen Fredrickson photo

This site is brought to you following Village Attorney Ray Pollen's defense of corrupt Tennessee government officials who hacked a Shorewood Web site.

Mr. Pollen, who professes to be an expert on municipal law, denies this was bad for the Village and he and his firm even profit from his actions.

Maybe someone should report this to the Office of Lawyer Regulation. Grievances can be submitted over the telephone. Call (608) 267-7274 or (877) 315-6941 (toll free) to file your grievance.

Be sure to mention SCR 20:1.7
(a) A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that client will be directly adverse to another client, unless:
   (1) the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not adversely affect the relationship with the other client; and
   (2) each client consents in writing after consultation.

New opportunity for Kurtz and Schmeckpeper to squander money on lawyers?

Brendan O'Brien v. Harvey A. Kurtz

Contentious is as contentious does

The Kurtz phenomenon

Foley & Lardner computers could be evidence in a twisted confrontation pitting suburban reporter O'Brien against a lawyer from the firm that represents O'Brien's newspaper's corporate owners

Is the Shorewood Foundation a 'quasi-governmental agency'? Does the tax-exempt organization entrusted with managing funds bequeathed to village seniors have to turn over its records for public inspection?

A July request to inspect correspondence among Shorewood Foundation officers regarding the Benjamin Trust is on the agenda for Tuesday's 4:30 p.m. meeting.

Read the correspondence

75% of Shorewood budget is for salaries
and benefits, village manager says.

Health insurance costs to the village are expected to rise 10%

Have you ever visited village hall and found an office closed early? Maybe the budget process should reevaluate the compensation for village workers who do not put in a full workweek. Who is monitoring attendance? Is there a formal log recording who left early? Are there time cards? Or aren't we supposed to ask, in the same way we are not supposed to ask about Village Attorney Pollen's billing practices?

In fact, the listening session Tuesday night was full of explanations of why residents do not need to know the facts regarding the budget at this stage. Ironically, Trustee Ellen Eckman, who wandered in late, somehow thought she was entitled to give the Party Line by virtue of the fact she was there the shortest time.

SHOREWOOD, Wis. (Sept. 14, 2005) -- Four residents appeared for the Village Board's 'listening session' Tuesday evening to participate in a budget process that is aiming at a 2.5 to2.7 percent budget increase, that must:

Click for Tax-Levy comparison

  • upgrade and maintain infrastructure;

  • improve tax rate competitiveness long-term;

  • upgrade and maintain essential equipment;

  • utilize technology to enhance customer service and increase organizational capacity;

  • maintain integrity of fund balance on long-term basis;

  • maintain current service levels. No core service cuts.

Among the Believers

Modest though the magazines are in scale and appearance, there is nonetheless something stirringly immodest - something "authentic and delirious," as e.e. cummings once wrote - about what they are trying to do, which is to organize a generational struggle against laziness and cynicism, to raise once again the banners of creative enthusiasm and intellectual engagement.

From the New York Times Magazine 9/11/2005

Oil reflects off the New Orleans landscape
Click for full-size image

A power pole and lines reflects off oil, water, and sewage on a street in the Parish of Bernard on the north side of New Orleans.  Clean up efforts are underway in the downtown area, and dry parts of New Orleans, but much of the north side of New Orleans is flooded, polluted, and empty.

Photo c. 2005 Al Fredrickson

Other hurricane photos exclusive to

News from Village Hall:

North Shore Fire Department, which serves seven communities, faces $3 million in unfunded sick pay plus retirement benefits for retirees, who can quit at age 50. Compensation for future employees may have to be 'restructured,' President Kohlenberg suggested at Tuesday's special meeting of the village board. However, he said that all the communities would have to deal with the problem. 

