05/11/2016 A Voice from the Gallery

Dykstra's rope

(above cartoon did not appear with the letter-to-the-editor on June 20, 2013)

Councilman Mark Dykstra made the above offer on June 20, 2013, in response to a letter-to-the-editor by me:

  • “…if you find ten households in our Ward that will call me, identify themselves and express their support for you…I will resign, I will resign with conditions…”

Answer: Councilman Dykstra, I accept your offer! I found more  than ten households in Ward III. My nominating petition for Ward III municipal election carried forty-one (41) signatures when I turned it in.  Those signatures were most definitely verified as legitimate.

  • “…First, all negative attacks on Alcester, its business owners and its residents end now…I want your word on that.”

Answer: Councilman Dykstra I’ve not made any negative attacks on Alcester, its business owners nor its residents. I criticized the  Alcester mayor and the Alcester city council for its actions, inactions and pathetic failure to perform their duty. When I was personally attacked for disseminating these facts, I rebutted the wild-eyed allegations. I criticized lessee  Theresa Deem for allowing minors in the Alcester Bar, for violating state liquor statute by  serving patrons to the point they were too drunk to find their way out of the bar without Madame Deem’s assistance who called the local police officer to help load a drunken patron into Madame’s car and again called the local police officer to unload the same drunken patron when she got him home. I criticized Madame Deem’s failure to pay her own operating expenses, her expectation that Alcester taxpayers fund her share of her ‘business expenses’ and the Alcester City Council’s abysmal failure to enforce the terms of  Theresa Deem’s lease and operating agreement with the city of Alcester.

  • “…Second, in addition to the volunteer work you already do, volunteer your time on the golf course, fairgrounds, community events, etc. doing whatever it takes to make the improvements this town needs. Lead by example.”

Answer: Been there, done that Councilman Dykstra.  “…doing whatever it takes…”, Councilman Dykstra?  Whatever it takes?  I took the classes in 1996 to become a nationally certified EMT and I didn’t see you there Councilman Dykstra! I didn’t see you Councilman Dykstra fundraising for the ambulance to get it going! Along with the rest of the crew of the Alcester ambulance I donated my time  24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for 16 years to the community of Alcester. I donated my time as Treasurer for the Alcester Ambulance.  As the Alcester Ambulance crew and I missed holidays, school programs of our children and family functions to be available to aid members of the community of Alcester, comforting and consoling them in their time of need, where were you Councilman Dykstra? Along with the other ambulance volunteers, I worked stand-by at county fair tractor pulls, county fair fireworks displays, stand-by at school football games, stand-by at wrestling tournaments and stand-by at baseball tournaments. I attended recertification classes for EMT, twice I attended and went through all of the classes training new EMT’s and even taught a class or two under the supervision of the certified instructor.   Where were you Councilman Dykstra on those cold dark nights when we treated victims of car crashes, farm accidents and industrial accidents. Where were you when we consoled family members of those who didn’t make it? I  volunteered and worked with Alcester Finance Officer Mike Kezar planning a municipal league district meeting hosted by the city of Alcester. As an officer in Alcester Commercial Club I worked to make a second ball field happen. I volunteer at the Alcester Food Pantry, I sat as a member of the Alcester City/School Library Board, I was a Girl Scout leader for three different troops of girls because we were short leaders, I was a Girl Scout council representative and Girl Scout cookie chair for the community. MY business has donated a ball-washer at the golf course, city Christmas decorations, money for scoreboards and numerous give-away items promoting Alcester.

  • “…Third, you become the positive leader on the council to encourage existing businesses to prosper here and new start-ups to get all available assistance this city can afford them.”

AnswerAs a member of Alcester Commercial Club and Alcester Chamber of Commerce  since 1986, I have encouraged local business and patronized local businesses where I could.

  • “…Fourth-you lead the charge to make Alcester a safer place to enjoy, providing them with safe walks, safe ball fields, and the park. Include in this the fairgrounds…”

Answer: I was a member of the initial safe routes to school with Police Chief Jim Morey. I was a member of CERT, citizens emergency response team. I supported Mayor Peter Larsen when he went after the Union County Commissioners for their failure to safeguard the land (carnival area) they leased from the City of Alcester by sub-leasing the land to the local elevator to allow grain to be stored on the land, killing the grass leaving a smelly mess and damaging a city asset. I remember you being very critical of Mayor Larsen for being mean to your client farmers. Where was your concern for the fairgrounds then, Councilman Dykstra? In fact it is my belief you asked to be appointed to the Alcester City Council with the agenda of “protecting the elevator”, right?

  • Lastly…writing a monthly newsletter to the paper, keeping us informed…but…be positive…”  

Answer: I have been writing letters-to-the-editor keeping Alcester residents  informed. Unfortunately what y’all have been doing has not been positive, ‘somebody’ didn’t like being called out for it and complained to the publisher. You cannot fix what is wrong, if it is not exposed to the light of discovery.

SO COUNCILMAN DYKSTRA I ACCEPT YOUR OFFER , I MET AND ANSWERED YOUR TERMS… COUNCILMAN DYKSTRA WILL YOU STEP ASIDE AS YOU SAID YOU WOULD IN YOUR LETTER-TO-THE-EDITOR?

