Letters to the Editor

The Buzz around the city after the 10/16 Public Hearing on Hillmoor is why Sarah Hill was allowed to take total control of the Hillmoor discussions that night. Her performance, and it was a performance, was viewed by the public like she was playing the part of a lobbyist or someone on the developer’s public relations staff promoting the Freed/Fitzpatrick Development. Fitzpatrick didn’t have to say a word because Sarah was doing his job for him instead of doing the job she was appointed to do as a member of the Planning Commission to impartially review and objectively evaluate the development proposal. But remember Sarah Hill demonstrated her strong bias towards commercializing Hillmoor when she was an Alderman and almost single handedly prevented Hillmoor from being placed on the TIF projects list in 2015 when the city had more than enough money, around 8 to 10 million dollars in excess TIF funds, to buy and preserve Hillmoor’s environmental legacy and prevent it from being destroyed by cheesy commercialization.

Sarah seems to forget that her reputation of fighting against the public interest was the primary reason she lost her seat on the City Council in the 2016 election. What makes Sarah Hill’s position on the Plan Commission such a serious breach of fairness and justice in city government is the fact that she’s a professional Real Estate Agent. Real Estate sales is a very respected and honorable profession, but one that has a direct financial interest in the local land use decisions made by the Plan Commission. Putting Sarah Hill on the Plan Commission is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

It’s a blatant Conflict of Interest and a serious violation of the Oath of Office all Commissioners swear to uphold by promising to be fair and impartial in the discharge of their duties.  The University of Wisconsin publishes the Wisconsin Plan Commission Handbook to establish the qualifications and standards required to be a Plan Commission member. Uppermost is a strong desire to serve the public interest, to have an open mind, and to be a critical and objective thinker. Sarah has all the critical capacity needed, but no one has ever accused her of being open minded or giving priority to the citizens interests whether she’s serving on the City Council or Plan Commission. Sarah further compromises herself and her position on the Plan Commission by becoming personally involved and participating along with the city staff when they meet with the developers to help guide their development thru the review process before going to the Plan Commission and on to the City Council for resolution. Cozying up to the Developer for your own self-interest is a blatant conflict of interest for someone on the Plan Commission who later is expected to vote objectively on a project they assisted in developing.

Upton Sinclair said something to the affect that it’s difficult for a man to understand what’s wrong or defective if his income depends on him not understanding. Sarah Hill is not just a salesman; she’s always a salesman who’ll sell anything because it’s just about closing the sale—not what’s being sold. This is not the personality type to be a Planning Commissioner.

Richard Malmin, Lake Geneva Activist

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