Letter: Defeated mayoral candidate reflects on election, cityYes, I’m a sore loser. I’m not the only one. We all lose when the chance to interject some common sense is wasted.
By: Carol Culver, Worthington, Worthington Daily Globe
Yes, I’m a sore loser. I’m not the only one. We all lose when the chance to interject some common sense is wasted. We lose when the community we are all supposed to be a part of, is ignorant of the privilege given to us to vote. The voter turn out was pitiful, to say the least. The 2000 census states the population of the town at 11,283. I would think there are more of us here now, than then. But only 2,728 votes were cast for the mayoral position. I use that as an example because everyone in town got to choose. I would roughly estimate that means 6000-plus people didn’t vote. I grew up with a phrase that says, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” I’m not saying that 6000 people are ignorant; I’m proposing that 11,000-plus people are losers.
If you are privileged enough to have a really loud volume control on your TV, you might have heard the city council candidates state all the good things they had done in the past, and what their record was. I don’t care. I wanted to hear what they planned on doing in the future — the very near future. I heard why plans for a hotel/convention center plans were scrapped. I did not hear an alternative. I heard what great wealth of experience they had as businessmen; I did not hear that they could readily form a new plan.
I realize that being the keeper of the keys for the city’s financial, well-being is a vital qualification. I haven’t seen it in action. The city goes to Minneapolis for architectural concept designs when they have no clear idea of what it is they want, need and can afford. They go to Slayton for project management on those projects they gobble up grant monies for. I’m not saying we shouldn’t grab all that anyone is willing to hand out, but when we pay the property taxes, we assume, maybe, that the money is to stay for the tasks at hand in town, not go somewhere else. Is there no one in town that can perform these tasks?
The re-elected mayor states that Worthington should be a destination. To put the statement in context, he said this during a forum question regarding the two golf courses. Perhaps my downfall was in admitting that I don’t play golf. I’m betting that a lot of the customers that come to Worthington to shop at Wal-Mart, or work at Swift, don’t either. Worthington doesn’t seem to be a destination when there are strategic decisions to be made about the city. The council goes to Eden Prairie, St. Peter, or wherever else looks better to them.
This town is its own unique animal. It has a population that is diversified as well as unique. The cities that they compare us to are only comparable in population and the fact that they are in Minnesota. I have always found it interesting that the council never looks to Spencer, Iowa, as an example of what could be. Spencer took an under-utilized shopping mall and made it into a college, with other governmental offices included. Had the city got any answers for the Northland Mall? Spencer voted — voted, mind you — to refuse to let another meatpacking plant back into town. How much of the payroll from Swift actually stays in Worthington? Have you not had to wait in line at the post office or even at the customer service counter at Wal-Mart for those individuals who are purchasing money orders? Do you think they will utilize them rather than a bank account for making local purchases? I think not. Did you know that the Wal-Mart stores in Spencer and in Spirit Lake both have self-checkouts? Not here. My guess is that the local merchants feel the result of that enough already. It’s called shoplifting. Spencer doesn’t even have a parade and yet, during the Clay County Fair, not a hotel room is available. The fair association built a grand facility for use during the fair — for special events, for concerts, for all sorts of activities. This draws people in. This makes Spencer a destination.
I had plans for the city. It doesn’t matter what they are, or were. No one asked me. Please don’t ask me now. It’s apparent that they don’t matter. Personally, I would have preferred a knock-down, drag-out fight to a soft and fuzzy forum, but that’s the way it goes. You aren’t going to get what you want, and neither am I.
Yours with heartfelt sorrow,