Open Forum for week of Aug. 15

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.

Editor’s note: In keeping with the newspaper’s policies, this is the final week Open Forum submissions will be printed regarding Wyoming’s Aug. 27 special election. No letters on the topic will run in the issue immediately preceding the election.
–Clint Riese, editor


Stark Choice in Election

I read in the Aug. 1 paper an editorial where the writer wrote that she wouldn’t ask the residents of Wyoming to pay for her furnace replacement. Adhering to that argument, she presented the case that the whole city shouldn’t pay for street repairs, either.

I would argue that unless the whole city spent some time at her house we would never use her furnace or the heat it would provide. We will however, drive on her street, which, in fact, is our street. We will drive on all of the streets in Wyoming if we so choose. So yes, it is our responsibility to pay for our streets.

Fact is, we already are. Last year the City Council voted to approve the street fund where all of us property owners pay a little extra on our property taxes for this street fund. A “Yes” vote for the bonding referendum will allow us to get the biggest bang for our buck and get more streets replaced or repaired sooner.

On Aug. 27 you have two choices. If you want our streets fixed in a timely manner and have it cost you nothing additional out of your pocket, then vote “Yes.” If you don’t care how long it takes and are willing to write out a check for $10,000–20,000 in assessments, then vote “No.”

The streets are going to get fixed; free or up to $20,000 your cost. That’s the difference between a “Yes” vote and a “No” vote.

Mike Soule


Here’s a Road Solution

Just a note to Marsha Stevens (Open Forum, Aug. 1): I also have made major improvements to my home in the last four years, including a new heating system, with no financial help from my neighbors and none expected.

As former township residents, our frontage property was previously assessed to turn a dirt road into a paved street.  When a future upgrade of my street is necessary and bonding is not in place to meet that expense, I will pay for yet another assessment.

At that time, I will install guardrails in the street across each end of my frontage and build a kiosk at which all travelers – Ms. Stevens, her relatives, her friends, her neighbors, etc. – will pay a toll to pass through, thereby contributing to the payment of my assessment.

How hard do we have to make this issue? Sheesh!

Judy Luger


An Expensive Band-Aid

Wyoming residents should vote no on Aug. 27 to prevent the city from taking on unnecessary risk.

For 30-plus years there has apparently been no plan for the roads in Wyoming. The proposal on the ballot that requires an over-$2.7 million bond to resurface, not upgrade, only approximately 8 percent of the city’s roads is not a plan; it’s a very expensive Band-Aid. It’s a one-shot deal with no guarantees of continued road resurfacing. It’s irresponsible.

Not that long ago the city was proposing to bond to buy a bank property and convert it into a new city hall so the fire department could expand and the police could move out of a maintenance shed into appropriate spaces. At the time, it was being sold as the most important thing we could do to attract business. There was also the threat of interest rates rising.

When the bank became unavailable, suddenly the most important project to attract business to Wyoming is to bond for a one-off road project? What about the fire and police?  Was it just a sales pitch?

So what’s the rush now with the roads? Interest rates are going up. It will attract business. Sound familiar? Another sales pitch?

Wyoming residents need to come out Aug. 27 and vote “No.” Tell the city of Wyoming to go back to the drawing board and come up with a long-term, comprehensive plan. Low interest rates should not be the impetus for improving our city.

Bruce Spangler


Civic Duties

National Night Out in Wyoming was a great success. It was well attended, and the event chair and volunteers had many activities for families to enjoy. It was nice to see people meeting old friends and new neighbors.

I overheard a conversation regarding the city’s road issues, and the councilperson who voted against the bonding option. The tone and conversation was not becoming of our city. In fact it reminded me of May 7 when the bonding vote took place at City Hall and several residents stormed out using extremely threatening and foul language as they left.

In the past two years, we have been subjected to several controversial  project proposals. Has this current street repair bond issue pushed us over the edge? Even social media from an elected official uses language that makes one pause and ask if he is helping to cool the fire, or fan the flames.

I believe our city leaders have an obligation to be civil and respectful  no matter the difference of opinion; to work together in finding common ground. I also believe residents have an obligation to research issues facing our city, ask difficult questions, and be engaged. Most of all, I believe all of us, as residents and community leaders, need to set an example of making our voices heard with dignity and respect.

Will you help bring civility back to our city and hold our leaders accountable for their actions?

Lisa Iverson


Budget Input

The Forest Lake City Council is deliberating the 2014 budget and is planning a 12.4 percent increase in the city portion of the property tax.

This is on top of announced increases in the county and school district levies. Over half of the city’s increase is due to payments for the new city hall even though it won’t be ready until late in 2014.

There is an opportunity for the public to speak its mind at the budget meeting on Thursday, Aug. 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the old library space. Please join me in attending this important meeting and telling the council that it needs to adjust its budget down significantly so we are not taxed out of town.

John Freed
(Editor’s note: The letter-writer is a Forest Lake business owner.)


Feeling Mislabeled

After a vacation in July I recently went through my past issues of the Times and noticed a number of human interest stories which were very excellent. It is really interesting to hear about the unique talents and experiences of the Forest Lake-area residents. Thank you, Forest Lake Times.

Also I noticed a letter to the editor at the end of July from a man wanting people to protest against persons protesting against the same-sex marriage law which went into effect Aug. 1. From the tone of this gentleman’s letter, anybody who upholds marriage as between one man and one woman is downright un-American.

Well, I’m one of those 47 percent of Minnesotans who voted “Yes” in support of the marriage amendment last fall. People who believe marriage to be between one man and one woman are erroneously portrayed currently in our society as homophobic bigots who are just unenlightened haters.

I am a fairly compassionate person and was offended by this gentleman’s letter.

Mary Stolz
Forest Lake


Support Appreciated

Thank you to the businesses and organizations which made for another successful Safety Camp.

This year was the 19th annual Forest Lake Safety Camp and thanks to generous donors, 130 campers from second-sixth grades were able to participate in the two-day camp.

Visit for pictures and information for next year’s camp. We appreciate your support.

Thank you from the Forest Lake Safety Camp Committee.

Det. Ashley LaValle
Forest Lake Police Department

  • Mr. Spangler, in all seriousness, this bonding issue may have started with the streets but it now goes much deeper. Especially when a city is required to maintain its infrastructure / streets and yet they have deliberately been allowed to purposefully deteriorate. The Wyoming City Council should have NEVER allowed this streets bonding issue to slip from their official fiduciary control ( The lone dissenting council member vote, denying Wyoming the ability to act responsibly / acquire the funding, turns this matter into a Las Vegas style, high stakes gamble. Is that what I’m to expect from my leadership? On a street issue? The citizens who believe a “No”vote will save tax dollars are sadly mistaken. Instead it will be this City’s ruin as quality minded property owners start leaving in droves. If the votes fails it’s the newer developments, built after 1993 whose streets at least look half ways decent, are at the most risk (of wondering to stay or quickly get out). The mantra of the anti-tax crowd whose leader is firmly embedded at City Hall, is “No bonding, no tax increases!” Are they guaranteeing a free lunch? Instead just the opposite. No plan and no realistic funding source will lead to acclerated housing turnover at lower and lower prices a.k.a. falling values and less and less City taxes collected. If the vote fails lets take a look back five years from now. Wyoming, at one time, was thought to have been something very special one day. Is it too late? Bruce?