There are times when “I told you so” works very well. Before the AT&T cell phone tower in our Historical Main Street downtown district was even approved, I confronted a city council member. He was gushing about how the city would get $15,000 a year revenue and how we would have this fantastic flag pole. Right. Merchants downtown objected, especially those bordering on the construction site, but they were ignored and it was rammed through.
Next, there was a delay in construction because of unexpected bedrock. It finally went up. The city flew an oversized flag on it for a few days. Oops. That didn’t last long. It was illegal. After that, how many flags ripped? Then along comes a national edict to fly the flag at half-mast and what happened? The last flag jammed and couldn’t be lowered.
In the words of Gunder Paulsen, parks, building and grounds director for the city of Rhinelander in the November 7 edition of the Buyers’ Guide “Questionable” column, “We are flying a flag from a cell tower and there is a big difference.” He went on to say that now we might have to get a “bead kit” and a weight for the bottom of the flag. To date, how much has been spent on failed flags?
As I told the city council member, the city owns enough land near the business district that could be leased to AT&T so that tower might have been erected elsewhere. He had the gall to say, “Would you want it in your back yard?” I replied, “For $15,000 a year, you bet!”
For now, though, we have this big white pole downtown with no flag and a clueless local government trying to gloss over a major mistake and perhaps a sellout to AT&T that has saddled us with a tall white elephant. I told you so.
I wrote a letter to this publication regarding this concern long before the tower was built.
Mike Kuehl, Rhinelander