Citizen Wausau

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The Smallest of Victories

by on March 19th, 2009

On Monday the Public Health and Safety Committee of the Wausau City Council informally took the additional skateboarding ban created by Janet Herring and her “ad hoc” committee of local business leaders off the table.

As reported in the City Pages, the subject came up, was discussed for a bit, and then was decided that it was not worth it.  No complaints had come in, no one was trying to get it passed, so it was over.

When I spoke to City Clerk Kelly Michaels she filled me in on what happened.  According to Michaels, last September Janet Herring and her group of mysteriously absent supporters got this ban put through committee and to the council.  The Council made a decision to put it back in committee for public comment and further discussion, as a bit of a stink was raised by this and other websites.

Along the way, it appears that these anti-skateboarding zealots lost their zealot-ness, and it just sort of fell away.  The committee asked Michaels to remind them in six months to discuss this further.  Well, she reminded them, Committee Chair Deb Hadley asked around the room, and away it went.

I think we have to count this as a small victory for transparency in this city.  Skateboarding is already banned in downtown Wausau, and the additional ordinance would only have been placating of private interests, and internal card shuffling among friends of friends.  Now though, kids are free to not skateboard in downtown Wausau, like they were before, only now they do not live under two layers of ordinance.

So, thank you to our City Clerk of Awesomeness Kelly Michaels, and Deb Hadley and the Public Health and Safety Committee for seeing this for what it was and for seeking to be leaders and ask the public what we wanted.

This appeared in the City Pages…

Skateboarders won’t face stricter rules

Credit might go to winter weather, but complaints about skateboarders downtown have stopped and a city committee decided to drop consideration of a possible expansion of the area in which skateboarding is banned.

The Public Health and Safety Committee was ready last fall to add the downtown blocks of First Street and Sixth Street to the area where skateboarding is already illegal. Committee head Deb Hadley put the brakes on, though, and withdrew the committee’s request for full city council action. She had come to wonder how broad the support was for the measure and decided not to act on the issue without at least a public hearing.
When the committee met Monday, Hadley asked if anybody on the committee wanted to go back to the issue. Hearing no interest, Hadley said she will not put the matter on an agenda for consideration unless she is asked to do so.


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