Delano Herald Journal
Letters to the Editor

March 16, 2009

Emmer would not meet with outside union rep

From: Jana McVey, Buffalo

I wanted to let you know how well your elected representative to the Minnesota House was doing, but as he refused to meet with me, due to the fact that I am a union member, I can’t pass along any information to you.

I was with a large group of union members representing out-state members, and we attended a special “Day On The Hill,” which has been going on for many years now.

The main purpose of this is to meet with your elected representatives and let them know how you feel about bills or legislation that might affect union members.

Apparently, Tom Emmer doesn’t care about union members. I had heard as much, but thought that he would at least meet with his constituents; the people who helped to put him in office. I was wrong.

If you are a union member, I would say don’t even waste your time. And, maybe start thinking about electing someone who might support unions, even if it’s just a little bit.

I am a proud American citizen who has been working for the past 19 years in civil service, serving the communities that I have lived in.

I am glad that I no longer live in Tom Emmer’s district. And, I am proud to say that when I did live in his district (which I did for 14 years), I never once voted for him.

Again, to all union members residing in District 19B, it’s time to re-consider your elected representative, as he obviously doesn’t want to have anything to do with you, as a union member.

Civility required at meetings

From: Andy Kauffman, Mayor of Montrose

When I was elected mayor, I had hopes that this would be a fresh start for Montrose.

While I still believe that it is, and that the council and I are using this opportunity as such, I have to say that I am disappointed in the words and actions of certain members of the community whose personal agendas are seemingly more important to them than the health of our community or the wishes of their fellow citizens as expressed through the electoral process.

For reasons best known to them, I, the council, and members of the city staff have been called “crooked” and “corrupt” among other baser things. These attacks are unwarranted, without merit, and will not be tolerated in city council meetings.

That is not to say we are above criticism or question – we welcome the chance to answer questions or have productive dialog.

Despite the personal nature of much of this activity, I have tried to glean the heart of the issue from the surrounding ugliness and have contacted the state auditor to obtain assistance in setting the record straight. However, we will not abide the current witch hunt atmosphere of name-calling, half-truths, and outright misinformation.

There seems to be a curious habit of leveling these accusations when issues aren’t addressed how and when these citizens would like.

For instance, I am of the opinion that a request for council action does not guarantee inclusion on the next council agenda. For one, the word “request” means to ask, and asking does not guarantee inclusion or the answer one wishes.

Second, the policy makes no mention of which agenda the request would be added to, so the request could be added to a subsequent meeting agenda.

While this interpretation has upset some, it is not intended to be evasive of the issues presented. In fact, many of these issues are being dealt with already, require research for later consideration, or are best answered through other means.

As far as compensation, our intention all along was to use this year to review all compensation, staff and council alike, and will work with a neutral party, the League of Minnesota Cities, to ensure that we are aligned with comparable cities. This is the first task of the Personnel Committee.

While it was a privilege to be elected or employed by Montrose, the task of leading a city is a solemn duty, and it is only fair that there be compensation for such responsibilities.

Also, bear in mind, that Minnesota state law prohibits a legislative body from voting itself pay changes. Therefore, changes that are voted on by this administration would not come into effect until after the next election.

However, we are trying to cut city overtime, attendance, and occurrences of unnecessary meetings; keeping our staff focused on their core jobs and other measures to try and save the taxpayers’ money.

We want civil exchanges in all of our city meetings, so we impose rules of order to encourage civility.

Regardless of the content of the meeting or who has the floor, the person conducting the meeting retains control of that meeting at all times. The person who conducts the meeting or a designee has the right to interrupt, for the purpose of clarification, correction, questions, or to enforce the other points of the code of conduct, such as the prevention of personal attacks or to ensure the speaker stays on task.

As a final thought, we are all human – parents, sons, daughters, husbands, and wives – and we are all neighbors, not career politicians looking to bilk hardworking citizens.

Please, remember your own shortcomings when addressing one another, whether it’s a current legal issue, a past failed personal or business relationship, or even something that you’re sure no one knows anything about, and exercise the kind of grace that you would wish to receive.

As a friend of mine once said, “The problem with burning bridges is then you have to yell across the river.”

Don’t provide alcohol to minors

From: Jill Hylla, Wright Co. Public Health

With the prom season fast approaching, it is important to remind ourselves that it is against the law to provide alcohol to minors. Period.

As adults, we need to stop providing alcohol to minors, not only to eliminate a major source of alcohol for underage drinkers, but also to stop giving teens the mixed message that even though state law forbids them from purchasing, possessing, or consuming alcohol, it is really all right. It’s not.

At the community level, we must realize that providing alcohol to underage youth is a community problem because it occurs, for the most part, in local neighborhoods.

Surveys of high school students show that parents and their friends provide alcohol to minors.

To stop this unsafe and illegal activity, we need to work with the schools, law enforcement, courts, the business community, and, especially, with one another to make sure the word gets out.

Please help get the word out and keep youth safe during the prom season.

W-H annual meeting March 31

From: Chris Lantto, Wright-Hennepin chair

I want to invite all of your readers who receive electric power from Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association (W-H) to attend our 72nd annual meeting Tuesday, March 31.

During this short business meeting, member-owners will hear reports about operational highlights from 2008, as well as challenges and opportunities facing the cooperative in 2009.

Three of the nine member/consumers who sit on W-H’s board of directors are up for re-election. Results of this election will be announced at the meeting.

The annual meeting will be at the cooperative’s headquarters in Rockford. A free pork chip dinner for members will be served from 4:30 to 6:45 p.m., followed by the business meeting from 7 to 8 p.m.

There are also many activities planned, including prize drawings and a chance to win the grand prize of a Chevy Astro van retired from the cooperative’s fleet.

I hope all W-H’s members will attend the event.

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