Bulletin letters to the editor: Endorsements, city elections, response to campaign 'smear tactic'
Overwhelming support after 'smear tactic'
First of all I would like to thank all of the people who contacted me over the last few days to offer your support for my family and me. This has been overwhelming, to say the least, and I thank each and every one of you. I can see why the Holiday Train is such a success when it stops here. With that said, I would ask that you view a recent article about me with the same compassion and heart and with an open mind.
Second, I would like to address some things in the article published in the Oct. 17 Bulletin. The first fact is I did not plead guilty to any gross-misdemeanor charges. I did plead guilty to misdemeanors and paid a $60 fine. My wife and I are just sick due to the facts not being correct and how the story is embellished. This is nothing more than a smear tactic trying to prevent me from moving forward. I will not back down. This is how I will stand up for you, the voters. It will be you, the citizens, who I will stand up for and do what is right for you, the citizens. I do not have a personal agenda, just to be a voice for the citizen--a new concept in our city.
I have the courage to stand up for the citizens' wants and needs, not any special interest. With that said I would ask you forgive me for my past and give me a chance to be your mayor. I will do all I can to make our city a better place to live. Thanks.
Editor's note: The Bulletin published a correction about the misdemeanor issue raised in this letter but otherwise stands by the Oct. 17 story mentioned above. Information about the incidents was obtained from police reports and court records, all of which are public.
Magle is upstanding, deserves your support
Shame to those who feel it's necessary to smear my husband, mayoral candidate Chad Magle. The Bulletin misstated facts and embellished its article thinking he would withdraw from the election. He will not back down to the bullying behavior that exists in the city. He is my husband, friend and father to our children. He is an upstanding person.
He will not step back from this campaign because of the previous article.
He believes in the causes he represents and in the necessary changes this city needs to be open to citizens. He wants to stop out-of-control spending and promote citizen input without time limits. He wants the citizens to be heard. He is in this race to win for these and other citizen concerns.
Our River Acres area was forced to pay for unnecessary road assessments. We and others in the area feel the pain of those assessments. A similar forced road assessment is coming to an area near you, too. I feel Chad Magle as mayor will be a great asset to this city government to prevent it from happening to you. He is deeply concerned about the city budget and that the city is not listening to the citizens' voice and concerns.
I am asking you to vote Magle for mayor for the changes he can and will make for the good of the citizens as your mayor.
Vote for Quinlan
We can't afford to put Katie Sieben in for another term.
She voted for a $2.6 billion tax increase in 2009 and a $400 million tax increase in 2010. She voted to require inflationary increases in government spending while wages for many citizens were frozen or even lowered. She voted for an additional income tax bracket. She voted against a bill to prohibit future tolls on public highways that we have already paid for once with our high gas and income taxes. She voted to restore $46.5 million in cuts from 2012 and 2013 programs.
Janis Quinlan will not vote to add to your already excessive tax burdens. Quinlan believes a performance pay system would improve the quality of education our children receive; Sieben voted against it. Quinlan does not believe that government should be financing human cloning; Katie voted against a provision that banned it.
Protect your income from government; improve your life. Vote Quinlan.
St. Paul Park
Magle misplaces blame for cable change
I wish to respond to a claim that Chad Magle made in his candidate viewpoint in the Oct. 17 Bulletin. He wrote: "Mayor Myron Bailey and his fellow Democrats on the City Council ... They demonstrated citizen involvement by eliminating public access TV and replacing it with government access TV."
Magle has only Derrick Lehrke to blame for the change in policy. When Lehrke was making a name for himself in 2010, he made no secret that he sought to use the cable channels (paid for by five local cities) to express his opinions of the governance of Cottage Grove. The unfortunate consequence of his persistence in demanding the use of government resources for his own personal career-building was that all privately produced programming was stopped by the South Washington County Telecommunications Commission.
