Opinion Archives for 2019-03

Letter to the Editor: Response to a recent political advertisement

This is in response to the full page advertisement in the March 22 Peninsula Pulse paid for and authorized by candidates Helen Bacon, Dan Williams, Gary Nault, and Kisten McFarlin-Reeths. If we are to believe the claims and the numbers presented in the ad, these four candidates (the “Fiscal Four”?) are all that stand between the citizens of Sturgeon Bay and financial ruin. They conveniently ignore recent history in their assertion that the current city council “has not demonstrated fiscal responsibility regarding the Westside waterfront” because...well, that’s where the facts get a little fuzzy. They apparently take umbrage with the results of the last council election that swept in some common sense reformers who put the brakes on the reckless and ethically compromised shenanigans of the previous council that served as a rubber stamp for every whim and whisper of Mayor Thad Birmingham. That reliable working majority voted to sell waterfront property of questionable title to developer Bob Papke, a decision that prompted the law suit that ultimately led to a DNR ruling confirming a water mark in accordance to the Wisconsin state constitution.

 

The half million dollars wasted on legal fees and a settlement with the developer can be placed squarely at the feet of councilmen who represented districts 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 before they retired or were voted out, not the current council members. What’s more, the TID created for the west waterfront redevelopment was the brainchild of that previous council majority, too—despite the fact that Sturgeon Bay government’s luck with TIDs has been pretty lousy, considering that only TID #1 (the industrial park) isn’t drowning in red ink. To read the ad, you might get the idea that the Friends of Sturgeon Bay Waterfront (the group that WON the lawsuit against the city to protect the public trust without financial reward) and the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society are the evil cabal responsible for the TID fever that has put the city in financial peril.

 

The factually-challenged four also sound clarions of alarm concerning the donation of a renovated and restored granary on the west side, which might serve as both landmark and centerpiece to public space on the waterfront. For some reason, the gift of more than a million dollars has them clutching their pearls because the granary won’t include “restrooms, water, and kitchen facilities for events,” nor will it offer “heating, cooling, ventilation or handicap accessibility.” I’m surprised they didn’t add helipad, an elevator, and large screen TVs to their list of things that no other park facility offers the public. If you’re going to complain, folks, complain BIG!

 

Having read this ridiculous ad, I am more convinced than ever that the future of Sturgeon Bay rests not with backward thinking people like these but with those who are opposing them. Vote April 2 not out of fear and resentment but with hope and conviction.

Letter to the Editor: POSITIVE DIRECTION WITH SHAWN FAIRCHILD

Being an informed and concerned Sturgeon Bay resident who pays attention to city business, I am witnessing numerous changes, positive progress toward a greater common good through city policy and a healthier attitude toward her citizens.  This long overdue effect distinctly began with the election of our current common council last April. The public interest, enlightened, responsibility focused majority four female voiced votes, accompanied by Councilman David Hayes, has directed our city policy to begin operating once again, in a direction which holds out clear promise and hope for a brighter future the whole city. 

To further that positive direction we need to elect a new mayor who is willing to support the progress that has been recently cultivated.  We need someone who hasn’t already indicated a preference to follow the old rules of economic development, that tiresome focus on large projects aimed at economic benefits for only a small minority of owners, funded on the backs of the rest of the city residents.  We must elect a new mayor who won’t be strapping our children, our present working class or those of limited means on fixed incomes with crippling financial city debt that produces no short term benefits for most of us.

Shawn Fairchild understands incremental development, historic value and good stewardship of our land and financial resources, demonstrates a proven commitment to the well-being of his and all our neighbors, and his belief that we bear an obligation to ourselves and those future generations, by avoiding actions which substantially benefit only a select few.

While attending the recent mayoral forum and hearing each of the candidates, it became obvious that Shawn Fairchild’s positive vision for Sturgeon Bay is honest, creative and an effective path to bringing jobs to our community. He knows how to think on his feet, and to express his thoughts clearly, with answers and opinions that have substance. Shawn Fairchild is the candidate who should serve as our next mayor.

Please join me in casting your vote April 2nd for SHAWN FAIRCHILD – MAYOR of Sturgeon Bay.

Chesla Seely-Anschutz 
Sturgeon Bay, WI

CITY VOTERS, DON'T BE DISTRACTED

Unfortunately, the real issue of a large overall city debt accumulated through several decades of Waterfront Redevelopment Authority, mayoral and former common council mismanagement, which the current common council has successfully begun to correct, is being ignored with the false flag distraction being hyped with the grain elevator and the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society.  TID financing failure is the real problem and not the granary, or the private gift of over a million dollars.

