09/29/2016 A Voice From the Gallery

 In the November 5, 2015, regular Alcester City Council meeting Mayor Tom Glas had a ‘response’ to a complaint I had presented the council in which I used the metaphor of,

“…insulting pat on my head…”.

Mayor Glas responded that I lied saying he gave me a tap on the head, that he did not pat my head. As usual Mayor Glas failed to follow the conversation which was in the mid-western dialect of the English language.

 

Today, September 29, 2016, I discovered, once again Mayor Glas failed to follow the conversation which again was in the mid-western dialect of the English language. I addressed the Alcester City Council on September 13, 2016, during public input, questioning why Alcester City Councilman/Union County Fairboard member Mark Dykstra wanted to allow Farmers Coop Society installment payments of the $5000.00 fine levied against FCS (Farmers Cooper Society) for violating the terms and conditions of Union County’s sub-lease with them by failing to remove FCS (Farmers Coop Society) stored grain in a timely manner, per lease terms and conditions which allowed the grain to spoil on the sub-leased land owned by the city of Alcester. Mayor Glas opined that,

“…he couldn’t see any damage to the (Alcester owned) fairground parking area…”

to which I responded,

“every time grain was stored on the fairground parking area, removed and the spoiled grain dozed up, a considerable layer of soil was removed…”

Further stating that over the years of various elevators dumping grain, top soil was lost, grass was not re-seeded leaving a muddy scar on the area which was fast becoming a slimy mud hole.  Mayor Peter Larsen stepped up and stopped the practice of despoiling Alcester owned ground by insisting the Union County Commissioners get the city’s approval on any sub-leases of Alcester owned ground.  Unfortunately former Mayor Rick Johnson and present Mayor Tom Glas fell down on the job of enforcement of city approval on leases of city owned ground, failed to follow through and allowing the flagrant abuse of city property.

 

Unfortunately and laughably (YES, I did laugh) Alcester Police Chief Doty was dragged into the murky mess when he was informed I accused someone of stealing dirt off the fairground parking area owned by the city of Alcester. OMG!

 

At the risk of being accused of advising Mayor Glas to self-lobotomize, Mayor Glas “clean the beans out-of-your ears!” and be dang sure ya’ll don’t dump them on the fairground parking lot! Be careful though ’cause you cannot afford to lose anymore topsoil, either!

 

Vickie A. Larsen

09/15/2016 A Voice From the Gallery

(Part two)

          This lengthy meeting included the first reading of the budget and included interviews with candidates for the Alcester City Ward II opening.

Moving on with the agenda:

  • 202 Broad street issue:
    • Non receipt of documents promised by Ives representative. City Attorney to      contact Ives representative.
  • Police academy agreements-no action.
  • Executive Session-legal counsel 1-25-2-3 FAILED to state specific purpose beyond legal.
    • In closed session at     6:15 p.m.
    • Out closed session at  6:24 p.m.  NO Action
    • City Attorney dismissed!  6:24 p.m.
  • Presentation on Tae Kwan Do class – seeking permission to hold classes in the auditorium. Mayor Glas turned to Finance Officer with a confused look on his face and asked the question,

“Do we need a motion?”

D-uh, the council needs to give its formal approval.

Motion/ Councilman Lance Johnson-2nd/ Councilman David Larsen

Unanimous approval of the quorum present  (David Larsen, Audri Carlson, Lance Johnson & Mark Dykstra)

  • Ward II candidate interviews and appointment.  Mayor Glas lost again. He had been told that the council had to accept Mike Burke’s resignation formally several meetings ago, but forgot and had to be reminded! One has to wonder who does the agenda? It is the Mayor’s job!

Motion/Audri Carlson to accept Burke resignation-2nd/Dykstra

Unanimous approval of the quorum present (David Larsen, Audri Carlson, Lance Johnson & Mark Dykstra)

  • Executive session called to interview Ward II Candidates of: Dan Haeder, Trudy Hedden and Ron Manning.

In closed session at     6:46 p.m.

Out closed session at  7:31 p.m.

Motion/David Larsen to confirm Mayor appointment of Dan Haeder* to Ward II position for one year term-2nd/ Lance Johnson

Unanimous approval of the quorum present (David Larsen, Audri Carlson, Lance Johnson & Mark Dykstra)

 *a note-Mr. Haeder is the only Ward II candidate who lives in Ward II, Alcester city but it appears he is doesn’t own property in Alcester. Candidate Trudy Hedden and Candidate Ron Manning both live and own property and Mr. Manning was a former councilmember.
  • Mayor Glas administered the oath of office to Mr. Haeder and Mr. Haeder was seated at the council table.
  • Meagen Fischer-registered a dog complaint
  • Updates

 »$16,500.00 Patching machine purchased two years ago wasn’t such a good buy after all. Hot mix is preferred using a rent-a-roller     ($1100/month?) Councilman Dykstra opined,

“…get rid of the patching machine…”

»Alcester Bar repair-Mayor finally decided the brick were just cosmetic, after he and Mark talked, thought better of the $8400 low bid  ‘facial’ decided with a ‘few volunteers’ they could DYI back-plaster (low- brow parging) the lower portion of Madam’s wailing wall.

