Letter to the Editor

Okoboji's eminent domain

Monday, December 23, 2019

Teaching me the importance of setting a good example, a.k.a. "practicing what I preach" was a big deal to my mother. "What you do, speaks so loudly, that the world can't hear what you say" seemed to be Mom's answer to every excuse and rationalization I ever gave her for my poor behavior.

Right is always right. Wrong is always wrong, regardless of how we attempt to justify it. Practice what you preach. That certainly was taught when our three children attended Okoboji schools.

I had supposed that to be true now as well, which is why I am so incredibly disappointed in the decision of our past board of education to invoke their power of eminent domain and, by force of law, cause some older, longtime Milford residents to be forced to move from the homes they have lived in for years.

Yes, several times over the years these residents have been approached about selling their homes. Yes, the homes are "in the way" of plans the District has for the property. Yes, were it mine, I would have sold it a long time ago.

But the fact remains: the homeowners do not wish to sell. They have repeated this refusal several times. And yet our own local school board of education unanimously approved the administration's recommendation to invoke eminent domain, forcing these longtime residents from their homes. Would the same action have been supported if a board memberís family, or the superintendentís family lived there? What happened to "Character Counts" in Okoboji? What kind of person does this?

Why is it that this action has never been taken before? The only explanation I can come up with is that never before has an Okoboji Administration and Board of Education displayed this degree of ego, arrogance and lack of compassion.

"Because we can" appears to be their justification. Folks, all you need is patience, not this type of bullying. Eventually it would have been yours, and you could build whatever monument to success you desire. Even parking spaces.

We now have a newly elected majority on the board of education. What the Board has mistakenly done, can also be undone. Someone would have to say "I was hasty," or "I was wrong." Tough words for big shots to use. But it could be done, if the community makes it clear that is our collective desire. Yes, shame on the previous board, and on the administration. Shame on the new board if they do not review this decision. But, shame on all of us if we continue to allow this outrageous behavior on their part.

Proud to be One? Surely you jest. But someday I hope to be again.

Charles Peter