Open Forum for week of June 26

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 clint.riese@ecm-inc.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.

Trail Work Coming
I want to thank Mr. Harwell for his letter in the June 19 Open Forum commenting on the condition of the Hardwood Creek Trail.

As County Commissioner representing Forest Lake and Hugo, I know sections of this trail are in poor condition. So I am pleased to report that the county will be resurfacing the trail next summer. We will also complete the extension of this trail in Hugo to County 8 and the regional trail system that will take you into Anoka and Ramsey counties. 

Our work does include improving the condition of the trail, bridge, approach fences and the addition of new benches for rest stops. These improvements are largely being funded with federal funding that comes to the Twin Cities area for bike trails. This means we do not need to rely on local property taxes to pay for this project, freeing up county dollars to focus on other priorities such as road improvements, public health and safety, and business and job growth. 

The city of Forest Lake’s focus on parks and trails, along with the county efforts to meet local and regional needs, continue to make Washington County a great place to live, work and play, today and tomorrow.

I appreciate everyone’s patience as this project is constructed and know you will enjoy a smooth new trail for many years to come.

Fran Miron
Washington County Commissioner – District 1

Wrong Impression
We recently saw Rep. Bob Barrett’s new campaign brochure. It has four pages with a lot of pictures. Imagine our surprise when we opened it up and there we are in a picture with Rep. Barrett and other union laborers and skilled trade union members.

We were meeting with Rep. Barrett about issues important to the Laborers Union, including the bonding bill, not because we support him! 

Our picture in his campaign piece gives implied support to him; This is as far from the truth as can be. Rep. Barrett didn’t vote for the bonding bill, which is the most important bill for us. 

They took the picture, but we didn’t give consent to be in his campaign brochure, and were never asked.

Mike Connelly
Forest Lake

Dan McGowan
Stacy

Electable Team
I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the residents of Forest Lake to consider The Scott Honour/Karin Housley team for Governor and Lt. Governor of Minnesota.

Not only are they qualified, but they are actually electable, something that the Republican party has not been able to find recently. They both have a strong business sense and have been successful, despite their humble roots, because of old-fashioned hard work, determination and commitment. 

Minnesota can get out from under the heavy tax burdens and get residents back to work, keeping socialism at bay. Personally, I am tired of the government trying to control everything I do. Lets get back to the all American values of  gainful employment for everyone. This team can get us back on track.

Chris Addington
Baytown Township

  • Foodonastick

    in my mind you have it backwards and this one is really a black and white issue (no gray area here)
    It is the duty and responsibility of all elected representatives to meet and discuss issues no matter who it is or whether they agree or disagree. Are they only to meet with people they THINK they agree with?
    It is wrong and deceptive to print pictures in campaign literature that leads the reader to assume the people or organization pictured supports the campaign
    This is what is wrong with politicians today and mostly likely why a career politician like you would defend such a underhanded tactic
    May be time for some soul searching on your part; you may get some insights into why you have been so handily defeated in the last (how many elections is it?) elections that you’ve run in

    • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

      I’m hardly a career politician and I’ll stand by my comments that credit Mr. Barrett for taking the time and choosing to meet with all sides. He’s an honorable politician and servant.

      On a side note, you always like to point out that I’ve lost elections and fail to mention the awesome success I’ve had. Are you simply ignorant of all facts or so partisan that you see past the many good things I’ve done for our community? And, how many elections have you won?

      • Foodonastick

        Getting censured is a great accomplishment for our community
        Great way to spend taxpayer’s money

        • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

          Obviously you don’t understand the term ‘censured’ as you believe it cost taxpayer’s money and is nothing beyond a political move by those that disagreed. Do you also realize that the censure was for a motion that David Gay (former school board member) made and all I did was ‘second the motion for discussion’ before withdrawing it after discussion at which time all I did was listen. The censure was clearly a political attack and tells more about the foolish actions of the board chair at the time that couldn’t even spell my name correctly (among many other errors on the document) to politically slander me.

          • Foodonastick

            Kind of shameful when a person cries they were slandered, when most rational people would say the ones doing the crying is the one who was party to violating the rights of an employee and tarnishing his reputation. Some may say that would fit the definition of slander

            From the Februaury 13, 2008 Forest Lake Area Lowdown

            “Member Joe Grafft said he contacted the
            Minnesota School Board Association and school district attorney Patricia
            Maloney about the motion. Maloney had already seen it in the St. Paul paper and indicated Steenblock’s rights were violated as an employee, according to a state statute.”

