Letter to the editor by Ed Yaeger, former Lake Geneva alderperson.

I live in historic Lake Geneva. I’ve been here thirty years. It has been said, “if you don’t love it, you can’t protect it.” Well, I love Lake Geneva. Along with many others I try to protect this city. Back in 1999, as council president, I was given the honor to make the opening address for the “governor’s conference on tourism” held at the Grand Geneva Resort. I highlighted our great small tourist town, and our effort to protect it from becoming just another Anytown, USA. Quotes from that speech moved me. An alarm bell went off and some of us jumped into the political arena. We went to work. Historic districts were created; historic Main Street was put on the national register. Permissive commercial zoning codes were corrected. Also, the beautiful municipal building was created. We also thought of creating a green belt around Lake Geneva to give “definition,” so that it would not become just another continuation of urban sprawl.

The bottom line was in trying to make Lake Geneva better, not bigger. But then, something began to happen! City core management, using various methods, began getting rid of everyone who worked to preserve and protect historic Lake Geneva. Growth became the principle factor, and this trend continues today. New leaders are trying to convince us that tourists come here to view new subdivisions and big city parking structures.

And now, the highest insult of all is upon the land. Lakefront annexations, along with zoning changes that could put Geneva’s Lake shorelines in jeopardy are being considered. How did this happen? It seems that office holder and tourist expert qualifications require almost no residency. The new respondents to these positions have all the answers to what the city needs. History and taxpayers are being forgotten: taxpayers have lost representation by the non-attendance of their supposed representatives! Spend, spend, spend, and tax, tax, tax is the current mantra.

It’s time for transparency, and time to get taxpayers back into the decision making process. This ill-conceived Geneva Inn annexation, based on greed, should not be decided by our confused city government or council. It should be decided by referendum! Let the people decide. Ed Yaeger, Lake Geneva resident

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