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@example.com. 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.
The Oct. 28 Forest Lake City Council meeting is why Joe and Joan Q. Public are so frustrated with government and politicians.
A standing-room-only crowd spoke against the city’s plan for reorganizing our city staff; not one person spoke in favor.
City Administrator Aaron Parish then gave a presentation about how he would restructure the staff to accommodate more firefighters being available during the day. In reality, it was the only problem he cited with the current staff structure.
His solutions, per his reorganizing plan, restructure the entire city staff so positions like city inspectors will be available for firefighting duties during their shift.
Not one City Council member asked why, if the only major problem the city faced was properly staffing the Fire Department, would you restructure the entire staff.
It was perfectly clear from Mayor Johnson, Councilman Winnick and Councilwoman Young’s comments that their minds were made up to support the reorganization before this meeting. Newly appointed Councilwoman Bonnett for some reason chose not to vote and Councilman Freer was not in attendance.
What was doubly frustrating was that after Mr. Parrish’s presentation, citizens were not allowed to ask questions.
I’m don’t claim to be a restructuring expert but requiring employees to become part-time firefighters would make those departments less efficient.
I would rather the city error on the side of safety and see the city hire qualified people who want to be firefighters rather than compel city inspectors to do something they weren’t hired to do.
There are 535 Senators and Representatives in Congress, but recently we saw less than 10 percent of them almost throw our country over the cliff. They orchestrated shutting down our federal government for over two weeks for no apparent reason that bears scrutiny.
This is the same mentality of 8th Congressional District Republican candidate Stewart Mills III. He will be an interesting candidate because of his family business, Mills Fleet Farm. His salary at Fleet Farm was almost $570,000 last year.
Clearly this is a man born with a silver spoon who doesn’t understand 99 percent of people; he’s not even in the 1 percent – he’s in the 0.1 percent.
Is his trajectory to represent the majority or further narrow business interests which nearly took us over the cliff? His record is that of working to keep the wealthy richer, while keeping the middle class down.
Contrast that with Congressman Nolan, who grew up in Brainerd and delivered newspapers to Stewart Mills III’s grandfather. He worked his way through college and was a proud union member. He served in the Minnesota House for two terms, then three terms in the U.S. House before going into private business. His return to Congress 32 years later has given him a lifetime of experience to help govern our nation.
Congressman Nolan is working for us and using his experience to get things done, even when there’s national gridlock. Given that multimillionaire Mills’ record precedes him, it is not hard to figure out whose interests he represents.
North Chisago Lake Township
Answering the Call
I would like to reach out and thank our local lawmakers for helping us during the recent government shutdown.
We were surprised to learn that when the government shut down we were going to be forced to close the Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours and the Taylors Falls Canoe & Kayak Rental during peak leaf season, or risk not having our permit to operate on the St. Croix River renewed by the National Park Service.
On the day we learned that WCCO had named Taylors Falls and the St. Croix River as the best place to view the fall colors in the state, we had to close our business.
I immediately called our local lawmakers and was pleased by the response I received from four legislators: Congressman Rick Nolan, State Sen. Sean Nienow, Senator Amy Klobuchar and State Sen. Roger Chamberlain. They responded to our distress and were willing to aid us.
After continuing to talk to lawmakers, the National Park Service as well as our attorney, we were pleased to be notified that we were going to be able to operate for the last three days of our season.
We would like to thank those legislators for their help in allowing us to be able to open to the public for one last weekend. They helped us tremendously and I would like the local people to know that they were there for us when we needed them.
Co-owner, Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours & Taylor Falls Canoe Rental