Letters to the Editor for May 31, 2013

No violation of free speech

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to Ms. Schreifels’ April 26 letter.

In particular, I firmly disagree with her suggestion that public objections to Mr. Bryan Lindquist’s appointment to the school district’s anti-bullying task force are in some way in violation of his right to free speech.

To be clear, Mr. Lindquist’s views and First Amendment rights are not and have not been silenced.

Mr. Lindquist has gone on public record numerous times at school board meetings and in the opinion section of this newspaper regarding his views on homosexuality and displeasure with the school district’s removal of the GLBT neutrality policy.

However, his First Amendment rights do not guarantee him a spot on a task force that, by its very nature and purpose, is directed to craft strategy for a policy already in place.

If Mr. Lindquist wants to challenge that policy, he is free to do so through the appropriate channels of public hearings and the voting booth, but he should not be allowed to disrupt and muddle the efforts of a task force that cannot change the new, current policy.

Hopefully, the criticism surrounding his appointment will provide Mr. Lindquist some insight into the marginalization and powerlessness that bullied students experience daily.

Kimberly Corbey

Destructive practice

To the Editor:

Mr. Kuehn, I’m amazed the venom you spew against someone who actually stands up for commonsense values (“Fixated on homosexuality,” May 3).

Heaven forbid people actually oppose the destructive practice of homosexuality. Even kids get it.

You lambaste Ms. Anderson for questioning the appropriateness of homosexual promotion in our schools.

But she is right to do so – along with every other parent. Your argument is pure emotion without any facts or sound reasoning.

Yes, that behavior has been around for many centuries, but so have many other harmful sexual behaviors that have been known to be risky for the health of both individuals and society in every civilization.

As a society we are to strive together for the higher ground (don’t steal, don’t murder, etc.) and while we value freedom, condoning and promoting destructive behaviors (i.e. homosexual behavior) to our kids is a bad idea at best.

Please don’t act as if everyone is just jumping up and down to be gay, because we all know that’s not the case.

We all understand that people will do as they please, but let’s try to encourage things that appeal to commonsense.

Ernest Fields

School girl from Proctor

To the Editor:

This is in regards to a letter that Mark Jenson from Anoka wrote on April 19 re: the high school girl from Proctor.

First of all, what are doing asking a young girl where she lives? Parents have taught their children from a very young age to be “cautious” around strangers.

Secondly, she was probably just being nice and giving you a general area as to where she lives. Smart young lady!

Proctor is not a few miles from Duluth – it is right across Boundary Avenue from Proctor (like Anoka is to Coon Rapids).

But because Proctor School District covers a large geographical area, my guess is that she lives closer to Cloquet than Duluth. So for her, Cloquet is the nearest “big city.”

You say Proctor is in the Iron Range? The Iron Range and Proctor are almost 70 miles apart. Proctor is in the northeastern part of the state and the Iron Range is in the north central part of the state.

To breakdown the Iron Range further – there are three Iron Ranges in Minnesota: the Cuyuna Range on the east, Mesabi Range in the middle and the Vermillion Range on the east.

I am an alumni of Proctor and lived about 14 miles from my school. I rode the bus through the Hermantown District to get to my school. The school boundaries are very different when you live out-state.

Giving general directions of where she lives was smart on her part. You may be a safe person and were just making “small talk,” but she has no idea what kind of person she is talking to.

I feel she did the right thing. And I think you did the wrong thing by slamming her in your local paper. Really?

Mark Christofferson

Crime rates going down

To the Editor:

The recent letter from a mother in Blaine deserves a response. Everyone joins in the wish for safety, not only for our children, but for all.

The vast majority of gun owners are careful, responsible people. Our laws and our organizations have worked successfully to reduce violent crime.

Media sensationalism of the exceptions bring real anxiety and make our situation seem worse than it is.

Those who misuse guns are being and should be restrained by all means possible. And the violent crime rate is going down..

For instance, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports: violent crimes in the U.S. have dropped by nearly 50 percent in the last 20 years.

In 1992, there were 757.7 violent crimes per 100,000 people. In 2011, there were only 386.3 violent crimes per 100,000 people. That’s a reduction of 49 percent.

There were 9.3 homicides per 100,000 people in 1992 and that number dropped to 4.7 homicides per 100,000 in 2011.

That’s a reduction of 49.4 percent in the homicide rate in the past 20 years.

Russ Frazier

Reinvests in colleges

To the Editor:

I was proud to vote with the bipartisan majority of senators who supported the Higher Education Omnibus Bill. After a 48 percent cut in funding during the past decade, this legislation reinvests in Minnesota colleges and universities.

The bill includes a $42.6 million investment to freeze tuition at the University of Minnesota for the next two years and a new, $80 million appropriation to fund college student aid and increase the amount of each grant available to all Minnesotans.

This bill does more than just increase funding, though. It also uses measurements to ensure both MnSCU and the University of Minnesota improve their graduation rate and prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.

As an example, 5 percent of the University of Minnesota’s FY2015 appropriation is subject to meeting three of five specific measurements.

Additionally, a bipartisan amendment was adopted on the floor to ensure appropriations do not go toward bonuses for the University of Minnesota administrative staff.

Post-secondary education is essential for future growth. By 2018, 70 percent of jobs will require some post-secondary education. But as education becomes more important, it also becomes more expensive. We must keep college affordable for all of our students.

Minnesota is home to some of the best post-secondary schools in the world. Our higher education system, and the quality workforce it provides, are key economic drivers for our economy.

It is important our colleges and university train students in science, technology, engineering and math to ensure our state is competitive in the global economy.

Sen. Alice Johnson
Spring Lake Park

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