Re: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2001 front page article on the ratification delay of the AFSCME union contract due to the same sex insurance issue.
In no way, shape or form should it be inferred that one of our bargaining units introduced this issue. The AFSCME union did have open discussion of this issue at its delegation assembly in St. Paul earlier this year during contract negotiations. The assembly body voted against this issue each and every time it was brought to the floor. Also, each time it was brought to the unit delegates, it again was voted down. It resurfaced in the insurance coalition bargaining group.
The insurance coalition bargaining group is comprised of a defined number of members from each union covered by the state's insurance plan. Each union has a defined number of votes. It was here that the issue phoenixed. The issue of insurance for same sex partners was introduced through the insurance coalition bargaining team. As of yet, no specific unit has admitted to fostering this proposal. Since this is one of the Governor's pet issues, as much as I hate to, I would assume that it was one of his flunkies, through the insurance coalition bargaining process and the plan providers themselves, that force fed this issue to the rest of us. (Supposedly at no cost now or in the future to our compensation packages. (Pay/insurance)).
Now it seems that all the big entities involved are afraid to voice the opinion of the majority for fear of being called prejudiced. In light of what has happened over the last few months, it is a shame that 1 percent of a group have more rights than 99 percent of that same group which voted against this issue. The majority did not support the issue. The assembly voted the way the majority wanted; and here we are, resenting our employer, the political process, and our politicians because we are being forced to support something that a majority strongly disagreed with. Hopefully our local leadership will see this and support the majority.
This may influence the way the majority votes come election time.
Precious little angel
Many thanks to the dear lady who wrote the great letter about the little black cat that was dumped in her rural yard.
My circumstances are much like hers: senior, limited, fixed income, rural setting. Unwanted pets are frequently dropped off and I am supporting all I can handle.
Further preaching about responsibility and caring for animals isn't likely to do much good because anyone who can do such a cruel and thoughtless thing as to dump off a little cat, especially in winter, probably doesn't read much.
This week, someone dumped a little white cat in my yard. Would one of the 19 other callers for the black cat please call (218) 587-3241 and give this precious little angel the love and care she deserves?
Rural Pine River
Recently, I made some observations concerning negative decisions, that the Bush Administration, has made regarding UN-sponsored protocols and conferences that are, needing human cooperation for a better world. In each instance, the UN-sponsored initiatives, seemed in line with the basic moral precepts of the lives and thoughts of those men, who started each of the world's great religions. But the scriptures of these religions which are both borrowed from older religions and myths as well as writings from later church leaders, often use threats, promises, and prophesies to cow and cajole their followers.
I believed that the examples used, by me clearly illustrated the administration's lack of belief in, or reliance on moral virtues. Those same moral virtues, that I feel must be displayed to return to the correct side of history. I thought the need for moral integrity, along with the lack of the Administrations display of it was totally apparent.
I know very little of my challenger, but his basis for the challenge was not one of, human morality, regarding human thought and emotions, but rather of prophetic predictions, and in this case referring to the Bible, and to confirmations based on narrow interpretations thereof.
If it is truly a prophetic prediction he needs perhaps I should quote, in part, a man involved in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin. That part of his comments regarding the fruits of Constitutional Conventions labor, which could be considered a prediction was; (and I believe, further, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupt as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.)
Dennis G. Gordon
What can I do to help?
During his Nov. 8 speech on homeland security, President George W. Bush said, "Many ask, what can I do to help? The answer is simple. All of us can become a Sept. 11 volunteer by making a commitment to service. You can serve your country by tutoring or mentoring a child, comforting the afflicted, housing those in need of a home. He then went on to say, "We will encourage service to country by creating new opportunities within the Corporation for National Service programs."
The Senior Corps programs are already established in your community, state and nation. There are volunteers serving with the RSVP Volunteer Program, the Senior Companion Program, and the Foster Grandparent Program. Within each community there are numerous opportunities to serve! You may wish to work with children who need extra help with their studies. You might enjoy visiting with an elderly person who is isolated and lonely, or be willing to transport someone to a doctor's appointment. Your place might be assisting in an office setting.
These programs offer a myriad of possibilities to anyone who wants to make a difference in our home towns, helping to solve problems and providing solutions that promote public safety and public health.
None of us will ever forget the tragedy of Sept. 11. America's greatness will finally be measured in the response of its citizens. Don't wait to be asked. Please consider becoming a member of the "homeland security" team by joining a Senior Corps program in your area. Experience the personal satisfaction of helping others and being involved.
Volunteers wishing to be part of this "homeland" team should contact:
RSVP -- Mike Koecheler (218) 824-1345, e-mail RSVP@co.crow-wing.mn.us FGP & SCP -- Marcia Ferris (218) 828-2354 or 1-877-612-6243 toll free e-mail email@example.com
You may also visit the Senior Corps website at www.mnseniorcorps.org
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