Letters Council was trying to serve interests

To the editor:

I would like to correct your statement made in the July 7 article entitled "Slagle: Recent news inaccurately depicts city council's actions." In the article you stated: "? he (Slagle) also revealed tidbits of information never mentioned at public meetings during and after last year's cable television negotiations."

Your statement merely serves as an additional example (among others) of the erroneous factual reporting that you have published on this matter. Furthermore, those tidbits (as you call them) also illustrated how you were factually incorrect in your front page editorial when you asserted that the council was stubborn and uncompromising in its negotiations with DTG.

In fact, the information (tidbits) I discussed at the July 3 council meeting had been presented in regularly scheduled council meetings over the course of negotiations with DTG. Since I was serving on another committee, I did not serve on the committee that conducted the negotiations with DTG, nor did I attend any of that committee's meetings. The information I discussed at the July 3 meeting was obtained by me from that committee's reports presented at those open meetings, and it was also available to you.

My personal involvement, outside of council meetings, was strictly limited. As I stated in the July 3 meeting, Mayor Radigan and I did meet with Mr. Bill Heaston of DTG at his request. The city's telecommunications lawyer in Chicago and DTG's attorneys disagreed on a point of law. Even though I was not a committee member, Mr. Heaston asked to meet with me because he knew I was also an attorney.

It was at that meeting that I suggested the compromise regarding the cable franchise fee. The purpose of the Heaston meeting was discussed at the prior council meeting, and a report was given by Mayor Radigan and me at the next regular council meeting. Obviously, the information from the Heaston meeting was also made fully public at that time. Unfortunately, DTG never responded to the compromise offer.

Finally, my comments made in the July 3 meeting were not intended to suggest that you refrain from criticizing the council or any of its members. I was merely making one point. Before you publish your criticisms and opinions, I would hope that you conduct a sufficient inquiry to avoid factual inaccuracies, omission of essential facts, and unsupported commentary. In this case, you not only incorrectly stated the facts, you apparently failed to conduct a sufficient inquiry into the matter to gather the correct facts.

We were all disappointed that an agreement could not be made with DTG for some of the same reasons you mentioned in your commentaries. However, it is equally true that the council was dealing with complex technologies which were changing rapidly, and a complicated new federal law governing those technologies. This was also a matter of first impression to the council.

As I mentioned, the committee members spent countless hours of their own time trying to digest the information and make recommendations to the full council. The council was also trying to serve the long-term interests of the community in a contract that was to extend 15 years into the future.

I commend your attention to this matter of important public concern, but merely request that you try to improve in your factual reporting.


Frank Slagle

Alderman, SE Ward


Neighbors appear to be more progressive

To the editor:

I have found the series of articles recently published in the Plain Talk extremely interesting. Very few of the people I talked to followed the progress of the city council�DTG negotiations in detail. I for one appreciated the effort of David Lias in putting this scenario together in such a complete and understandable story.

It certainly appears that several of our neighboring communities took a much more progressive attitude and are enjoying benefits that we in Vermillion are missing. I read the published comments by one of our aldermen in reply to Mr. Lias's June 23 article. It reminded me of a man going the wrong way on a one way street, and justifying his action by trying to convince every one he meets that they are going the wrong way!

It was also interesting to find out that he and the mayor had a private meeting with a representative of DTG during which he offered to give up the entire bargaining position of the city council! Why did he do this if he was so sure the council's position was correct? Also, was he authorized to do this?

In conclusion, it certainly appears as though a mistake was made. If it was, isn't it time to admit the error and start developing a plan to correct it?

Charles Amant


City should have been able to reach agreement

To the editor:

Alderman Frank Slagle and Mayor William Radigan need to inform the citizens of Vermillion why so many other cities in the surrounding area were able to work with DTG/McLeod USA and bring them to their cities.

Our city government should have been able to work out a telecommunication franchise agreement like other cities have and there is no excuse for not having done this.

Does the city council know something that the other cities did not know or did you want to keep competition out of Vermillion so that the citizens of Vermillion do not have a choice for cable TV, Internet access or local phone service that might lead to a lower price for those services?

Maybe all the citizens of

Vermillion that have cable TV should go out and replace it with a satellite system like Frank Slagle.

Bill Hensley


Vermillion has third-world cable

To the editor:

Thanks, Vermillion City Council, for all the hard work; look where it has gotten us. Vermillion still has the worst cable in the world except maybe for a few third world countries. Mr. Slagle responded at a city council meeting to the Plain Talk article about telecommunications that was written in June. One of Mr. Slagle�s comments was that the technology of the telecommunications industry is changing so rapidly that they did not want the city to enter into a long term contract with DTG. I wonder how long the city of Vermillion�s contract with its only current cable franchise was when cable was first offered to Vermillion? I think 20 years?

In this consumer�s market for telecommunications, I would like to be able to try out new technology before it is outdated. It is very sad that a city the size of Vermillion, with a university, lags behind a city like Elk Point. I also feel that the city council of Vermillion looks like a joke since all these other little towns are able to successfully negotiate deals with DTG/McLeod USA.

I do feel that most of the city councilmen and women are very competent and intelligent. I appreciate all the good things the council has done for Vermillion in the last few years especially.

Mr. Slagle should have asked the citizens of this city before he acted. Now we have to suffer with crappy cable reception and lagging telecommunications because the city wouldn�t compromise about franchise fees that amount to a few extra dollars a year. Now, DTG/McLeod USA is so busy working in cooperative communities, that they will be unable to expand in Vermillion for at least a couple of years, even if a deal was made today.

I would like to thank the Plain Talk for providing information on this topic. I feel that they did a great job in providing accurate information on this complicated issue.

Jon Callahan


Thanks for showing you care

To the editor:

Wow! If this is business as usual in Vermillion, you are all the best kept secret in the country!

My sister was attending color guard camp in Vermillion when she lost one of her contact lenses and realized that she had not packed an extra pair or her glasses. Since our parents were out of town, she called me. Not certain if there was anything that could be done, but knowing my sister would be miserable with her poor vision, I had her look up an eye doctor in the phone book. I called Eye Care Eye Wear.

After calling the eye doctor in our hometown for the prescription, the staff at Eye Care Eye Wear found a sample pair my sister could wear for the weekend of camp. This whole process involved time and energy from both the office staff and Dr. Johnson, and since they were able to find samples that would work in this emergency, there was no charge.

I do not know what we would have done if Dr. Cynthia Johnson and all her staff at Eye Care Eye Wear had not gone out of their way to help my sister. They proved themselves to be resourceful and very helpful. Thanks Eye Care Eye Wear, for showing you care!

Brenda Meyer

Owatonna, MN

Vermillion fireworks were exceptional

To the editor:

I want to commend Vermillion on the Fourth of July fireworks display and activities at Barstow Park.

I have watched the fireworks displays for years in Vermillion and a few out of town. I want to say this year�s was exceptional.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the work and sponsoring the Fourth of July activities.

Penny Tucker


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