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Opinion: Dear Winners …

Opinion: Dear Winners …


Congratulations to Ron Barbian, Rich Busalacchi, Tom Slota and Melanie Kuzmanovic on a well-earned election or re-election. Please enjoy the positive affirmation our community gave you on April 5 in our nonpartisan races. I give you credit for stepping up to do this hard work and for taking the heat and tough criticism that often comes with elected office in our Village.

Likely you — and your opponents — said some unfair or unkind things about each other. It is highly likely some your friends and staunchest supporters said some fairly nasty things in your behalf as well. If you haven’t done so already, you might want to send your opponents a personal note of regret for that, and appreciation for their sacrifice and willingness to step up too.

Shout-outs to Mary Grogan, Andrea Bender, Brian Schuk, Carl Genz and Bill Kewan. I was trounced in my only run for elected office (by Ron Barbian no less). So, I know that running for office is hard work and losing is no fun. I also know I got more out of the experience than I put into it. I urge each of you stay involved and engaged in our community. Perhaps Greendale will see some of you on the ballot next April.

As freshly minted Trustee-elect Busalacchi wrote to Everything Greendale on April 6, “Candidates who once opposed each other now need to find peace with each other for the greater good of our residents and our village. We must now all find a way to work and come together.”

That is a noble sentiment. In reality, you need to look no further than the comments sections of Everything Greendale and the GreendaleNOW to witness just a tiny sliver of the mean-spiritedness expressed on all sides before — and after — Tuesday’s election.

For example, in an early morning text the day after the election, school board insider, Highland View parent and serial anonymous commenterJason Patzfahl assaulted my iPhone with the Donald Trump treatment — unsolicited — and out of the blue.

“Hey Billy, looks like all your right wing candidates lost yesterday…tea bagger Genz, out! Home-schooler Grogan, last place. Historical Society tool Kewan ousted! Times are changing and the parents are speaking. Your blog is so slanted it’s not even funny. It’s the Fox News of Greendale,” texted Patzfahl.

As is his wont, he then went on to make some inappropriate ad hominem attacks against my family. Typically, I ignore his foolishness. In truth, I’ve heard from all sides who thought Everything Greendale’s election coverage was biased against them or their favored candidate. That usually means I am doing my job.

Sadly, he’s not the only school board insider, board member or member’s spouse expressing equally disquieting sentiments both privately and publicly in the days before and following the election. Frankly, I’m not sure this is the kind of example you want to be setting for Greendale’s youth or for the future of your boards you worked so hard to stay on or join.

I wonder, is it still possible to disagree without being disagreeable? Or, have some of our leaders become so thin-skinned, inward looking and self-important that they are reactionary to even the slightest amount of criticism?

Greendale’s new superintendent of schools doesn’t start until July. In the meantime, school board insiders may already be poisoning the well for him and showing their true colors. Gary Kiltz may be the district’s best chance for long-term success — especially if there is a community expectation that school board members do better work.

To build a healthy community and tackle some difficult challenges ahead, Greendale’s leaders need to reach out to others in the Village who have different knowledge, points of view and experiences. It is hard work. Personally, I am looking forward to the next joint meeting between the school and Village boards. When will that be, exactly? It is also long past time for the school board and village leaders to at least try to bring their detractors into the tent.

Greendale is full of amazing, community-minded people. I can attest to that as I have met scores of amazing individuals that lift me up and make me a better person by having them in my life. There are plenty of kind, secure, and happy people out there who have gratitude and who spread joy to others. That is the kind of Greendale I want to live in.

How about you?

P.S.: Thanks to the candidates for taking down your lawn signs! And, if you want some good 538-esque analysis of April’s elections, check out Mark Kapacious’ latest blog post on Everything Greendale. To read it, please click here.

A Parting Gif…


Want to add Your Voice?

If you’re interested in joining the discussion, please add your voice to the comments section below — or consider sharing your opinion by joining Everything Greendale’s new Your Voice section. For more information, please click here.



  1. David

    The meanness stems from the board of education. They are spiteful petty people

  2. MJR

    So, when I see post like this accusing the Everything Greendale of … drum roll … bias, I have to snort. Its pretty normal for there to be allegations of bias at election time. Perhaps if the school board/district sees evidence unfavorable coverage here, its because they are doing stupid things and then try the put the blame here for reporting on it. To them, Attewell is a sinister force in a conspiracy to weaken and destroy all the schools in Greendale. That is simply a crazy assertion. Feel free to disagree with this analysis.

    • factnotfiction

      This isn’t an analysis of any sort. The school board is so stupid that the two incumbents got reelected by a pretty substantial margin. The “reporter” and “opinion writer” of this blog, who is one and the same, consistently omits facts and takes cheap shots at the school board and district that he used to work for. He leaves his hysterical society pals alone. His buddy Bill Kewan lost AGAIN. So it looks like people are tired of the same old negative insiders. Sally Chadwick is another one of those tired old guard village board members who get zero scrutiny from this blog. If there’s another Busalacchi around, she’ll go down in flames too. The editor, reporter and opinion writer of this blog can’t bring himself, as a board member of the hysterical society and friend of the old guard, to remotely criticize the money sucking sound of the Hose Tower supporters. Where’s the scrutiny of the Veteran’s committee who has done zero to explain where they are in their fundraising efforts? They sure were loud when they were maligning the school district. Where are they now? Where’s the self proclaimed savior of Greendale, Bill Hughes? 55 of 71 school referenda in the state were approved by voters. And who says that the school board is planning a referendum? Leaders lead by example, not by snide criticism of the place that paid your salary for 16 years.

