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Kriesel's position is good for the state

In response to the letter ("Kriesel should run on ideas, not to keep seat in party," Feb. 1) attacking Rep. John Kriesel for saying "it's important to keep our seat Republican," I think the letter writer made a big deal out of nothing and misrepresented himself as a political independent.

The statement by Kriesel is an obvious one. If you let the Legislature go back to Democratic-control with Mark Dayton as governor it would be a disaster for the state. We have seen that for ourselves when Democrats have total control in Minnesota and at the national level. Government grows out of control and taxpayers are handed the bill. If Tom Emmer was the governor Kriesel would not make the statement.

The claim that the letter writer is a political independent is kind of funny as his letter mimics the big government liberal views standard in the Democratic Party. He blames Republicans for the government shutdown even though Dayton signed virtually the same budget offered before the shutdown; he quotes the Star Tribune; he blames the state for high property taxes instead of the overspending of the local governments; he looks to the government to put unemployed back to work; and he finishes up with a personal attack on the Republicans in the Legislature.

If these are the views of a political independent, there is no need for a Democratic Party.

Patrick Hawkins

Cottage Grove

Tell us how we could improve St. Paul Park

As your newly elected City Council member, I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself.

First, thank you for your votes and for trusting me to help make decisions on behalf of St. Paul Park citizens. I take this responsibility very seriously and will do everything in my power to help St. Paul Park grow and prosper in the coming years.

For those of you unfamiliar with my work in the community, I have spent the past few years volunteering on our Parks & Recreation Commission, both as a member and as secretary and chair.

The commission, under my leadership, implemented several exciting annual activities including Movies in the Park, Unplugged Week, and an Adopt-a-Park Program. Other projects are currently in the works.

On top of my agenda following my appointment to serve out the remainder of prior council member Steve Hunstad's term had been the implementation of a community survey through which you, the citizens, could make your wishes and expectations known. Because of budget limitations, however, the survey had to be scrapped.

Instead, I have decided to use this forum to solicit from you a wish list of ideas on how to improve our city, and feedback on how to make elected officials more responsive to your needs.

So, compose your wish list. As you do, however, ask yourself whether your suggestions would benefit the community as a whole or narrowly satisfy only your own interests. Keep in mind, also, that there are often real limits to what can realistically be accomplished.

Lastly, become involved. Our bi-monthly council meetings on the first and third Monday of each month offer a great opportunity to voice your concerns, share your ideas and educate yourself about what is going on in your city.

In addition to attending one of our council meetings, I invite you to reach out to me directly and let me know how we can better serve you by emailing me at jcheesman@stpaulpark.org. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jennifer Cheesman

St. Paul Park City Council

Proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage would hurt Minnesota businesses

As public servants and leaders in our community, it is important that we recognize our state, country and world are becoming ever more diverse --not less so. We must value that diversity and continually work toward building a climate of understanding in our cities and state instead of alienation or discrimination in any form. Not only are we called to do so as examples of the golden rule we all learned as children, but there are very real economic reasons behind living those values.

The ability for Minnesota businesses to hire the very best talent is critical to our overall economic success as a state. To do so, we must first recognize the significant diversity reflected in a world economy with an international customer or client base. It's an economy in which our local business leaders are working hard to not only compete, but win.

Remaining highly competitive in any market sector requires those businesses to attract and retain the hardest working, most engaged, best educated staff possible by creating an environment in which all feel valued. A divisive ballot amendment that says to any prospective employee group "you're not welcome" or alienates current employees does nothing to help our business leaders meet those challenges. In other words, it's bad for business.

If the marriage protection amendment passes in November it will send the wrong message about our state. By specifically treating a group of people differently, it could become much more difficult to recruit talented workers to Minnesota or retain those we currently have. Why would we want to exclude a productive group of workers based on who they want to marry? Especially as we compete for peak economic vitality with other states who clearly demonstrate a commitment to tolerance and equality for all Americans.

As Minnesotans and as Americans, at our core we value diversity and we believe in treating everyone equally. We want to keep Minnesota a welcoming place to call home. Please join us in voting no this November on the marriage protection act.

State Sen. Katie Sieben, former state Rep. Karla Bigham, Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey, former Washington County Commissioner Myra Peterson and Cottage Grove City Council members Jen Peterson and Justin Olsen

Don't criticize those who challenge city government

Annie Elmer's letter ("Citizen anger has taken hold; city needs cooperation," Jan. 25) sounds like it was written by the mayor, Bulletin editor or city administrator.

Elmer speaks about a road project she knows absolutely nothing about. You parrot the information the city gives to you. Your civil rights are being taken from under your nose. You don't see it because your head is in the sand.

Mayor Myron Bailey loves these followers. He can tell them what to say and do. They believe whatever they are told and ask no questions about what the city is doing. They do not ask to view public documents. They do not speak at any meetings and do not insist on being able to speak more than two minutes. They let the mayor and city take any and all money that is earned by taxpayers and then recklessly spend in a wasteful manner -- the $16 million city hall and public safety building.

Don't criticize people who fight for their rights. Don't tell people how to spend their hard earned money. If you don't care how your money is spent then give $4,350 of your money for one assessment to any property located in the C-1 area.

The fact is 97 residential property owners signed and submitted written objections to the project. Owning a home does not mean you give up rights to speak out against wrongdoing and wasteful spending.

Citizens at the Jan. 18 meeting did not have their voices heard. Two minutes to talk about a $3,338,000 project we are paying for is not a democracy.

You describe those citizens who united and came out in extremely bad weather as "unhappy...are only looking at their personal situation and not caring about the impact of the rest of their neighbors and the impact on the whole city." Citizens are looking at the big picture and the direct impact on their finances.

All road projects stopped because these citizens united. The council compromised to review the road policies and table all road projects for 12 months. This area united and as a result saved taxpayers more than $3,338,000 on this project.

Kathy Lewandoski

Cottage Grove

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