The Bright Side
There is responsibility and accountability attached to every decision that we make. Even if our decision is to do nothing or to remain silent. To remain silent when witnessing a crime is to share in the responsibility for the crime, and that also includes the responsibility that one’s silence encourages more of the same. It doesn’t matter where, or what the offense is, to remain silent encourages more of it. That applies to sports, governments and raising children. Whenever infractions are ignored, it encourages more infractions. Blaming or assigning responsibility to a nebulous group or committee defuses responsibility, and in a similar manner, lets those responsible avoid personal accountability for their actions, thus encouraging more of the same.
Ronald Reagan once said “You can get anything done in Washington as long as you don’t care who gets the credit for it.” Well, in the City of Lake Geneva the reverse is true “You can get anything passed in the City of Lake Geneva as long as the person responsible remains anonymous and their motive remains hidden.” All city council agenda items should include the name of the person who is responsible for the agenda item being on the agenda, and that person should also be responsible for assuring that the agenda item is properly stated. But in the City of Lake Geneva, most city council agenda items are anonymous, or implied to have come from a committee, thus avoiding any personal accountability for the agenda item. When two alderperson’s sponsor an agenda item both their names appear by the item, but when the mayor, city administrator or city attorney put items on the agenda their names are rarely put with those items. Legal documents require a person’s name and often a signature. Checks, filed complaints, petitions, nomination papers, etc. all require names, but not city council agenda items.
So who was responsible for the Oakfire agenda items that certified that Oakfire was planning to do a “building modification,” when it involved a complete teardown and the construction of a totally new and different building? Why didn’t a single alderperson object to the misstatement in the agenda, and end the discussion as different than the stated agenda item and therefore insist that there should be no further discussion until the agenda item was properly stated? The public notice issued between the city council meetings, during the continuation of the public hearing, was not compatible with the agenda statement, nor did it accurately state what was to be approved for Oakfire. Furthermore, if no city employee saw a problem with the agenda items as it was stated, then why was the notice of a continuation of the public hearing stated different than the agenda item? Money talks, and sometimes it is better than duct tape across the mouth to keep most people silent, but it does not silence everyone.
To make it clear; Oakfire is not the issue. The issue is about the city council using a misleading and a deceptive agenda item that enabled Oakfire to be approved without proper notification to city residents. It is extremely likely that it was deliberately misstated as a “modification” to avoid the overwhelming negative reactions that residents might have had, had the agenda item been properly stated. What is the punishment for this kind of shady under-handed council activity?
There isn’t any.
The One Wheel Wonder