 

The granary is being used to distract from, using one example, city taxpayers subsidizing the Bay Lofts LLC construction loan, as stated in the TID development agreement with the city, to the tune of over a million dollars.  Yes, over a million dollars of your money is directly paying for a private developer’s construction loan. 

Even when the Bay Lofts LLC fell short of their contractual obligation to deliver a minimum of $5M in assessed property valuation, David Ward as city Finance chair argued to give Bay Lofts a free pass after not meeting their contractual terms.  The city could have demanded $160K over that contractual breach, but David Ward argued against that.

     

Mr Ward’s supporters are saying what a good listener he will be, but Mr Ward’s own published comments state he wants to limit participation from non-city residents at common council meetings.  Does he envision that hundreds of people shopping or regularly doing business in the city might not have something to say about issues like the attempted illegal transfer of public land to a hotel developer or the PRAT tax?

 

Mr Ward’s 2005 economic plan for the DCEDC has defined economic “stakeholders.”  Nowhere are blue collar workers, teachers, health care workers or government employees ever included as stakeholders in economic development planning.  Workers apparently don’t count except as profit centers for big business.  Living wages are not mentioned as part of local economic planning.

 

CEOs, white collar managers, corporate boards, and theoretical elitist academia would appear to be the crowd that Mr Ward is most familiar with, by his own reckoning and mayoral self-promotion.  While Mr Ward emphasizes his credentials and a lengthy list of professional organizational memberships, how many of those numerous connections could just as easily be distractions, detriments or conflicts or are even needed to be a successful city mayor?   Who likely has Mr Ward’s ear?

 

Please consider electing Shawn Fairchild as your mayor.  He has a proven public interest track record, and indisputably understands normal working class people, smaller business owners and city economic issues.  He’s been there and lives there.  Regular people first are what define Shawn’s attitude and intentions for the city.  Putting the public good before corporate welfare demands your vote.

 

Letter to the Editor: Vote David Ward for Mayor

I urge the citizens of Sturgeon Bay to vote for David Ward for mayor. His educational, business, and administrative experience make him most qualified to run this city. Having lived here for 18 years he knows how to get things done and effect changes, if needed. Most important, Dave LISTENS. As a City Council member he often disagreed with the Council’s actions, but he always heard their reasons. Likewise, he will always listen to and welcome your ideas, comments, and suggestions.

I also urge my neighbors on the East side in District 3, to vote for a 30-year resident, Dan Williams for Alderman. His experience in emergency management will be very useful to the Council. He will help Dave Ward achieve his vision for a better Sturgeon Bay.

 

Thank you. 

 

G. Howard Phipps

Sturgeon Bay, WI

Letter to the Editor: Shawn Fairchild for Mayor

Shawn Fairchild for Mayor

For twenty-five years, I’ve had the privilege of knowing Shawn Fairchild.  As a carpenter supervisor for Palmer Johnson, he successfully worked with excellent carpenters, many of whom had strong and independent opinions.  As a Third Avenue business owner, he did a large, handsome remodel to accommodate his wonderful gallery, which would have been at home in Chicago or New York City.  Shawn has proved himself to be an intelligent, creative, resourceful entrepreneur.  Despite his many accomplishments, he has a modest demeanor and doesn’t oversell himself.  
When engaging with Shawn, he is welcoming and has a comfortable presence.  People instinctively like him and he relates well to people, including those with differing opinions.  Additionally, he’s an attentive, careful listener, who is respectful and is eager to hear your thoughts. 
Shawn is inherently positive in his approach to problems and to their solutions, and recognizes it is vital to be open minded and to hear all ideas before making decisions.  Rather than having the city’s problems defined and decided, he wants to be inclusive, to gather information from all potential sources and to be a consensus builder. In preparing himself for office, he’s had discussions with government officials, related community organizations and experts in various subjects.  
As a thirty-five year resident, who raised his two children in Sturgeon Bay, Shawn has a deep understanding of the city’s past and present economy and culture. We’re all aware the city has numerous challenges and, along with fast-growing tourism, is on the cusp of multiple changes. As someone who studied natural resource management and environmental studies, coupled with his attributes, dedication and enthusiasm, Shawn Fairchild would be the right leader for the residents of Sturgeon Bay, the city we all cherish.

Betty Parsons

Letter to the Editor--Support for Sturgeon Bay School Referendum

Dear Readers

 

I am writing this as an individual who at one time did not believe in voting for school referenda.  As a matter of fact, I may have been somewhat outspoken about it.  But that was B.K. (Before Kids).  A long time ago, a very wise person once told me, “You can be ready for marriage, but you’re NEVER ready for kids.”  What I’m saying is that my point of view has changed…..dramatically.  Kids will do that to you.

