Open Forum for March 30, 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 Letters by the same writer will not be published more than once per calendar month.

Where are we headed?


Thank your for the piece, “City split on PR firm for police issue.” It appears that The Times is now providing transparency in the absence of open government at city hall. On the police issue, it is surprising to me that expenditures in the thousands may be initiated by a self-empowered few without discussion in an open meeting.

As for me, the retired and active Minneapolis and St. Paul police officers with whom I have spoken unanimously confirm that if our community values service, we should retain control. These officers have my respect and trust, as does our local police force, all of whom I am led to trust more than the logic and reasoning of our mayor.

I am left to wonder if Forest Lake is drifting towards a democratic dictatorship.

Richard Hahn
Forest Lake

Questions to consider

Here are number of questions that should be asked on Forest Lake policing.

Can two people on the Forest Lake council be objective after both have said they are not for policing from the county when they have not seen the proposal from Washington County?

Do we really have local control of the Forest Lake police?

Can Mara Bain be objective when she posts her support on Facebook to only keep the Forest Lake police when she has not seen the proposal?

What will be the future costs to keep the Forest Lake police?Who is pushing the misinformation on policing by the county?

What is the average pay for patrol officers and sergeants in Minnesota? What about the average pay for officers in nearby communities?

Does theForest Lake police solve crime, prevent crime, run to crime?

Who is behind the anonymous letters to councilmen?

Who is behind the phone calls that are blocked and berating a councilman’s spouse?

What is the percentage of the city’s budget for police; is it viable?

These questions need to be discussed. Hopefully, they can be addressed.

Eugene Huerstel
Forest Lake

Business support

Mayor Winnick said that there is only a small minority of people who are against outsourcing police services to the county. I personally went to 101 businesses, and only one refused to signed the petition to save our FLPD. I found 100 businesses that signed the petition and want to keep our Forest Lake cops local. If my math is correct, that sounds like about 99 percent of the businesses I spoke to want to keep our FLPD.

Now I understand that the City Council will likely be hiring an independent survey company to poll our citizens about farming out our police service to Washington County. We should insist that these questions be vetted by the entire council at a public forum to assure the questions are fair and unbiased.

Ron Lasiuta
Forest Lake


We are lucky 8th District Congressman Rick Nolan fought against Trump’s American Heath Care bill and the devastation it would have caused to millions of Americans. A bill that, according to the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services, would have caused about 1.2 million low income Minnesotans to face significant cuts in coverage or a loss of coverage altogether. Minnesota could have lost billions of dollars in federal funding had the bill passed.

The AHCA would have also significantly reduced federal spending on Medicaid by establishing per capita caps (capping the amount of funding per enrollee), ending the enhanced federal funds that help states cover adults who are eligible for the Medicaid expansion, and eliminating federal funding for MinnesotaCare. Medical Assistance (MA), Minnesota’s Medicaid program, covers more than 1 million people, one in every five Minnesotans. MinnesotaCare provides low‐cost coverage to about 100,000 Minnesotans who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford health insurance in the private market. The cuts in funding to MA and MinnesotaCare would have been used to pay for tax breaks for corporations, health insurers and drug companies while our most vulnerable residents would lose.

Congressman Nolan on the House floor called for Congress to fix the problems with the Affordable Care Act. The Republicans have had plenty of time to think about it. They brought it’s repeal up for a vote around 60 times. Think where we could be if they had put that energy in to finding actual solutions!

Greg Combs
North Branch

Where was input?

I went to a Planning Commission meeting recently to see how Winnick was going to explain why he hasn’t cleaned up his property or to keep up screening that he’s been required to have for years. He planted some trees, some died, replaced some, some died. Maybe if it had been done right, the trees wouldn’t have died. Why not install screening on the fencing — hey, how about some strips of thin blue line woven into the fencing? That’s right, he doesn’t support the thin blue line (although he said he supported law enforcement before the election). How much in fines should he owe to the city?

His latest idea? “Artwork” to hang up on the fence. He mentioned asking the community what they think. What?! Where was that bright idea when he was behind closed doors with his puppets (as they are referred to by many) to send a request for a proposal that would replace the Forest Lake Police Department, while at the same time excluding the two new council members?

After much discussion, finally an intelligent question: Why don’t you just clean up your property? Wow! It was there all along.

He wound up getting another extension (no consequence)! While you’re at it, apologize to the community and the police force and get off the power trip! Here’s a challenge for the puppets: grow a backbone and turn off this dysfunctional idea of getting rid of the FLPD.

Sue Klosner
Forest Lake