By Kay Lammers
In all of my 22 years at Marion City Council meetings, I have never experienced the spitefulness that has gripped the present council.
What started as a concern regarding residency for city elections in Marion has turned into a full-blown vendetta against Mayor Allen Bouska. The mayor has already been vetted and his candidacy had approval from the state and three representatives from the city — former Mayor Paul Rehn, former council member Steve Sprague and our finance director Wes Nelson declared him an eligible candidate.
A group calling themselves Citizens for a Better Marion has been at every council meeting literally harassing Mayor Bouska since council member Craig Adamson lost his bid for re-election.
Bouska, a retired Navy Commander with 26 years of service and flying in Vietnam, has owned a business in Marion for 23 years. He has owned several businesses in his career and is the first actual business man to become mayor of Marion in years. He is a longtime supporter of youth sports and champions Marion at every opportunity.
He became an activist when the council decided to reroute traffic off business Highway 151 onto Sixth Avenue and install several roundabouts. He is well aware of how moving main roads impacts small businesses and he took the proper steps to become part of a solution, not the problem. Bouska hired an attorney and did everything required by state law to establish residency that allowed him to run for mayor. He won his seat by 53 percent without belittling the opponent.
Apparently the majority vote is not good enough for a small faction. The night of the election, two sitting council members were interviewed on KCRG-TV9 and voiced dissatisfaction at the loss of their choice for mayor. They stated that “he (Bouska) had better work with us.” That attitude has not changed even though Bouska has supported much of what has been done.
I recently attended a council meeting and was appalled at the personal attack on Bouska. This is a ploy to unseat a sitting mayor. This action will cost the taxpayers to respond to their allegations. This group has already been contacting Marion business owners to see if they will support Adamson for mayor.
I agree that the city should set a criteria for residency and stick by it. As a former council member, I have seen an abuse of our residency requirements, all in the name of “we have home rule, we can do what we want.”
Bouska has been a professional through this entire character onslaught and deserves the respect that a man in his position should have.
Let’s hope that the Citizens for a Better Marion will not continue to drag the mayor and this great community down to their level.
Kay Lammers is a former Marion City Council member. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org