Bulletin letters to the editorRecent letters to the editor
Move police and keep City Hall
A new building is needed for the Cottage Grove Public Safety Department. I am still trying to figure out why City Hall wants to move. Once the police department is moved, other city workers will have more space. It is on the main street of Cottage Grove and we really do not need another vacant building in Cottage Grove.
Now they want to “try” to utilize Minnesota products. That sounds like a fancy way to say they now have given themselves permission to buy from where they want and use the excuse that “they needed to keep the cost down.”
I did not vote for Mayor Myron Bailey. This is the type of thing I anticipated he would do. He said he was listening to the people but would be more aggressive on dealing with issues. Maybe that was a fancy way of saying, “I will do it the way I want and make it seem like this is what you asked for.”
If it really is the way we want, then a public vote would have been taken. I suspect a lot of residents would tell the City Council to remain in the current building and to support Minnesota businesses.
Police not above law, but deserve public’s respect
It is not surprising that people were offended by the March 23 advertisement that attempted to bring awareness to the reality of police brutality. Many police brutality cases are probably never brought to light and because of this the public has an idealized perspective of police officers.
The ad should have recognized the importance of police officers, but I do not think it was a misleading representation of the problems that exist. Most of us have friends or know someone who is a police officer and because of that we know that police officers are just like us, human. There are some who abide by laws and moral codes, and some who do not. Attempting to present police officers as some sort of hybrid versions of human beings who do nothing wrong does injustice to the many victims of police brutality.
I am surprised that those who found the ad offensive chose to ignore that for the most part the ad contained very reputable sources. With the ability to have information at our fingertips we as a society should no longer consume and perpetuate any myths. It is our job to seek out facts and think critically about how those facts relate to our society, but instead even when facts are presented to people, myths are so strong that it seems critical thought is not possible. The level of denial that was voiced about the ad is exactly the reason why the ad was needed.
I disagree with the ad’s claim that being a police officer is not one of the most dangerous professions. It is indeed a very dangerous profession and should be recognized as such. There is nothing wrong with respecting police officers and I hope that most of them deserve that respect. We should show our respect not by holding officers above the law but by ensuring that they receive fair wages and protection. I sincerely hope that those who are so concerned about the respect due to police officers are aware of how budget cuts could potentially affect the work environment of police officers and vote accordingly.
Watershed picks should be vetted
This is my first time writing a letter to the editor. I try to let the reporters do their job, but I absolutely had to write in, due to the gross oversight related to the (March 30) article about my opposition to the watershed reappointments. Had the reporter been present during the beginning of the meeting, or contacted me for a comment, he would have understood how my main concern was with the process of this reappointment, not an individual being reappointed.
I had a few concerns with this appointment that I tried to address when I received the six names a week prior to the County Board meeting. I asked that this appointment not be put on the consent calendar. It was put on the calendar anyway.
I had three major concerns: the county is given six names to choose from and no applications or interviews to go with them; the watershed district has a taxing authority and none of them are elected or held accountable to the public; and the possibility of term limits to give other people an opportunity to serve.
Of the six names the board was given, two were the current watershed managers (Jack Lavold and Michael Madigan) and the other four were local elected officials. My question was, “Why are we given six names to choose from if the decision is clearly already made? Why not just let the city make that appointment?” Commissioner Dennis Hegberg recommended that we put off the appointment for two weeks to give me time to interview them. There was no harm in giving the board time to interview applicants as the current watershed managers would keep their position until a replacement, if any, was deemed appropriate.
I don’t know the six candidates’ backgrounds, qualifications, etc. Since I was only given six names, knowing that four of them are elected, my opinion was that an elected official is an appealing option for a position with taxing authority. Staff confirmed that they have tried to get the Legislature to require that the watershed has to come to the board for approval before taxing, but as it is now, these non-elected people can tax you without County Board approval. I view this similar to the Metropolitan Council and believe that anyone with taxing authority should be held accountable to taxpayers. “No taxation without representation.”
