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The security of the nation, the state, the county and even Lake Geneva (and the communities surrounding Geneva Lake), is at stake, as the fear of contracting a new and mostly unknown and poorly understood virus slowly increases in how many people it infects.  Meanwhile, the City of Lake Geneva moves to centralize power to a select few, giving the city’s mayor, Tom Hartz, near-dictatorial power, conferred by the State of Wisconsin and the current state of security affairs.  The Lake Geneva Chief of Police also grows in visibility and power, but not in the same way.

Mike Rasmussen, Lake Geneva’s police chief extraordinaire, has been negotiating on the city’s behalf for quite some time in order to have a traffic signal put in at the intersection of Bloomfield and Townline roads.  He finally was able to bring Bloomfield to the table and an agreement to put in a signal at that dangerous intersection (very close to two schools). It was put before the city council on Monday night.  Only alderperson Cindy Flower took issue with the agreement, wanting the whole thing to be kicked back to public works to better detail costs, ownership, maintenance, and patrolling issues.  Tom Hartz was having none of that and moved to make certain that the alderpersons supporting the immediate installation of a traffic control device could move ahead with all the speed that the city supporting it could muster.  The mayor was successful, and only Cindy ended up voting against the traffic light going in.

The quiet, unassuming, but extremely effective police chief of Lake Geneva was not done. He’s being put on the firing line to make him possibly resemble that deer in the Gary Larson greeting card.  The deer, during hunting season, notices a birthmark on his chest fur resembling a target.  His buddy remarks; “bummer of a birthmark,” and that’s it for the humor.  The police chief is being considered to be the single person who would approve or disapprove of the transfer of liquor licenses in the city.  Currently, that job (aside from the chief’s department’s check of an applicant’s background to make sure he or she is not a criminal) has fallen to the FLR (Finance, License, and Regulation) commission.  Following approval there, an applicant would apply to receive approval from the city’s common council.  If this new ordinance (20-02) passes, then the chief would become the one and only person responsible (and fully accountable).

Gary Larsen Cartoon
Gary Larsen Cartoon

This move by the city council is not a good move for either the chief or the residents and taxpayers of Lake Geneva.  The chief has little or no experience judging the adequacy of business plans, environmental concerns or even the relationships of those involved in the business application process for the licenses or the businesses in competition.  The chief did not attend the meeting wherein the potentially problematic ordinance was read in for the first time, and he wasn’t there to give his opinion about how his successful negotiations with Bloomfield had come to pass, which was too bad.  Cindy Flower could have grilled him endlessly and painfully but the chief is an intelligent man.  Maybe he self-quarantined himself, at least for the night.  Cindy Flower, incidentally, sat among the fully separated visitors allowed to attend the meeting.  Either she felt that the other alderpersons were too close (given the risk of catching the virus) or maybe because she simply wanted to be more distant.  She accomplished both ends.


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