Opinion

AN UNCOMMON COUNCIL:  SEND IN THE CLOWNS

Thankfully, Sturgeon Bay’s common council at their May 21, 2019 regular meeting resolved their unconstitutional, alder Dan Williams’ committee led recommendation to restrict public participation, and understood after listening to actual public comment, that the “public,” under “public comment,” means anyone, and that discrimination on the basis of residency is not allowed under state statute.  

I’m not certain that Mr Williams’ previous committee meeting dictates restricting public comments to speaking only to non-agenda items was finally eliminated for all city meetings.  Clear favoritism in violation of the newly enacted rules of conduct and ethics was granted to two individuals who had gained agenda access (about pedal carts) to promote their own possible financial gain while potential debate in opposition had been clearly denied by the committee chairperson Williams.

To VanLieshout and Ward’s May 17, memorandum, if I understood the entire dialog, mayor Ward claimed he had assigned the task of political lobbying of state government (i.e., the governor, the WI DNR and two state legislators) to make changes to the state constitution regarding the public trust doctrine to Mr VanLieshout (who appears to have willingly and fully complied with the mayor’s order).  In essence, such a clear political lobbying effort should have been initially and completely rejected by the city administrator outright, and obviously was not.  How much city staff time was wasted there?

Sturgeon Bay city voters witnessed their five newly elected officials vote to violate of their oaths of office to protect and defend the state constitution.  Fortunately only four alders fell for the mayor’s blatant political gamesmanship set before their tiny car windshield.  Equally entertaining were the repeated insinuations from these “center ring, big top players,” that the January 3, 2019 administrative WI DNR rulings on the west waterfront were establishing new legal precedent.   Public trust OHWM precedent was set by Congress when Wisconsin was part of a US territory.

Alderpersons Hayes and Avenson were fully on the correct path with their request to attempt defining the OHWM for all property parcels within the combined TID #2/#4.  The fact that city taxpayers are on the hook for snow plowing, landscaping, utilities and maintenance of two city parking lots titled to the WRA, should prompt a resolution from the council that the WRA membership fund those maintenance costs out of their own pockets or relinquish title to the city for one dollar.  This is an obvious solution to further unwrapping and eliminating special interests clearly holding the city taxpayers hostage and currently preventing any and all future progress on the west waterfront.

 

 

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