In June 2003, the New Berlin School Board voted to ban candidate forums/political speech in District facilities. People protested that action in Privilege of the Floor speeches, letters, editorials, etc. but to no avail. A citizen (Bill Moore) filed a formal complaint with the School District about the facility use policy change. I was the second resident to file a complaint and request a board hearing on the issue. I submitted my complaint in September 2003 but did not get a board hearing until January 2004. And then, the School Board chose to hold its hearing regarding my complaint on a Friday morning at 7 a.m. which was in violation of School Board policy. About an hour or so after the hearing began, the School Board abruptly adjourned the meeting (probably to allow the board members who were employed to go to their jobs). The School Board indicated it would resume the hearing at a future time and I was given a tentative hearing date. When the School Board neglected to contact me to confirm that hearing date or notify me of the time and location of the hearing, I called the District office the day before the meeting to obtain the information. Eventually, I got fed up with the District/School Board’s stalling and other antics and joined several District residents, who with the help of the ACLU, took legal action against the New Berlin School District. Just before the District had to respond to the suit, the School Board rescinded its contentious facility use policy provisions.
In 2006, four New Berlin aldermen (a majority) voted in favor of a policy that restricts City Hall and City cable channel use to government units. Since candidate forums had traditionally been sponsored by citizen groups, the Council’s action resulted in candidate forums no longer being held at City Hall.
At the February 9, 2010 Committee of the Whole Meeting, Ald. Moore made a motion to allow public forums in the City Hall Council Chambers, but the Council sent the issue to the Communications Committee for review. So, what did the Communications Committee do? The Communications Committee voted to table the matter at their subsequent Feb. 17 meeting. The March 17 Communications Committee meeting has been cancelled and none has been re- scheduled for this month.
An aldermanic candidate forum is set for March 27 at New Berlin West School.
Needless to say, I consider that quite ironic.
The aldermen who participate in that forum should thank the civic-minded New Berlin Rotary Club for sponsoring the event. Additionally, those aldermen should thank the eleven community residents who stood up for their rights, filed a federal lawsuit, and succeeded in getting the New Berlin School Board to drop its atrocious policy in 2004---because without those folks, there would be no voters forum at New Berlin West.