THE BROKEN TRUST OF
They didn’t come in like thieves in the night. They came in broad daylight, and they came with names and pedigrees so filled with class, and steeped in old money reputation, that they could not be denied. They purported to come to serve, to help, to make things better, and they’ve done those things. But primarily for themselves, while claiming to be slaving away long hours doing it for everyone around the lake.
When an organization calls itself a conservancy, and people contribute their lands and money to build the the operation into a powerful economic and political instrument, the factor of public trust has to be considered. When such an agency decides it can do things like promote commercial interests, instead of protecting the natural aspects of the special lands entrusted, and even supports selling those lands contributed for such purposes, then a subversion of mission values occurs and public support begins to weary and grow jaded.
The single most overwhelming social force on the planet is the support of tribal group mentality.
Public trust is broken again when some seemingly minor functionary (like former Lake Geneva City Attorney Dan “the Don” Draper) refuses to hand over disciplinary data on one of Lake Geneva’s most egregiously incompetent police officers. Here is why this obsequious, small town attorney decided that Officer Dennis Dyon’s (the guy who wrote up his chief for patently ri-diculous, self-serving crap, that was fully published in the Lake Geneva Regional News!) disciplinary record must remain confidential forever, no matter what he might have done: “…if disclosure may inhibit the officer’s willingness to testify in court, or may result in fewer qualified people ac-cepting law-enforcement positions. The balance may tip in favor of nondisclosure…if disclosure could cause a chilling effect on receiving candid and truthful statements in the future.”
Public trust is broken when requests for reasonable information are turned away because of such ridiculous reasoning…or lack of it. The broken trust of Lake Geneva comes down to secrecy, and secrecy is all about the few elected and appointed officials of the community being informed about everything while they keep the public from knowing any-thing said public might disagree with them about. The city council meeting of last Monday was a perfect example.
Secret sessions dominated the agenda.
- Secrecy about purchasing Appleton’s Luke II parking meters, because Green Bay wanted them (parking predators lurk everywhere among the small town jungle of fiercely fought over, and easily concealable, cash from meters).
- The city administra-tor was empowered to renew concession leases at Riviera Pier in secret session. A few years ago Bill Gage rented damn near the whole Lake for a few chump-change peanuts, right out in the open. But the little people renting pier space get no such public opportunity!
- Care for Lake Geneva, that truly unbiased, and supportive non-profit that sued the city for contract zoning over the Hummel debacle of a few years back, gets a settlement. Again, “in secret.”
- A settlement that will require little bitty attorney Dan Draper to draft up all kinds of confidentiality agreements so the public will again sit on the sidelines sucking its proverbial thumb and hopefully drinking some beer while watching the Packer’s win again.
It’s sad when a community places more trust in a football team (that never comes to its area), than in the leaders that live right in the town.