GOD BLESS AMERICA
The Muck-Suck group has kindly withdrawn from organizing and having a Geneva Lake Shore Path event around the fragile slim sliver of land running through, and across, all the expensive properties of the shoreline. Their consideration in backing away from having a “race” around the lake on that path could not be more appreciated by everyone, from the land owners to residents and even visitors. But the issue of how to handle the Geneva Lake Shore Path is not going away. In fact, there’s another group that is attempting to take advantage of the same weak areas illustrated by what Christian Jensen and his My Team Triumph managed to point out before they withdrew. The new group is called Wisconsin Veterans Outpost and it’s planning on coming in force on June 10th, 2017. Once again, any opposition to this kind of organized activity has definite image problems. How does any individual, or group, go up against veterans wanting to get together and do anything? Just as My Team Triumph is a wonderfully generous and effective charity, so very likely is the Outpost something similar for veterans?
The Facebook page for this veteran’s group shows nearly two thousand veteran’s hoping to come to Lake Geneva on June 10th, to party in Library Park, and then “walk” around the lake using the Geneva Lake Shore Path. The videos on that site, however, all talk about running around the lake. Which is it? One of the men organizing, and featured in the video presentation on the site, is a Lake Geneva Firefighter. Is the Lake Geneva Fire Department seeking a more controlling force in Lake Geneva politics and leadership? The answer to that question is unknown, although it would be a sad state of events if the fire department once again took to the streets and back rooms of city hall to attempt to control the community.
It’s not physically possible to safely conduct and condone such an event simply because there are no real enforceable rules about who can use the path, or for what purpose. It’s a “prescriptive easement.” There is no authority, either to make rules, enforce rules that don’t really exist, or to hold accountable if something goes wrong. Wisconsin laws regarding recreational liability are pretty powerfully slanted toward property owners, which includes the use of the Geneva Lake Shore Path. But to think that everything that happens when strangers are crossing and using the private land on either side of the two-foot easement will be benign, is to live in La La Land.
Tom Hartz, former alderperson, and current fire and police commissioner, is offering to feed all participants using food from his Simple Restaurant located on Broad Street. Food and drinks would be free to participant veterans, if Mr. Hartz is willing to break the law. There is an ordinance that says Mr. Hartz can’t do that without a permit. Such a permit involving the serving of food and drink would likely be permitted by the Lake Geneva Planning Commission and City Council, but there isn’t enough time left for Mr. Hartz to get one. What will he do?
Use of the Lake Shore Path requires a delicate balance going way back in history. It’s delicate by its frail nature, since it is not made of wood, covered by asphalt or concrete, and it’s dependent upon multiple homeowners in the five communities surrounding the lake to preserve and maintain it. If the path is used for group recreational activities will over usage, or usage never intended for it, cause these wealthy homeowners to hire attorneys and lobbyists to go to Madison and have the path done away with through legislation? The GSR is anything but opposed to veterans. Its publisher is a wounded Vietnam War veteran himself. What’s going to happen in June?
It’s anybody’s guess right now. God bless America and its veterans, however.