The Ottumwa Courier

April 3, 2013

Don’t allow culpability to rewrite history


BLAKESBURG — I read with great interest the Courier’s article concerning the ombudsman’s findings in response to complaints filed by the Blakesburg Historical Preservation Society. I have said from the beginning that the Blakesburg council members had all the power to stop the assault initiated by the former mayor against the BHPS during the summer of 2011. For whatever reason, they were simply unwilling to do that.

But let’s not allow the culpability of the council to re-write Blakesburg history. It was the former mayor’s leadership that embroiled the city of Blakesburg in yet another lawsuit. Wikipedia describes leadership as “organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal.” So what conceivable goal, pray tell, did the former mayor have when he set in motion a sequence of events that appeared to be an attempt to dismantle and destroy the BHPS … the dedicated volunteers trying to preserve the history of Blakesburg? With leadership running amok and despite repeated outcry from his constituents, the former mayor, held unchecked by four of the five former city council members, was unrelenting in that apparent quest. Ultimately, it was up to the citizens of Blakesburg to say “enough” when they soundly ousted the former mayor from office in November 2011.

Former president Harry S. Truman used to reference the sign he kept on his desk in the Oval Office in his 1950s speeches. That sign read “the buck stops here.” The people of Blakesburg would be wise to remember that for this situation, the buck stopped at the desk of the former mayor.

Deb Wilson