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Bulletin letters to the editor

Consider charter

Last week's editorial ("Charter change is unnecessary," Sept. 28) seems to be opposed to the move into a home-rule charter city without a serious basis, stating that a majority of cities in Minnesota don't have this type of government. Until recently I (and probably most people) have never been made aware of any other options, but apparently some have and found it appealing.

The editorial mentions work being done by a judge and a cost involved, along with a vote on the matter, the setting up of a commission, etc. In order to accomplish most anything a bit of effort and cost is involved with any endeavor. In this case it seems minimal when you think of the many people who fought and died in battles to bring about a government where the people were free and the mainframe of our Constitution says the government shall be of the people, by the people. Whenever you have control of the masses by the hands of a few you have a greater threat of less freedom. Centralized power has the highest risk of abuse. True this charter city concept was brought to light after a handful of elected officials insisted we need a new large and very pricey city hall, but the idea of more power put into the hands of the common Joe cannot be argued. A vast majority of people with an opinion on the city hall project who have expressed themselves think this is an unwise move of the city's part. To say this type of leadership that gives us all a greater say in matters is unnecessary is true; we don't need to change anything to keep on like we are. My question is not whether it is needed but rather would it or could it be better? As Edmond Burke stated, "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

If there is a possibility of a better way let's stop at nothing to accomplish it, not stop and be complacent because it isn't necessary. If you change nothing, nothing will change.

Dan Zwakman

Cottage Grove

Grateful for help

So much of what we hear or read leads us to be critical of people and their willingness to help others. A recent incident, however, has showed me otherwise. It is easy for many of us to unfairly judge others, basing this on what we hear and not what we experience.

I recently had a bicycle accident - somersaulting over the handlebars and landing on a paved path. Due to injuries, I was unable to do anything. Thanks to three unknown good Samaritans, I was assisted at the accident site and driven to the emergency room.

I recall thanking those who helped me and asking for their names in writing so I could thank them later. I don't have the names of any of them but this is one attempt to thank them. If anyone reading this assisted someone who fell off his bicycle along 65th Street east of Hinton Avenue in Cottage Grove, please accept my sincere and grateful appreciation. I was in rough shape and you helped me. While I still have some recovery ahead, your role put me on the right path and for that I am grateful.

Erling Tufte

Cottage Grove

No tax increase?

"We decided in July of 2010 that we could build this project (public safety/city hall) with no increase above the current levy or increase in local taxes if we build it within the next year and for $17 million or less." Mayor Myron Bailey, Apr 5, 2011

Since the above statement we have already seen the state eliminate the homestead tax credit. So, in all likelihood our property tax will already increase from that.

Just a few days ago, on Sept 23, Standard and Poor's reduced the State of Minnesota credit rating from AAA to AA+. This will likely increase the interest rate for state, cities and school districts.

Due to the honorable and transparent mayor and City Council's decision to finance the public safety/city hall project with the private placement bonding option, to avoid a citizen's vote on the general obligation bonding, and with the reduced credit rating, we could see an increase in the interest rate the city will pay for this public safety/city hall project. To make those payments, the city will first need to take that money from the citizens. "No increase" in local taxes? Do your homework:

-- Depending on when the city begins making those payments, pay close attention to your property tax statement as well as your monthly utility fees, particularly after the November 2012 election. No sense in muddying up the campaign waters.

-- Visit the League of Minnesota Cities at and do a search on charter city. Chapter 4 offers some great info.

Leon Moe

Cottage Grove