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Thursday, November 30, 2006

What kind of county board do taxpayers want?

The initial Walworth County budget that included a hike of nearly 11 percent started a chain reaction of controversy that has divided the Walworth County Board.

One offshoot of the surprise and dissatisfaction that many residents had over the budget was renewed calls, led by a group named Citizens for Responsible Government, to reduce the number of Walworth County Board supervisors.

In this day and age, supervisors should have seen the firestorm coming with their budget plan. Yes, the board has made important commitments to Lakeland School and other services that residents say they want, yet residents want to be reassured that this is being accomplished in a fiscally prudent way.

That being said, the question that residents need answered is how many problems will a smaller board actually solve?

Remember, the county board went through a lengthy downsizing process in 2002 to get us to the point that we're at.

We've heard from many of those in politics. (Read previous other posts in this blog).

The one group we haven't heard much from is the residents, votes and taxpayers. We'd like to hear from you.

Add your comments on the issue here.

~Dan Plutchak, editor

From David Weber: To the citizens of Walworth County.

This is the opinion of just one county supervisor:

The County Board of Supervisors is responsible for providing governmental services that are larger in scale than all other individual cities, towns and villages combined. Lately, you have been reading a lot about a group called "Citizens for Responsible Government" (CRG) and their accusation that the majority of the county board supervisors are irresponsible and do not serve the taxpayers. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Our county board chair has aligned herself with this radical faction. Her actions on election day at the polling place in East Troy, which resulted in police intervention, suggests that she has greater allegiance to CRG than to the county board she is supposed to lead, or even her own constituents ( she does not represent East Troy). As a public official she should not be pushing the envelope of the law for her personal agenda. As an elected official, she should understand her rights to free speech and to petition should be tempered by the right of voters to exit a polling place in privacy and to be free from solicitations for political purposes.

Rather than defend her own actions, Ms. Lohrmann has begun to personally attacked board members and accuse them of not working in the best interests of taxpayers. Personal attacks and intimidation, rather than addressing issues, are tactics of this group misnamed as "Citizens for Responsible Government". This is the name of the group who would like to take control of your county government and make decisions for everyone! In my opinion, there is no basis in fact in what they preach. It's all about a group attempting to seize control and not about representation of citizen's interests.

What the citizens of Walworth County have now is twenty-five supervisors that represent the very diverse makeup of the population of Walworth County. As I look around the board room, I see a quality collection of business people (retired & active), professional people (from all areas of life), and large & small farmers (retired & active). These collective minds are leaders in their respective communities, with a long history of providing quality cost-effective leadership to the citizens and taxpayers in their home districts.

That's why you elected them. On all county issues there has been much debate and consideration of all sides of every question, before decisions are made. These supervisors are responsible, intelligent and conservative by their nature, and are primarily concerned about getting the best value for our dollar.

Our Board Chair's leadership is under question. Ms. Lohrmann has embarrassed the board and has lost the respect of a majority of its members. Not by her opinions, but the manner in which she has advocated them. She has chosen to join CRG in advocating slashing representation on the board. Supposedly for better control. But, for whose control? Hers? CRG's? I believe she has every right to follow and advocate for this radical group, but not as the board's chair.

The traditions in Walworth County run deep and wide. It has always been the challenge of all levels of government to maintain those traditions. We are in the center of a mega-tropolis between Chicago, Rockford, Milwaukee and Madison. There is a tremendous amount of pressure for growth here. We all appreciate this quality of life we have come to know and respect here in our county. We are in an ever changing society, not unlike the rest of Wisconsin. In my judgment, your supervisors have been able to keep one eye on history and tradition, and the other on the organizational plan for the future.

The question is this - do you trust the supervisors from your home district, that you elected, or do you want to follow the irresponsible claims of a radical group (CRG) that wishes to limit representation on the board. Your present supervisors give more of their time, energy and talent than the $500.00 a month compensation they receive. They do it willingly because they feel a responsibility and dedication to their society. Lately, all you are hearing is the one voice and opinion that is not based on fact. This group (CRG) feels they can shout down and intimidate your supervisors and force this change in county government.

I believe our citizens and taxpayers will see CRG for what it is - and will maintain the trust and faith in the people they have elected to continue to provide representation to their respective districts.

Respectfully,
David A. Weber
Supervisor, 15th District

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Walworth County voters buck some trends

Walworth County voters decided to do it their own way Tuesday.

Despite our reputation as a conservative, Republican stronghold, voters found some Democratic candidates worth a closer look this time around.

It appears that residents of Richmond and Whitewater townships, along with the city of Whitewater, will be represented by Democrats in the state assembly, if the vote totals hold up.

When it came to education, voters decided it was time to open up their pocketbooks.

Delavan's school spending measure passed Tuesday, allowing the district to borrow up to $1.9 million to upgrade Darien Elementary and Wileman Elementary schools as well as Delavan-Darien High School.

In Whitewater, voters agreed to allow the district to exceed spending limits in order to maintain current programs.

The only referendum to fail was Lake Geneva's, where voters decided they would still rather vote for city attorney, rather than have one appointed by the mayor.

State Assembly

--Although there is only a small part of the 32nd Assembly District in Walworth County, it played a big part in Tuesday's election.

Most of the district is in the western half of Rock County, but works it's way over to include Whitewater Township and the city of Whitewater.

Whitewater voters are credited with pushing Democrat Kim Hixson, a Whitewater city councilman, ahead of incumbent Debi Towns. A recount is expected.

--In the contentious 32nd State Assembly District race, voters selected Republican incumbent Thomas Lothian to return to Madison, over Democratic challenger Ryan Schroeder by a vote of 9,583 to 8,322.

--In the 31st Assembly District, which includes most of the northern half of Walworth County, plus parts of Jefferson and Waukesha counties, Rep. Stephen Nass retained his seat over Scott Woods by a nearly 2-1 margin.

--In the northeast corner of the county lie the village of East Troy and East Troy township, which are part of the 83rd Assembly District. Most of that district lies in Racine and Waukesha counties.

Republican incumbent Scott Gunderson defeated Democrat Donald G. Herron both in Walworth County and throughout the district.

--Richmond Township voters are part of the 45th Assembly District, which also includes most of the western half of Rock County. No Republican challenger was on the ballot, which allowed Democrat Chuck Benedict to retain his seat.

State Senate

Although the Tuesday's votes turned the state Senate over to the Democrats, voters in the two districts that represent parts of Walworth County decided to stick with the incumbent.

Republican Sen. Neal Kedzie easily retained his seat in the 11th, while Democrat Sen. Judy Robson kept her seat in the 15th, defeating Republican Greg Addie in both the Walworth County vote and the district-wide vote.

The 28th Senate District, covering East Troy and East Troy township, won't be up for election for another two years.

~Dan Plutchak, editor

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