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.
STRIKE ONE: Julie Becker of FranklinNOW reports, “The Oak Creek Common Council last night unanimously approved a motion referring the name (the “Boomgaard District) back to the (South 27th Street Steering) committee, with a recommendation to consider selecting a new name.
STRIKE TWO: Becker also reports that Oak Creek and Franklin officials agreed last month that the name should be re-evaluated by the committee.
STRIKE THREE: Public reaction to the name was overwhelmingly negative.
The people have spoken. The vast majority of those who have offered an opinion on “Boomgaard” have panned the brand. Reaction has ranged from guffaws to accusations of City Hall scandals.
Time is ticking on the 120-day schedule to make a final decision on a nickname to promote the 27th Street Corridor.
I suggest the following recommendations as a positive solution to what has been a public relations debacle.
Public participation in the process needs to be encouraged and then utilized to achieve consensus and, ultimately, acceptance of an approved name.
The Franklin and Oak Creek Common Council’s should immediately seek interested citizens from both cities to serve on the 27th Street Steering Committee. A specific time period could be established to collect nominations from people who wish to volunteer their time in researching prospective names.
An application process could be created online on the websites of both cities. The call for citizen volunteers could be promoted on those websites, on FranklinNOW, Oak CreekNOW, and discussed by bloggers.
Applicants would be expected to offer reasons why they would be best suited to be chosen.
Both council’s could then review the applicants and select an agreed upon number of people to serve. The Franklin Common Council and the Mayor would select Franklin committee volunteers. Ditto for Oak Creek.
It appears from previous minutes of a May 13th committee meeting that several alternative names to “Boomgaard” were considered before “Boomgaard” was chosen. So this process needn’t drag on. A final list of names could be announced so that the general public could weigh in on which name is preferred before the final selection is made.
There are good people already serving on this committee who have done exhaustive work. I am proposing a few members from the general public be added to the committee because one of the loudest criticisms of the process thus far has been the lack of transparency and public input.
Opening the door and inviting the public to step forward and offer guidance and possibly some untapped expertise would go a long way in repairing whatever damage has been done to public relations, whether that be great or small.
Volunteers would energize the process and I daresay could be just as, if not more effective than the public relations firm that came up with “Boomgaard.”
Get the word out.
Volunteers needed to assist Franklin and Oak Creek in coming up with the name that will front a multi-billion dollar project that will be the shining glory of both communities.
Select the best applicants.
Get back on track.
Make up for lost time.
Let’s pick a great name and get this project moving in the right direction.