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Letters: May 29, 2011

Letters: May 29, 2011

  • Updated

Hanks, Kooiker should respect each other

During the mayoral forum sponsored by SANI-T, I was reminded of the gubernatorial race between Steve Kirby and Mark Barnett. These two candidates constantly put each other down, very critical each other.

They lost sight of the people who do the electing and focused only on the negatives of each other, and because of this, the state ended up electing Mike Rounds.

This landfill issue is not political. It’s personal. It shows the deals and personal relationships that some elected people have and how those relationships affect the decisions they make.

Throughout the mayoral forum, Alan Hanks and Sam Kookier have brought up negative issues about each other. Instead of showing respect for the people who elect them, they disrespect themselves and the process of getting elected.

Ron Weifenbach told the people, “I am not owned by anybody, and I use my heart to make decisions.” Two things that a politician would never say. Sometimes history repeats itself.



Rapid City

Hanks a positive, proven leader

My vote for mayor is for Alan Hanks, a positive and proven leader. Under his leadership, Rapid City has prospered and continues to move forward.

Mayor Hanks is the only candidate who has experience as a councilman, legislator and mayor, to keep this momentum going.

Negative complainers would like you to believe that things are not going well in Rapid City and that a change is needed. But look around you. Rapid City is doing great. We don’t need a change. We need more of the same.

Join me in voting for a positive and proven leader, our mayor, Alan Hanks.


Rapid City

Kooiker paid own costs to spare taxpayers

“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”  Mark Twain

After Mayor Alan Hanks led the city council down the path to censure, I urged Sam Kooiker to sue the city to recover legal fees he incurred trying to defend himself in a “hearing” of Hanks’ design, which was the greatest political travesty I’ve seen in South Dakota.

Sam is not wealthy. He is honestly devoted to his responsibility to watch over taxpayers’ dollars. So he refused to sue, quietly bearing the cost himself. Sam believed Rapid City had suffered enough, with a $17,000 bill to taxpayers for outside counsel the city hired to come up with utterly bogus charges based on utterly bogus evidence in that egregious hearing. Sam chose to spare taxpayers agony.

Earlier this year, I urged Sam to not resign from his job to run for mayor. He told me he owed it to the citizens to work full time so voters can make an informed decision. I was wrong. Twain got it right. Sam Kooiker’s hard-headed insistence on doing the right thing has left this voter gratified and astonished. It’s my honor to know this man.


Rapid City

Billboard initiatives take nothing from companies

I would challenge all our citizens to be on guard. The two initiatives that all of us will have the opportunity to vote yes to on

June 7 do not take anything away from the sign industry.

They can still put up billboards, just a farther apart so we are able to see our beautiful community and Black Hills. No change in size, they just cannot get bigger. No loss of billboards, even though some of the owners of the property they are on would like to get rid of them but are not able to. No additional cost, they will still only pay $75 per pole per year. Sometimes there are 4 signs to a pole which means $23.75 per sign that can make $12,000 a year income.

The digital signs they have are still there while we will still be able to see the stars at night because we will not have these signs everywhere. And the citizens of Rapid City will see an end to a liability that the sign companies helped create through the credit system. Ask them how much they feel each credit is worth. Know the facts and vote yes.


Rapid City

Why start over when Hanks does good job?

Alan Hanks is a very qualified mayor, and I heartily endorse him for another term. Our mayor and council terms are already too short — another issue, but related to this election.

The mayor’s leadership and

vision are evidenced by the 2020 plan that plainly states five goals for Rapid City relating to economic development, beautification, quality of life, infrastructure and growth.

The mayor is working with passion and dedication to implement these goals that will benefit all of us. There is citizen involvement in reaching these goals, and public input is requested and welcomed.

It makes no sense to start over at this time with a new mayor — like pulling up your tomato plants every two weeks to evaluate how they are doing.

Mayor Hanks does not work in a bubble as he helps our city move forward. He has a positive relationship with his colleagues, the Rapid City Area Chamber, other South Dakota mayors, county officials, the state Legislature, our congressional delegation and federal agencies.

Rapid City will be well served by re-electing Alan Hanks as mayor.


Former Rapid City Mayor

Rippentropp honest, committed, tireless

Kay Rippentrop, Ward 5 city council candidate, has the qualifications and experience to serve as an advocate for the concerns of the citizens of Rapid City.

