By Bill Coady
Well, you can read it here first, after a bit of polite back and forth the City Council voted to retain “Stewart Avenue.” Well, sort of. The Council actually voted six to six on the resolution, and Mayor Tipple, citing the lack of “concensus” on the issue declined to break the tie. And since it did not pass, the resolution failed and the name stayed the same.
I think maybe the issue might come back at some point though, there are legitimate issues of confusion about the street name. Some of the people that spoke in favor of it seemed to think that Wausau’s economy would boom and our kids would be smarter if we renamed the street, judging from some of the comments. But ultimately, Jim Rosenberg called it right. It was really a no win deal for the council members, either way they would upset someone. So what we saw was a perfect example of political inertia. If it wasn’t for the fact that the next vote was also a tie, the cynic in me might have thought that the Council “calculated” how to get a tie.
The only slight shame is that some unification of the name of the street from the freeway to downtown might be useful, the folks at the Sheriff’s department dispatch center who spoke seemed to think so. But we can find things now, and will continue to do so.
To the relief of Dr. Rent, the Council sent the provision about the smoke detectors back to committee and to the relief of the Fire Chief, passed the rest of the updated ordinances.
It was nice to see democracy in action. Five people addressed the council about the smoke detector issue (all landlords, or representatives of landlords) and about ten people spoke about the Stewart Avenue proposal, mostly in favor. Before the Stewart Avenue vote, Mayor Tipple told everyone about the input into the issue he was aware of, a petition opposed with over 700 signatures, and about 40 phone messages opposed. On the pro side was a petition of almost 400 signatures, and some 20 phone calls. Several Council members mentioned having received much input as well. The Chamber also had close to an overflow crowd for the meeting.
But the rest of the business, like Dino said, was like inside baseball as the Council quickly moved through votes on items which had already been through committees.
Not as much fun as actually watching a baseball game, but not as bad as watching paint dry.