Letters to the editor for Sept. 21, 2012


Intervention for youth


To the Editor:


Governor Dayton has proclaimed September 2012 as Youth Intervention Month in Minnesota. In 2008 former Governor Pawlenty proclaimed a Youth Intervention Programs Association Day.


It’s not surprising that both a Republican and a Democrat governor would promote youth intervention. Supporting our youth and programs that save taxpayer money is not a partisan issue.


As a marketing/development manager for Lee Carlson Center for Mental Health & Well-Being, located in Fridley, I can attest first hand that the two governors know what they are talking about. We see youth intervention working day in and day out.


Lee Carlson Center offers a prevention and early intervention peer support program onsite at schools in Anoka County. This program addresses a significant gap in how our community supports the healthy development of youth.


As a prevention and early intervention program, our services reach youth before a crisis occurs (e.g. violence against oneself or another) or before the youth’s behaviors lead to interactions with the juvenile justice system.


Most of the youth participating in the school-based peer support program are from families living at or near poverty. Consequently, families are not charged for services provided.


There are also youth intervention programs in other communities creating similar changes. In a survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Justice Program, more than 80 percent of youth in community based intervention programs do not reoffend and 50 percent report better behavior at home, school and the community.


You, as a taxpayer, are benefiting since these programs keep youth out of the costly juvenile justice system. The average cost to incarcerate a juvenile is over $80,000 per year. By comparison the average annual cost per youth in a community based intervention program is $2,000.


The landmark Social Return on Investment study in 2008 showed that for each dollar spent on youth intervention there is a $5 return.


Our choice is to invest a relatively small amount in youth now or simply wind up paying a lot more down the road. Both Governor Dayton and former Governor Pawlenty know the value of youth intervention. I hope my legislator does.


Patty Halvorson
Lee Carlson Center for Mental Health & Well
Being, Marketing/Development Manager




Complete injustice


To the Editor:


In reply to the article written by Phillip Malat concerning the prepay ordinance, I am really upset by the statement made by him regarding the “ineffective and lazy police department” of Coon Rapids.


I have worked over 25 years as a reserve officer, having to retire because of a severe bout with cancer.


I am quite aware of the quality and effectiveness of our police department. To declare these fine men as ineffective and lazy is a complete injustice.


I would suggest that Mr. Malat would get an application to serve as an unpaid reserve officer as I did and see what a high quality of regular officers this city really has.


It is easy to complain about an ordinance that the police have to enforce as they do all laws. They have nothing to do with making the law but only enforce all existing laws, whether these laws are good or bad.


As a suggestion I would recommend that Mr. Malat acquire a credit card to pay at the pump, as I have, which would eliminate the problem.


Bob Freiermuth
Coon Rapids




Best-qualified candidate


To the Editor:


As a resident of Anoka County for 44 years, I’ve worked with many great people.


Scott Schulte is one of those people. Scott is currently running against 30-year incumbent Dan Erhart for Anoka County Commissioner in District 7 (which includes portions of Anoka, Andover and Coon Rapids).


I had the pleasure of working alongside Scott Schulte during a few of my own 14 years on the Coon Rapids City Council, as well as several years on the Finance Committee at the Church of the Epiphany.


He is clearly the best-qualified candidate between himself and Dan Erhart.


Scott has the knowledge, skills and experience that are critically needed now on the Anoka County Board.


Scott and his family have all served Anoka County for years. He not only deserves to be county commissioner, but also has earned the right to serve and represent the people of District 7.


I would like nothing more than to see Scott Schulte voted into office in November!


Jerry Wright
Coon Rapids




Avoiding debates


To the Editor:


Could it be that Congressman Erik Paulsen is just playing hard-to-get, or else why is he avoiding any and all opportunities to debate his Democratic challenger, Brian Barnes?


Having anticipated a debate between the two at the State Fair, even MPR questions this evasiveness…


Of what, may I ask, are you afraid, Congressman Paulsen?


Beth Dhennin
Coon Rapids




Canterbury’s solo agenda


To the Editor:


In a recent letter to the editor, Jeff Hilger of the Equine Development Coalition of Minnesota said “if someone doesn’t tell the full story, you need to call them out.”


Mr. Hilger is right. And we’re calling him out.


Minnesota has two horse racing tracks — Canterbury Park, which races thoroughbreds, and Running Aces, which races standardbred horses on a harness track. These two tracks have long contended that additional revenue from expanded gaming opportunities was needed to support the horse industry.


However, that’s where the agreements end.


Every year Canterbury brought Racino legislation to the State Capitol that was stacked against Running Aces. Canterbury’s legislation forced the smaller Running Aces to subsidize purses for the larger Canterbury, even though its purses were already significantly larger than those for the standardbred horses at Running Aces.


Mr. Hilger says Running Aces was running a different race. That apparently was true, because we were under the impression that we were working together to bring Class III gaming options to the tracks to support the horse racing industry.


Meanwhile, Canterbury continued its solo agenda of looking out for its own interests.


Canterbury does care about the horse industry, but more accurately it cares only about thoroughbred horses like those that run at its park.


Yet, the majority of Minnesota’s local horse industry involves standardbred horses, like those at Running Aces. If not for Running Aces, these horses would have no place to compete in our state, and the industry would suffer.


What’s more, when comparing the size of purses to the relative size of operations, Running Aces offers significantly more generous purses compared to Canterbury — further evidence that our goal is to support horse breeders.


As for the deal between Canterbury and the Mdewakanton Sioux, the speed of the deal and the relative secrecy of the negotiations is curious.


I can think of no other circumstance in which such a highly regulated industry has put together a $75 million deal in one day with no transparency and minimal hearings, testimony or oversight.


The tactic was designed to do one thing — distract lawmakers with the promise of Racino going away while hoping the ink would dry before anyone asked about Running Aces.


If Canterbury was remotely concerned about the horse racing industry as a whole, it wouldn’t have quietly pursued a deal designed to lock the door behind them and keep our park from competing.


But Canterbury’s deal isn’t just a raw deal for Running Aces. It directly impacts Minnesota horse breeders and agricultural operations by limiting their ability to compete and threatening their livelihood.


Mr. Hilger was right that the whole story wasn’t being told. Running Aces continues to do its best to support Minnesota’s local standardbred horse industry. The devil is in the details.


John Derus,
Board of directors member, Running Aces Harness Park, Columbus.

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