Open Forum for week of Oct. 11

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.

Defending His Name

In a recent letter to this paper, Jon Turner made false statements.

Mr. Turner insinuated that I have placed lawn signs on Dick Tschida property. I have never met Mr. Tschida, have zero lawn signs and publicly stated I don’t believe in lawn signs.

He also states it’s “confirmed” that I am “connected” to Eric Langness. I have never met Mr. Langness and have zero connection to him or anyone else. I am independent.

Turner states that John Freed supports voting for me. I am glad he supports my stance on issues. I did not solicit him for his endorsement.

Turner states I am a “NO” candidate, that I am against all good things for this city. How ridiculous! I like roundabouts. I work everyday with police and fire in my job and feel they deserve higher pay and better equipment. I officiated high school and college hockey and football for 35 years and love youth sports.

The fact is, we all want the best for Forest Lake. I simply want to do it in a timely, fiscally responsible manner.

If Mr. Turner is representative of “the other side,” I clearly, as an independent, will vote for Mr. Winnick and Mr. Eigner.

Bruce Anderson
Forest Lake
(Editor’s note: The writer is running for mayor of Forest Lake. An exception to the editorial policy regarding the publication of letters by candidates was made to allow his rebuttal to a letter from the Oct. 4 issue.)


Regarding His Record

We seemed to have reached that unfortunate time in election season where my opponents have resorted to distortions and in some cases outright lies.

Tricia Funni wrote on the issue of Green Acres. Mrs. Funni stated that the Green Acres law raised taxes on farmers, which is untrue. No farmer or land owner ever saw property tax increases due to legislative changes to Green Acres, because they were never implemented. Unfortunately, in a completely separate action, the Department of Revenue changed the way Green Acres was calculated, using five counties in southwestern Minnesota as the base. The trouble turned out to be these farm lands produce over 200 bushels of corn per acre, driving the value of the calculation up. This impacted the Green Acres value for farmers in our area and many lost much of their tax reduction because of it.

Mark Thelander and Stacy Pearson wrote letters about my record in the Minnesota Senate, but I’m afraid neither of them have actually looked at my record. Mr. Thelander stated that I voted to raise the state income tax, with no reference to any vote. If he looked at my record, he would see I did vote against the 2009 Omnibus Senate File 2074 tax that did have income tax rate increases.

Both stated I voted to prohibit business growth, again with no reference to any votes. My record as a Chisago County Commissioner would show I voted for the Anderson Windows JOBZ proposal in North Branch and the Polaris JOBZ proposal in Wyoming. On the 2009 Omnibus tax bill in the Senate I voted for the Rosen Amendment that would have continued the JOBZ program.

And then there are the numbers, which can be twisted and turned in so many ways and taken out of context. Yes, unemployment went up when I was in the Senate because our economy nationwide nearly collapsed.

Of course we are not all going to agree on all the issues, but let’s stick to the facts. I will gladly discuss my record with anyone, and appreciate the many perspectives that make up Chisago County. But making broad, divisive claims with no facts to back them up doesn’t get us anywhere.

Rick Olseen
Sunrise Township
(Editor’s note: The writer is running for State House in District 32B. Exceptions to editorial policies regarding letter length and the publication of letters by candidates were made to allow his rebuttal to letters from the Sept. 27 issue.)


His Ballot’s Ready

As a longtime member of the Forest Lake community, I have enjoyed the positive attitudes and changes through the city these past two years. I have been following city politics for years. Too often, progress has been undermined by individuals with personal agendas and small groups who seem to oppose improvement for the purpose of opposition itself.

The tide has finally turned. Mayor Chris Johnson has been working to set a new standard for Forest Lake, one of positivity and progress. Already the city has seen great improvements. Under his leadership, the city has brought on a great new city administrator and police chief. After receiving citizen input, it has adopted a five-year strategic plan, keeping an eye toward future development. Mayor Johnson worked hard to secure Teamvantage’s commitment to build a new manufacturing headquarters. The city has improved communication with citizens with monthly town hall-style meetings.

The time is now to continue the momentum. Having watched Mayor Johnson and Councilmember Jim DuFour and learned about Jeff Klein, I know they are the candidates to vote for. They don’t come with personal agendas or from small special interest groups. They will place the success of our city at the forefront.