            I understand the word Censure just fine; reprimanded, faulted, criticized,
            denounced, shows disapproval

            1) And let me count the ways the Censure of Mr. Langness and Mr. Gay wasted taxpayer’s money

            2) The School Board Members are compensated by taxpayers

            3) The censure of you took place during a regular school board meeting; meetings in which the Board members are compensated by the taxpayers

            4) The school board meeting took place in a building bought and maintained by taxpayer’s money

            5) The School Board’s time spent at the meeting was extended as a result of the Censure of Mr. Langness and Mr. Gay

            Wasn’t the Board vote 5 in favor of Censuring Mr. Langness and Mr. Gay with 2 voting against? What a coincidence, it was My Gay and Mr. Erik Langness who voted no.

            Geez, here’s another coincidence

            Forest Lake Times
            Posted on November 11, 2009

            “The challengers are in. The incumbents are out.

            So went the school board election in ISD 831 on Tuesday, Nov. 3 as incumbents David Gay and Eric M. Langness both went down to defeat.”

            I didn’t realize until today just how badly you were defeated

            Forest Lake Times
            Posted on November 11, 2009

            “Running third and claiming the final seat was Erin Turner, a 1993 Forest Lake graduate and private practice attorney in Forest Lake. She collected 2049 votes in the contest.

            Gay ran fourth with a total of 1204; Langness was fifth in the five-way race with 1157 ballots.”

            I’ve been unable to find any record where you apologized to the employee, the School Board or the Taxpayers of the school district. May of helped in your election defeat

            You can state you merely seconded a motion by Mr. Gay, but that motion resulted in putting the Board in a position where they would be violating data privacy laws of a school employee. A position that could have resulted in a lawsuit if the employee chose to pursue it

      • http://www.jackkempfoundation.org/ John Guymon

        “I’m hardly a career politician”. Mr Langness. I must admit I feel somewhat uncomfortable with your idea of having to prove yourself. “You forgot to mention numerous other elections I have won”. It seems as if you can’t let your past go and move on? Certainly I don’t know all the particulars here as in the other commentators facts, true to possibly made up?

        One thing I do know is you seem to be purposefully embarrassing yourself. One is only as good as what they produce today or in the future…not resting on their laurels.

        Might I suggest you prove these naysayers wrong by filing for public office in the next several weeks. I sense you may not intend to come off as a braggart. However, with that say, I could see where, in fact, that’s how the majority interpret it. File for office and put your energies there. This, these comments sections, are, seemingly a wasted exercise. If you indeed have a large following then by all means, lead them!

        • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

          John –

          Looking at the past to learn and predict the future to at least some accuracy is relevant. In this particular instance I was clarifying another post about my past where they told only half the story. Being factual and complete is important and that particular post is similar to many rants from the author. I’m proud of my accomplishments in both public and private life and really have nothing to hide from, my public service included.

          I announced quite some time ago (maybe nearly a year ago) that I had no intention to run for office in the upcoming elections but I would be active in helping other candidates. I will not be putting my name in the hat this year.

          • http://www.jackkempfoundation.org/ John Guymon

            Why then attach yourself to a Republican campaign site, Eric Langness for Minnesota Senate District 39. I see you are even activity seeking donations. Is that legal? Claiming to not have interest in being a candidate yet showing your willingness (?) to run for a opening which won’t occur for another two years? Where’s the simple logic in it all?

            Are you part of the Emmer team?

          • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

            That is an old campaign website. It’s quite clear with the bright yellow heading on the main page it has not been updated since 2012. For what it matters I’ve not accepted any donations on the page since the previous election. If you want to look up donations to that campaign I would direct you to the public disclosures available at the state campaign finance board. I am unaware of any statute that states it is illegal about leaving a page online post-election.

            I am supportive of Emmer in his primary race in several weeks, have a sign in my yard and have participated in multiple events with him. All has been volunteer and I’ve never accepted payment for anything. So, I’m not certain what you view ‘team’ as but if it’s a paid position that would be ‘no’ and if it’s a volunteer supporter it is ‘yes’.

  • Jacob

    FOS, I see the problem in the wisdom of your commentary back to Mr. Langness, you deal with the facts! Don’t you know they just get in the way?

    FOS, glad to see you back. You have been missed.

    Mustard only please!

  • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

    You forgot to mention numerous other elections I have won at the local, congressional and state level within a political party structure and also on other educational boards. Giving half the facts doesn’t demonstrate truth.

    • Eric Marleau

      What elections have you won Mr. Langness. Not picking side. I have no dogs in this fight. Just curious.

      • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

        Forest Lake School Board, Metro ECSU (Educational Cooperatives Service Unit) Executive Board, Minnesota (educational) Service Cooperatives Executive Board, Senate District 52 GOP Deputy Chair several terms, Congressional District 6 Vice-Chairman as Washington County Representative among many delegate positions to the local BPOU, GOP Endorsement for Washington County Commissioner, & Congressional, State and State Central committees for the GOP. Like many people that choose to be active in the political process I’ve also lost a handful of elections (listed above in FOS comment) … the difference is I tell the whole story while (s)he rants this off frequently whenever possible. It’s possible that I missed a few but I think this makes the point.

        Thanks for asking Eric. Like my politics or not, it’s fair to say I’ve played an active role and had an opportunity to serve in numerous aspects. What I’m not is a ‘career politician’ as described above as the vast majority of these positions were unpaid (school board salary was $200/month at that time – since has doubled) and I’ve always maintained full time employment during all of it. FOS should focus on the issues but seemingly prefers to divert conversations when unable to decipher facts and present a logical argument.

        • Foodonastick

          Elections where party hacks vote for party hacks – that’s awesome

          How many real public elections have you run for and been successful; I mean that the voting public actually participated in; not elections where your right wing cronies were the only ones to vote

          Bottom line, your track record in public elections is pretty poor

          Career politician or perennial candidate; you say corn dog, I say Pronto Pup

        • FLRanger

          Are those all elected positions or are some appointed?

          • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

            All the positions I mentioned were elected by various bodies including the public, participating school district board members, caucus attendees or party chosen delegates. I’ve certainly been appointed to numerous committees as well including the Forest Lake (city) Community Center Task Force and a handful of our public schools board of education committees.

        • http://www.jackkempfoundation.org/ John Guymon

          Are you married Eric? If so where do you find all the time to do so much and yet be with your family and work. You work where?

          • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

            I am not married but happily involved in a 3 year long relationship with my girlfriend. For the past (nearly) 11 years I’ve worked for an allied health college and most recently have held the position of Director of Career Services / Externship.

    • Foodonastick

      “Giving half the facts doesn’t demonstrate truth”
      Yes indeed, you’ve proven that time and time again

      • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

        Why is it that when presented with an untruthful statement you choose to make and continually do so online that you simply won’t admit your fault and move on?

        • Foodonastick

          What are you talking about – untruthful?

          I stand by everything posted here, what is untruthful?

          Your public election record is poor

          Everything else you are involved with is either inside party politics or a small group of people who (usually) appoint someone to a position. Appointed is not elected; seems to me there was some appointments involved in some of your “awesome” list of accomplishments.Even the precinct caucuses (in both major parties) are lightly attended and controlled by insider rules and people either to the far right or the far left of the voting public. Eric Langness – Party insider? Far Right Republican?

          Just how many public elections where the general public votes have you won and how many have you lost?

          “Giving half the facts doesn’t demonstrate truth”

          How about some straight talk for a change

          • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

            I’ve answered ALL of these questions for you multiple times. How many have you won?

  • FLRanger

    I guess Chris Addington missed the fact that the Twin Cities have the lowest unemployment rate of any major city in the country

    The State Budget is now balanced and taxes were lowered in the last legislative session

    Funny how 1st year State Senator Housley wants out of her job just a year and a half after winning the election (seems finishing what you started isn’t an American value that Chris Addington cares about)

    To bad Mr. Langness lost in the Republican Primary to Housley, he has shown time and again he wants to be a public employee

    • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

      Minnesota constitutionally is required to have a ‘balanced budget’ so implying that it is now balanced is misleading. Taxes were lowered in the second year of a 2-year biennium because they were exorbitantly raised the first year. It would be akin to me taking $1000 more from you, then a year later saying I would only take $900 more from you this year and you can think of that as a $100 savings when in fact it’s not.

      • FLRanger

        Well you would know misleading; remember your whopper that the city center lawsuit was proceeding on its own merit (you never did correct that whopper)

        In addition to borrowing its way to balanced budget when the Republicans had control of the Minnesota government; they put off the State’s obligations to fund other things like the school districts in Minnesota. They neglected repairing and repaving our highways and other infrastructure. You know, things that make a real difference to the citizens and businesses of Minnesota.

        The Republicans balanced the budget with smoke and mirrors. Under Dayton and the Dems, the State’s budget was balanced with real money. Yes they raised taxes and now they have begun to lower taxes. They also have built up a decent rainy day fund.

        Funny how you and your type like to say taxes are job killers but neglect to notice even though taxes were raised to balance the budget, the Twin Cities have the lowest unemployment rate of any major metropolitan area of the United States and overall Minnesota is in the top ten lowest unemployment rates at 4.5%. Bureau of Labor Statistics; June 2014

  • Foodonastick

    Mr. Langness,

    Why no more comments about another of your “Awesome” accomplishment of being censured by the FL School Board.

