11-1-12 CCN Letters to the Editor

Candidate refutes statement in recent letter

To the editor:

A letter to the editor in the Oct. 25 paper that was written by the current Carver County Commissioners Lynch and Ische made the accusation that myself or another candidate were “directing” a critic of theirs who was voicing accusations about them. These accusations had to do with alleged irregularities in relation to a sale of a Bobcat.

I do not, nor do I need to direct those constituents who follow Carver County politics to speak out about things they have watched the current board of commissioners do to make them “look bad.” That these two commissioners each has a challenger with widespread support speaks to how many have independently come to the conclusion that they are not satisfied with more than a few aspects of how these two current commissioners have overseen county operations.

These critics of Commissioners Lynch and Ische are, not surprisingly, supporters of their challengers. To scold the letter writer for not getting his facts right, then make unfounded accusations about your challengers, is trying to have it both ways, obviously for the purpose of trying to make their political opponents “look bad.” Neither Jim Walter or myself directed the letter writer to make this charge as Lynch and Ische are accusing us of, suggesting we are manipulating information. Their letter attempted to do that very thing by trying to “direct” that incrimination on their political opponents. For all their protests about false accusations in that letter, it certainly wasn’t a very respectable or honest communication.

Frank Long
Candidate for Carver County Commissioner District 4

Editor’s note: The newspaper’s election letter policy dictates that there will be no election letters in the last edition before an election unless allowed to give a letter writer or candidate a chance to directly respond to an attack or accusation from the previous edition.

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Candidate responds to accusations in letter to the editor

To the editor:

I wanted to take a moment to correct a gross inaccuracy that Kim Kaufenberg included in a letter to the editor last week regarding park land in Watertown Township, public meetings and land valuation.

Firstly, there is no park land project in Watertown Township, there is no 19.5 acres of land there that the county is looking at, and this is a matter of public record. Where Kim gathers this information is unknown to me, but if Kim wants to call the county to double check, it would be pointed out that there is not a parcel of land in Watertown Township that is “being grabbed.”

Furthermore, while there is no 19.5 acres of land in Watertown Township, Kim accused the county board of something really quite serious in saying that we do not have public meetings when dealing with land issues, and more importantly, a vote cannot be taken without a quorum of the board present. Therefore, Km is accusing all five commissioners of misconduct.

The five sitting County Commissioners are not able to make any decision on land acquisition, park dedication or any final decision without having gone through the process of having a public meeting first. It is illegal, and I know that my fellow commissioners would agree that intimating that we are breaking the law is a serious concern and would set the record straight.

Lastly, Kim brings up the issue of land valuation, and accused the entire board of financial misconduct. This is just not the case. When it comes to land acquisition of any kind, there is always an objective third party valuation that is done prior to the finalization of the process. This again is a matter of law; the county board is bound by laws and Kim’s accusation of misconduct is incorrect and calls all five county commissioners irresponsible, and casts an incorrect shadow of illegal behavior over all of us.

Like others who accuse misconduct, I encourage Kim to do the research; facts, figures and information are available to the public and can be obtained easily. Meetings are posted, commissioners are available to ask questions, and I would welcome a call in order to clear up any misinformation from Kim’s letter.

Tim Lynch
Candidate for Carver County Commissioner District 4

Editor’s note: The newspaper’s election letter policy dictates that there will be no election letters in the last edition before an election unless allowed to give a letter writer or candidate a chance to directly respond to an attack or accusation from the previous edition.

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Kunze responds to critics of her recent letter

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to address multiple letters in last week’s edition, questioning my faith and understanding of American Civics. These letters reiterated my point that we are a nation of believers and non-believers.

Among the believers, there are many who believe in a Supreme Being, yet have different traditions, beliefs, doctrines and practices. That is what religious freedom is all about. Each of us has our individual choice to practice our religious beliefs. It is not about a majority religion having the power to force its beliefs onto others. That is why our ancestors fled the Church of England. Many religions accept same-sex couples and embrace their families within their congregations.

Our state’s constitution is not serving the common good if it is used to enshrine a prejudicial institution that is rooted in a majority religious belief. Our Constitution is meant to protect and promote equality of all citizens.

Civil marriage would not change the sanctity of a religious marriage. This is what religious freedom is all about, not to force one view on all. I would challenge each of you to go back and re-read the letters, but this time, replace the reference to same-sex couples with inter-racial couples or mentally-retarded couples. We have been wrong before. If we value the dignity of all lives, we cannot enshrine such discrimination in our civic laws and especially not in our constitution.

I am familiar with the biblical references and the church’s catechism. Again, these are religious beliefs, not universal beliefs. This would support my concern that the civil rights of non-believers would be diminished by the imposition of a possible majority religious belief. I meant no disrespect to Fr. Bennet Tran. I agree that he has a role in informing his congregation of the church’s teaching so followers are able to make informed choices in their personal lives. I continue to believe the Archbishop has abused his authority to call on us to push a religious belief on an entire citizenry. Where is the freedom in that?

I received several calls and emails from faithful Catholics thanking me for reminding them our role as Christians is to show God’s love and allow others to choose whether or not they wish to follow. God’s love is abundant and is not something that is forced. Fr. Bennett’s homily this past weekend reminds us that we must meet people where they are at in their faith. He recited the prayer of St. Francis. I got chills as this is the prayer that I believe encompasses all that we are as Christians. We cannot be harsh and judgmental of those who do not believe; we must be gentle and loving. If we want to be a community of inclusion and love, we cannot act out of fear and hate.

I think we all agree that the “ideal” is for children to be raised by their parents in a loving and committed relationship. Sometimes that is a single parent household, sometimes it is an adoptive couple, sometimes it is extended family, and sometimes it is a same-sex couple. The important piece to remember in all of this is summed up in this quote referring to marriage: “It enhances the health, longevity, and stability of married couples. It increases the health, career, and emotional well-being of children. In providing all these benefits, marriage contributes to the happiness and prosperity of society.” This quote is true, not only for opposite-sex couples, but for same-sex couples too. Our society is best when we value everyone equally.

The most common misunderstanding is that a “NO” vote on this freedom-limiting amendment is that it would make same-sex marriage legal in Minnesota. That is not true. Minnesota already has a law defining marriage between one man and one woman. A “NO” vote doesn’t change that law. It allows the conversation to continue, rather than cementing a religious belief in our civic constitution.

Leanne Pouliot Kunze
Laketown Township

Editor’s note: The newspaper’s election letter policy dictates that there will be no election letters in the last edition before an election unless allowed to give a letter writer or candidate a chance to directly respond to an attack or accusation from the previous edition.

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