      • Greg

        I’m not a lawyer, but isn’t this the kind of school board insider trash-talking and people bashing the community is sick and tired of?

      • MJR

        factnotfiction: IMHO your statements are complete total arrogant hogwash unless you believe the schoolboard is perfect and above criticism.

        • factnotfiction

          You just made my point. No analysis. And I said very little about the school district, mostly about the anti-school district bias expressed by the one man band running this blog. The Greendale voters spoke pretty loudly and clearly, negative Kewan out, new blood in at the village board level; and school board incumbents in by a large margin. By the way, why haven’t Greendale schools been voted a top workplace when King Hughes had his 16 year reign?

      • MJR

        Please cite these “facts he omits” and the “cheap shots” taken. So, far the only cheap shots I see are from you.

  3. Green70

    How come everyone in the Greendale band email list recieved emails from Rich Busalacchi? Anyone get a robo all from him? I did.

    • Jeffrey

      This doesn’t matter anymore. Rich won. He did what ever he thought he had to do.

      It is over.

      What is important is are things going to change? Will he reach out to everyone or just to the school parents?

  4. Ann

    The gloomy weather matches my postelection mood, and I imagine the same could be said for people wanting less acrimony all across Greendale The village and school board members have to get out into our Greendale and form real bonds with a wide array of people mainly those that disagree with them, cultivate a real sense of urgency — because the issues at play have real-life consequences. Ignoring politics or treating them as a fun game, payback on the losers. are privileges that the folks most impacted by its consequence simply shouldn’t have to put up with and this is not what we need now. The election is over. The winners have won. The losers will quit, help where they can, or swallow a ‘loser sandwich that leads to nothing good.”

    Lets all end the bitterness and be going ahead with the shared interest of bringing in those vanquished and keeping in mind this village is filled with connected, skilled, smart and able residents that makes Greendale the best place to live in Milwaukee.

    Mr. Michaels and Dr. Kiltz need us all to be there so they can be successful. When the next election comes, let the debate begin anew.

  5. Greendale Parent

    jason you are way, way wrong. here’s what I see on EG: Tons of positive stories about the schools and our community, opinion and criticism about our schools and community (most of it right on target) and one gigantic, mean-spirited community bully (that’s you) who throws a huge tantrum when it doesn’t go his way doing more to damage the schools you so claim to love than anyone else I can think of. You are poisonous. As a parent, I want absolutely nothing to do you with you and your negativity.

  6. Grg T

    Well said Mt Attewell. I, like you felt the loss and animosity that can come in small town politics. Fortunate for me, I also felt the highs that come in winning. I applaud the candidates that stepped up and also fell bad for the ones that did not get enough votes. It is a noble gesture to be a public figure and I am sure the winners will do their best to serve the community. Even though I speak from Florida part time, and Greendale part time, I have some vested interest in the comings and goings of the local Village. Keep up the diligence that is required to accomplish the goals and retain the character of the Village

  7. Tony

    I find it hilarious, disingenuous and intellectuallyrics dishonest all at the same time that Jason Patzfahl accuses ANYONE of being partisan.

  8. Greg

    i’ll never understand why the school board continues to listen, support and stand behind this guy!!

    • MJR

      They support him because they agree with him its simple.

    • Dinkfester

      POWER to the PEOPLE!!!! WE won. Greendale Republicans are on the RUNNNNNN!

      We got one out and the PARENTS are coming back harder than ever. No way are we letting you LOSERS IN.


      • Green70

        @DinkFester Typical Liberal Rant, Greendale is a community I don’t look at them as Republicans or Democrats. I see them as Families wanting what is best for their Children. That is why people come back to raise a family. However it appears you see it and try to make it divisive.

  9. wi mother

    Well said, Bill.. Must make one comment, that has been made over and over.. Jason is a disgrace with his blogs and nonsense comments.. Jason is an embarrassment for Greendale. Cannot imagine how his hatefulness can make for a happy, healthy home, especially with growing children.. Sad..

    • Kim kowalczyk

      Well said wi mother! Jason Patzfahl is a troll! He is the type of person that thinks everything in this country right now is “just fine”, so he’s happiest when he thinks that the only person that people should listen to is him! 10 to 1 says he voted for Obama, and he’ll probably vote for Hillary! I personally think people like that are bullies, and aren’t we supposed to teach our kids that we can agree to disagree, no matter what the subject! I feel sad for those who don’t get out to vote, because of the “trolls” that try to be the puppeteers in our community! Well guess what, I’m not afraid of any of them! So Bill, continue to do what you do for our village and the people that live here, I know that I appreciate it! AMEN!!!

About The Author

Bill Attewell

Bill Attewell is the editor and publisher of Everything Greendale. He has over 20 years experience as an award-winning newspaper editor, writer and publisher. His work has been read in in over 50 publications across the U.S. and abroad. Bill is a long-time resident of Greendale and a Greendale High School alum. Go Panthers!


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