LETTER TO THE EDITOR - Issues and the Storm Lake election

Tuesday, November 6, 2001

It was for citizens who wanted to meet who is running for Mayor of Storm Lake and Sherise Gibson who is seeking a position with the city council. We got to meet approximately 30-40 people throughout the day and we were able to answer many questions and get many ideas from the citizens.

I discussed with some lovely ladies from Lake Pointe Villa the problems senior citizens were having with lack of parking space in front of the senior center and other concerns that revolved around the senior community. I advised that if elected I would form a panel and would definitely look into how we as a community could make the necessary accommodations or arrangements to assist them with their needs if at all possible.

I also voiced my concern with how the city is being run and the recent closing of some of our businesses. If elected I would like to have a town meeting and ask businesses and merchants what they need from the city and the people of Storm Lake to keep their businesses open and prospering. A Super Wal-Mart doesn't seem to be the answer for our economy right now. I am all for new businesses to come to our area and will look for ways to attract new prospective business persons to move to Storm Lake. When you kill the little mom and pop business and kill the business that have roots in a community, you essentially kill the community.

Both Gibson and I are concerned about the lake and want to work close with the LPA to see how the City of Storm Lake can help with

finding funding to dredge the lake. I argue that we need to work with the county, state and city as a whole, as we all

benefit from the lake and what it has to offer. I believe that the lake is not just the DNR's responsibility, but should be the concern of everyone. I do not have a clue where the city could find the funds to support the dredging, but if elected I will spend the time to search every avenue available to the city to find the funding if it is out there...

I am concerned with the shortage of lower-income housing, my biggest concern is the low wages that are offered in this region. A recent survey of young people showed that 65 percent of the students will move out of the area because of low pay and lack of jobs. I can understand why our youngsters are moving from this region to find better opportunities. Allowing our larger employers to continue to offer lower wages should be a major concern to everyone and should be addressed head on. I

understand there are a lot of houses for sale and I am

wondering if so many people have moved, is it for better

paying jobs?

I believe that SLADC could do a better job in serving as our liaison outside the community to bring in better paying jobs to Storm Lake and would like to meet with individuals to see what is and has been done to improve this. We as a

community should become more aggressive and try to offer some incentives that will attract companies that will enhance our community and bring better paying jobs to our citizens.

Gibson told some guests that she read that Kruse said city hall has tried to hire bilingual staff. She would like to see it published in the paper how many bilingual citizens are actually on the staff at city hall, how many work for the court house, how many are firemen, how many work for the city street department, how many are on the police department, (not counting the two that have worked as interpreters)...

One thing that really bothered some of the people that attended the meeting was their concerns about the non-English speaking citizens that live in Storm Lake. They suggested that if a business is going to bring non-English speaking citizens to Storm Lake, they should pay for classes for their employees to learn the English language. This will encourage the parents to speak English at home and their children will pick up the English language faster.

It was also suggested that the neighborhood watch program be reinstated to help relieve some of the pressures from our local police department. I would like to reinvestigate the the duties of the safety

committee. I believe that this position should not be a paid position and maybe the mayor could appoint someone to this position, saving the city some money. I don't understand why (Public Safety Director Mark) Prosser is being double paid by the city. Couldn't we take that wage and hire another officer to protect Storm Lake?

Many citizens voiced their concerns about the closing of so many streets for the railroad crossings and the dark streets and corners throughout the town. All these things cost money, we know that, but these are important issues that we want addressed. We need to take care of basic things before we spend our money on an Aquatic Center. Our students and citizens can visit the indoor pool at university. They have opened their doors and we should take advantage of that opportunity.

One guest asked me why I didn't show up for the Storm Lake's Business and Professional Women

candidates forum. I expressed my regrets and stated I had a previous commitment.

I received my invitation to attend the function on Oct. 13, and could not rearrange my schedule on such short notice...

I believe that this will be a spirited election and hope that all the citizen's of Storm Lake get out and vote. This is

important to them, their families, the community and the future of Storm Lake.

Tom Ellis

Candidate for Storm Lake Mayor