    Your made statements (in this thread) about me not knowing what a censure is and doesn’t cost taxpayers money? I had posted in response to your statement what was in some local newspapers.

    Please tell me sir, just what is it I don’t understand.

    For your viewing pleasure, I’ve reposted it below

    From the Februaury 13, 2008 Forest Lake Area Lowdown

    “Member Joe Grafft said he contacted the Minnesota School Board Association and school district attorney Patricia Maloney about the motion. Maloney had already seen it in the St. Paul paper and indicated Steenblock’s rights were violated as an employee, according to a state statute.”

    I understand the word Censure just fine; reprimanded, faulted, criticized, denounced, shows disapproval

    1) And let me count the ways the Censure of Mr. Langness and Mr. Gay wasted taxpayer’s money

    2) The School Board Members are compensated by taxpayers

    3) The censure of you took place during a regular school board meeting; meetings in which the Board members are compensated by the taxpayers

    4) The school board meeting took place in a building bought and maintained by taxpayer’s money

    5) The School Board’s time spent at the meeting was extended as a result of the Censure of Mr. Langness and Mr. Gay

    Wasn’t the Board vote 5 in favor of Censuring Mr. Langness and Mr. Gay with 2 voting against? What a coincidence, it was My Gay and Mr. Erik Langness who voted no.

    Geez, here’s another coincidence

    Forest Lake Times
    Posted on November 11, 2009

    “The challengers are in. The incumbents are out.

    So went the school board election in ISD 831 on Tuesday, Nov. 3 as incumbents David Gay and Eric M. Langness both went down to defeat.”

    I didn’t realize until today just how badly you were defeated

    Forest Lake Times
    Posted on November 11, 2009

    “Running third and claiming the final seat was Erin Turner, a 1993 Forest Lake graduate and private practice attorney in Forest Lake. She collected 2049 votes in the contest.

    Gay ran fourth with a total of 1204; Langness was fifth in the five-way race with 1157 ballots.”

    I’ve been unable to find any record where you apologized to the employee, the School Board or the Taxpayers of the school district. May of helped in your election defeat

    You can state you merely seconded a motion by Mr. Gay, but that motion resulted in putting the Board in a position where they would be violating data privacy laws of a school employee. A position that could have resulted in a lawsuit if the employee chose to pursue it

    • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

      I seconded a motion for discussion. The discussion occurred and I withdrew the motion second. I never participated in the conversation beyond listening to both sides. I owe no one in that instance an apology and certainly did not violate any employees rights. The censure included a series of errors (about 20 as I recall) and one was misspelling my name exactly how you have in this post. Now that’s interesting.

      • http://www.jackkempfoundation.org/ John Guymon

        You seem to have a strong compulsion to be heard here regardless of the negativity involved in this entire subject matter. Different methods have been used over the last four decades, within our party, in trying to reach both liberals and moderates alike.

        The problem with the Tea Party is they fail to recognize the strengths of old school Republicans such as myself. Jack Kemp utilized an all-inclusive approach. Ronald Reagan set boundaries and invited understanding of why.

        The Tea Party is, sadly, one of slash and burn and deprivation. So too of a narcissistic attitude of look-at-me…look-at-me! Such a description fits you aptly Eric Langness.

        I’m curious Mr. Langness? Is Sarah Palin, from your perspective, a serious voice for realistic change? Was she ever?

        • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

          Likewise John, you fail to recognize the value of the Tea Party or other right leaning groups. I see value in all the groups along the right and have successfully worked with various opinion leaders within the party structure for many years. I’ve also never pigeonholed myself into any one of the groups!

          Sarah Palin is without question a serious voice as she is often displayed on media at a national level. Has she effected change? Sure. Will it continue in the future? I doubt it will have significance.

          • http://www.jackkempfoundation.org/ John Guymon

            Eric Langness- ” I’ve also never pigeonholed myself into any one of the groups!” Exactly! That’s why the Republican Party and all its affiliates should promptly disassociate themselves from you. You have quite the braggadocio trail which is problematic at best. The Republican web site, up, for you as a candidate, defeated or otherwise points to signs of some real cognitive dissonance

          • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

            John –

            You ask what my background is and then (after I respond) you come back with I’m bragging? It is clear to me that you need to take a look in the mirror and discover yourself before you further consider at criticism of others.

            I’ve addressed the website question at least 3 times with you already. Quit asking the same questions.

up arrow