Citizens come to La Crosse mayor’s defense

The ongoing commotion among La Crosse’s citizenry, town council and mayor continued on Monday night at the town’s regular council meeting.

Mayor Jay Spence was back in attendance after missing the August regular meeting due to a brief incarceration for violating a protection order.

Following the August meeting, while Spence was still incarcerated, confusion ensued regarding a vote taken by council. While council members contend the motion, which passed 4-1, was simply to ask Spence to resign, those in attendance were under the impression the vote was to remove Spence from office in his absence.

Spence told the Enterprise in an interview on Aug. 29 that he had no intention of resigning the position of mayor.

About a dozen citizens attended Monday’s meeting.

“I would just like to welcome our mayor back,” one citizen said on Monday night. “It’s good to see you sitting here again.”

However, several council members were not as pleased.

Councilman Joe Young in particular expressed his displeasure with comments Spence made in the Aug. 29 interview, in which he criticized the council’s actions during his absence, saying it focused on his personal business rather than issues facing the town.

“I don’t feel like the statements you made were correct,” Young told Spence. “There was no personal business mentioned, nobody said anything about that.”

“Mr. Young,” a citizen in attendance piped up, “You know you did say he couldn’t go back home. I was here, and I was listening very well, as well as the rest of us here. You know you said that!”

“You all also said he (Spence) was an embarrassment to the town,” another citizen offered. “Before you judge folks, you have to look at yourself and see what are doing.”

“I never said anything about that,” Young responded.

La Crosse citizen Shirley House told the council that the way council members acted in Spence’s absence was an embarrassment to the town, as opposed to Spence being an embarrassment.

“We have people on this council who don’t even know how to go about running the town,” House said. “Now that’s an embarrassment.”

Young also questioned Spence’s statement that no one had approached him to discuss any town matters outside of council meetings.

“Did I come to you and talk about committees I would be on?” Young asked Spence. “So someone has come to you?”

“No,” Spence responded. “Not other than at a council meeting, like I said. At a council meeting you said you would like to be on certain committees.”

The citizens in attendance continued to actively participate in the meeting, which eventually calmed as the council got back to attending to town business.