The closed-door “emergency meeting” between representatives of the Rock and top Franklin city officials turned into a secret bash fest against a county supervisor and neighbors who have raised noise concerns, with Milwaukee County Supervisor Steve Taylor (who now works for the Rock’s foundation) calling fellow county supervisors “terrorists” and developer Mike Zimmerman labeling Supervisor Patti Logsdon “crazy,” Wisconsin Right Now has confirmed from multiple sources.
Taylor even called concerned neighbors “idiots” and “f*ckers” at one point, the sources show.
The city officials and Rock representatives acted quite cozy during the meeting, we have confirmed, as they discussed how to get better public relations for the Rock and schemed to divide and conquer the neighbors by designating their leader, bypassing one female resident whom the mayor considers too emotional, Wisconsin Right Now has further confirmed.
Taylor now serves as the executive director of the Roc Foundation after first pushing for the development as a county supervisor. Yet he was a key player in Friday’s emergency meeting despite that point. At one point, he declared that noise critics on the County Board were not trustworthy and were “terrorists.”
Taylor, a former Franklin alderman, is again a county supervisor who represents the 17th District, which includes portions of Franklin. He spoke on behalf of the Rock during the meeting, rather than on behalf of neighbors, the sources confirmed.
The bashing targeted Logsdon, who has taken the lead in helping neighbors, in particular. She was labeled a “desperate woman” during the meeting.
We’ve learned through sources that the emergency meeting was attended by Taylor, Franklin Mayor John Nelson, Franklin’s Director of Administration Kelly Hersh, the Rock’s developer Mike Zimmerman, and Franklin Alderman Jason Craig. Other county supervisors were not at the table; nor were the neighbors who raised noise concerns. The mayor announced the meeting would happen in a press release; Zimmerman spoke to the media about it, with both painting the meeting as a positive attempt to reach an agreement. It was secret inasmuch as the content was supposed to stay secret. It was closed-door, and the media, neighbors and other county supervisors were not there.
Franklin’s officials did not push back at the incendiary language used against neighbors and supervisors. Neighbors have complained for years that the noise levels are wrecking their lives and keeping their children up at night.
When attendees stressed that the meeting needed to remain confidential, Franklin’s mayor assured the others that Logsdon wasn’t included.
Hersh appeared to be helping the Rock with PR advice. At one point, Hersh spoke about presenting data to support the people who are calling the neighbors “Karens.”
She also said that the Rock’s developers could take steps that don’t impact their business while taking the “wind out of the sails” of neighbors at the same time.
Another target of criticism at the meeting was Rich Busalacchi, who is the executive director of the West Allis campus of MATC. He was called a “super creep” and a “grinch.” He has been a frequent critic of the development’s noise issues.
Hersh said there needed to be a more aggressive response toward some people, whom she deemed harassing, sources confirmed. She said the city could do PR but needed to know what the Rock’s developers were comfortable with the city including in public relations materials.
Others in the room made it clear to Alderman Craig that since he was the person who had been spotted in the neighbors’ yards listening to their concerns, they would know he was the leaker if the public learned any details of the meeting. To be clear, we did not get the information in this story from Craig. We were able to verify the details through other sources.
Developer Zimmerman made it clear repeatedly that the conversation was actually a negotiation, and that the city would have to agree to things also. He said the police department said he could crank the sound up to 79 decibels, and he told city officials he was not in violation of anything.
The group of five did come up with multiple tangible steps they could take to address the noise problem, which they apparently plan to announce in a memorandum of understanding.
They discussed possible solutions such as turning around the speakers, turning down the noise, and maybe getting a sound fence. Zimmerman hesitated about being asked to fund the cost of a sound fence by himself, we confirmed.
Hersh suggested that a neighbor named Dale could be designated the leader of the neighbors. Neighbor Dana Gindt was trashed, with Mayor Nelson saying Gindt operates on emotion. Nelson added that she had fire in her eyes and described her hair.
The neighbors were also accused of NIMBYism.