Letters to the editor for March 14, 2014

Manipulative and exploitative

To the Editor:

We are extremely disturbed by the manipulative and exploitative efforts of Mr. Rebek to coerce a meeting between us and his son. In his initial invitation in the ABC Newspapers and subsequent public pillorying of us for choosing not to accept an invitation that we see as exploitative of his son, he clearly demonstrates the kind of presumptuousness all too common among those who hold “progressive” views on the nature and morality of homosexuality.

First, Mr. Rebek explained that he invited us to meet with his homosexual son in order to ask “questions one might ask of any 20-something young adult.” Neither we nor most people, however, set up meetings with strangers for the sole purpose of “getting to know” them or in order to “ask them questions,” particularly about their intimate lives. This invitation strikes us as not merely manipulative and exploitative, but very strange.

Second, Mr. Rebek accuses us of “pre-judging” “gay” people. We assume by “pre-judging,” he means having convictions about which sexual acts constitute moral acts. Does Mr. Rebek hold no such moral convictions about sexual acts? Does he believe any and all consensual sexual acts are moral?

Or is Mr. Rebek accusing us of something more sinister? Is he accusing us of disliking or hating those who hold different views of identity and homosexuality than we do? If so, he is simply wrong. Our beliefs about identity and homosexuality have nothing whatsoever to do with our feelings toward those who hold different views and act on those views.

Third, Mr. Rebek absurdly assumes we know no homosexuals. In our diverse world, most people are fully capable of liking and loving those whose feelings, beliefs, and life choices they find utterly wrongheaded. Most of us do it every day.

When “progressives” like Mr. Rebek continually tell young people that conservative people of faith hate them, they undermine any possibility of dialogue with those who hold different moral convictions.

Barb Anderson, Champlin
Bryan Lindquist, Ramsey
Laurie Thompson Andover

Thanks to all who helped honor a hero

To the Editor:

On Sunday, Feb. 23, Benny Arechiga, 92, of Osseo received the French Legion of Honour medal from the country of France for his heroic deeds during WWII.

The family of Benny Arechiga would like to personally and enthusiastically thank the following organizations and people for making this a memorable and cherished event:

The police departments of Anoka, Osseo, Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids and the Coon Rapids Fire Department. We would especially like to thank Office Bryan Platz of the Coon Rapids Police Department for organizing the escort of Benny. Officer Platz displayed the epitome of public servant; The Coon Rapids Marching Band for beautiful renditions of our nation’s anthem along with the French national anthem; Retired Major-General Larry Shellito, Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, and the United States Army recruiting office, Blaine, for providing service members attending to Benny during the event. Benny was proud to be standing next to them; The Church of St. Timothy, Blaine, and Rev. Shawn Philips for bringing peace to Benny by blessing his award; Coon Rapids VFW Post 9625, for providing the facilities for Benny. The Arechiga family would like to extend a personal thank you to VFW Post Commander, Charles Hawkins, Sr. for his hospitality and Tom Bohman for his never-ending honor of this country by leading the Color Guard.

United States Senator Al Franken for honoring Benny by presenting his medal. Senator Franken truly is a friend of the veterans.
We would also like to say thank you to the many family members and friends that worked so hard to make this possible. You actions will not be forgotten.

Last, and certainly not least, the family would like to thank Linda Arechiga-Lommel, loving daughter of Benny Arechiga. Without the adoration and efforts on Linda’s part, this would not have been possible.  Her selfless spirit, energy, and love of her father provided the inspiration to prepare the food, schedule the program, and produce the event. Thank you Linda.

The Arechiga family

Vote likely squashed new restaurant

To the Editor:

At the March 4 Coon Rapids City Council meeting, an applicant for a new restaurant, “Steak and Shake” asked for a variance at 450 Coon Rapids Blvd. The request was for a 50-foot pole, to mount their sign on, rather than the permitted 30-foot pole.

The applicant said the site is located in a hollow and a 30-foot pole would not be high enough for people on the freeway to see their sign. He pointed out that McDonald’s has higher poles all up and down the freeway.

Mayor Tim Howe was very much against it as well as Councilmembers Steve Wells and Jerry Koch. They insisted: We can’t show preference and grant a variance.

It was brought out by Councilmembers Denise Klint, Paul Johnson and Bruce Sanders that since the site was so unique and in a hollow, it deserved a variance. They pointed out the council has never had a site like this in the past and probably never would have in the future and should therefore qualify for the variance.

Councilmember Ron Manning was not present so the attorney said a vote of 3-3 would be the same as a denial. Before the vote, the applicant was asked: If council turned down the sign variance, would he still build in Coon Rapids? The applicant said they would not build in Coon Rapids if they could not have the taller sign because they would not have the business that the sign would bring in from the freeway.

Knowing this, Howe, Wells and Koch voted no and closed the door on a new, much-needed restaurant in Coon Rapids. The vote was 3-3, since Manning was absent. These three alone are responsible for the 63,000 residents of Coon Rapids being denied a much-needed restaurant. They prefer to leave the site vacant and an eye sore, like so much of Coon Rapids Boulevard has been for years. These people were elected to do what is best for Coon Rapids and for the residents and not be so closed-minded and refusing to look at facts while sticking to their outdated rules.

Marge Miller
Coon Rapids

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