No business of the city
To the Editor:
I have been a resident of Coon Rapids for 57 years.
I would like to thank Mayor Tim Howe and Councilman Jerry Koch for not voting in favor of the pay at the pump ordinance.
I am against the ordinance and have talked to several people who are also against it. The council stated that most of station owners are against the ordinance.
I don’t think that the city should tell these people how to run their stations.
From now on I will be buying my gas out of Coon Rapids.
To the Editor:
Russ Horbul (letters, Feb 10) writes that “the state had a windfall of some $850 plus million dollars”.
While I share his pleasure at this better than expected budget news, everyone should know that this is only a projection, as the budget biennium does not end until June 30, 2013, that the money is not a windfall – it is the blood and sweat of hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans and the businesses that employ them and that the money is not available to fund anything, as all of it needs to go back to the schools from which it was borrowed.
For those unfamiliar with the school accounting shift, imagine your salary is $40,000, but your boss pays you only $24,000 during the year, with a kinda sorta promise to pay the rest six months into the following year.
Then his friends suggest he buy a boat with the $16,000 he saved this year. That’s how the shift works. It’s dishonest at a basic level and needs to be set right. Republicans and Democrats share the blame for this situation.
During this election cycle, ask the candidates if they have plans for that money. If they say anything other than that it should go back to the schools, consider them unqualified to govern.
Jeffrey W. Baumann
Require photo ID
To the Editor:
Minnesota is breaking records in convictions for voter fraud and thousands of election day registrants are being flagged for “Challenge” due to unverifiable names and/or addresses after their votes were counted.
Poll after poll shows that the overwhelming majority of Minnesotans (80 percent or more) want photo ID required to vote.
Ninety nine percent of Minnesotans already have state-issued ID in their pockets and generally carry it with them all the time. How many people walk around with a utility bill in their pocket? It is common sense to use your ID at the polls instead of a utility bill.
Well, my goodness, one even needs an ID to purchase cold medicine or visit a doctor.
Sheila M. Beutler
DFL has pro-family values
To the Editor:
The GOP has taken upon itself the mantle of the pro-family values party, but I contend that the greater pro-family policies come from the Democrats.
The Democrats wants everyone to have a job and that government has a role to ensure that those jobs are available.
Whether it is building or rebuilding infrastructure, which is so badly needed or bailing out the American auto industry, a bailout that is nearly all paid back.
Everyone needs quality health care and even though the right wing say bad things about the new national health care law, it is essential to a pro-family program that everyone has affordable health care.
People need a living wage. Today, to get by, most middle class families need both mother and father to work and often at more than one job. Doing that, when is there time to have an active family life?
We need to increase that minimum wage and ensure that employees can bargain with their employers for good working conditions
Because of the need to work so many hours, children are put into child care. The AFL-CIO points out that the average child care worker makes less then the average parking lot attendant. If we want quality care for our children we must do better.
My last year working my superiors wanted me to carry a blackberry so that I would be available 24/7.
We cannot be pro-family if employers have dominion over all our time. What happens to family time and the Sabbath?
Companies have the money to hire more people. Maybe it is time to enforce the 40-hour work week and maybe look at a 32-hour work week.
We cannot call it a pro-family agenda when more families are without homes and more children live below the poverty line and going hungry.
Government has a role to provide for a pro-family agenda and I will put up the Democrats agenda over the right-wing agenda anytime.
Ham Lake, outgoing DFL Senate District 49 chairperson
TIF districts in Anoka
To the Editor:
I am making you aware that I as a commissioner on the Anoka HRA do not support the fifth modification of the Tax Increment Finance District No. 2. (More commonly known as the Rivers Point TIF District in the city of Anoka).
This pre-1990 district has fulfilled its obligations and the taxpayer has fulfilled theirs. The project has been completed for many years and all of the bills associated with the project have been paid. The district should be decertified. It’s time to pay the taxpayers a return on their investment.
The ethical thing to do is to return these tax dollars to the proper recipients. This would provide tax relief to the city, county and state taxpayer.
The proposed abuse of the program is exactly what is described in the program evaluations of 1986 and 1996 Office of the Legislative Auditor.
It is also precisely why new laws preventing such abuses were written in 1990. Due to a loophole, the laws of 1990 do not apply to this district, but the ethics that created those laws do.
Another action I take issue with is the intentional capture of revenue not stimulated by TIF. Case in point: the Volunteers of America development in the commuter rail station TIF.
This project was in the works for 10 years and just as the development was certain, the district was formed and the revenue was captured. Another upcoming case would be the capture of the new Health Partners development.
It has become an accepted way to “pay as you go” finance a project and “jump start” the revenue stream.
This is a particularly troubling event to me in that not only are we diverting revenue for long (25 year) blocks of time, but we are losing the taxpayer relief from any current development in a very difficult and long winded economy.
I have communicated well my position to city staff and provided them links to my researched documents.
Whatever your opinion is regarding these actions I would appreciate your opinions be known at the April 2 meeting of the Anoka City Council where there is scheduled to be a public hearing.
Comprehensive approach need
To the Editor:
The recent school shooting in Ohio is deeply saddening. The loss of life and the terror stays with us all.
As the director of services at the MN Youth Intervention Programs Association (YIPA) I know that tragedies like this are prevented by engaged parents and skilled youth workers.
What the shooting in Ohio shows is that no single program can be counted on to prevent a youth from bringing harm to themselves or to others.
We can more effectively reach a larger number of youth if we had a comprehensive youth intervention approach.
The current “silo” approach allows too many youth to fall through the cracks.
A comprehensive youth intervention approach fully recognizes that family, school and out of school activities are all key factors in a youth’s life and lines of communicate must be in place in order to effectively support the youth.
For example, how much better we could serve youth when police, probation officers, the family, as well as the school and mentors are encouraged to work closely together to prevent future offenses.
It is impossible to know how many situations like the one in Chardon have been prevented by quality youth intervention services.
But we can help even more youth with a more comprehensive youth intervention approach.