12/31/2015 A Voice from the Gallery

A Voice from the Gallery

12/31/2015

To sum up my 2015 writing endeavor, I started writing “A view from the Gallery” as an opinion letter to the Alcester Union-Hudsonite under the ownership of Paul Buum after reading the following quotation:

 “I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that, then I realized                                   I AM SOMEBODY!”

             When new owner Shane Hill took over the Alcester Union-Hudsonite, judged me, finding me too critical of the Alcester city council, decided to censure Freedom of Speech by declining any future articles from me preferring instead sugary, non-controversial, stars-in-your-eyes happy news and having been advised by a member of the community that I really should run my letters-to-the-editor through my pastor for acceptability, I decided emulate Martin Luther continuing to use his solution of asking questions and running propositions for debate. While my queries can never equal Luther’s queries, it is my sincere hope that I can elicit change in our local government with my own version of 95 Theses. I started my website “avoicefromthegallery.com” to bypass Mr. Hill’s censure in order to provide full disclosure of the antics of the Alcester City Council to the people of Alcester. So I dedicate this quote to the Mayor of Alcester, the Alcester City Council Mr. Shane Hill-publisher and of course that illustrious community member so well versed in Luther’s 95 Theses and who recommended I drag my LCMS pastor into the middle of a political critique.

 “If you have no critics, you’ll likely have no success.”

(Malcolm X)

I would like to make another dedication, since I appear to-be-on-a-roll:

“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know”            William Wilberforce

          The above is dedicated to the Honorable Duane E. Hoffmeyer, and the Honorable Steven J. Andreasen who decreed a young mother must make her baby daughter available for visitation without supervision or drug testing to a self-proclaimed opiate, drug addict, which admission was made in Plymouth County Iowa court under oath in August of 2015. One has to wonder did these ole’ boys hear of the Dickinson County Iowa case of the death Shelby Duis on January 4, 2000, and the question of the boyfriend’s alleged abuse of little Shelby. The mother who went to jail because she did not ‘protect her child’. What was the system doing to protect the child?

It appears the system still has not changed because SR, the 27 year old drug addict who lives in an $850.00 per month condo in Iowa City (utilities extra); leases a late model car; fuel for car; allegedly attended University of Iowa at Iowa City; SR, the 27 year old drug addict who is successfully unemployed; the 27 year old drug addict who reluctantly pays just $42.50 per month child support. Where does SR get the money to pay for all this??? Enabler Daddy Financial Advisor? Or is he selling?

Court Ordered visitation allowed SR, the self-proclaimed drug addict to take the child out of Iowa to visit SR’s father who is a Washington financial advisor. When Mom cannot contact SR, receives no answer or call back- finally calls Daddy Financial Advisor who tells her that SR went to the hospital and is in rehab again, but Daddy Financial Advisor failed to let baby’s Mom know until she called them. Really?? Mom is in Iowa, going to school, working a full time job to pay the bills, worrying about her darling baby daughter who is in Washington with junkie dad and enabling Daddy Financial Advisor and we still do not know if or when Baby will be coming home to her Mommy.

Mom, her family and I have taken pains to inform law enforcement of the on-going drug use and problem of SR. The court heard the admission of SR’s drug use for their own ears, it is in the record, yet the court failed to protect this child. To these entities I repeat: You were warned and you chose to look the other way, you can never say you did not know!!  I will be there to remind you.

12/08/2015 A Voice from the Gallery

A Voice from the Gallery

12/08/2015

 

“Be careful that what you write does not offend anybody or cause     problems within the company. The safest approach is to remove all useful   information”       Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert comic strip.

 

Mayor Glas opened the December 7th meeting of the Alcester City Council at 6:00 pm. with four council members present: Lance Johnson, Audri Carlson, Kama Johnson, Mark Dykstra and Finance Officer Pat Jurrens.

The council approved the agenda and the minutes from council meetings on November 5th and November 30th despite written notification to Mayor Glas on November 30, 2015, with courtesy copies sent to Alcester city attorney and Shane Hill, publisher of the Alcester Union-Hudsonite of an error. Contained within the published and now approved minutes of November 5, 2015, Mayor Glas alleged via his mayoral rebuttal that I accused him of “tapping me on the head”.

During public input I gave the council the page in my complaint which referred to an expression, simile if you will about a pat-on-the-head:

          “…During my discussion of the complaint, Mayor Glas remarked, “…Police Chief Ryan Knutson has been instructed to follow the law…” which in effect was an insulting pat on my head and run along dismissal…” (full text of complaint will be provided soon)

I asked the minutes of November 5, 2015, be corrected and a public retraction be made to reflect the truth. Nothing, nada, zip.

A group of Alcester-Hudson students with their advisor, Mrs. Marissa Kleinhans and with the aid of Mr. Jeff Sebern made an impressive recycling presentation to the city council. After the student group left; a couple of items down the agenda, after a council member or two had time to ‘process’ the presentation, and a brief discussion, the council reached a consensus to pursue recycling in Alcester. Bravo students for you perseverance! Keep up the good work.

The 911 update dealing with the lawsuit between the city and Union County Commissioners moved into Executive session to strategize. This Executive session involved just the mayor, the council and the city attorney, yet Mayor Glas included city employee, Finance officer Jurrens in Executive session. Why? Finance officer Jurrens is not a member of the council nor a strategist. Former Finance Officer Kezar was not included in Executive sessions unless he had specific, official knowledge of a finance office issue. This is not the first time Mayor Glas has included Finance Officer Jurrens in Executive session. She was included in the Executive session when I applied for the open Ward III council position, she was not a council person nor did she have the right to question me as a candidate for Ward III council person which she did. So why was she there? She no longer had a vote, did she? As councilmember she voted to terminate Alcester City Finance Officer Mike Kezar and upon his removal she applied for his position as Finance Officer at an immediate wage equal to his ending wages which included his years experience along with his cost-of-living, merit and longevity raises. Finance Officer Jurrens gave up her council privileges and position to become an employee of the city and now serves at the pleasure of the mayor.

