MUSINGS FROM THE EDGE OF THOUGHT
Two members of the Lake Geneva Plan Commission have expiring terms on May 1st. Currently, all but one of the commission members reside in the mayor’s district #2. Will the mayor seek to fill the two positions with residents from the other districts so that we have balanced representation? Perhaps not, as he had the opportunity to do that last Spring, but appointed yet another from his own district. To make matters worse, that person was a newer resident, not familiar with many areas of the city that were addressed in plan commission meetings. This was obvious in comments made by that person at the meetings.
Why did the mayor basically blindside the parking manager? Asked to once again revisit the purchase of new more efficient, technologically advanced parking kiosks, Ms. Mullally (Lake Geneva’s parking queen) presented a comprehensive explanation of why the new kiosks are needed and the extreme difficulty she has been having with the current provider, and issues of maintenance and unresponsiveness over the years. She was concise and presented her educated advice, but got blindsided when the current provider’s salespeople waltzed in unannounced, supposedly invited by the mayor, but that fact was not made known to Sylvia Mullally.
And then there’s Roger Brooks, the consultant hired to assess the city’s tourism needs. Isn’t it quite interesting that this “tourism expert” can sachet into town and throw out suggestions without doing proper research on city policies, covenants and the like? For instance, his idea of moving the downtown library to construct a hotel? Really? The “expert” obviously did not review signage ordinances either. A concert venue at the lake? Isn’t that what the Brunk Pavilion was supposed to be for? And where is his plan to pay for a five-million-dollar pedestrian plaza? Not to mention make up for the loss of parking revenue, estimated to be at least a quarter million dollars per year? And a plan to pay for the new parking garage he suggested? Didn’t anyone tell him the city gave away all of the money it had held for that purpose several years ago, and that the taxpayers voted down the idea in a referendum?
Did Roger Brooks assess the financial status of the city before suggesting that untold millions be spent? Will costs be recouped over time? Yes, over time, lots of time, in fact, years and decades of time. In the meantime, the city will incur insurmountable debt to the taxpayers.
There was considerable excitement about the Roger Brooks presentation, as the mayor moved around town handing out leaflets that said, “Roger Brooks is Coming!” Roger Brooks, coming through Lake Geneva was like Harold Hill in the Music Man. He enjoyed Lake Geneva’s amenities for a week or so, and then presented “pie in the sky” ideas, and got highly paid for it! Finally, what is the reason that the owners of the Brick and Mortar house have not submitted a new building plan for several months? Is it that they are out of town at their home in Santa Barbara? Or could it be that there is a plan in the works, once the building is moved, to sell the lot to the city for additional space for a potential parking garage? The idea of a new furniture store at that corner has always been problematic when it comes to any kind of return on investment after the couple builds a huge brand-new commercial structure. Roger Brooks came and provided an open template for what others, like the Brick and Mortar people, mostly from outside the local area, might want to use as justification for changing what Lake Geneva really is.
What Lake Geneva really exists as is a very old concept of close personal life brought to a beautiful lakeside location with all the modern amenities. Roger Brooks is gone. Let him go, and stay gone.