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La Crosse and Onalaska need a beer summit

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If you remember the battle  over annexation between La Crosse and Onalaska back in the 1990’s, you also remember the level of acrimony and mistrust between the two neighboring cities. It seems those hostile attitudes have resurfaced in a new battle over funding for a La Crosse Center expansion. La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat asked Onalaska to pitch in to help pay for the renovation. After all, the Center is used by people other than La Crosse residents, and Onalaska businesses benefit when a big event comes to town. Onalaska city hall didn’t just turn down the mayor’s request, Mayor Joe Chilsen went so far as to suggest Kabat didn’t really want Onalaska’s money, he just wanted to be able to point fingers at them and lay blame. Clearly, the mistrust has returned in a big way. It is probably true that Kabat could have asked sooner, and even included Onalaska in the process of planning the expansion. But when neighboring communities are feuding like this, it prevents them from working together to solve common problems. Both mayors should get together, perhaps for a beer summit, and share their concerns and work to find common ground, for the betterment of both communities. Because as long as there is mistrust, there is little chance the neighbors will be able to work together in the future.

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    Joe Chilsen

    August 28, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Mr. Shaw:

    I appreciate your comment about Mayor Kabat and me having a beer together. I am open, as a matter of fact I stated in both the La Crosse Tribune and the Onalaska Community Life last week that “what we need to do is get away from all the lights and cameras and talk” – you should have known this. Please gather the facts and ask me for information and I will give you all kinds of it. You made a comment based on a single piece of data when this discussion has a much deeper context. I come from a newspaper family and I am concerned about putting out a comment that only scratches the surface of a much deeper issue. If you really want to do a service to the community put your “beer” into action by organizing that meeting.

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