To open meeting complaint. We’re all for city council following open meetings law, but a Janesville City Council candidate’s complaint is over nothing. Jeff Navarro alleges the city violated the law last week when City Manager Mark Freitag responded
after a public comment period to Navarro’s remarks about the Monterey Dam. At least one city council member said he considered Freitag’s response part of the manager’s report, which was the next item on the agenda. Navarro is nitpicking, and we suspect Navarro filed the complaint simply because he didn’t like Freitag’s answer to Navarro’s claim that the city lacks the proper permissions to remove the dam. Navarro is member of the Monterey Dam Association, a special interest group that refuses to accept the council’s vote last year to remove the dam.
To the end of the Jakubowski saga. If awards were given to the most expensive defendants to pass through the court system, Joseph Jakubowski seems like a shoo-in. The bill for his manhunt last year, triggered by Jakubowski stealing 18
firearms for a local gun shop, topped $128,000 for local law enforcement. That doesn’t include the FBI’s bill or the $20,000 reward the FBI offered before Jakubowski was found camping on a man’s land in Vernon County. Then there’s the cost of Jakubowski’s trials in federal and state courts. Jakubowski perhaps saved taxpayers a little money by admitting he committed the crimes, possibly shortening the trials’ lengths. Rock County Judge James Daley concluded the local case last week by imposing five years of state prison to be served after Jakubowski’s federal prison sentence. Jakubowski’s prison stay hopefully will be the last bill he sends to taxpayers.
To keeping polling place at City Hall. City officials wisely abandoned a plan to temporarily move the polling place for wards 3 and 4 to the adjacent police headquarters after some residents opposed the move. Minority community leaders said the
polling switch would amount to voter suppression, and whether the concerns are valid, it’s not a risk worth taking. While keeping the polling place inside City Hall might inconvenience some city employees because of renovations (the reason for proposing to move the polling place in the first place), relocating some employees for one day is a small price to pay for defusing the situation.
To pothole epidemic. Pothole season appears to have arrived this year because of the sudden thaw and heavy rains. City crews are trying to fill them in, and Janesville residents who spot a hole can call 608-755-3110 to alert the city to a pothole’s
presence. Residents can also report potholes via the city’s website, ci.janesville.wi.us. The planned reconstruction of Milwaukee Street in the downtown cannot come soon enough. There were some crater-sized holes there, though crews responded quickly and fixed them—at least until next year. The holes are a headache for drivers, but they’re especially dangerous to bikers who could fly over their handlebars after hitting one. Pothole season makes clear the poor condition of many city streets and acts as a reminder to city officials and residents that street maintenance should always be a top budget priority.