Also at the Sept. 6 special village board meeting, trustees:

  • declined to reassure residents the village will not condemn private property solely for development of the business district, based on a report by Village Attorney Ray Pollen that was not provided to the public before the discussion with other board materials; (Supreme Court Ruling Ignites Political Backlash; states react to anti-Kelo backlash)

  • covered a library construction fund deficit of $76,700;

  • overcame 'walkable community' advocate Ellen Eckman's opposition to a pedestrian safety engineering study and pledged 'no more than $16,000' to hire the Burlington consulting firm Baxter Woodman. Eckman, a Marquette University employee, complained that she could not read the proposals from firms on a computer, apparently did not print them from her village email account and did not show up for a meeting of the committee she chairs where the item was on the agenda. Trustee Michael Phinney said he, too had trouble reading the documents online, and had expected an 'executive summary' from Eckman's Streets & Buildings Committee -- a jab Eckman frequently takes at others.

  • passed a measure forwarded by the Community Development Authority authorizing spending about $105,000 to hire The Lakota Group and S.B. Friedman & Company, two Chicago firms, to help develop a master plan for the Shorewood Business District;

  • unanimously approved of former Trustee Paul Erickson's appointment to the Police Commission by Village President Mark Kohlenberg.

Maybe President Bush should have flown in and declared the storm over . . .

The U.S. government does not want you to see this
Statement of the National Press Photographers Association

FEMA is attempting to stop publication of photographs showing the result of its failure to quickly provide relief in New Orleans.

A dog eats the leg of a victim of Hurricane Katrina as the federal government ferries journalists into the disaster zone in big planes that might otherwise be used for disaster relief.

Special to

Abandoned cars & flooded neighborhoods stretch for miles.  With the largest displacement of people since the Civil War, New Orleans continues its effort to find more survivors, drain the city, and recover the victims. 

Photo ©2005 Allen Fredrickson

Click for full-size image

Hanewall-Pepper says Library Board's lawyer violated state supreme court ethics rules

In response to a request for public records, Shorewood Library Board President Jeff Hanewall-Pepper says there is no contract for legal services with the lawyer hired to establish a so-called appeal process for victims of the library's Web link non-policy. But the state supreme court ethics rules require lawyers to enter into fee contracts. Did the lawyer violate the supreme court rules? Or did Hanewall-Pepper thumb his nose at the state public records law? One of these must be true.

We are NOT calling Jeff Hanewall-Pepper a woman, but he DID give birth to the
The Mother of all library failures

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Pamela Pepper's hubby Jeff revealed

Village Board asked to cover $76,703 library construction deficit

After forgiving a $100K  'loan' and fronting funds that were not collected from contributors, taxpayers are now asked to cover yet another library 'shortfall'

Quote unquote Twinkie-Pepper

SHOREWOOD, WI. (Sept. 2, 2005) -- Library Board Prez Jeff Hanewall-Pepper's inept redaction of legal bills lamely and undemocratically tried to the keep public in the dark about the cost of official censorship, but records obtained this week from our sources show yet another invoice from lawyer Dennis Fisher's law firm. The new bill brings the library's censorship costs to a total of $7,711.51 -- four times the amount authorized. The Aug. 22 village ledger shows check No. 070675 for $3,773.51 was payable to Fisher's firm, and the federal court action has not begun. More

Village Board to consider MMSD settlement  agreement, business district plan study, low-income housing at Tuesday's special session  Agenda


Gook B. Han, at Capitol Cleaners, 2101 E. Capitol Dr., says he had no business because of the race and th
at 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?

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, 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


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

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'


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



SHOREWOOD, Wis. (March 26, 2004) – It is appropriate that the Shorewood Herald placed a public forum opinion signed by Anne Dow directly next to a picture of a sarcophagus in the March 25 issue with a headline “The Quest for Immortality.”

Dow’s argument in the two first paragraphs is like a sarcophagus -- an ancient Egyptian coffin – lovely on the surface but the inside is just bones and stinky spiritless gauze that even Botox can’t revive.

 First, Dow, whose use of words is strikingly similar to those of her verbose husband, the reviled windbag Rodney Dow, refers to “vicious personal attacks” on Trustee Ellen Eckman, who “is keeping her campaign positive.”

 “She won’t deceive you,” Dow writes.

