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Kriesel should engage in district

As voters we have a responsibility to ourselves, our children and our community to carefully examine a candidate's background to ensure that we are electing the best possible candidate -- one who leads by example, engages with, listens to and understands the issues and needs of the constituents in the district. Being elected to serve as a public officeholder is not a popularity contest. But that is what happened in the 2010 election in District 57A. As a member of the majority party, John Kriesel has been given the opportunity to introduce legislation that would help constituents.

People are concerned with unemployment in his district and want fair taxes for all. We want new businesses opening here, not in Las Vegas. We are concerned about seniors who are worried about how they are going to remain in their homes while balancing the payments for escalating property taxes and covering their basic day-to-day living expenses. Just how many people do you know who are worried about having fireworks legalized while sitting at the kitchen table figuring out how to stretch their pocketbook until the next paycheck?

I found it ironic that our schools are teaching our children about drugs and addiction and our state representative is sending out Twitter messages about drinking and suggesting watching television shows that promote drinking.

Instead of spending so much time joking around, maybe he should attend a Cottage Grove City Council meeting and see what kind of help the city needs, or hold frequent town hall meetings with constituents and listen to and address their concerns.

Voters will be the judge in November.

Elizabeth Bell

St. Paul Park

City was open about road project

Kathy Lewandoski's letter to the editor ("Don't criticize those who challenge city government," Feb. 8) stated that I "spoke about a road project I know absolutely nothing about." She implied that someone helped me write my letter. I assure you that no one asked me to write it nor did they influence me in any way.

I did get the information for my letter from the Jan. 18 Cottage Grove City Council meeting (Lewandoski was there, and I watched it on TV). She and I have different views of the facts and the direction for our city. I felt the city did a good job of answering the citizens' questions, and they have a good plan for reviewing the procedures for maintenance projects. I encourage Cottage Grove residents to watch the council meeting to see for yourselves at swctc.org. During the public hearing the city engineer explains the project, the city attorney explains why there's a two-minute limit for public comments, the city administer explains why the interest rate is 7 percent for projects like this and why they are having the project put on hold and the process reviewed, etc. You can see and hear the questions the neighbors brought up and how the city responded.

Lewandoski stated that her "area united and as a result saved taxpayers more than $3,338,000 on this project." It seems to me that by delaying the project by at least a year the price of that project might increase. Time will tell whether or not they saved themselves or the rest of Cottage Grove citizens any money. She also challenged me to pay for one of her neighbor's assessments. I assure you that when it comes time for my neighborhood's roads to be maintained, as a responsible homeowner, I'll pay the assessment instead of letting the roads deteriorate and lower the value of our homes.

I have a vision of a prosperous, well-maintained city. I hope you all do too.

Annie Elmer

Cottage Grove

Taxpayers were saved millions

Citizens' first input on a proposed 2012 residential pavement project was at a meeting in November. Several questions were asked at this meeting but were never answered by City Engineer Jennifer Levitt. The important project public notice hearing was Jan 18. The weather was extremely bad. Over 70 people came to the meeting, standing room only, with overflow into the hall. The mayor limited all speaking to two minutes. The City Council and the newspaper minimized the citizens' united response. Nothing gets discussed in two minutes. People are paying for the project and the mayor only lets people speak two minutes? He limits speech then cries in his viewpoint ("Charter city effort highly partisan, meant to divide," Jan. 25) that citizens "offer no alternatives or ideas." Really? The mayor says he does not understand why a city charter is needed? It's because the mayor does not listen. One reason to have a charter is so people are heard.

Why did the city do this during the holiday season? Because they knew people would be too busy to oppose and resist the project. Three major holidays all ruined by stress on families and thoughts of how to get the money. Does that make the city feel powerful?

Past projects had driveway damages, sewer back-up problems and new curbs cracked. Over three years later still nothing has been done by the city or contractors to remedy the damage complaints caused by these road projects.

One person in my area made a huge difference. Kathy Lewandoski, on her own initiative, knocked on over 200 properties, informed people with facts. Citizens united, 45 percent objected in writing to protect their right to sue, and then citizens showed up to voice their concerns at the public hearing.

The website www.cgcitizensvoice.com gave me and others the facts we needed. Citizens got involved and made a difference in stopping this road project and saving over $3,338,000, just on this project. Every taxpayer in this city did and will save millions more over the next 12 months. Kathy, thanks for all your help.

The headline in the paper should have read: "Citizens unite to save all taxpayers over $3,338,000, beat City Hall and stop all road projects for 12 months."

Chris N. Schilling

Cottage Grove

Editor's note: The website mentioned above is run by opponents of the proposed 2012 residential pavement project.

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