By Pastor Steve Anders
A wise man once told me, “If you go to move a fence, you must first ask why the fence is there in the first place.” The issue at hand before the Sturgis City Council, Monday night, December 19, 2017, wasn’t a fence, it was the proposal before the Council to relax the Open Container Ordinance in the down town area during the 2017 Sturgis Rally.
I’d found out about the proposal two weeks earlier when I received a text message from a friend asking if I knew that the proposal was on the agenda for that night, December 5. I obviously had no idea and do to the fact that the agenda had been published the previous Friday, many citizens in Sturgis were unaware as well.
I began calling the council and expressing my feelings, asking that they considered tabling any action for a period of time so that they would have a chance to ask for true public input on the issue. When I was done on the phone that day, I felt that maybe we had a few that were at least willing motion to table it until further public input could be heard. I also texted my faithful prayer warriors asking that they lock shields with my wife and me on this. That night at the council meeting, with very little public input, Councilman Tony Dagratz made the motion to table the Resolution for two weeks to ask for additional public input. That motion was seconded by Councilman Dave Martinson. The public hearing was now set for December 19, 2016 at 6:30pm.
I began posting on social media for people to talk to their council people regardless of whether they agreed with my position on it or not, telling them that this is how the democratic process is supposed to work.
Monday came and I again asked my prayer warriors to lock shields with us. Evening finally came and my wife and I attended the meeting. I expected to walk in and see the gallery packed with people but sadly that wasn’t the case. However, after nearly an hour and a half of testimony, rebuttal testimony and more testimony, which included the Chief of Police telling the council that he was not in favor of it, the time had finally came for the procedure of deciding if they were going to pass this resolution. All councilpersons commented that they had gotten phone calls, emails and text messages both for and against the proposed resolution but some commented they were looking for a revenue stream to help recoup some of the losses the City was experiencing from a funding source that was no longer available.
Based on the last few comments made my wife and I looked at each other and felt that we’d lost this battle. At that time I heard the Spirit say, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” To make a long story short, after two failed motions one was finally made and seconded to approve the resolution of which the vote was 6-2 with one abstention to deny the resolution.
I’ve used the word I a lot in this, but I ask for no credit. My wife and I were merely the hands and feet that God used so He gets all the glory. Thanks to my faithful prayer warriors who will pray until their knees bleed if they need to. All praise, glory and honor to my Lord and Savior.