 These words must stick in Dow’s throat as the Shorewood Police Department has spent two days this week dealing with Eckman’s illegal campaigning. MORE

HOREWOOD, Wis. (March 17, 2004) – One thing Trustees have going for themselves at re-election time is a record they can stand on. No longer do they have to rely on yard signs, pie-in-the-sky promises or alliances to create an image upon which an informed voter can make a choice. So, when Ellen Eckman’s yard signs disappeared shortly after the Feb. 17 primary election, I wondered what was going on.

To me, there was no doubt that if anyone unauthorized had buzzed around the village and torn the painted cardboard from yards untimely both Eckman and FORMER Village President Rodney Dow would have done some lengthy and embarrassing antic at a Village Board meeting. Dow might even have walked his dog and wife to Stone Creek and stood with his back toward Walgreen's. So what's going on with Eckman's sign placement strategy?


Monkey see, monkey do.

SHOREWOOD, Wis. (March 15, 2004) -- Suddenly cognizant of the public's revulsion with her attitude, behavior, disingenuousness and record, Trustee Ellen "Some of Us Take Better Notes Than Others," "I'm the Only Educator Running," "I'm a Historian," "I Know How to Work with Diverse Groups" Eckman nitpicks over every expenditure at the Board of Trustees meeting, pretending she's not taking aim at Trustee Lang while demanding to know running fund balances JUST TWO WEEKS AFTER VOTING TO FORGIVE A $100,000 LOAN TO THE LIBRARY.

Trustees and their bosses sued for records law violations

SHOREWOOD, Wis. (MARCH 10, 2004) -- Trustees Vida Langenkamp, Ellen Eckman, Guy Johnson and former Village President Rodney Dow are added to public records suit, along with Marquette University, UWM and the State's biggest law firm, Foley & Lardner.  Story

Shorewood Foundation decides how to spend Seniors' Benjamin bequest:

SHOREWOOD, Wis. (March 9, 2004) -- Village may give floundering Senior Center operating money so that Shorewood Foundation can spend Benjamin Trust money on lawyers to ask Probate Court for declaratory judgment allowing foundation to do what it wants with the $1.1 million bequest. Library Board's Jeff Schmeckpeper is assigned to a two-man committee to create a list of acceptable trust attorneys. The participation of library fundraisers in determining how the Benjamin Trust should be spent raises questions about whether the interests of Mr. Benjamin, the Senior Center or the Library are foremost in their minds.

Former Village President Rodney Dow, Foley & Lardner's "Volunteer" poster child, tried unsuccessfully in December 2002 to get his hands on some of the money for his beloved library/village center project scheme, then denied he was acting in his official capacity despite a memo discussing the scheme from "Rodney H. Dow, Village President."


MADISON, Wis. (March 9, 2004) -- A report in The Daily Astorian that the Wisconsin Attorney General's Office had called off an investigation into funding of the Shorewood Library and Village Center project was incorrect, Monica Burkert-Brist, the head of the Public Integrity Unit of the Department of Justice, told The Daily Astorian is the newspaper serving the Oregon community that has hired resigning Shorewood Village Manager Edward Madere.

It will be two to three weeks before any decision is made on whether to proceed with an investigation of "troubling" allegations from citizens, both in writing and in telephone calls to the Department, she said. The public Integrity Unit is engaged in a "preliminary review" of facts to determine whether a criminal investigation is warranted. She said her department had contact with Shorewood officials, but would not say whether the officials had been contacted by her office or whether the officials were acting proactively to try to make the Attorney General's review disappear.


AG's Public Integrity Unit to review library issues

ADISON, Wis. (Feb. 25, 2004) --
The state Department of Justice has referred to its Public Integrity Unit reports of possible official misconduct and co-mingling of public and private funds relating to the Shorewood Library and Village Center project, has learned. The review will be conducted "as promptly as possible," according to documents obtained by this organization.

The review is based in part on allegations that some Shorewood officials are attempting to block an audit of the finances and procedures employed, has learned.

Meanwhile, the parent of a teen-ager involved in the November 2003 unauthorized entry into the Village Library has not returned our call inquiring whether there had been any disciplinary action following the parent's disclosure of the library's security code required to enter the facility.


