If Lake Geneva’s politics seem strange, remember the inmates are running it.
That is what democracy is, local residents running the place. Although democracy is not normally described as the inmates running the place, that description does point out how differently one can legitimately see and describe an issue. Rather than be offended by the political rhetoric of an article, try to understand the writer’s perspective. There are three candidates running for mayor and their past actions give the best insight into “why they are running” and “what they will do if elected mayor”!
Alan Kupsik ran for mayor two years ago when no one else would run, and he should be thanked for accepting the responsibility. Today he would like to complete a few of the things that he has started but which are not yet done. The scheduled infrastructure repair/replace on Main Street was one of his goals. One of the questions at the mayoral debate that appeared to be directed at Kupsik’s administration was about the high turnover of city personnel, to which he merely responded that today it was good and stable. Being the current mayor, he refrained from explaining the real cause, and risk alienating some residents. But the real reason for the high turnover of city workers was the result of the fallout from the multiple intertwined scandals of the previous administration including the “free salt give away,” missing fountain money, towing and questionable disposition of towed cars to friends, recycling for cash, credit card theft and the resulting resignations that were followed by the subsequent retirements and resignations of almost all the key city officials.
Charlene Klein’s motive for running for mayor is focused on residents and what is best for residents. She has a more conservative approach to spending and wants to make sure that the benefits from spending taxpayer money justify the cost of spending it. Although the mayor can make suggestions, comments, and recommendations that influence the city, the mayor has little direct authority within the City of Lake Geneva. In the city, the basic operations are conducted by the city administrator. The legislative authority of the city is the city council, which limits the mayor’s actual authority to tiebreaking, vetoing legislation, recommending people to committees and making proclamations. Since there are few tie votes or vetoes, guiding the city’s direction and the recommendation of people to committees is where Charlene Klein as mayor would make her greatest impact. By appointing resident orientated people, rather those whose primary concerns are business, banking, development and real estate (which currently dominate the city’s committees), Klein could cause the city’s current direction to be slowly refocused.
Tom Hartz a businessman, former Alderman, and current Police and Fire Commission president, has been involved in city politics for many years. He has vast experience and is very familiar with the city’s operations and has been involved with it for the last decade. He, as mayor, would represent a business, development and tourist point of view for the city. The two city council votes that Tom Hartz will always be remembered for occurred on Aug. 22, 2011, and on Aug. 30, 2011. On Aug.22 Tom Hartz voted against changing the city’s comprehensive plan to open the Hummel Property up to commercial and residential development. Then on Aug. 30, 2011, he switched his vote to become the deciding vote that changed the city’s comprehensive plan and opened the Hummel property to commercial and residential development. That vote forever altered the city and intensified the bitterness within the City of Lake Geneva over that issue, and further alienated Town of Linn neighbors from whom the land was originally annexed, over and against the wishes of both the residents of the City of Lake Geneva and the Town of Linn.