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To debate or not? La Crosse council chooses former, approves resolution on climate change to be sent to Congress

Mitch Reynolds

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Five members voted against resolution 

A resolution on climate change was narrowly approved Thursday by La Crosse’s city council.

The resolution calls on Congress to approve a revenue neutral carbon tax and acknowledge the existence of climate change being mostly affected by humans.

It’s clearly making some uneasy on the council. It’s something rep. Doug Happel thinks is well outside what the council should be debating.

“Usually when people or councils or legislatures get in trouble, is when you get outside your lane, get beyond your pay grade,” he said at Thursday’s meeting. “We do a really good job, we really do, dealing with things in the city of La Crosse.”

Before approving the vote, the council agonized over whether it should be debated by them at all. Yes, the emphatic answer from the measure’s sponsor, Patrick Brever.

“This issue is pertinent to the citizens of La Crosse, and not only the ones that elected us to serve in these offices today, but future generations who occupy this city for a long time to come,” Brever said.

The measure was approved on a split vote with a few council members who voted against it acknowledging their belief in climate change but opposed to addressing the issue at the city council level.

Council member Gary Padesky’s position was to stand up and be counted. He voted yes to the resolution. His reasoning?

“Whenever I talk to people,” Padesky said, “once in awhile, they’ll complain about something, I’ll say, ‘Well, did you vote?’ And they always say, ‘No, I didn’t vote. What’s the point in it?’

“Then I always tell them, ‘Shut up. If you didn’t vote, shut up.” Well, here’s a clear example where we can make a statement so, I’m not going to shut up.”

Five council members voted against the resolution.

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