Shaw wants his readers to believe that mayor Sam Kooiker is trying to manipulate contracts between the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Sutton Rodeos and The Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo. He leaped to this conclusion because Lyndell Peterson was a vocal supporter of the new mayor and happened to be on the BHSS&R board for several years. Shaw likely did not name Peterson in his column because he knows Lyndell and knows his own readers know him to be an honest man of unquestionable integrity.
"Curiously, a prominent county government official who publically endorsed Kooiker’s mayoral candidacy is also a long-time fair board member. Political foes ask if that could be a reason why Kooiker is showing favoritism by backing the county fair’s push to gain control of all of the cash from the Stock Show rodeo that was started 30 years ago by the Sutton family."Shaw's cowardice in not naming someone whom he implies is corrupt is typical of the rest of the column.
Shaw should know from his time as mayor, that the Sutton family did not start the Stock Show Rodeo. The Stock Show did. Yes, they contracted with Sutton to provide the rodeo stock. No, the Suttons do not own the Stock Show Rodeo. And, they never did.
Kooiker got into the matter when the Stock Show refused to sign a contract that bound them to the terms of a second contract to which they are not a party. The Civic Center and Sutton Rodeos entered into a contract that sought to control the Stock Show. When the Stock Show refused to participate, the Civic Center and Sutton Rodeos probably knew they could count on the former mayor to spin things their way.
Shaw's column, which is headlined: "Business as usual at City Hall" claims that Kooiker's administration is as guilty of being part of the "good old boys" network as his own administration and the administration Kooiker's replaced. Right. If it was business as usual, Kooiker would have allowed the inequity of the Stock Show and Sutton Rodeos agreements continue without question. And, he calls into question the integrity of Lyndell Peterson, one of the most respected public servants ever to hold an office in West River. I would be happy at any time to debate Mr. Peterson's integrity vs. Shaw's favorite "good old boy" benefactor, Doug Hamilton, the disgraced sexual harassment foreclosed upon slumlord.
The former King of Consultant Studies then takes the Kooiker administration to task for a "blatant example of apparent waste at City Hall." Blatant example of apparent waste? Huh? The council agreed to spend $150,000 for a study of what kind of pool to build to replace the Horace Mann Municipal Pool. Shaw was famous for a ready-shoot-aim perspective on things, which is evidenced by his decision to bid the Civic Center addition in two phases, a move that cost taxpayers millions. Kooiker and the new city council have done the right thing in funding the study to make sure the pool they build will be done correctly and meet the needs of the neighborhood.
Finally, Shaw criticizes the move by the council to hold meetings with the developers of Presidents Plaza. Shaw apparently has forgotten all the secret meetings he had with one of the same developers over the dead Rushmont project at the same location. What Shaw describes as an infiltration of secrecy, actually is an opportunity to shine more light on the project. Yes, council members will meet with Presidents Plaza developers regularly and will then report to the full council on the project's progress.
What Shaw hates to reveal is that he hates Sam Kooiker, who along with Alan Hanks sent him and his administration packing. What is puzzling is why the Journal continues to allow him 600 words a week to try to get revenge.