Library break in shows employees think little of security


HOREWOOD, Wis. (Feb. 24, 2004) -- On Nov. 14, 2003 an employee gave the Shorewood library security code to a teen-age daughter who went on a crime rampage with other library children, according to Shorewood Police records. The police report also alleges Village employees' kids broke into school property and stole equipment. A gun in a videotape of the library incident was only a fake, one kid blurted.

"I would prefer not to talk about it at this time," says a parent, who still works at library.

Ironically,  one of the mothers involved was overtaken by emotion at Village Hall tonight as she criticized the Shorewood Budget and Finance Committee that monitors how the library project was funded and she appeared to resent oversight of the public facility. Is there any way the trustees should not monitor the dealings at the Library when those opposed to the audit have children who break into it, go on vandalism sprees and consider stealing money from the institution their parents argue needs no oversight, even if the gun was fake?


When FORMER Village President Rodney Dow asked Shorewood trustees to protect him and cover clerical and legal costs associated with a request to see public records from his years in office, they voted 6-1 in his favor.

Although taxpayers agree to foot the bill, "Mr. Volunteer" Dow won't give up the records unless money flows to him or his law firm, Foley & Lardner.

Rodney Dow

Foley & Lardner attorney Rod Dow linked to two women in illicit, hurtful cyber rendezvous


After ShorewoodVillage.Com broke the story of illegal e-mail conversations, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel finds similar abuses elsewhere

From the Journal Sentinel
'Although there is no case law governing the use of e-mails by public officials, the attorney general's office and state Department of Administration have made it clear that communication in cyberspace by public officials can easily violate state law.

Assistant Attorney General Bruce Olsen said during a seminar in Waukesha County on open government that e-mail exchanges likely violate state law and would subject offending officials to civil and criminal actions.

We answer Rod's call for helpRod, Why didn't you report this like you threatened?
The former village president is correct to defend the speech of office seekers, but we explain here why he is not very effective

The Rodney Dow method of communication
Just tell us why you didn't really report this activity after you insisted it was so important


Two days after Village Attorney Raymond Pollen insisted that public officials communicating by e-mail were not violating the state open meetings law, an assistant attorney general warns officials to not violate the open meetings law by communicating among themselves by E-mail.

See Journal Sentinel article

Evidence Vida Langenkamp violates open meetings law, according to the Attorney General's definition reported in the Journal Sentinel


Dow Syndrome I

SHOREWOOD, WI. (Feb. 18, 2004) -- After his firm got $61,000 from Shorewood during his final term, FORMER Village President Rodney Dow demands payment to inspect files documenting his wheeling-dealing with tax money -- LETTER

And then there's that whole Foley & Lardner computer thing

Dow may get around to complying with records law, but no guarantee

Dow Syndrome II

SHOREWOOD, WI. (Feb. 16, 2004) -- Rodney H. Dow, the FORMER village president who unsuccessfully insisted at Monday night's Village Board meeting that the two-minute citizen comment rules be waived for him because he had already prepared his lengthy remarks, became perturbed when he was allowed only to speak more than three times longer than everyone else. Managing nevertheless to continue speaking over the objections of the Village Board and the other residents in attendance, Dow departed a miserably deflated wretch only to return triumphantly moments later with his remarks Photocopied so he could transmit his terribly important statement to the Board. We have asked for the receipt pursuant to the state public records act to inspect the receipt showing he paid for the photocopies, pursuant to Village ordinances.



Over the past three years, Village Attorney Raymond Pollen's firm has billed the village about $300,000 for legal services, yet trustees aren't even aware of their responsibility to retain their records. Now, Pollen and his firm, Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski, S.C., are replaced in the lawsuit seeking court-ordered records retention and production amid questions of conflicts of interest. Has Pollen been more of an enabler for irresponsible trustees than a counselor on how to behave correctly?
Please join the discussion by clicking here.

If you like this site, refer a friend!

