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Bulletin letters to the editor: Pollution, food shelf donations, city leadership, Derrick Lehrke

Lehrke won't put constituents first

When I read the viewpoints from the candidates running for state representative for 54A, I noticed some errors. First, Republican candidate Derrick Lehrke claims he will not be part of the political machine. In truth, Lehrke was a Republican associate chair for years before being elected to City Hall. He also worked on Republican campaigns in 2010 including Tom Emmer's and John Kriesel's that sent the state GOP spiraling into debt. Apparently, Lehrke only is concerned about city spending and not overspending in his own party.

Second, he claims he will not be beholden to special interests and work with other officials. However, he has not shown much willingness to work with other officials at City Hall, and he endorsed Tim Pawlenty for president after his special interest political action committee gave money to local candidates in 2010. In addition, he never brought up concrete issues except to cut government spending, education reform and job creation but never said how he would create jobs, what type of education reforms he supports or what programs he would cut funding from.

Independence Party candidate Ron Lischeid is a perennial candidate who ran for the state House in Minneapolis multiple times and is simply running as a political statement since his realistic chance of winning is nil and is more likely to play spoiler.

As for Schoen, I am a well-known Democratic activist who had no clue who he was six months ago. He is concerned about public safety and the effects of massive budget and job cuts Republicans like Lehrke want to our public programs. Schoen has served our district locally as an officer for 10 years and has a post-secondary degree so he will know what to do.

I know he will also work beyond party lines based on the work of other police officers in both parties who are legislators.

Union labor is not a special interest because of the many union jobs in town. In short, it is Schoen who will put constituents before party and special interests.

William Labovitch

South St. Paul

Labovitch is the affirmative action officer for Senate District 54

Unhappy about city leadership

I was very impressed with the viewpoint in the Bulletin on Feb. 8 from Leon Moe. He did a nice job of trying to put the facts in clear language so everyone could better understand about the charter commission.

I know he volunteered to be on the commission but it seems like he was not chosen. What a terrible error. He would have been a wonderful asset. He seemed to combine the wisdom to know that some things such as the safety building needed to be built but he also understood that the final version should have included the wishes of the community.

Some people such as myself never voted Mayor Myron Bailey into office. Being told this issue did not need a public vote because we already voted for it when we voted Bailey into office is not a true statement for a lot of the citizens of Cottage Grove. Bailey did not win by a landslide.

I hope people remember this when stores like Kohl's, Target and Cub Foods close after Walmart moves in. Yes, Walmart will create new jobs but what about the jobs that will be lost when other places such as the aforementioned businesses lose customers to Walmart? Eventually they will close and the people who currently work there will no longer be working. The net result might be fewer jobs. Oh, our mayor and city administrator have a plan for that. They are going to spend lots of money to remodel the old city hall and rent it to new and upcoming businesses. Maybe one of these new businesses will occupy one of the buildings that will close so then we would only have two extra empty buildings. I look around Cottage Grove and see lots of empty buildings now. Why are we going to allow Walmart to move in and have more empty buildings?

Esther Lenartz

Cottage Grove

Take air pollution seriously

I am writing with regard to the letter written by Sharon Fortunak ("Walmart presents many negative issues," June 13). A protest against Walmart being yet another environmentally unfriendly entity will get us nowhere. The proof is in the pudding, as you recall in recent weeks our city, state and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (all charged with protecting the people) have decided 3M can burn more, even though 3M should be asked to leave the inner city limits and do burning of any sort far away from human beings. It does not matter at all that 3M burns more or less; it matters greatly that they burn anything at all.

Air pollution is not just a nuisance but is dangerous and damaging, with many ill effects on people's health. It is not just big companies like 3M and Walmart that need to stop polluting the air we breathe. Each and every one of us, as individuals, needs to be responsible. We need to stop burning in our backyards for the ambiance, to have a beer or to just get rid of a dab of yard waste; we need to stop idling our cars for three minutes while we wait in line at the drive-up.

Everything we do -- little or big -- makes a difference. It would be very difficult to give up driving our cars to and fro, but if we don't take steps now we might be headed in that direction. In Mexico City, people do not have the privilege to drive to work every day; they have to use alternative transportation on two or three days a week because of air pollution levels. Heart and lung disease and many other respiratory problems do not come from smoking cigarettes alone. Pollution is also a direct cause and affects all people, healthy or otherwise.

I urge all people to educate themselves on the effects of air pollution on the human body. We all need to take responsible steps in the right direction, not just 3M or Walmart. We should ask a sincere question to our city, our state, the MPCA and ourselves: When do we man up?

Michelle Ramirez

Cottage Grove

Donate to food shelf for July challenge

The Friends in Need Food Shelf will be participating in the Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless Food Shelf Challenge. The more funds our food shelf raises in July, the bigger the partial match will be from Open your Heart.

All of the participating Minnesota food shelves collected over $1 million last year with this challenge and they hope to raise even more this year. If you would like to donate, please send your check during the month of July to Friends in Need, P.O. Box 6, Cottage Grove, MN 55016.

We are so grateful for your support and we could never serve our many clients without the amazing support of our community.

Michelle Rageth

Rageth is director of Friends in Need Food Shelf in St. Paul Park