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‘Observation Post’ Category

  1. Leaders Lawyer Up

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    February 23, 2012 by Steve Winkler

    My wife and I enjoy watching teevee police dramas on DVD. We like to give sections of the show a second viewing to find that visual clue that can be overlooked. The shows all stick pretty close to the same formula; find the body, introduce suspects, investigate, throw in a plot twist, have a chase and put the bad guys away. One of the standard scenes for these shows is the interrogation of a suspect. The detectives are sweating the suspect when he/she suddenly realizes they may be in bigger trouble than they thought and ask for an attorney. This is when Brisco exits the interrogation room and tells Lt. Van Buren “they lawyered up.” Sophisticated police drama fans know what this means; suspect can no longer be questioned. Darn. (But this of course pushes the story forward). This was the mental image I got when the Observer asked West Fork council members to explain their vote granting spot zoning for Mike Landa’s residential property in a residential zone which created a two acre commercial zone. Here’s what Observer reporter Renee Reed encountered. Email inquiries were sent to the six aldermen and alderwomen who voted for overriding the planning commission. …

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  2. Rezoning Vetoed

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    February 20, 2012 by Steve Winkler

    The West Fork rezoning saga isn’t over. Mayor Frances Hime filed a letter today with City Clerk, Kristie Drymon notifying her of the mayor’s veto of the city council’s  “decision in favor of Mr. Michael Landa’s Appeal of the West Fork Planning Commission’s denial of his application for rezoning of 997 McKnight from residential to commercial. In her letter Mayor Hime said she has placed Mr. Landa’s appeal on the March Council Agenda “where a discussion of any legal basis for the Council’s decision may have been contrary to the public interest.” Mayor Hime was not in attendance, recusing herself from the appeal because of her litigation with Landa. Charlie Rossetti, who served as mayor pro tem during the meeting, is currently engaged in a real estate deal with Landa. The appeal passed 6-0. Councilman John Foster was not in attendance. Read the Observer’s previous coverage of the rezoning issue here and here.

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  3. Can I be Your Boss?

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    February 19, 2012 by Steve Winkler

    If you’ve lived in West Fork long enough to have had any dealings with city hall, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the long-standing GAB Policy (Go Ask “Butch”). For decades, Mr. Bartholomew has been the go-to-guy for permission, advice and favors covering the full range of city services. A few months after the citizens elected the reform-minded Frances Hime as mayor, she removed his Business Manager title. But Mr. “B” is the darling of the council and they have gradually been restoring his domain. His influence in the lot split process was returned a few months ago. Then at the January council meeting, during a discussion of a school groups request to use the city’s marquee in front of city hall (aka hillbilly website), the council designated Mr. B to be the guardian of the marquee message. OK, it’s a small thing. Then while trying to understand the process for recruiting and selecting volunteer citizens to fill the four vacant positions on city commissions I became aware that there is no application form to be filled out. So, how does one apply for one of the openings on the Planning or Water Commission? You guessed it Go Ask Butch. Keep in …

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  4. We Don’t Need No Stinking Zones

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    February 15, 2012 by Steve Winkler

    Applause broke out at the West Fork Council Meeting Feb. 14 when Mike Landa received a unanimous “yes” vote on his appeal of a Planning Commission denial for a rezoning of his property on McKnight Ave. from residential to commercial. Not everybody was thrilled. His next door neighbor who thought he had made his home in a quiet neighborhood of estate homes was now living next to a commercial property complete with trailer truck traffic, swimming lessons, a playground and the ultimate noise maker, a front-yard heliport. Some council members seemed confused by the complexity of the issue and big words being used. The city attorney mentioned “arbitrary and capricious” without explaining the meaning. He did, however, point out the can of worms they would open if they created a commercial island-zone in the residential area. The council, however, liked the other argument that there was already commercial activity on the street. Never mind that it was there because the city hasn’t been vigilant in enforcing zoning and land use regulations. The point that was driven home by Landa and his attorney throughout the presentation and the one that resonated with the council was that Landa “Had a Right.” Plus, …

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  5. I Can Do That

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    January 3, 2012 by wcobserver

    Only one day left to get my application in for the lottery director job. I don’t meet the requirements but this is America, everybody has a chance…right?  It’s not about qualifications, and accomplishments, it’s about getting lucky; maybe all the other 49 applicants will withdraw for some reason. Who knows, somebody has to get the job, it could be me.

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  6. Give It a Try

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    December 25, 2011 by wcobserver

    We’ve all heard the quotes and the survivors heeded the advice. “Adapt or die … onward through the fog … he not busy being born is busy dying.” Whether it’s called “flexibility” or “bobbing and weaving” being able to adjust the emergent realities in every human endeavor is essential.

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  7. Steve Winkler’s about to get a blog

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    December 23, 2011 by wcobserver

    Everybody, lookout! It’s going to be like Publisher’s Pondering — but in your digital face.

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