Vida's admissions spark e-mail dicta

Judge to Pollen: stop trustees from destroying e-mail
New suit pends as League of Wisconsin Municipalities lawyer limits remedies to current case; Rod Dow, Eckman and Langenkamp face additional issues

MILWAUKEE, WI. (Feb. 9, 2004) -- Circuit Judge Clare Fiorenza asks Village Attorney Raymond Pollen to "voluntarily direct" Shorewood trustees to stop deleting email after learning that Trustee Vida Langenkamp boasted she doesn't have to retain them. Ted Waskowski, the Madison insurance lawyer who replaced Pollen in Davidian v. Shorewood, admitted that some e-mail on trustee personal computers may be public records.  Fiorenza asked Pollen whether he directed trustees to stop deleting e-mail after a Jan. 5 hearing at which Pollen told the Court no records would be destroyed, and Pollen admitted he did not. Last week, Langenkamp told Shorewood Herald reporter Bridget Fryman: "We are not required by law to keep material sent to us; if we were, we were not told that."


People who question Shorewood government need to be scrutinized and investigated, in Langenkamp's view

'Believe me, I've done nothing wrong,' she says

Desperate Vida spams
"For those who do live in Shorewood, YOU NEED TO SEE THIS, so you can understand what type of people have surfaced and what type of tactics are being used to go after decent, ethical, and talented citizens of our Village." Document

You can download the entire mess!
Your volunteer Shorewood government officials at work and in their own words


Re-election candidate Ellen is not part of a "rump government;" distances herself from Rodney Dow

Sent: Monday, January 12, 2004 10:36 PM
Cc: Mark Kohlenberg
Subject: Your Letter

I am responding to an electronic message titled "Friends, we need your help" that you sent on January 8th and which was forwarded to me.  I would like to correct some of the inaccurate statements made by you about me and my work as a trustee. 
1. Rod Dow is not my campaign manager.  He never has been – not for this campaign nor for the last campaign. I did not have a campaign manager in my first election as a trustee nor will I have one for this election. 2. Having attended the meetings of the ad hoc committee, I trust that you can see for yourself that this committee is not as you described it - "a rump government running in parallel to the elected government." 


A Motion and Second by E-mail

Vida Langenkamp worries about two public records requests; calls them a "barrage" while being unable to answer them properly

From: Vida Langenkamp []
Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 10:04 AM
To: Mark Kohlenberg; Mike & Megan O'Brien; Jim Rice; Kellie Lang; ellen
eckman; ''
Subject: Ellen's request

Dear Fellow Board members,
I am writing to second Ellen's suggestion that we take some of our time at our next meeting to convene into closed session. I particularly would like further
legal advice from Ray as well as some input from Jim since he is the another legal voice. I think any advice needs to be heard by all of us. I would also like the opportunity to update you on the latest of a continual barage of requests made to Ellen and myself. In my opinion it is of utmost importance that the Board hears this collectively.


Vida spies on citizens, calls them "dogs," begs Mark for help; says advocates of open government have "questionable" objectives

From: Vida Langenkamp []
Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 8:24 AM
To: Mark Kohlenberg
Subject: Some thoughts

. . . After you left last evening, or early this morning, Guy and I had the opportunity to  speak briefly to Kellie about a matter that is of great concern. It involves a small core group of your staunchest supporters. I will not name them because I am sure you know who they are. Be aware that they spent a great deal of time conversing with Mr. D. and Mr. Z. after last night's meeting. This is not the first time I have seen them in deep conversation with these two whose objectives are questionable to say the least. Mark, I strongly urge you to call the dogs off, as they say. In my opinion, it is imperative that YOU tell them to keep their distance. They don't seem to understand the seriousness of the situation we find ourselves in. I have no doubt that you can influence them to act appropriately and avoid contact with the aforementioned. Please, for the sake of all of us, speak to them.


Let's call it 'poor judgment'

What didn't he get?

Village Attorney Pollen and firm Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski are replaced in records destruction lawsuit by Ted Waskowski
Pollen and firm Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski are out


Dance in the streets!

