How does attacking City Hall attract businesses?

Fairmont City Councilman Randy Lubenow is really starting to open up. In public. At a City Council meeting. Amazing. No more secrets, maybe.

On Monday, Lubenow spoke about what he says is really going on with all the hubbub involving the decision of three council members (Lubenow, Tom Hawkins and Ruth Cyphers) to push the City Attorney out of her job.

According to Lubenow, it’s all about economic development. He says the people who elected him want changes at City Hall so the community can attract more businesses. Interesting. Who is he planning to target next?

How does the city affect economic development? Well, it has an economic development office. One of its big recent successes involved luring Zierke Manufacturing from Winnebago to Fairmont. The business is booming and would like to expand here. The city is helping with those plans. Yet Greg Zierke, the president of the company, was among the members of a committee seeking to have Hawkins recalled in wake of the decision involving the City Attorney. Guess he didn’t understand the Hawkins/Lubenow strategy. Not surprising. It’s difficult to understand.

The city also enforces regulations, such as building codes, a rental ordinance and housing maintenance ordinance. It has building inspectors. It has a code enforcement officer who works with police to clean up dilapidated properties.

The city follows state law when it comes to building inspections. If local officials believe state law needs to change then they should focus their attention on the state Legislature, not city staff. Unless they want city employees to break the law. Do they?

And, of course, the Constitution of the United States calls for due process in all legal matters, so the city cannot just order people around and expect immediate results when it comes to code enforcement. Nor should the city want to obliterate the principle of private property rights. That said, the code enforcement office has shown regular progress, although people being people there are always new eyesores with which to contend.

The city also has a fund it utilizes to tear down abandoned houses and buildings. This program has been a success in many neighborhoods.

So, just what is it that Lubenow expects the city to do that it is not doing? Wishing the city could attract more businesses is not a strategy. Neither is tearing apart City Hall in the hopes that your wishes will somehow be fulfilled.


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