Move by Wyoming Council to buy bank building inspires letters

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.

Wrong Time
Wrong Project

What is it with people who become politicians? They promise to be fiscally responsible, fix roads and manage government.

Yet the moment they are sworn into office, they seem to want to fit in. They agree because they want to be liked by the bureaucratic staff that will be there when they are gone.

The current mayor of Wyoming, Eric Peterson, has said he would manage our money and would repair the roads in Wyoming, yet the roads are still crumbling.  Now they are going to buy an abandoned bank in the heart of Wyoming and turn it into a new city hall, during one of the worst depressions in the history of the country.

Is this good sound fiscal management? They are going to spend $2.5 million to buy the bank, remodel it and renovate the old city hall to be a police station.  There are four full-time employees of the city and we need a new city hall?

Business is leaving Wyoming, as witnessed by the loss of Blockbuster, the pizza shop and half a dozen other companies that couldn’t make it because of high taxes and a bad business climate globally.  Yet we are going to raise taxes to bond the new expenditures, without patching the roads.

It’s the wrong time; it’s the wrong project. This mayor has lost his way.

Raymond VinZant


Best Days Ahead

I refuse to accept that the best days of our city are behind us. We were told the city-township merger would give us more financial resiliency and financial depth to improve our infrastructure.

Are those against this, especially Council person Linda Nanko Yeager, believe that Wyoming will never need a future new city hall? Again, won’t we ever need a new community center?

Our council set missions and goals that indeed we would and by 2016. I’m cheap as in I want the darned best value for our dollars spent in our city. How, to those opposed to this deal, figure that by spending $6-$8 million on a built-from-scratch city hall in 2016-2020, saves us money in the long run? Can you imagine how many of you, opposed, would look back at where we could have spent $2.5 million and got it all but we waited? That argument doesn’t make sense.

I also expected more fiduciary wisdom from Nanko Yeager looking forward. For the record I actively supported Linda Nanko Yeager in her election bid in 2008 and publicly supported her bid to become Wyoming vice mayor in January 2010.

This time, however, I am in stark disagreement with her stand on this matter. Instead I stand with Wyoming’s, now, and for a bright future. I, and others, haven’t given up on our proud community.

Arnie Lahd

Trust Goes Lower

The Wyoming City Council voted 4-1 to proceed with what they feel is a good business decision. The acquisition of the RiverBank building and renovation of the city hall will cost nearly $2.5 million.

From a business perspective, the price of the bank is a good deal. Typically, a real estate transaction would require a downpayment, securing a mortgage, and having a means to pay for it. The way property is purchased varies from businesses, governments and residentially. But the one thing they have in common is that it needs to be paid for!

Most businesses derive income by manufacturing products, services or providing spaces for those that do. Homeowners trade labor for income. Since governments produce no products, they tax for their income.

Those on the council who voted for the purchase have decided that this ‘good business’ deal needs to be done, regardless of how it may affect the taxpayer. It appears that even after hearing public comments about the effects of higher taxes on businesses and homeowners, the council will indiscriminately reach into the back pocket of every business and homeowner to pay for something that should have been reconsidered.

We are in a city where taxes are already high, home sales are slow, businesses are hurting, and people’s trust in government is low. Council members who make decisions without considering the needs of the citizens and businesses, and who feel they know more than we do, are arrogant and presumptuous.

James Schaaf

A FL Open

I recently read an article about Jim Trudeau and Castlewood Golf Course. Trudeau’s commitment to turn the course around over the years and make Castlewood a great place for golfers of all skill sets to come and enjoy.

Being originally from Forest Lake, I recently joined the Wednesday night men’s league and have been able to enjoy the course and reap the benefits of the remarkable job that Jim Trudeau and Jeremy Walker (head groundskeeper) have done with the course.

This got me thinking. It would be great to have some sort of City Golf Championship at Castlewood. It would be a great event to add to our community on a yearly basis as an end of summer event.

Hopefully by people reading this, it will spark the interest of community members and city council members to pursue a Forest Lake Championship. I know it would be something that would keep me coming back to Forest Lake year after year.

Jacob Lipp
St. Paul

Chicago Influence

Some years ago, a friend, originally from Chicago, told me, with no embarrassment, that his brother held down two full-time jobs in that city; one of them a larger retailer and the other the Chicago Parks Department.

He also ran some errands for the mayor around election time, casting multiple votes. Fortunately for his retail job, he only had to report for work at the parks department on Friday afternoons to pick up his check.

That type of behavior is probably in the culture, possibly something left over from the Al Capone era. Illinois, in the ensuing years, has been served by many elected officials who were too blatantly greedy as well as sleazy and are now attending prisons.

During a recent legislative session in Wisconsin, some dissenting legislators fled the state and settled in Illinois, not a good place to go if you would want to avoid contamination.

