Issues in FL, Wyoming motivate Open Forum writers

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.

Hebert’s Dusty Trail

This morning I made a frequent early morning trip to our One Great Forest Lake. Out of my driveway I hit the dusty trail heading north and turned left on the frequently graded washboard alley, 190th Street.

Here one gets to view more dust and to clench one’s teeth when tightly gripping the steering wheel. As I ride these bitter elements I dream — now wouldn’t making enough improvements on washboard alley, in order to lay a nice coat or two of asphalt, do the trick?

As I turn north on Highway 61, the road surface gets smooth — asphalt. As I head to my destination by turning left on 11th Avenue, I am greeted by a beautiful overpass built for pedestrians and bicyclists on which I have yet to see being used by either.

I’m sure my confrontation on this matter would be met by comments like, “We received grant money,” or “think of the safety issue for bikers and hikers.” And for the washboard alley, “you’ll get tar when you pay for it.”

What’s being done with out tax dollars designated for street maintenance? I think of the several times a heavy layer of gravel has been laid on 190th Street only to be graded, splashed and snow plowed into the ditch which is not good for drainage.

My overall feeling leads to equality — nice to see beautiful improvements but as I quote the past slogan, One Great Forest Lake, it seems some parts of Forest Lake have gotten much greater than others.

Still clenching, gripping and hoping.

Larry Hebert
Forest Lake

A Good Deal

In just about every aspect of our lives we always look for the best value for the least amount of money. The exception apparently is when it comes to fixing the streets of Wyoming.

The shared cost proposal before the city, similar to a program currently in place in Shoreview, makes so much sense it is hard to fathom anyone would be against it.

In it’s most simplistic form, the program works as follows.

Under the current assessment method of street replacement and repair, when your street gets redone you will receive a bill for $15 to $20,000. That bill must be paid in seven years. That assessment is not tax deductible.

The shared cost plan the city is looking at will run the average homeowner about $125 a year added to his property taxes. That $125 will be tax deductible. When the bulldozers and heavy equipment pulls up on one of our streets, the street gets fixed and the street fund pays for it.

The thing to remember is our streets were built the same way. They will need replacement sooner than later. The shared cost plan is a “pay it forward” plan that all residents of Wyoming should embrace. Let’s not pass up a good deal looking for a good deal.

Mike Soule

Let the Public Speak!

I attended the Forest lake budget workshop August 23. I was disappointed there was no public comment allowed.

City Administrator Aaron Parish is open and addresses issues. He is willing to talk about what is important to the city and its residents and not hide things. At the end, however, the mayor did not let the public speak.

I wanted to speak on the utility franchise fees which the council is considering. This will raise money for road maintenance and to pave the gravel roads.

Would the money collected go to roads, or could it be taken out and used for another fund? Who will decide what roads get paved and when? Is the charge  for residents who need their road paved 20 percent?

Will residents have to participate in paving or do we have a choice? What percentage of our electric bill are they considering charging us?

I’d like to comment on the $1.7 million of debt on Fenway Fields. The council is considering how to pay it off.

It’s time to find creative ways to decrease the debt. Should the city collect concession fees, or should the park board have less of a budget and the city pay off some of the debt? I’m sure people have good suggestions on what to do.

Councilman Jim DuFour was absent. He has said “he has better things to do” at other workshops. Isn’t it important he be there as the city is discussing budget concerns? Please, Mr. Mayor, let the public speak.

Eugene Huerstel
Forest Lake

A Treasure

Buried just north of US-8 is a treasure. I believe the value of this treasure to our communities is greatly under-valued.

I was one of three people representing The Better Business Bureau, AARP and the Forest Lake Police Dept. to be interviewed for a Lakes Area Community Television Hot Topics show, “Protecting Yourself From Fraud” hosted by Greg Ochs.

It was not until that time that I became aware of the talented and dedicated small group of people who, though they are working with aging equipment and a tiny budget, create a wide array of high quality and important programming seen throughout this area in Forest Lake, Columbus, Scandia and Wyoming. It is all accessible to anyone with basic cable.

The station airs proceedings of city councils and commissions, civic events, parades and fairs, and offers educational programs like the fraud show. They produce a special channel, RANGER 20, dedicated to airing school activities, events and sports. LATV 10 is a true diamond in the rough.

With the proper support, this kind of resource could play an even greater role in bringing our communities closer together and providing an important platform for further education, debates and a stage for the vast creativity and talent that is hidden amongst us and needs to be seen.

Tune in, give feedback and support this treasure and help bring out the full value that is there to be mined. We deserve it.

Steve Cunningham
Forest Lake

Misleading Notion

Last week Max Anderson posited the misleading notion that Paul Ryan, a Catholic, cannot be trusted because he subscribes to Ayn Rand’s radical views on ethics and government. Anderson’s article — like that of many liberally slanted pundits — omits crucial information.

Anderson ignores the fact that in April 2012 Ryan rebuked Rand, saying he rejects her atheist philosophy. And while as late as 2005 Ryan did subscribe to some of Rand’s ideas, isn’t it acceptable for him to ‘evolve’ on issues just as President Obama has “evolved on ‘gay marriage’?”

