Thursday, May 24, 2007

Back on the one-term track

Four years ago my father died after cancer cells had taken up residence in his brain, lung and prostate. A few months later, a favorite brother-in-law died after a particularly long and cruel battle with lung cancer.

The sad fact is that cancer is an all-too-common disease. Its ubiquity, however, also means that it is a widely used metaphor. Like it or not, it is part of everyday speech.

Now come Paul Esslinger and Tony Palmeri, outraged that someone has dared to use the c-metaphor in describing one of Paul's personality traits.

The outrage stems from Paul's personal experience with cancer, which has not only affected him but also his parents. (Paul and Tony are also upset that no one had picked up on or commented on the connection between the metaphor and Paul's medical condition.)

I'm sorry that Paul has cancer, and I'm happy for him that his health appears now to be good.

But the truth is that the rules change when you venture into public life. If you were royalty, I suppose you could demand that certain words not be used in your presence.

But in a democracy, elected officials are there to serve the voters. As a servant of the people, you have to put up with what they say about you.

In a democracy, the people are the sovereigns. And so when an elected official uses terms like "conniption" and "hissy fits" to describe citizen concerns, then that official is well one the way to a one-term career in office.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've dodged my question a couple times already.

How about a no spin answer Miles:

Like the other guy said, better people walk on concrete sidewalks, than walk on the city land (public right-of-way) in front of those nice homes and rut their yards up and make them look like the trails on "River Mill Miles" video.

Hey Miles... answer me this question:

Would you rather have a nice well constructed concrete sidewalk or a rutted trail in front of your home?

9:15 AM  
Blogger tony palmeri said...

Hmm, let's see. The "citizen concerns" you have been raising have opined, among other things, that:

*Arguments about safety and walkability as regards River Mill are "posturing." Accusing someone of "posturing" in this context is equivalent to calling them a liar.

*There is a Palmeri, Esslinger, McHugh "axis" on the Council. Placing someone in an "axis" is the equivalent of calling them a fascist.

*A yes vote for sidewalks on River Mill at this time is about settling a "personal grudge."

I'd say that accusing an elected official of being a lying fascist who is willing to use his office to settle personal grudges, even when such accusations are couched in euphemisms, falls well within the realm of "conniption."

As for the comments about Esslinger's cancer, of course I agree that elected officials should be able to take the heat. My point was that your blog and Oshkosh News have traditionally frowned on trolling and personal attacks masquerading as political commentary. Now you seem to be ready to minimize those things or even encourage them--over a disagreement about when to place sidewalks in a neighborhood?

9:34 AM  
Blogger Miles Maguire said...

No spin is someone else (Hint: first name Bill).

But c'mon, be reasonable. As has already been pointed out, this is a well-established, low-traffic, low-density neighborhood.

If there were enough joggers, walkers, bikers out there who were afraid of using the road, there would already be a rutted trail in front of my house.

It's not a problem because ... well ... it's not a problem.

I think a neighborhood without sidewalks looks unfinished. (And I have already said.)

9:39 AM  
Blogger Miles Maguire said...


(The last word got cut out from the previous comment.)

And what's the point of having a blog if you can't have the last word?

9:41 AM  
Blogger Miles Maguire said...


You are putting words in my mouth.

That's unbecoming--both of you and of me.

I didn't call you a lying fascist--or anything close to that.

But, frankly, I don't think you are behaving in the way that I expected based on your campaign rhetoric.

It's true that I don't like personal attacks (like accusing me of accusing you of being a lying fascist), but I've have always been of two minds about these things.

I think it's important in a democracy for people to express themselves. And there are times when personalities and issues get mixed up.

One man's personal attack is another man's fair and balanced.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So then Miles, I assume as you choose not to answer the question, you and your neighbors in River Mills would not complain if joggers, walkers, dog owners, bikers and others would conduct that activity on the public-right-of-way (lawn...front yard)in front of your home.

You would rather have "your" front yard rutted up, than install walks.


