The Geneva Shore Report was wrong when it reported that Tom Hartz, the owner of Simple restaurant and mayor of Lake Geneva, was in any way involved in the conversion of the old school in Williams Bay to some sort of wellness center.
That the GSR was misled by a nearly unimpeachable witness does not mean the GSR is not culpable. Tom Hartz, as it turns out, was never called or consulted with respect to his ownership or interest in the project, for which, on both parts, he has none. When apologized to by the publisher of the GSR, Mr. Hartz casually waved the mistake off and did what is becoming obvious he has the talent to do. He led the publisher into an in-depth discussion of what the future might well come to be in Lake Geneva with his leadership.
It remains almost impossible not to be impressed by this man. That Tom Hartz supported the Hummel project with his tie-breaking vote years ago cannot be overlooked, but when an article like this is written on the front page about being wrong concerning Mr. Hartz, it is difficult to hold him to an error-free standard the newspaper itself cannot demonstrably claim. Mr. Hartz was wrong about Hummel but that truth did not come roaring in until after his vote, not before it. That the GSR was wrong about Mr. Hartz’s position in the new firm owning and developing the old school in Williams Bay is without question. The GSR is hoping for better results following its mistake than Mr. Hartz might have experienced with his own. Mr. Hartz may also not feel that his Hummel decision was a mistake. He was not consulted about that part of this story, but then a mistake with respect to how an alderperson or plan commissioner votes is much more a matter of subjective opinion than the black and white nature of getting a simple (but potentially damaging) fact like a business ownership interest dead wrong.
Mr. Hartz did not ask for an apology and might not have been expecting one. All he asked was that the mistake is corrected in the next issue. It is also likely he wasn’t expecting to see that correction written up in detail on the front page. This new mayor swept in like an old faithful wind, but one driven by seemingly different trade forces many people didn’t want to see revealed or be affected by. Mayor Tom Hartz walked the walk on Memorial Day down Broad Street from Wisconsin to Flat Iron Park. He walked the walk all by himself, positioned alone between a local school marching band and the Boy Scouts of America Troop 239. He seemed warm, comfortable and smiling in his new role, as he walked along. That he is not alone in that walk, or in his new role as mayor, does not have to be stated here but it is worth noting that so far Mr. Hartz’s conduct and speech is all about bringing Lake Geneva together and building something even more attractive and elegant than the structure of the city today.
It is no secret that the GSR did not support Mr. Hartz for mayor, and it is no secret that the GSR’s support for any political candidate is not always a good thing in conducting opinion polls around the lake. The GSR will not now support Tom Hartz, for fear he might lose support elsewhere, but it is now brightly hoped and expected by the publisher and staff of the newspaper that Mr. Hartz is going to prove himself to be an exceptional mayor.
Will Mr. Hartz shepherd the way for new development of the kind that supports Lake Geneva’s quality growth, or will he cave into the financial power and pressure and let the town slowly convert into a Wisconsin Dells kind of glitzy madhouse?
The GSR is going to gamble that Mr. Hartz is good to go for the quality.