»Now, Madam Deem needs a bottle cooler. Evidently her bottles are warm and that just simply won’t do. So she contacted Everist (?) for a  quote on a machine to cool her bottles. The quote for an ABC95 bottle cooler? $3263.30

H-m-m       ALCOM Distributing, Fargo, ND sale $2456.00 Difference-$807.30

So do we like Jack, always take the first hand-full of mystery beans we are quoted?

»Madam’s rent is budgeted to go UP to $1300.00 per month!   Councilman Dykstra commented,

“it is time!”

  »In the CBDG budget portion of the reading, it was noted that Madam Deem was ahead with her loan payment. Really? It is my understanding the CDBG loan was made Madam Deem to cover her liquor inventory and in MY opinion should never have been allowed. Folks, 3+years later she is still paying on an inventory long guzzled away!

                 »Newly seated Councilmember Dan Haeder asked,

“will I get a copy of the ordinance book?”

            The answer to his question, Yes, we will provide you one.

SO where is the public’s access to the code book?

Oh, yeah. that is right. We have public access Monday through Friday, 8 p.m.-5 p.m. at the city offices with EXCEPTIONS (see below):

 2016-09-16-10-56-58

On Friday at 10:57 a.m. I was at the city office to contact Police Chief Doty on a safety issue, I did not find him in his office and assumed he was patrolling.  I noted the city finance office door was closed and lights were off. So just how does the Working Joe have access to city records? Does the finance office stagger their lunch hours so the office is open over the lunch hour? We have two in the finance office with the rationale, the office is covered at all published times of operation.

  • Budget for Legal in 2017 remains the same (we get a bargain but some think our legal is too high. Maybe if rules were followed, our city attorney would be obliged to clean up their messes.)

YET

the MAYOR gets a raise to $100.00 per month and $50.00 per meeting with the council members getting $50.00 per month and $30.00 per meeting.

NOTE: On the mandatory garbage-can purchase, why do we have to purchase a huge garbage receptacle when we could purchase transparent green, bio friendly, garbage bags, so much per 100 pcs., hire a part-time city worker to collect the garbage with a trailer or mobile pull behind dumpster, off loading the garbage into a roll off that Mr. Fischer could come in and pick up without running his garbage truck up and down the streets of Alcester eliminating the unsightly army of blue garbage cans sitting on the curb or next to our homes? Each household controls how much they spend on garbage collection by the number of bags they use each week. Just sayin’, ya know!

 

Vickie Larsen

09/15/2016 A Voice From the Gallery

(Part one)

          Finally, the September Alcester City Council meeting happened after a false start with the scheduled September 7th meeting and explained away as an ‘oversight’. The September 7th meeting was cancelled at the proverbial last minute with some council members being notified the afternoon of the 7th. I went to pick up an agenda on the 7th around 1:00 p.m. and was informed by city office personnel, ” that due to an oversight, the meeting was cancelled and that I would be notified when it was rescheduled…” Scheduled appearances for the September 7th meeting included: Jennifer Fischer, Meagen Fischer, Alcester Ward II Candidate Dan Haeder, Alcester Ward II Candidate Trudy Hedden, Alcester Ward II Candidate Ron Manning, Dennis Jones(Townhouse Apartments) as well as four city council members who all had to reschedule their time commitments to accommodate the ‘oversight’. I was advised of the time and date of the rescheduled meeting and provided with an agenda via email on September 9th. So what did Mayor Glas fail to remember?

Under public input,

            I raised questions on the contract Union County has with the city of Alcester leasing Alcester city land for 99 years for the sum of $1.00 for Union County Fair use. At some point the Union County commissioners began to lease county-owned fair property during the off fair season to fund the fair. The city of Alcester did not give permission nor did the good citizens of Alcester receive any of the moneys derived from these sub-lets. These leases allowed the elevator to dump grain on Alcester property described as ‘fairground parking area.’ The grain was not removed in a timely manner degrading the property, causing significant loss of top soil when the rotten grain was scraped up, peeled back and hauled away leaving a weedy, muddy mess. Mayor Peter Larsen moved to protect this asset by insisting the Union County Commissioners get approval from the city to sub-lease the Alcester land asset around 2011, ruffling feathers of certain agri-businessmen who based upon second-hand gossip accused Mayor Larsen of picking on their Elevator! One of the ruffled roosters? Yup ole Mark Dysktra, who asked to be appointed to Ward III council position to which he admitted in the September 13th city council meeting during my input.

The Union County Commissioners on September 9, 2015, “auctioned off the fairground parking area to Tom Olson, Farmers Coop Society for $1250,” under the terms and conditions of lease specifically but not limited Special Considerations similar to the December 7, 2010, Lease with AGA,

“…should the Lessee’s use of the property cause any damage to or impede the growth of grass growing on the rental property or any other area of the Union County Fairgrounds, then Lessee agrees to re-seed the grass area damaged. The re-seeding will occur at the sole expense of the Lessee including: watering associated with the re-seed and re-growth of the grass area. Re-seeding will be completed with enough time to allow for re-growth prior to the end of the lease term.