I have always felt that we were protected by states of Iowa and Wisconsin from the Chicago influence.

However, our real protection comes from the watchdogs of society; the press and bloggers have not replaced the motivated and intelligent reporter.

Tom Obst

Energizes Right-Wing

Open letter to Max Anderson ref: June 28, Open Forum.

Sometimes I think you write this stuff to generate controversy.

First, let me say I have voted both Democrat and Republican but I admittedly lean right. I am open minded enough to listen to both sides of a good political argument. I served almost 22 years in the military to defend our right to free speech.

Your letters are so unabashedly pro-Democrat you can’t see anything else. You berate rich people supporting Republican candidates: rich Democrats do the same thing.  Look no further than George Soros and many if not most of the Hollywood elites.

Further, the vast majority of the main-stream media admit to leaning left. How does a Republican counteract all of that without donating money? Would you stifle their point of view making this country a one-party political system?  That works really well (sarcasm) in other parts of the world like Russia, China and the Islamic Republics etc.  They shut down decent by intimidation.

You referred to the five Supreme Court Judges as “ultra right wing” and “loose canons” etc. because of their decision to allow support for “rich Republican” political ideas and candidates. That decision may not be popular due to the admittedly never-ending political campaigning going on but it was based on First Amendment rights.

As I read their decisions on Arizona’s Immigration law and Obamacare, they pretty much supported the Obama administration. Let me add that because of your First Amendment rights, you are allowed to use name-calling and exaggerations without any governmental repercussions.

It seems to me your far-fetched, emotionally charged statements probably do more to solidify the right-wing base and even convert independents to the conservative side than if you would make thoughtful and unemotional arguments. That type of vitriol is not healthy from either the right or the left and tends to polarize people, generating emotional responses having little rational value.

David Rovang
Forest Lake

  • Arnold Lahd

    James Schaaf, I appreciate your comments. As to the council who voting for a ” ‘good business’ deal” Fallbrook Avenue north from Viking Blvd has the greatest potential to expand business growth. The site where the closed bank sits, regardless of any building there, is the best site for our city gateway. It just happens to have a great building which is suitable for a nice city hall and at a bargain price. Furthermore it will be the first thing people see, in terms who we are as a municipality as they enter town. At one time, back in the 1950’s, there was a bridge crossing the Fallbrook north stream (private farm bridge). The bank building is a reasonable, not a extreme, purchase for the money available now. I do hear talk, by groups, that our city will NEVER NEED a new city hall in that we, as a community, will really never amount to, or develop into, anything special. I really hope that type of pessimism, we’re going nowhere, thinking doesn’t prevail. If so there are many of us who will pack up, cash out (for those who have built up equity) and leave. If there’s no future here, as many are professing now especially Councilperson Yeager, lets determine that in November. As to whether our Wyoming is special, how much, in deals, tax breaks, etc., would most communities give to have a major medical center in their town? The same with all the other business we have here. Wyoming has been greatly blessed. I don’t consider my taxes high for the blessing we have. I want to see us build on that, not tear it all down.

  • max anderson

    Mr. Rovang,

    Please don’t confuse your fantasy with facts.

    First and foremost the reason I write letters to the editor is to express my view with things I may agree or disagree with and I have written both ways.

    Now for the facts or lack of, Please show me where in the constitution or in the amendments where corporations are people, please show me where the five justices that ruled this matter got their reasoning.

    If you bothered to look you will find that there is no wording even resembling this ruling any where in our constitution.This ruling was a made up bias in favor of corporations from five justices who benefit greatly from this decision.

    Your fantasy of the Media leaning left is just another one of the the Fox (not really the) News right wing propaganda talking points. It does not exist and is one of many chants started by Drama Queen Sarah Palin in 2008 because she looked ill informed when placed in the public arena and could not stand being exposed as not ready for prime time.

    Before the Citizens United ruling by the supreme court billionaires like the Right Wing Koch Brothers and Left Wing George Soros were limited in how much they could give directly to a candidate.

    Corporations & Unions were not allowed to give directly to a candidate but had to use pacs that was money voluntary collected from people for political reasons. they were all on a level playing field and had to report from where and whom and how much of the money they got for their pacs and had limits on the amount of donations to a single candidate.

    I must add that more rich people are republicans than are democrats so the giving to the right wing candidates from the wealthy has always been way more then giving to left wing candidates.

    Citizens United changed all that, not only can the rich and corporations and unions spend unlimited amounts of money they now do not have to make public where they get the money.

    And you think this makes for better political discourse in this country and call me names for expressing my first amendment rights opposing it.

    The U.S. Corporate Supreme court ruled that Corporations are people, you must be part of the 20% of people that believes that ridiculous reasoning as you are defending it.