Hard on the heels of coming out of Executive session regarding legal strategizing, the council voted immediately to go back into Executive session to discuss ‘legal matters’! O-o-h my ‘spidey senses’ are tingling as they did on a long ago September 19th!   Again Mayor Glas allowed Finance Officer Jurrens in Executive session. So what Alcester Finance Office expertise does she have on these ‘legal matters’?

Now the council is now considering two officers, rather than a police chief and one officer. O-o-kay.

The 2016 city fees discussion caught my interest, Councilman Dykstra wants to remove the $500.00 fee for demolition. Apparently he knows of ‘someone’ interested in a property within the city that needs to be demolished. Potential Loan? Kama Johnson made the motion to remove the fee, a second by Lance Johnson and the vote was unanimous approval. So what is the definition of Cronyism? Hard on the heels of this vote came a vote to increase late water fees. Lance Johnson moved to raise late water fees from $5.00 to $10.00 per incident, second coming from Kama Johnson and unanimous approval. Really? Remove a $500.00 fee per incident, then raise a $5.00 fee to $10.00 per incident. Must be the new business math? However, the council did waive their fees for the three minute October 29, 2015, meeting!

A special meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, December 17, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. The purpose of this meeting is traditionally to take care of end-of-year expenses and matters. The council gave Mayor Glas permission to sign end-of-year warrants by unanimous vote.

The council adjourned at 8:36 p.m.

 

 

12/01/2015 A Voice from the Gallery

By now many of you have read or heard of Mayor Glas’ rebuttal and allegation that my attentiveness to city business is costing the city money in the minutes of the November 5, 2015 regular city council meeting.

Mayor Glas laid out a unsubstantiated figure of $1120.84, I want a line-item, detailed accounting of that figure. Mayor Glas went on to moan about the cost in time and money to the finance office to research my request for Freedom of Information and that it was putting a strain on the finance office. Perhaps less decorating, extraneous work time social business would free up finance office time. Perhaps Mayor Glas you might free up some of that time by setting your own agenda and actually familiarize yourself with the items on the agenda before the meetings rather than always looking to the finance officer during the meeting for information or explanation. In school they call that coming to class prepared!

The city had an emergency meeting at 7:30 a.m. on October 29, 2015, to change the regular November council meeting from November 2, 2015, to November 5, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. with the Mayor Glas and four council members present: Lance Johnson, Kama Johnson, Mark Dykstra and Audri Carlson.   Items on the quickie agenda included: Open meeting, Approve agenda, Change from November 2 to November 5 and the all inclusive “Any other Business”. “Any other business” can cover a multitude of sins almost quite literally because this is where important interesting stuff can be backdoored.   Emergency? I think not and certainly not by municipal definition. So Mayor what did that little emergency cost the property owners in Alcester? I did not see where the council members waived their meeting fee, so Mayor Glas that would be $40 per meeting for you and $30.00 per meeting times four council members for a grand total of $160 and of course you must add time for the finance officer, right? So what exactly was the emergency, football finals? The meeting was called to order at 7:30 a.m. and according to the published minutes the meeting was adjourned at 7:33 a.m.  WOW

Going on to the November 30, 2015, special meeting for police chief (?) with Mayor Glas present with all the council members present: Lance Johnson, Mike Burke, Mark Dykstra, Kama Johnson, Audri Carlson, David Larsen and finance officer Jurrens. While the city police officer was present, the city attorney was not invited to this little soiree! On the agenda of this ‘special’ meeting was : Open Meeting (5:00 p.m.), Approve Agenda, Executive session pursuant to SDCL 1-25-2-1-Personnel interviews and Adjournment. So let’s do the tally: Mayor $40 and $30 times six council members and of course cost of the finance officer brings the cost to $240+/- ! So, between the October 29 and the November 30 special meetings the Mayor spent $400+/- of city dollars. H-m-m

The emergency or ‘specialness’ of last night’s meeting? OMG, we are down a police chief and we gotta hurry up and hire one, no matter what. So you couldn’t wait for the next regular meeting on December 7th? Really? Are ya worried about yet another fight at Madame Woolworth’s Jiggle Joint and ya’ll have just one officer an’ he’s just a youngin’?

Now folks I was at the meeting. One has to admire the time management involved in this meeting. The meeting was called to order at 5:00 p.m. with the following agenda: Open meeting, Approve agenda, Executive session and adjourn. Kama Johnson moved to approve the agenda, with the second coming from Lance Johnson and approval was unanimous. Lance Johnson moved to go into executive session for the reason listed with the second coming from Kama Johnson and approval was unanimous. Executive session at 5:03 p.m. The Mayor, the council, the finance officer and Officer Jesse McLaughlin were cloistered alone for about 20 minutes before they called the only applicant present into the executive session at 5:25 p.m. At 6:07 p.m. applicant Brian came out of the executive session and left. Executive session carried on with occasional bursts of laughter echoing into the hallway. H-m-m? At 6:37 p.m. the executive session was ended and council declared themselves in open session. David Larsen moved to adjourn with the second coming from Lance Johnson and approval was unanimous.

Barring telephonic interviews of which I would have no knowledge, the interview of the lone applicant present could have been compressed and handled in the regular city council meeting. The council was presented with what appeared to be a resume by Officer Jesse McLaughlin. Any resumes of applicants should have been reviewed by the committee that handles law enforcement with final recommendations accompanied by resumes made to the council in advance. There is no reason the council could not have handled this matter at the regular city council meeting.