 

The experience that my two great kids (Matt & Jared) had coming up through the Sturgeon Bay School District was exceptional - not only academically, but also athletically and socially.  In fact, their experience prepared them well enough to get them into the school of their choice, UW-Madison.  It is a credit to the administration, the faculty and the staffs of all the schools they attended through their 12 years in the district.  If I had continued to not vote for the referenda that came about during my kids’ time in the District, and others had not as well, perhaps their experience would not have been as rewarding…thankfully, we’ll never know.

 

Now that my kids have moved on, it is my plan to vote for the referendum on April 2nd.  The way I look at it, there were people out there who, even though they didn’t have kids in the district, felt strongly enough about giving the kids of our community a quality education and voted in favor of the referenda that came before them.  I believe I  should “pay it forward” and give those kids coming up in the District the same opportunities that Matt and Jared had.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dennis Van Bramer

Letter to the Editor: Shawn Fairchild will be a kind, thoughtful and wise Mayor

I have known Shawn for a few years – as an experienced and exceptional craftsman, as an effective and passionate advocate for the public good, and as a friend. These experiences allow me to understand the traits that will make a terrific mayor. He is a long-time community member who knows every corner of the city, has experienced decades of change, and has been an engaged and active citizen. In his interactions, he listens first, and he listens thoughtfully. When he then speaks, it is to connect the dots, to ensure information is understood by all, and to frame options. That is the approach I look forward to in our Sturgeon Bay mayor.

 

In running for office, he has deepened his research and his outreach. He told me that one of his early discussions was with the Door County Economic Development director, about the critical need for attainable housing, and possibilities and details of how that could be achieved over time. Shawn is open-minded and level-headed. He seeks information and input from those with knowledge on a particular subject. He values the expertise, talent and passion we have abundantly in the community and I know he will make good use of it.

 

Importantly, he believes in a city that will be proactive in seeking opportunities and in creatively searching for solutions, and he will establish an environment where that happens. He stands firmly for transparency in government. His arms are wide open to interesting ideas and thoughtful perspectives.

 

I look forward to progress that is inclusive and to the benefit of the whole community, for an exciting future in Sturgeon Bay! Please vote for Shawn Fairchild for Mayor, Tuesday  April 2nd. (Advance in-person voting 8 am - 4:30 pm weekdays at City Hall begins Monday March 18th – a good option, considering the possibility of a snowstorm on election day!).

 

Nancy Aten

Sturgeon Bay, WI

Letter to the Editor: Vote for Fairchild

This coming April 2 election is a pivotal one for the citizens of Sturgeon Bay. Two candidates will be competing for the mayoralty, in addition to several key city council races on the ballot. While it is tempting for some to dismiss those seeking public office as being “all alike” (shorthand for, What does it matter who wins?), the two candidates couldn’t be more different. One (Dr. David Ward) is the last remnant of the “old guard” who steered a course for the city through several dubious redevelopment deals that ended up costing city tax-payers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and settlements with nothing to really show for the waste in money and man-hours. The other (Shawn Fairchild) is a tradesman and long-time resident who has emerged as a champion for the public trust that our previous city government was charged with protecting but, sadly, looked to subvert for the enrichment of a few powerful “insiders.”

 

Shawn Fairchild believes in inclusivity and collaboration, opening City Hall to the ideas and concerns of all citizens. That belief is bedrock to his campaign. He is concerned about issues that relate to the city’s future: affordable housing, attracting young families with good schools and employment opportunities, and fostering a business climate in which large industry and small businesses can both thrive. Dr. Ward, by virtue of his voting record as a member of the city council and the last supporter standing of Mayor Thad Birmingham’s administration, has shown himself to be comfortable with “exclusivity” and closed door deal-making. Sturgeon Bay and its many wonderful resources are, in this view, only worth protecting if they can be sold off to private interests for profit.

 

We have a chance in this coming election to choose a new path for city government, one that is open and responsive to ALL citizens, not just the well-heeled few; one that will protect those things about the city that we ALL value. I urge you to vote for Sturgeon Bay’s future. I urge you to vote for Shawn.

Endorsement for David Ward – Mayor of Sturgeon Bay

Over the past two years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Dave Ward as both a business associate and friend.  During this time, I have observed several character traits in Dave that will undoubtedly serve him well as mayor of Sturgeon Bay.  Dave is financially astute, analytical in problem solving, caring, and perhaps most importantly, even-keeled.

Dave spent the majority of his career as a finance professor at UW-Green Bay and UW-Oshkosh, and moved on to become the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs for the entire University of Wisconsin System.  He has a strong attention to detail, and is not afraid to ask the difficult questions that will result in the most efficient use of limited taxpayer revenue.

