Vandeveer, Wyoming Council are topics for Open Forum

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.

A Fitting Epilogue

The final act of arrogance by Sen. Vandeveer in feigning a last minute decision to retire is a fitting epilogue for his indifference to the best interests of this community.

Does everyone remember December 19, 1997 when Doug Swenson resigned from the legislature. Gov. Arne Carlson appointed him district judge and Vandeveer discovered a warehouse full of campaign signs ready for the special election to be held only weeks later?

As the only candidate prepared to campaign, he prevailed in the January 27, 1998 special election claiming “I did not expect that to happen when it did.”

He then opposed the merger of the two dysfunctional Forest Lake governments, and after all appeals were exhausted, introduced legislation designed to unwind the merger which thankfully died.

In 2006-2007, he opposed the affordable housing provisions of the Forest Lake Comprehensive Plan designed to provide housing for seniors, veterans and average workers, brought in cronies from the Minnesota Builders’ Association to testify and lobby against them and urged the council and city attorney to ignore two Attorney General opinions affirming the legality of provisions under consideration.

The 2010 Legislative Report Card of the Organizing Apprenticeship Project, a human rights organization, determined Vandeveer was the only member of the Minnesota Senate with no “points” in the areas of education, economic and wealth and civil rights equity, resulting in a grade of “D.” Respecting education, Senate records show Vandeveer authored only three of the 298 bills under the topic “Education and Education Department for the 2011-2012 session despite his 15 years of service, and none passed.

Forest Lake needs this change and a much, much higher quality of representation.

Dale G. Swanson
Forest Lake

Hard to Understand

I am struggling to understand what the mayor and city council are trying to do. First, they proposed a huge increase in city taxes to fix the roads. The mayor said he was modeling the plan that Shoreview uses. Never mind Shoreview has over three times the population and more commercial and industrial property to pay for the program.

The overflow crowd at the truth and taxation hearing offered different solutions and the mayor and council reconsidered.

Now they are proposing bonding up to $2 million to buy the RiverBank building and remodel the current city hall into a public safety building. This will mean taking a property that is paying over $36,000 yearly in property taxes off the tax rolls. The city administrator wrote this will create an atmosphere for business growth and development.

I am not sure how this will happen. The RiverBank property is an attractive property in the downtown. Look across the street and see the Viking Commons 2, that used to hold Blockbuster Viking Commons 1 having empty space.

Drive Highway 61 and you will see more empty spaces.

So, we take prime property off the tax rolls and add that cost to business property owners who are already struggling. You would think this would be enough, but no. Not in Wyoming!

The mayor and council gave the city administrator over a 15 percent pay increase and the police chief a 17 percent increase. The police chief was given a new role as public safety director. Will we be hiring a new police chief?

How many Wyoming taxpayers received a 15 percent pay increase last year or  over the last two years.

Council member Linda Yeager is the only member advocating and voting against these moves. So mayor and city council, where is all of this money coming from?

Dan Babbitt