03/04/2016 A Voice from the Gallery

A Voice from the Gallery


As I start my political journey I am reminded of “America’s” song lyric, “…On the first part of my journey…”, and as I circulated my petition through Ward III visiting with my neighbors, they shared ideas, opinions and histories with me. One shared that her father gathered up his family and with a couple dozen other drought stricken families from the same SD county moved en masse to the Alcester area to start fresh.  As I understand it, those thirty some families put down roots, flourished and grew Alcester’s population and diversity.

But sadly over the years, the municipal government failed to keep up. The bull-headed, tunneled vision, neck encircling mill-stone policy of the mayor presiding over the council in 1989-1994 refused to levy minimum tax hikes to offset inflation ultimately setting Alcester behind the proverbial 8-ball with no money to maintain or make infrastructure improvements leaving Alcester financially vulnerable.

Today, we still suffer from the effects of the shadow of that 8-ball. In the past three years, the city has been sued or threatened with lawsuit several times. The county dispatch lawsuit, the bar lawsuit, a threatened workplace harassment lawsuit and an alleged assault of one of our police officers and payment for officer certification school.

*The county dispatch lawsuit is ongoing with no updates to the community.

*The bar Sullivan lawsuit was settled, costing the city $30K +/-.

*In the workplace harassment issue the mayor did not hand off to the South Dakota DCI for proper investigation setting the city up for nonfeasance charges, the council did not take action because according to ‘scuttlebutt’ (apparently a councilman divulged executive session) the complaining party resigned so the council figured they did not have to take action, leaving the city open for nonfeasance charges and lawsuit. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, “nonfeasance is neglect of duty, the neglect or failure of a person to do some act which he ought to do” creating an actionable liability. In addition at the September 23rd, 2013, special meeting the council went into executive session to discuss personnel issues with Alcester police officer Lisa present around 5:45 p.m. at which time my name was heard in the closed session and I am not personnel, after 15 minutes officer Lisa left the room and executive session continued for approximately another 48 minutes. The council violated executive session which had been called for the sole purpose of discussing personnel not Vickie Larsen. Officer Lisa tendered her resignation in that session and in a later interview with me, she told me the council wanted her to arrest me if I made a fuss.

*In the police officer issue, the council settled $2889.13 by way of the department of Labor. The alleged assault on the officer appears to have pleaded down and as a reward the council voted to seat the alleged attacker on the council.

Councilman Dykstra was seated then and remains a member of the council, freely participating in the deliberate nose thumbing failure of proper process and his obligation to act among other ‘positive qualities’ which I will address. It appears that Councilman Dykstra and a cohort or two intend to ‘teach’ me as Kevin Alfred Strom wrote, ” To learn who rules over you (me), simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize…”. I started out sharing what I witnessed in council sessions using the ‘flashlight’ of opinion letters-to-the-editor in the local paper until the new publisher refused to carry any more of my letters telling me my reporting was not good for the city. H-m-m I wonder if the publisher has a local bank loan—- VP privileges maybe? So what are they afraid of? I was content to use the ‘flashlight’ to enlighten the residents of council meeting behaviors and behind closed door policies but I do believe a 4000 watt Sky Cannon Skytracker searchlight is more appropriate now.