The South Washington County Telecommunications Commission (SWCTC) is not a common term in our conversations but its website makes it clear that, 1) It is owned by and for the benefit of the governments of the five cities of Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park, Woodbury, and Grey Cloud Island Township; 2) It oversees the contract of the only cable television operator in our area, Comcast; and, 3) It produces video content for the owning governments which can be cablecast for the residents of those cities. Lehrke was instrumental in forcing that change in policy and, in so doing, deprived our communities of the cablecasts of locally produced programming. For instance, for some years until 2010, local churches and preachers could video-record their services, sermons or study guides and submit them to the SWCTC for cablecast via the local channel on the Comcast cable-TV service. Those programs allowed members of our communities who could not attend their churches, for reasons that might include infirmity or work schedules, the opportunity to worship under the leadership of local pastors. By his actions, Lehrke deprived our community members of that service. I know that it was a severe loss to members of my church.
Mr. Magle, put the blame for this loss of access in the right place.
Retain Newport's council incumbents
Four years ago the citizens of Newport, fed up with our local government and its way of doing business, approached council member Tim Geraghty and asked him to again run for mayor. A coalition of business leaders and citizens was formed. Newport citizens wisely elected Tim Geraghty, Tom Ingemann and Bill Sumner into office and for the last four years the city has been reaping the benefits of these three public servants' leadership.
In the last four years Geraghty and the City Council have, through prudent fiscal management, turned the city finances completely around. Even with the cuts in Local Government Aid and despite losing $150,000 in a generous severance payout the previous council gave the former city administrator, Newport's general fund and the fund for future city development have increased. City government has been streamlined to cut costs. I am happy to see Newport's financial information is now available on the city of Newport website.
The relationship with businesses and residents has improved to the point that many of them are working for the re-election of Geraghty, Ingemann and Sumner.
This year Geraghty was honored by the League of Minnesota Cities as the winner of the prestigious C.C. Ludwig award for his public service. This is the highest award given to an elected city official and only two are given out in the entire state each year. Our mayor was chosen.
I have been a resident of Newport for all of my 65 years as my father was before me. It is once again a great place to live and raise a family.
If we want our city to continue to improve with responsible management, working to keep taxes as low as possible and to responsibly develop our business areas, we should not change what has in the last four years worked so well. The best way to ensure the continuity of our city progress is to re-elect Geraghty, Ingemann and Sumner. As someone said four years ago about our five-member council: "It takes three votes" to continue to move us forward in a positive way.
Newport incumbents debating ghosts
Is it just me, or has it occurred to anyone else that the current Newport City Council is debating against the ghosts of the past Newport City Council? I can't count the number of times in the candidate forums that the incumbents have used the phrase, "Four years ago..." Excuse me, but none of their opponents from four years ago are running for office this year.
I expect that one of the reasons Mayor Tim Geraghty is debating the past instead of this year's mayoral candidate, council member Steven Gallagher, is that Gallagher has been leading from inside the council, and many of the achievements the current council is claiming were spearheaded by Gallagher.
Specific examples include the decision to move ahead with the new Transit Station which was championed by Gallagher in his work on the Metropolitan Council's Transportation Advisory Board and the Red Rock Corridor Commission. He was able to convince the Geraghty team to abandon their opposition to the station.
I was at the budget planning meeting when Gallagher first brought up the idea of the Vacancy and Boarded Building Registration Fee, which gives owners of dilapidated properties a financial incentive to get a buyer while at the same time generating funds so the city could hire a new community service officer, who in turn will help clean up the eyesore properties which are impeding the development that Newport sorely needs. I like the way Gallagher's plans leverage one on the other to help promote our fine city.
Most recently the council voted to require receipts for credit card purchases, which citizens have been demanding since last April. And, the Newport Economic Development Authority voted to move $100,000 of the general budget reserves to a specific marketing and business incentive fund. Both are issues that have been pushed by Gallagher and council candidate Dan Flood.
If they are able to get these kinds of results from their campaign actions, just think what they will accomplish when elected.
Pick Bailey, Olsen
My wife and I have lived in Cottage Grove for 35 years and we could not have asked for a better community in which to live and raise our children. As a former employee of the Public Safety Department and a City Council member with a combined total of 17 years of service, I was honored to have met so many wonderful residents and fellow city employees. In 1977, I remember the entrance sign to the city on U.S. Highway 61 as reading just over a population of 13,000; that same sign today now reads 34,589.
