Political topics continue as Open Forum 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 editor.forestlaketimes@ecm-inc.com. 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.

Deserve Better

I’m writing in response to Rep. Barrett’s recent column about  fiscal responsibility. I agree the economy is getting better, whether this is because of decisions at the Capitol or just the resilience of our economy is a matter of debate.

Rep. Barrett claims that the borrowing schools have to do because the state is holding back about 40 percent of their funding is no big deal. I say any time over $2 billion dollars is delayed, it’s a big problem! Especially when borrowing from our children’s education.

Democrats in the legislature have a plan to pay back the shift over five years by closing off shore corporate tax loop holes, however I don’t believe Barrett supports this plan.

He also has a bill HF2540 to help with a new source of state aid for districts like in our area with under state average funding. This bill would cost about $30 million, but the problem is when Rep. Barrett testified on the bill he had no way to pay for it.

The money to pay for it has to come from somewhere. Cuts to nursing homes, jails, public safety?

It’s hard to take a no new taxes line when the area you represent is often on the short end of the stick—at least if you are truly representing your area and not partisan politics.

We deserve better, Mr. Barrett.

Greg Combs
North Branch

Fibs and Lies

It’s sad that a DFL party that once meant something meaningful now relies on distortions, fibs and lies to fill space in the op-ed columns of this paper.

In one column, Bob Walz of North Branch claims he doesn’t belong to the DFL party (I would deny it too, if I were him) yet his name appears as a precinct chair in the local DFL web site.

In another letter, a local DFL hack seems to think slash and burn politics is the way to go so voters will ignore the GOP produced $1 billion budget surplus and 5.6 percent unemployment rate that is well below the national rate.

Sorry, Max. Chisago County can’t afford any more $6 billion state budget deficits and $16 trillion national debts.

Michele Lentz

Silent Victims

We normally only hear about the perceived benefits of legalized gambling; how many jobs are created and taxes are lowered. For every dollar of revenue generated by gambling, taxpayers lose $3 in increased criminal justice costs, social welfare expenses, regulatory costs and increased infrastructure expenditures.

When our local representatives have reservations about expanding gambling to include more addictive forms such as video slots, they are questioned and ridiculed when they want the citizens to vote on the proposal.

There are silent victims and a dark side to gambling. Millions of people are becoming addicted to gambling and the numbers are increasing. Pawn shops are flourishing due to gamblers selling what they have to feed their addiction.

It used to be mostly men that were getting addicted to gambling, but now many women are getting addicted. Addiction counselors are calling video slots or video lottery machines the “crack cocaine” of the gambling industry because it’s addictive “hook” is so strong and deep.

Gambling addiction often leads to the destruction of families, domestic violence and suicide. I believe the net societal effect of our government’s embrace of gambling has been disastrous. Gambling is an activity which exploits the vulnerable – the young, the old and those susceptible to addictive behavior.

You cannot predict who will become addicted to gambling – it’s an equal opportunity predator. Greed, power, money and corruption are at the root of gambling.  Gambling produces nothing, but it will take everything.

For more information and help go to www.gamblersanonymous.org.

Craig Kasl