Open Forum writers cover multiple 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.

Oppose Dog Park

This letter is to formally declare neighborhood opposition to action to consider placement of a dog park by the Wyoming Park Board at Banta Park.

The access to this dog park is planned for Field Avenue, a street one quarter mile long and residential with nine families. The plan is to fence the designated area and build a parking lot.

Problems with this proposed site:

•Field Avenue is a very short residential street.

•The proposed amount of land is too small.

•Park proximity is too close to homes.

•Increased traffic would be disruptive to neighborhood.

•Residential safety hazard for one special-needs resident and children who live on the street.

•Neighborhood privacy destroyed.

Bob Beynon, co-chair of the park board, was fair enough to notify us of this proposed park three days before the park board met.

We were astounded by the attitude of some park board members. One was especially antagonistic, confrontational and unwilling to discuss the issues and concerns of residents. In her mind, the decision had been made and why were we there bothering them.

This person stated she had canvassed 78 homes in Wyoming with each homeowner in favor of the park. However, none of us who would be directly affected were contacted.

There are better locations for this dog park already set up with ball fields, playgrounds and parking lots. What happened to our rights as residents and taxpayers? We say a resounding no.

Lyn Palacheck

EDITOR’S NOTE: Including the writer, the letter was signed by 14 residents who live on Field Avenue in Wyoming.

Awash in Guns

I was going to write regarding the headline grabbing outrage by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Her unsubstantiated and bigoted attacks on Congressman Keith Ellison (who happens to be African American) and Hillary Clinton’s extremely capable aid, Huma Abedin (of Indian and Pakistani heritage) seem to follow in the footsteps of her political patron Joe McCarthy.

But the tragedy in Aurora, CO, shows us that America has a much larger problem than a teapot politician. Guns! We are awash in them.

We conceal them in our pants and purses. And not just sporting guns, but powerful military weapons easily acquired by anyone with a credit card and an internet connection, no matter their mental state.

The wounds of many of the Aurora victims were described as horrific by one of the ER surgeons — more like battlefield injuries than those typical of the overnight shootings we have come to accept with our morning coffee.

Does everyone truly have the right to own weaponry that can quickly destroy so many lives in malls, schools and churches, and now movie theaters? Did not our Creator, in Jefferson’s magnificent words, endow us with a right to life?

Is not the primary role of we the people, i.e. government, to secure that right above all others? Without life the right to bear arms is meaningless. The primary question here is: Does a citizen’s right to life trump another’s right to access weapons that can instantly take away life?

Sadly, from Columbine to Red Lake and Virginia Tech, our collective answer has been the same. Guns have trumped life every time, nothing much has changed, and we await the next tragedy.

And so, while Aurora’s dead are buried and her wounds begin to heal, and Bachmann schemes to take back the headlines we again have an opportunity to start a rational discussion about the often tragic intersection of our lives, our rights and our guns. What will we do this time?

Gene Janicke
Forest Lake

A Great Drive!

A huge thank you to all who came out to donate blood on June 29th at the Allina Medical Clinic in Forest Lake!

The Red Cross had a blood drive goal of collecting 25 pints. Our drive not only met, but exceeded the goal by registering 40 plus people to donate, and unfortunately, had to turn donors away because the slots filled up so quickly!

I am so proud of our community and the generosity of the donors who took the time to make a difference. A total of 35 pints of blood are now available for patients in need!

Allina will be hosting another blood drive in September, and hoping for another amazing turnout.

On behalf of Allina Medical Clinic and the Red Cross, thank you so much for your continued support!

Vicki Hagle
Allina Medical Clinic
Forest Lake

Don’t Deny Voters

Recently the Chisago County Board of Commissioners discussed the authorization to appoint the position of Auditor and Treasurer/Recorder. Currently the voters in the county elect these positions every four years.

Chiseling away at citizens’ right to be represented by whomever they choose is, in my opinion, a means by which a small group garners even more power to make decisions for others without the proper transparency and process. The board has not been elected to conduct this type of business.

If the motivation behind this decision is to save the county money in terms of salary and benefits, then perhaps the board should discuss combining these two positions. The county would save close to $150,000 a year; and more importantly, voters would still have a chance to be heard.

