Letters to the editor for Dec. 21, 2012

Wrong for task force

To the Editor:

Given the history of Mr. Bryan Lindquist, should he be on the Anok-a Hennepin School District’s Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Task Force? The Task Force was reconstituted as part of the district’s consent decree with the Department of Justice. Page five of the decree states “The primary purpose of this consent decree is to address sex-based and sexual orientation-based harassment. …Accordingly, for purposes of this consent decree, the use of the term harassment means sex-based harassment and sexual orientation-based harassment.

Regarding the task force the decree states, among other things, “The equity consultant shall ensure that parents and students have meaningful representation on the task force.” It is important to remember that the task force was reconstituted because of the decree, and thus “meaningful representation” must be in alignment with the above stated primary purpose of the decree.

It is well known that prior to his appointment to the task force Mr. Lindquist engaged in a pattern of derogatory sexual orientation-based harassment – the very things the consent decree and task force are meant to address and prevent. Even more telling is that Mr. Lindquist has continued to engage in this pattern after his appointment.

One example of his post-appointment behavior is his Oct. 26 letter to the editor “Editorial Board wrong” which was widely distributed across our school district area. In it Mr. Lindquist chose to focus on a single, quite flawed study (the discredited Regnerus study that falsely spews unfounded, ugly characterizations of LGBT persons) and he intentionally ignored the quite large and well-established volume of previously published research – research finding positive outcomes for children raised by same-sex parents.

The journal where the Regnerus study was published recently conducted an internal audit of the study and found that Regnerus’ presentation of the data was “extremely misleading.”

Mr. Lindquist’s purposeful recent choice to highlight a single flawed study to inaccurately spew very negative characterizations of LGBT families, and to never mention the large, well-established body of research is telling. It demonstrates that Mr. Lindquist has a strong agenda when it comes to the very group of LGBT students and families the consent decree is intended to protect. It demonstrates an agenda to devalue, demean, degrade, and harass certain kinds of people.

And it is important to remember that Mr. Lindquist chose to have this published after his appointment to the task force. As defined in the agreed on decree, “harassment includes derogatory language and intimidation related to a person’s membership in a protected class.” The dictionary definition of “derogatory” is to lessen the merit or reputation of a person or class of persons.

In a Nov. 9 letter to the editor I described Mr. Lindquist’s misuse of the Regnerus study. In it, I invited him to a public debate on the Regnerus study. After one month, he has not been willing to take up this invitation. In fact, he himself has not even had the courage or respect to respond in writing to my letter.

Instead, in a Dec. 7 editorial, a leader of Mr. Lindquist’s Parent’s Action League, Mrs. Barb Anderson, used the ABC Newspapers to once again spread false information; this time regarding the University of Texas’ investigation of Regnerus and his study.

In describing the University of Texas’ investigation Mrs. Anderson states, “The soundness of his research, as well as his reputation and standing as a scholar and teacher, was vindicated. Case closed.”

The truth is that the University of Texas investigation found Regnerus not guilty of scientific misconduct (intentionally falsifying his data and the like), but the report specifically states that it did not address the questions of whether his “research possessed significant limitations… or was seriously flawed”. Mrs. Anderson is simply misleading when she tells us “the soundness of his research… was vindicated…. Case closed”

Going forward I choose not to engage in a newspaper letter to the editor debate about this with Mr. Lindquist or his proxies. I am however extending another (and final) invitation to Mr. Lindquist for a public, recorded debate regarding the Regnerus study. In this way inaccuracies can be immediately and directly addressed, rather than allowing them to linger unaddressed for weeks in the newspaper. Mr. Peter Bodley of ABC Newspapers has the number where I can be reached by Dec. 31, 2012.

Finally, what message does it send to keep Mr. Lindquist on the task force, despite his past and very recent efforts to devalue, demean and degrade the very students and families the consent decree is meant to protect from bullying and harassment? The decision to keep Mr. Lindquist on the Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Task Force or to remove him is up to Mr. Tom Heidemann.

What message does it send to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students and families in District 11, whose hope gets shaky sometimes? What will Mr. Lindquist’s continued presence on the task force do to their hope? Mr. Heidemann, you and your conscience will need to live with the results of your decision about Mr. Lindquist remaining on the task force

There are many other district residents who can represent the community on the task force who have not devalued, demeaned, and degraded LGBT students and their families.

Dan Rebek, Ph.D.
Coon Rapids

Preserving MinnesotaCare

To the Editor:

MinnesotaCare was established with bipartisan support in 1992 to provide affordable health insurance to low and moderate-income working families who do not qualify for the federal Medicaid program because they earn too much.

Because MinnesotaCare has provided health insurance coverage to over 750,000 Minnesotans to date (35 percent of current enrollees are children), it is vital to keep this program available to our families who do not have access to other affordable health insurance.

Unfortunately, because portions of MinnesotaCare do not comply with the new federal Affordable Care Act, the program faces an uncertain future. With the implementation of the federal program, our legislators will need to address the future of MinnesotaCare and the status of health insurance and health care in Minnesota.

The Affordable Care Act presents a unique opportunity to save and expand the important MinnesotaCare program by creating what is called a basic health plan, which would continue to cover people currently enrolled in MinnesotaCare and make the program available to tens of thousands more people.

This basic health plan would cost the state of Minnesota less per person because the federal government will pick up more of the cost than it does for the current MinnesotaCare program (Minnesota could get up to $700 million in federal funding).

When people have access to health care, our communities are healthier. I encourage my fellow citizens to join with me in contacting our legislators and Gov. Dayton to urge them to fight to preserve and expand MinnesotaCare as one step to ensure that all Minnesotans have access to affordable health insurance and quality health care.

Tony Keenan
Spring Lake Park

Negative campaigning

To the Editor:

What a relief! The negative campaigning is over – for a while anyway. Now when we turn on the TV we hear Christmas ads with laughter and pleasantries.

In thinking about all those negative campaign ads I can’t help but think that they are a form of bullying. Many people are attempting to put a stop to bullying in our schools and yet, we listen to it month after month during the “campaign season.”

Why do we allow our high paid, so called “leaders” of our country to continue to set such a bad example for our young people? Why do we continue to allow bullying in  campaigning? Why do we allow them to follow the old saying, “don’t do as I do, do as I say”! Why do we allow all the lies and backstabbing?

I would think it would be better for the American public to hear about the positive things a person has accomplished and their goals for the future, rather than dragging down their opponents with negative, horrible statements.

Perhaps our government leaders need a good set of rules, regulations and guidelines for their campaigns. As an election judge one of the biggest comments I heard on election day was that the negative junk on TV would now stop! Does anyone else agree? Is there anything we can do to put a stop to it?

Sheryl Jacobson
Oak Grove

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