Letters to the editor for March 23, 2012

Start the healing

To the Editor:

The harassment lawsuits against the Anoka-Hennepin School District were settled through the negotiation of all parties and the consent decree approved by the school board March 5. A difficult, wrenching and emotional process, for students, parents, teachers, citizens and leadership, is over.

The school board and administration were beat up pretty good. They had the unenviable task of representing all constituents and balancing demands of vocal and antithetical interests.

l have great respect for all of them, including Kathy Tingelstad, who resigned from the school board over the controversy.

The topics that Tingelstad cited when resigning – cost, federal involvement and precedent – are valid and should be kept in mind during implementation of the agreement.

The Anoka-Hennepin School District has often been a bellwether for Minnesota. Bullying is universal and the future created as the district moves forward will be instructive for the entire nation. The agreement creates a new and expanded approach to bullying prevention, which will serve as a model for other districts.

There will be costs, shifted from regular instruction. Knowing the magnitude of these costs will help other districts plan. The federal role breaks new ground, making it an unknown; we’ll discover any value over time.

No student should suffer bullying. Each student is priceless and the dollar amount of a settlement never equals justice. The bottom line is a quality education in a safe environment.

The talent, motivation and direction are in place. Let the healing begin.

In appreciation,
Thomas W. Miller
Coon Rapids

 

Control spending

To the Editor:

Will we ever elect people who can control the government’s out of control spending?

Soon our country will be $16 trillion in dept; $16,000,000,000,000 divided by 300,000,000, the approximate US population, equals $53,333.

This is the amount of dollars every US citizen, man, woman and child now owe, 25% of this debt has been recently added. God help us.

Mel Gregerson
Anoka

 

Opposition demonized

To the Editor:

There can be no doubt that there is clearly a determined effort by the left to avoid any civil discussion about the topic of homosexuality and just demonize their opposition with outright distortions and lies.

Case in point — the February Rolling Stone article “School of Hate: One town’s War on Gay Teens” by Sabrina Rubin Erdley.

Now Howard Stern has taken to the airwaves to praise Erdley’s biased and poorly-researched story. Stern told his listeners, “I’m a huge fan of Rolling Stone magazine. When you read what’s going on in these small towns with these kids who are out of the closet, and they’re getting the s–t beaten out of them every day, it’s like, wow, does there have to be that much torture?”

Feb. 5 Scott Rose, a freelance writer from New York City, sent “An Open Letter To All LGBT Students of the Anoka-Hennepin School District.”

In it he says in part, “Deplorably, your public schools superintendent has caved to many of the demands of certain adult, theocratic anti-gay bullies…hateful anti-gay bigots…[who] abuse God and/or Jesus as excuses for their repugnant bigotry…Obnoxious, anti-gay bigot pigs have no basis in law for torturing you or for pressuring for you to be tortured in public school settings.”

“I am now going to name some of the theocratic bullies that have been attempting to transmogrify your public school lives as LGBT students into living hells.”

Scott Rose mentions Tom Prichard, the Minnesota Family Council, the Truth Project, Focus on the Family and continues telling students, “Another shameless, lying anti-gay theocratic bigot who has been trying to make your lives hell in Minnesota is Barb Anderson…I will expose your tormentors to the world and activate the human rights community nationwide on your behalf and in your defense.”

In another e-mail Scott Rose wrote this threat, “I am warning you that there will be national, legally-allowed activism consequences to you.”

He concludes by calling me and others “domestic violence abusers of LGBTers” and “abusive monsters.”

I ask you, who is the person calling names and making hateful comments?  This is consistent with what is going on all across this nation where we see such hatred on the left. They mock, ridicule, and attempt to isolate people in order to discredit them.

This hateful behavior displayed by these activists continues while they lecture everyone else about “hate.”  Is truth hatred simply because someone disagrees and is offended by it? Is it “hate” to tell someone a particular behavior isn’t healthy?

We try to defend normalcy in the schools, while they turn everything on its head. We try to be reasonable, while they show intolerance towards us. They say that name-calling harms gay kids (which it does) and yet they do it to us.

We do not engage in these sorts of tactics. If any of us did this to a homosexual group, they would be outraged — and rightly so.

This is a double standard. I guess it is easier for them to call someone a hateful, lying, theocratic, bigot, pig than it is to prove their own arguments are intellectually sound.

Leading the attack on conservatives — especially conservative Christians — is the Southern Poverty Law Center who brought the lawsuit against our school district.

Laird Wilcox, who is an expert on political fringe movements, has paid particularly close attention to the SPLC and its strategy which he calls “ritual defamation.”

He says this is done “in a simple but vicious manner.”

First you give the person and their ideas offending labels. Then as Wilcox says, “The victim must be dehumanized to the extent that he becomes identical with the offending attitude, opinion or belief, and in a manner which distorts it to the point where it appears at its most extreme.”

With every new conservative group they smear and label as a hate group, and with every frivolous lawsuit, the power of the SPLC grows.

Meanwhile, the media fails to report on what actually is happening. They fail to point out where the hate is really coming from.

Barb Anderson
Champlin

 

Vehicles are secondary

To the Editor:

Roads in Ramsey were originally designed to help motorized vehicles get from one location to another.

This philosophy worked fairly well in the city of Ramsey until the previous and current city council were elected.

It seems the current administration believes that the roads are to be constructed to accommodate pedestrians first and motorized vehicles are secondary.

This has become evident from documentation for the closure of 142nd Avenue and the redesign of Dysprosium Street between Bunker Lake Boulevard and County Road 5.

On the east side of Dysprosium the shoulder was removed placing resident mailboxes directly on the road with some on a blind curve. Garbage cans are now directly on the side of the road.

Instead of leaving parking along the length on the west side of Dysprosium, it was minimized causing inadequate parking for residents.

This was to allow spots for pedestrians to cross the road at odd locations.

When 142nd Avenue was closed the council took into consideration input from residents who didn’t even live close to 142nd Avenue, but when Dysprosium was redesigned, only input from residents living on Dysprosium was considered.

When questioned by a resident why Argon Street was not included in the decision since it is our only route in and out of our neighborhood, Mayor Ramsey said we are not charged for the change so we shouldn’t be included.

Why then was this not the same for the closure of 142nd Avenue?

Mayor Ramsey has been sent a letter requesting sidewalks on one side of Argon Street so that 142nd Avenue can be reopened since they put sidewalks on both sides of Dysprosium.

The mayor only replied it will never happen while he is mayor. No other explanation.

It is unclear why Argon Street residents are treated so differently than other neighborhoods but it is obvious the council is more interested in pedestrians on roads then they are for motorized vehicles which the roads were designed for in the first place.

The council claims to be conservative but continue to waste money on poor road redesigns and closures that have no documentation to justify the expense.

Gary Greb
Ramsey

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