One can espouse an aspect of a belief system without espousing its dogmas. Contrary to what Anderson states, Ryan’s belief in economic self- interest does not conflict with Catholic teachings.

Anderson deceivingly abuses the reader’s knowledge by stating the Catholic Church is “upset with Ryan.” As an institution, the Catholic Church does not dogmatically repudiate individuals but rather immoral systems. Even if one member of the church has chided Ryan (I am unable to substantiate Anderson’s claim), such a rebuke does not tacitly equal an endorsement by the larger body.

Paul Ryan simply wants our bankrupt government to stop spending more than it takes in, just as all responsible parents seek when their families are short of money. Ryan’s economic ideas, not Anderson’s disingenuous criticisms of him, are what will help our country improve.

Kelly Wing

Timely Reminder

School starts again on Tuesday, Sept. 4 and we need to be reminded to watch for big, yellow school buses, students (not so big) waiting for those buses on roadsides, and (also very big) the fiscal hole left by the state to our local school district.

We can help our schools in the future by voting for people who are willing to fully fund our schools on a timely basis instead of forcing our schools to borrow and increase our local debt burden.

John Bruno and Julie Bunn are people running for the state legislature in District 39 who fit the requirement.

William Eggers
Marine on St. Croix

Irony is Dead?

There are those who say they loathe “negative” political advertising.  An old guy yelled at me for walking up to his front door with candidate information — all this negative political stuff, he yelled, when I hadn’t had a chance to say even one word. And they say irony is dead.

One type of “negative” advertising comes in the form of polling. It originates from the folks who keep telling us how they hate all the negativity and how much integrity they have. And polling calls within the past week were nothing but negative about former State Representative Julie Bunn (now running for Senate in District 39)  — and ludicrous, illogical statements they were, which we were supposed to agree or disagree with.

Why not just accuse her of being a vampire? She is sometimes out after sunset knocking at people’s doors. “Door knocking”? Ha!  Who’d believe that?

If you get one of these calls, and the accusations sound unlikely, well, it’s because they are! Check her web site, or Google her name. You’d find she was exceptional during her time at the legislature, and is a thoughtful, analytical, reasonable, very smart and very nice, person. Not negative.

Miriam G. Simmons

Hollow Argument

Max Anderson, everyone’s favorite progressive, is deriding Paul Ryan for being  a disciple of Ayn Rand. While Rand was an atheist and believed in abortion, these were not central tenets to her philosophies.

Rand believed the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness. Mr. Anderson would describe this pursuit, which the Founders thought so critical that it was included in our Constitution, as greed. She espoused that the only social system consistent with this morality is the full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism.

This is troubling to Max. He would prefer you vote for President Obama, a disciple of Saul Alinsky whose book “Rules for Radicals,” is the playbook of leftist revolutionaries. President Obama wrote a book devoted to the dreams he acquired from his socialist/activist father.

Please don’t forget the president’s other major influences, namely his mentor,  the avowed communist Frank Marshal Davis and Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Paul Ryan cites Thomas Aquinas as an influence on his politics. President Obama’s friend is Bill Ayers, the Weather domestic terrorist who bombed the Pentagon. Are we really having this argument?

Brad Ziernicki

Bunn Pro Business

As a former tech business owner in Washington County I’d like to recognize Julie Bunn’s numerous contributions to the business community.

With bipartisan support, Julie authored and shepherded complex bills to passage during her time in the legislature. She was the chief author on the top legislative priority of the Minnesota Business Partnership – a reformulation of the corporate income tax formula to make Minnesota more competitive relative to other states, to encourage businesses to locate in our state.

Julie authored legislation providing research and development tax credits to small and large businesses, and to establish bioscience enterprise and nanotechnology development funds.

She was the principal author of the 2007 and co-author of the 2008 healthcare reform proposals that were passed and signed into law.

Julie was endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce State PAC— the Minnesota Chamber Leadership Fund in both 2008 and 2010.

She was endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business in 2008 and 2010, and in both years also received their Guardian of Small Business Award for her work on behalf of small business.

Julie is a strong advocate for business, large or small. I will vote for Julie Bunn for State Senate in November and encourage readers to do likewise.

James Schenz

The Right Reason

Julie Bunn is running for State Senate in the newly-formed District 39 for the right reason — to serve. It would be difficult to identify a more highly qualified candidate.

Julie was a relentless advocate as a state representative for the former District 56A. From chief-authoring legislation to clean-up the toxic Lake Elmo landfill and chairing the nationally-recognized bio monitoring and health tracking studies of PFC pollution, to authoring the Stillwater levy project, Bayport storm sewer project, and upgrades to security at the Oak Park Heights Correctional Facility, Julie Bunn works towards results that matter!

A Stanford University PhD economist, Julie’s in-depth knowledge of tax policy and budget complexities led her to chief author the Health Care legislation of 2007.

Julie has spent the last several months speaking to local leaders and citizens to truly understand our issues and concerns. She is well informed about schools and economic development issues, like redevelopment of the Northland Mall, and is committed to assisting in moving concerns forward.

It’s critical that we expect more from our elected leaders. Julie Bunn has the credentials and the character to exceed our expectations. Please join me in casting a qualified vote for Julie Bunn in November.

John Beckstrom
Forest Lake