Now, that just about says it all in my book. It doesn't matter what type of personalities you're dealing with or government you have, be it congressional, parliamentary or a local elected city council. When council members or the mayor get to appoint one of their own council or cronies, there obviously is something seriously wrong with state statutes or the city's by-laws of government. If it's legal, the council members were within their rights to do so. At the same time, I believe it is the mayor's duty to oppose the appointment if he can prove wrongdoing. Whatever side you might take, Lake Geneva officials are engaged - no one can say they're shirking their duties. But, crony appointments for elective office stinks of conspiracy no matter who does it. Really, why worry about breaking the state's open meetings laws when city by-laws apparently condone appointing cronies to the council? You almost can't have one without the other.
To confuse the issue even further, the folks in Lake Geneva last year voted overwhelming against a 710 acre private development in a non-binding referendum. The four suspended council members happen to side with and represent the wishes of the referendum. Yet, that shouldn't have any bearing on or entitle them or the mayor to appoint their own crony council member for an unexpected vacancy. If anything, the development issue is a red herring.
In my view, all of this pales next to the position the Janesville Gazette took in the Lake Geneva matter in their editorial on Friday.
In two instances, the Gazette editorial staff brought up the costs entailed from the mayor's actions as reason enough to oppose his position.
JG Editorial Excerpt:I don't want elected officials to vote as they see fit. They are representing what we see fit. I don't mean for this to sound selfish, but to take it even further, they are representing what I see fit. That doesn't mean they can't vote against my ideals, it's just that when they do and it repeatedly runs against my sense of virtues, it's up to me or concerned citizens to call them out and check their votes. Vote them out of office if we must, but to just sit back and let officials run wild while in office is not a good example of democracy - it breeds complacency and corruption. We then get what we deserve.
We elect people to represent us. That means we give them power to vote as they see fit. If council members choose to appoint someone rather than spend money on a special election, that's within their rights.
In this instance, all the evidence the Gazette throws out to support their version of good clean democracy becomes worthless. I am taking offense to the newspaper's politics and economics on this particular issue because they apparently hold the monetary costs of a special election and an impending court hearing more dear than the effort to clear the air and make things right. Instead, they deride the heated passions and disagreements that make democracy the premium form of government as a "political quagmire" and a "mudbath." I guess it's anything to save a few bucks.