10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... said
"One man's personal attack is another man's fair and balanced."

Hummm....fair and who's quoting the Fox guys??

Hey. That's a No-Spin answer!

10:05 AM  
Blogger Michelle A. Monte said...

I am not saying this will happen in Miles's neighborhood, but it could. I think, aside from specific personalities, the entire council needs to consider this when evaluating ANY street without a sidewalk. Especially one near a recreation area like a trail or park.

When I was six, I was playing across the street from my home with my little brother and friends. Mom was hanging laundry and my other brother was napping. We lived on a quiet street near a park. I crossed to my house to put my bike away. When I crossed, there were no cars as far as I could see. My brother followed a few seconds behind me on his truck. As I parked my bike and turned around, I saw a streak of green, heard the squeal of tires and a sickening thud. I saw my brother first on top the hood of the car and then roll off and under the car. His 4yr old body came to rest in the middle of the street. The driver was speeding and not paying attention. My brother died three days later of massive head and chest injuries.

The crosswalk he was in when he crossed the street was no longer visible. The pedestrian crossing sign was missing as well. On this quiet street near a park, it just wasn't a priority for the city to paint the crosswalk or replace the sign.

I am in my thirties and remember ever detail of that day down to where Jeff's shoes he was knocked out of landed separate from his body.

I now have four children and I know from taking walks with them when they were younger, and even now, that kids horse around. In a moment a child can dart out into the lane of traffic, be pushed by a sibling, or fall off a bike rollerblades, or scooter into the path of a car.

You may live on a quiet street, but the worst happens anywhere and in a split second. Every safety measure possible should always be in place on EVERY street where children might be walking, riding, or playing.

When you are all taking digs at each other, please consider the memories you may be creating by the actions, or inactions you take.

Thank you.
Michelle Monte

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God we have all of this intellect working overtime on this common sense issue. Maybe this is why most of the folks in Oshkosh, complain about the University!

You live in a city, you get sidewalks. I live in a low density neighborhood with deadends on both ends of my street...guess what we have concrete sidewalks, concrete streets curb and gutter.

Miles, there are several personality traits that your anymous poster has which you could also attribute to their lifestyle. Have you ever heard of the term BOTTOM FEEDER? That can be a noun and a vowel. I think it is a damn good description.

Now that we know that physical aliments are fair game, maybe you can open your blog up to nailing the mentally impaired? I mean really this is all the the spirit of fair play right!

A note to Paul Esslinger, I know the hell you have been through...this can not and should not occupy your good work in this community and for your own well being. Keep the Faith...and pray that other actually get some!

Melanie Bloechl

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miles you shouldn't even waste your time with these people. They can't see anything past their own opinions and personal interests. It's interesting how they all come crawling out of the woodwork to defend Paul Esslinger, his sidewalk theory, and a popular metaphor they've elected to take personally.

None too surprising is Melanie Bloechl chiming in with a wild claim about how most people in Oshkosh view the university. Just because her opinion of it has been and always will be negative does not make it the opinion of the majority. Without this university this city would be in much worse shape than it already is, and since UWO is one of the largest employers in the city it's hard to imagine most people in Oshkosh sharing her opinion.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you live in the city, you should have a sidewalk.
If you live in the country, you can have a ditch.

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Mrs. Bloechl lives on Abbey Avenue. That street is not a dead end and there are no signs anywhere there saying it dead ends. If her argument is that it is a dead end because it runs into another street, big deal. So does practically every other street in the city. So if that's the standard by which we are now calling streets "dead-ends" then we can safely say almost 100% of our streets in Oshkosh are dead-ends.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the sidewalks on Ninth Avenue on the west side of 41 that people have been talking about? When will Esslinger-McHugh-Palmeri bring something forward to order in those? How about at the far north end of Hawk and Lark? There's some more. How about it guys? I'll bet we can find more without looking too hard and they're probably also in higher traffic areas than River Mill. When you stop the spin priorities in this case are skewed for political reasons and nothing else.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must be a new reader.

