Opining on Brookfield’s mayoral rematch

Evidently folks are looking, so I’ll let you in on a secret: I couldn’t care less as to whether or not former mayor Jeff Speaker retakes the local throne from Mayor Steve Ponto.

I always said Ponto would look just like Speaker only be less embarrassing. I got that one exactly right. Neither are personally dynamic. Both are into the job for as long as they can keep it. Neither are truly leading Brookfield.

Proof? Development. Sorry, but it’s Brookfield and it will always be development. Ponto has his tail caught because of blowing anything that looked like a leadership opportunity with the quarry fill and development. Speaker, though, led Brookfield into a miserable TIF situation that now has developers set to renege on the promise of a public park while they still get their city funded parking structure. Sweet, huh?

I’m tempted to say whomever promises to fire Development Director Dan Ertl should be mayor. Since all that matters in Brookfield is development, and since neither mayor has ever actually understood development well enough to guide Dan Ertl, I think it’s safe to say Ertl’s been the real mayor since Bloomberg left years ago.

Speaker gave Brookfield the defunct Capitol Heights. Ponto lost retailers Von Maur and Nordstroms to other communities. Pick whichever guru you want.

I will say this: It’s going to be interesting. Ponto only won by 205 votes four years ago. (Working from memory, but I think that’s it.) He’s lost support since then. Speaker is a favorite with staff as Speaker didn’t even pretend to understand what was going on. Ponto at least tossed the pseudo-mayor position, but I understand staff would rather have him minding his own business.

Maybe that, in the round about way of making a decision, is why I will vote Ponto again. Hey, someone has to keep an eye on the staff.

Yes, I still think it would have been a great job. Every once in a while I hear of others who think so, too. A couple of weeks ago a woman called wondering why I wasn’t on the ballot. She then continued to talk my ear off – reminding me exactly why I don’t jump back in there.

Years ago Felice Glorioso gave me a big hug after that horrible experience and told me emphatically that the job was “the best thing that never happened” to me. He was the first one to remind me that getting my way isn’t always the best answer after that election. I think of his statement often as I’m hanging out in 80 degrees near the equator. (By the way, it’s his birthday today. If you happen to see him remind him he looks good for his age. 😉 )