SHOREWOOD, Wis. (Feb. 2, 2004) -- 'Why is there going to be an audit? I don't understand. We should be dancing in the streets because we got a $6.1 million library project for more than we agreed to pay but for less than it is worth, Praise be to Allah. Lying is forbidden in Shorewood. Village Manager Madere will tolerate nothing but truthfulness. The village manager is a man of great honor and integrity. Everyone is encouraged to speak freely, praise Allah.

Mohammed Saeed al-Dow
The former Mohammed Saeed al-Dow

 The village manager, God bless his name, Trustees Langenkamp and Eckman, may they live forever in Allah's grace, will have a great victory in Wisconsin courts. The Yankee infidel dogs will be slaughtered, God willing, and their throats will be cut as I am speaking. It will be a great victory over the First Amendment dogs and their lying infidel lawyers, God be praised. The lying cowards who want to see my records, may they be safe from the First Amendment dogs, may they rot in Cudahy, will see who is in control! Truly, I can say there are, in fact, no unauthorized funds anywhere. The village attorney, God willing, will rule a thousand years after the rebels are finished committing suicide -- if there are any rebels which there are not, God be praised. The heathen infidel pagan louts will never get records proving anything. Never! Not even if the court orders Foley & Lardner's computers seized! Never! God willing, the rebels, if there are any which there are not, will scalp themselves before we do it for them. They might have a chance if they could fund themselves with Community Block Grant funds, but I control the money through my Email campaigns, God be praised, and they would just blow themselves up trying to audit the project before we do it to them, God willing. We will roast their stomachs.'

Is something incorrect or unfair? Contact us by clicking here

In a public forum statement in the Shorewood Herald, Trustee Ellen Eckman touts that she is an "educator," and "the only candidate who is educator." Here's our response.


Do they still represent the village in certain matters?
Is Foley & Lardner law firm behind Shorewood political turmoil?

Correspondence suggests Dow wants to clone himself politically

Download Acrobat 6 ReaderCorrespondence produced by Trustees Langenkamp and Eckman reveal former Village President Rodney Dow's tirades in and to the press as well as manipulation of current trustees originated during office hours with the return address:
From: "Dow, Rodney H." <>

pdf file requires free Acrobat 6.0 Reader

Who's he billing for his time? Or are the partners donating it? How does he get any work done at the office?

Read the correspondence (.pdf)  Read the correspondence (html and .txt)


Response to request for Dow's official correspondence is later than required by law because of 'social' matters 
Dow won't talk without a lawyer
After ignoring the statutory deadline for responding to requests to provide records from his term of office, Attorney Rodney Dow, the former Shorewood Village president and a partner in the state's Download Acrobat 6 Readerlargest law firm, is asking Shorewood taxpayers to foot the bill for legal advice on whether he has to show taxpayers records of his communications regarding the $6.2 million library project he sold them on -- Jan. 27, 2004
pdf file requires free Acrobat 6.0 Reader


Is he charging us for this?

Village Attorney Pollen rethinks position on e-mail after receiving Download Acrobat 6 Readerproof information was withheld in Langenkamp-Eckman document production -- Jan. 27, 2004  -- Letter
pdf file requires free Acrobat 6.0 Reader

 The 'Blue Bin' as a filing cabinet

Download Acrobat 6 ReaderMilwaukee County Corporation Counsel asked to investigate Langenkamp-Eckman record retention system -- January 27, 2004 pdf file requires free Acrobat 6.0 Reader


Download Acrobat 6 ReaderInjunction request follows Langenkamp's admission she destroys records
pdf file requires free Acrobat 6.0 Reader


See Langenkamp admission

See index to related court documents

Pollen capitulates on record charges
But officials destroy records; electronic e-mail still at issue

In partial response to legal demands that Shorewood records regarding the library project be made public, the following material is now open for inspection at the Shorewood Village Manager's Office, 3930 N. Murray Ave.:

  • 52 documents comprising the total correspondence in her possession as of January 14, 2004 between Trustee Ellen Eckman and other Board members, former Village President Rodney Dow, Village Manager Ed Madere, and Village Attorney Raymond Pollen.

