May 17, 2015, election letters

May 17, 2015, election letters

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Kooiker represents city well as mayor

In campaigns, one expects the challenger to run against the incumbent’s record, to disagree with specific decisions. No administration is beyond criticism, including Mayor Sam Kooiker’s. But the opposition needs to have a basis for its attacks.

That seems to be absent from the vague complaints coming from the Steve Allender camp. I ask myself while reading reporting on the campaign, “what is he saying?” The bafflegab about “capacity,” “style” and “hidden potential” leaves me wondering. Mr. Allender criticizes Mayor Kooiker for his actions during the civic center expansion debate. What? An elected official turns to the voters to ask their opinion, admits he was wrong, and heads in the direction the voters point? Heaven forfend. Other critiques include the record on our economy (inaccurate), lack of transparency (could be improved, but much better than predecessors), and micro-management. Mayor Kooiker has a detailed understanding of city government — down in the weeds. That’s what it takes to run any municipality. Micromanagement is preferable to speechifying any day one spends as a taxpayer.

I don’t always agree with the mayor; I appreciate his professionalism and accessibility. He answers constituents who challenge and disagree, he listens and weighs, even if he votes against a position.

— Suzanne Martley, Rapid City

 Allender has shown he's a leader who listens

There are a lot of good qualities in Steve Allender and the current mayor. But after sitting down and visiting with Steve Allender it is very clear that Steve has the experience to select people who are qualified to help the various communities in Rapid City.

Steve has the experience to bring all viewpoints on community issues to the table in order to form an action-item list to move social issues forward for the betterment of our citizens. Steve has a proven track record of surrounding himself with different viewpoints other than his own in order to add vision to solutions no matter how small.

The world is getting more complex and so is Rapid City — let’s elect a mayor who has proven experience in handling community issues with teamwork. Vote Steve Allender for Rapid City mayor.

— Amanda Scott, Rapid City

Kooiker fought to preserve prayer at meetings

I encourage everyone to re-elect Sam Kooiker for mayor. He has demonstrated real leadership and real integrity. When agitators tried to bully the City Council into stopping prayer before council meetings, Mayor Kooiker stood first. The City Council firmly stood with Mayor Kooiker on this issue and ignored the freedom from religion threats. And last year the U.S. Supreme Court agreed and affirmed previous precedent.

Sam responds to the will of the people. This kind of public service deserves recognition and the people of Rapid City should stand with Sam and return him to office.

— Daniel M. Gammeter, Rapid City

Wright led the way to repair tombstones

When it was brought to our community’ s attention that our cemetery headstones needed care and maintenance, Jerry Wright, City Council president, stepped forward and worked with the political process and public awareness.

 A Rapid City Journal front-page article presented the dilemma, with two very generous families donating $37,500 to fund the repair project. City staff and local monument companies will do the work. Jerry showed a sincere caring for those whose lives and memories are left in stone.

This was a great effort on the part of all involved, showing respect for our heritage and history and especially to our ancestors.

— Ritchie Nordstrom, Rapid City

 Allender is willing to make tough decisions

Choosing an effective leader is one of the most important responsibilities community members have, yet too often too many individuals relinquish that decision to others to make. In a few short weeks, we will be deciding who will lead our community for the next two years, and each of us has an opportunity to participate in this important decision.

The incumbent is a good person, by many standards, and he has strived to please his constituents during his time in office. But executive decisions and actions that are based primarily upon attempting to please, appease or placate potential voters, as we’ve seen for the past four years, simply cannot be described as effective leadership.

On June 2, Rapid City has an opportunity to choose a man with real and proven leadership skills. Steve Allender has the experience, the qualifications and most importantly the courage to make tough decisions and provide the direction that will ensure that Rapid City continues to move forward positively and to be the “Star of the West” we so proudly proclaim our community to be. Please vote on June 2, and please join me in supporting Steve Allender as our next mayor.

 — Christopher Grant, Rapid City

Kooiker brings experience to mayor’s office

I would like to thank Mayor Sam Kooiker for serving Rapid City as an elected official, first on the City Council and then as mayor for the last four years.

He has demonstrated principle-centered leadership and a willingness to take on the difficult issues that face Rapid City. He has significant experience in the both the private and public sectors. He has sought input from the business community and collaborated with various stakeholders to advance our local economy. In addition, he has addressed the difficult issue of discrimination in our area.

For these reasons, among others, I believe he has earned another term as Rapid City's mayor.

— Andy Ainslie, Rapid City

Allender is a leader, not another politician

No to Sam Kooiker. His first campaign was extremely dirty and based on lies.

As mayor he endorsed unqualified friends to run against Auditor Julie Pearson and Register of Deeds Donna Mayer. Sam Kooiker made campaign robo calls, a shameful political grab for power. Voters said no. When Allender resigned as chief of police, a leadership succession plan was in place for the assistant chief and two captains. Kooiker picked the panel to select the new chief: Bad idea. Kooiker is arrogant and picked a junior officer and personal friend ahead of three more qualified and experienced officers. No time for the required review by the city's Legal and Finance Committee. Smarter people with ethics stopped Kooiker's unwise scheme and appointed Karl Jegeris to be chief. Sam Kooiker goes to funerals and passes out his "medallion." This is politics. It is disgusting.

Yes to Steve Allender. He earned the highest respect as chief of police, a difficult job with a large budget and large staff. He is ethical. He is confident. He has "class." Allender is better qualified for mayor than previous candidates. We are lucky he is dedicated to community service. Steve Allender is a leader not a politician.

 — Edie Boulter, Rapid City

Wright an advocate for the entire community

On behalf of my friend of over 40 years, l write to encourage Ward 3 to re-elect Jerry Wright to the City Council. Councilman Wright is a graduate of the South Dakota School of Mines and has a Master' s degree from Purdue University.

He has used his training and life experiences to serve our community. One most recent event was his support of the renewal of the campus area and the recent building of Rocker Square and the Newman Center. His work, along with the other city elected officials, helped to improve the environment and safety of our students. He has continued his service as a trustee on the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Foundation Board and works to support and build the community relationship between the South Dakota School of Mines and the city of Rapid City.

Again, I encourage all Ward 3 voters to retain such an advocate for the entire Rapid City community.

— Larry Simonson, Rapid City

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