A Visit from Mayor Ron

Mayor Ron Rolander, as part of his voter outreach effort, dropped by the house this afternoon. As those who care about Lindsborg are aware, there are a number of issues being debated during this mayoral and city council campaign.

For years I’ve been watching the whole situation with interest, first via the local paper, and then more closely once we moved back to town. For all that’s going on, I basically had 2 questions, and Ron, accompanied by Bob Lindholm, came in and we discussed what was on my mind.

First, I wanted to know about the Streetscape petition. After first reviewing the history of the project (thankfully, I did appear to understand the timing correctly, from the outset of the project through the July 2003 council meeting where the latest plan was affirmed), Ron turned to the issue of the petition.

He had a couple of points. One was that the petition wasn’t a legal petition and that many of the signatories weren’t eligible voters. He also felt that the petition contained less than accurate information. I mentioned that it still indicated a strong desire by the citizens to be heard, and asked what was the harm in putting it to a vote? He didn’t disagree, but said it raised issues such as, at what level of project complexity does it become important to have a city-wide vote? After consultation and consideration the mayor and city council decided that the July 2003 city council vote would stand as representing the will of Lindsborg.

My take is that a lot of people in Lindsborg are upset that the petition wasn’t acted upon, in terms of there being a Streetscape vote. I can understand that, but, I notice that in this election there are a couple of candidates running without opposition. How can this election be a vote on Streetscape if some of the Streetscape proponents are running unopposed?

The second issue had to do with the proposed cell tower. My understanding is that All-tel proposed to pay 10k$/year for 10 years if they got to put up a cell antenna on the local water tower. This also included a support building at the base of the tower.

What I learned today is that the city is already receiving 4500$/year for the use of a smaller antenna than originally proposed. What shocked me though, is that the antenna apparently will only work for All-tel customers. (If that’s true, the case for the antenna is much less compelling, imo.) Also, there is apparently some disagreement over how well landscaped/concealed the building would have been.

In any case, the controversy stems from the fact that the mayor cast the deciding vote against the project, citing citizen concerns expressed via a petition as the deciding factor in his vote. I agree that it’s interesting that one petition carries more weight than another, but I can also see that these really are two different issues and should be judged accordingly.

These are my notes written a couple of hours after the 3 of us chatted for about 20 minutes this afternoon. We also discussed other matters, such as the very strong need to increase Lindsborg’s marketing presence. Ron was pleasant to talk to and tried to answer all of my questions directly and to the point. I’ve read a lot about these issues and it was refreshing to hear directly from one of the primary parties.

Any errors in the above commentary are soley mine, and I welcome updates from Ron, John or any other interested member of the community.