Letter to the Editor:

I have been following the meetings and articles about the Vilas County board for the last three years and my disappointment in their recent actions requires comment. 

The U.S. Constitution allows any and all citizens to petition their government for the redress of grievances. The action taken by a committee chair and the county corporation counsel at last week’s meeting to deny the presentation of a petition was not only incorrect, but a flagrant violation of our Constitutional rights.

These actions bring into question whether the existing board is one: listening to their constituents, or two: asks the question, Has the time come for voters to organize for the next election to obtain representatives that represent their views and not that of special interests?

The recent national election has shown that when the people are ignored for a period of time, they rise up and make a change. The Vilas County board is no exception. 

There is substantial scientific and economic data to prove that our lakes form the basis for a highly-successful tourism industry. To allow selfish builders to lobby for rules that will damage our lakes is not only self-serving, but self-defeating. One has only to look at the destruction of central Minnesota lakes to envision what could happen in northern Wisconsin.

I appeal to all of your readers to get informed on the issues: dredging, lake classification, lighting and shoreland zoning. We must take back local control of our lakes. It is hard to understand how such a normally self-reliant group of people have so easily given up control of their future. Now is the time to get educated and to take back local control of our lakes. We need to get the facts and make our views known to the county board on a regular basis. 

The drive for economic development is key to a successful future and should be driven by the facts that have been developed over a long period of time. A county government responsive to all its voters and interested parties is critical to our overall success. 

Dick Cochran

Vilas County landowner