I have worked with Dave on strategic planning and corporate governance matters, and have seen first-hand how he looks at a challenge from all angles, ask questions, seeks input from differing points of view, and after taking all factors into account, develops the best path forward.  This structured analytical talent will allow Dave, in his position as mayor, to successfully pull the best ideas from differing viewpoints, with the end result being solutions that are best for the entire city and its stakeholders.

During his 18 years as a citizen of Sturgeon Bay, Dave has worked to make our community a better place to live.  He truly cares, as evidenced by his service on the board of directors of both Door County Memorial Hospital and the Door County Economic Development Corporation.  In addition, he has volunteered his time to other community organizations, including the Door County Triathlon, and the Sturgeon Bay United Methodist Church, to name a few.  Dave and his wife Judy are truly vested in Sturgeon Bay, and want to see it grow and thrive for future generations.   

Dave approaches situations in a very thoughtful, calm and even-keeled manner.  This is an extremely important character trait to have for the incoming mayor.  He keeps his emotions in check, and remains steady when situations become tense.  Sturgeon Bay needs a leader like Dave, someone whose only agenda is to do what is best for Sturgeon Bay, its residents, businesses and visitors alike.  

I was a resident of Sturgeon Bay for over 20 years, and now live just outside the city limits.  So while I cannot personally vote in the April 2nd mayoral election, I am proud to endorse Dave Ward for Mayor of Sturgeon Bay.

Sincerely,
Peter J. Kerwin
3956 Peterson Road
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

COMMON COUNCIL FORUM

The DC-LWV forum on Feb 28, absolutely helped me decide on three of the four city district races as to whom I’d recommend to the city voters to support on April 2.  I had initially involved myself in Sturgeon Bay city politics in defense of the Public Trust Doctrine of the Wisconsin State Constitution, essentially ignored by the former council majority including Fett, Vandertie, Ward, Wiesner and Mayor Birmingham and other local politicians. 

 

I whole-heartedly support Laurel Hauser in the 7th, District, to continue her non-partisan, proven efforts and the open government goals attained which she enumerated in her closing statement.  Her opponent, Ms McFarlin-Reeths, stated a clear personal agenda directly opposing the welcome progress Hauser has made fostering inclusivity and city policy decidedly pursued in the public interest.

 

Both Gary Nault in the 5th District, a Birmingham appointee to the Harbor Commission and Ms McFarlin-Reeths essentially vowed to be the same antagonist council members, announcing their pre-conceived agendas which clearly contradict their own claims to being open or able to  compromise. If either were elected, they’d immediately become the very same agents furthering the dissention which they both claimed their constituents and the city has had enough of already.

 

My clear preference in the 5th is the refreshingly open, thoughtfully tempered and clearly intelligent, Sarah K Evenson.   Both Nault and Reeths failed to state, either in their opposition to the huge public efforts to preserve the historically significant granary on public land, or in their promises to build commercial property tax value on the west waterfront, that the property below the current WI DNR declaratory ruled OHWM is closed to private commercial development, therefore appeared as hiding critical facts. 

 

The US Supreme Court on February 19, 2019 refused to hear a challenge in Gunderson v Indiana, from shore property home owners, arguments for closing all public access to vast Lake Michigan beaches, claiming that private land owners controlled property to the very water’s edge. 

 

That claim to private and exclusive shore access was squarely halted in a unanimous decision by the Indiana Supreme Court a year ago, and was just reaffirmed by the US Supreme Court, protecting all our Great Lakes.  (Please take note, Kitchens, David Ward, Wiese/Wulf et.al. v WI DNR)

 

In the City’s 1st District, both candidates offered clearly non-partisan and public interest priorities within  their comments, myself giving Ms Helen Bacon an edge in that she has a proven county board track record understanding the local problems resulting from real financial poverty, which we frequently pretend doesn’t exist locally, along with her extensive career and volunteer experience. 

 

In the City’s 3rd District, Williams has helped build Wisconsin’s current EMS delivery system, but I fear he’s too familiar with the extreme majority party partisan leadership in Madison.   Mr Sean Linnan’s popularity contest, mobile phone app consensus seeking scares me, recognizing any representative’s duty is to understand the issues and not capitulate to a particular vocal minority.  A toss-up, I don’t favor either candidate, here.

Search Our Site

booked.net

Poll

What is more important, a Sturgeon Bay west-side ball field or affordable housing?
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.

Sports Poll

With under two months to go, where do you think the Milwaukee Brewers will finish at the end of the season?
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.

Obituaries are provided as a service of the

Schinderle Funeral Home of Algoma

Obituaries

Newsletter

Sign up for our Daily Electronic Newspaper and/or our Shopping Show newsletter!

 

Get the latest news with our Daily Electronic Newspaper delivered to your inbox.

 

Get the latest updates for our Shopping Show delivered to your inbox every Friday.