Letters to the Editor for Sept. 1

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/

Melissa Thompson
Coon Rapids

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
R-Blaine

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

  • RodKuehn

    Melissa, thanks for your letter on the CPL. I’d never heard of them so I visited their website. They’ve apparently gone underground. No members or board members are listed. The only address is an anonymous PO box in Mankato.

    In checking a variety of references to CPL, I was unable to find reference to any board member names after 2014.

    Absent physical threat, I’m a strong advocate of transparency. CPL’s public anonymity certainly gives the impression of a scam organization.

    It should be noted that Charity Navigator lists their income as less than $10k with assets of $3400. However, they didn’t rate the organization because it is a (c)4 organization instead of a (c)3 group.

    The CPL YouTube site lists 47 subscribers.

    I found no references to a national organization. Do you have any idea where the discrepancy between Guidestar and Charities Navigator originates?

    • melissa thompson

      Rod, according to their 2015 IRS 990 filing the director is someone named Renee Doyle, Barb Anderson is listed as Vice President, Julie Quist is listed as both board chair and treasurer, Bonnie Gasper is also listed as a director, as are Sonja Swanson, Marjorie Holsten and Emily Gruenhagen (Her hubby is a rep in the state legislature) and Kelly Janssen is listed as secretary. Cant speak to the differences between Guidestar and the other site but can say they do not appear to be following the rules and found out they are not even registered with the AG’s office which is big red flag for me. Something seems very fishy. I do know this, nothing they do is to protect children…nothing.

      • RodKuehn

        In thinking about this a bit more, I’m more inclined to think that they were getting too many irate calls and have chosen to leave their identities off the site for that reason.

        Ms. Anderson and I have been exchanging letters to the editor for 20+ years. While her grasp of factual material is lacking, I’ve never felt that she was shilling for profit.

        • melissa thompson

          Rod, I never said she was profitting. Just that she is using the public donations she receives to “protect children” to attack them. There is no measurable benefit to children from the Child Protection League.

    • Mark Jensen

      Maybe the CPL are just another Anacharist group that just sides withe the GBLTQ…..LMNOP community?

  • RodKuehn

    I checked a few of the articles referenced in the CPL website. Just more Barb Anderson Silly Science. They post the position of the American College of Pediatricians (a religious group masquerading as a legit scientific organization) on gender fluidity in which the primary quote is from Dr. Keith Ablow, a Fox News commentator severely criticized for unethically mixing politics and science. As usual with her stuff – zero credibility.

    • melissa thompson

      Most of the resources she cites are simply right wing blogs or opinion pieces. As for the American college of pediatrics, while very official sounding is really nothing more than a very small club for mostly former pediatricians who could not separate their narrow religious beliefs from their promise to do no harm and they have been publicly denounced by the legitimate psychology/medical community. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/political-minds/201705/the-american-college-pediatricians-is-anti-lgbt-group

      • Mark Jensen

        Hey Melissa,
        Checked your link and it was nothing but Left Wing Propaganda.

        • melissa thompson

          Are you actually claiming Psychology today is leftwing? Psychology is science based and not partisan.

          • RodKuehn

            Waste of time, Melissa. He seldom has substantive comments.

        • Seethrurhetoric

          Is that all you got?? Weak!

    • Seethrurhetoric

      The American College of Pediatricians is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. That tells you all you need to know about their subterfuge. Their professional-sounding name is obviously a head fake to give it some level of credibility. It is just a splinter group from the American Academy of Pediatrics, a legitimate medical organization that publishes peer-reviewed research. Those of us that have read Barb Anderson’s dreck over the years expect nothing less than the drivel she produces.

  • Mark Jensen

    https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out-pride30/pride30-physician-jack-turban-dedicated-trans-kids-health-n763171

    This guy has been an activist for the LBGT community and a left wing activist for quite a while.

    • melissa thompson

      No, he is a licensed physician who specializes in child/adolescent health. But because you dont like that he affirms LGBTQ children you try to demonize him by calling him “an activist” oooh the horror….NOT. I’m not sure how you think the article posted helps your argument, it 100% supports my position. I’m also not sure how you don’t see your own hypocrisy. When you and your side claim to be protecting children, you are protecting children. But when myself and others protect children we are “activists”. Not that being an activist is a bad thing, many hard fought battles moving our country forward (key word) were fought by activists, but as a parent advocating for my kids and members of my own family I think I’m just doing what anyone would do.

  • Mark Jensen
  • Mark Jensen

    #Pride30: Physician Jack Turban Is Dedicated to Trans Kids’ Health

    by JOHN PAUL BRAMMER

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    “As recent as 2002, positions from the Columbia Medical Center were publishing manuals on how to cure feminine boys of their femininity,” Jack Turban said in an interview with NBC Out. “Some people still today think about being transgender as a disease, something to be cured.

    For the past five years, the Harvard University and Yale School of Medicine graduate has been focusing on the health of transgender children.

