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The Lake News Online
  • My view: A new era for the LO/OB Boards

  • Well, well, well.

    A few surprises in the Lake Ozark and Osage Beach board of aldermen races. Not sure the results should be classified as “upsets,” but statistically it's rare for an incumbent to lose.
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  • Well, well, well.
    A few surprises in the Lake Ozark and Osage Beach board of aldermen races. Not sure the results should be classified as “upsets,” but statistically it’s rare for an incumbent to lose.
    In Lake Ozark, Jeff Van Donsel and Don Langely, who have been on the board since 2006, were ousted.
    In Osage Beach, incumbent Michelle Myler was still getting her political feet wet as she was finishing the unexpired term of Lois Farmer. Fred Catcott was finishing his first full term after being appointed to fill the late Dave Gasper’s term. Michelle and Fred now have more time on their hands.
    The four “losers” can re-direct their community involvement, which they should. There aren’t enough people willing to sacrifice a significant chunk of their personal lives to serve the public.
    There are a lot of us armchair politicos who wonder “what the heck?”
    Did I see this coming?
    In Lake Ozark, possibly. There’s no argument that the city has moved forward in the last few years. I’ve been a champion of what the board and administration have accomplished. It wasn’t too many years ago that city officials were better at shooting themselves in the foot than making a visionary decision.
    There’s been stability at the top with Mayor Johnnie Franzeskos and City Administrator Dave Van Dee. In fact, Van Dee may be close to holding the record for longest surviving city administrator in the last decade.
    The city of Lake Ozark is an enigma. Some of the people are happy with “the way things were.” No change, no vision; just let the city stumble along. Others have personal agendas driven by their bank accounts. And a few, apparently, recognize the progress that’s been made in recent years, but aren’t satisfied with either the pace or direction of the progress.
    The lower one-third of The Strip is an eyesore. So much potential, but little vision or investment. Yes, The Strip is rife with bars and restaurants, but the clamor among so many people — natives and visitors — is that The Strip has lost its family appeal. Yes, the Hot Summer Nights activities May through September are family oriented. Pardon the cliché, but there’s something for everybody.
    Gone are the popular arcade with ski-ball, bumper cars and water bumper boats.
    There was an unsuccessful push by some to allow open container drinking up and down The Strip. The area would be designated, but patrons could walk up and down The Strip with alcoholic beverage in hand without fear of legal retribution – unless other laws were broken.
    Page 2 of 2 - The open container issue was divisive, and I think voters saw some instability among the aldermen and city staff.
    There seems to be either a misunderstanding as to how the organizational chart is structured, or some on the board want to micromanage. Neither option makes for good government. One of the defeated aldermen challenged the authority of the city administrator a couple of months ago when the administrator brought some proposed changes to the personnel policy to the table.
    A mayoral committee appointed to review the policies has yet to make a recommendation.
    New alderman Gerry Murawski probably said it best: “The voters believe that a better job should be done and new people promise to do that job.”
    In Osage Beach, I honestly think the west end debacle lost the race for Catcott and Myler.
    Having watched the board of aldermen struggle with Key Largo, the west end and then the suspension of Parkway extension project, I’m not sure there were better solutions without bankrupting the transportation funds and ignoring the rest of the city.
    Phyllis Marose and Tom Walker bring interesting dynamics to the board. Let’s hope they are quick learners and respect the decorum that others before them have established.

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