  • 4 documents comprising the total correspondence in her possession as of January 12, 2004 between Trustee Vida Langenkamp and other Board members, former Village President Rodney Dow, Village Manager Ed Madere, and Village Attorney Raymond Pollen.

  • Itemized bills from Village Attorney Raymond Pollen and his firm, Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski, S.C., for legal services provided to the Village of Shorewood.

  • Correspondence between Police Chief Michael Meehan, Village Attorney Raymond Pollen and his law firm, Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski, S.C., between Jan. 1, 2003 and Nov. 21, 2003.

Other documents are being archived as time permits.
Check this link frequently for updates


The Rodney Dow legacy: a pig in a poke

They knew they couldn't get approval from voters for the whole Someone very much like Rodney Dowlibrary project, so the referendum picked $5 million as a figure voters would approve. But former Village President Rodney Dow, (Doesn't he SPECIALIZE in FINANCING at Foley & Lardner) should have calculated that taxpayers would have to foot the bill for extras once the project was completed. Didn't they intend from the beginning to fund the library through tax money? Come on, Rod, wasn't this slick political financing?

 Can a "public officer" ethically vote against an audit that would have as its focus whether there was "any direct or indirect impairment of the capital improvement fund or bond security and redemption fund" when that public officer could "be held liable" in an action "to restore" such diverted funds?

Why should there be a library audit? Because . . .

18.15 Diversion of funds, liability of officers for.

Any public officer or public employee, as defined in s. 939.22 (30), and the surety on the official bond of the officer or employee, or any other person participating in any direct or indirect impairment of the capital improvement fund or bond security and redemption fund, shall be liable in an action brought by the attorney general in the name of the state, or by any taxpayer of the state, or by the holder of any evidence of indebtedness payable in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, out of such fund, to restore to such fund all diversions therefrom.  History: 1991 a. 316.

 939.22 Words and phrases defined.

 (30) "Public officer"; "public employee". A "public officer" is any person appointed or elected according to law to discharge a public duty for the state or one of its subordinate governmental units. A "public employee" is any person, not an officer, who performs any official function on behalf of the state or one of its subordinate governmental units and who is paid from the public treasury of the state or subordinate governmental unit.


(But doesn't actually do it, but might, later, maybe)

SHOREWOOD, Wis. (January 20, 2004) -- The Village Board unanimously agreed to solicit proposals to have "an independent performance and financial audit done of the library project."

Village President Mark Kohlenberg said the Budget and Finance Committee should devote its next meeting to developing a statement of what the audit would consist of, and that the committee should do it as quickly as possible. Whatever the committee decides, a majority of the full Board would still have to approve the wording and the Board could choose to not accept any of the proposals that might ultimately be presented by competent auditors in response to the agreed wording.

While there was much debate among trustees and considerable input from residents, the strongest opposition to an audit was from Trustee Ellen Eckman, who was "deeply troubled" by the thought of having to decide what to do, but voted "Yes" after everyone else already had done so.

The meeting was the first since Village Manager Edward Madere gave his Jan. 5 presentation meant to explain the history and details of the over-budget, under-financed project.

Yet only Kohlenberg and Trustee Kellie Lang had questions of Madere's presentation, which the Village staff had six weeks to prepare.

Lang's questions are here.  Marie Rohde's Journal Sentinel story here

Over the past three years, Village Attorney Ray Pollen's firm has billed Shorewood for a quarter of a million dollars for legal services, yet officials aren't even aware of their responsibility to retain public records. Has Pollen been more of an enabler for irresponsible trustees than a counselor on how to behave correctly? Discussion board

Shorewood Village Attorney Raymond J. Pollen
Has Pollen fallen?

