Open Forum: Don't listen to the naysayers | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Open Forum: Don't listen to the naysayers

Posted: January 9, 2011 - 10:33pm

Last Sunday, an Open Forum writer accused the Pequot Lakes School Board of trying to sneak the bonding vote through while the heavyweight taxpayers are absent. Nothing could be further from the truth. The simple fact is that Feb. 8, 2011 is the soonest that state law permits a bond referendum. And passing a referendum now would mean that construction could be completed by the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. Further delay would likely push completion back until the next year.

A similar referendum failed last summer. Since then, classroom crowding has gotten worse. For example, based on increased elementary school enrollment this fall, another kindergarten class had to be added just as classes began. But don't take my word for it. Enrollment figures are public information and can be easily obtained through the district office. In fact, the district welcomes the opportunity to give voters as much information as possible to ensure an informed vote.

Don't waste time listening to naysayers spouting misinformation about the referendum. Eligible voters that winter in warmer climates can easily obtain an absentee ballot. Voters that need more complete information can visit the district's website or can attend one of five public meetings, which are listed on the home page. And voters that are inclined to vote in favor of the capital bond must make their wishes known by making every effort to vote on Feb. 8.

If the capital bond referendum fails, the school board will almost certainly have to use its contingent levy authority to make essential repairs and to create more adequate classroom space. The cost to taxpayers could be nearly as much as the cost under the capital bond, but with much less favorable terms. The need is not going away. Please vote yes on Feb. 8.

Jill Andersen

Breezy Point

Keeping secrets secret

While in the Army, I received a top secret security clearance and felt somewhat honored.

Secure classes were held in rooms with blacked out windows, covered with heavy metal mesh; guards standing by outside. This was during the Cold War with China and the Soviet Union, the two greatest threats to democracy (actually, primarily threats to corporate capitalism, I eventually learned and realized).

No paper or pens allowed: no note taking. Textbooks were kept in a heavy safe, given at the beginning of each day, collected at the end. Our class of seven waited while the instructors made sure each page of each book was intact, before locking them up again and releasing us.

One Saturday a sergeant, walking through the barracks of another class, spotted someone reading one of these top secret books! He flipped out, arrested the student, and after three days of refusing to believe it, verified the book was purchased in the local war surplus store. Several more were still there. Hmmm.

I told my dad this story, then learned I'd been in this top secret class before the FBI completed my clearance! Turns out also that the FBI sent some forms, etc. to my previous employers. One of them was nearly illiterate, but knew my dad, so asked him to fill it out! Dad said he wrote highly of me!

The FBI team visited my hometown and asked people I knew about me. Some confided later they told the FBI to scat - they didn't like government interference in their lives! Hard to believe anyone would do that in this Facebook age.

All too often government classifies things to keep them from the enemy": the people. We really need to elect a better class of Americans to office. WikiLeaks might be a good cleanser.

A. Martin

Merrifield