Readers' views for Oct. 12
Bating bears is a cowardly and weak enterprise I read in total disgust the Sept. 16 Outdoors article, "Taste of success." It was about the tasty lures used to hunt bears. As if hunting weren't unfair enough, there are now individuals who can't ev...
Bating bears is a cowardly and weak enterprise
I read in total disgust the Sept. 16 Outdoors article, "Taste of success." It was about the tasty lures used to hunt bears.
As if hunting weren't unfair enough, there are now individuals who can't even hunt without the lure of chocolate and other treats. How very weak and cowardly, not to mention shameful and inhumane.
City Hall missteps played role in health-care liability
Duluth's health-care liability is part of a larger problem, yet other reasons for the city's budget deficit are disregarded in a mad rush to condemn employees and their benefits. What about the spending habits and poor judgment of previous administrations, or that health-care money was diverted to pet projects? Sensationalizing this complex issue seems easier for the media than good investigative reporting.
Property owners should be aware that the city takes a smaller part of the tax dollar than other entities such as schools. In return, citizens get many services and amenities that are easily taken for granted. All businesses include the cost of employee compensation in the prices of their products or services. Prices go up in the private sector without all the fanfare because there's no convenient "scapegoat."
The city sometimes ventures into unnecessary and unwise
investments that lose money, and then the city expects employees and retirees to pay for the mistakes.
Mayors and city councilors and their lack of due diligence in budgeting for health insurance is the real problem. Unvarnished interpretations of state rules, health insurance plans and past union contracts are necessary in solving this problem.
The Basic Unit Employees Contract for 2000-02 states that "the city will provide any eligible retired employee without claimed dependents the approved fee-for-service coverage or plan 2 coverage, whichever is designated by the employee at the time of retirement, provided active employees, without cost to the retiree. ...Such coverage shall be for the life of the retiree."
Whether these benefits can be modified is between the individual retirees and their employer -- the city of Duluth. The insurance provisions were offered to employees instead of higher pay, and employees accepted the terms. The employee contract is legally binding and must be honored.
Duluth has it in for old people, buildings
Nowadays, it seems that if you are old here in the city of Duluth you're not wanted. It started when the school district decided that the old Central building was unsafe for students and built a new high school, which had problems with the roof leaking and paper-thin walls that needed to be fixed from the beginning. And since then many old buildings have been torn down just because they were old, and new ones built in their place.
Then there are those who feel the city retirees do not deserve their pensions or health insurance because they made so much money when they worked for the city, and now they don't deserve anything.
The city talks about doing things to get new jobs to keep young college students from leaving the city but does not address the older folks who also need good-paying jobs and who decided not to leave the city for work.
College student rentals are taking over city neighborhoods and high-rise buildings meant for seniors. Others are being driven out.
The Duluth Transit Authority appears to ignore the concerns of seniors living in high-rises, some of whom now have to walk an extra block to catch an eastbound bus. That's because the routes were changed and the bus stop moved away. Seniors have written and called the bus company about the hardship of walking that extra block and how the burden will become worse in the winter.
I may be wrong, but it appears the city of Duluth doesn't care about anybody but college students who probably will be gone in a few years. Then more will come and leave. But what about those who are not leaving?
Johnson's AFSCME ties lead voter to Fedora
Given the many challenges the city of Duluth and its elected officials are facing, I feel it is important to research the candidates before voting Nov. 6. I am looking more closely at the backgrounds and positions of the candidates and incumbents.
Duluth needs and deserves a more-informed voter this time around. My thanks to the candidates who have provided informative Web sites.
I appreciate full disclosure of information by the candidates, and it troubles me when there are glaring omissions. When I checked the Web site for City Council 1st District incumbent Laurie Johnson, one such glaring omission became very obvious. Councilor Johnson failed to mention on her Web site that she's an employee of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the government employees union. Incumbent Johnson also neglected to mention her endorsement by AFSCME. I consider her dual position as city councilor and AFSCME agent a frequent conflict of interest.
The councilor's failure to include her present occupation and AFSCME endorsement on her Web site seemed to me to be more a case of deception than oversight. Why not inform us voters? Is there something to hide?
The 1st District needs a councilor who will represent all residents without withholding information. For these reasons, and given the incumbent's track record of votes to increase tax levies and utility rates, I will be voting for Todd Fedora to help lead Duluth in a new direction.