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Kenosha County Eye

Vote for James Kremer in Pleasant Prairie – Opinion

James Kremer – Candidate for Pleasant Prairie Village Board
(Submitted Photo)

This is an Op-Ed by Angela Kretchmer

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The Village of Pleasant Prairie is changing. For those of us that live here – whether long-term residents or relative newcomers, what attracted us to the Village in the first place seems to be in danger. The desire by our leaders for continuous development of open spaces, including proposed high-density subdivisions and seemingly endless warehouse and distribution centers, is rapidly paving over our namesake prairie. We are also finding our Village leaders in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Allegations of corruption by multiple Village whistleblowers reveal an alarming lack of oversight by our elected Village officials.

While there are 3 Village offices up for election this spring, there is only one challenger to the status quo – James Kremer. James is running for Trustee #1 against long-time incumbent Kris Keckler. James has never run for political office before and will bring a much-needed fresh perspective to a Village Board that has perhaps become too comfortable in their roles.

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James has worked in the private sector for 30-plus years, currently for over a decade as a managing director for a large audit, accounting, and consulting firm. He understands the need for strict oversight and accountability for our taxpaying residents and small-business owners, and his private sector experience will allow him to quickly leverage that know-how as part of the Board.

As I talk with my friends, neighbors and co-workers that live in the Village, I hear the same concerns nearly across the board. The corruption allegations were not surprising at all to those of us that have lived here the longest, and many were frustrated that there was insufficient oversight by the elected leaders of the Village who were apparently unaware of these allegations. They were also unhappy with how the recent referendum for additional public safety officers seems to not only have funded some new officers and firefighters, but the Village was ready with new police and fire stations as well. Many question the need for two brand new facilities, especially the new police station considering the large parcel of land where police and public works currently operate out of.

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But apart from the corruption concerns, by far the biggest worry they have is around what seems to be an accelerating focus on development, no matter the impact on the Village. Most of us support some continued growth, but it’s the nature of the growth that makes us nervous. The density of some of the proposed developments, including the proposed next phase of Devonshire and the widely-panned downtown Village Green, cause many to question why elected Village leaders are pushing these types of developments so hard. Why do we need to grow so much, and how does this “growth” really benefit our current residents?

James shares those concerns. He and his wife moved to the Village seven years ago and have decided to make this their long-term home. They are very involved in their parish at St. Anne’s, and their grown daughters and grandkids love to visit the area. The Kremers love Kenosha County and were attracted to the Village for its natural beauty, friendliness and reputation for relatively low taxes. James has decided that now is the right time to step up to serve as Village Trustee, and to bring a more rigorous approach to oversight and fiscal responsibility. As I’ve gotten to know James, I fully trust that he will not only deliver on those promises but will be a responsive voice for homeowners and small business owners across Pleasant Prairie.

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  • Angela Kretchmer

    Angela Kretchmer is a former special education teacher. She is a single mother of 4 amazing children, two of whom attend Kenosha Unified. She is a 3-year resident of Pleasant Prairie, and forty-year resident of Kenosha County.


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26 Responses

  1. James has my vote!!! Tired of back room deals by corrupt Steinbrink and his rubber stamp cronies.

  2. James is a good family man. So is Kris. I am undecided. It’s easy to spout buzz phrases but specifics are lacking. In a city manager form of government the council has an arm’s length relationship and the manager is the point person. They just got rid of one administrator and the new one hasn’t been there long enough to judge.

    I share the poster’s concerns about development but some of it could be misplaced. One red flag is the number of apartments being built. They suck resources with marginal return. The Village Green project is another story. It should have been done long ago. It was vetted by several community meetings at which there was public input but then it was dormant for way too long. I’ve seen these projects in other cities and done right they’ve been an asset. The prior village administrator sat on his hands on this.

    More police and firefighters were needed but the new stations should be questioned. The present police location isn’t bad and better than proposed. If they’re out of room it could be expanded. The third fire station was supposed to be in Carol Beach. What changed?

    Eventually these improvements will be needed and it makes sense to get on them while interest rates are still low but rising. There could be more openness. What I don’t want is a bunch of negativity that backfires.

  3. Why would a “good family man” get divorced with young children.
    One of these men is kind, polite and sincere.
    The other, in my opinion is an arrogant prick with his head ass deep in the good old boys club.
    The Village definitely needs a good enema cleansing.
    I pray this will be the beginning.

    1. I remember when Keckler got on the board. He asked a ton of questions but was not a hothead. No place is perfect but even with the “corruption” it’s not as poorly run as the city. Seems like the ground zero pretty much is the public works department which is a world unto itself.

      There are good people in many Pleasant Prairie departments and a few that you wonder how they were hired. The village does not need an enema. It needs pruning and more transparency. The reality is that there are good and bad people in any organization. I’m all for getting rid of the bad apples and in favor of new blood but only if they have a vision for moving forward so that the good people continue to do good freed from the influence of the bad apples. A bunch of blowhards and hotheads doesn’t fix anything but trades one set of problems for another (the devil you know vs. the one you don’t).