Reducing the tax burden on the citizens and businesses in Chisago County while not raising the operating levy every year is a commendable goal. However, achieving these goals by obliterating voter representation is an expense the citizens of this county are not willing to pay.

Darrel A. Trulson
Chisago City

Please Answer

Questions for Michelle Bachmann.

Do you think your having applied and received Swiss citizenship and being married to a Swiss citizen is un-American and a terrorist activity?

Being a former IRS lawyer, how many Americans did you target unfairly for the government?

Your family has received millions in government farm subsidies. How much did you get this year?

How much government money does your husband’s clinic receive annually?

Will you provide a long form of your birth certificate to the public to prove you were born here?

In your failed campaign for president, you billed yourself as an Iowa girl. Which is it really — Iowa, Minnesota or Switzerland?

Being a resident of the 4th District, do you think it is un-American to run in the 6th District where you don’t live?

Being against the Affordable Care Act, is it un-American for you to accept government health care and pension that is paid by taxpayers?

When appearing with Glenn Beck, do you ever wonder which of you will enter the Joseph McCarthy hall of fame first?

Michelle, these are questions you have not answered publicly. I am just asking.

Max Anderson

Taxpayer Defender

Rep. Bob Barrett is a proven defender of the taxpayer. His work the past two years has made government more efficient and cost effective by consolidating agencies and operations.

He helped eliminate welfare fraud by ensuring assistance goes to the needy and the program money is used properly. Bob helped pass legislation to empower consumers in health care choices by allowing a portion of MNCare enrollees to access private insurance.

At least two of the bills Bob authored were passed unanimously by the House. This is a sign of Bob’s ability to work with all legislators to pass good legislation. Bob is a numbers guy with an analytical mind which is exactly the expertise we need at the Capitol — legislators who will look logically at the facts and make common sense decisions with the taxpayer dollar.

Chisago County has a voice in St. Paul who will advocate for our county, schools and taxpayers. That voice is Bob Barrett.

Charlotte Gulbranson

Incorrect Facts

I recently received a campaign flier from Bob Barrett and would like to correct some of his statements.

Statement: Barack Obama gave us ObamaCare.

Fact: ObamaCare is actually a Republican idea from the 1990s and is fashioned after a health care law passed in Massachusetts by then Gov. Mitt Romney.

Statement: Barack Obama gave us …. exploding deficits.

Fact: The national debt increased much more under Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. And Bob Barrett should really be addressing his own state Republican party’s debt before he criticizes others.

Statement: Obama’s solution to America’s problems is tax increases.

Fact: The largest tax increase I received last year was when my property taxes skyrocketed due to the budget that Bob Barrett and his party passed.

Statement: Bob Barrett’s flier implies that holding the line on taxes makes the Republican policies “job creators.”

Fact:  Minnesota has a reputation as a higher tax state. Minnesota presently has an unemployment rate below the national average. Obviously high taxes do not deter job creation and tax cuts are not necessary to create jobs.

And nationally, unemployment has increased while Republicans were in the oval office and decreased while Democrats held the office. Republican tax policies do not create jobs.

Bob Barrett, let’s stick with the facts.

Michael Herman
Chisago City

He Understands

The average taxpayer should be incensed to hear Democrats talk about being the 99 percent as if they represent the struggle of the “common man.” Minnesota Democrats, including our governor, blab class envy with tax the rich proposals. The premise of their argument, that the rich don’t pay their fair share, is simply untrue.

Democrats spout rhetoric that the “rich” have incomes at an all time high and pay less taxes than the rest of us. However, the Congressional Budget Office recently reported that between 2007/2009, the income of the so-called rich fell 37 percent.The report also says the “rich” paid more in taxes (28.9 percent) than the middle class (11 percent).

Occupy Wall Street types think this is perfectly acceptable while they talk on smart phones, Google on IPads and go home to high definition televisions oblivious that it is precisely the risk taking hard work of the “rich” that increase the standard of living they enjoy.

Rev. William Boetcker said it best. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.

Rep. Bob Barrett understands these principles. Bob and the Republican majority took a $6.2 billion deficit left by the Democrats, turned it into a $1.2 billion surplus while holding back Dayton’s tax increases. The result? Our economy improved and our unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country. Reelect Barrett to the Minnesota House!

Bruce Spangler