Saturday, January 16, 2010

Larry Nelson's boast about being 36th "Best Place to Live"

Money Magazine, each August, gets down to list-making. And they publish the "Ten Best Places to Live" in the U.S. They go on to list the runners-up from 11 through 100. They have their criteria, their bias toward what makes up the good life.

And they slice and dice lots of data and opinion to come up with sub-lists: Skinniest (but no mention most blubbery), priciest, richest, best golf, easiest on commuters, least tax-hellish.

A recent comment published on a different site, but focused on the lists, had comments on the Money criteria. Here's a typical one:
What about culture, diversity, public green spaces, walkability, public services, bike-friendliness, etc. etc.? Why this kneejerk reaction that you have to have low taxes to be happy?
Regardless, we are told WAUKESHA IS ON THE LIST! It says so on the top line of the City's Web Site, close to the photo of our Mayor. The facts: just before the last election (2006) for Mayor, Money reported that, according to their criteria, our city, while not on the top ten list, was a distant "also-ran," #36 on a list of cities that made up part of the group that was "studied".

Whoopee!

I don't want to douse anyone's pride or jubilation, but--this being an annual ranking--I have to tell you, we've fallen off the list; we're washed-up; some other city is 36th. And we've fallen hard. We are no longer even in the rankings that have been published in '07, '08 and '09.

So, here we are in 2010, four years after Waukesha's brief moment at 36th Place. Larry Nelson continues to brag about how wonderfully "36th Best" we are. Get over it, Mr. Mayor. The things that got Waukesha on that list, such as it is, happened before your were elected.

During your four year term, a lot has happened, some of which seems useful, much of which seems disastrous. But, for whatever reason, we have fallen, not just down in the published rankings, but completely off the list.

Allow me to tell you about how much I think Waukesha--my home for the past 36 years--is the place where I choose to live because, for me, it has been the "Best Place". How it is the place I have lived most of my life, the place where I have the friends of a lifetime, where I want to continue to live because I like it.

Telling me, and the rest of the world, that Waukesha was once the holder of a fair-to-middling rating in a yuppie consumer magazine sells all of us short.

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Of the biblical allotment of three score and ten I have lived only three of them more than a bicycle ride from one of the Great Lakes. I grew up ten blocks from Lake Erie in the (once Irish/Italian ghetto, now newly-hip) "Near West Side" of Cleveland. I can still cycle to the Milwaukee lakefront in an hour and a half; but, a round-trip has always been more than I would (noror ever did) attempt. -0- I'm a "...somewhat combative pacifist and fairly cooperative anarchist," after the example of Grace Paley (1922-2007). -0- I'm always cheerful when I pay my taxes (having refused--when necessary--to pay that portion of them dedicated to war). -0- And I always, always vote.