    In closing, using your service in the military as a defender of free speech while trying to stop mine is like you said, kind of like Russia or China, much like about 75 million other citizens I also served, but I never use it as part of a political argument because like most veterans I am proud of serving my country but it is a private matter not to be used for political gain as you are attempting to do.

  • The Watcher

    What is more important for Wyoming? Build a new city hall and public safety building or repair the failing roads. Seeing Mr. Lahd’s recent letters, he thinks that all Wyoming needs is the new buildings and life will be good for Wyoming.

    Wouldn’t it be of more benefit for Wyoming to take advantage of the low interest rates to repair roads like Mr. Lahd’s rather than purchase a large bank for just 4 city employees?

    The current assessment policy calls for 100% assessments on the property owners. Not everybody is as fortunate as Mr. Lahd in their ability to pay much higher taxes. If Mr. Lahd is so blessed, he should petition the city to fix his road and pay the full assessment.

    • Arnold Lahd

      Four city employees? As to the streets, as it stands today, we ALL PAY for the FULL RIDE, meaning a minimum of $24,000 per property. In 1996, the amount, per property (part of city record) was estimated to be $16,000 per household. Obviously costs have gone up since then. I and my wife are fortunate in that we can write a check for $24,000. My neighbors can’t. In fact it would break many of them. Senior citizens, what about them? Linda Nanko Yeager voted against, “No!” a cost sharing plan to fix our roads.

      You want to really know something amazing? We could make everyone, in the old city, over the next decade, pay their $24,000 street assessments each, and then, as the roads in the former township needed fixing, then pass a share program where those who paid for their properties, in the old city, now have to help pay for the future townships road fix up too! Think it can’t happen? It has elsewhere.

      As to the city hall, if your supporters say our city is a has-been, best days behind us, no need, ever, for a future city hall, and you can assure us that we can count on that (take it to the bank), fine! But if we pass on this deal, now, and then 6 years from now are forced to pay $6 million ($11 million over the life on the bonds) that’s a waste of precious tax dollars. As to road fix up, Councilperson Yeager would oppose that, now, as well even if property owners were to pay for it themselves.

  • Amanda

    The bank building is absolutely ridiculous for the city of Wyoming. It’s much larger than needed, and why do city employees need such a lavish space? If there is a need for a new city hall at some point, build a new one that’s size appropriate and not on prime real estate. That would come at a cost much lower than 2.5 million dollars.
    City of Wyoming Council members please remember that you are the voice for the city of Wyoming, and not one a council for a large city with huge revenues. You’re little fish in a small town, so don’t be getting greedy and want such a big tank.

    • Arnold Lahd

      Fairview Lakes Medical Center. Think about that for a moment. Have you seen the Ebenezer Meadows campus next to Fairview Lakes Medical Center? Xccent? Rosenbauer America and General Safety? Hallberg Marine. Also the new store which sells American produced goods exclusively, the Union House? Wyoming isn’t some hick, jerkwater town down in some backwater bayou. As to the bank or city infrastructure costs associated with building a new city hall, where should we hide it? Better still, why should we hide it? You know how much any hundreds of thousands of communities would give to secure a medical clinic let alone a hospital. We have been blessed in Wyoming with growth and opportunity. Getting a cheaper city hall? Problem is you didn’t submit the land you’re writing about and how it would get built for under $2.5 million. Thus, the city went with what it had. Sign the reverse referendum and send the matter to a vote or throw out, of office, those you don’t like. Also, if you wish, support Linda Nanko Yeager for mayor. That’s how democracy works

  • Arnold Lahd

    A Reverse Referendum, which is now being circulated in Wyoming, “provides citizens a means to cool off a Council that is out of control with its spending” I would urge our Wyoming citizens to mull over a few things before you decide to sign a referendum against a new city hall and public safety center. Is Wyoming Councilperson Nanko Yeager’s signature at the top? If not you may see a red flag waving, as in she’s the leader or the vocal opposition and the lone “nay”. Secondly if you plan to sign the referendum, think of the political ramifications. If the Reverse Referendum actually binds the citizens to a vote on the new city hall / public safety center, in November, one of two things may occur which might not be a good thing for those with their verified names on the referendum document. First, we may lose the vacant commercial building we want, in the interim. Secondly, if the votes are there, overwhelmingly, to approve the purchase and infrastructure improvements, those 300 something signing the reverse referendum, will be characterized as having been out of touch with the spirit of Wyoming. If you wish to hold political city office, and the sale is lost or the citizens vote to approve / affirm the four “aye” yes votes, you won’t see as being “in touch” with the electorate. Another sign may be if the two candidates (if they run for reelection) who voted “aye” are reelected and the one candidate (if she runs for reelection) is sent packing, then you know the citizens saw your viewpoint as wrong. Therefore please consider these varied aspects prior to just saying “No!” Thank you

  • John F

    Stupidity still soars in Wyoming MN! Nothing’s changed since the Anderson spending days.