Raising the water level
To the Editor:
Thank you for the report on beginning to raise the Mississippi water level on or about Feb. 20 (as an Asian carp barrier).
Good time to get out and enjoy something that doesn’t happen every year, to be able to walk, maybe even skate up and down the river along the shore from the Rice Street beach in Anoka where an almost perfect ice skating rink formed this winter anchored to the sandbar.
The unusually high and fast moving water last year left a lot of sand buildup on the shore, followed by a long dry spell and lowering the water table in the fall must have worked pretty good for an ideal shoreline to walk along from the beach.
Something else cool to watch for at the Rice Street beach when the river water level begin to rise, is when the sandbar ice platform lifts away in one huge section.
If that happens to coincide with cocktail hour on the sandbar; when the migratory fly way group of ducks, geese, gulls and other birds have gathered there around sunset, the scene almost looks like watching a cartoon of a football field-sized barge leaving dock and floating off down the river loaded with Looney Tunes characters fighting for position to kick back for the ride.
Jon and Mary Caine
Next step is budget reform
To the Editor:
Unless you’ve spent the last 10 years under a rock, you know that Washington is dysfunctional. We are sitting on more than $15 trillion worth of debt and the House and Senate are unable to agree on a budget blueprint to guide and get our spending priorities in order.
Adopting a budget is one of Congress’ most basic responsibilities, which is why it’s so stunning to note that the United States Senate hasn’t passed a budget in over 1,000 days!
I was touring a local small business recently and an employee said to me, “if we ran our business like Congress, we’d all be in jail!” He’s right!
One way to buck this trend is by adopting a new set of principles and policies that will reform the way Congress and the rest of the federal government designs and adopts its budget, and, therefore, how it spends taxpayer money.
Recently, the House Budget Committee led by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) released a package of reforms that take important steps toward getting our nation’s fiscal house in order.
Taken piece by piece, these bipartisan bills have the potential to enact positive change for our country and most importantly, for you as a taxpayer.
I’ve been saying for some time now that we must focus on long-term solutions so that businesses and families can plan accordingly.
This means forcing Congress to abandon short-term fixes and initiate long-term planning. One way is to start looking at the big picture and the macroeconomic impact of all major legislation.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) does a fine job of adding up the cost of legislation; however, the rules under which it operates sometimes frustrate the solutions that our elected officials offer.
One proposed reform is to institute what is called “dynamic scoring.” This would require the CBO to take into account the macro impact of proposed legislation, both positive and negative – so that all of us, businesses and families, can better plan for the future.
Another piece of this budget reform package, the Legally Binding Budget Act, requires that Congress and the president agree on budget levels before we start to construct a budget.
Coupling this reform with the Baseline Reform Act, which would start each budget with a baseline of what was spent in the previous year, would help make accurate assessments going forward and aid in transparency.
If we’re able to look back at what was done poorly, and what was done well, we can make better decisions going forward. This would give us a more accurate look at the true cost of government.
Another reform that has broad support on both sides of the aisle is giving the president the power of an expedited line item veto.
The president, Republican or Democrat, should be given the ability to trim out wasteful spending. If the president receives a bill that is laden with pork and other unnecessary spending, he should be able to strike that individual item.
This also takes on the corrupt culture of Washington spending by placing even more checks over pet projects and the influences of special interests.
The bottom line is that Washington’s spending-driven debt crisis is out of control and in need of serious reform.
We can no longer sustain annual trillion dollar deficits that add to our $15 trillion debt, much of which we’ve amassed over the last decade.
It’s a bipartisan failure. Both parties have done their fair share. And, this means that there must be a bipartisan solution to fix this broken process.
This budget reform package is our opportunity to enact real, substantive reform. Some of these provisions have already cleared the House of Representatives with bipartisan support; the rest are expected to be voted on in the coming months.
It’s well past time to ensure accountability and transparency in the debate. It’s my hope that we can make this process make sense again.
Congressman Erik Paulsen
Editor’s note: The Third Congressional District includes all but one precinct of the city of Coon Rapids.
School board caves in
To the Editor:
Looks like our school board has caved under pressure from the mighty gay and lesbian lobbyists.
It claims the new policy will help stop bullying. Bullying is just another label for it to stomp on our freedom of speech.
Our schools have become places where kids are not free to express their opinions on anything that might offend a gay, lesbian or a minority.
Our schools should be for teaching kids how to read, write, speak properly and learn enough so that they can have a decent future.
It seems the main goal in Anoka-Hennepin School District is to appease the vocal gay and lesbian activists. We don’t send our kids to school to have a teacher tell them it is OK to be gay.
These kids are vulnerable and can easily be swayed into that lifestyle when someone in authority tells them it is OK and normal – it isn’t OK or normal.
To say this policy is needed is a farce. Our kids don’t need to be taught about sexual orientation. Since sex education was introduced to our schools years ago, there has been a sharp rise in unwed mothers, abortions, sexually transmitted diseases and a whole host of problems.
Kids can’t learn in an environment where they are afraid to open their mouth for fear of offending someone.
The gays and minorities love the chance to run and report someone or something that “offended” them. It’s OK though if they offend someone like the 13-year-old who filed a lawsuit because the eighth-grade kids made fun of him because he was wearing high heels and scarves to school.
The gays are out looking for something to report and the schools are taking their side on all issues. This new policy is just more fuel for them to get their way in our schools.
Follow District 11 example
To the Editor:
Anoka-Hennepin School District recently adopted a respectful learning environment-curriculum policy (RLE-CP) in an effort to promote a safer learning environment for their students. This policy is replacing the policy that required neutrality in regards to sexual orientation.
This policy not only addresses bullying, but specifically bullying aimed at sexual orientation. This district has faced much tragedy in the last two years as a result of bullying and it is not alone.
Bullying is increasingly becoming an issue in schools nationwide and some states even lack legislation requiring schools to have policies addressing bullying at all.
Although the district has met with “opposition, misunderstanding and confusion” on their journey. It is setting a worthy example for other districts.
Not only has the district been proactive about student and teacher training about the new policy, but it is committed to the safety and well-being of their students. More districts should follow the example this district has set.
If schools do not confront the issue of bullying the problem will only get worse and result in more tragedies.