Letters to the editor

Setting the record straight

This letter is in response to the Southwest Journal’s recent article about the Sept. 17 Park Board meeting at which I, and Park Watch, were verbally tarred and feathered by a couple of critical Park Board commissioners. I was not at the meeting.

I cannot recall being aware of another public body whose members so freely attack citizens for exercising their constitutional rights to question, comment on and criticize their governmental bodies.

I am writing this letter to correct the erroneous statement made about me by Commissioner Scott Vreeland, which is as follows: “I just don’t understand why Arlene Fried feels so compelled to ask us to give back $153,000 to Flatiron.” (Flatiron was the company hired by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, MnDOT, to rebuild the I-35W bridge.)

I criticized the administrative staff for violating Park Board procedures by negotiating leases with Flatiron without  bringing them before the board for the commissioners’ approvals and signatures, as required by Park Board policy. I also criticized the administrative staff for resorting to coercion to pressure Flatiron into signing an agreement with an inflated fee. But I never suggested that the Park Board not charge Flatiron for the use of Bohemian Flats, nor did I ever ask or suggest that the Park Board “give back” the $153,000 as Commissioner Vreeland incorrectly stated.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

Vote yes for MPS referendum

My name is Angie Vaaler. I am a 7th grader at Anwatin Middle School. On Nov. 4, all you adults have a very important decision to make concerning us kids. I am 12 years old, so, of course, I will not be able to vote this year. My peers and I will be counting on you adults to make the right the decision (so no pressure).

With that in mind, I’ve decided to write a little letter to illustrate Minneapolis Public Schools’ students’ point of view. One of the problems that you will influence with your vote is class size. I really don’t know how teachers handle all these kids who have different ways of learning and are at different levels. Many teachers are also paying out of their own pockets for things like binders and folders.

Please consider what will help us learn. Every kid deserves an excellent learning environment. Think about the great things that are already happening in the public schools. Think about how many teachers give their time to help kids after school or during lunch. Think about how many students are getting straight A’s and about how many students are helping around the community. Do we deserve this Referendum? YES!!!!

So now that you have heard my empowering speech, get out there and vote, on Nov. 4 for the Strong Schools Strong City Referendum!

We’re your future, whether you like it or not!

Angie Vaaler
East Calhoun

Vote for Ranum

This year’s elections may be the most important we have had in decades. Unfortunately, as news coverage and we voters concentrate on the most visible political races, the competition to fill some extremely important offices, notably judicial positions, tends to go unnoticed.

With increased politicizing of the judicial branch of our government in recent years, it is even more important than usual that we pay attention to elections for judges and that we choose individuals who have a reasoned and fair approach to the law, as well as the experience and knowledge to be our judges.

For that reason, I’m asking my fellow citizens of Hennepin County to vote for Jane Ranum to fill a vacant seat on the county bench.

Ms. Ranum was an assistant Hennepin County attorney for 26 years; has been a teacher and community leader; and served South Minneapolis, Richfield, and Bloomington in the Minnesota Senate for 16 years. During her tenure in the Senate, she worked effectively across party lines and was known for her expertise in crime prevention, the state judicial system and budgeting. She is a person who thinks through situations and issues without carrying the burden of partisan zealotry.  

I have known Ms. Ranum, though not closely, since she first ran for the Senate. I am not connected with her campaign, but I do believe she is the kind of person we need on the bench.

Jim Fuller

Vote for Judge Bush

I like to think of myself and my friends as informed citizens. We approach election days with a clear sense of why we support particular political candidates and how we will vote on various ballot measures. However, I understand that many of my non- lawyer friends are stumped when confronted with a slate of judicial candidates about whom they know almost nothing. I would like to make one particular recommendation.

This election, Judge Philip D. Bush is up for re-election as a Hennepin County District Court judge. I have known Judge Bush for more than 20 years and have been impressed by his intellect, fairness, and commitment to justice. Judge Bush holds BA and JD degrees from the University of Minnesota as well as an MA degree from University of Sheffield, England. Since his appointment to the bench, Judge Bush has served in the criminal, civil, and juvenile blocks including a term as Presiding Judge in the juvenile block in 1993. I will cast a very confident vote for Judge Bush and urge others to do the same.

Maury Landsman
North Loop

An endorsement for Judge Gildea  

We are retired judges who served for many years on the Hennepin District Court, and we believe that Lorie Skjerven Gildea is exactly the kind of Minnesotan we want to keep on our state’s Supreme Court. We strongly endorse her election to a new term.

Like us, Justice Gildea was a Hennepin trial judge. Before taking that office, she represented the University of Minnesota as a trial and appellate lawyer, was a Hennepin County prosecutor, and represented private clients.

Justice Gildea has volunteered with the State Bar Association, and has worked with several organizations devoted to the improvement of the legal profession. She was member of the Sentencing Guidelines Commission. However, her committment to service goes well beyond the law. As an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, Lorie Gildea has shown the sound judgment and clear articulation of her reasoning that we must have in the members of a tribunal that, among other things, is expected to guide the decisions of our trial courts. We’ll be voting for her, and we urge our fellow citizens to do the same.

Mary Davidson
Mickey Greenberg
Robert Schumacher
Isabel Gomez
Southwest & Downtown