FALLS CITY – Taking Back Our Community hosted a candidate forum in Falls City Tuesday where crime, enforcement and the way forward were scrutinized.
City Council candidate Terry Stradtman told the crowd of about 80 people that she lost a daughter to drug abuse and she is committed to bringing the plague of drugs to an end.
Stradtman: “I’m really for getting rid of the drugs because they are going further and further into our children and taking their lives away from us. I’m just really anxious to try and do something and give back to Falls City.”
Mayor Candidate Carla Rhodd sent a letter to be read. She suggested TBOC form three committees, one with a focus on drug prevention, another on neighborhood watches and a third on community improvements.
City Councilman Mitch Merz agreed with the committee idea.
Merz: “We have to get somewhere past this point. This meeting is great. We got a lot of things accomplished tonight, but we are saying the same things over and over and we are not getting the people here that need to hear.”
TBOC leader Bob Witt thanked candidates who attended, including county board candidate John Koonce and council candidate Kaylie Ractliffe. He also noted that many more had been invited.
Witt: “Like Stan Coupe says, if they’re not there, maybe they don’t care.”
Mayor candidate Shawna Bindle said she would view Taking Back Our Community as an asset to city government.
Bindle: “With committees like what you guys are willing to form, you’re a voice in the community. Use that voice and continue to be heard. I commend you for what you’re doing. Taking a stand for your community is not always easy, but it’s always important and Falls City is worth it, Richardson County is worth it.”
The group discussed rural town response times, votes to retain judges, the effectiveness of the judicial sentencing and city issues such as nuisance properties.
Ractliffe: “Like you said, the police department does a great job. They have a dedicated nuisance officer who goes out and really does most of that, all day on weekdays, so I don’t think it’s necessarily a lack of somebody going out there and checking on these things. I think, one of the comments that was made earlier a lot of it really kind of a judicial system thing.”
TBOC member Rita Fischer drew applause when she said the Falls City Police Department has been a doing a great job and offered her services, as well.
Fischer: “If you notice any suspicious activity and you feel something is not right, it’s probably not. If you don’t want – I understand a lot of people have fear of retaliation – But, if you don’t want to make the call, my number is always on the Facebook site. Call me up, I’ll be glad to relay the information.”
Witt said he hopes a next step will be to engage the state Legislature on a variety of public safety issues.