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THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE 

The new council and Lake Geneva Leadership are trying to come up with new ways to do things that do not involve spending so much “meaningless” time and communication with the citizenry. After all, the citizen’s just spoke when they elected new leadership. It seems apparent to the newly installed leaders that there is no real need to hear from anyone unless the subject is cleared well in advance by the duly elected leaders.

What changes would be wrought if new plans to force citizens only to speak on pre-approved items were put in place? The word agenda would become the motive control word for all citizen/leadership communications. Agenda items would be those chosen in advance and placed on a list before any meetings. Currently, such agenda items are used to control communications during regular city council sessions. The real effect would be on what’s called the “Meeting of the Whole”, a full council meeting currently held once a month that allows anyone from anywhere to come up to the podium and talk for five minutes about any subject they feel like talking about. The “Meeting of the Whole” is the only vestige of old town meetings leftover from early American times when people came forward and expressed opinions about whatever was going on. Open town forums are about as democratic a form of communication as can be imagined. People argue, disagree, insult and disparage, or support those things near and dear to them. Open forums allow for the venting and display of emotion and care. Agenda’s are about secrecy and control. The items to be placed on agendas are never placed there by regular citizens. They are placed there by those in power who only want discussion about items they feel the public should be allowed to talk about.

Only last week the Geneva Shore Report wrote about the new open philosophy of Alan Kupsik, Lake Geneva’s new mayor, and now, among Mr. Kupsik’s first moves may be approving a “silence the public” measure that runs in total opposition to any definition of openness. This policy, if implemented, would clone the behavior of Barack Obama, who preached the very same openness and then converted the U.S. Government into the most secretive bunch of pocketed bureaucracies since the East German Stasi organizations prevalent during the Cold War. Is Mayor Kupsik going to spearhead the return of Lake Geneva to Stasi times?

What will be next, the creation of a special intelligence unit for the city? How about a small version of the Secret Service so the city’s leaders can feel safe and secure? From the brilliant lyrics of a song written long ago but so very apropos to this moment in time in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: “And the people bowed and prayed, to the neon god they made. And the sign flashed out its warning. In the words that it was forming, and the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on subway walls and tenement halls,’ and whispered in The Sounds of Silence.”

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