Open Forum for March 9, 2017

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, 146 N. Lake St., Suite 125, 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. Letters by the same writer will not be published more than once per calendar month.

My president, and yours

There are a lot of “He’s not my president” protests going on around the country. I think this is a disservice to our democracy.

I didn’t vote for Trump and I don’t much care for his policies, but he is my president, and I have to live with that.

Whether someone likes Trump or not, he is our president.

Democracy worked. Trump got elected and there was a transfer of power with neither violence nor a coup.

If folks have problems with a particular Trump policy or his cabinet picks, they should protest the policy or cabinet picks, not the democratically elected president.

There are Constitutional and legal mechanisms to deal with a presidency that might go astray and that is what folks should concentrate on.

Chuck Henry

Internal enemies

I’m anti-terror and anti-racism, so let’s call a spade a spade. The debate about immigration is less about national security than it is about racism. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of terrorists are not of, “Middle-eastern origin, Muslim, and sometimes darker complexioned,” as Mr. Wycislak in his “Anti-terror” letter on Feb. 23 would have us believe. According to the FBI, 94 percent of terrorist attacks between 1980-2005 in the U.S. were committed by non-Muslims. Also, the majority of violent extremists in the U.S. have been U.S. citizens, according to the New America think tank. These statistics are not intended to negate the gravity of such heinous events as 9/11, and while I am not suggesting that we simply turn a blind eye to global terrorism, I would suggest that we as a nation would be wise to look inward. Americans are statistically more likely to die from gun violence, heart disease, and suicide than fromterrorism. The enemy is not as Mr. Wycislak describes him. The enemy is policy that doesn’t protect us from gun violence. The enemy is legislation that hinders access to health care and mental health services for those who need it most. These enemies are already here.

Brianna Heilman
Forest Lake

Motives are evident

City Council members Freer and Eigner, Mayor Winnick, and Administrator Parrish have hired a public relations firm, Zipko Strategy, to assist the city in attempting to mitigate the expected, and now present, rancor that has been imposed upon our city. I believe this firm has been hired for the single objective of making the elimination of the Forest Lake Police Department look necessary. They are spinning this entire situation as simply an information gathering process and state they are really not looking to make changes, but the fact that they sought a proposal speaks entirely to their intent. There was no public outcry for different law enforcement services – none! Also, let it be understood that everything that has been put forth in print and social media thus far – the press release, the letter to the sheriff, statements read at council meetings and guest columnist pieces – and anything that follows has been, and likely will be, crafted or vetted by this public relations firm. How can those City Council members and a city administrator who claim they are seeking a prudent solution to our law enforcement services employ a flashy, well connected and polished St. Paul public relations firm and provide them a no-bid, open-ended, $175/hour contract? Ask councilmen Freer, Eigner, Mayor Winnick and Administrator Parrish that very question because there is no need to hire a public relations firm to persuade us to keep the Forest Lake Police Department!

Jeff Gort
Forest Lake

Wrong focus

Cry me a river! The school district is bemoaning its lack of funds, and this after passing one of the largest bonding bills ever in the state. I do realize that money is for buildings and not for salaries; however, I really don’t care if you have to cut administration. In fact, I am happy you have to.

Let’s see, can we live without an assistant principal, a learning coordinator, several alternative delivery of specialized instructional services grant positions, secondary building department chairs and reading recovery positions? Give me a break! How have schools survived without people in these positions for all the previous decades? No wonder kids are in large classes. It appears that the school board, instead of lowering class sizes, hires administrative positions and gives them ridiculous titles to justify their large salaries. Our tax dollars once again going down the rabbit hole.

Look harder; I bet you could find a few more non-teaching positions to let go. You should have your union fight for more equitable funding instead of fighting for more time off and perks. Oh, and by the way, don’t even think about asking the public to support a school levy. We have been tapped out to the max in this city.

LaVonne Grant
Forest Lake

Open Letter to Tom Emmer

On Feb. 22, a group of us from the far eastern corner of our 6th district drove for two hours one way to engage in a one-hour conversation with you, our Congressional representative. We had already been repeatedly denied a change of venue to a larger hall since we learned from your office that only 90 people could fit into the Sartell hall. After driving for two hours, we stood in line peacefully outside for three more hours along with 450 to 500 people, many of whom who remained in the cold rain throughout your proceedings. We were in the last group of 45 ushered into a hallway across from the main room, where we could neither hear you nor see you.

After spending hours crafting our questions for you and not being able to ask them aloud or hear your responses, after driving and waiting only to feel like throwaways in your district, we are frustrated. We ask you for this at a minimum:

First, hold another town hall in a larger venue for a longer time period. Perhaps the Scandia Community Center or the Forest Lake YMCA to reach those of us in the eastern areas of the district.

Second, provide personal access to yourself, whether we are donors at your fundraisers this week or not.

Third, listen to the concerns of hundreds of your constituents and modify your past months’ and ongoing actions in the House.

Nancy Cosgriff
Marine on St. Croix
Who are we like?

In my Feb. 16 Open Forum letter, I laid out irrefutably dishonest statements by Rep. Tom Emmer regarding the Muslim ban. I was glad to see a response Feb. 23 by Jon Wycislak, hoping for a productive dialogue. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm ebbed as the response failed to address any of my examples of dishonesty, but instead discussed skin color and a fantasy voyage to an imaginary “Pinkland.”

Mr. Wycislak declares “History has shown terrorists are often of Middle-eastern origin, Muslim and sometimes darker complexioned.” Let that settle in as we contemplate the two legal engineers from India shot Feb. 22 for the color of their skin. Srinivas Kuchibhotla is dead and Alok Madasani lies wounded in the hospital, along with Ian Grillot, who tried to protect them. Another patron, Jeremy Luby, picked up their tab apologizing for the insults hurled by the killer before the bullets flew.

6th district voters, I encourage you to read both letters above and ask if we’re more like those that helped.

Martin Steitz
Forest Lake

  • Eugene Huerstel

    Hi Jeff, Are you any relation to the Gort who works in the Forest Lake Police Administration? Should be a clarification with your letter.

    • sweet freedom

      Why? Mr. Gort has as much right to comment on this boondoggle as you do. No “clarification” is required.