Open Forum for week of Oct. 25

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.



In keeping with the newspaper’s guidelines on political endorsement letters in the Open Forum, this will be the last edition before the election in which political letters will be published.

Clint Riese


Needed Leadership

Forest Lake is a wonderful place with great potential and I see a very bright future.

However, that is not guaranteed. It requires forward thinking and visionary leadership. Having served as mayor of Forest Lake for 10 years, I understand that nothing important happens without strong leaders. I still follow local politics. Having watched Councilmember Jim Dufour the past four years and Mayor Chris Johnson the past two years, I know that both bring that needed leadership.

Jim has spearheaded the effort to make Forest Lake a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon community and has voted for all of the progress that we have seen the past four years. Chris continues to champion new ideas, was key in convincing Teamvantage to build a new manufacturing plant/corporate headquarters in Forest Lake and continues to stand up for what he believes in despite the few, but vocal, remaining dissenters.

Over the past two years, I have gotten to know Jeff Klein, who runs the Xcel Center for the Minnesota Wild. He, too, is a bright, common-sense candidate who is solely interested in making Forest Lake better.

It is clearly imperative that we re-elect Mayor Johnson and Councilmember Dufour and elect Klein to council.

Ray Daninger
Forest Lake


A True Public Servant

We are writing to encourage you to vote for Rhonda Sivarajah for Anoka County Commissioner for District 6.

She has proven she has the experience, knowledge and energy to serve the constituents in District 6 and also the entire county as its board’s chair the past two years.

She has been accountable and responsive to all. She believes in transparency and accessibility in government. Online services have expanded as well as holding some board meetings in the communities so residents have the opportunity to see the board in action.

In the current economy, she has worked tirelessly to reduce the debt thus saving taxpayer dollars. The property tax reduction in 2012 is the largest reduction in any county in Minnesota and the first time the levy has been reduced in Anoka County in over 40 years.

She is about service to others and is truly a “public servant.”

We are lucky to have her represent us, and so to continue with the list of successes for Anoka County, please vote for Rhonda Sivarajah!

Cecile Neihart


Vote Yes for Yeager

I am supporting Linda Yeager for City Council. She has worked hard her first term. While she votes with the majority most of the time, she isn’t afraid to vote “no” when it is needed.

For example, she did not support the RiverBank purchase or the excessive pay raises recently voted on by the City Council.

The only way to keep taxes low is to keep spending in line. We need to keep Linda on the council so she can continue working for us.

Delphine Gay


His Experience Counts

Several years ago I had the good fortune, as your sheriff, to work with Commissioner Dennis Hegberg. I was always impressed by his support for law enforcement and his knowledge of all areas of county government. He did his homework on the issues.

Commissioner Hegberg’s resume shows strong leadership in that he has held the position of president or chairperson of almost every organization or group he has been associated with, including present chairperson of the Washington County Board. He has earned the respect and admiration of many of his colleagues.

Dennis doesn’t look at the commissioner position as a job, but a way to serve the citizens of District 1. For instance, after the tornado in Hugo, Dennis was there working with other local officials making certain all county resources were available.

He has also worked to obtain funding for many projects in District 1: the new government service center and library, Broadway Avenue reconstruction, new Big Marine Park, new County Road 8 in Hugo, Trailside Senior Housing, and the list goes on, all while maintaining the second-lowest tax rate in the metro.

There’s an old saying: “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” District 1 is not broken.

Jim Trudeau
Forest Lake
Former Washington Co. Sheriff


Delivering the Jobs

I received a mailing from Karin Housley. Among many suspect claims, “job creator” was most amusing.

Julie Bunn on the other hand, an economist, was a founding member of the bipartisan, House Small Business caucus while in the legislature, and twice received (at the end of each session in which she served) the “Guardian of Small Business” Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

As a college professor, she educated future leaders in ethical business practices, law and government, and as an economist she knows what it takes to create jobs in our state.

Moreover, Bunn’s unassuming engineer husband, with high-tech patents to his name, has been on the ground floor of three high-tech start-ups that conservatively created 1,000 jobs in the United States.

Bunn and her husband are smart, quiet, hard-working folks who deliver for our economy and the people of Minnesota.

Join me in voting for Julie Bunn on Nov. 6.

Hank Fischer
Marine on St. Croix


Just Spin Doctors

While attending the candidate forum at the Birchwood Health Care Center (Oct. 10), I was amazed to hear from the incumbent GOP legislators – Rep. Bob Dettmer, Rep. Bob Barrett and Senator Sean Nienow – and newcomer Karin Housley that they support increased funding for nursing homes.

Their statements in support of increased funding for nursing homes ring hollow. As well-informed state senate candidate, and economist, Julie Bunn, pointed out these are the same legislators who in 2011 proposed an all-cuts budget that would have cut almost $1 billion from hospitals throughout the state, at an estimated loss of 17,000 jobs, and cut $250 million from programs for seniors and the disabled.

These are the same legislators who proposed this last session to  start paying back the school shift by across-the-board cuts to the rest of the state budget – again, hitting nursing homes and seniors.

The star of the forum was State Senate 39 candidate Julie Bunn. While the incumbent Republicans spun their record and Karin Housley spoke in anecdotes, Julie Bunn demonstrated real knowledge of the state budget and the challenges we face. Bunn has my vote on Nov. 6.

Judy Bull
Forest Lake


Vote the J’s

If you’re fed up as I am,

With Dick Tschida’s nays.

If you’re looking for progress,

Then vote for the J’s.