She retired after 42 years of employment as an assistant to

11 mayors.

During her length of employment, she worked with numerous city council members, federal, state and local officials as well as the citizens of Rapid City.

Kay is honest, committed and tireless. She is a fiscal conservative who will strive to ensure taxpayers receive quality service.

Vote for Kay Rippentrop, a trustworthy professional with decades of experience.


Rapid City

Don’t impugn Wright’s integrity

Mike Sanborn’s recent letter uses scalding language to attack Jerry Wright for how he handled the landfill trial issues.

As if there weren’t laws on the books to keep our American justice system fair, Sanborn seems to think Wright should have drawn and quartered the scalehouse operator at the first hint of anything amiss. Sanborn also suggested we read the Journal’s landfill trial stories. Well, I just read the most important one.  Randall Meidinger: not guilty on all counts.

What does Sanborn say now? Will he next impugn the integrity of his fellow Rapid City residents who sat on the jury, hearing all of the evidence?

Maybe the taxpayers should just pay when the city gets sued for acting hastily, as Sanborn seems to think Jerry should have.

Jerry Wright wants to fix problems in the city he loves. Jerry owned a construction and trucking business for 12 years. Seems he, too, meets Sanborn’s criterion that council candidates must come from the private sector.

I worked with Jerry Wright, and as mayor of our city, I was darned glad Jerry was on my team. If you trust my recommendation, vote for Jerry Wright, as I am

going to do. 


Rapid City

Nordstrom not afraid to ask questions

I am urging all eligible voters in Ward 2 to vote for Ritchie Nordstrom. I have known Ritchie for a number of years. Through these years, Ritchie has always been one to listen when I needed to speak with him. In turn, he is not afraid to ask questions to gather more details to see how he can help.

This is a sure sign of someone who cares what others have to say, and who is willing to help, in whatever way possible, to better Rapid City.

Should you get the opportunity to meet Ritchie, don’t be afraid to share your views and concerns with the city. He will listen and do the research needed to improve the quality of life in Rapid city.

Ritchie has my vote, and he should have yours, as well.


Rapid City

Kooiker will ensure bright future for city

In these tough economic times, I want to know that my tax dollars are spent wisely and that waste is eliminated in our city government. I think of potholes and last-minute character assassinations as the current mayoral state of affairs.

On June 7, I plan to cast my vote for a man who is honest, proactive, and sincerely committed to efficient city government. I will “Stand with Sam” Kooiker to ensure a bright future for our city.


Rapid City

Kooiker could bring needed leadership 

Liberals support Hanks, while conservatives support Kooiker, judging from letters to the Journal. But a better way to judge a local nonpartisan election is to look at the personal characteristics of the two leading candidates. By this measure, the choice is easy.

Sam Kooiker brings to the table integrity, leadership, a commitment to transparency and a record of diligent constituent response so good it earned censure from Hanks and embarrassed council members.

Alan Hanks’ failed administration drifts from bad to worse. Journal space constraints limit details, although his terrible record is easy to document.

Here are a few key words or phrases that describe the pathetic Hanks’ record: Wingnut smear; kangaroo court censure; bad faith dealings with city employees; most executive sessions in the state; “forgetting” to ask Cabela’s to pay more than $160,000 in taxes; billboard pollution; desecrating park land multiple times (one attempt was stopped because it was illegal); landfill scandal; a policy of studied indifference toward discrimination; potholes and negligent snow removal. In short, one hapless blunder after another.

Four years of hanky-panky is more than we can afford. Rapid City needs new leadership. Rapid City needs Sam Kooiker.


Rapid City

Tourism claims not substantiated

A post card reached our house recently concerning the proposed billboard initiatives to be voted on in the June 7 city election.

Its writer stated that any additional restrictions on billboards in Rapid City would be bad for the local tourism industry. However, that statement was not supported by any facts.

My native province of Prince Edward Island, Canada has very strict regulations regarding billboards, which amount to an

almost complete ban. Yet the province remains a favorite tourist destination for thousands of Canadians and Americans each year and for people from as far away as Japan.

The best hotels and motels are usually booked solid for the summer season weeks, or even months, in advance. Therefore, I do not believe that approval of the proposed billboard initiatives would cause tourists to stay away from the Black Hills.


