The Bright Side
People talk to people who generally agree with them, and avoid talking to those who don’t.
That also applies to Lake Geneva alderpersons which effectively biases the alderperson’s perception into believing that the majority of their constituents actually agree with their views. The overwhelming defeat of the parking garage was a good example that demonstrated the disconnect that exists between the views held by aldermen and the people that they represent. The only reason the aldermen did not override their constituents and build a parking garage was that there was an ordinance that required an approved referendum on issues costing more than $1,050,000.
That ordinance (which the city council has since increased to $2,500,000, tied to inflation and riddled with exemptions) had been put into law by a direct legislation petition of Lake Geneva residents (initiated by Gary Millette) that enabled residents to selectively restrain expensive city council decisions on city projects by requiring a resident approval referendum for projects over $1,050,000 (Now $2,500,000). A similarly restrictive ordinance should be enacted by the city council, or by citizen direct legislation, to assure that the city council cannot again override the will of the people when making changes to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, or making annexations to the city, as was done with the annexation of the Hummel property and the last Comprehensive Plan change, or with proposed annexation of the Geneva Inn property.
These issues have a major impact on the city’s future and are normally not reversible, so an ordinance needs to be established to assure that no action on these issues is taken without both the residents, and the city council being in agreement on them. At a minimum the new ordinance should include:
- All annexations to the city shall require an approved referendum vote of the electorate.
- All changes to the city’s Comprehensive Plan shall require an approved referendum vote of the electorate
Making an ordinance that requires an approved vote of the electorate would assure that both the city council and the voting public are in agreement on changes to the Comprehensive Plan and to the expansion of the city limits and if either one was opposed to it, then the change would not be approved. The only reason to oppose such an ordinance would be that one does not trust the wisdom of the electorate.
However, our whole system of government was founded on a distrust of those in authority; limiting their authority and giving the ultimate control over those in authority to the electorate. So far that method of government has been the best method of government, and it has created the best systems of smaller local governments the world has ever known.
What to Lockdown?