By Don Freix
With undeniable commercial preferences rewarded in the DNR’s February 5, Sturgeon Bay waterfront OHWM declaratory judgement, how many of you phoned Frank Lasee’s office to voice your concerns over this latest DNR decision undertaking a clear theft of public property for private interests? After Frank Lasee unswervingly favored legislation to strip environmental protection and weaken regulations that barely provided any public oversight over commercial groundwater exploitation, and who worked diligently to remove local control over shoreline zoning, and who quit on his “constituents,” to leapfrog experienced personnel into high level, DWD division management, a crony political position granted at the behest of our own unregistered Taiwanese business lobbyist, Scott Walker, who do we call now?
Would Senator Rob Cowles’ office intervene on behalf of the public interest in this DNR issued betrayal of the state constitutional public trust doctrine in Sturgeon Bay? Senator Cowles was quite busy explaining his own involvement in ignoring the Senate Committee on Natural Resources’ mission by blaming our state’s economic downturn on wetland regulation, while forgetting to mention that no one at the DNR is enforcing the supposed wetland mitigation rules in his February 8, press release. While describing his amendments as “conciliatory,” this is akin to Rep Kitchens being falsely praised for “saving,” state support for the Knowles/Nelson Stewardship fund, while the GOP succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, cutting that public interest expenditure in half. Where’s Kitchens’ voice in demanding full 1st Senatorial constituent representation for us?
We the people must start protecting the public interest locally, and using Sturgeon Bay’s alder races as an example, candidate Bob Starr, as former mayor and former city supervisor participated in decisions structuring the current stressed (failing) TIF developments. With commercial real estate interests being the poster child for state degradation of the public trust, public health and safety, tenant’s rights or any sort of sustainably livable or economic future for any of us beyond a wealthy few individuals, does anyone need to chance electing another potential business lobbyist to be determining fair future public policy?
Which city supervisor, now claiming he’d prefer saving the unique gem, the historic grain elevator, either failed to understand that the Kiesow contract never intended to save that structure, that much touted “compromise,” idea behind David Ward’s original motion, or who deliberately voted for awarding this raze contract, understanding the granary could never be salvaged under that Kiesow contract? That would be Wiesner, who along with Fett, both previously serving on the WRA, whose decisions and influence were and are paramount to the current city legal controversies and growing TIF debts.
These local races are crucial in regaining any grass-roots led, government accountability. Choose carefully next Tuesday, both locally and in the state races when you vote, as GOP indifference, singular nods to corporate profiteering and abject public interest failure from top to bottom cannot be left in control. Reversing course starts at home. YOU are on first.