The Monterey Dam debate, design and planning have been a part of the pages of the Gazette and on the airwaves of WCLO since the original citizen committee was put together over two years ago. In my opinion, the process was open, both sides of the repair or remove debate were given the opportunity to speak, and ultimately it was the city council in March 2016 that gave city officials direction — the removal of the Monterey Dam.
While a group is still actively hoping to try and save the dam, most city residents went on with their lives and business until news of the dam came rushing into our news feeds via many sources on Friday. The Gazette did an excellent job of visually documenting the day with shoreline and aerial footage, and the comments started building on various social media outlets.
The typical back and forth debate between a few took the comments from a handful to over a hundred within an hour on the Gazette Facebook page. The banter was nothing new…everything from ‘The city is stupid for removing the dam’ and ‘I can’t wait to move out of Janesville’ to ‘I am looking forward to the change’ and ‘it will be a better fishing habitat.’
Those comments are typical and the debates are (sadly) what most have come to expect when wandering into some of the comments on stories posted. None were shocking. Some didn’t make sense, and some tried to bring sense to it all. I am not sure if that worked.
It wasn’t until I opened Saturday’s edition of The Gazette to read the reporting from the first day of the dam removal that my mouth dropped. A Janesville resident called for extinguishing life from our city council and manager. What?!?! You want eight residents to die? The comment wasn’t put into quotes but it was attributed to local resident Bill McCoy.
Bill, you crossed the line.
I’m sure he figured it was free speech, but publicly stating you want harm or death to a group of people over the removal of a concrete barrier isn’t free speech in my mind. That is just pure disrespect at the LEAST.
A friend of mine told me his father always said that you need to ‘earn the respect to be heard.’ It doesn’t matter if you are in favor of the dam or not — some people have lost a bit of respect. I am surprised there wasn't any follow-up on that comment, and I am wondering if the JPD made a visit to Mr. McCoy’s home? I will be disappointed if our men and women in blue don’t at least stop by.