To the Editor:
In the recent Oneida County Board election, false statements were made about me in flyers used by my opponent, Robb Jensen. I was said to be pushing a master plan to remove all dams in Oneida County.
This is not true. County Boards can’t even remove their own, much less all dams, without state or federal approval; they simply don’t have the legal authority. Even if someone proposed such a plan, I would oppose it, because each dam is an individual case with complicated facts that require detailed analysis and public involvement before a decision can be made.
A few years ago, the DNR was negotiating with the paper mill for license renewal, and they threatened to remove their dam if the DNR didn’t give in to their demands. They wanted the entire river to flow through their facility – no side channel for safe passage of fish or recreational use, no observation deck for public enjoyment, and nothing that accommodated public use of the river.
I told the mill representatives that I would do everything possible under the law to prevent them from carrying out their threat, and the dam is still operating today. In fact, I have worked professionally on over 100 dams in Wisconsin and can count on one hand the number of dams I recommended for removal, each of which was justified in court.
I was also said to be responsible for the financial loss the county took on the WPS building, which was purchased more than five years before I was elected to the board. When members of the current County Board suggested leveling the building and converting the space into a parking lot, I opposed that idea in favor of a plan that would have saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next 15 years.
The statements made in Mr. Jensen’s flyers are false. Similar flyers were used in at least three other Oneida County races, with the advice and coordination of a Republican State Senator. This pattern of misrepresentation has been repeated in Iron, Polk, and Kenosha Counties, often with outside money and partisan campaign funds.
Do we really want the tactics that have given us such a dysfunctional Congress to be used in our local non-partisan elections? I think not. Mr. Jensen was quoted in the press as saying he thought the voters wanted a more moderate voice. Mr. Jensen needs to develop a truthful voice. The fine people of this county deserve more than the sleazy tactics used in the last election.