Bulletin letters to the editor: City hall project; state polticsRecent letters to the editor.
Kriesel should be looking out for us
Remember back in January when Rep. John Kriesel and his Republican teammates took over the state Legislature? They said it was all about jobs, jobs, jobs. Now we know what they meant.
Instead of creating jobs, Kriesel and others have sent nearly 23,000 state workers home without a paycheck and idled thousands of private sector employees in the process. The tens of millions of dollars in lost economic activity could send Minnesota’s struggling economy into a double-dip recession, while eliminating state revenue associated with that activity and worsening the state budget.
The budget Kriesel supported would have cost 30,000 public and private jobs, while raising property taxes by more than $1 billion. Property taxes fall hardest on the middle class and poor. Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget, on the other hand, combined significant reductions, reforms and revenue increases in a way that minimized the impact to Minnesota’s working families and the state’s most vulnerable citizens. As part of Dayton’s plan, he asked Minnesota’s wealthiest citizens to pay something closer to their fair share in taxes.
In recent correspondence, Kriesel said he couldn’t support Dayton’s plan because he doesn’t believe in taxing “the other guy.” What Kriesel fails to acknowledge is that for the past 10 to 12 years, we in the middle class have been the other guy. State and federal tax cuts over those years have disproportionately benefited the wealthy, to the point where they pay a smaller percentage of their incomes in state and local taxes than those of us with more modest means.
Has Kriesel’s quick rise from factory worker to politician and media darling made him forget where he comes from? While Kriesel is supposed to be looking out for his largely middle-class constituents, it seems he’s more interested in taking care of wealthy campaign contributors. Special interests, instead of our interests.
Let’s tell Kriesel it’s time to work with Dayton to pass a fair and balanced budget in a way that reflects the values of people in his district. Let’s tell him to get the job done and put Minnesota back to work.
St. Paul Park
More at play in endorsements
Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty last month presented a list of 100 Minnesotans who are endorsing him, but there are four names that caught my eye. The biggest was Rep. John Kriesel. The reason? Pawlenty's political action committee gave money to Kriesel’s campaign and Pawlenty appeared at local fundraisers. But it should come as no surprise. Kriesel has been imitating Pawlenty on his casino bill, which Pawlenty introduced in 2005 and failed to pass, as Kriesel's bill has now. And Kriesel probably did not even think about how this looks. He never does. For example, he claims he has sympathy for the state workers of the shutdown yet an original Republican plan would cut 15 percent of the state workforce. Is this the independent that he claims he is?
He’s not alone as two ambitious Republicans stuck their names on the Pawlenty list. Last year's Senate District 57 GOP challenger Karin Housley was also helped by Pawlenty and went to the same high school around the same time as Pawlenty. As has Cottage Grove City Council member Derrick Lehrke and finally, so has Denny McNamara.
If you think I am only saying this as a Democrat, you are wrong. I was concerned when governor candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher was doing poorly at the local DFL caucuses last year but almost every delegate in the district was soon in her corner, so I went with her closest competitor, R.T. Rybak.
A big reason for her local support was three House legislative aides who worked under Kelliher lived in or near the district that pushed for her. Likewise, the Republicans had Kellie Eigenheer, a former GOP House aide, local candidate and party chair, who was a big reason the Kriesel campaign was overfunded. Sen. Katie Sieben did support Kelliher but did not make it official until the day of the endorsement convention and because other candidates were going to divert local funds to Rochester.
My point is to look beyond the wrapper and understand the different parts in play before thinking a candidate or legislator is an independent thinker.
South St. Paul
Labovitch is outreach director for Senate District 57 DFL
City hall project has quiet support
When I first heard about the Cottage Grove city hall project, I had many of the same questions the opponents express. For example, I wondered why they wouldn’t use existing buildings. When Mayor Myron Bailey explained that those sites would be much more expensive to totally refurbish to fit the specific needs of the police department, and that those other buildings are coded for commercial taxing, it totally made sense to me that a new building at a new site is necessary.
The city has done a very good job planning this project, and they are doing what any business would do – investing when the prices of materials and labor and interest rates are the lowest. I have pride in Cottage Grove, and we need a facility that is an investment for our future growth.
The council is reaching out to businesses to come to our community to help fill the current vacant businesses or to build new ones, and those businesses need to see that we are willing to invest in our own community as we wish they would invest in it. We also want to attract new homeowners and builders that want to invest here.
Myra Peterson stated at the July 6 council meeting that we voted in November for our council members, and it’s time to trust them about this project and move forward. Many people might be thinking that because Derrick Lehrke won that vote, that it shows many citizens are against this project. There were five names on the ballot, and he did not get more than 50 percent of the vote, so he is not necessarily representing a large portion of Cottage Grove residents.
Many citizens for the city hall are quiet because the decision we support has been made. I appreciate that some citizens feel differently about this project and respect that they have the right to express their opinions. However, the information they are presenting is not all factual. Many of the so-called facts are their opinions, and they are doing nothing to help our community but stir up unnecessary controversy.