After attending Wednesday's public forum on the proposed superstore moratorium, I came away both impressed and offended. Impressed by the courage of Bob Olson and Gary Scheeler with their defense of the capitalist free-enterprise system. The same system that has provided average Americans with the highest standards of living in world history.
While some in attendance (including some panel members) treated these men with ridicule, it is interesting to note that they were the only members of the panel who have actually started small, locally owned retail businesses on their own. In theory, the same people the Coalition for Responsible Development claims to be trying to protect.
As for coalition members, I have one thing to say: Let's at least be honest about what's prompting talk of a moratorium on "superstore" development in the area. Groceries, grocery prices and who we are allowed to buy them from.
Now I certainly don't blame the owners of the existing grocery superstores in the area for utilizing any means available to protect their profitability. As business owners, they have a right, if not a responsibility to protect what they have.
What I do find offensive is elected officials giving serious consideration, even support to the practice of using government as a tool to obstruct free enterprise. Thus denying us, as consumers, the choice of whom we can do business with.
Those elected officials need to hear from us. They need to understand that we are smart enough to decide how we live our lives -- where we live, how we raise our children, even something as seemingly trivial as where we do business. And when those elected officials don't get it, as some never seem to do -- we as citizens and voters need to remember their arrogance and self-righteousness at election time.
A June 27th letter to the editor erred in implying that the pro-abortion position is accepted by many mainstream Christians.
Not only do most Christians find abortion to be a tragic undermining of the value of human life, but most Minnesota citizens do as well. An April 2001 Star Tribune poll showed that 59 percent of Minnesotans find abortion to be morally wrong.
This pro-life majority among Minnesota's public is clearly reflected within our nation's religious institutions. Most American Christian denominations, including the two largest -- Roman Catholicism and the Southern Baptist Convention, have taken solid pro-life stances. The so-called "major" religions that the author cited as being pro-abortion are, in reality, the small minority of America's religious community.
Most Christians, as well as most Americans in general, believe that the value of human life should be upheld and that unborn babies and their mothers should be protected from the destruction of abortion. For more information on this and other life issues visit MCCL's Web site at www.mccl.org.
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life
Responds to letter
I'm writing in response to a letter that was published in the July 9 edition of Open Forum in which the writer implied that whoever shot at Planned Parenthood may have been upset because they give out emergency contraception. It disturbs me that this writer was giving everyone such terrible misinformation about emergency contraception itself and the way that it's dispensed by Planned Parenthood.
First of all, emergency contraception, or "the morning after pill" as it's commonly referred to, is not an abortion pill. It works by delaying ovulation so that the woman does not become pregnant in the first place. If you don't ovulate, you can't get pregnant. It's that simple. Furthermore, if you are already pregnant and take emergency contraception, it will not harm the already existing pregnancy. So the baby is not being "ripped from the body" as the misinformed writer would have us believe.
Also, PP does not force anyone to take emergency contraception, and they certainly don't give it out without educating the patient about it first. And as far as the writer's assumption that PP doesn't let patients know about all of the other people in the community who would help with a pregnancy, all I can say is of course they don't review pregnancy resources during an EC visit! Why would they give a patient pregnancy resources who isn't pregnant?
If people would take the time to educate themselves a little bit before deciding who should be shot and why, this world might be a more peaceful place to live.
I have noticed two main contradictions in council member Bob Olson's arguments against superstores: 1.) being the champion for superstores, and at the same time remaining committed to downtown restoration. 2.) arguing that the council cannot limit businesses such as Superstores.
Although, most recently, it seems clear that he actually wants to leave downtown to the lions by placing a superstore on the fringe of Brainerd (on state hospital land recently acquired by the city). There have been hundreds of communities that have watched as their downtown turned to a ghost town following the development of a superstore. It has become fact that superstores "kill" the downtown of a city the size of ours. So, if Mr. Olson is as dedicated to downtown Brainerd, as he claims to be, then logic would say that he should be opposed to locating a superstore in this area.
Secondly, Alderperson Olson wants to leave the issue of a superstore up to the consumer and the "free market". In his own words, "the consumer will decide what type of retail operations are successful regardless of what they may or may not be called" (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, Guest Column 7/14/02). When talking about the adult use ordinance, Alderperson Olson said he would vote yes on the ordinance even if it meant a lawsuit for the city. This logic directly conflicts with his stance on superstores. Personally, I believe businesses such as superstores and adult use, need to be limited through local government. Citizens within our community have a right to protect this area from the negative effects of both.
The Hibbing situation
What has happened in Hibbing since Wal-Mart came to town?
Ogle's Family Foods had a major sale of good and sealed its doors. Within the next six months, a small Pamida store was closing its doors. Just this spring, Big Kmart was forced to shut down its operation too.
Kmart was an anchor store in the Irongate Mall. Now rumors are floating that the other anchor store in the mall will not be renewing its contract with the mall owners. Several small stores in the mall that depended on the traffic flow from Kmart have closed or will be closing soon. These are the major impacts in a community with 18,000-plus people.
Does competition remain? No! We no longer have a choice of department stores or even as many grocery stores to choose from in Hibbing. When people beat their chests about competition being the American way, let's remember that in the end competition leaves us with one winner. Let's remind them that even the United States has laws against monopolies. That too is the American way. Can Brainerd afford one winner/one choice? All that evil needs to take over is for good people to sit and do nothing.
Please act to retain your freedom to choose where you shop and who supplies you with the food and items that you need for your life and lifestyle.
Candace L. Lilyquist
Five courageous educators and religious leaders from Minnesota and Wisconsin are scheduled to fly to Iraq on July 25. They will travel with members of Voices in the Wilderness.
That organization was founded in 1996 after UNICEF reported that a UN/US embargo imposed on Iraq was responsible every month for 4,000 to 5,000 deaths of Iraqi children under five years of age.
Over-the-counter medications, CD-Rom medical textbooks and school and art supplies are to be delivered to war-ravaged Iraqis by these compassionate Midwestern peacemakers.
Sponsored by the Twin Cities Campaign to Lift Sanctions, the Minnesota-Wisconsin team members are to be commended for their desire to help alleviate the impact of the sanctions and the continued bombing of Iraq.
The peacemakers recognize that constant war threats against Iraq should cease. After all, attacking that nation would be a breach of international law and could lead to destabilization of the entire Middle East.
War could cause untold numbers of U.S. GI and Iraqi casualties. Besides many innocents being killed in warfare, billions of U.S. tax dollars would be used for destructive weaponry instead of essential medical care, housing and food for U.S. citizens.
Urge your Washington legislators to renounce the hellish carnage of more warfare in Iraq. Let them know you don't support a military occupation of Iraq by U.S. forces.
For further information on this issue, readers may contact: Twin Cities Campaign to Lift Sanctions at Web site www.justview.org and Women Against Military Madness at www.worldwidewamm.org.
Elaine Jensen Chesley
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