8-16-12 Waconia Patriot Letters to the Editor

Southview landscaping no hardship on taxpayers

To the editor:

I am writing in response to the Southview Elementary landscaping project as a waste of taxpayers’ money. I think it is interesting that some people feel the need to state their opinion about things before they know or ascertain to know any facts about what they are talking about.
The Southview landscaping project has been in the works for a few years now. Ninety percent of the project has been done to create a safer environment for the children of Southview. The new sidewalks and the recently new boulder walls (to which the writer refers) create a safer environment for the children waiting for, loading and unloading the busses.
The two streets that are used for bus lanes on are very busy streets and previously had very little room for the kids to safely stand waiting for the busses to pull up.
The planning for this project, along with a great deal of the labor, has been done for free.
My husband and I volunteer at the school on a very regular basis and it is my husband who has donated over 100 hours on this project. He has had numerous meetings with the principal, PTO president, school administrators, cement companies, planning committees and the District 110 school board. He is a parent donating his time, which has taken him away from his job and family, all to help make a safer environment for our kids.
So, yes, please do stop by the school and take a look. Then, please go inside and ask the teachers, principal and parents how they feel about the new landscaping and the safety of our kids!

Karen Hendricks

Fundraising effort aids school improvement

To the editor:

In regards to Ms. Fritz-Barfnecht’s letter (Aug. 9, 2012) regarding our taxpayers’ dollars being poorly spent on the landscaping at Southview Elementary, I strongly encourage her to do her homework before bashing our district.
If she would have researched a bit further, she would have found out that much of the money used for this landscaping was raised through dedicated fundraising by the Southview PTO and through a generous in-kind donation by Outdoor Living & Landscape.
The only tax dollars used in this much-needed improvement to the grounds of Southview Elementary was for the concrete, in order to widen the sidewalks and bus lanes, an improvement for the safety for our children.
In fact, many of the “extras” at Southview Elementary have used no tax dollars at all, but rather the incredible fundraising efforts of the parents.
Thank you Ms. Fritz-Barfnecht for giving me the opportunity to point out this important fact.

Kelly Schiffman

Horse arena noise disturbs neighborhood

To the editor:

I have never written a letter to the editor but I feel the need to comment on the excessive use of the horse arena at the county fairgrounds.
My wife and I and several of our neighbors are fed up with the so-called “horse shows” every two or three weeks. The blasting loud over-amplified loudspeakers start at 7 a.m. and last until late into the evening. This week they brought in a bellowing announcer who was louder than a tractor pull and didn’t stop until 12:45 a.m.! Now today, as I write this, they are back Sunday morning starting all over again.
We live in the Cherrywood townhomes adjacent to the arena. I know the horse arena was there before us, but we have been here seven years and it is getting worse every year. There seems to be no concern for the quiet enjoyment of their neighbors. We have to keep our windows and doors closed and the AC on and can still hear every word inside our homes.
We have attended two fair board meetings to object and they smile and carry on and no changes are made. The very least they could do would be to lower the volume by 50 percent or more. They are heard all over the west side of Waconia and usually there are about five to 15 people in the stands, about 30 feet from the announcer. The neighborhood is not interested in “who is on deck, who is in the hole, and who is deep in the hole” and then repeat it all over and over again!
I have the following questions:
• Are they actually part of the Fair entertainment? I see no mention of their shows in the advertising.
• Do they each pay the admittance fee?
• Do they pay for use of the facilities at the rate quoted in the fair website?
• Other than fair week, why don’t they need to follow the noise and lighting ordinances like everyone else?
Unfortunately, the fairgrounds cannot be moved but since it is in the center of town, the traffic and crowding is very dangerous. Because the horse arena is just a fence and an announcer’s stand, maybe it could be moved out of town. That would reduce traffic and noise for the rest of the community.

Pete Marnie

Writer says be well informed, not deceived

To the editor:

This November the voters of Minnesota have a major decision to make regarding marriage in our society. I have been to several discussion groups on both sides of this issue and talked with many people about the Marriage Protection Amendment. It seems that many people are either undecided on the issue or have made their decision based on emotions or a superficial understanding of the implications of their vote.
The definition of marriage is far too important! We must be careful not to make our decision regarding this amendment based on emotions, half truths, lopsided media coverage, polls that can be skewed by the wording of the questions or the group of people polled, or by the amount of money being spent. As with most political issues these days, money and people pour in from outside of our state in order to influence Minnesota’s voters. Money spent is not a measure of how the people of Minnesota feel about an issue. Even if looking at the amendment from just legal and secular perspectives, there is much to consider. We must be well informed, not deceived!
First of all, it is important to understand what passing the Marriage Protection Amendment would or would not do. If passed, it will NOT take away anyone’s rights. It is already Minnesota law that marriage is between one man and one woman, so no law would change. What the amendment would do, if passed, would put that definition of marriage into our constitution. That would assure that the law could not be changed except by the vote of the people. If the amendment does not pass, then our law is vulnerable and could be changed by a few activist judges or politicians who push their own agenda rather than listen to the will of the people of Minnesota at large. It is noteworthy that over 30 states have put the definition of marriage to a vote by their people and they have supported marriage as between one man and one woman in their state constitutions. The six states that have changed to so-called same sex marriage have done so at the hands of a few judges or politicians, not by the vote of the people. Even if Minnesota’s Marriage Protection Amendment does pass, it is not necessarily a permanent thing, as some anti-amendment speakers and literature have stated. It is possible that the amendment could be repealed in the future if Minnesota’s voters chose to do so.
I believe people on both sides of this issue are compassionate and have good intentions. They agree that all individuals are our brothers and sisters in this human race and should be treated with dignity and respect. Yet terms such as judgmental and intolerant and bigot or “second class citizens” are being used by the anti-amendment campaign. Those derogatory terms are simply not true. It is important to keep in mind a few points here. The amendment is about interpersonal relationships, not individuals. There are many different types of interpersonal relationships in society. Marriage is not just a “love license.” Marriage laws do not exist just to say who can love whom.
Consider the loving, caring relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren, siblings, aunts and uncles and their nieces and nephews, very dear friends, even military personnel in the same unit who would lay down their lives for one another. All are loving, caring relationships. None require the government to make those relationships any more “real.” Marriage is MORE than just a loving relationship between two people.
As far as accusations of intolerance and discrimination, those are untrue and inflammatory words. Consider this: Our society has multiple situations every day where distinctions are made between groups of people. Men and woman have separate public bathrooms. Children under a specified height cannot go on certain rides in amusement parks. Senior citizens get discounts in many places. You must be 21 to buy alcoholic beverages. None of these distinctions between groups is being judgmental or intolerant.
In the Olympic games, look at the swim events – they are separate for men and woman. Why? By natural law and human reasoning, it is understood that men and woman have different physical capabilities. Having them compete separately is not saying that one gender is a second class set of athletes. It is not intolerance or unjust discrimination, it is just a matter of recognizing and accepting what is true by nature. So it is with same sex couples and married couples – they are distinct and separate by nature.
There are many unmarried adults in this world, of all races, colors, creeds and sexual orientation. They are not considered second class citizens, simply unmarried people. Not everyone is called to a married vocation. There is no legal barrier in Minnesota based on sexual orientation that prevents two adults from buying a home together, opening joint bank accounts, designating each other as beneficiaries on their insurance policies or naming each other as a health care agent on their health care directives. They can live their lives together, if they wish, without the government’s intervention. Some people are indignant thinking that the government is intruding in people’s private lives regarding marriage. Changing the definition of marriage is not a matter of government intrusion, but rather is a very small but very vocal percentage of the population trying to use the power of the state to force all of society to accept the homosexual lifestyle.
It is important to recognize that marriage is not a creation of the government. Marriage between one man and one woman is as it has always been, long before governments existed, in societies all over the world. Marriage laws came into being because governments recognized the great value of marriage and family for children and the common good of society and chose to bind together men and women by law in an effort to support and protect this vital social institution. It is obvious and understood that, by nature, it takes a man and a woman to produce a child. Those children also need to be nurtured, protected and taught into adulthood. Social science shows us that the optimal environment for raising children is in a home with both their mother and their father united in a lifelong, exclusive, loving marriage relationship.
It is obvious and understood, as well, that same sex couples cannot produce children naturally. It is, therefore, clearly not the same relationship as a husband and wife marriage. It is not discrimination to treat such a relationship differently because it is obviously not the same! In order for same-sex couples to become parents, they would have to obtain a child by some other-than-natural means and would raise that child without the benefit of both a mother and a father. This is a relationship, then, that is more about the desires of the adults than what is best for the children.
We must not have tunnel vision when it comes to the potential redefinition of marriage! A change in the law would not just affect those couples who wish to marry.
If the government were to alter the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, this new so-called marriage would be a government creation and the long arm of the law would then reach into our lives in many ways that you might not think of initially. Consider the impact in states that have altered their marriage laws: School children as young as kindergarten are being taught about same-sex unions. Even if a family’s belief system does not agree with such teachings, school systems have not allowed the parents to set up some sort of “pull out” option to remove their children from the classrooms during such instruction. Nor have schools agreed to give parents advance notice of when such instruction will be taking place. One Massachusetts man was even jailed for trespassing in the course of trying to come to such an arrangement with his child’s school. Small businesses have been fined when the owners chose to live according to their consciences and beliefs. Photographers who do not wish to photograph a same-sex wedding, bakers or caterers, wedding planners, bed and breakfast owners, all would be violating either the law or violating their consciences if they do not agree with so-called same sex marriage and must choose whether or not to participate in such a wedding. Professionals such as county clerks, marriage counselors, fertility specialists, and social workers could lose their jobs or professional licenses if their beliefs do not accept same sex couples as married. Religious affiliated adoption agencies have had to close their doors because of their policy of only placing children in a home with both a mother and a father.
Altering the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples imposes the desires of the few, no matter what the cost, onto the whole of society. To quote the author Matthew Kelly “The social and political reforms of our age have exalted the individual in a way that is unhealthy for society as a whole. Under the pressure and guidance of a number of special-interest groups that represent only a fraction of society at large, the rights of the individual have been gradually elevated and ultimately placed above the rights of society as a whole.” It is the government’s role to protect the common good of its people. To alter the meaning of marriage to be anything other than the union of one man and one woman would not be expanding the meaning of marriage, it would be losing sight of the truth of marriage.
Our society as a whole is already paying a very heavy price in many ways with so many children being raised in homes without both their mother and their father together in a lifelong, exclusive, loving, married relationship. We cannot control every detail in our lives, but we should all be striving to return to the ideal of a one-man-and-one-woman-for-life marriage, not continuing to stray further away from it.
I urge everyone to treat every human being with dignity and respect. I also encourage everyone to vote ‘YES’ for the Marriage Protection Amendment to preserve marriage as it truly is. (Do not ignore it! If you skip that question on the ballot it counts as a ‘no’ vote.) Thank you.

Connie Henninger