(That’s Chris Johnson for mayor, Jim Dufour and Jeff Klein for City Council.)

Earl M. Lellman
Forest Lake


God’s Will?

Supporters say “God made Adam and Eve” and this interprets into “God’s will” that “marriage” is only between one man and one woman.

Scripture never “defines” marriage as only between one man and one woman nor does it contain the word “marriage.” Supporters choose to use this creation story for their logic. Using this same foolish logic, I argue that incestuous relationships are “God’s will,” because how do you think Adam and Eve’s family multiplied?

Scriptures repeatedly say that God blessed the union of men with multiple wives. I guess it’s “God’s will” that we advocate polygamy. Point being, stop taking select verses and trying to define something as “God’s will.”

It’s also said that “Marriage” is about procreation for the benefit of all. But the law allows prisoners to marry while never being released, has no bar against elderly couples getting married, imposes no fertility requirements on prospective marriage partners and considers long-term childless marriages equal to others.

Gay people have been marginalized, ostracized and abused, but unlike others that have suffered such fates, many are unable to seek solace, even their own families. That’s why we are voting NO and encourage everyone to do the same.

Darrell & Sheree Vincent


Earned Her Trust

Who better to elect as our state senator than someone who has earned our trust?

I am referring to Dr. Jeske Noordergraaf. She has been my horse veterinarian while I lived in North Branch and Center City. She has always been available for emergencies day and night, shows compassion for the animals and tells me the truth.

I want my senator to be someone who has shown dedication, is involved in the community and is accessible. Join me in voting for Jeske Noordergraaf on Nov. 6.

Barbara Harding
Center City


A Mixed Review

I am a little surprised at ECM Editorial Board’s endorsements for the Sixth and Eighth Congressional Districts.

The Sixth District is conservative, so I would expect you to endorse Bachmann. I understand that Bachmann’s judgment is questionable and that she is not very effective advocate for her district, but the Sixth is her base. Yes, Graves would do a better job representing the district.

On the other hand, Cravaack hardly represents the values of the Eighth District. He has a hard time seeing from his porch in New Hampshire that there are environmentalists and seniors that live in the Eighth District. He supports the Ryan budget that would undermine Medicare. He wants to repeal ObamaCare, a program that many of us strongly support. He isn’t from our district – he may own a house in North Branch, but he is not involved in the community and is rarely seen here. Nolan gets my vote.

At the same time, I want to thank you for your support for voting no on the constitutional amendment questions. As you pointed out, the marriage amendment is a violation of religious freedom and discriminatory, and the case for the voter photo ID has not been made, likely will cost millions to implement, and will not prevent the typical case of voter fraud in Minnesota, voting by a felon.

I give you a mixed grade on your endorsements.

Robert G. Walz
North Branch


Fresh Perspective

Fran Miron has served our communities in many capacities during the 30 years I have known him and is an excellent candidate who is well prepared to serve us as county commissioner. I have had the privilege to work with Dennis Hegberg and Dennis has served us well during his tenure. Fran will offer new ideas and a new perspective.

I have watched Fran in action in many roles but most closely as he served as Chair on the Agricultural Advisory Committee for FLHS. He was always innovative while bringing the community perspective to the educational needs of young people.

Fran’s most visible role as a public servant was probably his role as Mayor of Hugo but he has served in many other ways that might be considered lower profile but vital to community needs.  I firmly believe that he will bring this same commitment, enthusiasm and experience to the Washington County Board.

Fran has a history of providing leadership that is optimistic about the future. He is a fabulous problem solver.

Fran Miron is dedicated to his family, his faith, his family farm business and his service to our community that will make it a better place to live and work.

Robert Marzolf


Vote J for Progress

I loved growing up in Forest Lake and moved back seven years ago to raise our kids here and be close to family.

Upon my return, I noticed many areas of the city had been neglected. The city needed a leader with a vision for development, along with experience in planning and budget management. Mayor Chris Johnson has not only filled this responsibility, but has exceeded my expectations!

Over the past two years, Forest Lake has gained momentum to keep and attract new businesses and residents plus make much-needed improvements to our streets and bridges; all while reducing the overall operating budget. Not an easy feat in these economic times – and people are taking note!

Community members are speaking out to the group of “nay-sayers” who object to nearly every progressive idea. I am all for fiscal responsibility and will vote against things that don’t make sense, but I don’t rubber stamp something before considering the best interest of the overall community.

Under the leadership of Mayor Johnson, along with City Council members who thoughtfully and objectively make decisions, we can build on the momentum and move Forest Lake forward!

Johnson, Jeff and Jim – Vote the “Three J’s” for progress!

Jill Grindahl
Forest Lake


No More Waste

This election season, we need to take into consideration the real-life issues that our friends, neighbors, relatives, and we personally are facing.

The time for rampant spending with reckless disregard of its impact on families and businesses has to cease. As a state and nation, we must elect responsible people to represent us who will make common-sense decisions, insist on balanced budgets, and allow no more waste. Responsible government is long overdue.

For this reason, I’m supporting Karin Housley for our state senator.  In our community, Housley brings practical, real-life business experience and proven leadership.

At the Capitol, Housley will build consensus while working on the challenges Minnesota faces, including budget challenges, identifying and eliminating wasteful programs, addressing the business environment, and getting her constituents back to work.

Karin Housley has the knowledge, the ability, and the desire to strongly advocate on our behalf.  Karin Housley knows our community and knows us!

Jeanne Johnson