You can’t fight city hall

They say you can’t fight city hall, but, here’s the thing: when the government works the way it’s supposed to, you don’t have to.

Come to the Appleton City Council public hearing at 6 p.m. tonight and see what I mean.

You’ll see voters taking the mic and, with eloquence and passion, telling their representatives exactly how they feel. You’ll see city council members listening, considering, and, with equal passion, representing their districts.

You won’t always agree with what the people have to say, but you will be proud of their opportunity to say it.

Consider this an open thank you note to Appleton, Wisconsin.

Thank you to Mayor Tim Hanna, who held an ill-advised press conference to announce that a splash pad would replace the Erb Park pool, and then listened to the immediate, furious feedback and quickly commissioned designs for other options.

Thank you to Director Dean Gazza, who oversees a comprehensive and enviable Park and Recreation program, and spent most of every committee and council meeting I’ve attended answering questions with patience and authority.

Thank you to the Appleton City Council, especially our alderperson Chris Croatt, who fielded hundreds of phone calls, emails, and hastily prepared petitions .

Thank you to the administrators of the Save the Erb Park Pool Facebook page, which currently has 1,251 followers, for giving voters a forum for intelligent discourse.

Thank you to every single speaker, T-shirt wearer, sign maker, graphic designer, social media poster, and meeting attendee. How thrilling to see such support and solidarity!

Thank you especially to my neighbors and friends, who have shown by their kind enthusiasm, that old fashioned values like mutual respect, honest admiration, and perseverance still exist in this old world, particularly in our little corner of it.

I can’t say for sure how this campaign will end, but I do know that, by their noble participation, everyone involved in this process has honored both the history and legacy of this great city.

Supporters of the Erb Park Pool packed the seating area during the Park and Rec Committee meeting at which more than 25 people spoke in support of the pool.
The blue “Save Swimming” T-shirts many wore were a collaborative effort. They developed the slogan with the intent to preserve the 50-meter lap swimming pool. It can be purchased at Blue Moon Emporium. We all have them in this house. 
The four designs currently available give everyone an idea of what can be done with the space. My understanding is that these options can be tweaked so everyone’s input is still valuable. Check them out yourself on the by clicking here.
Budget Meeting Attendees
A large crowd of supporters also showed up for the City Council budget meeting.
Budget Meeting
At the budget meeting, the five members of the finance committee approved a $6.25 million increase, which would bring the total available funds for the pool renovation project to $9.1 million. The budget will be presented to the full council at the meeting tonight, with the budget approval vote taking place Nov. 14.
Director Gazza
Director Gazza fielded questions calmly and vowed to maintain a focus on the motto, “Family fun in the sun” with facilities that are easily accessible to all.
Gazza, Jirschle, Hanna
Council member Jeff Jirschele, seen here between Director Gazza and Mayor Hanna, spoke eloquently about his district’s fight to get a park on the south side of Appleton. While I disagree with some of Mr. Jirschele’s reasoning, I respect his commitment to his cause.
Mayor Hanna
Mayor Hanna and the council spent all day Saturday reviewing the city budget, with plenty of focus on the Erb Park pool.

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