Jim Trudeau
Forest Lake


Bar Should Be Higher

I do not believe Rep. Michele Bachmann deserves to be reelected.

First, her legislative accomplishments are negligible. Write down what she has done in six years in Congress on behalf of the Sixth District and Minnesota and you are staring at a blank sheet.

Not so, you say: Rep. Bachmann supported the new Stillwater bridge. Alright, I concede Bachmann supported a $700 million mega-bridge linking two small towns that will be entirely paid for by Minnesota and Wisconsin taxpayers.

Second, her incessant lying makes her unfit. It’s reached the point where “Michele Bachmann is telling the truth” are words you just do not expect to see in the same sentence.

Why does Bachmann continue to have support in the Sixth District?  Simple: Her willingness to be the tip of the Republican spear aimed at President Obama and the Democrats. This requires an inability to be embarrassed by one’s buffoonish statements. As indicated by her letter that the government has been infiltrated by radical Islamists, Bachmann is perfect for the job.

As long as her supporters detest President Obama more than the embarrassment and lack of productivity she brings, Bachmann is set. But the bar should be higher in Minnesota.

Michael Harwell
Forest Lake


On the Upswing

New signs have begun appearing around town that state “Stop the Red.”

If the intended message is a claim that the city is being run in deficit or without financial responsibility, it is simply misleading. I regularly attend City Council meetings, am a member of the Park Board and stay well apprised of the operations of the city. The city is in very good financial condition. It has a bond rating of Aa2 by Moody’s, which is strong for a city of our size.

Additionally, after years of increasing operating budgets, the mayor and council have reduced the operating budget each of the last two years. The campaign signs are simply repeating a broken-record message that seems to be stated regardless of the current facts.

The fact of the matter is that the city is on a major upswing. Finances are strong, homes are being built again and commercial development is happening. Infrastructure has been improved with four new bridges, an improved Broadway Avenue and Lakeside Park. If the right people are elected, more improvements will follow.

I am excited about Forest Lake’s future. Join me in voting for Chris Johnson for mayor and Jeff Klein and Jim DuFour for City Council.

Karen Morehead
Forest Lake


A Vote for Fresh Air

Linwood has had the same town clerk for 14 years. It’s time for a change. Sandy Mishler is a competent young woman who has the education, background, and experience to execute all aspects of the duties and responsibilities of the office excellently. She is intelligent and articulate.  She is personable, capable and responsible.

Mishler will take complete and accurate minutes of town board meetings, and she will make the minutes available within days of the meeting, not weeks. She will see to it that board and commission members have necessary information well in advance.

She is familiar with finance and accounting and can produce clear and concise financial reports. Mishler will be available to assist residents – no appointment necessary. She will treat all fairly. She will see to it that town records will be available for anyone to see at any time.

Mishler is eager to serve. She is not seeking power, glory or wealth. A vote for Sandy Mishler is a vote for accountability, accuracy, attention to detail, timeliness, honesty, and responsiveness.

A vote for Sandy Mishler is a vote for a breath of fresh air and a new sense of dignity and openness in the town clerk’s office.

Marcia Fabricius
(Editor’s note: The writer is a former Linwood town clerk.)


Wrong in Many Ways

I am one of many with a “Vote No” bumper sticker on my car and sign in my yard. I was born and raised in Forest Lake and my parents lived and had businesses in Forest Lake until their retirement in 1997.

The proposed “marriage amendment” is wrong in many ways. Citing the Bible does not make the amendment right. The Bible says many things that are wrong: allowing polygamy (Gen. 4:19, 16:3, 21:1-13, 25:1); not allowing interfaith marriages (Num. 25:6-11, Deut. 7:3, Ezra. 9:2-12, 10:2-3 and Gen. 24:3-4); not allowing interracial marriages (Num. 12:1, Exodus 34:12-16, Deut. 7:1-4). The list goes on.

This amendment will not allow gays to marry, but passing the amendment will also not stop gays from being gay, finding a partner, having “marriage” ceremonies and having families.

