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Letter: Council is biased, needs to listen to people

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To the Editor-

It’s déjà vu all over again

To the residents affected by the proposed 5498 Golla Road/Forest Creek Plat development. Welcome to the club – the club of people that went before the Stevens Point Common Council and weren’t listened to: the residents of Stanley Street, the business owners on Business 51 and all those I met that didn’t want roundabouts in heavy-pedestrian areas. The subject matter may seem different, but how they treated
you is right out of their playbook.

It began with seven new alders taking office with a mindset that, as “progressives,” they knew better than anyone else what the city needed. So, when various road projects started coming up, Alder/Council President (Meleesa) Johnson introduced and the Council adopted Sweden’s Vision Zero, a traffic safety program incorporating road diet and bicycle lanes, which they took as having “science” on their side and felt zero need to pay attention to any constituents, surveys, etc., that disagreed.

And Stanley Street was the perfect place to test that logic. The residents there battled too, and went to all the meetings. They even got up a petition – over 600 signatures. Didn’t matter.

Then, once the council ruled, to add insult to injury, Alderman David Shorr couldn’t help broadcasting their “win” over this “significant community ambivalence toward bike-friendliness” and then passing along HIS “lesson plan” to “communities across the country engaged in similar conflicts,” summarily attributing the complaints of the people actually living there to “the populism of recent times,” embarrassing these people nationally just for fighting for their rights! Look it up here or here.

You’ll see this IS all about agenda with these people! And that it was more about bike lanes than safety.

Then came Business 51. They even got 2,500 signatures to get a referendum on the ballot. I proposed a compromise: keeping the business area four lanes and changing only the residential to three with increased boulevards, which would have made everyone happy. Ms. Ruth Pfiffner suggested first trying three lanes on a temporary basis, to see how it would work. Didn’t matter!

And now, fresh from overturning the mayor’s veto against a roundabout on Fourth and Division, it was your turn. As I said in one of my previous letters: “Not affected yet? Wait.” And here we are again! Only difference here was, instead of Alder Shorr telling you what he read somewhere, you had Alder Guthrie saying she walked with you, felt your pain but wouldn’t side with you.

Let’s face it. That three minutes you get. You might as well take a cooking timer into your bathroom, set it for three minutes, lift the lid, and talk into the bowl! You said everything there is to say and they ignored you! You need to band together with these other groups the council ignored, come up with a game plan, and get the word out.

Almost all these council members are from the same political party – that’s how they got there. They’re banning together. You need to too! it’s the only way you’ll get what’s right!

Craig R. Tesch
Stevens Point