It was mentioned many times that River Mill was selected, as it was the last continuous NEIGHBORHOOD area to need sidewalks. As such, it is the next priorty for the city now that they've finished placing sidewalks on the major arterials.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The areas mentioned by 8:34 are NEIGHBORHOODS. Some of them have been neighborhoods for 30 years or better. Do a check on the city assessor's website and you can see how long some of these homes and their neighborhoods have been there.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The message read "...the last continuous NEIGHBORHOOD area to need sidewalks"

Get it...CONTINUOUS, as in total, connecting complete.

The city manager said as River Mill is the LAST CONTINUOUS neighborhood to need, it now becomes a priority as the previous priority of sidewalks at arterial streets have been accomplished.

There will ALWAYS be sidewalks to br repaired and replaced. Each and every year sidewalks crack and eventually require attention.

In the frame of the next priority, placing sidewalks in the very last subdivision in Oshkosh that has no sidewalks has worked it's way to the top of the list.

The walks you mentioned, and many others will certainly get attention just as they have every other year.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If these sidewalks "worked it's way to the top of the list." Why did Paul Esslinger need to request they be put in?

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The walks I mentioned?? Excuse me, but there are NO walks in various areas of Oshkosh, including those. So before displaying more ignorance and rudeness, try reading what you're responding to.

They are also continuous neighborhoods, depending on one's definition of the word "continuous."

All your spinning aside, here's the simple fact: River Mill sidewalks have been planned for some time, just not now. The fact that they have now been MADE a priority is because Paul Esslinger threw a "hissy fit" of his own and brought forward a relution to "order" them in. If it was something the public works department and city manager were already on top of as a "priority item", as you want us to believe, there would have been no need for Esslinger or anyone else to do anything more. They would have just happened.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason for us being upset. Not sidewalks, but the timing and manner in which it was handled. and that makes it political in nature, not a matter of public safety or anything else.

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You’re a funny guy.

You want sidewalks...but just not right now.

You want the poor underprivileged areas to get their walks before you do. How generous you are. Let the “little people” get sidewalks first because they are poor…and with high gas prices need to walk more than you upper-middleclass "gated community" wannabes do.


You guys really shovel the dung over there by the river don’t you. Your little enclave is next on the list!

As long as you're better buy a snow shovel. When I walk by your house in the winter I want a clean clear ice-free sidewalk to get to the nature trail.

It could be worse you know. All us poor sidewalk deprived people could come over and trample a trail on your front yard right in the public right-of-way. Then I’ll bet you’d change your tune and say “We’re ready for our sidewalks now. We don’t want those ugly ruts in our front yards”

What a sanctimonious joke you people are.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what a misguided, uninformed koolaid drinker you are 9:31.

Before you continue with similar snipes you should take a look at the latest post from Miles.

It's a number of photos of areas without sidewalks and they're in continuous neighborhoods with higher traffic than River Mill.

This is only a sample. Other examples have already been given.

Call us sanctimonious if you will but where's the public outrcry for sidewalks in these areas? Where's King Paul Esslinger with his "order in" resolutions for sidewalks in these areas? Where's the compelling arguments from logician Tony Palmeri about why there should be sidewalks here?

Is there none because Jon Dellantonia doesn't live here nor do any other people with good paying or university jobs?

If you guys want to be taken seriously or have the public belive Esslinger's motives were anything but political you really ought to get on the ball and start bringing forward more resolutions to "get 'er done."

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it so hard to understand this area connects to a walking trail. A county trail. For that reason alone this area should have sidewalks.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has always connected to the trail and the city never saw a reason to fast track it until Paul Esslinger threw a hissy fit of his own. What this is telling us is the safety of the few who walk on the trail at River Mills is more important to Paul Esslinger who brought the fast tracked proposal forward than the safety of people walking around by Pick and Save and Piggly Wiggly, to name a few? I'm glad to know what he's really concerned with. It's political score settling instead of true public safety.

3:14 PM  

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