Saturday, January 27, 2007

Candidate Wants Clarification

Dear Editor:

I’d like the opportunity to clarify a few points in your Jan 20-26 issue.
1. The Miniature Museum was not purchased during my tenure as Mayor. If it had been presented, I would have vetoed it.
2. During my term as Mayor, the Goldenrod was a successful family entertainment venue. Later it was allowed to deteriorate and was mismanaged. The City spent $1.4 million after my term as mayor to build a dock area and then gave away a national treasure.

3. I don’t recall fighting hard to defeat a bill that would have prevented people living outside of St. Charles from serving on St. Charles boards and commissions but if Rory says I did, I’ll take his word for it.


Grace Nichols

Editor’s Response,

Grace thank you for being a loyal reader of the First Capitol News

1. In regards to the Miniature Museum, we will re-check our information and if there has been an error we will be happy to correct it.

2. Concerning the Goldenrod Showboat, records we obtained from the City revealed the Goldenrod was a white elephant and financial drain on the taxpayers from the day the City took ownership. Those records reflected the boat never made a profit for the City. In fact, the cost to St. Charles taxpayers was more than $5 million dollars that the City spent on the Goldenrod Showboat and the dock that sits vacant in Frontier Park.

When the boat was purchased in 1990, your administration estimated the showboat would make the city over $5 million. As demonstrated in this paper, using City records, this was never to be and as of March 2002, the Goldenrod had cost the city taxpayers over $5 million.

In 1992 an editorial in a local publication pleaded with St. Charles residents to “attend shows and support the Goldenrod.” In another publication you are quoted, “Then Mayor Grace Nichols explained, “ It (Goldenrod Showboat) dovetailed well with our plans to develop the Missouri Riverfront with historic boats.” (Sue Schneider, Business Network, “Broadway Style” May 1991, p.10).

In a story in the Journal by Dennis Miller on January 31, 1990 titled, City has eyed Goldenrod for several months; Councilman Kenneth Keilty (who is now running for election in Ward 8) was quoted as saying the Goldenrod will provide “An opportunity for very wholesome, nationally known entertainment to come to our community”.

Then, after you were voted out of office by 80 percent of the voters, it was discovered it would take another million or so dollars to bring the Goldenrod up to Coast Guard safety standards. The Coast Guard, for safety reasons, would not allow the city to simply shut the boat down and remain derelict sitting at the dock. Councilman John Gieseke led the charge to rid the taxpayers of this financial drain. “It’s (The Goldenrod) an albatross around our neck,” Gieseke said. “We were told only $100,000 now the estimate to fix the vessel is much more. When is enough, enough?” Proposals were received for the boat and when there were no monetary offers it was given to a local businessman who moved it from St. Charles.

3. Your remark about Rory confuses me. Rory (I assume you are talking about Councilman Rory Riddler) did not provide us with any information. Despite what your friend and political ally Ken Kielty would like people to believe, Rory has no connection with this publication other than he writes a regular column. An opportunity we extended to all members of the council and the mayor. We are experienced investigators and quite capable of acquiring information on our own.

On June 28, 1994 Councilman Bill Conrey introduced a bill that would require all appointed board members to live in the City of St. Charles. He said it was only fair that the commissions making decisions about life in St. Charles should include only people who live in the City.

On July 14, 1994 an article titled “COUNCILMAN’S BILL REQUIRING RESIDENCY DRAWS MAYOR’S FIRE, appeared in the Post and was written by Tommy Robertson. Portions of the article state, ‘But Mayor Grace M. Nichols said the bill would make it even harder for her to make appointments. Nichols was a strong opponent of the bill when Conrey introduced it two weeks ago. “She (Nichols) said the bill was an unnecessary and restrictive intrusion into her appointive powers.

You were evidently successful in the defeat of that bill. Recently the City Council passed such an ordinance.

Once again, thank you for reading the First Capitol News.