The Constitution is to protect freedom, not take it away. And yes, marriage is a fundamental freedom and a right. Just look at the court case of Loving vs. Virginia, which struck down laws against interracial marriage.

Jennifer Hart-Abraham
White Bear Lake


Can’t Have it Both Ways

I’m writing in regards to Rep. Bob Barrett and education. In North Branch, education is one of the most important issues in this election.

Barrett claims that he’s for “world-class schools.” Considering the actions he has taken, I wonder what schools in the world he wants Minnesota schools to be like.

He had the opportunity to work towards a real plan to pay back the 2.4 billion dollar school shift but instead he opted to author a bill to take 1 percent from every other state budget area to pay back the shift. His plan, his bill would take 20 years. The money would be taken out of funds for departments that are already hurting. This “solution” works for no one.

North Branch schools are starting their third year of four-day school weeks, and every year more students leave the district for that reason, taking scarce funds with them. Every year there are more cuts resulting in bigger classes, higher fees for activities, fewer electives – and more cuts loom if nothing changes.

North Branch schools do not need more empty election-year promises.  North Branch schools need real solutions. We do not get world-class schools just by saying we want them, Rep. Barrett.

Susan Anderson
North Branch


Keep Dettmer in Office

We are asking our fellow Minnesota Senate District 39A citizens to vote for incumbent House Rep. Bob Dettmer on Nov. 6.

Those who live in Forest Lake already know Bob as their current  House representative. Having known Bob for years, we have found him to be a diligent, hard-working and personable man who takes his job as House Representative seriously and as an honor to be serving his constituents.

Bob has held town meetings to update residents and to seek their input. He demonstrates a real willingness to meet with local groups and listen to individuals. As a retired Forest Lake High School teacher with 34 years of service, Bob has a special interest in education; he believes parents are responsible for their children’s education with local control of the school system.

As a retired couple, we are concerned about higher taxes, inflation and the economy. We will be voting for Bob Dettmer because he has worked to help make government better – not larger. Bob believes in our free enterprise system and supports less government. That means less spending, less regulation, less intrusion into our lives, businesses and pocketbooks.

If you share our concerns, vote for Bob Dettmer on Nov. 6.

Bob & Cheryl Swinehart
May Township


Don’t Close the Book

Voters have three choices on the marriage amendment: vote “No,” vote “Yes” or leave it blank.

I think we all know someone who is gay. I have a daughter who is gay, has two children and is in a lesbian relationship with a Lutheran minister. She is a wonderful mom and very intelligent woman. She has a PhD in physics, is a Christian and is employed at a major health care facility.

She tried traditional marriage, but wasn’t attracted to men. She would like to be able to make the case that she is entitled to be married to the person she loves.

So I ask you to do no harm: either vote “No” or leave it blank. If this amendment is defeated, it at least allows the discussion to continue.

This is an issue of religious freedom. Nothing would be changed by voting “no” or leaving it blank; state law limits marriage to heterosexual couples. If the existing law is changed, those religions that hold that marriage should be limited to heterosexual couples would not be required to marry them.

I encourage you to have a conversation with a gay person or a parent of a gay, and to reflect and pray on this question.

Robert G. Walz
North Branch


Finally, a Choice

I am writing in proud support of Fran Miron, who is running for Washington County Commissioner. For the first time in many years, the citizens of Washington County have a choice.

Fran is running on three essential priorities to serve all constituents, including a commitment to unifying what has become a dysfunctional county board, maintaining fiscal responsibility while continuing to serve the county’s citizens in a time of significant growth – and managing that same growth, so significant that the Washington County Comprehensive Plan estimates a 55 percent increase in population by 2030.

As a 16-year mayor, four-year City Council member, and Economic Development Authority member of the City of Hugo, Fran is a championed figure in dealing with all of what his priorities detail, especially in unifying a sometimes divided community over issues of growth. He has also maintained a flat tax rate that resulted in eight straight tax rate reductions while expanding city services and simultaneously absorbing over $1.3 million in cuts to local government aid.

As a former educator and current farmer, Fran is a supporter of schools and local youth organizations.

Clearly, Fran will bring a refreshing, dynamic, new perspective to one of the most important governmental seats in our county.

Jeffrey M. Ayer
Forest Lake