August 17: Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor, and to the Citizens of Van Horn and ELECTED City Council members:

“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men “ -Plato-

I have lived in Van Horn for 24 years. I’m slightly embarrassed to say that Monday night’s city Council meeting was the first one I have ever been to. It will not be my last! I’m still in shock and disappointed over the whole thing. Complete unprofessionalism from a government board!

Let’s start with….

•None of the agenda items were explained or discussed in open session.

•CLEARLY it appears they had a walking quorum and made decisions BEFORE the meeting. (Illegal)

•They went into executive session for item 5 (contracts)

•There was a POTENTIAL investor for the community of Van Horn! He WAS going to build 12 duplexes, 24 new housing options! He was left waiting on Zoom. City Council NEVER acknowledged him, they showed zero respect or any plain ol’ common courtesy! They never addressed him at all! Do you think he’ll want to invest in Van Horn?

That move by the city council BLOCKED Economic Growth and Development!! But by-golly…. They got their splash park! We have city parks that are not properly cared for already! Why couldn’t the splash park go on one of those?

•After the executive session they voted on number 5 and immediately voted on items 6 & 7, with no discussion! It’s OBVIOUS they discussed these 2-line items in executive session or a walking quorum prior to the meeting!

•Robert’s rules calls for discussion after every motion before a vote, which did not happen on any of the items.

•Motions in most cases were not even stated just a verbal “motion for item 7”, for instance. Motions need to be in complete sentences and repeated for clarification.

•After the meeting there were extended gatherings of the board with a quorum present. (Illegal)

•On item 6 it was the removal of the Economic Development Corporation board and Staff. This same city council just voted in January to dismiss the last board! This new EDC board was hand-picked by the city council!

Here are a FEW items that this EDC board and the Executive Director Krissy Lerdal were working on:

•West Texas Spaceport Development Corporation. The Van Horn EDC director is the secretary on that board. Because of that connection she was working to bring 15 MILLION DOLLARS for water and wastewater infrastructure to the Town of Van Horn!

•This EDC board and the Director were working with companies to bring 2 large industries that would potentially bring ONE HUNDRED jobs to the community of Van Horn!

•This EDC board and the Director were working with a group to bring affordable broadband to this region! (Pretty important, especially after Covid!!)

And this city council just voted to dismiss this EDC board???…… Hummmmm… I’m curious why they removed this entire EDC board and I hope the town can receive an answer from every council member! I think the town deserves an answer to the above and the following questions:

What are each of the city council members interested in for improving Van Horn? Just the golf course? A slip and slide water attraction? Are you interested in housing? Infrastructure? More restaurants?

The council members were certainly not interested in the Employee Attraction Roundtable that the EDC Board and Director started! Not one person from the city ever attended! One county official came ONE time! There were business owners/managers, Border Patrol, Blue Origin and EDC board members and staff. Not ONE council member ever went to the EDC to ask questions about what they were working on!

Jose Aleman, Lisa Cottrell, and Krissy Lerdal ASKED Duane Corrales, Michael Garibay, and Mark Cabezuela to meet with them so they could talk about what the EDC was working on for the community of Van Horn! And how they could collaborate with the City, County and EDC to work together.

Does the City council understand Long Range and Strategic planning? It takes YEARS to get permits, land, water, and infrastructure! You can’t snap your fingers and it happens in a few months!! It is shameful that we have become so complacent that we don’t expect what is upstanding, lawful, and professional!

So many people have said to me, “It’ll never change!” I was one of those people! I don’t want to be that person that accepts this “Patron” way of thinking!! We have to STAND for something, or we will FALL for anything!

–Shanna Strickhausen

Dear Editor,

I am so disappointed and disturbed by the actions taken by the City Council at their meeting on Monday night. Specifically, the dissolution of the EDC Board and the “release” of Krissy Lerdal as Municipal Judge. It seemed to be done with little, if any forethought, and the same amount of investigation.

I was on City Council for 4 terms, serving as Mayor Pro tem for 3 of those terms, and filling out two of those terms as acting Mayor. Then I served as Mayor for one term. Of all the EDC Boards I’ve known, this one was the most involved, the most productive, and the most proactive. There was no discussion, there were no reasons given for the dissolution of the Board, it was just done.

Mrs. Lerdal was not notified beforehand of her position being eliminated, nor was there any discussion or reasons given for this action at the meeting. Obviously, the reasons did not need to be made at the meeting itself, but evidently this was the first notice Mrs. Lerdal had of the situation. That is, in my opinion, unconscionable.

I don’t know why the council is not more communicative with the persons they have in their employ and volunteers who work for them. Likewise, I don’t understand why actions which impact people’s lives, and our community as a whole are not explained nor discussed at the meeting. Clearly, being present at the meetings is not productive, nor is it worthwhile since I learned nothing as to the rationale for the Council’s actions.

I remain hopeful that our City will continue to be the one we know and love, and that when serious actions are taken affecting us all that there is some discussion and input from the community.


Pam Young


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