Rapid City

Nordstrom is a big man with a big heart

Ritchie Nordstrom is a big man who has a big heart, a good head on his shoulders and is nimble on his feet.

He is a retired blue-collar worker elected by his fellow city employees to represent them with the council. He is a Vietnam veteran and casual biker. He is a good listener, founded and edits a Black Hills Area community newsletter, and his hobby is teaching dancing to men and women alike.

He has also served as an officer and has frequently led many community organizations.

His listening, writing and organizing skills are qualities to be admired in any councilperson.

His moderate views, ability to get along with people of diverse opinions and, especially his nimbleness, will make him an excellent member of the council. 

I urge the citizens of Ward 2 to vote by June 7 for Ritchie Nordstrom for city council. He is indeed a candidate for all seasons. 


Rapid City

Hansen cares about his community

Jim Hansen cares about this community. He grew up in North Rapid and has raised his family in North Rapid for over 30 years.

As a police officer, he has chosen to work with the citizens of North Rapid his entire police


He was the school liaison officer for Central High School and maintained an excellent working relationship with the principal and teachers.

He was fair and consistent in his dealings with the students and helped parents understand issues relating to their teenage children.

Without doubt, communication is his strength. He speaks with conviction and is not afraid to make the difficult decision. Jim Hansen wants to contribute and improve Rapid City.


Rapid City

Kooiker resilient and unpretentious

I’ll be voting for council member Sam Kooiker. Although he may have committed a faux pas out of naivete, I believe it benefited him the most.

Examples of resiliency and flexibility are more of the norm. He lacks pretentiousness. When approached by constituents, he’s reaffirming and willing to invest time for solutions.

Let it not be said that he

doesn’t embody expertise. His insight has provided a discerning dissection when it boils down to who is a trusted and worthy liaison.

It seems grass-roots is his forte. Otherwise, his leadership would have been depleted. He understands the issues and he’s stated he believes the Rapid City voters are “wise.” I concur with that premise abundantly.

If we put things in perspective, Sam has demonstrated job description diligence and merits an opportunity to preside.

Sam has garnered enough experience and stood the test of time. Plus, I like someone who works well with others.


Rapid City

Sign companies spread fear, misinformation

Powerful billboard companies are subjecting the public to a steady diet of fear mongering, threats, distractions and disinformation about two billboard measures that will appear on the June 7 city ballot.

The vested financial interests will tell you anything to protect their cash cow.  

There are already too many off-premises billboards in Rapid City. They detract from the natural beauty that drives tourism and makes our town an attractive place to live.

The mechanisms of government designed to control unfettered growth of this blight have failed. And new digital technology threatens to blanket Rapid City with giant video screens, as demonstrated by the recent filing of 23 new billboard construction permits.

The initiatives are reasonable, legally defensible and simply make it significantly more difficult to erect additional billboards in the city.

They do not ban billboards.  They do not remove a single billboard. They do not affect on-site business. They do not affect public signage or advertising at baseball parks, golf courses, churches or anywhere else. To suggest otherwise are scare tactics designed to protect the profits of a parasitic industry that gives the community nothing in return.

Please vote yes on the billboard initiatives. 



Scenic Rapid City Committee

Nordstrom a friend to business and labor

I am asking voters in Ward 2 to support Ritchie Nordstrom for city council. I have known Ritchie for many years. We both worked at the city water treatment plant years ago. Ritchie went on to become the industrial waste technician for the city and has now retired from that position.

Ritchie is a friend of both business and labor, working in public service. He has gained a vast amount of knowledge in all the different types of city government operations. Ritchie is open-minded, honest, trustworthy and would represent all citizens of Rapid City in a fair and responsible way.


Rapid City

Hansen would work tirelessly for children

Jim Hansen is running for the school board from Area 4. Jim Hansen is an honest, decent, and respectable person. He is dedicated to his community through his service as a school liaison officer, a business owner and as an effective parent.

Our school board has many issues that need to be addressed, and Jim Hansen is the most qualified to resolve them. He will be

responsive to the citizens of Area 4 as well as to the rest of the city. Our children are the most important assets in Rapid City. Jim Hansen knows that and will work tirelessly for them. Please join us in voting for Jim Hansen.


Rapid City

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