“The democratic process is window dressing”, Man says of Frac Sand Mining in Glenwood

“The democratic process is window dressing”, Man says of Frac Sand Mining in Glenwood

UPDATED 9/25/13: citizen generated video of September 16, 2013 Glenwood City Council meeting HERE.

Original Post 9/17/13:
Over persistent opposition from citizens, on Monday night the Glenwood City council went into a closed-session meeting with representatives of Texas frac sand company Vista Sand.

Before entering into a private meeting on September 16, people were given an opportunity to address the council. Numerous citizens asked the city council if they had received a request to annex from Vista Sand.  “Absolute silence” was the response, reported local citizen Charlotte Heimer.  “They just sat there.”

Kwik Trip CFO/Glenwood property owner Scott Teigen (left); Texas company Vista Sand's lawyer, Anders Helquist (right).  Glenwood citizens have petitioned to vote on the frac sand mine proposed next to their public school.

Kwik Trip CFO/Glenwood property owner Scott Teigen (left); Texas company Vista Sand’s lawyer, Anders Helquist (right). Glenwood citizens have petitioned to vote on the frac sand mine proposed next to their public school.

Many citizens feel they were left without representation at the closed-session meeting.  The Glenwood City council, widely viewed as “disconnected” with the community on sand issues, was represented by Terry Dunst of Bakke Norman in New Richmond.  Vista Sand was represented by Anders Helquist of Weld, Riley Prenn, Ricci, Eau Claire.

“Who is in there speaking for us?” asked one resident angrily.

Citizens asked to leave the closed meeting waited outside the community building discussing their next steps.  Bystanders report that council member Crystal Booth, whose motion for a referendum was tabled by the council, left the closed meeting early in disgust.

Glenwood City council member Crystal Booth made a motion to allow the citizens of Glenwood to vote on sand mining issues.  Left without a second, the referendum fell flat.  September 9, 2013.

Glenwood City council member Crystal Booth made a motion to allow the citizens of Glenwood to vote on sand mining issues. Left without a second, the referendum fell flat. September 9, 2013.

“In my opinion, it’s over,” said local businessman Jim Laskin in a statement to WI Voices.   “The council has made up their minds.  They go through the motions of a democratic process, but it is all window dressing.  They hold our cumulative intelligence in very low regard.”

The majority of registered voters have signed a referendum petition compelling a public vote on frac sand mining issues. However, under Wisconsin law the council has no legal obligation to honor it.

Glenwood business owner, Jim Laskin, standing on the playground of the school next to the proposed mine.  The hills visible in the background are part of the proposed "Vista" silica sand mine 1/2 mile away.

Glenwood business owner, Jim Laskin, standing on the playground of the school next to the proposed mine. The hills visible in the background are part of the proposed “Vista” silica sand mine 1/2 mile away.

“I look at it this way,” Laskin continued, “If they insist on absolute authority, then they will assume absolute responsibility for putting that mine next to our school.”

 

 

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WIvoices.org has been closely following this story:

The Huffington Post report on Glenwood City frac sand

Want More Information? See WIvoices.org’s Reference Document

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3 Responsesto ““The democratic process is window dressing”, Man says of Frac Sand Mining in Glenwood”

  1. Mary Kenosian says:

    According to Wisconsin law, statute 920, citizens in a city or village may petition the board or council to act on an ordinance, without amending it. If they fail to act within 30 days, then the petition for the ordinance must go to popular vote in 30 days.
    There is a minimum percentage of voters who must sign the petition-but 50 % exceeds it.

    So, if your petition is written as an ordinance, so that it could become law, the council is not allowed to bury or amend it. Tell them they are violating state code s.920.

    “A. Initiating City and Village Charter Ordinances, Ordinances and Resolutions
    Under Section 9.20, Wisconsin Statutes, electors in Wisconsin cities and villages may petition the city common council or village board of trustees to pass without change a proposed ordinance or resolution the voters have proposed. (The text of s. 9.20 is reprinted in Appendix A of this bulletin.) In addition, s. 66.01 (6) permits electors to initiate the enactment, amendment or repeal of city or village charter ordinances, using the indirect initiative procedures provided in s. 9.20. If the council or board fails to enact a petition-initiated proposal without change within 30 days, the question automatically appears on a referendum ballot for the people to decide. Although s. 9.20 is titled “Direct Legislation”, the fact that the proposal must first receive municipal legislative action places this mechanism in the indirect initiative category because supporters of a proposal cannot move the measure directly from the petition phase to the ballot.”

    I would hope that someone would look into this, “Direct Legislation”

    Mary Kenosian

  2. If local Government will not listen to the citizens then it’s time for the citizens to group together and seize control over their local officials. Self governance is the rule and when local elected officials stand against the citizens it’s time to take back that control. Stand together and physically remove the dissenters is the only way in my opinion. Frac Sand Mining is a form of eco-terrorism and anyone affiliated with the industry should be treated as an eco-terrorist. I suggest the citizens move quickly if you want to save your school, your town, your health, and the landscape for generations to come. Forget Hope and do it yourself!

  3. Barb Arnst says:

    How sad for the residents of Glenwood City to have their voices taken from them. And I would imagine that their tax dollars are paying for the lawyer representing the city council. This is so unfair and wrong!

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