Lessee agrees to use the rental property in a reasonable manner for the purpose of Open Storage of Grain on the Ground, and not allow the rental property to be misused and agrees to abandon the rental property upon the conclusion of this Agreement in a condition as good as the property was in upon the beginning of this Agreement with normal wear and tear excepted…”

During the August 10, 2016, Alcester City Council Meeting Councilman Mark Dykstra resigned from the Union County Fairboard stating,

 “…I cannot in good conscience put up with dumping grain on city ground…”

  • On August 2, 2016, during the Union County Commission meeting, the commissioners discussed current lease agreements and decided to follow the contract for penalties in the lease agreement as written.
  • On August 16, 2016, during the Union County Commission meeting, Ken Ehrp of Farmers Coop Society (elevator) met with the commissioners and following a discussion of the lease and the condition of the fairground property the commissioners voted (3 yea, 1 nay and 1 abstention) to follow the lease agreement to the full extent exacting a $5000 fine.
  • On August 30, 2016, during the Union County Commission Meeting, Mayor Tom Glas, Councilman Mark Dykstra and Councilman David Larsen met with the commissioners to discuss the $5000 penalty fine levied against Farmers Coop Society for damaging and not restoring the fairground parking area belonging to the city of Alcester. Councilman Mark Dykstra requested,

“that the county commissioners levy a partial fine now and defer the remainder of the balance until 2017…questioning where the $5000 would be placed as the city of Alcester owns the property…Chairman asked Dykstra if he would be the city council representative on the fairboard as he (Dykstra) resigned from the fair board recently…He (Dykstra) indicated he would be willing”*

(*per unapproved minutes of the August 30, 2016, Union County Commission Meeting published on line under the Union County Website)

So Councilman Dykstra what happened to your conscience? It appears it went to the dark side. First you resign, then you whine about a penalty fine of $5000 levied on Farmers Coop Society (they  cannot afford $5000.00 penalty fine?) and you want to negotiate the fine down to some-sort-of installment plan arguing my question with a non-answer, “the Farmers Coop Society will bring in large property taxes”.

  • Yo! Councilman Mark, were you not an author of an incentive for a four to five year moratorium on property taxes for ‘new’ businesses in Alcester?
  • How many thousands of dollars of property tax would be generated on a couple of million dollar grain bins over four years?
  • During a out-of-meeting-discussion regarding possible annexation a couple of years ago, Councilman Mark you mentioned something about a possible retail storefront with sales tax coming to the city. According to an early Iowa SOS filing Farmers Coop Society only sold to members, however an update breaks sales down to:

2013 business done with or for members                  55%

2013 Business done with or for non members           45%

  • Councilman Mark it appears you, “take back your resignation from the fair board”. Apparently your seasons pass to FCS World has been renewed?
  • You stated in the newspaper, “if I got 10 or so folks to sign a paper (nomination petition) you would step down from the council”.

So much for your word!

  • So Councilman Mark, one could fairly (no pun intended) ask how does your city loyalty score compare to your loyalty score to your VP loan activities?

 

Then Mayor Glass waded into the murky pool!

Mayor Glas commented that,

“we should appreciate the elevator allowed us to use their scales to weigh the tractors for the tractor pull”

and

“…he did not see any damage to the city owned fairgrounds parking area…”

            Keep up Mayor Glas! The City of Alcester did not enter tractors in the tractor pull, it was the Union County Fair Board or an entity within the Union County Fair Board NOT the City of Alcester operating the tractor pull.

You did not see any damage? Mayor Glas I suggest you get a refund on your glasses! You stare at documents passed to you by Finance Office Jurrens as though you were a psychic peering into his crystal ball after having the palms of ten grade school children cupped around the ball and who had been given handfuls of hard candy while they waited to have their futures read! A couple of feet of top soil has been lost to the years of scraping spoiled grain off the land, failure to re-seed the grass, use of city paid water without (?) reimbursement and abysmal failure of the lessee NOT to despoil a City asset!

However, Mayor Glas sure can see Madam Deem’s pesky bricks! Although Madam Deem’s rent is budgeted to go up from $1200 per month per year to $1300 per month per year and Councilman Mark said, “it is about time!”  So what happened to bidding out the Bar?

By the way, I got NO answer to my question!

                                                                                                                                         Vickie Larsen

 

09/02/2016 A Voice From the Gallery

Johnny's pants

This is dedicated to John L. Sandy (Spirit Lake) and his February 18, 2004, sworn deposition in Dickinson County (Iowa) , #PCCV 021330, with appearances by Mr. Lonnie B. Saunders, Assistant Dickinson County Attorney and Mr. Michael J. Jacobsma, Attorney for the defendant.

        I quote to Johnny:

“…What infernal serpent

Has lent you his forked tongue?

From what pit of foul deceit

Are all these whoppers sprung?

 

Deceiver, dissembler

Your trousers are alight

From what pole or gallows

Do they dangle in the night?”*

 

*referenced to an 1810 Poem by English writer William Blake but I cannot authenticate it as a William Blake work.

                                                                                                                           Vickie A. Larsen