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Striking a balance benefits all

September 25, 2012
Messenger News

"Compromise" is not a four-letter word.

This is a lesson often lost on elected officials, who confuse grandstanding and empty rhetoric for leadership. But governing must involve more than pandering to a narrow group of like-minded individuals.

A potential solution regarding two controversial Fort Dodge issues was announced Sept. 20 after discussions between Mayor Matt Bemrich and Councilman Robert "Barney" Patterson.

Under that plan, which was approved by the council in a 6-1 vote Monday, Bemrich pledged to not veto the reconstruction of Sixth Avenue Northwest in exchange for assurances that the majority of City Council members will vote to accept $711,600 in state grant money for the proposed crosstown connector.

Patterson was among the four council members who voted in favor of the Sixth Avenue project, in which that street will be rebuilt between Second and Third streets northwest at a cost of $304,158.50.

He is also among those who have voiced their opposition to the crosstown connector project, which would turn First Avenue South into a two-way street all the way across Fort Dodge, involving a street realignment that would join First Avenue South and Second Avenue South with a new curving section of road between Fifth and Sixth streets.

Patterson was joined by councilmen Kim Alstott, Dave Flattery, Andy Fritz, Don Wilson and Dean Hill in approving the compromise measure Monday. Councilman Mark Taylor, an outspoken opponent of the crosstown connector, was the lone "no" vote.

Since the 2011 election, the Fort Dodge City Council has seen sharp divisions among its members. At a recent public forum, Alstott bemoaned unwillingness to compromise among some of his colleagues who, in his words, "want what they want and they're not going to budge."

"I would like to see the council talking with each other," Alstott said. "I don't like the divisiveness."

Neither do we.

Monday's council vote shows new promise of solutions that will benefit the entire city. We commend council members who are willing to transcend faction and take into account the betterment of the entire city. By working together, everyone can win.



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