I suggested possibly creating term limits so the same person isn’t in this position forever. I appreciate new ideas and an opportunity for all to serve. My suggestion has to do with future limits and would not have affected the appointments before us on March 22. Commissioner Lisa Weik agreed and even supports term limits for commissioners.
This has nothing to do with Lavold and I am not sure why we are still talking about Myra Peterson. Lavold was there at the beginning of my campaign telling people to write a check out for $100 for my campaign. I hope this makes my position clear, and I look forward to the continued quality of work of Lavold and Madigan.
Lehrke represents District 4 on the Washington County Board
District deserves more from Kriesel
Do you know what your state representative is doing? I don't. In fact, I checked. Rep. John Kriesel has only nine bills authored and none is on health care, transportation and the economy. They are on public safety and patriotism because that is all he knows (remember, he never went to college). Those are important issues but I believe we need to expect more out of our elected officials and especially one who spent thousands of dollars to get elected.
There also have been no briefs in the local papers from him and he has had only one town meeting – and this is a guy who wrote a book. In addition, he did not attend a summit on Mississippi River flooding with Gov. Mark Dayton and other local legislators.
I want to make a point to the independents who voted him in, after I found he won the majority of people who also supported Independence Party candidate Tom Horner for governor: instead of working with Sen. Katie Sieben, who has a history of nonpartisan work, Kriesel recently attended a conservative women's convention with Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch in town apparently to work on getting Sieben out (last year's challenger Karin Housley was also in attendance).
According to the papers, I finally should point out that he has voted to decrease Local Government Aid funding, which would force local working class taxpayers to pay even more out of pocket in city taxes or private fees. His service to his nation is honorable but we deserve better than what Kriesel's giving us.
South St. Paul
Labovitch is outreach director of Senate District 57 DFL
A costly project built on hopes
The March 29 open house for the proposed Cottage Grove public safety/city hall project only drew roughly a total of 50 people even though it was publicized. Either the residents are waiting anxiously for this new structure that they’ve been told will only cost $16 million or they have resigned themselves to believe it’s a done deal. Many costs still remain unanswered.
We were told financial questions would not be answered. They would discuss that in June. When becoming a homeowner, one of the first things you had to do was get financing. You could not arbitrarily approve construction; you had to show how you would pay for it. Financing should be a first decision.
Approval of the land swap is determined for Washington County and the city of Cottage Grove by the Metropolitan Council. City builds on county land and we won’t know what land we will lose in the swap? If the city does not have the land to swap, they will have to buy land to replace it. If the property owner does not want to sell a specific piece of land, eminent domain kicks in forcing the owner to sell that land against their will.
Why the reluctance to put it up to the voters? In September 2010, 1,400 people signed for a referendum; our mayor conveniently bypassed it. Do you understand it could cost us millions more in interest without the referendum?
Incidental costs not included – land swap, site preparation, roads, bridge, total cost of interest, and how many years will we be paying for this?
Borrowed money has to be paid back by taxpayers. Council plans to borrow against hopes of increased residents, future businesses moving in and additional revenue. They are borrowing against your current and future ability to pay this all back. All this hope while ignoring the current status of our economy – high food costs, increases in clothes, gasoline prices doubled in two years, increased taxes, people leaving Minnesota because of taxes, overspending by all government entities, and now some tout a double recession.
Speak up on city building project
It was veterans like myself who wrote a blank check for up to and including our life that enables people like Mayor Myron Bailey the opportunity to run a campaign, to become elected to public office and to vote.
Bailey is now showing his appreciation by denying myself and at least 1,400 citizens of Cottage Grove, who signed a petition, the right to vote on the proposed multi-million public safety/city hall project. Why?
Whether you support this project or oppose it, if you live in Cottage Grove, you will be paying for it and you deserve a vote.
Send Bailey an email at email@example.com or give him a call at (651) 459-4734 and tell him you deserve a vote.