On January 5, 2004, Shorewood Village Attorney Raymond Pollen told Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Clare Fiorenza:

"I am not aware of any destruction of documents, and I am aware of the obligation not to destroy any documents." These documents would include all correspondence between village officials, even e-mail, Pollen said. See Shorewood Herald story

One week Later:

Langenkamp admits she threw records in garbage and disposed of computer containing records

Village Trustee Vida Langenkamp says correspondence she is required by law to retain and produce under the Wisconsin Public Records Act is not available because in November 'I purchased a new computer and am no longer in possession of my old computer.' Letter

Langenkamp produces only four pages from her years in office. Read the messages

Meanwhile, Trustee Ellen Eckman produces just 52 sheets of paper in response to request for her records. Read the messages

Sensenbrenner takes aim at Hearst newspaper monopoly


SHOREWOOD, Wis. (January 17, 2004) – Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says he will send an “oversight letter” to the U.S. Department of Justice asking why the agency’s antitrust division repeatedly approves acquisition of competing newspapers by the Hearst Corporation, which then closes them.

Since 1992, Hearst has bought and shut down competing newspapers, creating one-newspaper towns. From Houston and San Antonio to San Francisco, Hearst has emerged as owner of the only daily newspaper with paid circulation in the relevant market, according to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. In each case, the New York-based corporation received Department of Justice blessings despite Congress’ policy of maintaining and “preserving” editorial voices in the United States.

Speaking at a town hall meeting in the municipal court chambers at Village Hall Saturday, Sensenbrenner said his staff included antitrust experts who previously had worked at the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, and when it comes to oversight of the DOJ, “you’ve come to the right place.” Story


What Village residents say:

Strange meeting place, indeed
By Denise Scherer

I wonder if residents of the village of Shorewood are aware that two members of our Village Board, under the cover of a committee meeting, met in a small village eatery vs. our multimillion dollar library. Opinion in Shorewood Herald

Leadership majority needed
Joe Mangiamele

Can we undergo another year of indecisive government? We voted for Kohlenberg for president and Lang to fill a vacant seat. Therefore, we deserve their appropriate representation; notwithstanding, however, we did get a rather satisfactory budget process with acceptable results. Opinion in Shorewood Herald


From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Posted: Jan. 13, 2004

"Area communities might want to send Shorewood village officials a short thank-you note for offering the latest lessons in how not to conduct the public's business. The lessons come courtesy of a meeting held last week at a City Market cafe by a committee of the Shorewood Village Board that is supposed to look into board procedures and policies and to come up with an orientation for new board members."  Read the editorial

Why is this man laughing?Shorewood Village Attorney Raymond J. Pollen
Village Attorney Ray Pollen's law firm billed taxpayers $244,632 since Nov. 2000
Interactive (.mht)  or .pdf


The Axis of Snivel & Drivel:
That Langenkamp woman-Eckman-Dow
How many ways can they humiliate this village?

Village Manager Madere's response to request for explanation of Library funding as presented at Jan. 5th board meeting (7MB.pdf file) Requires free Adobe Acrobat reader



Village attorney finds everything his clients do is perfect!

Former Village Pres. Dow's law firm, Foley & Lardner, billed the Village $61,000 during the last three years he was in office, records show. Spreadsheet

Complaint asks whether Jan. 9 ad hoc village committee meeting was legal. click here


What will Dow know, and when will he know it?

SHOREWOOD, Wis. (Jan, 2, 2004) -- Rodney Dow, the former Village president, apparently opposes openness in government.

In two alleged essays in the Shorewood Herald he refers to correct action by  conscientious trustees as "leaks" by "moles." Opinion

"I used to be Village President, so I'm going to go on and on and on about everything."Someone very much like Rodney Dow
Rodney Dow
"I used to be Village President"


Attorney Raymond Pollen and Milwaukee firm Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski are sued for withholding public records in search for clues to library fund transfer

December 12, 2003 -- MilwaukeePress.Net asks judge to enjoin Shorewood officials from destroying records of illegal $535,000 transfer to Village library and to command village attorney and village manager to produce what documents remain -- Taxpayers will foot the bill for official intransigence, foot dragging. Read the verified motion


939.22(30)pdf icon
(30) "Public officer"; "public employee".  A "public officer" is any person appointed or elected according to law to discharge a public duty for the state or one of its subordinate governmental units.  A "public employee" is any person, not an officer, who performs any official function on behalf of the state or one of its subordinate governmental units and who is paid from the public treasury of the state or subordinate governmental unit.

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