We live in a community which has remained current with the times and offers our citizens many different amenities including a safe environment for all. My hope for all is that you never find yourself having to call 911 for emergency assistance, but if you do I assure you that you will receive an expedient response from the professional and dedicated men and women who comprise the ranks of our police, fire and EMS city services. The infrastructure that ensures such a quick and competent response is in place today because of the fortitude and vision of equally dedicated city leaders who were able to make decisions and plan for the contemporary upgrades and necessary expansion that a growing city requires.
Cottage Grove is very fortunate to have two such dedicated leaders on our City Council: Mayor Myron Bailey and council member Justin Olsen. Bailey and Olsen are both lifelong residents of our city and have demonstrated a thoughtful commitment to our orderly and future growth. They have a sincere and heartfelt hometown passion for maintaining the quality of life we have come to expect from the city we all call home. Cottage Grove is not done growing, so please join me to re-elect Bailey and Olsen as experienced leaders who have and will continue to make the right decisions for our city's future.
Raun is a former Cottage Grove City Council member
Cottage Grove incumbents are making us proud
I have been a resident of Cottage Grove for over 50 years. I watched our community grow from a small township to a very competitive city. In the old days our community services were provided out of a rented space in a strip mall, the public safety services out of a rented house and the fire services out of one garage.
We have come a long way and during that time and process we were very fortunate to have people in elected leadership who not only loved this community but had a vision for growth and service. We can all be proud of what Cottage Grove has become and what it continues to become.
Mayor Myron Bailey and City Council members Justin Olsen and Jen Peterson continue this effort to make us proud of where we live. We can be proud of our parks, open spaces and trails, a public safety department that is one of the best both in service and public respect, a public works department that provides the very best in all areas of service and an environment and atmosphere at City Hall that gives you a feeling that they are there to serve you, not to build a bureaucracy. This does not happen automatically. You have to have leadership that provides the vision and the skills to make it happen.
Bailey provides that leadership. He sincerely loves this city and has given his energy and talent to make sure that Cottage Grove continues to move in a direction that provides a good balance of providing for public service and also building a strong and necessary commercial and industrial base. There is just something about growing up in a community and staying there and raising a family that gives you constant motive and enthusiasm to want to make your community better and more effective. Bailey continues to serve because of his love and compassion for our city that has served him well.
Sieben will help small businesses
We own Hub's Landing and Marina, a small business sitting at the foot of the Hastings bridge project. In the spring of 2011, the Minnesota Department of Transportation raised the elevation of a road, disrupting water drainage from our parking lot, resulting in big puddles and lots of mud. Boaters stood ankle deep in water and mud as they prepared their trailered boats for launch.
We appealed to MnDOT to fix the damage and MnDOT blamed it on the contractor. As MnDOT and the contractor pointed fingers at each other, we were left with frustrated customers, additional revenue loss and no resolve. We called every politician in our area to ask for help. Katie Sieben stepped up by arranging a visit by the commissioner of transportation the very next week. The commissioner assessed the situation and immediately ordered MnDOT to repair our lot and engineer a drainage solution. This wouldn't have happened without Sieben's help.
It turns out we had called Sieben a couple days after she arrived home from the hospital maternity ward. She accompanied the commissioner on his visit to Hub's just 10 days after their son was born. It would have been easy for Sieben to ignore our plea for help as she was busy with family matters, but she stepped up and made a huge difference for our customers and for us. We urge you to join us in voting for Katie Sieben -- someone who takes action to help small business owners.
Mark and Monica Frazer
Hub's Landing and Marina
Sieben puts her constituents first
Under the GOP redistricting map, Republican legislators would have broken up the other sections of Senate District 57 (now 54) to force state Sen. Katie Sieben either into retirement or face a very tough re-election.
When I told Sieben about this, she said she was focusing on something more important: her job. Sieben was focusing on getting the Highway 61 bridge fixed, working on flooding issues for the Mississippi River valley, stop borrowing from public education to balancing the budget, stop cutting local and county aid so public safety would not be put at risk and property taxes would remain low. She held a bipartisan meeting in Hastings, and she co-sponsored legislation from some of the Republican legislators who were essentially looking to force her out.
In the end, District 57 was kept mainly together, but Sieben put the needs of constituents first over everything else and deserves re-election as a result.