      1. Although Rick Greeno has years of experience in the Public Works Dept, and I have ears some employees say he stood up for them against Steinbrink Jr at times, he’s done many things that were just like Steinbrink Jr. with corruption and using PP equipment to do jobs that PP wasn’t hired to do and he got paid on the side. This would happen when there was a job in a neighborhood that PP WAS hired to do, and Rick would offer the same kind of service to a neighbor, give him a discounted rate (you know, since they wouldn’t have to haul the equipment back out to the area), and pocket it for himself. No questions asked.

  4. Did you really post that Pleasant Prairie is in danger of what made people originally like it? That was gone 5 years ago.

  5. Any observant person driving down I-94 through Pleasant Prairie would wonder ‘Where’s the Prairie? Perhaps the village should be renamed Haribo. Another question is how did that company get approval for that humongous sign on the side of the freeway? Don’t you have zoning laws controlling the size of signage? This is something you would see in the cities of Japan, not in a place named Pleasant Prairie.

  6. Well Pleasant Prairie it’s up to you. I’ve seen all kinds of complaining, hand wringing and story telling about a corrupt and changing village.
    I agree the police station should stay where it is. It is closer to the center of the village than 39th avenue. To put another fire station just down the road from their station 2 is a waste.
    I believe Village Green is a waste of money and will bring high density living and congested travel to a peaceful and pleasant open space.
    I know this is only 1 position and the fight for him if elected will be hard. But it is 1 change of many that needs to be made. Tell you friends and neighbors offer to take them to vote with you, talk to your family and make sure they vote. It’s not just PP, remember the Supreme Court and School Board are vitally important as well.

    1. I was at the village green meetings years ago. The plan called for storefront small businesses creating a “downtown” with moderately priced housing above them. There was also talk of a branch library. It was not about high density housing (I worry about too many apartment complexes elsewhere in the village) but exactly the opposite. A lot of visioning and public input went into the process. The economy and the now departed administrator ruined it.

  7. One more comment.
    With an election so important to Wisconsin and the Kenosha area, why the hell doesn’t the Republican Party of Kenosha open their office?? Don’t tell me lack of volunteers or funds. I’ve had several people ask me why they don’t open the office for information and for them to get signs. Hopefully, the new leadership will pay attention and act like every election is important.

    1. The local republican party is trash. I wish they would get their shit together. But the new leadership is worse than ever.

  8. Whine whine whine. Do you want development, or do you want to remain in 1950? Yes the Haribo sign is ugly, it it’s facing the I. If you aren’t careful you run the risk of becoming Caledonia

    1. No, I don’t want development. I don’t want more concrete and subsidized businesses. 1950 sounds wonderful actually.

      1. I literally will drive 50 miles west , then south, then 50 miles East (100 miles out of my way), on my Florida trips to avoid all the concrete I see in Illinois and Indiana! We don’t need more concrete in Pleasant Prairie! A much nice drive!

  9. If Kremer is opposing improvements to public safety in Pleasant Prairie, as this article implies, then I oppose him. I’ve been a resident for over 20 years, and have been WAITING for public safety improvements as I have watched the village grow. I’ve read the case for those public safety improvements, voted in favor of them, and am glad to pay for all of the proposed improvements. The aging baby boomers are stretching paramedic service thin everywhere. More buildings require more fire inspections to make sure their sprinkler & alarm systems are in working order and hazards are corrected. As we have just seen at in Nashville, TN when you need police (and EMS) at an incident with an active shooter, you need MANY of them QUICKLY to save lives. They all need to be well trained too, because all of these incidents quickly turn deadly. The growth that I have seen in Pleasant Prairie has been well-planned and welcomed. Just look at all of the cars with Illinois plates driving to Costco to purchase gas, shop, and eat out, right here in Pleasant Prairie.

    1. “when you need police (and EMS) at an incident with an active shooter, you need MANY of them QUICKLY to save lives.”

      I’m not sure putting the new police station right on a roundabout accomplishes this. If only there was a plot of land the village owns that’s easily accessible and on a 3 lane highway…… oh wait…….

  10. I agree with several of the previous posts. Let’s get some new blood in here and see what James can do.

    The Village bungled the Village Green project by making the project unattactive to developers. So the developers backed out…now what. Just build high-end homes with lots of greenway space with trails and a big park/summer events space. As for Haribo, the Village Trustees got seduced by the $$$ and allowed that signage monstrosity. Shame on them.

    Shutdown the new police station plans. Just add on to the current station. We need more first responders, but I think we can add onto the building to handle the new personnel.

    I talked to Cty Exec. Kerkman and she indicated that PP is on it’s own in regards to shoreline erosion. Currently, the lake levels are low, but they won’t be forever. The homeowners along the lake did their part to protect the shoreline, now the Village needs to fortify Edithton, Lakeshore, and Carol Beach parks. Save the money…No need for an engineering study. Fix what you can and add more boulders.

    Business development is a tricky issue. We want the tax revenues, but we are replacing prairie with warehouses and high-density residential. Anybody remember Joni Mitchell’s message in her song Big Yellow Taxi??

  11. He needs to run against that buffoon John Sr. And rid the village of the Steinbrink cancer!! Go for the top Mr.Kremer!

  12. Agree with others on the new police station. Completely pointless. Add on to the current or put it next to old one. There’s plenty of room now that they moved the recycling center years ago. Isn’t that area vacant?

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