Letter to the Editor: Flawed Approach to Future of Gills Rock Properties

The proposal to acquire the three Gills Rock waterfront properties first arose at the Spring Elector’s meeting held on April 17, 2018, where it was immediately put to a vote and passed overwhelmingly. The Town later negotiated for the purchase of these parcels, and the proposed acquisition of all of them at prices below their assessed valuations also passed overwhelmingly at the Fall Elector’s Meeting held on October 16, 2018.

During this process the Town Board under Chairman John Lowry emphasized that the future disposition of these properties would come from a “bottom up” procedure whereby the Town residents would decide what best to do with them. I attended most of the meetings of the Gills Rock Waterfront Acquisition group, and this concept was in general scrupulously adhered to, including the three open forum Town Hall meetings held on January 14, 2019, at the NWTC building in Sister Bay.

We were promised a questionnaire would be sent out to all of the Town residents and property owners to ascertain the best and most popular use for this future waterfront park. The questions themselves were tabulated from the three open forums and organized at the final meeting of the Gills Rock Waterfront Acquisition meeting held on Thursday, January 16, 2019.

Now it turns out that neither the ballot received in the mail nor the one posted on the Town web site require a signature or any kind of identification. They are both “blind” ballots, which means, in essence, that anyone, residents and non-residents alike, can vote in this poll as well as offering the opportunity for anyone to vote multiple times to “stuff” the ballot box on any issue which they may favor. Without such signatory guarantees of proof of residency or being a property owner in Liberty Grove, this polling process has become fatally flawed with the results rendered fraudulent.

Carl Zapffe

Ellison Bay, Wis.