University educators connect with community
To the Editor:
We recently had the pleasure of visiting Andover for Minnesota Sparks, an event that brought us into conversation with members of your community.
Using our respective areas of expertise and research, we had conversations on the search for new localized-treatments designed to combat chronic pain and drug addiction and the importance of adopting bee friendly practices. We wish to thank your community for hosting us and for the engaging dialogue.
The University of Minnesota’s impact is deep and broad in Andover and in all 87 counties of the state through our 4-H youth programs, extension offices, research and outreach centers.
We fulfill our land-grant mission in many ways, and that’s demonstrated in Anoka County with nearly 17,000 alumni — including health care providers, scientists, teachers, business and civic leaders — who keep your community strong and vibrant. And, with our expertise, resources and local partnerships, we work to solve the state’s most pressing issues.
Thank you, Andover!
Dr. Carolyn Fairbanks
Dr. Becky Masterman
University of Minnesota
Better ways to protect children
To the Editor:
It is so upsetting to see yet another letter from Barb Anderson filled with misinformation specifically targeting trans youth and staff who affirm them. It is offensive knowing this is someone who is VP of a non-profit that has the audacity to call itself Child Protection League.
Children have been the target of her obsession and condescension almost since its inception. Knowing its no use trying to refute her claims, though easily dispelled by fact based, science centered data I decided to spend a little time on “Guidestar” (a website that checks the credibility of charities) researching this so-called non-profit and what I found was disgusting.
They are in essence a publicly funded cyberbully, whose mission appears to be creating false crises in order to solicit more donations. In 2014 they reported $ 252,750 in gross receipts, they report spending $165,747 on advertising and promotion. 71 percent of the donations they received from people thinking they were helping children at risk, went to ask for more money.
They claim to have spent $227,550 on “program service expenses.”
1. They claim to “equip members and the public to connect with elected officials” and claim it cost them $77,366.
2. They claim to “educate and influence public officials about laws, proposed legislation, public policies” and that cost them $75,092.
3. They claim to “educate the public about laws and proposed legislation” for another $75,092.
Worth noting is all three so-called program benefits can be obtained by the public for free if they have a library card or home computer. In 2015 their income was much less but even then they spent 70 percent of their donations on “promotion.”
For someone who regularly condescends to readers and passes judgement on and then attacks innocent children, she needs to stop. She and her Child Protection League have been exposed for what they are, a scam. I plan to file a formal complaint with the attorney general and suggest if people want to donate to organizations that actually help protect kids who are at risk for sexual or domestic violence https://www.alexandrahouse.org/ or homeless try https://www.hope4youthmn.org/
Education legislation accomplishments
To the Editor:
With another school year set to begin, I thought I’d share some of the 2017 legislative accomplishments for K-12 education.
$1.3 billion in new funding is being sent to schools throughout Minnesota, including a provision to include a two percent yearly increase to the per-pupil formula that was requested by many school districts. Locally, this means a $23 million increase for Anoka-Hennepin Schools, $2.6 million for Centennial Schools and $2.5 million for Spring Lake Park Schools, which will put more money in every classroom.
Whether it’s reducing class sizes or retaining world-class teachers, this new funding will give our schools the opportunity to improve in areas they feel are most needed.
I also want to alert parents to save their school supply receipts this year, as Minnesota has both a credit and a subtraction for education expenses.
Qualifying items include writing utensils, textbooks, and musical instrument rentals, while things like school lunches, uniforms, and backpacks are not eligible. Full details about the Education Subtraction and Credit, along with what can and cannot be claimed, are found on the Department of Revenue’s website: http://www.revenue.state.mn.us.
As always, if you have any questions about education or any other legislative topic, do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4226, or by email at [email protected]
To all of the students, parents, and teachers in our area, I hope you all have a wonderful school year!
Rep. Nolan West
Time to reform Met Council
To the Editor:
As local elected officials, we welcome public debate on a proposal to reform the governance model of the Metropolitan Council.
The question is not whether to change a 50-year old model, it’s how to change the council.
Made up entirely of appointments by one person, our Met Council represents the interests primarily of that governor, much like a state agency. This year that Governor is Mark Dayton. However, in January 2019 the Council’s membership will change with appointments by a newly elected governor. Maybe a Republican, maybe a DFLer or maybe an independent.
As pointed out in a report by the National Association of Regional Councils for Regional Economic Partners in the MSP Metropolitan Area, a limitation for the Met Council is its political nature. With its leadership politically appointed, there are challenges to ensure long-term consistency of policy directives and priorities.
We support a non-partisan initiative called the Metropolitan Governance Transparency Initiative. Proposed by cities and counties, it would align the Met Council with every other regional planning organization in the country and be made up of elected officials from metro area cities and counties who are already engaged in their communities and able to bring greater awareness and connections with local and regional issues.
Regional planning authorities, often called Councils of Governments, are necessary to manage metropolitan growth and efficiency in major cities around the country. Cities like Denver, Seattle and San Francisco have award-winning COGs coordinating issues of transportation, green space, wastewater treatment, aging services, etc.
These COGs are made up of elected officials and conform to federal law. Our Met Council does not.
Our proposal installs a governance model that works well in similar cities, better aligns local governments more closely with our Met Council, is more accountable to the public and better represents local and regional values and interests while benefiting from continuity in leadership.
Change is coming. Let’s have a conversation about the kind of changes we want. We believe elected officials are better representatives and our local communities will experience greater prosperity more so than with the current centrally appointed body.
Jason King, Blaine City Council|
Kevin Burkart, Prior Lake City Council