Open Forum writers comment on state, national political topics

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letters will be accepted for the Open Forum for publication in the next available issue after receipt. Letters may be sent to Forest Lake Times, 880 SW 15th St., Forest Lake, or by e-mail to [email protected] Letters should not exceed 250 words and must be signed with the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Deadline is noon Monday. The newspaper reserves the right to edit letters and assure that rules of libel and good taste are not violated.

Not Our Voice

Last week I participated in a protest in front of the North Branch Office of Chip Cravaack.

As a long-time resident of the Eighth District, 20-year resident of Chisago County and a life-long Minnesotan, I feel it is time that Cravaack, a recent transplant to North Branch and Minnesota, resign if he isn’t committed enough to Minnesota to have his family live here.

He is supposed to be our voice in Washington, but how can he know the needs of his constituents when he spends more time in New Hampshire than in North Branch? He even isn’t a member of a church here or service club like Rotary.

I have seen him once in North Branch in the last six months and that is when he registered to vote, and I have never seen him at his house in North Branch, or for that matter, any activity at his house.

Cravaack needs to come clean on how many days he has spent in North Branch since he moved here and his family moved to New Hampshire.

You can add up the number of “mobile” meetings, but where does he really reside and who does he represent, surely not the progressive residents of the Eighth District?

Cravaack is one of the most extreme members of Congress: “he voted to let women die, to gut the Clean Air Act and to destroy Medicare.”

He wants to undermine, if not repeal, the health care reform act of 2009 that helped millions of Americans, especially senior citizens like me with pre-existing conditions.

He wants to maintain the Bush tax cuts for the rich and the Bush deregulations that created the worst recession in our country’s history.

As people that are pro-family, let’s help Chip join his family in New Hampshire and do what he has done best, be a house-husband and live off his wife and government payments.

Robert G. Walz
North Branch

Still Confused

In the Thursday, Feb. 16 edition, guest columnist Colleen Dettmer offered a lengthy article detailing her unbiased views toward legislator Bob Dettmer.

She states that Bob’s political career is “totally different” than his past careers as a teacher, coach and military reservist.

Actually it is identical as he is still hiring no one, risking zero of his capital creating zero revenue and his salary and fourth pension are 100 percent dependent on taxpayers’ efforts.

Additionally, why was he employed for years by the National Guard if it was not to be deployed?

If he was a firefighter, would she be complaining about a fire?

I am grateful to each hard-working individual in the private sector — those who face risks and challenges daily in an effort to keep the country, state and the United States of America afloat.

Paul Wiessner
Forest Lake

On Church & State

I am old enough to remember some of the 1960 presidential campaign and election. John Kennedy’s most famous speech may have been given Sept. 12, 1960 before the Greater Houston Ministerial Alliance.

He spoke to calm Protestant fears that should he be elected president, the White House would become a second Vatican and would reflect Catholic influence.

This speech was eloquent and still resonates today. He addressed the religion issue straight forwardly and asserted his strong belief in the separation of church and state.

Today I am disappointed we don’t seem to get the same commitment from the bevy of Republican candidates.

On the contrary, it seems each tries to make themselves appear more Christian than the next and hold that as a standard for their electability.

All of these candidates have attacked President Obama on religious grounds. They question his Christianity and claim he is anti-Christian. It may be these candidates should be feared more than John Kennedy was in 1960 for what they may bring to the White House in form of policy and practice.

Kennedy’s speech and election broke the religious glass ceiling that is allowing Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum fair footing in this election.

Instead of meeting a religious test the candidates should be judged on their plans and policies to advance the country.

I think these candidates should speak to their commitment to the separation of church and state.

Pete Boelter
North Branch

Wetland Replacement

I have chief authored a bill that would establish a pilot project for the Rice Creek Watershed District wetland. HF 1927 authorizes the district to replace wetlands that are impacted as a result of water management projects such as drainage system repairs.

The watershed district has to abide by specific requirements when replacing wetlands.

This pilot project would result in significant savings to taxpayers in Washington, Anoka and Ramsey counties.

Consultation with county boards is required, and if the replacement is to take place on state lands that are under the DNR’s administration, the commissioner of the DNR needs to concur with the proposal. Replacement wetlands must also be located in areas of the state where less than 80 percent of pre-settlement wetlands are still intact.

Generally, that translates to meaning the replacement must take place somewhere outside of the northeast quarter of the state.

When all is said and done for wetland replacement, the Rice Creek together with DNR and the Board of Water and Soil Resources will submit two reports to the Legislature with the amount and location of wetlands that were or will be replaced, estimated costs of the water management projects, and also any further policy change recommendations.

The status report is to be submitted by Dec. 15, 2013 and the final report is to be submitted by Dec. 15, 2017.

HF 1927 is different from the normal method of wetland replacement in that this bill would allow the watershed district to put wetland replacement anywhere in the state and create an agreement with the DNR to use state lands.

HF 1927 is currently waiting to be heard in the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

Rep. Bob Dettmer
R-Forest Lake

No Jim Crow

We’ve all had to tolerate Max Anderson’s charged diatribes over the last several months. His assault on a good man, Sen. Ray Vandeveer, who has represented this district well, has caused me to pipe up.

Is voting a right, a privilege or a responsibility?

The U.S.  Constitution is curiously vague on this topic and the Minnesota Constitution says “Every person 18 years of age or more who has been a citizen of the United States for three months and who has resided in the precinct for 30 days next preceding an election shall be entitled to vote in that precinct.

All the supporters of voter ID want is for you to prove this prior to voting. Is that really too much to ask?

Minnesota has same day voter registration and a vouching process that presents obvious opportunities for fraud. It also is very hard to prosecute, let alone track down, those deliberately defrauding the process.

Minnesota Majority has an entire page of examples of voter “irregularities” that have hit a literal stone wall with the Secretary of State’s Office.

Why not take these out of a partisan, elected official’s hand and attempt to eliminate as much fraud or potential fraud as possible.

Leave it to a progressive like Max Anderson to evoke Jim Crow into this argument.

Jim Crow…seriously? Are we talking poll taxes, literacy or comprehension tests?

No. Prove that you are a resident of the precinct and you are over 18 and we welcome you to vote.

Jim Crow? Interestingly, Jim Crow laws were started by southern Democrats

Brad Ziernicki