William Cory Labovitch
South St. Paul
City can't support two liquor stores
My name is Jeerasak Poophakumpanart, owner of Newport Liquor Store for eight years. This store has a history of serving this community for over 60 years. Newport Liquor has struggled with closed roads and accessibility for the past 12 years during construction on Highway 61 and Interstate 494, and there were three ownership changes due to that difficulty. I have worked hard to stabilize the business and keep it accessible and welcoming to my clients. The 12-year construction plan has significantly hindered my ability to maintain financial stability. Recently a competitor applied for a liquor license for a new establishment on the next block.
I am open to free market, but a liquor store less than 400 feet away in a town with a population of 3,500 people will not be lucrative to either one of us. Newport citizens are very aware of what has been happening in the city. Two gas stations went out of business due to lack of traffic and the close proximity to each other. Newport did not have enough market for the three gas stations. The same goes for another liquor store in the next block.
As a business person, I've been working with the future competitor that has the vacant property for the past three years to negotiate a lease. An agreement was never reached because the property owner wanted too much for the space. Many people have asked to lease the property but were unsuccessful due to the asking price. That's why the space continues to be vacant. It's been made known to me that the competitor chooses to put a liquor store in his vacant space. Unfortunately, another liquor store and its competition will eliminate my ability to keep the door open.
I strongly need the Newport City Council's support to keep small businesses viable without concern of other competition. The city has made valid decisions in order to save small businesses. The city has been positive in the past for supporting new commerce. Also, as a citizen and business owner, I have supported the community with my time and financial contributions.
Newport Liquor Store owner
McNamara should be re-elected
I'm writing today to support the re-election of state Rep. Denny McNamara to another term in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
McNamara represents the people of his district, the new District 54B, not lobbyists or political action committees. As has always been the case, he doesn't take any money from PACs or lobbyists to fund his campaigns so he isn't beholden to anyone but his constituents.
In today's political climate, I think it's more important than ever to have our elected officials work together in a bipartisan manner and seek compromise for the betterment of our state and our district. As chair of the House environment committee, McNamara works with the governor as well as both sides of the political aisle in the House to reach a fair, common-sense compromise. McNamara has also been endorsed by both labor and business groups, which typically doesn't happen if you only see issues from a single point of view.
Please vote to re-elect Denny McNamara to the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 54B on Nov. 6.
Olsen serves community proudly
Please join me in supporting Justin Olsen for Cottage Grove City Council this year. I've known Olsen personally for many years. He grew up in Cottage Grove and really knows the core values of this community. He volunteers in many organizations, including Cottage Grove Athletic Association, Strawberry Fest and the local Lions Club. Prior to being on the City Council he volunteered for four years on the city's Public Safety, Health, and Welfare Advisory Commission. Serving this community proudly is what Olsen is all about.
I find Olsen to be thoughtful, reasonable and thorough in his decision-making with a never-ending passion for the residents of Cottage Grove. He always does his homework and asks great questions. I also appreciate his willingness to listen to all concerns, opinions and ideas from local residents while also carefully considering the facts of an issue before making a decision on how to vote. Olsen is the first to compromise when necessary, but has always remained firm in his convictions about doing the right thing for the long-term viability of this city by investing wisely in necessary infrastructure and the core government services we all value and expect as residents. As a retired firefighter from the Cottage Grove Fire Department, I appreciate Olsen's commitment to strong public safety in our community.
If you want positive leadership and good judgment on our City Council for the next four years, please join me in voting for Justin Olsen this November.
Olsen's commitment commendable
I'm supporting Justin Olsen for Cottage Grove City Council this November because I know Olsen supports Cottage Grove in so many ways.
As a person who has lived here my entire life, I can tell you from firsthand experience that Olsen truly cares about serving our city proudly and with integrity. He is a Lions Club Member, former president of the Strawberry Fest, dedicated volunteer for Cottage Grove Athletic Association and a very active and involved City Council member. In fact, he spends at least one day every week working in person with our city staff in one form or another so he can understand what each department does on the job every day, along with the impacts of council decisions on resident services. That sort of ongoing commitment to excellence from an elected official is both impressive and commendable.
