LA CROSSE, WIS — Four individuals have now expressed interest in running for Mayor of La Crosse, shortly after Tim Kabat announced he would not seek a third term in office. Council member Jessica Olson first announced her bid, followed by restaurant owner Greg Saliaras, and common council president Martin Gaul. Just recently, the previous owner of Stolpa’s Stein Haus, Chris Stolpa, is reportedly gathering signatures for a run this spring as well.
With so many already vying for the highest office in city hall, residents in the city of La Crosse are now beginning to wonder: “Am I also running for mayor…? Or do I just hate alternate side parking and think that being mayor would give me sweeping and broad power to just do away with it so I could save 30 bucks this winter…?”
We’ve created a short quiz to help residents decide for themselves whether they are in fact running for mayor of the city of La Crosse, or just don’t like a snow removal ordinance. Read below and decide on each issue whether you are more of a “1” or a “2”:
- The city faces a tough road ahead. Not only does it face the typical funding disadvantages of years of state transportation money in decline, but on top of that, hundreds of thousands were lost in hotel room tax revenue due to large events being cancelled one after the other. Not only that, oversight of grant funding for performance venues was significantly lacking, with huge chunks of that money heading to larger venues, including one that’s been closed for the better part of the year. 2021 is going to be a year of really tough choices, none of which will be perfect solutions.
- Budget shortfalls?? What budget shortfalls??? Do you know how much we pay every year in alternate side parking? Probably like a million bazillion fillion dollars! What are you doing with all that money!? Probably bought that hideous Blue Baby thing and like six roundabouts, I bet!
Housing and Homelessness Issues
- Right now, with little help from the federal and state levels, we may be left to our own devices to tackle an increasing homelessness issue. Many are still out of work and have no safety nets against evictions. It costs the city more money in the long run to respond in an emergency short term patch-work method to homeless individuals in crisis than it would to seek immediate and long term housing for such a growing number of people in need.
- Tell you what! When I repeal alternate side parking, everyone can just BUY their own brand new house and boat with all the goddamn money they save, right? WHO’S WITH ME??
- La Crosse really has laid the groundwork to have a robust public transportation system, but it really begins to lack for folks who are not living near the central hub of La Crosse already. In the next few years, increasing access to further reaches of the area and bringing available GPS technology into the fold for riders to know exactly when to expect their bus and be aware of any delays should absolutely be part of the discussion going forward.
- Must be nice to have a nice big structure to park all of them buses! You know where WE gotta park?? Yeah, ON THE STREET! Except when you can’t, because our bloated government can’t stop specifically targeting me and my 2009 Jeep Wrangler! GOD!
Alternate Side Parking
- This is really a lot trickier than people realize. I understand the calls to move to enacting emergency alternate side parking when there is forecasted snow. Makes sense, right? Shouldn’t ticket someone for blocking snow plows when we don’t need snow plows at all right now, right? Except La Crosse has a much larger population than other communities with those removal plans, and much more densely packed, I might add. In a perfect world, the city would send out the beacon of, “Hey, there’s alternate side parking now because Dan Breeden said there’s a storm a-brewin’!” and everyone would see it, acknowledge it, and go out and make sure their cars are in the right spot when the snow hits. Except, this is not a perfect world. Does 100% of the population follow the city and its entities on social media? Does 100% of the population watch the local news? Even so, how many people do you know would see that, say, “Okay! Got it!” and then totally forget by the time that day comes? I’m willing to bet there’s at least a handful. I know it isn’t popular to say, but the alternate side parking ordinance is only about getting more of the population in the mindset of, “I need to make sure my car is on the correct side of the street,” early enough and often enough for the highest number of residents to follow it so the largest amount of streets can be plowed effectively, when the time inevitably comes. It’s really not about the fines. Remember the budget shortfall question? That already affects how many people we can even pay to plow the streets. Have you ever wondered why “they never plow MY street”? That’s why. They are super low on resources already and have to focus on the highest traffic areas. And trust me, the streets will look a lot worse if half the population forgets that there was an emergency alternate side parking order. It does make the city money (namely the police department, which is a whole other conversation), but it has to for it to work. Would you follow the law if there was no consequence for breaking it? There are plenty of issues with the program that should be addressed. Street parking is really limited. And that limited parking is often in areas where residents just don’t have the extra money to throw at tickets whenever they can’t find a place to park and chance it, hoping they won’t get caught. Maybe a voucher program might help in the short term, but in the long run, the city really needs to figure out how we can get more places for folks to park, and how we would even pay for that with major shortfalls in revenue due to the pandemic.
- AHHHHHHHGGGHHHHHGGGGHHHHH GOVERNMENT OVERREEEEEEEEACH LEGAL THIEVERYYYYYYY AGGGGHHHHH!!! *head explodes*
More 1’s than 2’s? Congratulations! You are probably running for mayor, or at the very least, considering it. Good luck on your campaign.
More 2’s than 1’s? You’re likely a person frustrated with alternate side parking who may be confusing that with an ability to hold public office. You may find that, once you are in office, there are quite a bit more important – and unfortunately very boring – things to deal with as mayor than just snow removal policy.
Reporter Sam Shilts contributed to this article.