    Physician Jack Turban Photo courtesy of Jack Turban

    “My medical school thesis was looking at how treatment paradigms for transgender kids have evolved over the past two years,” the Pittsburgh native said. “I dedicated a bunch of time to creating a curriculum at the Yale School of Medicine. We created two lectures about being transgender, and we made them mandatory.”

    Turban said he’s dedicated to making sure transgender kids get the care they deserve. “I’m a cisgender, gay white man,” he said. “I recognize my privilege. We’ve made so much progress in LGB health, but the T was left behind.”

    Part of his mission is writing and publishing the stories of transgender children. He recalled a particular case of a young transgender girl who received puberty blockers from her doctors and attended a school where she was accepted: She scored straight A’s.

    “I just wanted the world to see that if you affirm these kids, and don’t try and change them, then they can really have beautiful lives,” Turban said.

    Physician Jack Turban Courtesy of Jack Turban

    Fun Fact: “One of my closest mentors was a physician adviser to the television show ‘House M.D.’ … She was the one who inspired me to write about transgender children’s stories to help people understand their experiences.”

    Pride Means: “Pride is an opportunity to remember that being gay or transgender is something not just to accept, but to be proud of. It’s an opportunity to remember that we have a vibrant beautiful community that has made the world a better place.”

    Jack Turban was nominated for NBC Out’s #Pride30 list by Emmy Award-winning host, producer and author Andy Cohen, who praised Turban’s efforts to “bring the stories of transgender youth to the general public” and “build empathy and support” for the trans community.

    Check out the full NBC Out #Pride30 list & follow NBC Out on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

  • Mark Jensen

    No, the Left Wing activist that I proclaim is a Left Wing activist IS a LEFT WING activist .Jack Turban He is #30 on the activits list.

  • Mark Jensen

    I called the author leftwing because he is. Did you even look at the article you posted? Did you see and/or click on the author’s avitar? I guess the ‘Political Minds’ underneath his name means nothing to you. When you click on that, it takes you to the Political Minds page where it says, “Political Minds. The Intersection of Politics and Children’s Mental Health”.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/political-minds

    It’s Jack Turban’s blog. Just by looking at it you can clearly see that he is a very partisan person and I think that calls into question his impartiality when it comes to LGBT issues. At the very least, his views on the matter are going to be highly biased by his political beliefs.

    I guess, leftwing is a little too nice for Dr. Turban. I like your description, “political hack”, better.

    • melissa thompson

      Your ability to dismiss and demonize anyone who’s views differ from your own is an example of what is wrong with our country today. How we discuss things like tax reform and national security are “political” and often as you say “partisan” issues. The right of LGBTQ people to exist free from harassment and attack is not a political issue, Its a constitutional one. They as your fellow Americans have the same right as you do. I feel sorry for people who’s faith or views are so narrow and fragile that when faced with something or someone they don’t understand or that is in conflict with those views or beliefs instead of learning, they lash out. We live in a much bigger and more diverse world, how sad that some are too afraid to see and appreciate that.

      • Mark Jensen

        Didn’t you say, “Most of the resources she cites are simply right wing blogs or opinion pieces.” when referring to Barb Anderson and then post a link to a left wing, LGBTQ activist author. Jack Turban, in his own words is a “gay, cisgender, white male”. Do you really think he is going to be impartial and open minded when it comes to LGBTQ issues? Good grief. He made the NBC #Pride30 list this year and good for him, but don’t try to pass him off as an impartial broker. And then if you click on his avatar, it takes you to his ultra left wing political blog.

        Don’t you see any hypocrisy in this?

        I fully agree that LBGTQ people have the absolute right to exist free from harassment and attack, but I also believe that people who are not members of the LGBTQ community have the right to not be attacked and harassed by LGBTQ activists. Transgender persons do not have the right to impose their will upon the other 98% of the population. They do not have the right to make every other child around them uncomfortable in a bathroom or locker room simply because they are confused about their own gender. They don’t have the right to harass schools into remodeling bathrooms and locker rooms at a huge taxpayers expense either. Yes, LGBTQ persons should not be harassed, but their personal issues are not everyone elses problem.

        • melissa thompson

          I give up. Enjoy your tiny little world, which BTW is getting smaller and smaller with each passing day and every legal victory for the LGBTQ community. I’m done.

          • Mark Jensen

            I know that you are ‘done’ with me but I would really like your views on this subject. I was wondering, if from your own link, the author sites this (and in his own words) a “gay, cisgender male, white” Haprofessor. Do you think that the guy that was one of NBCs Pride #30, had anything to with the push to get Chelsea Manning a Fellow?

            Thank God the Homeland Security and Defense Department got Harvard to recant their fellowship.

          • Mark Jensen

            I know that you are ‘done’ with me but I was wondering, if from your own link, the author sites this (and in his own bio that he is ) a “gay, cisgender male, white” Harvard professor. Do you think that the guy that was one of NBCs Pride #30, had anything to with the push to get Chelsea Manning a fellowship at Harvard?

            I’ll take that bet and I’ll report on what I find.

            Thank God the Homeland Security and Defense Department got Harvard to recant their fellowship.

            Good luck in your shrinking World Melissa, the rest of the World is fed up with your nonsense.