Olsen has also been a huge help to me and my family personally during a time of need. I was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year at a very young age, which put a tremendous strain on our family and extended family. It has been a real struggle physically, emotionally and financially. But when Olsen heard about our situation through a mutual friend, he immediately went to work with his Lions Club and contacts at the city to help organize a very successful fundraising benefit for us. He even had the City Council pass a resolution declaring the day of the benefit as my day in the City of Cottage Grove, which I will never forget.
If you have ever met Olsen you know he takes his role as a council member extremely seriously. He puts a ton of time into closely studying the facts of any given issue before voting. He makes sure to listen carefully to all opinions, and asks great questions in trying to find the truth. Olsen is fair, reasonable, honest and genuine in his approach to community service. Plus, he's a good friend. That's the type of person I want representing me and my family. Please vote for Olsen on Nov. 6.
Quinlan's pitch is just talking points
There seems to be a trend among real estate agents thinking they have a place in the Capitol. Two years ago it was Karin Housley, and now we have Janis Quinlan, a candidate with no political experience. Sure, the campaign has curb appeal, but by taking a look in the window of this fixer upper, you'll see there's a mess inside. Quinlan's pitch for smaller government and less spending contradicts her stance on several key issues.
She supports the voter photo ID amendment, which will create additional spending and the implementation will promote government growth. She also supports the marriage amendment, which is the opposite of smaller government or protection of civil rights and freedom. That's right, the opposite. She worked in the public school system for 25 years, but now embraces a private voucher system. Her idea of fixing education problems via a voucher system is only helping pump education money into private investor's pockets. Foreign investment firms in China are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into our education system and it's being pitched to you as means to fix the teacher's union and labeled "free market."
Quinlan has said she is willing to learn if elected, but the voters should be voting for experience, not for a partisan training program that leaves the trainee skilled at one thing: pointing fingers. These are talking points, not solutions. When will we learn that open houses and politics aren't the same? It takes more than sign placement and a good sales pitch to be a good public servant. What's next, a car salesman at City Hall?
Give Bailey, Olsen another term
I'm writing to show my support for Justin Olsen for Cottage Grove City Council and Myron Bailey for mayor this year. I'm a lifelong resident of our city and the current president of the board for Cottage Grove Athletic Association hockey. My wife and I attended Park High School and we have both been deeply involved in the Cottage Grove community on a number of different levels for a very long time. Needless to say, I am very passionate about seeing this community thrive. I want to see our local government in the best hands possible for our current and future infrastructure needs, business growth and overall community image. That requires positive leadership and sound judgment, which Olsen and Bailey both provide at a very high level every single day.
Olsen and Bailey grew up in Cottage Grove, so they know the history and culture of our community extremely well. Knowing them both as well as I do, I can assure you that Bailey and Olsen eat, breathe, sleep and live "Cottage Grove" every single day in many ways. That fact is clearly evident in their long-standing dedication to community service as volunteers for things like the Holiday Train, Strawberry Fest, Lions Club, Cottage Grove Athletic Association and many more very worthy, very important organizations or causes. I also see them at all of the fundraisers around town, either as a volunteer helper or a visitor, along with as many city sponsored events I can get to. Their actions show me they care about this community as deeply as I do. Their decisions as members of our City Council show me they are reasonable people who listen well, do their homework and look at things in a very pragmatic way with the best interests of Cottage Grove residents first and foremost in their minds at all times.
Olsen and Bailey are good people I know I can trust to work hard for me, tell me the truth and make sound decisions as my representatives at City Hall. Please join me in voting Olsen and Bailey on Nov. 6.
Support marriage amendment
Soon we will be going to the polls to vote on the marriage amendment in Minnesota. A 'yes' vote means you support traditional marriage between one man and one woman. A 'no' vote, or leaving the ballot blank on that issue, opens the door for a change in the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.
Many proponents of same-sex marriage argue that it is a civil right. But is it? We have heard, through the media and other outlets, that homosexuality is innate, that people are born gay and that is who they are. While studies show people don't usually choose same-sex feelings, scientific research of male identical twins also shows it is not innate or DNA hard-wired. We all have a choice what we do with our feelings. If the argument that two consenting people that love each other is a reason to marry, what if I love my neighbor's husband or I love two men? There are currently, in America, two court cases pending to include marriage rights for polygamy. Support of same-sex marriage opens the door for confusion and all kinds of "marriage" arrangements.
