Letters to the editor for June 7, 2013

Violating its own rules

To the Editor:

“St. Francis council member questions bringing vote back to the table” by Karin Craig on May 10.

Under Roberts Rules of Order, reconsider “can be made only by one on the prevailing side who has changed position or view.

“If a motion has been either adopted or defeated during a meeting, and at least one member who voted on the winning side wants to have the vote reconsidered, such a member may make the motion to reconsider.

“This motion can only be made by a member who voted on the winning side.

“That is to say, if the motion was adopted, the motion to reconsider can be made only by a member who voted in favor of the motion, or if the motion was defeated, then only by a member who voted against it.”

If the mayor wanted this voted on he could have had it pulled from the agenda or any council member could have pulled it from the agenda.

But no they want to change the rules to fit whatever they choose.

The council violated its own rules when it stated it follow Roberts Rules of Order.

Being absent does not give a person the right to bring the same identical ordinance back to the council.

St. Francis City Councilmember Mike Haggard May 6 questioned if it was appropriate to bring a nuisance ordinance amendment back to the table for a new vote after it failed to pass March 18.

“So what you’re saying then is that we do follow Robert’s Rule, but we don’t follow Robert’s Rule,” Haggard said.

The council voted 4-1 to approve the nuisance ordinance amendments, which are intended to make the city’s nuisance ordinance easier for the city to enforce.

Haggard had challenged several of the specifics listed in the ordinance amendment at the council’s April 1 meeting.

Bill Gardner
St. Francis

Transparency, accountability

To the Editor:

In the last election in Ramsey, a group of people, most of whom were in office in Ramsey during the time when the Town Center debacle and city hall Taj Mahal took place, were elected with the huge support of a PAC backed by Jim Deal, a multi-millionaire real estate developer and major DFL contributor, along with some local cronies.

The people elected ran on promises of transparency and accountability, which they claimed were lacking in the council members they wanted to replace.

Recent events have proven that those promises are just as bogus as those of the president and Minnesota governor.

A group of Ramsey council members and some staff tried to hire a council member from Oak Grove, who also was supported by Jim Deal, as Ramsey economic development manager.

This position would have put the Oak Grove council member in conflict of interest between Oak Grove and Ramsey and then there is the issue of his having accepted donations from the same backer as the Ramsey council members who supported him.

An example of transparency and accountability is that the Ramsey City Manager Kurt Ulrich told a council member who had been deliberately kept in the dark about the attempted hire, that he, (Ulrich) had discussed the hiring with “others” and decided it was not anything that needed to be brought up.

It could appear to any thinking person that the current Ramsey mayor, a majority of the Ramsey council and some city staff have some agenda in mind and wanted to exclude at least one Ramsey council member from even knowing about the job offer.

That a group of formerly indignant, outraged would-be council members, and city administrator could be so ignorant of the appearance of hypocrisy, conflict of interest and lack of transparency is just astonishing to me.

I certainly hope they give more thought to transparency and accountability related to city management issues in the future, voluntarily, and not involuntarily.

Jim Bendtsen

No turn on red sign issue

To the Editor:

I would like to start off by saying I am by no means complaining, I love the new bridge on Main between Avocet and Bunker.

There is one thing, however, that I do wish to address that deals with this new establishment. Being a full-time college student as well as working full time, I do commute a lot back and forth from home, work and school.

Leaving home, driving down Avocet and waiting at the intersection on Main and Avocet, this is not the highlight of my commute.

According to the sign visibly placed at this intersection, there is “no turn on red.”

Now, this doesn’t affect many, but for residence in the Wexford area, it does. Not only does this light feel like it takes forever, but when there is no traffic from either side, many are obligated to wait for a green light.

Recently, I have noticed many not even taking note of this sign and turning anyway.

This sign could easily be taken down, making turns here possible when there isn’t incoming traffic present. Making this possible would be greatly appreciated and a great help to residence in the area dealing with this same intersection.

For early morning commuters, every wait at a red light adds up.

Rozalia Voinarovski
Coon Rapids

Child care legislation

To the Editor:

SF 778, a bill regarding child care provider unionization, was passed by Democrats after 17 hours of Republican debate and amendments.

I voted in opposition, as this bill is unwanted and unnecessary. Because of the added expense of union dues, moms and dads will see increased costs for care and reduced choice.

The unionization of child care providers is not what Minnesotans want.

Every day, moms and dads leave their children in the arms of caring, qualified child care providers.

Neither parents nor the providers have asked to have their child care unionized.

We know this is a payback to political special interests and a union priority. It is not a priority for Minnesota moms and dads.

Michelle Benson
Ham Lake
State Senator, Senate District 31

Personal attacks

To the Editor:

An April 4 letter by Barb Anderson pointed out serious problems in the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act which recently passed in the Legislature.

I found it informative and it echoed my own concerns that this act may threaten the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious expression of students and school personnel.

Then, on May 3, Rod Kuehn responded to Ms. Anderson’s letter – however, not with reasoned facts, but with vicious personal attacks.

He begins by grouping her with pre-scientific societies that thought demons rather than germs caused disease.

He then accuses her of encouraging the “hassling” of gay children by “her Christian thugs” and claims she is “demanding a right to persecute.”

I saw nothing remotely like that in Ms. Anderson’s letter. Is disagreement with someone now the same thing as an attack, or a call to thuggery?

Ms. Anderson rightly questioned if under this new law students could state their personal beliefs in a classroom without being called “homophobic.”

Would Mr. Kuehn endorse censorship of school children who voice dissenting opinions?
I see many problems with this legislation, but a discussion without name-calling and vitriolic accusations is needed.

Stephanie Schroeder

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