Letters to the Editor for July 11, 2014

Recommendations a detriment to religious freedom

To the Editor:

On June 30 the Anoka-Hennepin Anti-Bullying Task Force presented their five recommendations to the school board — four of which will be a detriment to religious freedom, and the safety of all students due to the unbalanced platform in favor of the controversial homosexual viewpoint.

Recommendation 1: “Increase awareness and acknowledgement of the variety of family structures and characteristics.”

Documented experience in other schools tells us this means exposing all school-age children to same-sex parenting and transgender families through curriculum and guest speakers in the classroom.  It is not the role of publicly financed schools to tell children that all family structures are equal, good and normative.

Recommendation 2: “Recruit, train and deploy additional community volunteers” to “interact with students in hallways,” and “encourage healthy peer interactions.”

Interact? Why are volunteers recruited to interact with students in hallways in favor of one viewpoint? Who will train them? What about the cost? Are they the thought police? If one student tells another student that homosexuality is wrong and points out the exceptional health risks of certain sexual behaviors, will that content always be considered an unhealthy peer interaction?

Recommendation 3: “Honor and celebrate the contributions of diverse people and families in our community, country and world, including the LGBT community. Recognize, affirm and assess specific LGBT activities….Continue to support student-led Gay Straight Alliance clubs…

Host school-related family nights for our diverse populations … Create public displays honoring LGBT history month each October.”

Why must students be forced to honor and celebrate LGBT? Students will not be able to escape the homosexual climate in the schools if pro-gay public displays and celebrations are everywhere.

Recommendation 4: “Provide comprehensive communication about safety and inclusiveness for all people in our schools.”

In the writings and actions of homosexual activists, schools will not be safe for LGBT students until all opposition to this lifestyle is silenced.

Tell your school board members to reject these dangerous recommendations.

The original Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy was truly unbiased and should have been kept. As Robert Frost said, “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.”

Barb Anderson

Support for DFL candidates

To the Editor:

As you begin meeting candidates for office this fall, let me introduce you to two endorsed DFL candidates: Joe Perske for Congress and Peter Perovich for State Representative, District 35A. They are both thoughtful, prudent leaders to represent us next year.

Elect Joe Perske to Congress this fall. Perske has been the two-term mayor of Sartell. A longtime physical education teacher, coach and competitive marathoner, Perske led his teacher’s union and has been a community leader in the St. Cloud-Sartell area. This outdoorsman is a warm, genuine, thoughtful man, who is a fixer – a problem-solver. After Sartell’s paper mill burned, Perske worked to keep his city economically viable, and today Sartell is booming. Joe Perske will represent the area’s traditional values, and he has demonstrated purposefulness in using government to better his community, not to tear down the fabric of government.

Elect Peter Perovich to the State House for District 35A. Peter Perovich grew up here, the son of a former Anoka mayor. His family’s roots are in making our schools work better. His own interests lie in protecting the outdoor quality of life that we have grown to love – and depend on economically – over the past half century. This is a Democrat in keeping with a Gene Merriam or a Leo Foley – moderates who found a positive way for government to work on behalf of all of us – not just the few. Perovich will not bring a hidden agenda, designed to diminish government, to St. Paul. He will not use the State Capitol as a forum to advocate one’s own religious beliefs. He will not use the State Capitol as a forum to take away your Constitutional rights – whether that’s your right to vote, your right to marry, your right to bear arms, or your right to free speech. Perovich will not use the State Capitol to leverage the state budget against your schools, against programs to fix our infrastructure, or against the evolving health care system in order to score points for a social agenda or for the anti-government, libertarian crowd.

Wes Volkenant

Johnson answers Jensen

To the Editor:

Mark Jensen’s bully pulpit use of this page, with his letters of April 4 and May 8, impugns the financial integrity of our public schools and vilifies its teacher’s union. This Tea Party implication that school personnel are engaged in a criminal enterprise is uncalled for. His unwillingness to examine the 109-page 2012-13 budget analysis available online led him to conclude our school board can’t account for $195,578 per classroom, summarily accusing the administration of an equivalent $190 million in “lost” funds. Expenditures he just doesn’t want to look at exactly account for the monies, answering his question, “Where’s the money going, Roger?”

Jensen’s miscreance, believing that costs of regular, career and technical teacher instruction (45.6 percent of the budget), school principals (3.5 percent) and district administration (3.1 percent), is all that’s required to run schools and educate children. That $207,586,011 is only 52.2 percent of the budget. The remaining $190,607,512 of the budget goes for special ed (19 percent), physical plant, utilities and business (6.5 percent), student transportation (5.7 percent), student athletics and activities (2.2 percent), capital expenditures for equipment, land/buildings (4.8 percent), para-support services (3.9 percent) and instructional support (secretarial) services (5.7 percent). These are the expenses to which Jensen prefers to remain blind.

It all reminds me of Odysseus’ encounter with the giant, one-eyed Cyclops, whose hyperbolic, one-eyed view of the world misses one-half of what’s really going on.

Additional expenses: food services, community services, building construction and debt services are a virtual “wash,” with fees and other income matching their $60 million costs.

If we didn’t need to bus our kids to school, feed them, keep them warm, have them play and support them in their learning, we could save a lot of money. We’ve chosen to provide these services for all sorts of good reasons.

Wonder no longer why school board members or the superintendent’s staff chose not to reply to this tripe.  They have neither the time nor the inclination to respond to every Beowulf’s Grendel whose cycloptic deficiencies prompt stunted cerebration.

As is typical with so much faux-sophisticated punditry, Jensen’s letters attempt to discredit superior expertise with imputations of Tea Party political naiveté.

Roger Johnson
Coon Rapids

Response to criticisms of city of Nowthen

To the Editor:

Response to former Nowthen Council Member Laurie Olman’s June 13th, “Taking a stand against Nowthen.” While she has the right to her opinion, I’d like to clarify a few things.

Minor but important is your term expired January 8, 2013 so you didn’t leave in 2011, our title is council member not council woman and my name is spelled Rainville not Raineville.

Regarding grants and “being involved in the Met Council” comments, I am unclear on your point. The quote “so much paperwork involved” was completely out of context and you know it. Given your years of service you should fully understand how and why the city determines its fee structure.

You state I sent the “Screw Cancer” advertisement from Leon and Cindy Ohman’s Goose Lake Winery’s website to the city attorney. An event you said had nothing to do with the business yet was publicly advertised as “a winery event.”

I forwarded it without verbiage to the city clerk. It was my duty to do so as it contradicted what the Ohmans and their attorney had advised the city and the State Appeals Board.

After being consulted by staff the city attorney on June 2 corresponded with the Ohman’s attorney, advising he would recommend to the council they allow the event with the stipulation that the Peacock Loft building could not be used, given the State Appeals Board ruling. I’m not sure how this fact was lost on you given you were in attendance at the June 5 council workshop when it was discussed. And given all the conflict between the city and winery for you to compare this with graduation or holiday parties which typically occur on residential properties is quite a stretch.

The discussion between the city and winery regarding conditional use permit violations dates back to August 2012, documented in council meeting minutes for those who wish to understand the entire story. I feel bad a compromise wasn’t reached because the winery is an asset to the community and it was the council’s goal that a mutual agreement be reached regarding the conditional use permit.

Mary Rainville

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