A Voice from the Gallery
“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us” Hal Borland
Last night I looked back at 2015 and pondered the changes it brought. One significant change , Mayor Glas and his band of HOA-like grass measuring, weed picking pollyannas saddled the city with an ‘opus’ minus the pleasant music of regulations ‘laugh-fectionately’ called the Property Maintenance Manual, chapter 9.02 contained within the city ordinances. Aside from a couple dozen custom ordinances cherry-picked to spike specific individuals, it is an unabridged pilfered regurgitation of the International Property Maintenance Code of 2012. Now If ya’ll want to read the International Property Maintenance Code of 2012, ya have to play ‘Mayor May I’, Pat-a-cake and pay a fee. Well, I was told I must pay a fee above and beyond the copying fee. I do think $40.00 an hour is exorbitant and excessive so we’ll see. The public has a right to read city ordinances for themselves and not be intimidated.
Alcester City Council reps Mark Dykstra and Kama Johnson served on the committee to ‘look’ over the ‘pattern’ IMPC and make adjustments for the city. The Alcester city council adopted the International Property Maintenance Code the golden pike by which to goad residents. In governmental laws, ordinances and codes, a glossary defining key terms such as, rubbish, eyesores, nuisances, etc. is provided at the beginning of the document limiting or defining the scope of the code . It cannot be an understood definition because, ‘beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder”. For example, a certain property just off second street Alcester was deemed an unsightly nuisance by Mayor Pluck-a-weed and his weed protocol-posse who descended upon the hapless owner like a Luftwaffe strafing run on the SS Minnow. I saw an individual attempting to create a rustic landscape using a Salvador Dali-like technique with found materials. Not everyone’s cup of tea, admittedly. The Property Maintenance code was applied to the owner, Okay. Now one block south, one block west another artiste is at work within the city building. Another rustic, Pinterest-style found materials collage has been installed in the entryway of the city auditorium. I see a scene from hoarders in which the exit to a municipal building is blocked by ‘art’, a repurposed ironing board partially blocking the door to the council room at the top of the stairs to the basement and presenting a clear danger to anyone who gets snagged. In my sight, the city police officer has had his utility belt snagged by the ironing board pulling him off balance and more recently, a high school student was snagged by the ironing board as he entered the council room to make presentation to the council. In public input I noted the danger of the ironing board to the council, nothing happened. The clutter is still there blocking the fire exit, so evidently the rules only apply to certain individuals.
Oh the property owner just off second street with his yard art? It seems he no longer owns the property. The current deed holder is the Alcester Industrial Park Inc, a domestic non-profit. So why is the Alcester Industrial Park Inc setting up shop so-to-speak in a clearly residential area?
“If you want an interesting party sometime, combine cocktails and a fresh box of crayons for everyone.” Robert Fulghum
The city sets up rules and picks and chooses to whom the rules will apply. Take another example, Madame Woolworth. Yuppers, the Alcester city council has found their very own charity and by gum they are going to protect her to the city’s dying breath. The Alcester City has gone to the time and expense to write up a lease agreement for the city owned building in which the bar is located, yet cannot seem to enforce it. Madame Five and Dime shows up at a city council meeting lamenting her attic leaks, her beer cooler doesn’t cool, her toilets leak and her bricks are dropping, she flips a knowing look at Councilwoman Kama Johnson (her part-time bartender), Councilman Burke and bats her ‘eyes’ at Councilman Dykstra. Oh lawsy me! The lease clearly states Madam Deem is responsible for the routine maintenance of the building. Madam has stated within my hearing that she did the city a favor by renting the building. Madam stated in front of the Alcester City Council that she allows minors in the bar, she has called the Alcester police out to load a drunken patron into her vehicle, and then again called the Alcester police out to unload the drunk at his house and tuck him in his beddy bye. The council opined that she was doing community service. Are ya kidding me? Madam serviced this patron beyond intoxication in direct violation of South Dakota liquor laws. The Alcester City Council heard and witnessed this confession, yet they did nothing! I filed a formal complaint and they STILL did nothing! It seems the rules are not for the favored few.
“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” William Wilberforce