Letters to the editor for Nov. 23, 2012

Energy and dedication

To the Editor:

As a Branden Petersen supporter, I could not let a letter by Wes Volkenant such as the one published on Oct. 26 go unanswered.

Branden Petersen has lived his entire life in the Coon Rapids/Andover area and knows the people of the district very well. Branden has a wife and two young children and wants to directly affect his family’s future and the future of our district for the better.

Branden Petersen has served a term in the Minnesota Legislature as a representative and has now won a race for for state Senate.

I myself have lived in Ramsey since 1987 and know how well Branden will represent me and the people of this district. The people of this district, like me, want someone to represent them who is intelligent and thoughtful who takes the time to analyze the wants and needs of the people and also understands the purpose, capability and limits of government.

I, like Mr. Volkenant, was a union member for many years and to be honest, I believe in a fair playing field for workers: all workers union or not.

Collective bargaining should not restrict the ability of someone who chooses not to be a union member from working or an employer from hiring them.

Fair is fair. If you’re going to shout about and demand “freedom of choice,” stand by your words. If you don’t, then there’s a name for that.

Branden Petersen has not and does not “rail” against bad teachers. He, like all parents, wants the best possible education for his children and the best use of all the millions of dollars we spend through the school districts and state on education.

We are in a recessive and stagnant economy and every expense should be examined for efficiency.

Many people claim to work hard, some don’t. I know every reader knows people such as this. Seniority should not be the sole criteria used to promote and keep teachers or any worker on the job. Some workers and teachers are better (more effective and productive) than others. Again, if you are honest, you will agree.

I am sorry Mr. Volkenant doesn’t understand him, but Branden Petersen is the type of Republican whose real goal is to build up and strengthen government by making it do what it is intended to do, not become an all controlling puppet master with so many strings attachedto everyone, that we can barely move, or be a place where programs are created for no other obvious reason other than to provide a job and paycheck.

Government runs on money and profit from the private sector. Branden Petersen will serve our district best by helping eliminate unnecessary government spending and letting the private sector grow and thereby actually increase possible tax revenues. You don’t help business grow by sucking it dry.

Regarding property taxes: I live in Ramsey and I thank God the last several years that both the city council and Anoka County Board, unlike in many other localities, have taken the necessary steps to lower the tax levy in Ramsey and Anoka County.

If your property taxes have risen while your home value has gone down, look at your local government’s lack of effort to do the job they should be doing.

Branden Petersen, along with other Republicans did vote to pay back the education shift, but the DFL governor blocked that by vetoing the bill. As for “fancy budgeting gimmicks” those gimmicks were agreed to and voted yes by the DFL. If you’re going to attempt to assign blame or responsibility, do it fairly. The DFL was a willing party to the shifts.

Mr. Volkenant make claims about state sovereignty which are not true. Branden Petersen obviously knows what is in the U.S. Constitution, and what it means. The basic information about the 10th Amendment can be found by searching the Internet.

Branden Petersen brings an energy and dedication to doing the job the best it can be done which is infectious. Branden Petersen carries a set of fine principles which make me much more positive in my outlook for the future of my children and theirs.

Branden Petersen is absolutely open to collaboration with DFLers to resolve issues and “gridlock.” What Branden Petersen brings to the Legislature is the ability to help craft real solutions instead of rely on the lazy, sledge hammer approach of taxes and more taxes.

Jim Bendtsen

Reunion thanks

To the Editor:

From: Anoka High School All Class Reunion Committee.

First we’d like to thank Gary Serum for providing the warm and cozy tent for our reunion. Gary also provided some of the gifts for our free drawings.

The Anoka Lions for serving the beverages for our graduates and guests in the tent. Their help was voluntary.

John and Judy Stadden of Anoka Sport Shack for their help with the design and printing of our t-shirts.  Chief Johanson, Capt. Nolan, and all of the Anoka Police Department staff and volunteers for providing a safe and memorable night for all.

The city of Anoka staff and council for allowing us the use of the streets and parking lots/ramp for our reunion. Also, a big thank you to Councilmember Jeff Weaver for his support and help with the reunion.

Anoka-Hennepin ISD for allowing graduates to walk through the hallways of the past. It added so much to our reunion weekend. A special thank you to Mike Farley, principal at Anoka High School, for his extra effort on Sunday.

Buster (Ralph) Talbot for his help and advice. Mr. Mark Music for the donation towards the band, Anoka Chamber of Commerce, Anoka Halloween Committee and King’s Country Market.

Local contributors to our prize drawings: Beer Belly’s, Billy’s, Casa Rio, Courtside, First Impression Stylists, Grand Slam, MaGillycuddy’s, River City Saloon and RJM Enterprises.

Support team: Steve Dussel, Tim Talbot, Sandy Karasch, Jane Omdahl, Sarah Hernandez, Megan Hedberg, Tom Hedberg, Barb Thurston and Joey Norton.

A huge thank you to my fellow team members, who for nine months have met at least two dozen times to make this all happen.

We were at Riverfest, the Anoka Car Shows, on the street and out of our garage selling t-shirts and spreading the word.  They’re the greatest! Pam Westlie ‘71, Buddy Hedberg ‘71 and Carol Hedberg ‘73.

And finally, a big thank you to all of the graduates who attended and supported our reunion. There were families with four generations of Anoka graduates who attended.

An estimated 4,000 plus alumni attended the reunion with school pride and spirit for Anoka High School as the tradition will continue.

Oldest graduate to attend: Erma E. Butler (Class of 1937)

Ross Omdahl ‘72
AHS All Class Reunion Committee

Religious freedom

To the Editor:

Ms. Gwen Vagle (Oct. 26, “Public Contract”) is concerned about my charge of religious domination in the marriage amendment issue.

Religious freedom demands that each church be free to set their own doctrines, including marriage standards, as long as they are legal.

Catholics shouldn’t be setting the benchmarks for Baptists and neither should intrude into the lives of non-believers.

The Catholic hierarchy, on the other hand, wants to impose their doctrines on non-Catholics via state law. The use of law to enforce doctrine is religious domination.

Ms. Vagle notes that Denmark now demands that churches accept same-sex marriages and fears the same may happen here.

Denmark is not a likely model for our destiny.  Denmark has an established church that is supported by the state.

If the church gets state money, the state will inevitably and legitimately have a say in church practices.  It’s one of the reasons we separate church and state.

Others observe with real concern that in some countries with strong LGTB protections, it is considered illegal hate speech to argue against gay rights, even from the pulpit. They worry that it could happen here.

We, on the other hand, have a powerful First Amendment. Our dedication to free speech borders on the fanatical. As a lifelong ACLU member, I strongly support the free flow of ideas, even when offensive. We are not on the road to restricted speech.

She comments that the role of a “just state” is to comply with the standards set by ancient marriage traditions and that changes to support a small number of people constitute government oppression.

As a woman, Ms. Vagle should be wary of tradition-based arguments – unless she is content to be property.

No, the role of a just state is to support justice. We have no commitment, moral or legal, to defective standards of the past.

A primary argument of Catholics is that marriage is sanctioned by society for the purpose of procreation.

Sorry, but this is not a Catholic country and marriage is about much more than children.

Marriage also confers profound legal benefits that spouses routinely depend on, especially during medical emergencies and at the death of the first partner.

This is just as valid a state concern as procreation. Those who have solemnly committed themselves to a partner deserve the full support of our laws.

Ms. Vagle offered thoughtful criticisms. I hope my answers do them justice.

Rod Kuehn

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