“What good is a man’s word, if it is conditional?”

author unknown

                                                           Vickie A. Larsen

 

 

 

 

05/05/2016 A Voice from the Gallery

A Voice from the Gallery

05/05/2016

 

“…it is dangerous to be right in matters where those in positions of power are wrong…”

Jean Marie Arouet Voltaire

 

Mayor Tom Glas opened the May 2, 2016, regular meeting of the Alcester City Council with the, “Pledge of Allegiance”. Councilman Mike Burke was absent. The council approved the meeting agenda with the following amendments: Diane Neu from McKellips Insurance, Police Chief Chris Doty for executive session (personnel) and Dale Pearson who received a commendation for his service in the water department. Note-there was a discussion between Mayor Glas and City Attorney Chuck Haugland (who reclaimed his seat at the council table from Finance Officer Jurrens) regarding an update on the dispatch lawsuit with Union County which(per discussion) would be delivered later in the meeting. Motion to approve the agenda as amended was made and affirmed with five yeas.

Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland gave an update on 202 Broad Street tax deed. According to City Attorney Haugland per Myron a tax certificate can take up to six years through service, response and redemption process and apparently the Ives’ filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in September 2014 with a five year bankruptcy plan. Essentially Chapter 13 allows persons with regular income to implement a plan to redeem by paying all or a partial payment of their indebtedness through an installment payment plan. Apparently lots involved in the 202 Broad property were not listed in the bankruptcy inventory of assets which makes discharge of indebtedness on those undeclared assets void and a clear merchantable title cannot be delivered. Previously Mayor Tom Glas expressed a desire to obtain the property, demolish the buildings and erect a steel building for city, police offices and garages for police vehicles and a wish-list-get-around-car for the Finance Office. So the Mayor wants a $2 million remodel the auditorium with another $300K +/- for a steel city-police office building never mind lost property taxes on 202 Broad and the loss of valuation for those residential folks whose property would lose value with a steel building next door to their residence. Zoning ordinances?

During the discussion of the clouded title for the Ives property Councilman Dykstra asked the question, “… can we get a quit claim deed…?” Are ya kidding? Real Estate 101 teaches optimum title is a clear merchantable title,

 “…title to real property that is clear and free from encumbrances, litigation and other defects and that can be sold or mortgaged to a reasonable buyer or mortgage…”

“Merchantable Title Law & Legal Definition”, US Legal, http://uslegal.com/m/merchantable.title, retrieved May 5, 2016.

as opposed to ‘Quit Claim’ deed, a legal method which transfers any title, claim or interest a grantor has in the premises but does not guarantee the title is valid. So I could for the sum of $100.00, sign a quit claim deed on 202 Broad, giving up my interest in the premises. However my quit claim deed does not quiet the title at the city level, county level or any lien holder. So why suggest Alcester taxpayers accept a clouded title, Councilman Dykstra?

Mayor Glas called for a motion of adjournment of the old council with adjournment affirmed.

At 6:21 p.m. Mayor Glas opened the new meeting with Alcester City Attorney Chuck Haugland administering the oath of office to elected and unopposed council seats. Ward II seat declared open due to Mike Burke’s failure to file a petition. Remember that Councilman Mike Burke was absent? Yup he sent a message he would like to be councilman for Ward II but apparently it was a bother to show up in person. Mayor called for nomination of Mike Burke, for Ward II. Councilman Lance Johnson moved to accept Burke for Ward II council seat. Mayor Glas failed to call a motion for nominations to cease, but did call the vote. Burke was seated for a one year term.

The question to update as of May 5,2016, the Ward map to reflect the true and correct description as set in the Revised Alcester Municipal Ordinances 2014 was called. I warned Mayor Tom Glas and the council on March 21, 2016, and April 4, 2016, of a ward map defect. The council insisted on following 2012 map stating I was wrong.  I proved the council wrong however their obduracy cost East Park Avenue voters their ability to cast absentee votes or the ability to run for Council seat in Ward III. Mayor Glas received a motion by Councilman David Larsen to table the question which was affirmed by five.

Union County Fairground clean up and re-seeding question. Union County holds a 99 year-type lease on property owned by Alcester city, Union County commissioners have once again sublet the property to the elevator to dump/store corn and soybeans without permission of the city.   Councilman Mark Dykstra questioned who they should contact. Unbelievable! Councilman Mark Dykstra’s appointment agenda to Ward III was as advocate for the farmers who thought Mayor Larsen was mean to them because Mayor Larsen protected a municipal asset by insisting spoiled grain be cleaned up, grass reseeded and Union County Commissioners must get Alcester City approval before they sublet. Councilman Dykstra you forgot that?

Executive session was called at 6:52 p.m. for Alcester Police Department personnel.   Alcester City Attorney Haugland was excused.  At 7:13 p.m. Mayor Glas declared the council in open session upon which a vote was taken to hire Dylan Nelson as Part-time police officer. Apparently the council is again micro-managing the police department. Hiring a part-time officer lies within the purview of the police chief with the wage per hour already set within the fee schedule by Alcester City.

An HRC Update was given by Councilwoman Kama Johnson, reporting switches have failed in the four-plex, creating a possible hazard so the HRC elected to replace all switches for $739.48. Mayor Glas opined, ‘this shouldn’t have happened…they were improperly grounded… they should have been inspected…I (Mayor Glas) had to rewire my house” What South Dakota Electrical inspector checked your DIY electrical Mayor Glas? Glas, a member of the HRC during the construction process kept busy side-walk superintending throughout the four-plex construction. So Mayor Glas, how did You miss ‘faulty’ wiring?   I believe the project was signed off by a state electrical inspector.

According to Councilwoman Audri Carlson regarding auditorium remodel, “…the bid (structural engineer) was not appropriate…”  Folks, taxpayers should vote on the question of auditorium remodel. This is a commercial building, not a DIY project.

At 8:04 p.m. the meeting adjourned without Mayor Glas remembering the dispatch lawsuit update.