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Bulletin letters to the editor: Rep. Kriesel, city charter, Cottage Grove street program, party caucuses

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Question the city's road program decision

River Acres was the first major road maintenance program and I live in that area on 113th Street. We were assessed $5,500 for the program. Residents in the area swamped City Hall and protested these charges prior to the City Council approving them.

Pine Coulee was hit next and residents in that area were also assessed thousands of dollars. They also swamped City Hall in protest only to have their project go on as planned. We all pointed out that the economy was bad, protested the 7 percent interest and made the same points as the group who protested last week at City Hall. River Acres and Pine Coulee residents were greeted at City Hall by a group who had their minds made up that these projects must proceed as planned and ignored all protests. The project went ahead as soon as possible.

Imagine my surprise when I read the recent headline, "Cottage Grove to re-examine road maintenance program." I went on to read that the council voted for a moratorium for at least one year. Not only did they listen to the residents this time but City Administrator Ryan Schroeder and council member Justin Olsen took their side of the argument. I immediately asked myself what that neighborhood could have done differently than River Acres and Pine Coulee? How did they manage to be listened to and even get action? What made their neighborhood different than ours? As I read on I noted that Mayor Myron Bailey abstained from the vote because he lives in that neighborhood.

So ask yourselves: What was different about that neighborhood?

Lynda Eriksen

Cottage Grove

Charter initiative a big waste

Having lived in Cottage Grove since 1974, I've seen it mature from less than a one-horse town (no street lights in our addition) to a potential thriving community. The natural assets laying between, and including, the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers can be leveraged, exponentially, by clear-thinking leadership and citizens.

The Tea Party cabal (Derrick Lehrke, Leon Moe, et al) and their squeaky-wheel, emotion-driven quest for a city charter will bring the potential to a screeching halt. As a fiscal conservative, I am all for small government like many Tea Partiers. Where I differ on the issues driving the cabal is their solutions, a mishmash of bad ideas (like converting tax-paying property), including a "need for a charter because no one listened." Not acting on bad ideas is listening, so thank you city leaders.

The Cottage Grove city leaders have been dedicated, professional and responsible in conserving assets to serve all of us. That includes the new city building.

I have heard nothing on what the charter costs are. I found the petition-seeking Tea Partier to be short-sighted, spouting his squeaky-wheel mindset, and insulting. Not the kind of leader a thriving community requires.

Be warned, the charter will become an albatross around the potential to create a thriving community. If the initiative does not lose, squeaky-wheel, emotion-driven Tea Party politics will replace dedicated, professional and responsible leadership a community needs to thrive, to our future regret.

Ray Anderson

Cottage Grove

Make your voice heard at caucuses

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, Republicans across Minnesota will be gathering in their neighborhoods for precinct caucuses. The future of our party and nation belongs to those who show up. If you wish to see a change in our party or our candidates, precinct caucuses are your chance to stand up and be heard.

Don't miss your chance to make a difference. Attend your caucuses at Cottage Grove Middle School, 9775 Indian Blvd., Cottage Grove.

Alyce Faye Hatch

Cottage Grove

Kriesel should run on ideas, not to keep seat in party

I was taken aback by Rep. John Kriesel's reason for seeking re-election as reported recently in the Bulletin.

"It's important to keep our seat Republican," he said.

I would have thought someone running for a taxpayer-funded job with good benefits might say something about what he's going to do for us. What's his plan for putting thousands of unemployed Minnesotans back to work soon? How does he propose to assure that our youth are well and affordably prepared to take on the challenges of an increasingly competitive global marketplace? What's his answer to the growing crisis in local property taxes?

Kriesel running again to "keep our seat Republican" reduces it to the level of a football game, a low-stakes office betting pool. That might be fun for some, but gambling that way with our future is something voters should beware of. When public affairs are conducted in an I-win-you-lose atmosphere, everybody winds up losing in the end.

Last year that I-win-you-lose approach brought us a three-week government shutdown that, according to a recent Star Tribune article, will likely cost state taxpayers millions in claims from businesses that had contracts with the state, contracts that were broken by the state as part of the shutdown. It brought us increased local property taxes through cuts and delayed payments that allowed legislators to shift blame to city councils, county commissioners and school boards. It put a lien on ongoing revenues by selling bonds against tobacco settlement annuities, mortgaging our future instead of paying as we go.

All this from the "team" that's millions of dollars in debt, with campaign violation fines hanging over its head, adulterous affairs in its chief legislative offices and serious questions about hirings and firings and conflict of interest.

I'm just a simple farm boy and a political independent, but if John Kriesel is running on a platform of keeping the seat Republican, I sure hope somebody comes up with a better idea -- and a better candidate.

Harland Hiemstra

St. Paul Park

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