This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

PSST...have you heard Franklin's latest Einstein theory to boost economic development?

There was “the brochure.”

And now the latest ploy to generate economic buzz in Franklin…

Fewer roads.

More sidewalks.

Making people walk more.

The reporters at FranklinNOW may not win any Pulitzers, but by golly their material can be revealing, demonstrating how out of touch Franklin is, sorely lacking in innovation and creativity. But dumb ideas…they’ve mastered those.

The city’s Complete Streets and Connectivity Committee (now there’s a bureaucratic title that screams “royal waste of time”) is working on, according to FranklinNOW, “a smarter transportation grid” that will “boost economic development in the city.” At least that’s the goal of the committee chairman, John Michlig.

Michlig is a decent fellow, very civic-minded and deserves credit for a willingness to volunteer to serve. Now the obligatory “but.”

But Michlig is a lefty whose greatest desire is to build more sidewalks and bike trails that lead to cafes with lots of outdoor tables and chairs. He’s guided by a concept called “Complete Streets.” His committee has been working for about a year on, according to FranklinNOW, “a resolution to guide future development to the Common Council. The resolution enumerates the manner in which committee members will provide recommendations for city transportation and development during planning, construction or reconstruction throughout the city. It ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate roadways with all users in mind - including bicyclists, vehicles and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.”

Sounds all sweet and nice, doesn’t it?

FranklinNOW reports, “Complete streets does de-emphasize the vehicle as being the dominate mode of transportation in walkable communities, but it's not anti-car, said Michlig.”

Revealing. Michlig concedes the concept he’s pushing “does de-emphasize the vehicle.” Of course it does.

“But it’s not anti-car.”

It’s absolutely anti-car. Like so many other similar-minded lefty transportation plans (light rail, commuter rail, street cars that go nowhere), the notion is to get people who have a love affair with their automobiles to get out of their automobiles.  Reduce roadways and places to park, in the process making it a hassle to drive; that’s the objective.

Back to FranklinNOW:

“Committee members say complete streets will be a shot in the arm for economic development.”

You got that. Members on this useless committee have swallowed the Kool-Aid. They probably sit at their meetings, collectively nodding their heads like lemmings, and patting themselves on the backs about the wonderful ideas they’re coming up with.

Once again, FranklinNOW:

“Michlig said the value of a home can increase up to $3,000, depending on the market, when a community has a street network in place.”

Really? That’s a beauty.

That must be some crystal ball.

And we’re to believe that Michlig and his fellow geniuses on the COMPLETE STREETS COMMITTEE THAT WILL SAVE FRANKLIN WITH THEIR INGENUITY must possess super secret inside information that will somehow, just like that, propel home values during the nationwide housing crisis that began in 2008 and continues to this day.

I’ll bet Michlig a steak dinner that if his committee’s recommendations are approved and enacted that my home’s value doesn’t come close to increasing by $3,000 one year later.

Spur economic development? By making Franklin more pedestrian friendly? Forgive me while I laugh hysterically.


It’s unfortunate that the powers that be in Franklin appoint good, decent people to waste their time on such dubious fixes. Actually, it’s not just unfortunate. It’s laughable.


The FranklinNOW article quotes longtime City Engineer John Bennett. Here’s some friendly advice to Mr. Bennett. When approached to do an interview by FranklinNOW or anyone else for that matter, please defer to someone else.

One more time, here’s FranklinNOW:

“But he (Bennett) recognizes the potential of connectivity. ‘I would have to say Franklin is a bit of a floor runner on this,’ he said. "

Floor runner?

English teachers within a 50-mile radius are cringing.

Interesting that FranklinNOW couldn’t find one single solitary soul to find fault with this goofy Complete Streets idea.

And the reporter, not surprisingly missed the most important element of this story: cost.

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