In the Bible we see that God instituted marriage between one man and one woman. The genders truly are different and were made to complement each other, and it is the only natural way that sexually makes sense. Every human being is the result of the contribution of a man and a woman. These are some of the reasons I plan to vote 'yes' on the marriage amendment.
Magle has felt the citizens' struggles
It is a shame that opposing candidates for mayor feel the need to smear Cottage Grove mayoral candidate Chad Magle. Why bring up a misdemeanor from eight or nine years ago? Why do the opponents need Magle out of the race? It is to take the focus off the real issues that face our city.
Magle wants to stop the spending. Taxes decrease if the spending stops. He wants citizens to have their vote. Citizens were denied a vote on the City Hall building after presenting 1,400-plus petition signatures per state law to Mayor Myron Bailey. The result: no citizen vote yet and we pay for it.
Families have to live within their budgets. The city needs to live within the same budget. Magle wants to hear what citizens have to say at meetings without a time limit. Currently public comments are limited to three minutes. The current council members make it very clear they do not want citizens involved. When Bailey, Justin Olsen and Jen Peterson were elected, the citizens of this city lost their right to vote and free speech.
Magle has felt the pain and struggles of citizens. He had a road project forced through by this council after 90 percent of homeowners signed a petition to stop the road assessment of $6,500 at 7 percent interest over 15 years. The council never educated the citizens that the only way to stop it was with a "written objection" allowed by state law. I got citizens involved with that statute to stop our road assessments on Jan. 18, 2012. This council is trying to force that road assessment through again. They will not listen to nearly 50 percent of citizens saying "no."
None of us are the same person we were eight or nine years ago. I am not the same person I was two years ago, after I got involved to get citizens a vote on the City Hall project and the city charter. It was then I saw and continue to see the corruption in this city government. I am still waiting over two years to have access to view public documents. Vote Magle for open government.
Sieben represents your values
One of my votes, and those of my family, on Nov. 6 will go to re-elect Sen. Katie Sieben.
Sieben's work toward better education, helping families in time of need, focusing on the success of the labor force and a multitude of other issues facing the working people of District 54 is historical and genuine. I have known Sieben most of her life and have watched her progression into the mature, thoughtful, understanding and well-grounded senator she is this day. I would be hard-pressed to find another person of her conviction toward service to others. We have been most fortunate to have Sieben work for our success.
With your vote, you will elect Sieben to continue to represent your values, hopes and positive opportunities far into the future.
Retired Newport police chief and former St. Paul Park City Council member
Keep Newport running positive
A few years ago the residents of Newport made an outstanding and wise choice by voting in three effective, capable, respectful and hard-working people onto our City Council in Tim Geraghty, Tom Ingeman and Bill Sumner.
Since that election numerous excellent advances and results have been made in Newport, from the our bond rating going up two levels, the budget being managed very well, the car lot being cleaned up by City Hall, trees lining our main streets, the transit station coming, new businesses opening and much more. In addition, all residents get treated equally and are put first. The challengers to Geraghty, Ingemann and Sumner have teamed up with the former city council, the same council that after voted out four years ago, in one of their last acts awarded their friend the former city manager $150,000 of citizen's money in a buyout. Geraghty was the only one to stand up for residents and our city and vote against that.
No residents I know of thought giving out the $150,000 was acceptable, yet the old council did what they personally wanted without regard to the citizens. That is not how you run a city and not the type of Newport or council we need to go back to. The challengers also sounded like three robots, negative and bitter at candidate forums. That is not going to advance Newport. In addition their idea and support, along with some of the old city council, for a special unelected finance committee sounds like favoritism or a friendship committee, or just an election-year stunt. Let's not go backwards to those days of drama at our city hall.
Newport has been a fun, very enjoyable city to live in these last four years. It's progressing extremely well and is being run great. I moved to Newport and have seen more positive changes and healthy, legitimate results in the last four years than I saw in the previous 10 years combined. Geraghty, Ingemann and Sumner provide positive, outstanding forward results for all the residents and businesses of Newport. Our future is very important; let's keep Newport running healthy and positive.