4-4-13 Waconia Patriot Letters to the Editor

Waconia community rallies for Bob Hoffman

To the editor:

It is a unique town which rallies together to care for a dying member of their community.
Bob Hoffman died on March 20 after a five-month long battle with cancer. His wife, Phyllis Kjaglien, died August 2011, and Bob had no family of his own to help him manage his disease. During his illness I was blessed to be part of ‘Team Bob’ and to experience firsthand how the community of Waconia became part of his “mismatched family.”
Like a family, you drove him to appointments, visited him, made meals, checked on him daily, tucked him into his recliner, walked and cared for his dog, shoveled his sidewalk, answered his questions, listened to him, shopped for him, took him on outings and played cards, etc. Bob’s medical providers not only treated him physically, but also gave him the emotional support he needed.
Neighbors, local business community, Ridgeview Hospice staff members, clergy, medical personnel and friends, it was honor to become acquainted with you throughout Bob’s illness. You are what makes Waconia a great place to live and work.
Thanks and blessings to all of you who brought so much joy to Bob.

Beth Ricke

Higher city taxes may require radical approach

To the editor:

Real estate taxes statements are out!
My valuation stayed the same, but my taxes went up 9.1 percent. The city of Waconia taxes went up 11.8 percent. Wow! What is happening at city hall? Does anyone care?
An 11.8 increase per year results in our city taxes doubling in six and one half years. Think that your wages are going to double in six and one half years? We hear a lot about double digit increases in health care costs, but nothing about double digit increase in city taxes. We hear about the city receiving awards, but we hear nothing about keeping spending down. Is the city in contention for an award for the largest tax increase?
I propose that we give city council members a pay increase, then have the council members work with department heads with a goal of reducing costs and taxes by defining the department’s core objectives.
It appears that the city cannot control spending, so let’s put it up to our city council. Increasing council pay may be radical. So let’s try something radical. It is time.

James Maiser

Why penalize society for one individual’s mistake?

To the editor:

It was inevitable that some incident(s) would resurrect the gun control debate and sadly Sandy Hook Elementary was that catalyst. At this time we do not know what new legislation will result federally or in Minnesota. There are however, some issues to consider as this topic moves forward.
The debate is focused on what new laws that should be created in order to keep society safer. What is lacking in my view, is a comprehensive analysis over what existing laws are falling short, being poorly administered or even ignored. I submit to you the recent Oberender case where pertinent data was not entered into “the system.”
We the people, thought they, the government, was doing their job. Evidently not. Additionally, how many felony firearm possession charges are dismissed when prosecutors make deals to forego jury trials? How aggressively are “straw purchases” investigated?
It is clear that many elected officials have little knowledge about firearms in general. Minnesota Democrats left a hearing room recently when safe firearms were displayed for educational purposes. How closed minded are  they? How credible does Sen. Feinstein look when she picks firearms to ban because they look “mean”? And yet, these are the ones who we trust to informed decisions? If these new laws are so important, where were the politicians on the day before Sandy Hook? I submit that political expedience has taken center stage.
Decreasing magazine capacity to some arbitrary number, in order to limit tragedies, show little knowledge about how firearm systems work. If you believe this, then you also must agree that high volume cases of beer should be limited to a six pack. Who really needs 12 or 24 cans! Wouldn’t this too limit the carnage — on the road?
Universal background checks (UBC) sound like an iron clad solution. However we must realize we are dealing with criminals who will ignore whatever law is in place. Only the lawful will abide by them. The so-called “gunshow loophole” is a mis-used term to imply that these events are cesspools of illegal sales. All FFL license holders must follow ATF rules no matter where a sale takes place. The 40 percent sales number often quoted comes from a poorly conducted Clinton era poll. Further analysis shows those personal “face to face” sales to be less than 10 percent. Many of which are familial gifts.
We must disabuse ourselves of the practice that new laws must be written whenever there is a high profile event. Freedom allows people to make a wide range of decisions. When are we going to hold the individual solely responsible for a horrible decision rather than penalizing society?
In the final analysis, there is no law that can legislate what is in someone’s heart. Those who are criminally motivated or mentally incapacitated will always be a factor in how safe society can be. Simply said, another round of gun control laws will bring us one step closer to what the anti’s want: the knock on your door.
Few people realize that in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, the Newtown school board voted unanimously (013113) to budget $165K for eight additional security guards for their four elementary schools. Why has this been kept silent by the media? In a society that accepts armed security for our money, politicians and celebrities, why would we think less of our children?
The Constitution and Bill of Rights were written by our founders to put strict limitations on government, not the people. They did not want to repeat the lessons of their past. Do we?

Joe Polunc

MCWD public outreach effort is coming to a close

To the editor:

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District’s (MCWD) “Weigh In On Clean Water” public outreach effort is coming to a close and we would like to thank everyone who participated. We value your input and your support of the District’s efforts to protect our water resources.
We hosted four open houses and developed an informal, online survey to seek feedback and guidance from residents and community leaders about clean water issues and the District’s role in protecting the watershed’s resources. The next step will be to report what we’ve learned through this process back to the community. We’ll then pair the information gathered from the community meetings and the online survey with scientific research and other program-specific data to guide our future decisions and activities.
The input we received will not only provide the MCWD with a better understanding of the issues the communities in the watershed are facing, but will also help us focus our efforts to manage and protect our water resources more effectively.
Thanks again and keep in touch. We are always interested in hearing what you have to say about the District’s efforts and how we can do our job better (www.minnehahacreek.org).

Jim Calkins
MCWD Board President